Back and Forth

Monday, 23 November 1998
The ferry departs. The quay fades away into darkness. Light spots of this side and the other mix at the horizon to a single blur. I'm puzzled. Is it right to speak of 'this' and 'other'.

When the ferry was at the quay there was no question. 'Other' was across the river. The quay is no longer visible, disappeared in the darkness. The other side approaches rapidly. So it becomes less and less 'other'.

What is 'forth', what is 'back'? That's another question that puzzles me for quite some time. The ferryman doesn't care. He just takes you across and does not bother about your subjective interpretation. I used to live on the very island that I just left. 'To' used to away from the island. 'Back' was towards the island. Now my domicile is on the mainland, but even that does not give me new certainty. I came 'to' the island through a tunnel. Is it possible to go 'back' by ferry?

I doubt it. I feel like I go 'forth' continuously. Constantly forwards just like time which has just one direction. The world is changing. Even he who stands still, sees the world changing. It is impossible to go back to the same spot. Time is the sequence in which events become irreversible. Time goes forth, never back.

Back home I surf to the BBC ( for the latest world news. The contents of the site is fresh. The news is constantly variable. Yesterday, this site offered other news. Am I now returning to the same site, or did I revisit it? It is, once again, the same question. Does the way 'back' exist, or is it just going forth which just looks like the past?

I am not in doubt any more. There is no way back. We all go forth continuously and never return.

The SUMit website used to have several 'back to' links. Old and wrong Back It was a mistake, forgive me. I am blushing with shame. It is just 'forth' that you can go. Your path to this page is completely unknown to me. The world wide web does not sell return tickets. Yes indeed, the 'back' button in your browser is a deception. This thing leads you to a newer version of something old. Your browser is like a ferryman, takes you across links, never to return again.

Reader, surf forth. Till next week.