Looking Through the Wrong End of the Telescope

By Seamus Anthony

By Seamus Anthony Ennis

It’s just my opinion, and I have no idea what I am talking about, but you – yes, you – have absolutely no clue what the hell is going on.

Yes, you heard me, and that goes for your guru, coach, expert or teacher also.

You see, sometimes when I am at barbecues, beer comfortably resting on my belly, paper plate piled high on my knee, the subject comes up that I write personal development articles and, for better or worse, I cringe. Why? Because the first thing that happens, at least in my mind, is that people look at me and think “Well, what the hell does he know that I don’t? He’s no guru; look at that blob of mayonnaise on his beard! And isn’t that the guy who drank a couple too many at Jo’s party last fortnight and made a fool of himself? Personal development writer indeed – hmmph!”

And the truth is they are right. I don’t know diddly. But neither do ‘they’ and neither, my friend, do you.

Bill Connolly Doesn't Know, Neither Do I

You might have chosen to believe certain things, and these beliefs are most likely an integral part of your sense of personal identity. In fact they are probably very useful in keeping you from just collapsing under the weight of a total existential breakdown, but nevertheless…

You. Don’t. Know. Anything. About. Anything.

Believing something is not the same as knowing something. One is a choice, the other is a certainty, and in this life there are no certainties.

Everything you think you know is all just your own unique perspective and is completely unprovable as ultimate truth.

I once saw that great, mad, rambling comic Billy Connolly expound his view on this. Minus a few expletives, he said:

“We are part of something enormous that’s too big for us too understand. … We’ve been looking through the wrong end of the telescope for God … See those wee things that live in ponds … they don’t have a clue that we exist, because we’re too big for them … Well, there’s something too huge for us. We’re the leg of a chair. We’re a cup of tea. We’re something dead simple.”

In other words we just see this little circle of possibility that just doesn’t give us a particularly insightful view of the big picture whatsoever. We are too big for the little water bugs to comprehend, and that, my little insect friends, is our lot too. If you’ve ever seen that email that goes around comparing the relative size of the planets to each other and then to the sun, and then our sun to the other even bigger suns out there until planet Earth is so little it can’t even be seen on the computer screen anymore, then you’ll know what Billy means. We are so, so tiny in the grand scheme of things that we are conceited to think that we will ever understand our Universe …

… and herein lies our freedom.

(“Everybody! Follow me!” screams Connolly, doing a Nazi salute and marching off, “We’ll come back for your valuables later!”)

But seriously, given that you will soon be dead, and given that you can’t be expected to understand God or the big picture, there is simply no good reason why you shouldn’t dream ‘big’ (which will always be comparatively small) and, to reclaim a corporately-hijacked cliché, just do it.

I Don’t Know What I’m Talking About

I don’t know what I’m talking about of course, but in my opinion our mission is to help to raise the vibration of the universe just a little bit. To make a positive contribution. Now, this contribution, even if you became the single most important human being in the history of the world, will by default always be tiny in the grand scheme of things, but in the earthly context of this and subsequent generations, you can help to make our world a better place, and this can bring you (and others) happiness.

Far be it for me to bark orders, but there’s no point trying to understand the Universe, because that is a waste of time, and there’s no point wasting our lives chasing security, because there simply is no security. Soon, very soon, you will be dead and whatever happens after that is anybody’s guess. So be free. Do what you want. Dream a dream and have a go. Sure you’ll need to consider practicalities, and you’ll need to decide whether or not you really do actually want the pressure and risk that comes with being a working astronaut or high-wire trapeze artist, but don’t let others put you off by telling you what-is-what, because those people, be they priest, parent, spouse, whoever, have absolutely no clue – and neither do you.

If you ponder it long enough, I hope you will see the ultimate freedom that lies in this fact: No matter how hard you peer up above you, you will never really know what the heck is actually going in outside of your little muddy puddle, so you are free do what you feel.

My only sub-clause is this: The one apparently apparent fact in this life is that doing good is infinitely more satisfying for any sane person than doing evil. So please don’t use this article as an excuse to do something horrible. After all, it’s not like I have the foggiest idea what I am on about.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go and find a napkin to wipe the mayonnaise – and forty seven thousand, three hundred and eighty nine tiny doomed critters – off my beard. Good day to you.

This article was first published in print in Living Now Publishing’s DaretoDream magazine (March 2008, Australia)

Hi, I'm Seamus Anthony. I am an author, artist and musician from Australia. Here at Rebel Zen, I document my journey as an creative artist and human and in doing so, hopefully help you in your own progress through your life of creativity. Go get your free E-book by me: "Taming The Monkey Mind".