A microcosm is a self-contained world, a subset of one’s experiences. But for a microcosm to be completely isolated from all others is hardly possible. In our everyday lives we move in and out of various microcosms, each containing its own people, places, circumstances, and associated ideas. It is this intersection of microcosms I wish to study here.
The most obvious contrast is that of work and home. My work is a much different environment than my family life, which isn’t a bad thing. The people I know at my job are great, and I very much enjoy working with them. And my family is wonderful (which goes without saying :-)). But my family has never met my coworkers, and my coworkers have never met my family. However, I have met all of them; both of these microcosms form a part of my experience.
Now, I look at each person around me and must realize that I am only seeing the part of them that fits within the microcosm in which I know them. My work supervisor has a family life, and certainly many hobbies and interests not related to information technology. And sometimes he does tell us about them. But the perception I have of him is largely defined by his knowledge, behavior, and idiosyncracies as they emerge on and relate to the job.
A similar statement can be made of the friends I roomed with last year in college, the people in my classes, or acquaintances I made in various other situations. I may only have seen a small part of their character or merely scratched the surface of their depth of knowledge. Much more would be evident if I were to see a larger cross section of their lives.
In the same way that I see only a part of someone’s character in light of one microcosm, I understand the people and the world around me through the lenses of all the microcosms that comprise my life experience. One of my friends has taught me a tremendous amount about friendship. I only know as much about him as he has allowed me to see, but I know he has had a great deal more experience than I. As he has patiently shared the knowledge he has gained from his microcosmic intersections, he has expanded my view and helped me better understand myself and others. He is a part of my microcosmic intersection.
My family, of course, has taught me much about life, responsibility, and respectability. Both of my parents are well educated and want their children to be so, too. They have had many experiences that have defined them and made them the wonderful parents they are. I have benefited from their experience and knowledge as they have taught me and helped me become the person I am today. They are a part of my microcosmic intersection.
Reading and writing in the blogging community has taught me much about technology, current opinion, and writing. Certainly the bloggers with whom I interact (however indirectly that interaction be) form the most diverse microcosm of which I am a part, as they span the globe and run the gamut of political and religious belief, interest, and experience. They are a part of my microcosmic intersection.
Religion has always played a major role in my life and has helped me develop the beliefs and values I hold dear. I have met so many good people through my involvement in this microcosm who have taught and nurtured me. The unifying power of religion has brought our separate spheres and ideas into focus and shaped our lives. Religion is a part of my microcosmic intersection.
I think it would be well for us to look around ourselves and recognize the people and the microcosmic intersections that define our views of life. Each person has his own ideas and opinions, beliefs and values, defined by his microcosms. These microcosms contain other people who have their own views and goals. Thus we see the great circle: the macrocosm of the human race is viable only because each of us has vitality and individuality and yearns for interaction with others.
Life is defined by microcosmic intersection.