The View From Above

pexels-leon-macapagal-3168034 (1)

Have you ever flown in a commercial airplane? If so, did you notice that once you were “in the air” — far above the highways and byways —  it was impossible to look out the window and see people on the ground? In fact, when that plane is cruising at an average altitude of 36,000 feet (that’s nearly 7 miles up in the air), even a person standing on the highest mountain peak on earth would be invisible.

Come to think about it, even if you are standing on good old terra firma, the chances of detecting an individual seven miles away are nil.

Yet many of us see ourselves as GIANTS — and we constantly strive to convince others of not only our visibility, but our importance as well. We are convinced that our thoughts and our actions are worthy of undivided attention. We dismiss the fact that under the circumstances mentioned above, we could not even prove we exist!

I happen to be a fan of apocalyptic movies. In many of them, the starring individual is one of the last human beings on earth and his/her survival is the primary goal. Occasionally, in some movies, another survivor shows up. Of course, depending on the script, this can turn out to be good or bad. However, one thing that has never happened — the last survivors don’t spend their time discussing political and/or religious views. Their “focus” is far beyond personal persuasions.

Yet in REAL life, because so many of us live in comparative comfort, we argue and bicker and FIGHT over skin color, religious beliefs, political ideals, climate change, and/or whatever other topic we feel strongly about. We consider ourselves the authority on innumerable subjects and strive to convince others of our superiority.

Perhaps it would be well if we occasionally considered/recognized how insignificant we are in the big scheme of things — and took note of the fact that, from seven miles up, we don’t even exist!

Photo by Leon Macapagal from Pexels

34 thoughts on “The View From Above

  1. Hello Nan. Interesting point. At what point does sharing your thoughts, your views, cross the line in to arrogance? At what point does self confidence become narcissism? Your post does inspire some serious self reflect in the honest. Hugs

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Nan, too true. What too many do not realize is people do not notice that much about anyone, as they are too busy with their own lives. So, others can shout at the wind, but the significant majority of folks will not care other than to avoid the screaming person. Online, when I see someone name calling, I don’t read anymore as it is a waste of time. They are code words for a lazy person’s argument, so why bother.

    One of the more powerful things I told my kids is “people do not have to do anything for you. So, when they do, you better be sure to thank them.” It is a different way to say you are just one more person on this earth, so how you act is important.

    Good post, Keith

    Liked by 9 people

  3. I think 7 miles should be the new social distancing guidelines for covid and beyond so we never more have to hear those who class as vexations to the spirit. The only time we ned fight over those contentious subjects is when a fellow ant meets one of those giants who thinks bullying up close is the way to get their point across.
    Huge Hugs

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Perhaps it would be well if we occasionally considered/recognized how insignificant we are in the big scheme of things — and took note of the fact that, from seven miles up, we don’t even exist!

    Bravo Nan! I wholeheartedly agree with your last paragraph setup like you’ve done! 👏🏼 Good on ya Ma’am. 😉 As I finished reading this post I couldn’t help but remember the spine-chilling monologue by Carl Sagan. You know the one, right? Like your 36,000 foot analogy here it would segue nicely into A Pale Blue Dot would it not? Puts us, your post here, and everything we meager Homo sapiens have ever known properly, humbly into perspective, yes? 🙂

    Liked by 7 people

    • We need to look at that dot and think on that dot. Not simply to recognize our insignificance, as individuals, but our isolation. Both Voyager vehicles are now in interstellar space while their creators are forever earthbound.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Great book, as is The Demon Haunted World. We live in a meaningless galaxy in a vast universe and we also live a timeframe that’s too small to even be worthy of the big picture. Yet we think we are so special and some fantasy god created all this just for us.

      Liked by 7 people

      • HAH! 😄 Mary, way too many Followers of the Abrahamic religions would vehemently argue with you on your profound Scriptural coexisting dichotomy: “Yet we think we are so special and some fantasy god created all this just for us.” According to the ancient book of Genesis—depending on which Hebrew, Greco-Roman, or Islamic version you personally prefer 😉 —that “god” first made all things for Himself. And then, as if a side note to His boredom, He suddenly whipped up this perfect creature called a man. But then a little while later His “creature of perfection” called man wasn’t so perfect. In His haste during His boredom He hadn’t realized or had the forethought to know that His “perfect creature man” needed help… or rather a Helpmate. Whoops.

        So Voilà! Said god may or may not have been French, from the perfect not-so-perfect creature-man’s rib cage He made the perfect helpmate for the now IMPERFECT man! But wait! That’s not all and everything is actually NOT so hunky-dory in the “perfect Garden.” This creator god seemingly forgot about bad, naughty covert angels buzzing around… one in particular who flew down and just wreaked havoc on god’s “perfect” and not-so-perfect creation called Earth; a hostile takeover if you will. You may know the rest of this whimsical fantasy story, right? 😉

        Ah, such beautiful, comical imperfection we’ve been dealt to deal with ourselves, huh? 🤭

        Liked by 3 people

      • I, yes I special I, me myself was going to mention the TIME element as well.

        You beat me to it!

        LOL! We are but a blink in the eye. When one ponders for even a moment the VASTNESS of the universe, both time and space wise…… Ugh. Especially given that time and space themselves may be mere approximations of a weirder and vaster reality. (I wish I was smart enough to understand physics)

        Liked by 5 people

  5. Some of us (for one reason or another) don’t “see” people even when within reach, much less seven miles away. Physical distance, as the reason why we don’t see people, is “far” more obvious than the inner reasons….but from the standpoint of “insignificance,” your point is well taken (and well made).

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Don’t be shy. Tell me what you think

    Hi, Nan. You’ve received several good comments, and well you should. I think I have actualy liked every comment, and responded to some. I saw no one who I felt a need to attack. I see Scottie has checked in, with some pertinent questions. I miss him and his blog.

    “Hello, Nan. Interesting point. At what point does sharing your thoughts, your views, cross the line in to arrogance? At what point does self confidence become narcissism? Your post does inspire some serious self reflect in the honest. Hugs”

    Self-reflection, indeed, Scottie.

    Let those among us, who do the self-reflection and find no flaws, step to the front of the class because you are truly unique. I know. There are none. But I want to make a point no matter how non sequitur. We white males, especially of the white supremacist persuasion, who want to declare ourselves patriots of the first order, cannot hold a light to the people of color, women, LGBTQ, and other minorities who have to fight daily for their place in society. The day of white male Christians dictating what the rest of us should do, say, and think are over.

    I am an insignificant individual, but I am watching some very significant events. Professor Taboo took us a few steps further out. I also have seen that view as Carl Sagan presented it to us. A thumping heart witness to our reality. (Why do the good, significant contributors to our existence die so young?) But that is not our reality. I live at ground zero.

    My voice is significant. Not in the sense that I am shaking the earth with my pontifications because we have a limited audience. I say the same thing in other places, but we are here and now. My voice is significant, not because I boast of myself as some authority, but because there are so many who think and feel the same way.

    Scottie said:
    At what point does sharing your thoughts, your views, cross the line in to arrogance?

    I hope that conviction and legitimate concern for our democracy is not mistaken as arrogance and narcissism, to borrow Scottie’s terminology. I went from firebrand Christian to firebrand heretic. But I think I was always a moderately liberal Democrat. Everyone who follows you has been treated to one of my sialoquent rants, but I have never closed one of my comments with the disclaimer that no one is allowed to challenge my ideas or thoughts. Actually, I have always treated these blogs as an open forum and expect someone to share an opposing view. I say “open forum” with the understanding that the owner has the right to set some limits.

    Of all the things wrong with our society and pose a threat to our republic and our democracy, religion and ‘conservative’ politics are the worst problems. We were established as a constitutional republic but with today’s Republican behavior that constitution is being constantly attacked. If the United States of America falls to the fascist ultra-right authoritarians who present themselves as ‘patriots’ while they assault our very seat of democratic government, that beautiful blue marble will soon fade to ominous gray. I will probably continue to express those thoughts as long as I am allowed. As usual, my comments are centered on religion and politics.

    What if we say nothing? Is that an option?

    Liked by 5 people

    • Answer: No. Saying nothing is not an option.

      The desired point of my post is not that we should stay mute, but that too often we think “our” perspectives and viewpoints are all that matters. WE have the right approach. WE see things as they really are. WE have all the answer to the world’s ills.

      But who are “we”? From certain perspectives (7 miles up), we don’t even exist. Yet too often we think of ourselves as GIANTS who possess all the “correct” answers to the world’s ills — and we want everyone around us to hear and agree with us.

      Would it not be far more beneficial to all if there were more cooperation, more understanding, more acceptance of other viewpoints? Yes, I know. A pipe dream. But what if we occasionally accepted that we really don’t possess all the answers — and accepted our insignificance under certain circumstances?

      Liked by 4 people

      • I’d like to humbly ride your coat tails Nan, if I may, and add another perspective from on high. 🙂

        From 250-miles up in Earth’s orbit on the International Space Station, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev said while looking down at our home planet, “from space you do not see any borders… you feel yourself part of humankind, not just man from one country or one city.” National borders and racial-ethnic distinctions disappear when one looks down from way above. As if from a height of incredible omniscience, Sergei points out that Earth is not a child’s sandbox to be selfishly divided and toys hoarded by the biggest bullies. Unless “we” have a death wish, or extinct-wish(?), humanity MUST join together in more collaboration than ever before to change Earth’s (current life-giving) increasing warnings of which mankind has created and exacerbated over the last century.

        It’s probably past time we Homo sapiens or Earthlings had a permanent family reunion. Welcome the reunion not just for yourself, but for your own children, your grandchildren, and their children!

        Liked by 5 people

  7. I was seriously concerned about your well-being, Nan, as I read your opening lines. I thought you had taken a trip back to your childhood. But you pulled it off very well indeed! Nice one.
    I wrote a story once, I may have told you before, about a race of giant aliens who come to Earth to find the senders of all the radio signals we are senfing into interstellar space, but they cannot find the senders of those signals. From their point of view, all they could see were tiny bugs running around underfoot, getting squashed under the wheels of their transport vehicles. They never did solve the mystery of the radio signals, they had been sure they were a sign of intelligence.
    We step on ants without regard, too busy in our lives to notice their industry and hard work.
    We are important in our minds, even in our racial mind. But really, hardly any other beings living on earth care much about we do to the environment, they go about their daily lives, looking from one meal to the next. They will outlast our Ozymandias natures.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Oh, since I kinda fade from sight if I’m 7 or more miles out of anyone’s view, I’ve decide to never be more than 6 miles away from anyone at any time. Not sure yet how I’m gonna achieve this lofty goal, but I’m sure gonna give it the ole college try!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I don’t think about people on the ground when I’m flying. I’m looking at the clouds, I’m looking at the geography of the ground below. If I’m flying across NY State, I’m thinking that the Finger Lakes really do look like long fingers.

    If I do think about people on the ground, I think of them looking at the plane & wondering where it’s going … like I would be doing if I was on the ground, looking at the plane. But it’s probably just a dot with a line of vapor trail. So then it’s just another Rush song 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yep — standing on a very high mountain gives a similar perspective. Too bad so many never leave the “flat lands.”

      Glad you enjoyed the book! It’s getting a little long in the tooth, but I think the message still has staying power.

      Liked by 4 people

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