We experience wonder when we realize our true size.
On clear nights, we ride a speck of dust as it circles an 11,000-degree fireball shooting through a limitless vacuum at 52 times the speed of a rifle bullet.
And that fireball
is one of billions
in our galaxy.
And our galaxy
is one of billions
Looking at the stars, we know our true size.
On rainy days, we thumb through the fading scrapbooks of our minds, celebrating small and silly victories, reflecting on old mistakes, examining events that will cease to be when we are gone.
And we know our true size.
Jorge Luis Borges speaks of this infinite, inner universe in The Witness.
“The man, while still a boy, had seen the face of Woden, had seen holy dread and exultation, had seen the rude wooden idol weighed down with Roman coins and heavy vestments, seen the sacrifice of horses, dogs, and prisoners. Before dawn he would be dead and with him would die, never to return, the last firsthand images of the pagan rites. The world would be poorer when this Saxon was no more.”
“We may well be astonished by space-filling acts which come to an end when someone dies, and yet something, or an infinite number of things, die in each death. There was a day in time when the last eyes to see Christ were closed forever. The battle of Junín and the love of Helen died with the death of some one man.”
“What will die with me when I die? What pathetic or frail form will the world lose? Perhaps the voice of Macedonio Fernandez, the image of a horse in the vacant space at Serrano and Charcas, a bar of sulfur in the drawer of a mahogany desk?”
Roy Batty, the leader of the replicants in Blade Runner (1982) spoke of his inner universe just before he died.
“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”
Likewise, in Richard Hoggart’s First and Last Things, an old woman observes,
“Since Penelope Noakes of Duppas Hill is gone, there is no one who will ever call me Nellie again.”
I mention this to you only because it is beneficial to realize that you populate your private universe with people and events of your own choosing.
If you don’t like the world you live in, you can change it.
The people who occupy the space around you
can choose to be there against your will.
But you, alone,
control who it is
the real estate
of your mind.