Big and Small

Each new bullet of bad news seems to ricochet off yet another, creating a torrent of projectiles. And in this process, the unknown location of the path of each ricochet makes the fear of being hit by bad news even greater.

How do we cope with the uncertainty of life? How do we cope with the uncertainty of bad news?

For many, long-term plans have shifted from a perspective of years to months. All the while, the present moment feels eternally long. My current Personal Finance class asks students to consider an 80-year life plan, a 30-year stock portfolio, and a 20-year mortgage in its assignments. The unpredictability within these time constraints are made much more real by the COVID-19 crisis.

For me, uncertainty is terrifying because it results in my furthered understanding of humanity’s frailty.

While our collective existence of over 200,000 years appears vast, its position within the context of our universe is so infinitely meager.

It appears to me that in a two-week period, humanity has taken a step back to consider just how small, or how big, things really are.

Prior to two weeks ago, I considered a piece of Wrigley’s chewing gum to be small. Now, the membranous layer of a COVID-19 particle reframes the chewing gum as gargantuan.

Throughout all of this, I feel grateful about our mind’s ability to reframe and reconsider. I hope to never lose sight of the immensity of one’s mind, as we collectively enter the next months of recovery and reconsideration.

“One who brings

A mind not to be changed by place or time.

The mind is its own place, and in itself

Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”

-Paradise Lost, (I.252-256)


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