The Edge of Perception: Welcome to the 21st Century

At the edge of light and perception, the boundaries of what it is to be human reveal themselves. I don’t mean what it is to be human socially and emotionally. I mean, the physical boundaries of the human experience of the universe. Here we are, ostensibly at Gardom Lake.

Chances are, you too have been trained to see this as an image caused by angles of reflection and refraction of the sun. They might be that: a human expression of the nature of life in this universe (although not in some other universe). In other words, this might be how this universe sees itself through human bodies (it would be different for hermit crabs, for instance). It might not be that, though. It might be that this is an image of the angles of reflection and refraction of the human mind, which is to say of the human body, with all of our evolution, 4 billion years on Earth, present at once.  And, with all of that, if we look just to the side, we see this:

There we are at the intersection of the sun and the water, with the energy of a kayak thrown into the mix as well. The perception of energy in this form, that’s human as well, and the difference between this image and the preceding one shows how the human neck allows the human body to scan across the boundaries of its refractions, reflections and perceptions. It would be very different for a consciousness that could not put motion into the world with its own body, or its own awareness. Here’s another human boundary:

As a human, I’m familiar with viewing this image as a “shore,” with “reality” being physical and “image” or “reflection” being the image of the cedars and roses “reflected in the water”, but it would be fair to say that this is an inner human boundary as well. In an animal, I think this would be called “instinct.” I am drawn to the dryness of the shore and the “reality” of touch over that of light. That is a powerful (and life-saving) draw, but it is also instinctual. Another word for that might be “common sense,” but it would still be more accurate to say this is how the human body divides the world. In the 20th century, a dominant idea that blows through our collective and individual consciousnesses is that consciousness is a cumulative effect of billions of individual connections, a kind of ghost in the machine, but I don’t think that’s what this image is recording. It’s recording consciousness of the Earth itself, physically-expressed. As inheritors of 20th, 19th and 18th century social traditions, we who are alive today are used to seeing this effect as an expression of individual awareness, not in the 21st century sense, of awareness of the moment of planetary awareness, but in the older sense of a world coming to be once a human has been inserted into it. That is, of course, an ancient conception, far older than even the 18th century Enlightenment. Now the Earth has taken another step.

3 replies »

  1. has the earth indeed taken another step, “NOW”?
    at the edges of my own boundaries of perception, i teeter as my north pole shifts–


    • I think she’s dancing all the time. A Secwepemc elder taught me this: not to ask what is happening but instead “what is the Earth doing?” it is a subtle but powerful shift. 🙂


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