I often think this saying. It means that the human mind has many moments of awareness tied together by a loose thread. People think that they can have a continuous awareness of all things in life, but in fact, it is only possible to be aware of an extremely tiny microscopic part of life and the world at a time. One has the illusion of seeing the world as a whole, but it is more like seeing a whole country with a microscope in hand, walking over the land centimetre by centimetre. The continuity of consciousness is an illusion. We think we are the same person yesterday and today, but this is not quite so.
Sometimes, when extreme things happen, we may step back from life and see it as from a satellite. Then when we see our whole life and a large part of the world from a distance, sometimes it can be quite shocking. As an analogy, think of viewing a painting. Our eyes cannot see the whole painting at a time. We look at many different points and create an illusion in our minds from these points. This is shown clearly in various kinds of psychology experiments.
Copyright (C) 1999–2016, Alan U. Kennington.
1 September 2003, http://www.alankennington.com/philo/sayings.html#aims