Where Are We?

Flammarion Engraving - Pop the Firmament!

We live in unique times. If given 24 hours and the proper resources, one can reach just about any physical point on the planet. From a technologically-advanced, urban center of a city like Hong Kong, to the primitive, remote wilderness of the Amazon.

But that’s just the physical locale... Sometimes distance is better measured in culture rather than miles. In New York City, you can order pad thai and apple pie at the same time (and it's probably vegan). Or hop on a transoceanic flight and you could be eating McDonald’s for breakfast in Baghdad. This is the illusion of space. 320 miles to the next town might not seem very far on a global plane, but that's one giant leap to reach the International Space Station (if it happens to be directly overhead).

Some Buddhists believe in Astral Projection—the ability to detach one’s consciousness from the physical body and transcend the planes of existence. I’d say there’s a 50/50 chance I’m 16th-century Buddhist Monk, meditating in a Tibetan cave while projecting my consciousness as an artist in a futuristic civilization called America.

"Cogito, ergo sum." — René Descartes. I mean, "I think, therefore, I am," right?
Yes, we’ve all heard that before. And many of us have already asked the question: Who Am I? But the Human has another responsibility: Asking this question: Where Am I? Or better yet: Where Are We? It’s not a big deal—we’re just biological meat puppets living on a rocky speck of dust, orbiting a giant ball of fire in a seemingly-dead, yet infinite Universe. We make our feeble monkey-mouth-sounds with a language developed over millennia, translated into symbols, carved into stone, printed on a press, scanned by a computer, and automatically converted into binary code as meme that reads “Ain’t nobody got time for that.

We go about our days, picking our noses, complaining about Caesar, killing time between our birth and death—oblivious to what came before and what comes after. YAWWWWWN—what’s on TV tonight?

So here we are, without choice, trapped in the warp of time and space so we can experience good and evil in the hope of learning at least something before our complete and eternal demise. Yes, it is a beautiful Universe—full of flowers, rainbows, and dirty syringes.

So—If I have to be here, I might as well do something and I guess this is it. Because life is short and life is beautiful.


IMAGE: The Flammarion Engraving from L'atmosphère : météorologie populaire (1888). Artist Unknown. POSTED: January 2023.