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The Hierarchy of Heaven and Earth
A View by Richard Lang


At very close range I am atoms. An atom is so small it cannot be seen even with the most powerful microscope. In the width of a hair you could fit one million of them. If my body weighed 70kg, then I would contain about 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms. That's a lot of atoms!

Atoms combine with other atoms to form molecules. Of the one hundred or so pure substances or elements (an element is one atom by itself) only about twenty occur in living things. Surprisingly, these are not the most common ones. Silicon, the most abundant element on earth is a major component of very few organisms, yet carbon, though three hundred times less frequent, is an essential constituent of all of them. This is because carbon has such unique properties that it can combine with other elements to make molecular structures capable of the life processes of growth, activity and reproduction.

Growing And Shrinking
At the human level, humans join with other humans to become families, societies, and eventually all of humanity. This is possible because each human is not for him or herself separate from others but is really capacity for others. I can expand to include more of my neighbours, or contract to include fewer of them, because essentially I have no size. This is just as true at the atomic level. Atoms are nothing in themselves but capacity for other atoms. When they expand to include their neighbours they 'borrow' or share electrons orbiting other atoms - and so link together to form molecules. My vertically mobile observer, stepping away to observe my atoms linking together into a molecule, is witnessing the process by which my behaviour at the atomic level translates upwards into my behaviour at the molecular level, and eventually, via the cellular level, into my behaviour as a human being. Everything I do as a person could conceivably be analysed down into what my atoms are doing, and all that my atoms are doing could be extrapolated into what I am doing at the human level. I am both atomic and human - they are different levels of my many-levelled being.

I Am Mysterious
As my observing scientist moves in very close to me, attempting to uncover my innermost reality, she finds me strange, elusive, packed with hidden power. This is no surprise to me. She is approaching the mystery of my centre. Here in my centre I know myself as even more unknowable, impossible to pin down and powerful than she finds me to be at the atomic level. Here I am absolutely unknowable, unlocatable, powerful...

Of course, if I were to view her at the same range I would register her atomic appearance and would find her strange, elusive, powerful...

"He (Ezekiel) saw a city set on a hill sloping towards the south, which measured no more than a rod in length and breadth, that is, six cubits and a palm. But when he was brought into the city and looked about him he thought it was very spacious -- many hundred cubits in length and breadth. It was extraordinary to him that this city which was so spacious within appeared so small when he stood outside.". Walter Hilton

Go to My Sub-Atomic Identity

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