With a lever and a pivot Archimedes claimed he could move the world. Likewise given ourselves as a vantage point, we are like a pivot in time. Able to guess at the future and recall the past, we use the present as a pivot to teeter and totter across the timeline of our existence. Two kinds of vision make this possible – our sense of sight, an enormous gift by some counts, and the mental gymnastics of processing all we’ve seen into predictions and possibilities. We see and use what we saw and balance it into an accounting of what might follow as if we’d already witnessed parts of it.
Point of view and vantage point are married in our psyche so that we can use this pivot of self to work on a balance that resembles the balancing animals rocking a plank on top of a ball – a bear dance in former circuses. Now in our virtual worlds thumbs and joysticks reenact the bear dance at as furious a pace as we can handle.
Or we might imagine the see-saw from our childhood play in the local park. Now there is another mind and body at play, so that along with our vantage point we are sharing the peak and valley of the plank on a pivot. With another involved we begin to create a bridge and play out with our opposing and cooperating half in the game. Empathy becomes a filtering point of view and likewise our range of vision is doubled into two vantage points. And we begin to soar with minutes, hours, days, and years.
We move to a city for college and discover the crowded and constant attempt at some kind of empathic cooperation. Buses, the subway, the apartment building are the up and down connections of this urban existence. Somedays we feel a part of it, somedays apart from it as heat and cold also swirl around the buildings we share. We see a more condensed life moving about us from what we saw in the smaller up-river city. Now we must learn to be the pivot and to share the lever, or risk calamity and obscurity.
Much later, after traveling, working, living in different cities, we have seen, and may be able to recall, the scenes of our past, their trials and accomplishments. Friends and acquaintances who we’ve loved and admired begin to age with us and slowly leave us, crossing over to somewhere or something that none of us can claim to have had a previous glimpse of. All we saw, everything that remains to be seen, has become half of the teeter-totter and the balancing bear has moved on, a pattern of stars, another invented constellation in the night sky. We can only be aware of its movement by focusing on it every night now until a new day comes into play and the night sky fades away.