Just a Thought

A reflection
by Chris Hibbard

Just a Thought

So, as I’m walking into work the other afternoon, the usual entrance is taped off due to renovations.
As I walked through the other door, I continued to stare at the glass door I’m accustomed to using.
As the sun reflected off the glass, I noticed the inconsistency of the glass itself; it smeared and misconstrued the rays of the setting sun.
It occurred to me that I might know why the reflection was ‘imperfect’. In some ways, glass forms from silica sand, an inorganic product of fusion over time, cooled to seem rigid, without ever truly crystallizing. So technically, glass is both a liquid and solid. It can be melted, shaped, broken, shattered, reformed, and poured.

Once again, I found myself reminded just how profoundly we limit our own perception. We deal with slow-moving fluids all the time, like sap and tar for example, so maybe glass is just really, really slow. And then it hits me…
If I had a time-lapse camera and could film this glass for the next two thousand years, only to play it back incredibly fast, this glass might look like a vertical sheet of water falling out of the door frame.
Perhaps trees, rocks, and tortoises have witnessed this kind of thing for years – their ages measured on a different scale than ours.
This gets me a ticket for a whole new train of thought. I don’t need a time lapse camera. If I can realize it in my mind, then it has pretty much already happened. Why should I limit myself to time, when time certainly doesn’t limit itself by me. I’ve comprehended the idea, and if any idea itself is equally real, if not more, than it’s physical manifestation, then I should be able to realize that essentially I’m made of the same stuff that this door is.
So how different am I from from a door, a rock, a tree or a tortoise for that matter? The more I think about notions of interconnectedness, a philosophy subscribed to by many aboriginal religions, the easier it is to see.
It’s all about energy. Everything we do is a manipulation of it. Push, pull. Open, shut. Lift, release. Bend, straighten. Energy. I think about all of the will and energy we commit today to objects like computers, that make our lives so much more… convenient.
However, the very letters that appear on the screen in front of me now are only fragments and artifacts, shadows of what my mind is experiencing right now, what my presence is emanating.
These letters, A-Z, are mere floating bits of energy, constricted and controlled just so, allowing you and I to read them. There has been an awful lot of work, energy and will put into computers, so I am able to type this with relative ease. But the sacrifice it seems, is in cutting ourselves off from the natural world, the spiritual world, the social and metaphysical world. We’ve cut ourselves off from all of this long enough now that we have allowed that aspect of our personhood to ‘unevolve’, essentially forgetting where we came from as a species, what we had to do to get where we are; forgetting all the wisdom that was learned over the last forty generations of civilization. We’ve come to rely on technology to heavily, and now take a pane of glass for granted.
I can not claim to be anti-technology (as is apparent in my hosting a blog in cyberspace), yet when it threatens to become the exclusive tool for an exclusive culture to ensure its own survival at the expense of other peoples, then I second guess those motives.
What happens when the ATM’s fail, when the banks go broke, when the satellites fizzle out. Do you know how to hunt? To trap and fish? To make a fire from scratch or build a home from the ground up? Do I? Not entirely, not as much as I should.
As humans, we’re pretty inconsiderate. If I can realize today what a tree or forest may have been thinking for the past two centuries, then why can’t I realize the same regarding rocks, animals, and my fellow humans?
It took energy to produce these thoughts, to write them down, to type them and to submit them. Yet there they are. These thoughts have likely been thought before, using someone else’s energy, or more appropriately, the web of universal energy that we each must tap into to survive. It took energy to think this, to wonder and to reflect on these thoughts, as it did every thought before them, and all those thoughts yet to come. All thanks to one glass door – a transparent wall of sand and water.

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~ by Chris Hibbard on December 1, 2008.

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