Monday, January 12, 2015

A World of Possibilities

Years ago it was thought impossible for humans to run a four minute mile.  Two runners (perhaps many more) decided that they were going to break that barrier.  Roger Bannister broke the time limitation and then a little over a month later John Landy did the same thing-- broke through a barrier that most people thought was impossible to break.  Now the record is 3:43.  There doesn't seem to be any strong belief that this won't get quicker in time to come.  At one time it was thought a human couldn't climb to certain elevations without bottled oxygen.  Now there are climbers (Sherpas especially) who do it fairly regularly (and a Sherpa set a record of staying at the summit of Mount Everest for 21 hours without oxygen.)

I suppose we all have those moments when all of the possibilities in the world mean very little.  These two barrier breaking incidents, for instance.  Why should we care, if we are not a runner or climber?  We have to get up, go to work, deal with all of the concerns in our lives.  Or perhaps we have nothing but endless hours to fill, but have little purpose and we aren't capable of running or climbing. There may be lots of possibilities in the world, but they surely aren't going to happen to us, we think. The fact that someone came out of poverty to make millions is nice, but that doesn't mean I will do it.  People lose hundreds of pounds-- it doesn't mean that I will lose any.  So what good are possibilities to our own little world?

The good is this.  It isn't that those particular things happen; it is the fact that things "everybody knows" can't be done are getting done.  It isn't that you will run a mile in under four minutes or climb an eight thousand meter mountain without oxygen, it means that things that seem impossible in our own lives may be possible.  It means the barriers we see around us may be more penetrable than we think.  The limits that we have imposed on ourselves due to beliefs about age, weather, food, income, disease, or any other factor may not be as solid as we think.  It means that the next time we are tempted to think we can't, we question it. 

It is easy to let the sense of possibilities get kicked out of us by our day-to-day duties. But that doesn't mean we can't kick it back in.  Seek out things that make you feel, "Hey, there's more to life than just what I see in front of me.  What seems like a limit isn't."  

Those who have been around awhile have the advantage of seeing how things thought to be impossible have become possible.  Walking on the moon, photos from Mars sent to us by a robotic rover, deep ocean photographs of life around hydrothermal vents, live video feeds that allow the average person to talk with and SEE distant friends and relatives all over the world, photograph equipment that allows us to "develop" the photo instantaneously and retake it if we don't like it, and a host of other limit breaking examples.  Here's one of the newer developments.

The University of Rochester has developed a cloaking device:

 There is more to life than what we see in front of us.  Limits are just a cloaking device.

No comments:

Post a Comment