Viewing our place in the world through Cloud Gardens
“The world doesn’t revolve around you” is the greatest lie you will ever be told. You are your world. Everything you see, and how you see it; everything you think, and how you think it; everything you do, and how you do it; it all comes together to produce a perception of the world - the only perception of the world that you have - that never existed before your birth, and will never exist again after your death. Then there are the footprints that we all leave as we pass through the world, both literal and metaphorical. Certain surfaces yield to our weight, as we shape the very ground that we walk on. On a wider scale, we all build and break one another’s personalities through our interactions; we create one another. On a wider scale yet, we build and (sadly, more often) break the very planet itself, changing it in ways that could never have come to pass without us.
“The world doesn’t revolve around you” is the greatest truth you will ever be told. Countless yesterdays passed millenia before your birth, and tomorrow will come whether you are there to see it or not. Of the approximately 8 billion people alive today, the percentage that will never know you existed is so high, under any other circumstances you would round it to 100 percent. Even on the immensely wider scale of humanity itself, we are not as important as we like to think we are. There is no rational way to deny the impact that we have had, and will continue to have, on Earth. However, when the last of us is gone - be that through our own arrogance, or any other means - the planet will remain. It will continue to grow and evolve.
I hold these two truths in my head without conflict. We all do, I think. I’ve recently spent some time playing Cloud Gardens, which serves to support both views, and even to put a positive spin on the latter. In order to explain why, I must first talk a little about Cal Flyn’s book Islands of Abandonment, which I've just finished reading.