I was talking to my office-mate about her plans regarding going abroad for some time to think things through. She admitted to being scared of the prospect of being somewhere unfamiliar. I said that it was normal to be scared, but that there was a worthwhile reward of overcoming it: to gain perspective. While saying that, it dawned on me the weird mechanism the human psyche has on acquiring perspective: it needs to compare its current state to another to know what both states mean.

From understanding our social behavior, to taking for granted what we have (material and not), all the way to the manner in which our body goes about its day-to-day routines: everything is based on comparison.

  • You can't know what it is to be happy until you have been sad.
  • You can't really measure how rich is somebody until you compare their earning to others'.
  • You can't know the direction and the distance of someone calling at you until, respectively, the sound and light has hit both your ears and both your eyes.

Perspective is such a complex but ultimately elegant solution to our social standing. Once you gain it, not only does it grant you a better understanding of your current state, but also of others'. It is in that regard that you can reach a better conclusion of "both" our current states. And, even though you won't be able to understand every type of state there is (monetary and temporal limits), the process is filled with a humane vive that seems... right.

In addition, and most importantly, if you have the vision to pass that perspective onto others, it gives me hope that one day we, as a human race, will be able to proceed onwards with a universal perspective. A perspective that will be able to really account for every living and non-living entity out there, and provide a sound and viable argument to why and why not do or say something.

The only way to do it, though, is to compare; and to compare you must comprehend; and to comprehend, you need to reach out; and to reach out, you need to get out there. And in that process (while planning to pass on the acquired perspective), I believe, lies the true nature of our existence: to experience, to get to know, and build on the universal knowledge. Yes, I'm basically stating that the meaning of life is to live, which seems boringly benign, but, if you pass on your knowledge, that meaning becomes a purpose. That's why, I believe, we procreate and have schools (even though our animal counterparts don't share that sentiment as formally as we do). The meaning becomes a purpose and:

"That the powerful play [that is life] goes on, and you will contribute a verse."
Walt Whitman

Although your contribution may not be overwhelming, it will be something. A grain of sand in the beach that is humanity's shared consciousness:

"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it."
Mahatma Gandhi

Pure elegancy; I'm really glad now I've gone through everything that I have. It makes sense, I'm where I want to be, I'm happy here, and the only way I could really cherish this moment is by having something else to compare it to. I get it now... thank you, Teacher. I'll pass this on to others.

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