Every so often the Doctor is allowed to share some hard facts about himself. Or at least, what could be called 'facts'. After all, we know little about the Doctor, other than what we're shown. Most of what he shares about his past are suspect.
I won't be explaining which said what, because while yes they are different, they are also the same and I doubt you'll be able to find anyone who likes all 12/13 of them at the same time. People have a favorite for whatever reason, and they dislike others for reasons just as personal or obscure.
A few notes before I get to the title. But it does connect, I think.
The Doctor: Somethings are fixed, somethings are in flux. Pompeii is fixed.
Donna: How do you know which is which?
The Doctor: Because that's how I see the Universe. Every waking second I can see what is, what was, what could be, what must not. That's the burden of the Time Lord, Donna. And I'm the only one left.First time I heard him describe time as fluid, but with fixed points, I was in love. It made sense. I do tend to personally think a little more cyclonic for my view of time, but fluid works with that as well... Just in mine that those fixed points are getting closer and closer, tighter and tighter. Its a David Eddings thing. Of course, that was for a specific reason and if you looked at it correctly, then you'd see that it hit 0, and 'restarted' in flux. Another post for another time.
For some reason, people don't always see just how sad the stories of the doctor are. The David Tennant finale and most of Matt Smiths run were, to me, all about how sad his stories are. He lives for untold years, picks up a companion to keep from going a bit crazier than he already is, and saves.. Everything, often from itself. At the same time, he knows there is a limit to his time here. He is both an individual and a collective at the same time. Explains a little of why he's just a tad crazy.
A mad man with a box.
River Song kept telling us that he hated endings. If you know the full story and the ending, then that also makes a bit of sense. I won't give spoilers, since I've only read about them and not watched. Still, he KNEW. I'd be willing to bet both 10 and 11 were hyper aware of their limits and what all they'd risked and put in motion.
So, if you knew that everything was out to remove you from the whole of everything, and that you were running out of options, would you be thrilled to see it coming closer or would you wish to whoever listened, that they'd just let you have one more day?
On the first trip with Clara, he looked at something that, at first at least, scared him. And he shared everything he was with it...
The Doctor: Okay then. That's what I'll do. I'll tell you a story. Can you hear them? All these people who lived in terror of you and your judgment. All these people whose ancestors devoted themselves, sacrificed themselves to you. Can you hear them singing? Oh you like to think you're a god. But you're not a god. You're just a parasite. Eat now with jealousy and envy and longing for the lives of others. You feed on them. On the memory of love and loss and birth and death and joy and sorrow, so... so come on then. Take mine. Take my memories. But I hope you're got a big a big appetite. Because I've lived a long life. And I've seen a few things. I walked away from the last great Time War. I marked the passing of the Time Lords. I saw the birth of the universe and watched as time ran out, moment by moment, until nothing remained. No time, no space. Just me! I walked in universes where the laws of physics were devised by the mind of a madman! And I watched universes freeze and creation burn! I have seen things you wouldn't believe! I have lost things you will never understand! And I know things, secrets that must never be told, knowledge that must never be spoken! Knowledge that will make parasite gods blaze! So come on then! Take it! Take it all, baby! Have it! You have it all!
This was a chance for us to understand just how... How alone, unique, singular, he is. The Doctor is not the creator or the ender of time, though some try to put the blame on him. [Interestingly, its often through their own desire to 'keep' it from happening, that they cause it and he then saves them.]
He is however the witness to it all. The Doctor sees... Everything. He keeps watch over everything, helping and changing history when he can and sadly watching the moments he can't alter. It is lonely and despite having a granddaughter, a wife, lovers and companions... But they'll all pass away and at some point, he will only be able to visit their grave and remember.
Longer you live, the more funerals you go to.
I think it would be easier for him if he could actually talk to the TARDIS, but sadly she is as unable to communicate with him as he is of taking life slow. [Thank you Neil Gaimen for writing out a beautiful episode about a human version of the TARDIS, and giving us that... Also for showing me that she's about as crazy as he is, which may explain their being perfect together.]
One thing I wonder, is how many heard how important his next statement was. Clara joins him and I think what he says there is just as sad.
Clara: Still hungry? Well I brought something for you. This. The most important leaf in human history. The most important leaf in human history. It's full of stories. Full of history. And full of a future that never got lived. Days that should have been and never were. Passed on to me. This leaf isn't just the past, it's a whole future that never happened. There are billions and millions of unlived days for every day we live—an infinity. All the days that never came. And these are all my mum's.
The Doctor: Well? Come on then. Eat up. Are you full? I expect so. Because there's quite a difference isn't there? Between what was and what should have been. There's an awful lot of one but there's an infinity of the other. And infinity is too much. Even for your appetite.
Do you see it there? Did you catch the difference between what the Doctor fed and what Clara fed?
A future. Sure he has one, but he thinks of what life has already done to him, not about what sort of future he has in store. He already knows.