The Earth Behind My Thumb


“Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense.” ― Frank Herbert , Dune

It’s in our nature to organize our lives and experiences in a way that helps us best make sense of an otherwise complicated world. We do this continuously throughout our lives, sometimes consciously, other times without giving it a second thought. We negotiate situations, compartmentalize relationships, judge ideas, accept what seems good, reject what feels bad, classify this, determine that.

Soon enough we establish a view point that governs how we understand the world and our place in it. We create a mental schematic of how “things are”, how they “should be”, and where we “should be” relative to those things. We refer to this view point often to remind ourselves of what to expect and what to do in certain situations. We build our beliefs and establish our values based on this reference point. It becomes central in who we are, it is our “reality”, our “truth”.

We rely on it when choosing our friends as well as our enemies. We reference it when deciding if tapping into our neighbor’s wifi is really stealing, and whether we care if it is. It helps us decide if life begins at conception or at birth. It gives us confirmation that we are doing the “right thing”, and helps us decide if doing the “right thing” is the “right thing” to do. It’s the reason why we wake up every morning cursing the drive to work, and why we give a dollar to the guy holding the sign on the corner. It’s what we think; it’s who we are.

If we are fortunate, our world view, reference point, reality, truth, or whatever we choose to call, is in line with that of those around us. Sometimes it’s not. Regardless, it is a rare occasion when we experience an event in our life so powerful, that it forces us to take a step back, reflect, and shift our point of view to one that offers a more clear understanding of the important things in life.

Things that I once held in high regard are not that important anymore. I chase after that which I have neglected and have taken for granted for most of my life.

“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” ― Neil Armstrong


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My Biggest Problem

One of my biggest problems has always been my inability to hold back my feelings about things that i should keep to myself. I have always had the tendency to share too much and too soon about personal issues, feelings, plans, etcetera to friends or even strangers, and have been quick to give someone the benefit of the doubt that they weren’t going to use that information against me in some way. Call me naive, but I have always assumed that if in any situation where someone had to make a moral choice about something,  they would make the choice that I would. It’s just the way I’m programmed I guess. Without making myself more than I am, and also acknowledging how I’ve fallen short many times throughout my life, I have tried to be forthcoming, honest, trusting, generous, kind and anything else that describes the qualities of a good person. At the same time I have assumed, or taken for granted, that everyone else generally living with the same mindset.  But I’m realizing that this way of thinking is flawed and has rarely worked in my favor. One reason is that there are people in this world that seek out and take advantage of others as if it’s the thing to do. I’m embarrassed to say that there have been several times through out my life when I have allowed myself to be manipulated by people like this, and every occasion has ended with me in a worse place than before, and realizing it was too late to do something about it. I’m realizing even this late in life that their are people in this world that live their lives at the expense of others. These predators, consciously or not, recognize weaknesses in others that they exploit for their own personal gain. This is the only way they know. It comes as naturally to them as breathing. They are so good at manipulating their environment and the people around them that they go unrecognized until there is nothing more to gain. They only move on when they successfully convince the rest of the world that what remains of the person they have damaged is at fault for everything for everything going wrong with the world. Although it pains me to know these people exist, I can only feel sorry for them and try to salvage anything that they haven’t already destroyed.

There is a special place in hell for these kinds of people. 

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