We are always dealing with an unseen truth that governs our lives and exists beyond our capacity to notice.
Tow the line, line up, stay in line, you’re way out of line, walk a straight line, don’t cross that line, take a number and wait in line, don’t cut in line, make that deadline or it’s the end of the line, so let’s get our ducks in a row, which is not an exact match but in line with what I’m saying.
The line is also merely an icon; a concept; and it’s the gateway to all shapes and perceptions; but in our physical reality, like the point, it doesn’t exist. Think about it; the entire universe – all physical existence arises from something that has one dimension and joins two points of no dimensions. Therefore, it has no physicality; hence, the line has no physical existence. You are most probably going to say, “It does exist because you can draw it on paper and there it is.” But the line you drew is really a skinny rectangle on close inspection, and even though you could draw it in one stroke, it has to have at least two dimensions in order for you to see it on the paper. So if it has two dimensions, then it has to have four sides; thus you actually drew a rectangle.
However, if your drawing divides the paper in your mind and you move your finger from one side to the other, then you have crossed your made-up line with one digit. Similarly, the edge of the paper is also a line, but only if you look at the structure as it exists with its finite dimensions. In other words, if you look at the edge of the paper you are looking at something measurable; a paper thin rectangle. But if you look at its surface from above and move along crossing over from paper to no paper you have crossed the line to a space where it doesn’t exist.
Moreover, when we speak about lines we are talking about straight ones for which the classic definition is the shortest distance between two points. So if it has any wiggles or waves it is not a line but rather a series of arcs joined together in a regular or irregular fashion. On the other hand, in the mathematical world the line is a one dimensional figure than continues infinitely in two opposite directions, so when we speak of the shortest connection between two points we have to call it a finite segment of an infinite line. However, the only practical way to define a line is to talk about a limited distance from one point to another; moving through space and time. Now, the mind blowing reality is that there is no such thing as a straight line because according to Einstein’s calculations, space is curved.
Therefore, as you move from one spot to another in a “straight” line you are actually moving along a curve. Accordingly, if you pick two points far enough from each other and connect the dots with the shortest distance between them, you will end up exactly where you started and will have completed a circle. But when we look we only “see” the straight line segments and there are innumerable mathematical formulas and theorems centered on the relationship between them in how they intersect or how they remain apart from each other; all the while we are really working with the segments of one very large circle. So the straight line is, in the ultimate reality, an arc, which makes me wonder, “What is the undetected reality of the arc?” Therefore, any sane person with intelligence will have to agree that we are always dealing with an unseen truth that governs our lives and exists beyond our capacity to notice. Most of us refer to this unseen truth as “G-d”.
However, the definition of the line is the key to understanding the role of an entity that doesn’t exist but forms the foundation of all existence. The line is the boundary that sets limitations. It is the contraction of infinity to the finite. It is the formation of something from nothing because a line has no physical substance; not even energy. But you can declare that it exists between two points and if you cross over you are on the other side. Sometimes you can go back but don’t want to, sometimes you wish you could but can’t and sometimes you can bounce back and forth like a ping pong ball until some one close to you screams, “I wish you’d make up your mind already!”
Thus, the line has two opposing applications: stationary structure and change vis-à-vis movement through time and space. First, the line straight or curved is the one component of all shapes. The process of building all structures is connecting points in three dimensional planes with lines. Hence, this non existent line provides the formation of our cities and highways, which in turn establishes how we live. People put lines and circles together in different configurations to develop buildings and roads that meet our needs and allow us to live more conveniently.
At the same time, the buildings and roads cause us to live within an organized framework. We have to get up at a certain time and go to school, work or place of worship. Likewise, structure also means regulation, boundaries, rules and a line of demarcation between right and wrong. Every decision is an answer to the question “Should I or shouldn’t I?” To be sure, there are ethical questions for which the answers are not so clear like, “Should I support embryonic stem cell research or shouldn’t I?” But, we all live in a society of laws and we need other people to guide us to where that line of demarcation is so we can land on the side of decency. There are many arguments and rationalizations but it all boils down to yes or no for you; on which side of the line you want to be. Once you take a side, you live with the consequences, which have a rippling effect.
Finally, this concept applies also to morality and ethics; i.e. the line of demarcation between right and wrong or good and evil. Although some would argue that such lines are often fuzzy and that there are gray areas of controversy, the fact remains that there are truly two opposing sides to every issue.
Then, of course, there is the underlying motive for choosing to do or not do anything; which can be for self gratification, or to help someone you know, someone you don’t know, the community in which you live or all of humanity. Sometimes however, self gratification is the right motivation and other times it leads to trouble for the short sighted. The great Hillel said about two thousand years ago, “If I am not for me who will be and if am only for me, what am I?” Thus, we even have choice between the reasons why we choose what we do.