Long time ago, there were those who believed that the earth was flat… that if you travelled long enough in a straight line, you would sure reach the precipice from where a drop would take you down the great unknown. And then it was discovered that actually the earth wasn’t quite a table-top it was in fact a sphere, so if you started from point A, and travelled endlessly in the same direction you would actually end up at the very same spot. Now for the philosophically inclined it would mean that you would have had all the experience of having travelled the world, but from a Physicist’ point of view all your work would equal zero. Work = Force*Distance, and having reached the same spot you would have essentially made zero progress and therefore all your force (or energy spent) wouldn’t count for much.
Sure, it would appear a very cynical approach! But actually, there is some merit to delve deeper along this line. For instance, I would think we usually have a journey from Point A to Point B, so if I were to end up at Point A, having started at the very same place, it could be because
- I didn’t know where I was going- I didn’t know wherever I ended up
- I didn’t know from where I started
In the first case it is quite possible that when you begin you don’t quite know where you’re going or want to go – could be for a variety of reasons, the most obvious one being that you’re looking out into the unknown and uncertain, so being a lil unsure cant be so much of a sin. And if that uncertainty stays long enough, you end up where you started and you cant be peeved about it. After all, you didn’t have anything in mind so you cant quite complain about what you get.
Also, there could be some who wouldn’t give much of a thought where they end up, for them it could be all about the experience, about the journey, by choice or otherwise they could give it a philosophical fillip to their ignorance and ineptitude and none would really give it a canter.
Guess it’s the final category that appears to have lost out most. For one, they had a goal, and two did work towards it and yet to have the efforts nullified is sure a hard pill to swallow. And this is where the ‘earth is round’ principle comes in, it shows that every goal is relative and nothing is this world is an absolute value. For you to know and very well achieve your end goal, it is just as important to know where you stand as it is to know where you are headed. You could be making every effort for progress but having no understanding of your standing you will end up coming back to the same place.
Then there are other connotations to think about, it could be that you goals are alright, but you are starting at the wrong place. It could be that you don’t see where you started and when you come back to that place, you are in just a dilemma of having made progress, your actual movement is nil.
Or it could be that you do not know how much, how far and how long you need to go before you reach your destination. You may be blindly surging forward, there is effort but without a vision! To know where you stand is often half the battle, if you see a sprinter before a race he will never start off looking at the finishing line, he will first set his feet firm at the starting point. When the race begins, you don’t want to be faltering – know where you stand and stand firm on your feet!
Finally, given that the earth is round any direction is a relative direction. You head far enough on the left and you’ll end up on the right. And that’s why the three wise men followed the star that led them to the Messiah; and some other wise men said, “Aim for the stars and you’ll at least end up in the clouds” … for they understood that true progress is neither left or right, it is actually upward. Upward to being something greater than yourself!
Now don’t point out gravity to me, we’ll save that for another discussion :)