Perception and…

As time passes, our sense of things change….

                This should be shorter.  Perhaps. The older I get, with time passing, the more I notice we’re realizing things are not as we imagined in our youth.  In fact, I might even say that when I was young, I might have been closer to “reality” prior to all the things in this world, which may have altered how I saw things.  Perhaps.  And perhaps, somehow, I started asking the wrong questions: the media, school, advertisers, and so forth telling us this and that is important, but sometimes finding myself not motivated as they made seem regular. In school, I was often a day-dreamer, but I think I just wasn’t “plugged in” so to speak. But one thing I believe, that no amount of thinking, wishing, and analyzing changes anything. 

**I have thought about Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn who could not be changed by all of communist Russia, remaining free within. He once mentioned a man the Kremlin tried to break, putting him in prison and mental health facilities, but he couldn’t be convinced. So, the Soviet officials wanted him out of the country, but according to Solzhenitsyn, he refused until they let out all his comrades out of those psychiatric wards as well, or something along those lines. Real integrity.

                For instance, how many people wish for a different life?  How many believe that if they go “there,” or could return to an earlier time and place, things might be different? Maybe bettter?  Of course, if you had been living in the Soviet Union, or North Korea, the opportunity to leave and live in say… Sweden or America would be a very positive opportunity, and in that case, would really be different.  Even better. But in all cases, as one relative shared before, wherever you go, there you are.  The meaning of this is you will always be with yourself, that the decisions we make are our decisions. And therefore, in a sense, people can make good choices wherever they are.

                I find the concept of here and there interesting.  As I see it, in a sense, there is no “there.”  Why?  Because in whichever direction we travel, whether we walk, drive, go beneath the oceans to the bottom, or land on the moon, it’s always here.  When Neal Armstrong stepped out onto the moon, that incredible voyage, he was caught up in the excitement, and forever after his life might have been changed. But from a certain perspective, no. Depending upon what he learned during those times. Everywhere we go, we’re always “here.”  He learned a ton, worked very hard, and the journey was a lesson for all, but the question is what did the man take away from the experience that is true and real? In other words, did he “get lost” in the emotions and attention, or was he more grounded?

                Then, the next question.  The location of the universe, something I asked when much younger.  Actually, what I asked was what’s at the end of the universe? A friend during our college (I believe.) years asked where the universe is located.  Good question… maybe.  In other words, where is the universe and in relation to what?  Or, is it the universe and nothing else?  Then, what is nothing?  But in asking those questions, I felt an “off sense” like those are questions not to ask, so I stopped asking.  Because I think the question is a detour from what is real and honest. Too much intellectual. Too much playing with imagination. Not real wondering. Maybe.  Then, there’s the idea that space is curved, which then raises the thought that how we see things, imagine them, and talk about them is not as they appear to us.  Or, perhaps how we see things is as they are, but going further and further, the mathematics lead to other realizations.  If we are willing to study enough. 

But there’s something else I’ll touch on lightly here. Although I’ve taken a good amount of mathematics, it’s nothing compared to physicists and engineers. However, we do sense things that I believe leads to mathematics. Or, another way to say, perhaps mathematics are ways to relate to the world around and in us. But though we might never work such amazing equations, we do sense things that are real but can’t put words or numbers to the music. As such, though I’d need bottles of excedrine or tylenol to understand a tiny portion of Eistein’s mathematics, I do believe there is within us an understanding, whether it can be described with math, that opens us to understanding things without putting numbers on paper. The numbers are there, in sense, but we can understand also without all of that. **We’ll leave it at that.

                I’ll try something obvious to make a point.  I imagine most everyone has seen the ocean and looked out at the horizon.  I once held up a yard stick (3 feet long) up to the horizon and do you know what I saw?  The horizon is straight.  Then I asked myself, why does it look curved to me:  very much so, yet the yard stick is right along the horizon?  In other words, as I look, I see curvature, but it’s also perfectly straight. And that’s because our eyes can detect distance. *What I mean is the fact that every point along the horizon is equidistant from us, though straight, indicates curvature. If the world were a cube, then every point along the horizon would get further away the more we move from center. Then, we wouldn’t see curvature.

                You see, that tells us the world is round even though it’s right next to the straight edge.  Our eyes can see to the horizon, but the distance to the edge of our vision is always the same, telling our brains the world is round.  If the world were truly straight, like a cube, then our eyes would see a straight horizon.  It’s almost as if our eyes and brains are made to function and notice the difference, even from such long distances.  What is straight by a ruler or straightedge is curved in reality.

                Now, this last point isn’t the same as the ones above, but I’m using it to illustrate the idea that how we perceive is often settled by thinking a certain way all of one’s life, yet isn’t the real.  In other words, we can believe something, live by it, but it can also grate on us because it isn’t real. Like going to Greece or Italy isn’t really going to change one’s life, but imagining such things is a function of something else going on.  And in life, we’re told all kinds of things we start to believe, but they’re not the real. Like football doesn’t change anyone’s life and it isn’t the way off the streets. Because if it were true, then the problems we have are far more serious and we need to look at that.

                Now the last part of this article, and I didn’t know I was going here.  It’s just a pondering.  I’ve looked at this idea from time to time, but not too long.  The idea is of heaven.  We’ve heard people ask where heaven is.  Also, the other place.  I am learning not to imagine, though sometimes the brain does as it pleases, and therefore to make into something what I don’t know and have no experience.  But like many, since the point has come up from time to time, I have thought about this. 

                It sort of goes back to wherever we go, there we are.  Whether I’m on the moon, across the universe and within a nebula, or sitting at home typing, I am always here.  No there.  Here.  Here is where I am always.  Here is where each reader always exists. Not there. You’re here.

                I have thought, upon seeing some people, that a person I was looking at is already in heaven:  in a sense.  Meaning, the person is honest, at peace, and seems to always be present and unconcerned with unnecessary things.  Always here.  Not looking to “find anything.” 

                I think I saw something about this in the bible.  About looking for the Kingdom of God first, then all else shall be added.  I think what we’re looking for is always with us:  right here and right now, whether we’re aware or looking.  Two people, standing side by side, one is at peace, honest, and not looking to find the grass greener on the other side of the fence. 

**Here is the last part for this article. I remember a long-ago friend saying something about looking for answers here, there, and so forth. Later, he gathered he could not find the answers wherever he went. Whether through tons of library books, on television, to the heights of mountains, in the ocean, or on Mars. And no one had his answers. So, he stopped looking. And I’ve wondered if that passage in the bible, the one above, is the meaning.



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