That term, “looking up”, has me hooked today.
Two of my favorite bloggers have used that term recently and it reminded me of some of my posts in the fall of 2010 about Eairth.
Check out Kate Shrewsday. She starts a recent post entitled, “Skying” with this description:
Will we ever tire of looking upwards?
If I could get in my old red Mercedes and direct it vertically upwards past the airborne pigs, it would take just six minutes to drive the 10 miles through our troposphere, where 80 per cent of our atmospheric gases are concentrated.
And, indeed, just five hours to drive to the complete vacuum of outer space. For the rest click here.
That knocks my socks off. Isn’t that a marvel to realize our skin of air is only six minutes thick? Humbling a bit. Reminds me how miraculous it is that we’re all still breathing after several hundred years of dumping all our noxiousness into that which cocoons our bodies and makes it possible for most of the planet’s current life forms to live.
Then check out this blog called Zazenlife. . .many bloggers, many topics and full of edge walkers. Deiselpokers wrote this one yesterday: Where Does the Sky End
When you look up in the night sky, you might see some pretty stars and cool constellations, but how many of us actually realize that we are looking at something that goes on FOREVER? For more…
Great post about infinity and endlessness but I noticed how s/he also used our familiar cultural phrase ” looking up”…
I like to play with that idea of looking up. Are we really? Just because our heads tilt back doesn’t mean we’re looking up. Think about it. We’re on a ball within a ball within another ball ad infinitum – space upon space with no edges. We could actually be looking DOWN…Don’t you love it?
At the very least, we’re looking OUT not necessarily UP. Unless of course we really do live on Pratchett’s Disc World – then my notions make no sense at all.
But sometime ago, maybe two summers ago when I was on the top of Hurricane Ridge after dark looking through a telescope so large we sometimes had to climb a step ladder to look through the lense, maybe it was then I had this epiphany. Nope, here comes a memory closer to the truth. I think I first learned this notion from Brian Swimme in his video series called Canticle of the Cosmos. One of the videos is devoted to perceptions and how our human assumption is that what WE SEE is the only reality. As an exercise to help us get out of the box of habitual perceptual thinking, he suggested gazing at the stars while imagining that we are looking down. I tried it. An act so simple, yet it was completely disorienting. . .in a magnificent way that permanently changed my sense of reality.
Another similar habit is how we talk about the sun setting or the moon rising. Well those special orbs are doing no such thing. They’re simply hanging out in space moving in their own orbits that have nothing to do with rising and setting to our horizon line on a daily basis. That’s US spinning on our wee globe, looking out and drawing conclusions. Makes me wonder how much else we assume is accurate may be in error.
We get so used to thinking reality is as inculcated by culture that we forget to question our perceptions, to bask in the mystery of living on the planet eairth.
I’ll leave you with one of my paintings that illustrates this short rap on looking down. It’s called: Falling UP.