Saturday, September 30, 2017

To the Atmosphere and Beyond

A quote from Socrates,

"Man must rise above the Earth — to the top of the atmosphere and beyond — for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives." 

The photo was taken above the Chesapeake Bay.

I am not a man, nor have I made it to the atmosphere and beyond. I have however gone up far enough in a plane to fully understand the world in which I live in.

We are mere droplets of color on a charted map that does not judge us by who we are. Towns, cities, lakes, streams, and railroad tracks may separate us but they do not confine us. At 3,000 feet in the sky, the world below me shines with beauty. My charts used for navigation guide me along a path of wonders. A bit lower and I can see women hanging clothes out to dry in their yard. A boy riding his bicycle down a rural road. A farmer tending to his fields. A kayaker taking on one of the finger lakes. Factories with smoke billowing out of the tall exhaust pipes. Solar farms larger than life out in the middle of nowhere.

When I see this world through my eyes as a pilot, the world does not speak back to me. It does not tell me, that farmer was a Republican or that lady was a Jew or this town is filled with racists, or that river is polluted by that factory, or that college has sexual assault cases pending against it or that town is an LBGT community. My navigation charts do not label the world we live in, in such a way that we as humans label ourselves and the things around us. We judge we persecute, we hate, we disrespect, we show no discipline, and we allow for the violation of our own space to occur.

Why have we lost sight of the beauty around us? Is it an attempt to just lash out at everything that has ever undermined our well-being. For every time you never got to go to the movies, or spend the night at a friends house, or missed out on a party or lost a job to perhaps a better candidate. or heartbroken by those we thought we loved the most.

While many do not have an opportunity to sit as a pilot in a cockpit and view the world below them. Many do have the capacity to open their eyes and hearts to see and feel what is right there in front of them and surrounding them daily. We become blinded by the mundane human daily rituals of life itself. We no longer take the time to appreciate the beautiful, the ugly, the delicious or the distasteful. We have almost stopped learning.

I think Socrates had it right. We need to seek a path so far beyond our reach in order to truly understand what is going on around us. How will you make that happen in your life? Let's start a conversation. 

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