Thoughts, Reflections and Stories.

One must have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star...
Massoud Abbasi

Seekers of Horizons

            Someday you too will stop, as we all do and must in tune with the laws accorded our physical and mental constitutions and those of our earthly environments. Someday, the long, incessant train of actions and volition, conditioned responses and temperamental changes of thought and choice will slowly surrender themselves to the exhaustive nature of a world of plenitude and motion. A world in which there are as many potential directions and angles a person could take as there are stars in the solar system. Someday, quiet will cover you like the first blanket of snow before the air turns cold and the grounds dampness is replaced by a sullen dryness. As with the changes of the season, so too with the inhabitants of this planet to which these seasons are recurring friendships that have their allotted time and special relationship. We are pioneers of the highest order, we humans, but pioneers themselves are specialists of only last resorts and happenstance. Here an attempt, there an error, everywhere something to behold, and we, situated in the middle, beholden to it all. Have you ever looked up at a flock of birds flying into the far off distance in unison, in a large group, in absolute unity? Does not the same human spirit that has lead us across oceans and mountains vie with these noble creatures of the sky who flock inexorably towards some great horizon in the distance to which they are inexplicably but undeniably drawn? Does not the same majesty that compels these graceful animals compel us towards all our impossibilities and stirrings of the soul? Someday, just as each of these birds seeks a horizon toward which they soar with quiet conviction and toil, we too will toil with the same conviction, but no journey is complete in and of itself. No bird ever reaches that great destination it sets out for its clan. Along the journey, someday, somewhere, by chance alone, one bird, or a few in the flock will fall prey to the circumstances and ravages of time and fall behind, ultimately perching on a bare cliff, saying in calm repose to itself with a melancholy belonging that of one left behind from a group, “vie on my ilk, fly on my family, my friends, keep gracing the pressure of the air that hugs itself under your foliage and lifts you like a full moon lifts the oceans. Fly, fly towards our heavenly goal and in so doing win for us a great victory, and though I cannot any longer follow you on this journey, I will stare at you all from this modest abode I have nestled myself in, happy and content in knowing that I was once a moving part of your whole, and with my piercing and deep-seeing eyes, I will not lift my gaze away from you until you have completely vanished into the vista, never to return back to my sight,  but always residing in my thoughts and body, mind and soul”. Someday it will be as such also with you and I, we will take our seat somewhere, hopefully on an abundant road, a cove in the desert, perhaps a seaside canopy, and say to ourselves, “the horizon forever expands, but not the capacity of my lungs to sustain the amount of life I need to continue this journey, and so I will sit here, in peace and make offerings to the Gods that others will have more strength than I yet to carry on for us, content in the knowledge that I played my role and that of me a part will reach this great destination, the great horizon, the unending vastness of all we seek out as frontiersmen”. Humility is after all best conveyed by a body at rest, who having set before himself many a times before only movement and the horizon as its unquestionable goal and happiness, finally concedes to that which is greater than himself and passes off the baton to others more able to carry the possibility of reaching the horizon. Humility, when one is finally able to rest peacefully. Rest, when one is finally content at having carried out as best as they could their attempt at finding eternity. Eternity, the promise of reaching a never-ending horizon. This is after all why the journey is often more important than the destination. The destination is endless, it does not exist. Someday we will stop, and that day we will watch others continue forward, crawling, walking, climbing, flying, and this will be our solace. We who are perched. We who’s hearts flutter just enough to say a prayer for those whose hearts still beat with vigour, saying with them as they vanish into the horizon, “keep going my friends, keep going, it is near, and I shall rest in peace knowing you will reach yet nearer to it, and those after you, and others after them”. Nothing ends. All life continues forward in one direction, despite us and beyond us.

                Perhaps we are guided by a divine hand, providence, some would say, that we seek so far and wide with so much zealousness for ever new brighter, more promising horizons, we humans. We seem never to be sated or satisfied with our current plot or position, our current location, our current resources, our current understanding of the magnificence that unfolds every day before us in this spectacled affair of life on earth. Fishes stream upstream, Geese flock for the winters, and millions of busy bodies go about circulating amongst their own little plots of land living as they must and should, in a state of ease with their natures and the nature in which they are surrounded. Yet we continuously strive on in a state of almost perpetual unease with where we are, who we are, what we have and what we are. Passing judgment on this is highly irrelevant and is not the purpose of this inquiry. After all, why ask when observing suffices just as well. Things are as they must be. However, there is something particularly unique about the human drive and human nature. We have an inner compass that has no direction but forward, we embody a certain essence that has no counterweight. We are enamoured with some grand notion, that thither, forward, far, far away in that landscape ahead, ahead on that horizon, there is something greater, grander, something more worthy and lofty. Would it be far-fetched to argue that in fact this eminent and serene yet profound conscious and unconscious compulsion that is particular to our species is part and parcel with our nature as ‘homo sapiens cognates’? That it has gotten us everything that is not today but tomorrow. Verily, this cannot be denied. Are you not at this very moment thinking about a point in time which has not yet come to pass, are you not thinking about tomorrow already, today? And yet the very act and thought is impossible, for there is no tomorrow today. In fact, tomorrow does not exist. Nevertheless, it is all we think about it seems. And yet this would seem to be essential to our advancement as a species, especially where the technical is concerned. What potential progress in any system would not require as its pre-requisite a structure that constantly positioned itself to move forward, past its present state of understanding? Has not every scientific advancement and invention, discovery, progress been a product of man seeing far off into some unknown but keenly sensed or presumed horizon? What is the sensory and mental lineage of this particularly unique of human attributes, this forward looking habit of seeing ‘past’ life, ‘past’ today? It is incredible to think of the early days of our ancestors and what a great many things must have dazzled our virgin and untested eyes. Everything was sublime. Everything was mysterious. Nothing had yet lost its luster or glisten. We looked and surveyed the landscape and felt as though we were Shamans, made luminous of mind by some magic dust and powder we retained, creating before us some majesty that even we could not explain but felt an innate attachment to. For how long did man believe that the earth was flat, prior to finally realizing that the curvature of objects far ahead wane in a downward trajectory as they press far away from us? How remarkable must have been this first encounter with this profound realization that perhaps the earth was indeed other than flat. Did not every human being trace the ascent and descent of the sun daily amongst our earlier ancestors, watching it dance across the pristine blue sky as it tantalized us with its splendour and abundance. Perhaps the idea of a horizon emerged at precisely this point, out of our absolute love and adoration of objects that were above us but also within us. The sun, a bird, a cloud, those items above the terrestrial realm that must have for so long created a yearning for wings amongst our kind, the longing for this which lifted our other faculties out of silent slumber and into active mechanics which would yield for us approximations towards these heavenly bodies, these tantalizing slices of heaven whose fleeting essence conveyed to us our limitations and conversely initiated our exceptional strengths in pursuit of them. Yes, horizons, ever receding ones, the first group of humans must have looked on at these escapees amongst us, these floaters, troubadours of the landscape, and came to realize that where we stand is not where we are confined to remain. That what we have is not we must always retain. That who we are today shall not define us tomorrow. Was this concept not primary to the development of our forward-looking and future-constructing natures. We horizon lovers, we purveyors of those things ahead of us, beyond us, past us…

                A particularly unique and binary quality of our kind: optimistic yet limited. Our eyes are bigger than our mouths, it is often said. Our hearts are more poetic than the reality behind their dreams and stanzas. Our intellect often far outweighs the scope and capacity of our ability to peruse that which we are contemplating. Our capacity to construct is inherently limited. Nowadays, we have far surpassed the modest goals of Columbus, and in having found almost all the lands of our majestic planet, we are now seeking those of our solar system. Have we not set Mars as our latest horizon? We are already there, at least objects which we have created. How far before this horizon is sought out and conquered with human beings? That will be a new age for mankind. Our thirst for ever newer, farther, more difficult horizons are the kernel on which grows the dichotomous evolution of our species. We are moving further without and less within. The implications of this are profound. As individuals with a conscious sense of ‘Self’, we are becoming precariously caught up in things outside of ‘ourselves’. Some argue that this is the price we must pay for moving forward, for reaching new horizons, and perhaps it is, but only in hindsight will we be truly able to account for whether the benefit was worth the cost. However there is a uniqueness in this whole undertaking and phenomenon that must be captured and understood for its beauty. Not only are we together-working but also forward-seeking as a species. Never before has there been a creature on this planet with this unique quality and emblem on its royal robe. Whereas lesser creatures work together in unison to prepare for the inevitabilities of a coming season, we work together for the impossibilities of an ever expanding horizon and realm of possibilities. The fundamental difference between us and everything else is rather quite simple: our awareness of our mortality.  No other creature can understand a sense of its own impending form-based demise and inevitable end. This is unique amongst sentient, organic, biological life forms on planet Earth. It paints a broad stroke of ‘everything’ across everything that we do. Does not this knowledge and fact of life live with us daily, in the un-manifested and unconscious realm at the very least? It most certainly does. It drives us forward, penetrates our psyches with a poignancy unique only to us, whispering in the undertones of a devious magician wherever possible, “hurry, do what you must, its coming, the end is nigh”. This should not be construed as pessimism, but rather realism, and in fact what makes things beautiful, life itself, is precisely the fact that we ultimately know everything is ephemeral and must come to an end. After all, where is the beauty in something that lasts forever! Perhaps this is why we seek out the horizon ever so much. Perhaps it is the enclosing of the shell of incompleteness that defines us. Where we lack, we see subsistence in the promise of a greater horizon ahead. Where mortality wrings us at various points in our daily affairs, we seek tomorrows with which to provide ourselves with daily succour, just so we can make it to tomorrow. Where we see that we have not enough for something, we pursue the attainment of some kind of an enough to consummate this still open and unfinished circle. It is not particular, even peculiar, that as a species we are so ‘legacy’ driven. This is a trademark of our type. We must leave something behind, make a stand while we are here, so that the stand stands for itself once we have left, in its many forms, whether literary, musical, scientific, spiritual, etc. Why however must it be as such? Why is life itself not enough in its 1000 shades and exemplifications? Is this an offshoot of our moral and emotional sensations? Has some high priest prescribed for us something on which to hang this unique construct and longing of our species for ‘greater’, ‘further’ and ‘more’ on our mantle as our life’s goal? Have they have posited for us vehemently that normal biological life is simply not enough. That we must seek ‘more’, ‘further’, ‘greater’ perpetually? This compulsion has become sustained in the human species, almost as an extra organ. It may produce something great, yes, but one must consider its cost and the accompanying purpose. For what in the end, we ask is all this for?

                There is in all of this something frighteningly beautiful. Our pioneering, our horizon-seeking, our flight towards the unknown, towards the future, it may well have been the precursor to our evolutionary development of compassion and solidarity. Just as the flock of birds must flock together to sustain the whole on its epic journey, and just as the great land animals of the African Savannah must trek in masses to ensure their survival and chances of success against a multitude of predators and dangers, so with us too. We foresee great things ahead and beyond, we dream great possibilities and potential in far off lands and in opaque areas of which our understanding has been and remains limited. Concurrently, we also see and feel viscerally the great difficulty in reaching some of these horizons. Imagine how many fantastical notions were dreamt by the first pioneers of flight and conversely how many thunderous thumps of cold, hard reality were felt and experienced in pursuit of this ‘dream of flight’. How many died before the first airborne device was actually airborne for any extended period of time? Many. No ocean, jungle or forest was crossed alone. No mountain was overcome with the sheer will of one man, no land settled with one family. Our horizons were the reason for our sense of kinship as a species on a macro scale. Perhaps it could be argued that without the great achievements of mankind, those accomplishments that to generations before seemed either impossible or were merely not yet dreamt up were made possible precisely because we thought greater, bigger, further, and more grandiose and precisely this necessitated a different perspective on what at that point it meant to be a human being, an individual, a collective. The beauty is in the knowing that one is not sufficient, but many are. E pluribus unum: from many, one. Perhaps we have a longing for the great and the impossible not because they are great and impossible, or seem to be, but because they require that we work together, that we coalesce for their eventuality and realization. Perhaps it is not the horizon that we seek but ourselves in the pursuit of the horizon. Just as with situations in which there are grave dangers present, the mind and its unconscious parts go into states of exceptional alertness and rapidity in respect to chemical transmissions and neuronal activity and patterns, recessive traits gained through evolutionary history that allow us to react faster, more wisely in times of exceptional circumstances and risks. It may well be that situations in which loftier pursuits are placed into play, the human family finds itself in a unique position of strength in which by virtue of necessity a convergence of some sort is required for success or the reaching of the promised land. Might this be our form and lesson for humility? For humanity? Might our horizon-seeking inclinations and aspirations be merely guises through which we facilitate our interaction and assimilation with others? Perhaps it is the greatest of ruses, this horizon, or that one. Perhaps we see not something there but something here, right in front of us, but a thing whose sole form of eventuality is to have a grand dream or line in the distance that makes it inevitable for solidarity with a brother or sister, or several. It is a beautiful thing indeed, were one to really ponder on it. We are incredibly forward seeking and solidarity driven in that we pursue and set as our place mark a horizon or goal to be pursued, conquered and achieved, together. This may in fact define our very species on this planet. Maybe in the future, new species will call us ‘those who could not stand still but marched forever forward towards a light’. What if this was not yet complete however? In fact it seems that it is not. Our horizons are still seen in often proscribed manners amongst particular groups, often countries or cultures. Just look at the cold war or the race for space between the two great world powers of the 20th century, amongst many other examples. Has humanity hitherto yet found a universal horizon? Perhaps the eradication of poverty is one, or the finding of a cure for aids or cancer. However this does not yet seem to be the case if one keeps an eye to the immense politics and vested interests at stake which lay different claims on the line. Perhaps that is the whole thrust of history, the eventuality of an ultimately truly universal horizon. Perhaps terra-forming Mars is this horizon. There are many individuals of a rarefied mind who believe that our survival as a species will eventually rest on our ability to live off of planet Eartht one day. What a thought, what a horizon that would be. Maybe it is artificial intelligence, the ultimate realization of ‘God’ in man, the ability to create sentient, and conscious, cognitive technical life forms.  These fantastical notions are no longer notions. We are moving in precisely these directions, unbeknownst to most of us who are so consumed with our daily affairs and life on the ground. As the great Italian poet Dante once said, “the eternal heavens circle above us displaying their eternal glory, yet our gaze is on the ground.” Every now and again, remember to stop, and look up. There is more to this all…

             No one really has any answer but that we continue to seek ever new loftier, grander, higher farther horizons is indisputable. There is great value in this. Our survival as a species may well depend on our ability to reach for and achieve certain horizons within the foreseeable future. It remains to be seen whether our individualistic, conscious psyches will be an impediment to this goal. However, our essence vies with that of those flocks of birds, flying far off into unknown distances. These noble creatures, elevated above the earthly realm by destiny, gracefully caressing the air with their wings, fly with a great innate purpose in their loins, ever higher, ever further into the distance, into the horizon, singing hymns of peace and praise as they do, never questioning the path before them nor the destination. Even here however sacrifices must be made amongst individual birds if the flock is to surive and reach the promised land. Every few hundred strokes and passes amongst the aerial roadways, one, or a couple of the flock drops off, whether by old age, exhaustion, a sense of peace that overcomes with the same fleeting euphoria with which its opposite is born, and at that point It perches itself gracefully on a point, hopefully an elevated one, on the mountain side or hill, and continues to beat the same beat as its ilk, which it peacefully watches fly further and further away into the horizon until they are long out of view and then it is merely a sensation in its heart and within its essence that their great journey and flight continues without them. An understanding that even those ahead of him will reach their zenith of perseverance on this great journey and have to lay down and claim their little plot for repose in old age, and give way to the new and the young, those full of the same old zest with which it once graced the air. It is so with us. With you. With I. The beautiful thing about dreams is that they can be achieved collectively, if they cannot be achieved individually. In fact perhaps the most beautiful of dreams are ones that embody ‘many’ as opposed to ‘one’. The dream of the promised land. Of peace. Of prosperity. What are these things if not shared dreams. What matters if they are achieved by you or me, today or tomorrow? It is the journey and the firm conviction that they will be achieved by us as a family one day that is of true  and genuine humanistic value. Every great horizon ever sought out and reached in human history has been drawn by one and achieved by another. We have come to lose a little bit of this nature nowadays given the immense individualistic philosophy driven society we find ourselves in, but there are also pockets of hope and pledges of salvation. We must see these come to the light, despite our differences. We must cast aside safe sails and climb higher, go farther, faster in our quest for noble horizons that will benefit our collective family in the safety and knowledge that even if an individual, whether you or I, don’t reach the destination, we made an attempt and pushed on one another and thereby were made the stronger, more resolute by so doing. That in fact we pushed others ahead more able to carry on the pursuit, the dream, the quest. This should fill our hearts with hope, our minds with ease knowing that in our absence, others will fight harder, climb higher, persevere longer and give our family a greater chance at reaching whatever horizon we are seeking. Worry not if you find yourself a bird in a dream, tired, unable to fly further, unable to sustain the pace of the flock, for there is great value in the fact that you strove and flew your delineated path and time. Float down gently, while keeping your eyes on the flock, young airborne pioneer, and find for yourself a peaceful, pointed cliff peak, and take comfort there, find your solace and continue staring away at your brethren and continue seeing them long after they are gone, not with your eyes but with your heart, knowing others like you are ahead who’s time is now pursuing ever greater horizons. This shall help you pass long days and longer nights and bring you peace. So may it be with us. Never abdicate the future and great horizons and dreams to time and circumstance but rather ensure you have built a flock worthy of your ideals that will carry your goals and objectives forever forward. At such a crucial moment in the history of our species, pioneers of ever greater horizons are required. They are out there amongst us. Who knows who will complete the journey and reach these horizons, and when, but together, eventually, we shall reach them. Perhaps it will be you, perhaps another. Regardless, we may rest peacefully and with dignified repose in the knowledge that if we do not reach the goal, the horizon, someone else will. And for us, well, the journey was what mattered anyhow. Eternity rests within, not without. The same is true with victory.

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Andrew | Reply 08.12.2016 12.21

Good reflexions and philosophy
Thanks for your site

Nanyi Albuero | Reply 25.01.2015 15.17

Profound with a lot of philosophical insights. I love the admonition of never abdicating the future. Thanks for sharing.

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08.12 | 12:21

Good reflexions and philosophy
Thanks for your site

25.01 | 15:17

Profound with a lot of philosophical insights. I love the admonition of never abdicating the future. Thanks for sharing.

06.07 | 19:41

Wow, this is so beautifully written. Thank you for sharing. Love & Peace.

19.03 | 05:49

Amazing to read and thank you for some beautiful insights.

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