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[personal profile] sorchawench
The "Copernican principle"—when you get past the solar system aspect, essentially says we are not the center of the universe, but a part of a larger whole. As far as each of us is concerned, each individual is positioned at the center of his or her own universe.

I was the center of my universe and favored by the Gods, until 11:50AM on November 3rd, 2014. That was when they placed the shiny metal handcuffs around my wrists and put me in the backseat of the police cruiser. Arresting me for having some unpaid tickets that had gone to warrant.

It was then that the realization hit me that I was far smaller than the rest of the cosmos.

It was here, at that moment in time, that I realized that my self-centered universe was false and crumbling fast.

The police cruiser took me to the center of town, to the county lockup. I was assisted from the backseat and placed in a chair. A woman in scrubs, armed with a clipboard, began to ask me questions.

Do you take any medications?

Do you have any health issues?

Have you been depressed in the past year?

I think I answered them satisfactorily....but I couldn't tell you what I said. The roar of a thousand oceans filled my ears and my vision had narrowed to pinpoints. Over and over, like a twisted mantra in my head, was a long drawn out scream. I was afraid to voice it, for fear it would begin and last forever.

They took my watch, my necklace, my shoes, and my hair tie. I was patted down, just like they show in the movies. My movements felt stiff and robotic. I responded to commands, but could only give one word answers to questions. The scream threatening to escape from behind my locked jaws.

My universe was a creation of my own mind. I'm not saying I was self-centered in the sense that I was preoccupied with myself or was self absorbed, but my view of the totality of existence was composed of my own thoughts and feelings. The outside world was just that. Something outside myself and perceived as something separate.

I was placed in a windowless room, behind a thick steel door. I believe the normal term is the holding tank. I stood against one wall, stiff and inflexible. The other two ladies in the cell offered to make room for me on the single bench seat, but I declined, afraid that if I bent, even enough to sit, I might snap in half and fall apart.

I stood there for two hours. Shifting my stance slightly, but never relaxing. Outside, in another cell, we could hear a man screaming and banging on the door. Most likely he was high on something illegal, but I could feel myself...so close to that insanity that I felt I might join him.

After about an hour and a half, a Deputy came and took me out. He took me to the fingerprinting room, took my picture and my prints, and explained that I would shortly be released, as my Father was there to pay my fine. My level of relief and gratitude at that point could not be measured.

After about two hours in the holding tank, I was processed and released. But I knew that the woman who left for college that morning was fundamentally changed forever, and that the woman who walked out of the county lockup facility was somewhat more wounded and scarred by loss of her world view.

And if that wasn't enough of a message from the Fates, God, or the Universe at large, 2 days later, I lost my job.

My universe has been ripped from me, leaving jagged gouges where once were smooth plains. I feel as though I've been strip mined by Fate. My forests slashed and burned, my seas littered with the garbage I refused to acknowledge floated around me.

The scream still threatens to escape me. Even though that most terrifying part of my life is now behind me. The scream is the physical manifestation of the awareness that I can no longer walk in surety of my own God-like status.

And yet, despite this, I do not have cause for despair. We humans are, as far as we know, the only species that can actually recognize its place in the universe. The bigger universe that surrounds us. And make changes within ourselves that affect that universe.

The paradox of the Copernican Principle is that, by properly understanding our place, even when that knowledge comes at such high costs, we can only then truly understand our surroundings.

And by being able to do that, we.....rather I.....can make changes to my world.
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