The Humbling of Perspective

As a child the world is your bedroom. Your civilizations reign in the closet, under the bed, and in your toy box.

       When we are teenagers we start to realize the world of the town we live in.  The supreme nation of family and ultimate sanctuary of our home. We travel in a bubble that is our cars, staying safe with locked doors, shielded with glass windows to view out from. The stomping grounds of commerce is our part time job, education is only learned through school and church.  We learn of rebellion and individuality. We learn that what goes on in our heads is more important than what is going on around us.  Until we learn that this is completely wrong. 

      If we pass this world, which some never do, we realize a greater world in college and the workforce. Our sanctuary has grown to the road we drive on. The coffee shop we stop in daily.  And the bar we have our after work-latte-vodka-espresso in.  Most of us our happy here and don’t wish to move on to a bigger world. I can’t blame them, its easy and convenient. We get high off the comfort of our sanctuary.  Drunk off peace with our four walled kingdom.

       The fortunate few that travel or are forced to travel in times of war or disaster see these things we normally would ignore.  Toy boxes become armies occupying other toy boxes. Closets become wastelands of sick and hungry children and grandparents. The dark coldness that was under our beds becomes a vast shadowy cloud over foreign countries with nuclear weapons.  Our first instinct is to crawl back to one of our previous worlds, but its too late. We realize if we crawl back into our world we can never again control it.


We can’t because we never did.

      All of the umbrellas. All of the blankets. All of the sandbags. All of the concrete. All of the lies, and fallout shelters, and innocence we once had; mean absolutely nothing.

      Fewer than 500 people have ever seen the world from space.  Every astronaut that has returned from space has one word to describe their experience, humbling. Imagine an entire world humbled by that view. What would happen then?  Would our view of the world grow beyond that of our own gravity, the very physical scientific reason we stay thought and body on this floating rock? I suppose thought can realize that we are on a floating rock. I suppose our world is just one of many worlds floating. And what then?  The galaxy, the universe, what contains these things. Do we care? No.


We can’t see that far yet, we’ve never been there, and won’t in this life time. 


Original Native American Indians Canoe Approaching Ship Painting, Dean Quigley


      The American Indians who lived on the continent of North America saw ships coming towards them from across the ocean. They did not know what they were, or where they had come from. In fact they believed them sent from the gods, until a Shaman told them they were men merely coming to exchange goods and steal their women. It took a respected high official to lead them to believe these were men from another land like their own. They had to see the ships. They had to be told what they were, or else they’d have never believed they weren’t gods. 

      Its impossible just to tell someone there are bigger things in the world, there are better things, there are worse things. So what do we tell them? Who tells them? I haven’t see many shaman around these days. I doubt I’d believe him anyway, they are strangely dressed and speak in tongues from what I’ve learned from Bugs Bunny cartoons.


Let's take Mr. Jesus Christ. If Christ were reborn like the bible says and said, “I am the second coming of…Myself…, follow me and I will lead you from the apocalypse.” (or something to that effect) Would you follow him? 


Hell no.


      You’d think he was a weirdo and send him to a loony bin where he’d rot and die.  I bet Christ is already here on earth wearing his white jacket and comfortable sleeping in his padded room, his message will never reach the masses because he’s too busy stuck in solitary confinement for being a shiny toy shy of a cracker jack box. (So sorry to rain comedy on all of you religious folks out there, but you get the point.)


    Bottom Line.


      Its impossible to say how big the world really is, at least until we finish mapping the oceans and inner core of the planet. It’s practical to say it’s as large as we allow ourselves to perceive it. For some this is their entire galaxy, others the world is simply a bedroom with a big window starring into the wide void that is space.

      With the Internet we can see the galaxy without even looking outside our windows. With the click of a mouse the vastness of outer space is now at our fingertips. Board up the windows that sun is doing my pale skin no good.

      Does this mean everyone who uses the internet sees the world as an entire universe and beyond? I doubt it, and in fact I know it probably makes people dumber to an extent that the vastness of knowledge is available and so obvious that its pure meaning of exploration are lost to the few that still visit the planetarium. By the way have you gone to a planetarium lately? They never seem to be showing movies about stars…unless it’s a Star Wars movie.

    My point is that I have no point. I wish far to often that people would wake up and see the world from a bigger perspective, that I myself could even increase my view of the world. 


They can’t.

I can’t.

Maybe and I’m speculating that even you can’t. 


If I do find myself floating the black aimless vacuum of space one day, which I know will happen eventually for our children’s, children’s, illegitimate test tube baby children. Perhaps those who travel outside the galaxy, maybe even outside the universe, then would we still be satisfied with the human perspective? 


Could we go farther? 


And above all like those before us.


Would we still be humbled?  

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© 2019 T. Julian Bell