This is an account of an experience I had some time ago while flying from Galway to Birmingham. My sister was competing in the Homes regatta (she won, beating England) and we were all going to cheer her on.
The situation in Northern Ireland was pretty bad. The UVF (British equivalent of the IRA - yes Brits, you have terrorists in Northern Ireland as well) and people were once again dying for no good reason. Ahern and Blair were tentatively working towards a new peace deal, but Ian Paisley was opposing them every step of the way. Now, well over a year later, the fighting still rages on.
The plane started to accelerate. It was slow but, after a few minutes, we were going at a quite ridiculous speed and I think that if ordinary watches measured nanoseconds, we would have lost a couple. Anyone hit by the plane would have been squashes flat, then would have hit the ground and been rolled over by at least six tyres. It was an exhilarating feeling.
Next we lifted into the air. The process here is fascinating. Now, I do not wish to get intrude on NotScientific's turf, but this really has to be said. As the air flows around the wings, it goes faster over the top than underneath and so acts less dense. It therefore qualifies as a different substance. And the plane floats on top, at the boundary between these two. It is not unlike something floating on water; although if the plane were to hit water, it would probably sink. It flies because the air is flowing over the top at a simply atrociously high velocity, so it is almost a vacuum.
This has to make one think. Just how much of what we see and know to be different is, in fact, the result of different perspectives? Fundamentalist Christians and radical Muslims go on at great length about how the other is going to go to Hell, yet they have far more in common with each other than they do with average members of their own religion. Even people not involved with them seem to think that there is some sort of difference. Air, meanwhile, acts as a very different substance over and under the wing yet we say it is the same on account of it consisting of the same atoms, and having been the same a millisecond ago. Fundies and Radies start out the same as well but they don't really let their differences develop in the same way as air does. I could go on here about language and stuff as it is quite relevant and, indeed, William Burroughs was very concerned about it, but I simply lack the space.
As the plane climbed higher, I looked out the window and saw a beautiful sight. Stretched out below us was a seemingly vast expanse of fields and green areas. It seems that no matter how hard we try, Gaia will always be there, several steps ahead. By allowing us to domesticate animals, She ensured we would always have a bit of nature close to us, especially far into the future when we live in artificial caves of wood and stone, and see around the world but not in our own small area of it1.
Also on the ground below us were a number of small lakes and bodies of water sparkling with the noonday sun. Nothing like a bit of uncharacteristic weather to make one think differently. Anyway, the effect was quite marvelous. Instead of a reflection, it seemed that the light of God was shining right through the ground and illuminating us all. It felt good. Then we started to cross the Irish Sea, and I started to read my book.
After an hour or so, we started to pass over England and, lo and behold, what did I see? It looked exactly like Ireland! Fields and green areas stretched as far as the eye could see and there were more sparkling lakes, so it looked like once again the light of God was shining through, this time on our conquerors. And I though, wow, God gets to everyone, from Mahatma Ghandi to Osama bin Laden, Mother Theresa to, yes, even George Bush. Wow. We are all truly the same, yet it is our simple differences that make life worth living. When I say we are the same, I mean at a very deep, high, esoteric level, as we form quarks in the body of God. At our level, differences between one another are necessary, so do not give in to the Matrix; a proton is only a proton if it has both up and down quarks.
When we landed in England, I was pleasantly surprised to see that everywhere was it just like Ireland, except sunnier. A lot of stuff on those two days made me think and the plane rise more than anything. I urge you to try thinking differently some time, too.
Until we meet again, my friend, this is Hussassan, signing off.