Monday, January 11, 2010

To A Mayfly, We're a Mountain

Powers of Ten is one of my all time favorite videos. Issues of scale have been interesting to me for a while now. The scale that all human life is on, both in terms of size and time, is so hilariously particular and random. This idea was really brought to light for me when I watched those time release videos from planet earth. Our assumptions about what makes something alive vs. inanimate is so clearly tied to the amount of time we spend on earth. If human life was as long as a mountain's life span, we would have a sense of the enormous amount of movement, growth and change a mountain makes. Then, I think, it would be harder for us to judge so clearly that a mountain was inanimate. And think of what a mayfly, lifespan of about 30 minutes, thinks of us, as we are sitting by the pond, taking an hour long nap in the sun. We're nothing but a mountain to him. Because our size and the amount of time we experience is so essential to us, it's easy to over look how much our scale effects the way we create certainties about the world outside of us.

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