Gravitas

Gravitas is one of the virtues emphasized among ancient Romans. It means seriousness, responsibility, dignity, and so on. It is also the origin of the word gravity, one of the forces we articulate in the field of physics as we feel it physically in our everyday life as a sense of weight and heaviness.

As the term covers both physical and mental (even spiritual) domains, it could be worthwhile to focus on the interchangeable relations of these usages.

In physics, gravity is one of the most well-known forces in the Newtonian realm, and yet, at the same time, one of the most mysterious ones in the Newtonian and quantum physics integration. Unlike the electromagnetic and nuclear forces, it’s not easy to grasp and articulate the essence of the gravitational force in the relations among the particles and waves of quantum mechanics. Some people believe that a particle called graviton must fill the missing link between gravity and other forces.

In the theory of relativism, on the other hand, as we know well, Einstein articulated gravity as a shape of space. For example, if one object exists in a spatial area, then this area changes its form due to the very existence of the object itself.

Typically, we describe this mechanism in the two-dimensional model of the spatial realm. For instance, let’s consider a flat rubber sheet as a space. While space should be three-dimensional, we substitute it as a two-dimensional sheet. And if we place one billiard ball on the sheet, the ball slightly sinks, creating a reverse cone-shape. And then, if we put additional more petite balls on the bent sheet from the edge, all of them go around this reverse cone-shape towards the center.

We can imagine the solar system’s movement from this simple experiment – how all planets move around the sun. Likewise, the moon and satellites go around the globe. All of these moving objects are, in reality, falling into the center of gravity. Only because their trajectories are the same shape as the curve of the bent rubber sheet or that of the object in the center itself, the falling movement becomes the orbit, going around continuously.

So, what is gravity? We could summarize it as follows:

  • An object exists in space.
  • Its existence changes the shape of the area.
  • Other things around get affected by the change.
  • Everything in space exists and moves in this relationship.

Its ontological implication is tremendous. After all, nothing can exist without changing the shape of the space, just like all billiard balls can never stay without changing the shape of the rubber sheet. And all are interrelating one another.

When we subjectively feel the gravity on the earth, therefore, the implication is far more significant than objectively observing and measuring physical force alone.

For example, when we stand up straight, we can feel gravity. How is it? What is it? It is the sense of the very existence of the planet earth itself. The globe exists in space, distorting its shape. Because of that, we have to stand up straight in our coordination of gravity. And the planet earth also rotates itself, revolving around the sun because of the gravity caused by the relationship among the globe itself, its satellites, other planets, and the sun. Moreover, all the stars make their movements because of all the related gravitations, including the galaxies, clusters, superclusters, the entire universe, the entire cosmos, their groups, and more.

If so, what is gravity? With it, we can see an endless series of wrinkles on the soft rubber sheet-like space continuum from the edge of the cosmos to each footstep we physiologically and subjectively stand up straight on the ground here and now.

Our physical existence also creates gravity, balancing ourselves, others, the planet earth, and the rest of the universe. That’s why it is so important to feel the gravitation of your body. In ancient wisdom, we hear the concept of the center of bodily gravity. For instance, seikatanden, hara, diaphragm, and so on, and their breathing movements are indeed part of the critical foundation for our existence, Being in the world.

How can we recognize our very existence and Being in the world?

Let’s stop thinking! Don’t think but feel. Without thinking, you gently pay attention to your breathing and footsteps on the ground. Feeling the subtle body balance, you can find the center from where your gravity connects to the planet earth, the moon, the sun, the stars, the galaxies, the universe, and the cosmos.

In gravity, you can feel you are part of the wrinkles of the entire universe. In gravity, we are One inside-out and outside-in. In gravity, we can capture the true form of space, not only physically but ontologically.

A man of gravitas is a man of God, grasping His reality to stand up straight. That’s why in a word like gravitas, we feel a sense of awe for its dignity. As one of the essential virtues, a man of gravitas is calm, steadfast, and transcendentally connected with the whole. We can call this wholeness God.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:58

Image by Felix Merler

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