Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Golden Airplane or Why is my Bubble so Small?

Every morning I go for a run -early, before the sunrise. It's a beautiful time, quiet, and it's just me, the birds, and a few squirrels.
During the morning, around the same time; before the sun has broken the horizon yet is illuminating the sky above, I see a golden airplane. Being that high up in the sky it catches the rays of golden sun and shines quite beautifully.
I see the plane at the same time every weekday and I don't see it on weekends. It must be some kind of commuter plane coming from Boston and heading off to who knows where.

There are two things that strike me about this. First off I have to ponder the fact that it is quite beautiful in a couple of different ways. The way it glints in the sunlight with a golden color is breathtaking as it slowly traverses across my sky. Second, I have to marvel in awe at the remarkable thing that is an airplane. There are a whole lot of people sitting in that thing right at that moment and heading off to a place.

This is where my bubble comes it.
I live in a bubble of awareness. I can only see a certain distance and if I don't look up toward the sky that distance is quite small. And when it comes to hearing my bubble is even smaller. I can only hear within a certain radius and become aware of sounds that are in the distance only if they have the will to be strong and loud.
So, why is my bubble so small? I read somewhere that the human mind can only process something like 110 bits of information per second. I can't recollect how accurate that is but it makes me think that there are two very different things going on here. There is a duality, a shifting between two different things.
True, my bubble of the perceived world is only a certain size, yet, as I watch that golden airplane fly past I can put myself inside it. I can visualize the seats, the rows, the people all sitting and doing different things. I can watch as the stewardess shows us all how to fasten our seat belts and I can see her hand motions as the points toward the emergency exits.
Now, this changes everything about the size of my bubble.

I have, in effect, this enormous bubble inside my head. It is an accumulation of life experiences and I can draw upon it and even manipulate it. - And by manipulate I mean I can re-assemble things and try new configurations. Heres an example:

I am on that commuter flight from Boston to wherever it goes and I am laughing because it was a real event. Boarding was quite astonishing because one of the passengers brought a baby elephant. We all laughed as they stewardesses struggled to get it through the doorway of the plane. It eventually squeezed through and now it is sitting in one of the rows near its owner. We were all laughing at first but now its just not as funny because, frankly, the thing doesn't smell too good and because I am sitting next to it I have to keep getting up to help people climb over it to get to the bathroom in the back.
See how my experiences can be manipulated and changed? What is this act of creation that is going on? How has my bubble grown so large?
This came out of experiences that I have had. But here is the rub: What about the things I don't know and the experiences I have never had? What about the things I don't know and the things that I have never seen? And the things I don't even know I don't know? Is there something very important that I am missing, overlooking, or just not seeing?


Regardless of the things I miss there is something magnificent going on here. Is is truly that my bubble has the ability to encompass everything? Or is the everything that I can create and experience just an illusion?

For my own part, I have never had a thought
which I could not set down in words
With even more distinctness that which I conceived it.
There is however a class of fancies of exquisite delicacy
which are not thoughts and to which as yet
I have found it absolutely impossible to adapt to language.
These fancies arise in the soul,
Alas how rarely, only at epochs
of most intense tranquility
when the bodily and mental health are in perfection.
And those mere points of time
when the confines of the waking world
blend with the world of dreams.
And so I captured this fancy
where all that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

-Edgar Allan Poe

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