THE MYSTIQUE OF THE SHIP

By William Markiewicz

Boat
(Small Boat at Costa Brava -- Woodcut -- WM)

When humans widened their physical dimensions and went out on the water, they also widened their psychic dimension in a universe that was still familiar because the world doesn't pass by too fast for the senses, as in a car or a plane. On a ship, existence means continuity, contrary to plane or car where continuous interruptions are the rule.

Why is the Captain of the ship a wizard? He doesn't discuss with the thunderstorm. If he understands the balance of power, he can apply this knowledge to other aspects of being; he will sense when he is "the thunderstorm" and when he is an element obliged to cope.

The ship is the first link in the symbiosis that helped humans to conquer the world. If scraping flint against flint permitted humans to control fire, this time, to conquer a new element (water) the smart use of observation was insufficient. He had to use his brain to build something complicated for a complicated goal. Previously he made simpler tools for immediate use: knives, weapons ... But the ship in itself is more abstract in goal than hunting or fighting which remain in the line of eye/hand coordination. The ship is a tool for a trek toward the opposite end, where lies culture. We use the ship for discoveries, commerce ... This supersedes the simple neighbour or tribe relationship.

The ship is the most organic of our major primary creations. You don't have to know physics or philosophy to catch the potential almost immediately; in this it is like an extension of our bodies.

For this reason, I could write "I'm a mighty ship - resisting thunderstorm's whip - and when sleep overpowers me - I'll grow, in the forest, a mighty oak tree..." Nevertheless, nobody can write: "I am a plane, a car," etc.

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