On Jellyfish

This picture is not upside down.

I watched Jellyfish swim for hours, and my unscientific observation was that this was their preferred orientation. I suspect they exist in a world without upside-down. I imagine their world consists of something that feels like more-pressure or less-pressure, colder or warmer, in a current or out of it. It is only we who want to assign them a top and a bottom.

In college I hung a map of the world with Antartica closest to the ceiling. Seemingly everyone asked why my map was upside down. The vehemence with which they clung to their notions of order was surprising and amusing.

We are in a sphere spinning in another sphere spinning in yet another sphere spinning in perhaps uncountable other spheres in all sorts of directions and yet we insist, not only that there exists a top and a bottom, but that we know which is which. Our senses AND our feelings confirm that this is the case. (Unless, curiously, you get spun around very fast, which is, ironically, what is actually happening to us -- but on a scale too large to perceive). 

They also tell us that we are at the center of the universe. To quote David Foster Wallace:

“Everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe, the realest, most vivid and important person in existence.

We rarely think about this sort of natural, basic self-centeredness, because it’s so socially repulsive, but it’s pretty much the same for all of us, deep down.

It is our default setting, hardwired into our boards at birth.

Think about it: There is no experience you’ve had that you were not at the absolute center of. The world as you experience it is there in front of you, or behind you, to the left or right of you…”

We are wrong all counts. 

These photos are neither right side nor upside down.