In his encyclopedia of the Chronoptera, Professor Aristide Pumpclockin, makes mention of a rather unique dragonfly, called memopaurotera, said to possess a mysterious power. If the dragonfly memopaurotera brushes the surface of the water while you are admiring your own reflection, the latter is trapped there forever, tattooed on the glossy brine. An aqueous “selfie” of sorts.

It does not make any noise, it does not harm and it is certainly not an unpleasant experience. It’s hardly much of an experience at all! Why does the dragonfly cause such sensation? What does it demand of us? What pleasure could the memopaurotera gain from freezing our image on the watery mirror for all eternity, merely to deliver our reflection to the scrutiny of gazing tadpoles and water spiders? Professor Pumpclockin, does not explain the reasons which become all rather unsettling. Likewise, in the rest of the encyclopedia for that matter with mention of time-gawing-flies or beautiful exdoditopsidae age-damsels. Or the range of specimens of the fatal gadflies and exochrons – the-out-of-time-beetle, all the more time consuming than the other. There is also the Time-Extractor. What dread and anxiety does such a notion awaken within us? Never read The Encyclopedia of Chronopteras by Professor Pumpclockin if you are opposed to the idea of passing time! It would be fatal.

Rest assured! This encyclopedia is not on sale everywhere. The world is safe!

Let’s face it. The tale of the passage of time is generally poorly received. In a manner of speaking, it is running out of time. Time, as we see it, passes. However, the notion of time passing… is rarely conceived.

This is all quite incomprehensible because time, basically, is shame. Shame of what, you may ask? The ultimate shame, of course. Shame that Gunther Anders claims as the shame of our own adolescence. He is aware from whereof he speaks. The adolescence of man is his favorite pass-time. He dedicated an entire volume on the subject in 1956. Gunther Anders was not a weirdo of Professor Pumpclockin’s character. Gunther Anders is hard core. He was even the husband of Anna Harendt. Whilst Professor Pumpclockin, is nothing more than a cartoon character!

What does Gunther inform us in his essay? He claims in essence that humanity, at the pinnacle of evolution, at the zenith of intelligence, is capable of thinking to perfection. Humanity brings into the world wondrous objects ex nihilo, such refined mechanisms, especially everlasting ones. Mankind is, juxtaposed to these cold shapes of perfection of his own creation, internally consumed by the shame of his own finite existence. The tools he creates are the result of a rational, mathematical process. While he himself is merely the result of a random genetic chaos of which he understands nothing. He is disgusted. The bitterness haunts him and beholding even the slightest plastic waste bin, because he knows that despite all his pathetic efforts to delay the inevitable, the bin will outlive him.

Read the full feature in the TIME issue