I’ve sometimes been gripped by the image of the raindrop, formed of moisture and dropping from the clouds. Some bigger, or smaller, moving faster or slower or in different ways than the human eye can ever distinguish. I imagine them pointing out these differences to each other as they rush unknowing towards the ground: some boasting of their proportions and qualities, and others wishing they could be like them, as they all hurtled downwards on a journey which is known to mankind, but full of mystery for the raindrop.
In time all of them fall to the ground below and become a sea of mud, puddle or a river. That was their purpose and fate all along: everything else was details. When we look at the puddle, no one cares about the merits of the individual drops which formed it. That is just a way, metaphorically, for the individual droplets to motivate and cheer themselves up against the vast backdrop of the unknown.
In the same way, life or photo-synthesis keeps exploring different avenues in which to express itself, and we, as species or individuals, are one of these. As we walk towards sweet oblivion dressed in some startling pink creation, or the rags of the poor, all life asks is, “have we passed our DNA down to the next generation” ? The rest is not, in these terms, a matter of great interest.
In the puddle of life, no raindrop says I got here first, so I must have the best position, All individual identity is lost in the purpose of the whole. It is not an image of oblivion. It is a story of discovery beyond the boundaries of our own concerns.
It is a metaphor, and not a philosophy of life, so it has its limitations. At the last report the ingredients of a human are much more complicated than that of a raindrop, but in other ways it has some truth. We spend too much time talking about our differences, and not enough celebrating what we share. We boast, too often for the smallest reason, instead of taking the larger view, and in some generations our identities will vanish into the puddle of history and lose all individual identity. This is not a sad thing
Somewhere, just beyond our vision, and out of earshot, a wondrous, majestic and almost timeless drama is unfolding, and the less thought we give to our individual vanities and situations , and the more we agree to lose ourselves in the wonders of existence, the more inspired we might be. The heart of the matter is, if we take some time to consider ourselves as being fluid like water, and concentrate less on being individual droplets, the more the journey makes sense or at least might do.
The more I lose myself in the sense of the world around me, somehow the richer the journey becomes. It has its downsides. I can knock into things because I don’t look where I am going, and my personal circumstances are sometimes subject to unsettling levels of uncertainty, but the view can be too mesmerizing for me to take my eye off it. Sharing it takes on an urgency all its own.