A Perspective on Perspective

I once read a philosopher’s observation, “You can’t have a perspective on your perspective without somehow escaping it.” That statement grabbed me and still grabs me as continue to explore the finitude of the little prism through which I view this beautiful world. Here I want to share you a clip from CNN in which our lovely planet is seen from the vantage point of a satellite on the very outskirts of our solar system. Our planet is so small that it can hardly be seen in this photograph, while other heavenly bodies dominate the foreground. It makes me think of a line from W. H. Auden’s poetry in which he describe you and I as “clinging to the granite skirts of our sensible old planet.” (http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/13/us/nasa-saturn-earth-picture/index.html?hpt=hp_c3) And here is a relevant poem from a recent New Yorker magazine:

THE LANDSCAPE OF VILHELM HAMMERSHOI

By Vona Groarke

  • Between water reading itself a story
  • with no people in it
  • and fields, illegible, and a sky
  • that promises nothing,
  • least of all what will happen now,
  • are the trees
  • that do not believe in
  • any version of themselves
  • not even the one in which
  • they are apparently everyday trees
  • and not a sequence of wooden frames
  • for ordinary leaves.
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