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"trapped in the amber of the moment"

sterrab's picture

"Why me?" 

"That is a very Earthling question to ask, Mr. Pilgrim. Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything? Because this moment simply is. Have you ever seen bugs trapped in amber?

"Yes." Billy, in fact had a paperweight in his office which was a blob of polished amber with three ladybugs embedded in it.

"Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why."

 (Slaughterhouse Five, Chp 4, pg.97)


Billy Pilgrim is a pilgrim in time and space (credits to dglasser on referencing that on Tuesday). He is unstuck in time as he flashes through different events of his history. His interaction with the extraterrestrial Trafalmadorians, as shown in the passage above, interestingly links our discussions on block time and Billy Pilgrim's free will. There is no wondering and no doubting, accept what is and the moment that is presented to you, is the message the Trafalmadorians present to Billy Pilgrim. Billy Pilgrim is "trapped in the amber of the moment" as he randomly travels through time. Although he is unstuck in time, he has no free will as he is trapped in "the moment" through the higher power of the Trafalmadorian. "Unstuck in time" but "trapped in the moment"? Although the Trafalmadorians do have a higher power over Billy's life and decide how it is resequenced, I  found it to be rather interesting how time freezes in their presence. They undo time. The moment persists unless they decide to make it malleable again as Billy flashes through his history.