155 – Perspective

Back from my blog break that included two-and-a-half weeks in France. It was a difficult task but I met the challenge. I hope all is well with you. If all goes as planned, I will continue posting once a week, and sometimes tossing in two.

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I like walking on the beach. It is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

As I look across the vastness of the water and then upward to the sky, I suddenly feel small – very small – and a bit philosophical.

I wonder, is an elephant big? To me, the answer is in the form of a question: As compared to what? Compared to a mouse, yes. But, an elephant standing at the foot of a tall mountain is a mere pixel among the many. However, the same mountain is a tiny dot on our planet. So yes, as compared to what is the proper perspective.

Photo by Harvey Sapir on Pexels.com

The elephant, mouse, and I are part of the living world – all composed of cells containing specialized parts – each designed to do a particular function. Cell parts are composed of molecules, such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and numerous inorganics. All of these molecules are composed of individual atoms chemically bonded together. Every atom is an organized collection of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Every proton and neutron is composed of three different types of quarks. Leptons and neutrinos are also in the structure, but my head is beginning to hurt.

All this is within all of us. This journey from molecules to quarks is also in the nonliving world. Is the mouse now big?

I think about chromosomes in the entire living world. Chromosomes carry genetic information in cells. Living things have chromosomes in pairs, but each species has a set number of normal chromosome pairs. For us humans, it’s 23. Think of each pair as “like” pairs. That is, they correspond to each other. They are not identical but are designed to match. Think of one chromosome of the pair from Mom and one from Dad.

I think about how a series of genes make up each chromosome – genes to determine gender, eye color, hair color, insulin production, and more. Each gene contains a specific recipe for that trait. A recipe coded in an alphabet of four letters – A, T, C, and G – the components of DNA. Who would have guessed that a four-letter alphabet could construct so many words?

Genes are like a play or a movie with DNA as the script written in a specialized language. The arrangement of the four letters in sets of three to sequence amino acids to make a protein. Interestingly, it takes only 20 different amino acids to create the many unique proteins in the human body.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I think about how proteins are essential for most structures and processes with cells and organisms. Proteins for our skin, hair, bones, muscles, cartilage, and internal organs. Protein for chemicals such as hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters, and hemoglobin. Proteins playing a vital role for processes; such as growth, metabolism, energy production, muscle movement, nerve function, immunity, blood clotting, and many more. Is there any doubt the root word for protein means of first importance?

Yes, except for the chromosome number, this is a structural commonality for elephants, mice, humans, and every living thing. Let us not forget that cells organize into tissues that work together in a common function forming an organ; which is one of several organs working together in a system that a brain can coordinate for many organisms.

All humans are the same species, but not all elephants and mice are the same because different species of elephants and mice exist. Each member of a species is part of a larger population of the same species. Each population forms a community with other populations in the same area – the elephant in an African savannah with giraffes, lions, gazelles, numerous plants, and other populations.

I think about how these populations in the community interact with other community members and the nonliving world of soil, rocks, water, and air as an ecosystem. Each ecosystem overlaps with other ecosystems to be part of a large climatic region such as grasslands, tropical and temperate rainforests, tundra, and a variety of aquatic rivers, lakes, and oceans known as a biome. Is the elephant still big?

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

I think about how all this happens on our planetary home we call Earth. If aliens exist, do you think they call our planet Earth? Nonetheless, Earth is our only home in the solitary confines of what we call space. Well, our only home for now.

I think about how we on Earth are part of a solar system sharing a sun with other planets and moons. Our solar system is one of many in the Milky Way galaxy. I don’t want to think about how many solar systems are in the Milky Way, let alone the number of galaxies in the universe – so the number of quarks is incomprehensible. Is your head spinning?

So, what is big? What is small? The answer is a matter of perspective. It’s a view, an outlook, a reference point, and a way of looking and thinking – and thinking is what I like to do when I walk on the beach. After all, walking on the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

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122 thoughts on “155 – Perspective”

  1. Oh my – your vacation in beautiful France sparked a doozy of a subject….I will just say that big things can be incredibly small just as small things can be incredibly big. It’s about perspective. A baby can be a HUGE change in a family – – a mountain can be a molehill to a seasoned climber. I am but a drop in the sea of life but my life is as BIG as I’ve allowed it to be. Welcome back Frank – we missed you at school AND we missed your thought provoking blog posts!

    Hugs, Pam

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m pleased to hear your break included something fun, Frank!

    I think perspective is something that too many are lacking. We recently heard someone on the radio discussing the old parable of the blind men and the elephant in which each touches a part of the elephant and concludes from that one touch what the creature is.

    Unless aliens are here and know English, I’m sure they do not call this planet Earth. And in the vast universe, our planet is probably too insignificant for them to notice at all. Perspective. 😏

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s all how we look at things, Frank! Hehehe! 🙂
    When you expand your mind out into the vastness of the Universe, and see all of the awe that comes with all of that open space with the stars reaching even further out, you’re still inside your head – at that point, large and small become the same thing! The paradox of thought!
    Welcome back, Frank. I’m now going to explore the Universe a little further! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This was a good one Frank. Especially, ‘if aliens exist, do you think they would call our planet Earth?’. At first I think, of course not! But then I think, what if? What if they are connected somehow, and neither of us know it? What if they once lived here and called it Earth, and moved away when we took over? I hope you had a great two weeks in France. I think perspective is a powerful thing and can manipulate planets 🙂 thanks for an insightful post, I really enjoyed it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lenora,
      Thank you and glad you enjoyed this one. I love your perspective on the aliens, especially because your point is from an expanded mind, and a point I hadn’t considered. Thank you for sharing. Our time in France was wonderful. To me, travel is something that expands the mind, opens us up to a different perspective. After all, too many people put themselves into a closed bubble. I hope all is well. How are your children?

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Interesting views on how perspective shapes our view. I think we would be better off if we all took a more distant view, especially of ourselves. In the grand scheme of things, we’re all just a pixel against the mountain.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dan,
      Oh boy …. you hit a good one with that comment. As you stated about perspective shaping our views. For me, the political season of voting is a perfect example because so many will vote on D or R rather than what they believe or who’s the best person for the job. In many ways, I’m a conceptualist, therefore favor the broad, long view. Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Glad to see you back. Vacations are generally needed by all of us. Perspective is an interesting subject. We all see things so differently – what is big to one person could be small to another. What is important to one could seem silly or worthless to another.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Welcome back, Frank. I think everyone forms perspectives based on all their prior life experiences, their currently held beliefs, and their present attitudes. Ultimately then, it would track that everybody’s point of view is quite unique as no two people would have gone through the exact same exact experiences in life, even if they hold the same beliefs and attitudes. Point-of-views…to each their own!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bruce,
      Thanks for sharing your perspective. No question that life experiences play a role in a personal perspective. After all, given my example about the mice and the elephant, if one was taught & believe a mouse is an elephant while an elephant is a mouse, it would seem the answers would be opposite. Besides, given fake news and revistionist history, let’s turn biology upside down. Sorry … I couldn’t resist that perspective. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Perspective is everything – it is the difference between gratefulness and dissatisfaction. I consider my existence a small miracle in the vast miracle of creation. My molecules swim in a body made of mostly moisture – each cell a small water packet containing all the bits of me. And then as I step into the ocean I become a small water packet in a larger body. Who is to say but that the very galaxy is but a packet of life in a larger body?? It could be infinite… And I practice gratitude for that marvelous miracle that is life!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. As is the case with most things, perspective lies at the heart of the question ‘what is [fill in the blank].’ A thought provoking post, Frank. In the words of Hercule Poirot, it seems that France really twinkled the “little grey cells.” Lovely post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Shelia,
      Thanks for the kind words. I’m very lucky here to have readers providing comments that are very insightful and thought-provoking. So much so, the comments have led to an additional walk or more about the topic using the comments. Plus, I appreciate you taking the time to read the comments. We had a wonderful trip! I hope you get the opportunity to take you daughter to Paris. It is a very vibrant city offering many interesting places for visitors. Then again, getting away from her duty as a mother of little ones isn’t easy. In terms of a birthday – not mine – it was Jo’s.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Welcome back, Frank — we missed you, but we’re happy to hear you had a wonderful break. Another interesting topic here. I enjoyed contemplating it while thinking about walking on the beach!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jaya,
      Oh my …. you hit one another good point about perspective – the effect of learning changing a perspective. A university is a great place for to find “I’ve never thought about it that way before.” – which leads to a perspective shift. It also happens in all meaningful discussions with people outside the university. Nonetheless, a great point to bring up about perspective. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Yes, yes. Perspective. All too often we get mired in our own lives and lose sight of perspective. We need to let our minds roam to expand our perspectives, something that you seem to do on a regular basis. Welcome back and happy birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I find that I miss walking on the beaches, Frank, but we end up enjoying what we have where we have it. My perspective changed for the better after moving to northEastern Washington from Sacramento, in many ways. I find so much peace here that wasn’t available in my former neighborhood. Your trip to France sounds delightful and an excellent reason to take a good break!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Terri,
      Getting and having peace of mind is an important aspect of life. No question that neighborhoods make a difference. In my opinion, so do the group of people we choose to be around. Cheers to the joys eastern Washington gives you. The time in France was a delight – and simply wonderful because the entire trip was new to me. Gotta love it!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Well Frank, I could have sworn I’d commented on this one but apparently not. Maybe I read it and meant to come back later and then forgot – my apologies! Thought provoking as always and about one of my favorite things – perspective. For me its all about knowing that whatever our troubles may be, they are far less than those of so many others. So long as I remember that I find myself whining quite a bit less often!! And I too love walking on the beach 😊 – it reminds us how very little space we take up in this big world, which is a such small part of the universe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tina,
      Glad you enjoyed this walk. Your example about personal troubles and perspective is a great one. It may not have always worked for me when I’ve applied it, but has worked most of the time. Well, probably when it hasn’t, I may not have applied it. You also got me wonderful about a view about perspective that I don’t believe I mentioned in the essay – the photographic perspective – the role perspective takes in photography. I did a quick search to satisfy my curiosity, but if you get a chance, I would appreciate getting your thoughts about the topic.

      Like

  14. Cincy,

    I have always considered perspective to be a great lesson. You’ve given me a master class on the subject with this piece.

    As for galaxies and universes, hell, I have a hard enough time reconciling the fact I don’t dig Milky Way bars. I mean, really! What’s not to love about milk chocolate, nougat and caramel all wrapped up together? And yet . . .

    As for the idea that we’re smaller than the tiniest grain of sand in the grand scheme of things? Yeah that freaks me out. Because no matter how much bigger we are than atoms and ants and apples, it pales in comparison to the size advantage that everything else has on our asses. So I guess it’s a good thing we can call on grace and humility to keep us in check, huh?

    Great turn, Cincy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marc,
      Thanks for your kind words about this walk. Great example about us being smaller than a grain of sand in the grand scheme. For me, that also puts my problems in perspective!

      Although it’s not my favorite candy bar, Milky Way is a winning combination. (I like some crunch.) When we were in France, we saw several nougat stores with nougat bars about the size of a cement or cinder block. Huge …. and at over $31 per pound, the cost of the entire block would be about $350. Nonetheless, being in a store with many loaves of nougat of various flavors is special!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Welcome back Frank. It sounds like you had a wonderful time. C’est Bon! Oh yes, perspective. The moment when we are huge and small at the same time depending on your perspective. And that’s what life is all about from the minuscule to the immense, it’s all about perspective. I love your lines about the elephant and the mouse, that really does illustrate the issue brilliantly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam,
      Thanks for the welcome back. 🙂 The trip was wonderful – and one that Covid delayed – and all the places were new to me! Life involving the simultaneous huge-to-small and minuscule-to-immense is both so true and mind-boggling. As you mentioned – it’s all about perspective. The mouse and elephant comparison is something I’ve used before, but this gave me the opportunity to expand it.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Phew! My head and mind were spinning for sure!! Its so amazing that the tiniest things can be knit together as they are, to form us and so many other living things. Then one starts to spin again when we think on the other parts of the vast creation as well, and our position and size within it all.

    I’m glad you had opportunity to travel and enjoy a different culture while you were in France.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ingrid,
      Glad to know I got your mind and head spinning with this one. Then again, perspective is important. As one reader stated, compared to the universe, each of us is smaller than a grain of sand. …. then to imagine that the atoms that bind us and rocks are essential stardust – pow – that explodes my brain.

      The trip to France was wonderful. Then again, I enjoy Europe!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. How wonderful to travel to France! Special, I’m sure! And you’ve really provided an outstanding and entertaining way of thinking about perspective. Your infusion of science is always something I enjoy, Frank!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. What a profound post Frank… And welcome back after your vacation… So many wonderful places in France to see.. and have some lovely memories of some wonderful travels to and through France to visit other places in Europe..
    And yes it is all about Perspective… are we just a pin-head dot in the Cosmos, which makes the flea even more remarkable…
    As to those Aliens which I am certain there must be many varieties… For our ego to assume we are the only intelligence here in this Galaxy… I wonder what Perspective they hold on our Human Species?
    At the end of the day I feel we are all vibration…. Molecules rotating and spinning with Space between us…
    And I am grateful for both the Elephant and the Mouse… For the diversity this planet Called Earth offers as we all co-exist together..

    Great Perspectives Frank… thank you ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sue,
      Thanks for the kind words … and I’m not surprised you enjoyed this walk because this right into your thinking pathway. Thinking about everything (regardless of size) as rotating molecules is an interesting thought – so thanks for sharing your wonderful perspective!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. So much went into your beach walk Frank as always and full of perspective. My daughter having just returning from her honeymoon in Africa and hanging with the elephants and her perspective were they were ginormous. Thanks for sharing this!!💞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cindy,
      Thanks for the kind words about this walk. Because your daughter that elephants were ginormous, please pass along a message to her …. “As compared to what? A mouse? A molecule? How about a mountain? How about compared to planet Earth?” …. and please let me know her reaction/answers.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Welcome back, Frank. I hope you had a wonderful time in France. 🙂 Perspective is a good thing to have. You have me wondering about this: “the nonliving world of soil, rocks, water,…” Soil is very much alive, as is water, air, probably even rocks although I think their “aliveness” must be so much slower than ours.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Robin,
      The trip was a good one – and all the places were first-time for me! Thanks for asking. Regarding water and soil, I understand what you mean about their aliveness. However, my statement is strictly from a biological perspective – and in that sense – yes, perspective – they are considered nonliving. Meanwhile, you have me wondering. I imagine perspective is an aspect of photography, but being a nonphotographer, I don’t have a clue. So I ask you – is there a photographic perspective?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s an interesting question, Frank. The technical answer is yes and it’s related to space and depth. You can make objects appear larger and smaller by how you place them in the composition. Also, there’s just everyday perspective in terms of how you shoot the photograph. For instance, I like to get low. A lot of people just shoot from how they’re standing (so, from their own height).

        Liked by 1 person

      1. If you take a picture of one mushroom , from a high level point of vue it appears smaller and from bellow , under it appears taller than it is in réality. Perspective proves it.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. Prendre une photographie, c’est fixer un moment instantané pour l’éternité, dans la perspective choisie. Que ce soit un champignon vu par en haut ou par en dessous, la perspective n’est pas la même. Sa taille n’est pas perçue avec la même proportion dans l’oeil. L’oeil du géant ou du lilliputien.

    Like

    1. Jennie,
      The vacation was a good one – and we made the best of it. 🙂 You simply commenting got me thinking about your role as a teacher of little ones because you have to understand their perspective, therefore your decisions focus on learning in their world. A tip of the cap to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Hi Frank! After just returning from a visit to the beach, I totally get how your beach walks help generate thoughts on perspective! The vastness, the tiny specks out in the distances that are so much larger than expected if seen up close. It is all so mind boggling… yes, my head spins! Amazing thoughts on perspectives in this post, Frank!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lisa,
      Thank you for the kind words and glad you enjoyed this walk. Perspective definitely is mind blowing … and yes … the beach sets the stage to free the mind to think. My return is approaching and I look forward to drafting new walks. Last year I returned with about 30 drafts!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. !Today, we are driving to the Atlantic Ovean coast. Our family holiday home has to be prepared , cleaned up bcs “winter is coming”. The sun is shining, I shall take beach pictures your blog articles in mind.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. In France, you are right. Exactly in the region : Pays-de-Loire – town : Le Mans – département : Sarthe) . I sometimes hear racing cars performing on the famous 24-hour circuit.

        Liked by 1 person

  24. If you take a picture of one mushroom , from a high level point of vue it appears smaller and from bellow , under it appears taller than it is in réality. Perspective proves it.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Glad you had a wonderful vacation within your blog break.
    Perspective changes with various experiences – and that’s just one perspective of perspective!
    In the grand cosmos, we are bit parts yet we are arrogant (humans) in believing we are the most important one…

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Welcome back to blogging. Congrats on a successful trip to France and back. I hope you were able to walk on a beach there and will share some thoughts about walking in a new location. The closest I’ve gotten to France is via our youngest daughter – she hosted a foreign exchange student one year, and the next she went to France and stayed with that student’s family. We still stay in touch via email. I enjoyed reading your perspective post, I too have thought similar thoughts when walking on the beach. It’s fun to feel small, yet at the same time, feel connected to the vastness of the earth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shelley,
      As a place that frees up the mind, the beach is a great place to ponder perspective. After all, one can see the depth of the sky, the vastness of the sea, the tiny grains of sand, and much more. Our France trip was wonderful – and for me, all new places! I also appreciate the oldness of Europe. U wkjed kuttke ib the beach in Nice – but its very rocky.

      Liked by 1 person

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