Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Greenfly, all too greenfly

I am in two minds in whether I should blog a thought that occurred to me the other day.  A part of me feels like it is too intimate for the 'electronic community', but the other part of me of says hey, what the heck.

So I will take the latter attitude and suspend my care for the time being.

As I sat by my desk I noticed a tiny green fly crawling around on it.  Although it seemed to be walking randomly and to no purpose, taking a turn here and there while pausing briefly in between, it was obvious that it was moving toward a general direction - to the edge of my desk.  Of course, where else would it go?  Only, I had a pile of book seated flush at 90 degrees at this exact corner the green fly was heading.  I immediately stopped what I was doing and watched it attentively.

Why would I do that?  I tried to imagine the greenflies perspective.  Now, I know that this is probably impossible, nevertheless that was exactly what I was trying to do.  As I saw its tiny legs attempt to mount onto the pile of books I stacked in no orderly fashion, I imagined these books as some kind of mountain.   Attempt after attempt the greenfly tried to climb this mountain but never really got anywhere.

In a dim sense of enlightenment, it occurred to me.  How so much in our world is a nothing in a greenflies world; yet how little we also know of their world.  The mountain to them is just a pile of books to us.  Yet these books hold so much knowledge for us.  They contain pages and pages of writing, characterisation, expressive language and, in some cases, can emotionally drive us out of this world.  How so much between us is seen as purposeless; a book for us is a stone to them.

What we share is but a sense of nihilism.  Their knowledge is nihilistic to us, and vice versa.  We cannot feel what they feel and come to experience the things they experience.  Well, it could be said that we have something in common, for example, the notion that the desk is some kind of surface.  But essentially we don't share the same experiences.  We are both confined to the limitations of our nature - Human all too human, or greenfly all too greenfly.

There appears to be a small, but at the same time, large gap of knowing what should be taken as the  correct viewpoint between our world and theirs.  It was this experience that eventually drove me into a weird state of sadness.  A sadness that trickled droplets of scepticism, a sadness that made me realise my own finiteness and false sense of power we are all brought up believing in.  In such a thought I immediately recognised Nietzsche's Superman - the notion that we must defeat our very nature to become unlimited.  Unfortunately however, this remains impossible. The only similarity between the greenfly and I are our differences, and it is these differences which make us so similar.

Placing myself inside the greenfly once again, yet while still managing to cast to shadow over its tiny body, my sadness accelerated and deepened.  As it crawls on my desk, trawling throughout this strange unfamiliar alien world, little does it know about my own existence, as a human or a person.  I can wave my arms, clap my hands, shout and scream, but it will never know that I am a conscious existent being. Or, I could talk to it about myself, but the result will remain the same, be it coffee in a cup, DVD's on a shelve or shoes on the floor.  The entire world is an alien world for it, yet it goes around its daily life as if it actually knows about it.

After these observations and thoughts, I wanted to gain a clearer picture about my own reality.  I turned the question around and pointed it toward myself... How can I possibly know if there is a higher conscious, or a 'superior' cosmic realm above my tiny head?  yet, at the same time paradoxically experiencing it in ways that it doesn't know.  I simply cannot.  It's not a yes or no answer, it is instead an answer that leans into the direction of uncertainty and speculation.  And here, under the shadow of uncertainty is the root of Philosophy.

We all share a deep morbid sense of nihilism, be it a plant, a tree, or this small greenfly.  The notion of not-being is perhaps our greatest friend, and our greatest foe.  But in the meantime, as I continue to watch this greenfly, I realise that our similarities make me a part of nature inasmuch as nature is a part of me.  And thus, I am the greenfly.

© 2011 Roberto Nacci All Rights Reserved

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