Monday, March 31, 2014
A grain of sand in the ocean
This is a picture of Montreal as seen on the top of Mont-Royal. I took it last summer.
I love to go to that place and just look at this huge city, below me. It is really quiet up there even thus there are lots of people, the business is not the same as down below. There is no car/bus noise... No emergency vehicle either. No city noise.
It makes me see life in a bigger perspective. When I am busy down there, I walk, shop, bike... I am really concentrated on myself... my needs, my wants, etc... but really from up there, I can imagine myself when I am down there, and I seem so little... insignificant... and so does everyone else! Even the cars are tiny. Mont-Royal is not that high, can you imagine even further up?
It gives me the same feeling when I fly (which is really rare). I love looking at the window and seeing the distance growing from my down to hearth life and the space I am borrowing momentarily in the sky. Everything seems so irrelevant... cars, people, houses, pools, lands... they get so tiny that eventually you can't even distinguish any of it! You only see land and water.
This brings me to a long discussion I just had with my husband, on how we tend to think that life started with us and will end with us too. In the busyness of daily activities, chores, works, we loose that perspective, we forget that in the bigger scheme of things, we are so tiny... almost irrelevant to some point... but at the same time so important. I love this duality of life. Let me explain myself.
What is my importance on this whole planet??? If I was never born, this city, province and country in which I live would still be there... and people would be busy walking around doing their things... not knowing that someone was never born. What about the planet? Same thing... no difference ultimately whether I am there or not: Life would go on. Worse, if I was to die tomorrow, there would be absolutely no impact on the bigger scheme of things. One less human... replaced by others that are born on that very same day. This is the truth, as sad as it may seem.
However, in my every day life, I do have an impact on many people... just like you and anyone else does. Every decision I make, acts I do has an impact for my immediate surrounding at the very least and sometimes broader than that. This once again, brings me back to my interconnectedness post. In summary, everyone of my actions has a positive or negative effect on my immediate surrounding and this cascades far beyond my knowledge. At the same time, all my actions are dictated by a cascade of events far beyond my knowledge too!
If everything is related, what would happen if you were to remove a link? What if one person at one time on the face of this planet had not made a specific decision or gesture??? And this is what my husband and I were talking about... what if you take any major history decision you know and change it? For example, what if Christophe Colomb had actually found India instead of North America? What if Julia Butterfly Hill had not chained herself to that tree? What if Hitler never existed? What if Gandhi had never study law and fought for peace? What if I never came across any of the people I knew/know in my life? What if John Lennon was never killed? What if M. Smith did not brush his teeth this morning? This could go on forever.
The answers are at the same time very complex and very simple... Complex in the sense that if any of those events, or any other events or people never existed, life, to each one of us, would not be quite the same. Whether you know who Julia Butterfly is or not... whether you live in America or not... it doesn't matter because of that interconnectedness... It is also very simple in the sense that for this planet, this Universe, it would be exactly the same...
Life was there before us, and it will continue after... long after... in which form or shape? I can't tell you... but it will continue. For better and for worse.
Realising all this makes me reflect upon my own life. How do I go about my every days life knowing that the impact I have can be so relevant (positive or negative) and at the same time so insignificant in the bigger picture? How do I make my decision, or how do I act to leave a positive mark around me and in the bigger chain of event without taking myself too seriously? Where do I draw the line between important and futile? Because everything is actually important and futile...
To the ocean each grain of sand is important... but remove one of them and there will still be an ocean. Remove many of them, it might be a different ocean, but still an ocean.
How do you feel about that duality? Importance and futility of everything and everyone?