Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Total Perspective Vortex...

Cicero often- for good or ill- subordinated his philosophy to his political thinking. Yet in some areas like nature, humans can contemplate things beyond their own personal activities and identities. One of the most powerful images of my lifetime is a view of Earth that no other generation ever saw. The sight of our planet as a distant sphere of blue against the infinite darkness of space has changed the way in which we contemplate ourselves. Some argue that we must strive to move out from our home planet, simply because it is so fragile. Others argue that to take life away from the ecosystem is not sustainable, since the whole of our existence is bound up in the stunningly complex relationships of life that have been given the name of "Gaia".

In contemplating the myriad complexities of life on our planet, it sometimes feels that at some level perhaps we truly are contemplating the divine. In the enormous space of the Universe, it is hard to contemplate what the creator of all this could actually be- perhaps better to contemplate our smaller god and our immediate creator: the planet itself. If we start from the value of our fragile planet- see it in its broader context, then we can begin to have a much deeper awareness of the nature of our interactions with Earth and eventually to understand them- so when we contemplate the delicate fragility of our planet, we can look beyond our individualities and yet still understand them- in the right perspective.

Douglas Adams once wrote of a device, the Total Perspective Vortex, which showed the complete universe with a sign saying "you are here". The psychic shock destroyed the personality of anyone plugged in to it. Certainly the pictures of Earth have changed our perspective- and though the shock is still being felt it is, on balance, a positive shock.

1 comment:

maswey said...

thank you nice sharing

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