philosophy

Continental drift

The ‘Seismic Shuffle’ is a continental dance, it’s an old one and slow – at 2 cm a year one hardly feels one is moving. It’s not a dance we can choose to sit out,  it’s part of a package deal and  comes with no guarantees and limited warranties (eventually we all fall through the cracks anyway). But it packs a punch, cleaving a rock in two on Pangea around 200 million years ago it placed one half in the Alps and the other half in Africa. Continental drift, sounds like it should be a long, lazy Mediterranean cocktail. It belies the gargantuan forces at work beneath the surface. As surface dwellers we generally assume that surface is everything.

I understand continental drift. I have drifted. It’s a slow business, drifting to the invisible force -a “something there is” sort of push. The type that broke down the wall that Robert Frost spoke of mending. To drift is to surrender to the momentum of life. If one is fortunate enough to have control of one’s limbs it is easy to imagine that all movement is conscious, self directed. It is pleasing to oneself to think ‘I did this” or “I did that”. We are  however, carried along by our lives and imagine that the small choices we make direct it, maybe they do? However, I suspect more significant than direction is being ‘there’ when you’re there, whether you’re moving or not.

Ultimately everything moves: the continents, the planet, the solar system, galaxies and the perhaps the cosmos moves too. Movement is no big deal, everyone moves in one way or another, even when we’re not. Can we extract from this the axiom that movement has value?  I stir this cup of tea, ergo I control the direction of my life. Movement is arbitrary and movement is change. One step forward, two back – It’s like waltzing with entropy. I am, therefore I move. Once removed, I was. Therefore, I like to move it, move it …

 

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Dry and cracked mud close to where the bus parks, c.2016 or artist’s impression of Pangea (not to scale).

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