(Panem et) circenseson October 5, 2012 at 12:09 am
There’s this mindgame I occasionally play where I try to imagine my footsteps are what’s making the world turn. I attempt to picture myself as stationary, with the globe passing by underneath me–its massive, spheroid body propelled by nothing but the friction of my feet. A cosmic clown, walking on the biggest circus ball this side of Mars.
It’s pretty hard to actually try and trick your mind into looking at the world in this kind of reversal of the well-known Departing Train Illusion. Instead of feeling like you’re moving when you’re really remaining immobile, you’re trying to convince your brain that you’re staying in exactly the same place while everything around you is passing by. With a bit of practice though, eventually you can “get into the zone” pretty easily.
This is where things start to get interesting.
As soon as you manage to deceive your silly grey matter into accepting this preposterous new worldview, every step you take starts to feel immensely important. One does not simply become the Prime Mover of an entire planet and shrug it off. You quickly find yourself slip into a semi-meditative mental state probably not all that different from the misguidedly self-important worldview so prevalent in the Middle-Ages. Except instead of a heliocentric universe or a geocentric universe, you’re dealing with an egocentric universe.
Just as quickly, though, this perspective gets turned entirely on its head and you start to regard yourself as an acrobatic Atlas clone–subservient to the world and all its inhabitants-a primal force of nature, as necessary as the tides and just as meaningless: nothing but a particularly large cog in what’s essentially an infinitely large machine.
This mental transition from God to gearbox is the true, underlying goal of the exercise. The intentional melting of the wax wings supporting your sense of self-importance, is like a Turkish steambath for the ego. And once you’re done toying around with hubris and humility, just shift your focus back to your everyday worries and find them mercifully diminished by your confrontation with the infinite. Or don’t.
It’s all just a game, anyway.