Occhiolism: (n.) the awareness of the smallness of your perspective in the scheme of the universe.
If there is a lesson to be learned by living in a European city for an extended period of time, it's that one is a speck in the scheme of human development. (If you learn anything else, and this is not based on experience, it's never to ask for ice cubes in your wine. Yes, people do that, I know.) In viewing Greco-Roman architecture and art, it's always a surprise to see how evolved our ancient ancestors were because in school, it seems to be that we are always taught that the millennials are the smartest, best, brightest, and pavers of the future, and that these people only merely laid a foundation for us. However, to lay a foundation, one has to be pretty damn smart.
But here is my question in the midst of all of this anthropological glory: did these people know that what they were creating would be an art that endured for (what seems to us to be) infinitely?
Currently, I sit before the Kölner Dom (for those who do not know, a Gothic cathedral of which the city is centered around). It not only endured the horrors of World War II (most stained glass windows included), but its blueprints were lost for years before their discovery enshrouding fruit in a market. From my position, one has to lean back in order to take in the full monstrosity of the cathedral, and only then is one's eyesight allowed partial view. Inside, it has an omnipresence that, throughout, emits omnipotence, making sure one is aware of who's in charge.
Then I have to wonder: how can only two men have worked to build something this big?
Perhaps these individuals were aware of the minisculality of themselves in the greater scheme of the universe, and thereby shifted the paradigm, creating a paradox, where they contributed something greater than themselves. Normally, we make ourselves the center of the universe, but they made the universe the center of themselves. Maybe one has to dig within in order to push something out, for most immortalized philosophies, such as those of Confucious or Aristotle, scientific discoveries (Einstein, Marie Curie, etc.), and popular literary works such as those written by Shakespeare, Harper Lee, Scripture, etc., originated from the minds of single people, who drew upon the universe surrounding them. In turn, they created a universe within themselves, ultimately projecting it outward as a contribution to the development of humanity.
Maybe it's less important that they didn't know what they were creating, but rather moreso that they were doing the act of creating itself, for when one creates, one is exploring the nature of humanity and allowing us to better understand ourselves. I find that whenever I experience a wave of occhiolism, I feel the most at peace with myself. I think this feeling stems from the fact that we are all simple specks in the scheme of the universe.
But in the end, it is us, humanity, that makes the univerese our universe.