The World from Above – Part X

“I may be flying a complicated airplane, rushing through space, but in this cabin I’m surrounded by simplicity and thoughts set free of time. How detached the intimate things around me seem from the great world down below. How strange is this combination of proximity and separation. That ground — seconds away — thousands of miles away. This air, stirring mildly around me. That air, rushing by with the speed of a tornado, an inch beyond. These minute details in my cockpit. The grandeur of the world outside. The nearness of death. The longness of life.” — Charles A. Lindbergh, ‘The Spirit of St. Louis.’

We live in a world that is replete with apparent contradictions. The uncertainty introduced by these dialectic structures can foster paralysis if they are not properly handled.

Perhaps you’ve had the dream or dreaming sensation of shrinking in relation to the world around you. No matter how small you become, you are still an integral part of the infinite universe, just as atoms or quarks are inextricably connected to the fabric of the cosmos. Or maybe you’ve dreamed of being able to fly. No matter how high or fast you go, that flight is only meaningful because of your relationship to that which surrounds you, above and below, and because of the opposing forces at work in relation to flight (i.e. lift, gravity, drag, thrust). These dreams are typically an exaggerated sensation of the world’s contradictions, but I’ve often thought that they provide a unique portal into the understanding of truth.

In fact, the contradictions we perceive are often the starting point for understanding truth, if they are properly considered. Reacting to contradictions and the cloud of uncertainty never helps; reacting to uncertainty rather than from a reasoned starting point in truth is frenzy. The comprehensive mind analyzes this uncertainty and draws conclusions which are grounded in truth and allow for forward, and in fact, upward movement, rather than paralysis.

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*Photos of Niagara Falls taken by Gregg Hake in a Piper Saratoga TCII with an Apple iPhone 3GS.

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