Saturday, July 10, 2010

Airplanes

There are few things in the world that can make one feel more insignificant than being on an airplane.

If you’ve never been on a plane,it’s difficult to describe how the earth looks from 18,000 feet up in the atmosphere. Cars look like ants until they disappear. Then houses look like ants until they disappear into huge patches of green. And then the Golden Gate looks like dental floss and the Himalayas look like snow-capped Hershey’s kisses. And then countries blend into countries that blend into oceans and pretty soon, the overwhelming feeling of insignificance suddenly hits and you’re thinking,“Whoa, I really don’t matter in this world.”

It’s a terrible but simultaneously awesome thing to realize that the world is so big that continuously journeying for your entire life won’t even allow you to cover half of Earth’s surface or see 1/1000000000 of the people who live on it.

We, as relatively privileged people on this planet,are conditioned to believe that individually, we make a big difference in the world and we matter a whole lot. But somehow,18000 feet up in the air, I didn’t feel so sure of that at all. Up in the air, my previous illusions of grandeur were just as concrete as the obscure layers of the atmosphere I found myself embedded in.

We live our lives entrapped in microscopic bubbles. It’s not a small world at all, despite what they always say. It’s only small because we make it that way, trekking through our petty lives from one short day to the next, hoping that the few good friends we make and the few good deeds we do will change the world in one beautiful and bombastic instant.

Dream on, all you poets and artists, philosophers and orators. You can use all your mindpower and willpower, engineers and doctors, but there will always be corners that your tendrils of knowledge will not reach.

And sometimes it takes a window seat on an airplane to remind yourself of that.


1 comment:

  1. thats why we create, innovate, invent. why we seek to extend lifespans, increase intelligence, the goal being to expand knowledge. why i keep going on and on when i talk, about making myself immortal, so that i can be important, so that i can travel everywhere, so that i can make a difference.
    -Redbeard

    ReplyDelete

Write me a song.