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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"The one conversation I had with the archaelogist..."

It's quite daunting, figuring out why we favor looking into the gasping sun in ere for the tarnished soil. I feel like sharing my thoughts on a conversation I had with an archaeologist-friend while en route to the synchrotron a week ago. It was an hour's worth of a journey, and being it was in the early hours of the day - filler topics to pass awkward silences were rather harsh. After the customary discussion over Bundoora's weather, work and family we found ourselves a lost for words. Or a syllable, really.

My eyes scoured all over the Ford Fiesta from the passenger seat, like a lost infant in unfamiliar territory. Having sunlight shimmering and gleaming into your eyes is a rather indirect form of torture. So I decided to instead look for sights of things that might interest me; a card or a book, even a Snickers bar, maybe. Something that can be used to conjure a common conversational topic. My perspective was then focused in view of three 2-dollar coins under the glove compartment, and they stood there for quite some time - till I was caught red-handed.

"Don't worry Jeff, this morning's coffee's on me. I'm picking up the tab."

"Hahaha sorry mate, didn't mean to claim your coins as my own. Their definitely yours."

As the air shared another round of awkward silence, the tension was sliced by the next statement that followed.

"Funny huh - that we, people, like looking up rather than down. It's an ego thing. It's just us being human."

I find that this, was a direct juxtaposition towards my previous awful cover-up attempt. So I just decided to play it cool - like how Bond would have done, I guess and come up with a rebut.

"That's a very random thing to say now is it, Mark?"

"Well, if you think of it - it's the way nature had very much intended it to be, really. Those of higher significance are often subject a proportional height from less important deities. Like, why the brain is situated in our skulls; which are on our heads. Our bladder on the other hand - rests in its 'chuckles' between our legs, whose only function is to secrete bodily fluids."

I realized by now, that we're actually throwing semantics. I decided to play it a bit cheeky.

"Ah, but apart from other bodily fluids - some say it is from here that half of one's life begins...".

"Which is exactly my point being. At most times, the seemly 'significant' entities are marred only by their position. Even we, as humans were sculptured from soil. Ignorant spectators are often blinded by the fact that a coliseum - is only as immortal as the preservation of its pillars. Sometimes, it is the insignificant that play more significance as opposed to the significant."

As I reached for another sip of my now warm coffee, I finally caught some sense in Mark's rather 'eccentric' view.

"Ahh...point taken, then."

This morning on my walks, I decided to see how many people who'd actually spend a considerable amount of walking-time with their eyes somewhat on the ground. You know - people who walk while admiring the constituents of things no higher than their waistline; not those who has them fixed as if they have a phobia for making any eye-contact at all. Surprisingly so - Mark's words did had some truth to them. There were more people who seemed to care less about that speck on the pavement, or that sight of litter on the sidewalk. There are less people interested on that smiling face right in front of them, than that waving entity from afar. Often these people might be the ones who'd always end up stepping on droppings and spilled milk, but in congruence - this comes to show how much less care we have now than we did in the past.

Eye level has now served as a measure of 'coolness'. Those who keep their chins up to the sky are those who are deemed confident and therefore, cool. But those who keep their gazes a bit lower are often associated with having low self esteem, geeky or even weird. Sad.

The way we view our world, be it physically or mentally shapes our perception and acceptance of things. A parent who keeps their gazes high above for that elusive promotion at work, often loses sight of his child's fingers clutching the bottom of his shirt asking for a hug. In this regard, he loses the gift of a family. A leader who plans and dictates his power so far ahead and up towards the sky, always fails to acknowledge those under him that helped make his job easier. In this, he loses the gift of respect. A man who walks without care and never stops to look down, would never see those freckled hands that begs for a day's ration. In this sense, he loses the gift of compassion. But a person who views himself above everyone else and never takes the time to look down once in a while - he loses the gift of humanity.

Be it throwing semantics - humility is as much an equally dignified trait as success. Because success must always be fostered from being humble, and not the other way around. With humbleness, comes respect; with it given, you get back in myriads.

That was Mark's core for our conversation that morning, as if reminding me that all big things start from small steps. A valuable advice for a starting PhD student indeed, and coming from one who has done his before. I am reminded of his words every time I look at my own two feet. Wherever I go, my footsteps fall onto the same place. The place where it should always be, no matter how far you've come.

It always returns firmly, onto the ground.


1 comment:

Nor Fadzlina Nawi said...

Beautifully written...:-) If only more people could grasp that 'concept'