Monday, September 18, 2006

Light Pollution

On my way to Manila once on a trip I chanced upon a very astonishing view. This was a trip at night in a plane and as I was looking out on the window, like others, staring down on the city lights, I chanced to change my view to the middle. In this view there was a reddish hue, suggesting that of the city lights, shielded off in the middle would be the faint gray clouds, and on top, the dark night cladded with stars.
What made this view astonishing is the idea that as a city dweller it is almost impossible to see stars. There are a couple of stars visible nightly, aside from the moon. What caught me into reflection is the basic fact. In the airplane, we all look down in astonishment on what would be a “finite play of electrical lights” with yellows signifying halogens or incandescent and whites as fluorescent or EL. None of us tend to look up. And it took me a good amount of evening traveling to realize this.
Looking down at the flat layout of lights, that which looks abundant from a distance, playing the “city never sleeps” concept on its onlookers, mapping out outlines of roadways and bridges, only to realize that this is finite. We have all looked around our city on a straight line, and every time we look up, all we see are clouds.
Looking up, with stars distant from one another, what is amazing is its infinite number, its history carrying secrets none of us know. Looking down, with astonishment, we pride of our achievements. But to pride on what is still primitive compared to what is out there, what is still to be reached, we have limited our purpose.
And there would be a few who would go to mountains, with a telescope, watching the celestial bodies with awe. These men realize what took me long to know. There is a bigger place out there, something spiritual about infinity could grasp us into longing of our origin. These men would probably be doing what was accidentally discovered, the amazing view above the clouds at night, something that makes the trip worthwile after all.
And what could be the purpose of infinity? To some, it is the joy of discovery, as our purpose would never end, discovering wonders each and every day, appreciating a long and beautiful path towards a destination we still have yet to discover.

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