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What’s the point of looking at the Moon if we should be looking inward?

I recently published in a well-known social network a photograph that I took of the moon at midmorning, with a blue sky and, therefore, with the moon of that same color. Shortly afterwards someone asked me, in a good way and with the desire for dialogue, why it was necessary to look at the moon.

My immediate response was that we look to the moon as a way of reminding ourselves that there are elements beyond our control and beyond our reach. Obviously, we do not dictate to the moon which path it should follow. and, with very few known exceptions, human beings are far away from the moon.

In turn, my interlocutor's response was immediate: if we look to our inner self, we will also find elements of reality that we neither control nor are totally within our reach.

I thanked my interlocutor for his correct observation and the dialogue ended there. But the truth is that looking up and looking in is, ultimately, one and the same movement. Since ancient times it was taught that "As above, so below". Or, put another way, human beings are a microcosm.

It could also be said that who does not see himself/herself when looking at the moon, will not be able to see the moon when looking inside himself/herself. Or, in other words, whoever does not connect with the cosmos will not be able to connect with himself/herself.

That’s nothing new. Heraclitus already said that "The way up and the way down is one and the same." Looking at the moon, or, if you prefer, looking at the immensity of the universe "outside" us, and looking inwards, at the universe "inside" us, is, then, a single movement, a single path.

And although some insists on perceiving them as two, even so, they are inseparable, as Kant indicated when he spoke about the "starry sky above me" together with "the moral law in me." Kant said that the contemplation of the starry sky and the moral law filled his "soul" with "admiration and respect."

For this reason, it can be said that looking at the moon (or the stars, or the universe) is an invitation to rediscover oneself within the framework of our universal existence. Or, if you like, it is to transform our identity from a “personal” identity to a universal identity (identification).

And looking within is an invitation to rediscover the universe within each one of us, to become conscious of our consciousness, to awaken to our true being to find that being turns into nothingness, as Keiji Nishitani explained last century. (But that “nothingness” is not the nothingness of a “not a thing”.)

It is unfortunate that my interlocutor considered that looking at the moon and looking inside are mutually exclusive when in reality they are a single movement of the soul (or of the spirit, or of the mind.) After all, what one "bounds" in the heaven is "bound" on earth, as someone already taught two millennia ago.

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