Monday, May 3, 2010

Looking Up At Mountains Versus Looking Down

After exploring some 200 of the estimated 45,000 seamounts that dot the ocean floor worldwide, scientists from NOAA and Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi were surprised to learn that these submerged peaks have an abundance of biodiversity. This comes as no surprise to whales and dolphins as we have always known about the profusion of life that exists on these underwater mountaintops, which brings to mind another fundamental difference in the way our two species view our surroundings. I commented about this last October but it bears repeating now: it is how differently we view mountains. You humans are surrounded by peaks that tower over you, making you seem small and insignificant. For you to see the view from their tops you must climb their sides, a journey that is arduous and often fatal. Whereas we spend our lives swimming high above seamounts. From our vantage point, we can see the majesty of a mountaintop—the biodiversity noted in the NOAA/Texas A&M study—while its base holds no appeal for us, because it is rooted firmly in the deeps, where we dare not go. It causes me to wonder if that is why the soul of man is cloaked in darkness and self-pity, while that of my kind is filled with light and hope; you spend your entire lives looking up at mountains wishing you were on top, while we spend our lives looking down on them thankful we are not at the bottom.

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