Friday, September 14, 2007

The Perspective Vortex: Are we just a statistic?

In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series; Douglas Adam defined the Total Perspective Vortex as the ultimate form of torture. It is a device that shows the entirety of the universe with a tiny arrow with the caption "you are here". Discovering one's true insignificance causes the victim to be lobotomized...

Recently, I had a chance to suddenly look into a "perspective vortex" and seem to have survived the encounter... This "impactfull" tool by Peter Russel (which is reproduced partially below) focuses only on the world we live in and, as such, is a bit more mundane giving the viewer a chance to escape the vortex while hopefully giving them a chance to think about our world and how we can work together to make it better.

Looking at the number of births and deaths roll by while reflecting on the enormity of each event for the family affected and realizing that every year more than twice the population of Canada is added to the world may make us feel insignificant. Worst is reflecting on each illness and how it affects the individual inflected and his/her entourage may make one consider the amount of (unnecessary) suffering we have in the world.

A quotation I heard from Wayne Dyer (maybe paraphrased a bit) helps to give a bit of perspective:

"Wisdom is to know I am nothing. Love is to know I am everything. Life is to move in between them..."

Looking at the causes of death while thinking that so much suffering is unnecessary makes one wonder. A "killer" fact is the amount of military expenditures... I wish that could be contrasted to the amount of medical research or the amount spent on education on a similar basis.

We all have choices to make. As individuals, communities and nations, we need to define our priorities and where we want our money spent. Right now, the emphasis seems to be away from what really matters. At the same time, we should not be scared of the enormity of the task(s) ahead of us as each little bit helps. Momentum is created by many little synchronized acts.