Monday, 21 December 2015

Comet Tails and Coal Dust

Day 22 (Tuesday 22nd December 2015)

22 is referred to as "two little ducks" in Bingo. Bingo's roots can be traced back to Lo Giuoco del Lotto d'Italia - the lottery established in 1530 in Florence after the long Siege,
as a means of raising funds for the state. The game spread across Europe. It was called 
Le Lotto in France and consisted of a square of card marked out in 3 rows and 9 columns with
numbers from 1-90 arranged at random in the boxes. A caller announced numbers as they were drawn.
The game travelled to North America in the 1920's and was called 
Beano (due to dried beans being used
to cover numbers once called and also being shouted when the first horizontal row was filled).
Legend has it that the name Bingo came about through an over-excited mispronunciation of Beano.
100 million people play bingo today.
Today's blog has been written by Trevor Black. Trevor was born and raised in South Africa, but now he lives in the UK. His parents had a passion for learning and creativity (both traits Trevor has inherited). Being academically accomplished and highly intelligent, Trevor commenced his career by qualifying as an actuary and working within Investment Management. He is rare in that he is both highly analytical but also is charismatic and curious - Trevor enjoys stimulating conversation and challenge, so it is no surprise that he subsequently transferred into a direct client-facing role. In autumn 2014 Trevor decided to go it alone and pursue his own passions - he blogs daily, you can read him on, is always up for a challenge, is a talented artist and entertaining and thought-provoking companion. You can follow him on Twitter (his handle is @trevorblack


When you look at the Pale Blue Dot picture of earth, we are less than a pixel. We are all the same pixel. It is difficult not to feel insignificant when the comet passing the earth, and the ‘large’ rock we call home melt into one, from far enough away. And yet, as that comet passes by and it continues on its journey, it is the only thing that matters. Each time we do something, it is the only thing that matters. Each time we think something, it is the only thought we have. Each time we look at someone, they are the only person in that moment with us.
Our lives are composed of stories and patterns. We connect things. Nothing exists in isolation and so we constantly look for reasons why they do. 

To help us predict what will happen next. To give us a sense of control. But hidden in the tails can be events that define everything. That change everything. The thought that we had put such importance on previous specific choices brings a wry smile. Each thing we do doesn’t matter in the broader context of everything that matters to us. And yet each thing we do is the only thing that matters.

The patterns that define our lives may turn out to be noise. They may turn out to have contained grand directional meaning that withers into nothing. The thing that cannot ever wither into nothing is the AND. The individual connections between things are eternal in time and space. 

Life may not have meaning. Life is given meaning. The meaning is what a thing is connected to. Parent AND child. Mentor AND mentee. The relationship between two things is far more important than the direction. Moment AND meaning.

From those connections, we can find the energy to drive us toward the things that matter. The warmth of a glowing coal, whose energy is released. Whose energy is transformed. 

Those connections are the coals. They are the glow. Even as they may pass, or break, they lead onto something else. We are only partially in control of the pattern of life. What we are control of is how we respond. What we are in control of is the current moment. Even if real control is just the ability to focus. To savour the moments and connections with which we are presented.

So that when those moments become dust, and they will, they will have been worth it. When those moments become dust, we will not have been so obsessed with them that we didn’t have perspective. Yet their dust will be part of the fabric that makes us up. We will have been half-hearted fanatics. Saving energy. Keeping our fire burning. Looking after ourselves. Looking after those we love. Looking at the stars. Creating and appreciating a world and a universe to which we are deeply, and intimately connected.

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