A Species Detached
Since this is a first post: hi, I'm Jon Michalik. I'm a human on a planet called Earth. This planet flies through something we call the universe, and it stays in the same relative spot thanks to a big anchor known as a star, which we call the Sun. On this big blue marble, we have a lot of things. Among these things, a surprising amount of them can move all on their own. Among the things that move, an even more surprising amount of them live, breathe, and think. And among even those things is a group quite astonishing. Things that can dream. I'm in that group, the things we call humans. We're capable of some pretty awe-inspiring things. Or, at least, I think so.
If you're reading this, you're probably in that group, too. If not, I hope you'll stick around anyways, though I apologize in advance that this site is geared toward humanity. See, humans have this home, and it's pretty great. The planet I mentioned earlier (Earth) is this bustling orb of vigor and life. Everything here was built with the stuff of stars, changing and evolving over time to the point it is now. Looking out my window, now is a pretty interesting time. It's full of massive structures called buildings to hold people and their things. It's covered in long concrete and asphalt roads to ride our metal boxes that move by making tiny repetitive explosions. It's full of lights to illuminate any shadow. When I look inside my window, it's pretty interesting too. It's full of glass that can show me facts and opinions to any question I could possibly think up. There's a furry creature here called a dog that makes me smile all the time. There's loads of boxes that hold discs of information I can project onto glass, showing me worlds that only exist in our imaginations.
This might sound kind of weird, but of all those things I could see, there's one thing I couldn't.
This isn't to say that the planet isn't there. When I look out my window, it's definitely there. We (humans, that is) have just changed it. Significantly. Or at the very least, we've built so much on top of it that it's hard to recognize it anymore. When I walk done the street and I see a field with trees, I see the park, not the woodland. When I walk to the store, I see the unused trench, not the wetland. When I drive down a country road, I see the preserve, not the forest. What feels weirdest to me, though, is when I do see other life, it's only plants and animals. I don't know their names. It's like they're not a part of my world. Only decor in passing.
I've thought about this feeling a lot lately. This feeling of living in a world that is built on top of something I don't know. How we, as the dreamers, keep building on that foundation, slowly deteriorating it without even realizing it. That the more we build, the more abstract our home becomes. The less we have to interact with the foundation we built upon. The less we have to coexist with the things we share this planet with.
Maybe I'm wrong here, but I don't think I'm alone in this thinking. I don't think I'm alone in wondering what humanity's relationship with this planet is. We've gone so far beyond what this planet was intended to hold regarding our species that it's hard for us to consider ourselves as much a part of it as the plants and animals alongside us. We've distanced ourselves such that we only know some base words, not the purpose, the function, the story of our world.
It's because of this feeling that I started volunteering with my local arboretum. It's because of this feeling that I've started to learn about the plants that enrich the areas around me. It's because of this feeling that I'm learning more than just words, but the stories of how everything lives on this planet.
It's because of this feeling that I'm starting this website.
I want to both help myself and as many people around me learn our place on this planet. I want to know how the things we as humans do impact the world around us. I want to know why plants and animals move and interact the way they do with each other around the Earth. I want to learn the names of the many things around me that humanity, at large, may have forgotten.
I want to care about our home.
And the best way I've learned to care is to learn in general. This planet is full of names and experiences and stories waiting to be found, if only we can see past the abstractions we've built and interact with our foundation once again. I want to share the things I learn and find with you, and encourage you to learn and find your own things to share. Together, we can understand our home enough to foster it and ensure we can live on and alongside it eons to come.
So...hi, I'm Jon Michalik. I'm a human, one of the dreamers in a place called Earth. Let's learn together and embrace our prismatic planet. Let's see what wonders await us.
~ And, as always, don't forget to keep wondering ~
So busy are we
Little gears in the machine
Meaning lost to mean
~ In memory of Neil Peart (1952-2020) ~
Prismatic Planet wants to get excited for the planet, raise awareness of its inhabitants, and get smarter about Earth.