The Direction of Our Eyes

Almost every ancient and medieval wonder is about the stars.

Megalithic structures. Advanced mechanical devices. Works of art. Advanced knowledge in medicine and agriculture. Philosophy. Religion. Ritual.

Just about every meta-level human endeavor was related to the sky, the bodies that populate it, and their motion. Even mundane daily tasks had a tight connection to things above.

When was the last time you looked up at the sky?

Almost none of the businesses or inventions today are based on the expanse above our heads. In fact, this is so much the case that we have a term for getting important stuff done: Heads down work.

Most daily production and procurement commands a downward orientation. But even when we step back to do higher level work on vision or strategy we look down, only from a higher vantage point. We zoom out, or take a 30-thousand foot view, or look at, the big picture.

Our heads are down, or at most, raised to the horizontal plane, towards the future. We’re quite literally looking forward and inward and sideward and occasionally backward, but almost never upward.

I’ve always been fascinated by the power of our environment, our bodies, and our language and metaphors to shape our realities and possibilities.

What might the relentless downward draw on our eyes mean for our minds, bodies, cultures, and spirits?

What might happen if we re-orient our gaze upwards at least a little more of the time?

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