How far am I from this morning’s coffee or the glass of malbec at dinner or the dawn of civilization or the French Revolution or my great-grandfather’s birth? This article presents a pretty captivating perspective in charts and discussion about the topic. I have written variations on that theme lately, and the concept of the whole of humanity or one’s life being in the cycle of a day has always fascinated me.
The point is that as we zoom out, “tragedy” starts to look pretty significant in the scope of things, the history of time, or even in the history of a year. Try telling that to the family’s of this week’s shooting in D.C., but already it’s fading from popular conversation as new diversions and tragedies emerge. Which weighs heavier on our minds — the crisis in Syria or whether or not we left the iron on this morning. On an individual scale, the latter might be more personally devastating.
The Eames film The Power of Ten sort of relates to that topic. A popular school film in the 1970s and 1980s, it was like holding down the zoom out button until the full picture came into focus.
I can’t quite put my mind around such concepts as trying to relate the events of this week into the scope of the arch of time. It’s like being asked to balance an elephant on a pin head. But I do find myself frequently using certain equations about what my parents or grandparents or sister were doing when they were my exact age. Sitting behind the wheel of my Honda Civic I picture my dad 34 years ago behind the wheel of his Oldsmobile when he was my exact age. The global events were focused on a Mideast crisis and what felt like lose-lose situations. But I have trouble picturing a mirror of him in my own life.
I also find myself focusing on the power of 12. The perfect dozen is an appealing numerical concept, and while I don’t put much stock in numerology or at least have not delved into it much, I have found that I have spent much of my adult life in relationship with people 12 years my senior or junior, more the latter than the former. That is because we are all fellow children of the Chinese year of the monkey. Personal and professional relationships have consistently put me in alliance with fellow monkeys, and I can’t pinpoint why the connection. Only that I can almost guess in an instant when I meet a fellow monkey. The power of 10, the power of 12, the cycle of the zoom button making benchmarks as it soars out to infinity.