by Mark Matousek
We sequester ourselves inside our own minds, then project this awful abyss around us, picturing ourselves to be fenced-off, abandoned citizens of a private, bullying universe. This imaginary chasm seems only to widen during times of pain. Yet even under the worst conditions, strength in numbers continues to prevail. As one Holocaust survivor put it, “Lone dogs died first.” Mary Robinson, the ex-president of Ireland, observed this principle at work during the troubles in her country. “It is in each other’s shadow that we flourish,” Robinson insisted to me when we spoke.
This is not sentimental pabulum. In a universe where boundaries do not actually exist, where waves and particles, protons and neutrons are indivisibly strung together, such baseline connection is obvious. In Indian philosophy this glistening, intergalactic jewel-work of matter (and antimatter) is known as the Net of Indra. This web is so tightly strung that “the flap of a butterfly’s wings on earth can be felt on the planet of Betteljers,” as a physicist observed. If a full moon can make women menstruate, it’s not so much of a stretch to realize that individuals in our lives are ricocheting off of us at every moment, creating positive or negative charges depending on their own chemistry.
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Copyright 2008, 2022 by Mark Matousek. Reprinted with kind permission from When You’re Falling, Dive! by Mark Matousek, published by Monkfish Book Publishing Company, MonkfishPublishing.com.
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