Who breathes whom?

April 20, 2020 13:55

Apparently we have varying degrees of control of the dimensions of our lives. For example, I can control my breathing — by holding my breath. But not for long. Rather than "I'm breathing my breath", maybe a better way to look at that is "My breath is breathing me!" After all, who ultimately is in control?

Indeed, considering things from the exact opposite perspective can sometimes be very helpful: one can mathematically represent the solar system as the sun revolving around the earth (as did Ptolemy), but that representation is so much more convoluted and complex than the opposite perspective of the earth revolving around the sun. It's not that the model of the sun revolving around the earth is wrong (that model works too!), rather that one model is a mathematical mess and the other is elegant and simple.

The word for 'breath' (PNEUMA) is an interesting one in the New Testament, also being used for 'spirit' and 'wind'. In that light, consider Jesus saying: "The wind/spirit/breath blows where it wants, and you hear its sound but do not know whence it is coming or where it is going. Thus is everyone who has been begotten by the wind/spirit/breath." (John 3:8). In other words, the breath, I mean wind, I mean spirit — has a mind of her own.

So one can extend that idea: Do I live my life, or does Life live me? I like to think I make choices, but do Choices choose me? Which way is it?

I wonder sometimes.

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