Tag: wonder

Undeniably the Night Sky, a Dream

A dream on the night of 08/12/2017

By James Wadman


In the city, it is believable that the sky we see is merely a curtain of haze permeated by only our closest celestial neighbors. In August, we see Jupiter rise first and Saturn closest to the moon. As the nights get darker, we will see the big dipper pointing toward the north star. Dominant is the amber glow cast by streetlights and industries that never sleep. It is as if the night sky we see in the city is more so a reflection of ourselves and the decision we made to turn inward, rather than gazing through our window to the universe above.

In my dream, I followed a map to where the trees cleared and the sky revealed the moon, the animated stars, and the dust of our galaxy. It was apparent that I was not in the city

“Stand here,” I was told, seeing only a man’s finger pointing to a spot on the map.

I took one more step forward. The sky darkened into a nearly colorless shade of blue. The stars became brighter, perhaps even closer. It was then that I remembered what the man had told me about this place on the map:

“Here you will see what is undeniably the night sky.”

He was right: I could see into the universe as if I was witnessing the birth of stars with the naked eye. I could see our galaxy breathe, the dust coalescing into pink and golden stars. I saw the moon, the planets, even the nebulas, as if they were just out of my fingers’ reach.

I sat there for a moment before I noticed clouds began to form on the distant horizon. It began to snow and the sky was colored by the familiar amber glow of city lights.

There is no deeper meaning here, except to say that the universe is out there.

Something more amazing, something worth fighting for, something worth believing in, is always out there one step beyond your perception.

It is up to you to take the steps necessary to reveal the value in living by following the pursuit of wonder.

 

-Jw

 

Image taken on a late night in Yosemite. See more pictures of Yomsemite on my instagram. 

A Raindrop Falls to Beethoven’s 5th

By James Wadman

Many people doubt our significance in this vast universe, and for good reason. I discuss this subject on and off from different attitudes because it is important to weigh both our significance and insignificance when making important decisions in life. My overall opinion on the matter is no secret, and has remained relatively constant for the last few years: I think of the entire spectrum of conscious, human life on earth with the analogy of a raindrop on its descent to the ground. If some tiny world in this raindrop suddenly gained consciousness, does it have any effect on the storm? No, it will simply carry on its transient journey until it becomes a splash in a puddle.

Insignificant, yes. Grim even, perhaps. However, something occurred to me the other day that fits into this narrative and provides a bit of hope to the tiny world on its descent to the ground. Consider a timeless piece of music — Beethoven’s 5th comes immediately to mind, not a symphony I particularly love but one that is incredibly meaningful to our world. Society seldom questions its cosmic significance because its value to mankind is indisputable. Therefore, Beethoven’s 5th has unquestionable value, and this will remain true for the entire existence of humanity.

So I ask those of you who interpreted the raindrop analogy as grim, does the fate of the raindrop matter if our tiny world carries its own significance throughout the descent? We derive meaning not from where we are going, but through the value in our lives at every moment getting there. Just as no one doubts the significance of Beethoven’s 5th to humankind, no one doubts their own significance in life when they are actually out there living.

I unearthed a quote from my novel, Diamondis, recently that captures my opinion on this perfectly:

“The realization of our meaningless can be told in a word, a sentence at the most. Our story rarely revolves around the realization itself. However, the descent to this realization is lush with poetry. The beauty is the descent.”

This quote comes from a discussion between the main characters, Tomas and Julia, trying to debunk the perceived meaninglessness of life by nihilistic philosophers. So there — my views on our insignificance are in fact very optimistic. I like to live lightly and make decisions based on the immediate happiness of myself and my loved ones. And, just a bit of off-topic advice to go along with this, it is always important to find the balance between the aforementioned “immediate happiness” and what will provide you with lasting happiness. When making big decisions in life, ask yourself, will this bring me happiness now? Then, will this bring me happiness for days to come? People often neglect one of the two questions — if you can’t answer yes to both, you might want to dig harder for the opportunity.

Boundless Wonder

By James Wadman

Society has misguided us into believing that boundless wonder has an expiration date in our lives. The difference between a child and a parent is experience, not the capacity for desire, curiosity, or even intelligent thought. I can’t be the only person to suggest that some of the most brilliant ideas are those voiced by children.

Anatomically, there are differences between the adult and child brains. Throughout late childhood and adolescence, the brain undergoes what is called “synaptic pruning,” a molecular phenomenon where unused circuits in the brain grow weaker and the useful circuitry grows stronger. For many of us that means that logical thought and responsibility increases as a function of growing up, while playful thought and uninhibited pleasure seeking is tamed by rationality. In modern society, synaptic pruning is an important product of our evolution. However, it is also an inherent limitation that forces us to cling to our biological history.

And for this I will suggest that maintaining the characteristics of a child’s brain can prove to be effective for a genuinely happy life, even if it would seem that this is fundamentally impossible given the previously discussed anatomical differences. Embrace your dreams, the chance to see new things in the world, and express yourself freely. Growing up, we learn to be responsible in a world that becomes increasingly competitive. Don’t let your curiosity fall victim to the false notion of growing up.

 

 

The Seeds of Diamondis: The Dissertation

All that exists between these two points can be seen in the integration of birth and death, where birth represents the infinite possibilities moving forward and death signifies how those possibilities manifest in the perception of one’s actualities.

The Dissertation, By James Wadman

I will be releasing cryptic insights into my novel in the coming weeks in a series called “The Seeds of Diamondis.” I hope you will enjoy and stay curious about the big things that await in 2016. Stay tuned in!

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As long as the universe exists, there is something to be created and something to be explored. James Wadman
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