A photograph clicked on Christmas Eve, 1968 reminds me of the stellar virtues of clarity of distance. A clarity that helps see far more than whats on display.
“You got a colour flim Jim?
Hand me that roll of color quick, would you..”
Thats the simple conversation that preceded the spectacular snap. A conversation that was commonplace in an era preceding the digital camera era.
The result, a spectacular picture that later came to be known as Earthrise. A picture of the Earth, captured by astronauts Wiliam Anders from the surface of the moon.
Here’s a line from the wikientry for Earthrise: On the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 8 mission in 2018, Anders stated:
“It really undercut my religious beliefs. The idea that things rotate around the pope and up there is a big supercomputer wondering whether Billy was a good boy yesterday? It doesn’t make any sense. I became a big buddy of [atheist scientist] Richard Dawkins.”
Over the years, the photograph has become iconic for it reminds me, amongst other things, the fraglity of Eath and the need for us to take care of it. When I see it used by conservationists, I remind myself that the picture that spurs us into action on the ground beneath is taken thousands from of miles away! In fact, it comes from the surface of the moon. Talk about disatnce!
The Clarity of Distance
The busy humdrum of everyday life gives us little opportunity to think about how we are living it! Over the last few months, one of the most imporatnt lessons I have learnt (again) is the relvance of going inwards and the power of silence. Distancing ourselves from our everyday life helps us see it in better light.
All help. Importantly, they help bringing about clarity on the life we lead. That’s how it
Silence brings awareness of paterns. Both of the promising and the disturbing variety. Whenever I speak of silence I notice how initimadating it is for people. It needn’t be. I am not speaking of Viaasana but the act of conscious reflection by going inwards.
When we do, we become present to whats happening within. We become aware of shifting contexts.
For the last few months, I have also had other elements to help with the silence. Those have been writing, walking and pursuing activities device free.
All have left me with a bunch of thoughs and ideas. And a reinforced belief in clarity of distance.
Even as I state this, I am well aware that action is deeply entrenched in our daily life as a default preference. It is prized and celebrated and any suggestion of silence and reflection invites quizzical looks if not downright dismissal. I can unequivocally state that action guided by reflection and silence has substantially augmented strength.
I can’t write about Earthrise, and the clarity of distance it brings to me, without Carl Sagan’s commentary on the Pale Blue Dot. By the way, If this isnt powerful enough to set context for the time ahead, I don’t know what will. 🙂