Saturday, October 7, 2017

#280 / Sooooo Big!

Pictured is hurricane Maria. That's the hurricane that officials in Puerto Rico say has created "apocalyptic" conditions on that island. When I saw the picture, coming my way as an illustration in The Great Change blog, I was reminded of the "Sooooo Big!" game that my mother played with me when I was a very young child. And I think I played it with my children, too!

As it turns out, other parents also played the "Sooooo big" game with their children. For instance, I found the following recollection on the I Am Future Wise website: 

I remember a game I used to play as a toddler, when someone in my family or my relatives would ask the question How Big? The automatic response I gave, was to throw my arms up in the air, in a state of joy, and everyone around me would shout sooooo big! Little did I know, that particular “how big” question and its implications for life would reappear over and over again throughout my lifetime, but in a wider and expanded variety of contexts ... Over time, as both my age and understanding has expanded, sooooo big has taken on a completely new set of meanings. The great news is, that there is an entire “world” of the SELF inside us to discover. We are sooooo big that we can unfold this world over our lifetime and still have room for more of our full potential.

I don't want to disparage this insight, because it certainly has considerable merit, but my thoughts tended to go in the almost opposite direction when I look at that photograph of hurricane Maria. 

No mater how "big" we are, and no matter how "big" the world that we build may become, we are all living within the World of Nature, and are ultimately dependent on that Natural World. The World of Nature is much bigger than we are, and much bigger than any of our human constructions could ever be. We need to realize our dependence, and act accordingly. As the Resilience blog put it, we need to realize our situation "Before The Wind Consumes Us." 

The Great Change, commenting on Maria, and on the climatic conditions that produced it, phrases the necessary caution this way: "Do we still imagine that ... we shall ... subdue and tame all this? Do we expect some wise authority figure to step in and just fix it? Or are we ready now to admit that by tampering with weather we have been poking the hornet’s nest, even while breeding, in our hubris, ever larger and more venomous hornets?"

That blog  quotes Einstein, and I think he's got the right way to think about that "Sooooo Big" feeling.  It's not to proclaim our SELF sufficiency:

A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling separated from the rest, a kind of optical illusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

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