About the Deepest Turtle (and Highest Eagle)


According to ancient mythology, the reason that the world floats in space, or does not “fall down”, is that it is supported by a World Turtle. That of course raises the question, “What is the turtle resting on?” Apparently, this question was asked at a conference, and, according to some accounts, either the speaker or someone in the audience responded, “It is turtles all the way down!”

I think this is a great metaphor for how we try to understand the world we live in. We start with some questions, find some answers, that lead to other questions, that lead to more answers and more questions, and so on. But, just because it may be turtles all the way down, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to reach the deepest turtle that we possibly can. This has pretty much been the history of human inquiry in all its forms, and it will continue. I’d like to be a part of this inquiry, and this is where the “Deepest Turtle” part of the blog title comes from.

OK. What about the “Highest Eagle?”

Well, is Truth-seeking all there is? What about Magic? Imagination? Art, music, literature, poetry? Hope and happiness? Where do those fit into the mythology?

This led me to an alternative myth of my own. Maybe the world isn’t falling because it is resting on a turtle, but because it is trying to fly, trying to reach for an eagle it sees flying high in the sky. This is obviously a metaphor for everything that life in all its forms strives for – hoping to survive and thrive in spite of all the challenges. Trying to fly in spite of the force of gravity pulling it down – metaphorically as well as in reality.

But then this inevitably leads to the question, “Why is the eagle flying?”

May be it is trying to reach an eagle it sees flying even higher in the sky! And so on, until we get to, “It’s eagles all the way up, people!”

This, then, leads to a different direction and purpose: to fly with the highest eagle that we can.

In reality, as individuals as well as the entire society, we are exploring both directions. The world, metaphorically, is resting on an infinite sequence of turtles as well as trying to fly with an infinite sequence of eagles.

Thus, “Deepest Turtle, Highest Eagle”.

One could say, “the one who swims with the deepest turtle and flies with the highest eagle wins”! (An obvious play on the yuppie phrase “the one who dies with the most toys wins” from the 80’s.)

By the way, I am not saying that I am that person who is going to win this race or anywhere close to it. Just spend an hour on Wikipedia or Quora or various other sites on the internet, or listen to some great music or go to the museum, and it is obvious that there are people who have played with turtles swimming far deeper than I have ever seen, and have flown with eagles flying way higher up in the sky. But I certainly want to be a part of the race.

I wouldn’t really call myself a writer or a blogger, so don’t judge me on my ability to write. That’s not the point of this blog. I am basically a software engineer / scientist by profession as well as at heart, who is curious about the world, and likes to¬† use writing as a way to organize his own thoughts and hopefully get some feedback and new ideas from others. This blog is really meant to be a hobby rather than a professional activity.

Thanks for reading and please do come back.

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