We all live on the same ball

[This post was started on December 21, 2012 in Europe.  It was completed in January 2013 in Canada.]

Last night (December 20, 2012) I heard these guys talking about how much they enjoyed Roman history – with the Vatican, empire, grand structures, etc. One made a joke about how we humans can build such grand structures yet previously thought the Earth was flat (if you do still, sorry but you’re flat out wrong). This got me thinking about how much ties the world’s together, and how much we live apart.

Some things are fundamental to humans, and the larger animal kingdom at that. We live on a round planet that seems flat (astronauts currently in space exempt). We all need food and water to survive. We have starry nights. We breathe air. We all rely on the sun – this provides us with vitamins and grows our food. We communicate. We all have currency (some have paper bills, others use cows and goats and grains to get goods).

The planet as a round sphere, flat from an inhabitant’s perspective, is a great metaphor for humans.  From space, the planet partially shows its true round, beautiful self.  Inhabitants have the perspective of a long, flat planet that falls off at the horizon.  I think this is a metaphor for many humans for several reasons.

I look at many individuals I know.  From the outside (the astronaut’s perspective), all is beautiful and perfect.  Once you go back ‘inside’ the planet, things are very different.  Some parts are absolutely beautiful (the pyramids of Giza, the emptiness of the red Jordanian desert).  Other parts can be downright ugly – the cutting of the Amazon rainforest by desperate countries to try and cultivate farm land for their hungry mothers and children.

This is the wonderful, perfect thing about my friends, brothers, sisters, peers, and fellow earthlings.  We all have the good side – the Rome Pantheon – and we all have the not so good – the garbage dumped along rivers and burned, with children using this as their play ground.

Life can be much better with purpose. This can be a large purpose in many individual’s lives.  The constant struggle to look inside of ourselves and see the good – take photos of the good, dream of the good – and find the bad – greed, breaking promises.  The purpose: to constantly try to be a little bit better than we were yesterday.  Whenever I speak to one of my staff, the phrase: “What have you done in the past few work days to help UBC and yourself be better than they were before?”  I can’t remember where I heard this, or who told me, or where I saw this, but I think it gives us a great purpose in our lives and work.

We look at others we know, or those we see on the sidewalk.  We are all astronauts.  We can sit outside planets and get a good perspective of what they encompass.  We look at other planets and see how wonderful and beautiful they are.  This reminds us of what our planet is: beautiful.  Magnificent.  At times, unbelievable.

I was lucky to travel by myself over the past few weeks (and have a few days ahead still). This, I believe, allowed me to connect with other travelers. I met youngsters and oldies from Canada, USA, Jordan, Egypt, Italy, China, Germany, The Philippines, Aussies, and many more.  I think sometimes we forget, we’re all astronauts – we forget to take a moment and look at the sheer being we are all witnessing day-to-day.

I always wonder how our ancestors truly figured out the planet is a sphere and not a flat plain.  Looking at how children learn (I recently read that a four year old asks 400+ questions a day – can’t remember the source), it likely started with one human being asking a question – is our current body of knowledge about the planet, correct?

We all live on the same ball. As the parents told me when I was young, you must share with your brothers and sisters. We must share the one ball, all humans and things on Earth have in common.

Will there be peace for all in my lifetime?

We All Live on the Same Ball was partially written in Europe and North America.  It was inspired by two other tremendous ‘planets’ that I never got to explore in my short time I was near the pair. 

Adam is currently traveling Asia, Africa and Europe. Follow him on Twitter (adam13goodwin) – #travels2012. You can connect with Adam by: Twitter (@adam13goodwin); Email (adam.k.goodwin@ubc.ca); Web (www.adamkgoodwin.com); In-person

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  1. A song inspires a reflection. We all own this planet. We are all responsible for this planet!

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