January 30, 2008

Falling Up

I admit this is a reference to another author's work, namely Shel Silverstein. I love the poem by this title. However, I find this combination of words has many potential meanings, some of which could relate to my field of study.

The erection of buildings often seems to be an unstoppable force, one that is constantly moving, constantly creating, seemingly without effort. This is clearly an illusion, because as we know, buildings are designed and constructed only due to the hard work of many people for many long hours, and I hope one day to be a part of this process. Thus Falling up could mean an unstoppable force opposing gravity. Closer examination of the words and their connotations can bring other meaning to light.

Falling is something that takes place naturally, without human intervention. It is used metaphoricaly in the phrases falling appart, falling in love, and falling out. In almost every instance it describes forces beyond one's control, obviously referencing gravity in its most literal sense.

Up is a direction, but also a word seen in metaphorical use. It is generally associated with improvement, advancement, or happiness. It references movement in a direction typically seen as oposite that of falling, but pairing the two gives the new meaning to each.

My favorite potential meaning of Falling Up is the spontaneous and uncontrollable improvement of one's situation, even one's life (this could also be related to the word eucatastrophy invented by J.R.R. Tolkien). If you have ever felt this happening to you, you know that it is one of the most wonderful experiences you will ever have. Most often, when left to itself, one would expect ones life to fall apart, for things to unravel. But I have witnessed that sometimes, when you let things happen to you, when you let ideas come to you, things can turn in your favor without warning.

I hope that mine and your academic experience will be full of such turning points, and that we will let ourselves be inspired, and be touched, rather than chasing after things we will later discover were not worth chasing. I by no means suggest that hard work is pointless, only that I relish in those moments that the wonderfully unexpected happens, and makes my work load that much lighter.

So here's to Hard work, Sucess, and Falling Up!