I had a lot of fun making this video for the final project for a film class I took. It sums up the mindset I shift into when starting a new project I’m intimidated to begin.
We live on tiny patches of a planet called earth, but we don’t see how our home looks suspended in space, the only haven for life for billions of miles in every direction. We live and die by the blood circulating through our veins, but we can’t see the cells carrying the oxygen around that sustains us.
I made this video to highlight the absurdity of what we are ashamed of. We’re consumed by perceiving that we are too fat or too thin, too hairy or don’t have enough hair on our heads, too many freckles or zits, too young or too old, because our perspective is so myopically focused on ourselves, on our reflection, on our bank account, on our status, on how we are perceived by others.
If we zoom in, to the cellular level, we’d be astonished at the number of miniscule machines inside us, working with incredible precision and timing, knowing precisely when to spawn a copy, precisely when to die, precisely where and how to transport compounds synthesized by other cells, the billions of cells and the trillions of bacteria living together and working in unison and inexplicably consciousness emerges.
If we zoom out of our internal dialogue, to the sky, to seeing down on the earth, we’d be astonished by how small we are, how delicately the earth rests in a cold, unforgiving galaxy. We’d marvel at how miraculously tiny the entire planet we call home is. The desired effect is to shrink our problems as well, to see that they we inflate our struggles and give them too much importance. That we aren’t missing the forest for the trees… it would be more accurate to say we’re missing the forest for a single grain of dirt.
“A man’s life is subject to inner storms far more frightening than those in the world around him. (1)”
I think that’s true because: we live life zoomed in.
Wrapped up in looking a certain way
Worried about making enough money
Consumed with becoming fantastically fit one day
Concerned about not having enough hair
Concerned about being too hairy
Finding the right purpose
Finding the right job
Finding the right person
How to fit in
How to stand out
What if we zoom out?
It’s so easy to forget that even when we are standing perfectly still, the ground beneath us is spinning at 1,000 miles per hour to turn day into night.
It’s so easy to forget that even while we spin at 1,000 miles an hour, we also rotate.
We effortlessly glide on a 93 million mile journey around the sun.
We tear through space at 18 miles a second.
67 thousand miles an hour.
To make just one of the 78 expected revolutions you’ll make around the sun.
It’s so easy to forget that we’re standing on a speck of dust suspended in space. The only hospitable home for any life we know for billions of miles in every direction.
“This tiny dot, home to everyone you’ve ever known, everyone you’ve ever heard of, every human being who ever was. Every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived here–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.” (2)
What if we zoom in?
Every cell in our body – skin, nerve, heart, spleen – a minuscule machine perfectly engineered, manufactured, differentiated to complete some nanoscale task.
Every single cell, programmed to spawn and to die at a prescribed time, to fall exactly into line.
A single misstep, a single cell selfishly decides to live past it’s expiration date, and we’re devastated with something as crippling as cancer.
A heart beat, 115 thousand consistent beats a day.
A second’s delay, and we’re brought to our knees in pain.
Hydrochloric acid, an acid corrosive enough to dissolve metal blades, sloshes innocently around our stomachs, inches from our vital organs.
A single cell, smaller than you can see, is able to wrap up DNA so tightly to be contained inside a nucleus, yet if the DNA of a single cell were to be stretched out it would be over 6 feet tall. If the DNA in all 10 trillion of our cells were stretched out, we’d have a thin rope that would stretch over 9 billion miles, and get us to Pluto and back.
It’s absurd that you even exist at all.
So much had to align.
Your mother physically encountered 124,000 men while she was of reproductive age.
Your father similarly encountered close to 120,000 women. And despite thousands of other partners, yet they chose each other.
Your Mom had 7 million other eggs inside of her that could have been fertilized.
Your Dad produced 525 billion other sperm that wouldn’t have been you.
In the process of creating you, 40 million sperm fought to fertilize 1 egg.
And this process had to occur again and again, with your grandparents, their grandparents, and their grandparent’s grandparent’s — in an unending chain, since the beginning of human kind— to create you.
“We begin by worrying we aren’t good enough, smart enough, or talented enough to get what we want, then we voluntarily live in this paralyzing mental framework, rather than confront our own role in this paralysis. Just the possibility of failing turns into a dutiful, self-fulfilling prophecy. We begin to believe that these personal restrictions are in fact, the fixed limitations of the world. We go on to live our lives, all the while wondering what we can change and how we can change it, and we calculate and re-calculate when we will be ready to do the things we want to do. And we dream. If only. If only. If only. One day. Some day. Every once in a while - often when we least expect it - we encounter someone more courageous, someone who chose to strive for that which (to us) seemed unrealistically unattainable, even elusive. And we marvel, we swoon, we gape. Often, we are in awe. I think we look at these people as lucky. When in fact, luck has nothing to do with it. It is really all about the strength of their imagination; it is about how they constructed the possibilities for their life. They didn’t determine what was impossible before it was even possible. If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve. Do what you love, and don’t stop until you get what you love. Work as hard as you can, imagine immensities, don’t compromise, and don’t waste time. Start now. Not 20 years from now, not two weeks from now. Now.” (3)
Footage obtained from:
- Introducing Verily
- The Sagan Series- The Frontier is Everywhere
- Misty Copeland - Revolution
- John Legend You and I
- Edge of Stability
Quotes (adapted) from Yusuf Ali (1), Carl Sagan (2) and Debbie Millman (3)