You and Zeus and a Bug’s Eye View
If the devil’s in the details, a birds-eye view is a double edged sword in what you can see. Take a look.
Picture this world through a bug’s eye, crawling across a massive green waxy leaf on his way to wherever bugs go in their daily business: sun warming spindly limbs, a day ahead, a day behind this one no different than the last; on we go . . . wait. How the hell did I get stuck here?
Too late. Missed the details obvious from above: the fat dew drops refracting the sunrise into a thousand jewels suspended in a gossamer web. Web, get it? Spider web, certain death–wandered right into it with your head down. Crawling across the ground can be like that: no big picture, connect the dots beyond the here and now; creep along and don’t look up. From the God’s-eye view, far above and really aware? The double-edged sword: you can see things but do little to warn anyone.
Look down. Cowtown! That’s home. Jewels of golden light suspended in an urban web–see the Cat’s stadium lights blazing away in the bottom right corner? A thousand little cheering voices unheard but you know they’re raising a ruckus you’d enjoy if you weren’t a few miles above. You get the view like Zeus’s Daemons, but no voice to warn of the spider.
Which you get to see from where you are.
This giant storm anvil is sailing east to hammer the city and rain out the Cats, sending a thousand ant-like creatures scattering to their cars. They could see the shadows towering and blotting the setting sun–if they looked up and west. If they could see beyond the Klieg lights ringing the field like dew drops on a spider’s web.
If you look carefully from above sometimes you can deduce the story line below.
See the red emergency lights on the northbound freeway lane in the bottom right? Trouble in the ant pile: someone missed the dew drops or the anvil above and came face to face with the spider. Somebody’s not getting home when or how they envisioned and if you look miles north on the road you can almost picture an empty driveway and a phone about to ring.
Ancient Greeks claimed Daemons were sent to earth to warn mortals of danger, yet we’re anything but earthly, cruising above and right on by at unearthly speed, more like Plato’s darker version of Zeus’s guardian spirits. We’re granted the magic carpet view from above, but altitude and speed come with a vow of silence as the rolling tapestry scrolls away the past in seconds flat. We look ahead, and down.
Somebody’s today was painted with a rusty brush.
Looks hot and dry and rugged; hard to imagine but you know someone did creep right across that rock pile foot by dusty foot not even that many years ago. They took on faith or word of mouth what we can see miles ahead: water.
It had to be there or that would be pretty much it for those creeping bugs, right? You can see that joyous revelation flying east to west: notice how many mountains hide water on their western flank and when they do, how many cities pop up between the mountains and the water. You can see in your mind a raggedy knot of pioneers pausing atop the mountain saying, “Thank god! Water. We’re staying.”
Albuquerque tucked between the mountains and the Rio Grande.
Just nod your heads, fellow Platonic Daemons. We have miles to go and more to see in the silence of our Zeus-like jet flight above the rolling story board of time and place. Time only to notice individual leaves and dew drops and mountains but not a moment to linger on any.
Because here’s my clock, and it rules our ride:
Fuel flow is Godlike in the sky world. I keep the fires burning that shove us through the air high above the world even Plato would have trouble envisioning. And two jet engines are burning like a glass furnace, spinning the turbines at over 32,000 revolutions per minutes and sling-shotting us through air so thin we barely make a sound to those miles below.
You can tell them about it later. Our view, like our ride, is fast but temporary. I know, you weren’t here to look, but rather, just to ride from a certain here to a particular there.
And maybe the view is a sideshow, but the truth isn’t.
Beyond the magic of flight is the genie that is scale: how much more can you see if you can claim the Zeus-view? What’s the mountaintop-valley-river reality in life waiting to be noticed, to be brought down to Earth in a bug’s life? What don’t we see when we’re crawling across a Manzanita leaf or an asphalt spaghetti bowl that would just make all the difference?
I could be Zeus’s good Daemon with the P.A. in the air and point out the view and the viewpoint. But I’d tend more toward the Platonic evolution: what you discover yourself, you own. So I won’t say much.
But the sky-high Daemon view is full of devilish details just for you–for now, for as long as our fuel burn permits. But after you think about it for a while, from now on.
Because when you look with a wider, higher viewpoint, there’s a whole new world buried in the details, right? Might look beyond the bright lights and dew drops and save yourself from being stuck nose to nose with the spider.