Saturday, December 09, 2006

Dreaming of, but never actually reaching

My native tongue is Japanese. I started learning English at school when I was 12. I read the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy when I was at senior high. Gradually, I awakened to the universe of English, and have started to write, speak, and think in this language.

English is certainly useful. However, it is not the only medium of soul. When you come to realize that there are several thousand tongues on the globe, you are dazzled by the very fact and realize that you are truly living in the post-Babelian era. Even if you become well versed in several leading languages, you can never hope to come to appreciate the richness, subtlety, and the bliss of living in the respective cosmoses of the speech that cover the earth. A complex set of multiverses is a reality of life, not a purely theoretical construct.

The other day, I was in Atlanta, U.S.A, attending the society for neuroscience annual meeting. As I was leaving the city on a cab, bound for the airport, I was suddenly reminded of the fact that there are all these different climates on the earth. Autumn was deepening in Atlanta, the leaves turning into red and falling to the ground. In other parts of the globe at that very moment, however, monkeys would be hopping from bough to bough in a steamy jungle, icebergs persevering in the northerly wind, the sun scorching the desert, and the ocean slowly waving beneath a mellow spring sunbeam. All these diverse climates co-exist at the same time, embraced by the capacity of this chunk of rock that we call "the earth".

The multiverse of different languages and climates could not have possibly co-existed if the capacity of the earth was smaller. It is impossible to co-host the spectrum of climates in an artificial dome, however large. The earth capacity is a blessing and curse at the same time, the curse being that we cannot hope to see all that goes on in the world as we know it, making it impossible to actually construct a "panopticon" (Jeremy Bentham).

The limits of experiencing all that be is a noteworthy fact in the era of the small world network, where people can easily have the illusion of being able to connect to and experience all that goes on. We mortal souls are encapsulated evermore in the respective specimens of flesh, dreaming of, but never actually reaching, the dazzling totality of the life's experience on earth.