View from above

There’s a Stoic exercise referred to as ‘the view from above’ in which you imagine looking at the world from a distance. It could help you achieve some mental equanimity and a more realistic perspective on your life.

Powers of ten by Eames reminds me of this exercise. In the video the camera zooms out from a scene in a parc towards the edge of the universe (and then zooms in again to DNA-level).

Powers of Ten by Eames Office on YouTube.

I tried to create my own view from above guidance based on a biological classification. Here it is in reverse order:

  • Universe
  • Galaxy: Milky Way
  • System: Solar
  • Planet: Earth
  • Life on Earth
  • Superregnum: Eukaryota
  • Regnum: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Vertebrata
  • Classis: Mammalia
  • Supercohors: Placentalia
  • Ordo: Primates
  • Superfamilia: Hominoidea
  • Familia: Hominidae
  • Subfamilia: Homininae
  • Tribus: Hominini
  • Subtribus: Hominina
  • Genus: Homo
  • Subgenus: Homo (homo)
  • Species: H. (h.) sapiens
  • Specimen: crrmnsrg
  • Datestamp: Late 20th, early 21st century AD

You could expand the above in time with this beautiful video from the American Museum of Natural History about seven million years of human evolution:

Seven Million Years of Human Evolution by American Museum of Natural History on YouTube.

We’ve got distance and time covered. We could add size with this interesting video by Harry Evett:

Universe Size Comparison 3D by Harry Evett on YouTube.

Maybe these videos affect you too. I find they have a soothing effect. They kind of ‘put me in my place’ by highlighting the fragility of my life.