• John Faherty

Looking Beyond The Horizon

Looking Beyond The Horizon

Looking out upon the modern urban landscape, the image we see forming there depends as much on what we think we know, as what we visualize. It is through this synthesis that the observer's perspective is afforded all the solidity of objective reality. By creating this world people are free to make their choices outside of the dictates of basic survival. Diseases have been conquered and life spans extended. These and other great things have come to fruition. However, in the process of striking this cultural bargain, we have, for the most part, forgotten how strange this new world can sometimes seem to us.

Have you felt that feeling of aggravation and or entitlement while waiting in line at a store or the drive-through window? These sublimated energies and emotions arise often as social anxiety, or perhaps even as violence. Who among those reading this does not innately feel the cold comfort and security of, and also the anxiety associated with the accumulation of wealth? These examples of societal stresses consume the soul of modern society. Imagine, however, if one were able to turn some celestial dial, these abstract fears would slip away within a single night.

No longer stalked by the same specter of death that had once plagued our ancestors; our finely-tuned animal senses, evolved for life on the edge of survival have become obsolete. These cultural perspectives have imprinted on us, irrevocably changed us and continue to evolve. Our ancestors made a tacit agreement that requires us, their descendants to make peace with that decision. Few among the throngs of people who now inhabit the Earth would be suited for the survival of primordial existence. All, however, live with latent abilities hardwired into mind and body. They exist just beneath the thinnest veneer of civilization.

The keyword once again is perspective. Every now and then I find that I become surprised or confused by what is visualized. An image not fitting neatly into a modern paradigm becomes a fantasy or a fiction. Take for example the views of the landscape when taken from a high vantage point such as from an office tower. From there, there can often be a sense of shifting change in scale.

To the casual observer, it appears that the artificial tableau constructed from the seemingly random assemblage of distant buildings is merely that. To my eye, much more seems to be happening. Flat shapes in a gradation of tones push backwords. From foreground to horizon forming a tension of a higher order.

These buildings out of their usual context appear like out of scale toys against an indifferent nature. However, layered upon and within this landscape is a grid-work of an order whose straight angular lines are made to conform simultaneously to forced linear perspective and the curvature of the Earth. At the far edge of the horizon at a point where my knowledge tells me there should be more of the same aging concrete and glass structures, I am puzzled by what I find. I am puzzled for that is not what I see. I see the pattern continue. My mind's eye constructs perhaps what I want to see, an ever-expanding landscape crowned with a distant chain of blue and green rolling hillocks. These are perhaps illusions for the city is not ringed by hills.

There are limits to which the eye or perhaps the mind may perceive these human constructs in space. For on the far horizon, at the limits of our senses, these constructs dissolve into visual illusions. The question is, are these observable phenomena a manifestation of the limitations of reflected light, or some deep-seated human mechanisms? Does some other part of my mind manifest another desired reality?

These cultural constructs external to biology evolved fairly recently. In the last few centuries, these have themselves evolved to form a more rational mathematical representation of the universe to which we as a society have ourselves assimilated. Humans, possibly all creatures possess at least an unconscious affinity or recognition of all things delineated by the proportions of the golden ratio. Is the ratio itself innate in the universe; or is it an artifice of the mind placing an order where there is none?

This ratio is found not only to be integral to the structure of life, but also to the hidden structure of the universe. Its scalable proportionality runs geometrically through the entirety of existence, from the infinitely small to the largest observable structures. The question again is, Is this layer of order imposed or perceived?

At the limits of perception, the mind will often bridge the gap of incredulity to make whole our image of reality.

Of the myriad shadowy half-memories strained through the logic filters of our minds, it can only conceive of one reality. To entertain more than one is counter to what a billion years of survival evolution would otherwise dictate. This perhaps why, it is at these limits of perception where sometimes we see that things are perhaps not all as they seem.

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