It´s officially autumn. Yes, of course the beginning of autumn has a precise date in September I can never remember, which was almost one month ago. But this time, I actually did not miss out on it because of my extraordinary disorganisation. Absolutely not, I just figure there is a certain moment everyone personally realises that summertime has finished and autumn is settling in melancholically. Since I am referring to a purely personal experience, it has nothing to do with the official date -I looked it up, it was the 21st of September. In fact, during my morning 8km-run in the English Garden -a Hyde Park wanna-be routine I am really fond of- I haven´t realised just until today.
It has been several weeks now, through which the colours of trees started heading towards the warm-colour part of the palette. That yellow-ocra-orange-red-brownish metamorphosis of those light tree-petals we call leaves. I love autumn. Yet, even though the metamorphosis started several weeks ago, today something changed.
I have a favourite path on my running-route. One that follows the creek stream-upwards, remote from the common jogging routes, scarcely frequented and very quiet. Basically the best place to be assaulted, but it´s the highlight of my route and I always make sure to run through it. As I crossed the street to pursue that path today, I saw a brown-yellowish carpet that used to be the beaten path. It staggered me: it´s autumn!
I looked down to my feet and admired the leaves´yellow-brownish colours. By doing so, I noticed that the leaves were not at all yellow and brown but that I was in fact looking down to a plethora of diversity in shape, colours and nuances. -Disclaimer: Neither am I a botanist nor did I ever listen to my mom´s artistic vein -sorry mom- so the following description is going to suck badly- Back to it: I saw some big, Canada-flag-leaves (yes, I know it´s a maple-leaf. Just wanted to be consistent with the previous disclaimer) that appeared to be definitely yellow, but weren´t. As a fact they were less yellowish and had green spots and brown shapes on them. Moreover the Canada-leaves did not share the same yellowish-green-spots-nature, so they even varied within their own species (not sure that applies to plants too). Other, lips-shaped leaves that appeared brown, were more of a red nuance with some orange lines on them. I stopped looking down as I almost ran against one of those big trees that stays green all winter long and people use for christmas decoration. By doing so, all I could see was again a yellow-brownish carpet extended in front of me.
For the rest of my run I had to think about how much humans are restricted in their perception. Even though this last statement can be read figuratively and would still apply, I am referring to the merely biological definition of perception: we cannot see the particular and the macrocosm simultaneously, as I could not see the single differences between the leaves and the colour of the leaf-carpet or an astronaut cannot see planet earth and me eating butternut-squash simultaneously.
The fact that I myself always looked at my favourite path as a yellow-brownish carpet without ever noticing the different leaves, the various colours, the actual plurality that made an amount of leaves appear as a united carpet, made me wonder if as humans we are more keen to see things on a big picture, omitting, skipping or ignoring the details. Details which may not be as easy to glimpse, as the big picture. Details that may require you to analyse things, to invest time and energy in it.
When I first approached the question “what do I want to study” all I could scrape together was my will to “see the macrocosm and the microcosm in relation”, whatever I thought this would mean. -Yes, that was it and yes, it would have been much easier for my parents if I just stated I wanted to “save lives” or do anything useful, like the four brothers before me did. But yes, someone has to play the black sheep sometimes-. Somehow I thought that asking myself questions and analysing other´s and my own thoughts would open the door to my aim of “seeing the macro- and microcosm in relation”.
Was it? Not sure yet. But during the last few kilometers a question haunted me: What is the consequence of a dystopian, but -sadly- realistic view, that the majority of our beliefs, our convictions, thoughts, are general statements, which are not grounded in a specific analysis of the subject-matter? If as aforementioned, we are already restricted by our perception, how can we make sure to look at things deeply enough to catch both the particular and the general? Are we aware of this feature of ours and if yes, how do we work against it? -OK, maybe it was more than only a question haunting me-.
After all, a lot of people have specialists, who warn them about certain details, that they wouldn´t have noticed on their own. And this somehow answers the last question. Still, most people don´t use specialists when it comes to “minor” issues, such as “should I have an organic waste collection bin” or apparently even in cases like “should I trigger a war with Korea via Twitter today” and this is somehow unsettling.
What is the consequence of this superficial feature we are equipped with? My answer when choosing a course of studies was “informing myself, listening, analysing”. But today I saw myself answering in a different way, when exiting the English Garden:
Looked at the leaves on the ground. I thought about how careful we have to be within our beliefs and how essential it is to question ourselves.
And then I wondered:
Maybe it is by analysing the specific and demolishing the wall of superficiality, that we acquire knowledge about the big picture and hence demolish the wall between micro- and macrocosm.
Thus my answer to myself and to a niche London-blogger, who evidently appeared quite inspiring to me: this is what makes me stop and wonder.