The Three-Quarter Project, which has been discussed in the section entitled My Republic on this website, has finally reached its conclusion, and the framework of the project has taken shape under the name of Space-Time Travel. With this opportunity, I have changed the subtitle of this issue to The Space-Time Travel Era; Point of Departure and have begun to note the progress of the project.
So, here I am at last at the beginning of “Space-Time Travel,” but what kind of “journey” is this science-fiction sounding travel? I am sure you are not thinking of time travel.
However, I seriously believe that this is the first step towards time travel in the science fiction sense. In other words, this is how time travel may come true.
On the other hand, earlier I published a book titled Fly High, which is also an invitation to travel.
So, what is the difference between that Space-Time Travel and this Fly High?
The core of the difference lies in the difference in the “personhood” of the journey. The former is a second-person journey, while the latter is a first-person journey. In other words, the former journey is a journey to visit a person – nature being the mother of that person – while the latter journey is a journey to see the objects that fascinate you.
Daring to take a leap of metaphor, the former is an “oriental journey” and the latter a “western journey” (a discussion I will return to in a future article).
By the way, for me, to visit a person sometimes means visiting a person’s way of being. In other words, I have been paying a great deal of attention to one of those ways of being – human health. At the beginning, I was only health-oriented in the common sense of the word, but gradually I have come to believe that health is not merely a state of non-sickness but is synonymous with creating a new meaning for life by evolving health into health as an idea.
The changes in my view of health are summarized in My View of Health v.3 (in Japanese), published this past January.
In other words, when we view “healthiness” as evolving from a passive state of non-sickness to an active and creative one, it is no longer limited to the restoration of health, but can even lead to the creation of a new outlook on life.
Furthermore, if we view aging or senescence, which is the progression of ill-health as it is propelled by time, the transformation from health to ill-health can be viewed as a function of time. If this is the case, then restoring and maintaining health is equivalent to experiencing regaining time or stopping time in effect.
In other words, the so-called age-appropriateness concept is proof that people view their state of being as a function of age, or time. That is, by focusing on health, it is possible to defy the world of such conventional wisdom.
For example, I am currently 75 years old as counted by the calendar, but the impression people get from me is that I am much younger, say 65 years old. So the question becomes, what is the difference of 10 years?
Alternatively, the so-called healthy life expectancy of the Japanese is 72.68 years (as of 2019) for men. In that sense, at 75 years old, I am still well and in effervescent spirits even though I am a post healthy life expectancy person who is expected to be receiving some kind of care.
I have coined the term “acquired age,” which is a way of counting age in terms of the total physical and intellectual capacity that one actually acquired. And it is this acquired age, or 65 years old in the case above, that we are actually living each day, and the chronological age of 75 years is only a matter when it is on official documents.
In other words, by improving our health through achieving healthiness, we can effectively shorten the time that passes by more than the time on the calendar. The difference of 10 years above means that the time shortened in this way is 10 years.
When I think of it this way, it is something like talking about Einstein’s principle of relativity – people who return from space travel in a spaceship with a speed close to the speed of light are rejuvenated (the Japanese “Urashima Taro” story is of the same kind).
Hence, extending healthy life expectancy means that you have shortened time.
Here is an example.
Three years ago, at the age 72, I took up to the challenge of trekking deep into the Himalayas. It was to climb the Goecha La, a nearly 5,000-meter-high pass in Sikkim, India, overlooking the world’s third-highest peak, Mount Kanchenjunga (8,598m), through glaciers. When I successfully completed this rather strenuous climb, our mountain guide congratulated me on my accomplishment and told me, “You are the oldest man in the world to reach there” (the oldest woman was 73-year-old New Zealander).
In other words, this kind of experience that “does not suit one’s age” is the real appeal of acquired age, which is different from chronological age, and is the 10-year age difference that I referred to above.
Thus, depending on the degree of healthiness, a person’s acquired age can vary greatly, and in extreme cases, a person can be 100 years old but have an acquired age of 50. In the case of this centenarian, he or she will live for one year and age only half a year. In other words, he/she is shrinking the time by half a year every year – i.e., it is being created by his/her healthiness. This is exactly what it means to be 50 years old and to know 100 years of past life, which is to say that you have “time-travelled” 50 years. Or, if you think of it as experiencing two lives at the age of 50, you are talking about living another person’s life, a truly surreal experience.
Even without resorting to such extremes, let us assume that a 75-year-old person has contact with a 30-year-old young person. Then, based on the shareable base maintained by healthiness―at least in terms of acquired age―there can be contact between the two that transcends the gap in time. In other words, an “experience equivalent to time travel” has occurred between the two.
That is, through the inspiration of this point of contact, the 75-year-old on one side can re-experience himself 45 years ago in the present through his companion, and the 30-year-old on the other can experience himself 45 years in the future in the present through his companion, even if he calls it a “pseudo-experience”.
Thus, healthiness means the creation of a common ground that bridges age differences. In other words, it can be described as a “circuit” that runs between the differences.
That is to say, healthiness can create circuits that can transcend that much time, or in science fiction terms, “warp” space.
This is precisely what healthiness is, even a space craft for time travel.
And if this is the case, then there is no way to avoid using it.
Or, about ten years ago, I recalled the old term “joint struggle” and called it “joint struggle for the old and young” and thought about the possibilities of exchange and collaboration across the generations. The Space-Time Travel we have seen thus also represents the very usefulness of the joint struggle. And it is extremely futuristic.
When I think about the above and come back to myself in reality, my personal reality regarding my healthiness is on a tightrope and the health resources available to me are getting limited to a certain extent. Therefore, it is not an easy task to make the most of my health resources and to what extent I will be able to enjoy this Space-Time Travel. I am sure that it is not an easy task, but I am very excited about it.
Because of this, I sincerely hope that the younger generation, who should not even have to walk on such a tightrope yet, will not be complacent about their chronological age and will not waste it, but will share Space-Time Travel with an eye to acquired age.
〔Acknowledgements to my friend Russell Lain for his help with English editing.〕