Images by John 'K'

Life as seen through my lens…

Depends on your viewpoint…

It’s all to easy to look at your life through your own eyes and draw a totally wrong (or at least badly distorted) picture of it, where others looking at the same life from a different vantage point might well paint a totally different (and much more flattering) image. How you see something depends on where you are looking at it from. Seems too obvious to state I know, but I saw something today that really hammered this home for me.

I grew up in England. I lived about 40 years of my life there, and while I had the benefit of movies, television, and the Internet to tell me that other stuff was out there, most of my first 40 years were spent in a small but (mostly) affluent country that thought it was the creator of the modern world.

Almost 10 years ago I moved to America. The land of the brave and the free has a lot to offer, but it also has a very particular view of its place in the world, one that is not necessarily supported by historical fact or by much of the rest of the world.

I suspect I’m right in saying that everyone reading this has one thing in common – we all live on planet Earth. The blue and green globe that serves as our collective home seems huge. So huge that our minds cannot comprehend the distances between us and the other objects that share the universe of which we are a part. Many that occupy this planet think we are we own it, and that we are the most wonderful, powerful, intelligent living things in the universe.

Howard Creek Ranch 214

I’m not one of those people. The universe is too big and full of “stuff” for it to be even remotely likely that we have the only planet on which sentient, intelligent life has evolved. Just look at the clear night sky – even if you have a lot of light pollution where you are you’ll see many many stars. Just how many of those stars have planets orbiting them? How many of those planets have the right conditions for life? All we can really do at the moment is speculate, but I doubt the answer is zero.

What got me to write this was seeing a picture on Facebook; this picture (courtesy of NASA JPL)…

earth

The small bright dot upper-left of center is us. It’s the Earth. It’s this HUGE planet that we live on, and it’s how we look from Mars. A few pixels in an image of a sky as seen from another planet. You can’t even make out the continents, let alone anything that mankind might have done on it. It’s a dot in a sky full of dots.

Next time it’s dark and the weather permits, look again at the night sky. If you are lucky you might see a couple of the other planets that orbit the Sun with us – perhaps Jupiter or Venus or Mars or Saturn. But with those you’ll see countless stars, each of which could well have it’s own set of orbiting planets, and any one of them could be home to beings, looking up at their sky. They won’t see us or our home, as we don’t see them, or their homes, but they might, just might see our star, the Sun, and be wondering if there is anything there.

One day we’ll know. Until then, I hope more people on this planet get to consider their lives from a different viewpoint. If that were to happen more, we might, just might, have a chance to find out who else is out there, and how we can all help one another to live better lives.

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One response to “Depends on your viewpoint…

  1. John 'K' April 17, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    I stumbled upon this today – it so brilliantly captures what I was trying to express here.

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