“It seems that only now we realize…”

I’m somewhat obsessed these days by the W.S. Merwin poem The Iceberg, especially these lines, which I take to be in part a meditation on the existential crisis humanity is struggling with as we come to understand a incomprehensibly large and ancient universe in which we are, as far as we know, alone:

“…It seems that only now
We realize the depth of the water, the
Abyss over which we float among such
Clouds. And still not understanding
The coldness of most elegance, even
With so vast and heartless a splendor
Before us, stare, caught in the magnetism
Of great silence, thinking: this is the terror
That cannot be charted, this is only
A little of it.”



Glimpsing the true nature of our situation has driven humanity half crazy, I sometimes think. Yet I am optimistic that we may come through this a profoundly more mature, and perhaps far bolder, species. And at the very heart of the maturation is planetary thinking.

Friday afternoon thoughts…