A Community of Ideas

In the years since I was a child, Sarasota had changed drastically. Urban sprawl brought subdivisions to areas that were once orange groves and cow pastures. Buildings had come and gone like flowering buds opening for Spring and falling away. The downtown landscape seemed like a foreign land compared to what it was when I was younger.

The buildings now were taller. The marketplace was more diverse. In the mirrored walls of One Sarasota Tower, I could see the reflection of the John Ringling Bridge, a four lane span that replaced a two lane drawbridge only a few years ago.

Were I able to blink the last thirty years from my memory, the change in my hometown would have truly seemed magical. I imagined seeing this place through the eyes of those I witnessed gather fruit from trees among the herds of mastodons. To them, the progress of civilization would seem nothing short of miraculous. Perhaps there is something to this idea of abracadabra, I thought.

Each of the buildings in whose shadows I now walked was once only a vision. The road and accompanying sidewalks were once only a path in the mind. Every business that inhabited the concrete canyon started with a desire to create or fill a need. Indeed, the entire culture that I am now a part of was once nothing more than a thought.

As these ideas were communicated through blue prints, business plans, and zoning grids, what were once visions made their transition into existence. It occurred to me that every facet of civilization was developed the same way. Our languages, our infrastructures, our technologies, even our arts had all started on a subconscious level, and been made manifest through the will of those who caught the vision.

I looked down at the sidewalk as I stepped lightly along Main Street. I noticed how it was divided into separate sections. At the crosswalks, the path was divided further into interlaid bricks, adding colored contrast and texture to the gray concrete and black macadam. But it was all Main Street, a systematic collection of developments brought together to form the hub of the community, and it had all once been only a vision.

I noticed the variety of cars, trucks, and pedestrians that traveled from place to place, business to business, creating commerce. Each of the vehicles at one time or another, would leave this particular road and venture out into other parts of the city, carrying with them whatever wares they were purchasing or ideas they were passing on to further the development of the society of which they were a part. But it was still all one society, a community which had once been only a dream.

And just as Sarasota the city stood as its own entity, it was a part of the larger county, and still a part of the state of Florida, which was a part of the United States, which was a part of the Earth at large, a hierarchy of imaginary lines and distinctions that had served to help create the whole from the many, but which were all still begun as only a thought. And indeed, they still stand as such.

It occurred to me that as this rise of humanity was based on creating distinctions, and that same concept of separation was what forced us into suffering the Fall, perhaps it would be the breaking down of those distinctions which would help us come full circle and conclude this revolution. Perhaps the direction in which we are heading is not to create further separation, but to find the essential unity in each of us and in every thing that makes up this world, and even the universe at large.

“Hey!” I heard a voice behind me and turned to see a smiling face looking out of the window of a familiar orange car parked on the side of the road.

“Hey back,” I said.

“What have you been up to?” Alicia asked.

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

“Are you doing some shopping?”

“Um, research, I guess.” It dawned on me that I didn’t even have my wallet with me, much less fare for the bus. “I don’t suppose you could give me a ride. I’m kind of stranded.”

“For my white night. Of course. Hop in.”

Alicia cleared some debris from the front seat and I strapped myself in.

“Forgive the mess,” she said. “My maid’s on vacation.”

“No problem.”

“So how’s the book coming?” she asked as we headed into traffic.

“It’s getting pretty interesting.” 

This is an excerpt from How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. Come back weekly for the next part or order your copy in ebook or paperback today!