one raindrop – ten raindrops – what’s the difference?

Before I went to bed last night I asked for a dream, as I do when I want guidance from my unconscious. After all, the greater part of our psyche is out of sight, submerged, with only the top in view, which is why Freud used the image of an iceberg to depict the psyche, the submerged part having deeper connections with the sea of the collective unconscious in which we all swim.

Iceberg - Ri han - Shutterstock

Iceberg – Ri han – Shutterstock

My question was related to the global web, and what’s rising to the surface like long drowned skeletons bobbing along the electric rapids of information, memories re-shuffled, all with a kind of speed only fearless surfers can negotiate. And how every link you and I click is traced, analysed and fed back to the media, politicians, businesses, twitter-birds, face bookers, bloggers and so on. At times it seems like a kind of vivisection in a shiny mirror looking back at us, surreal.

I’m seasoned. There was no TV in my early childhood, it astounds me what I’ve adapted to over the years, but the present tech-apps-avant-garde makes me feel like I’m missing a boat, along with, let’s take a breath, at least sixty-one-percent of the world population (that’s the kind of people with no internet at all.) And because I tend to reflect on cultural trends, searching for wider purpose, meaning and metaphors, I put this to my unconscious: please give me some insight.

On waking, the first thing I gazed at was the raindrops netting my skylight. A phrase came:

                 … one raindrop – ten raindrops – what’s the difference? …

It stuck. I stopped myself diving into associations, about raindrops, the number one, about the history of zero – as symbol for something that doesn’t exist but has become a place-holder. I stopped myself from quoting Rumi, too.

The phrase I received is enigmatic and feels creative. Does it come down to postulation, the everything-and-nothing-matters kind of power we have to envision and re-assemble stories, the delicious freedom to speculate without limits …?

Maybe purpose and meaning are becoming old hats and I’m missing the point entirely. What do you make of the phrase … either with your knowledge of maths and physics, or with your imagination? Even with the phrase or image of a dream ☼



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19 responses to “one raindrop – ten raindrops – what’s the difference?

  1. I share your concerns, especially about privacy or the lack of it. I, too, can remember a time without TV. I do alright with the Internet, but I’m hopeless with mobile phones. Something in me still wants to have time alone: time when no one knows where I am and no one can reach me. The answer is probably that old adage: “It’s not the technology that’s good or bad, it’s what you do with it.” (Or, what others do with it, and that we have no control over.)


  2. Your thoughts bring to mind the opening from the movie Contact. Sorry to offer another link (!):

    The noise, the images…it matters and it doesn’t which is comforting and well, not comforting. I’ve also heard a quote at one time or another, something to the effect of one raindrop raising the sea. At the source of most anything you find on the internet is a person (I say MOST); it’s our job to cull and discriminate, which is the case with anything we do. True, it’s coming in so much more quickly but I have to believe that we’ll be able to handle it.


    • Thanks for the reminder, Mary, always meant to watch ‘Contact,’, must find it. I do want to surf the rapids without missing out on writing time, which is my great joy. I admire how you do it all, with your kids still needing your involvement and presence.


  3. The difference is 9 raindrops (smile). But that’s the literal difference. So maybe there’s some conflict here between literal and figurative. But since the unconscious rarely (if ever?) speaks using literal language (knowing there’s no such thing, anyway), we might assume the figurative. When we were kids, living in a place not particularly noted for rain frequency, and it rained, we sometimes went out into the rain and opened our mouths to the sky. I don’t know. I’m rambling for something coherent here – but that’s what came to mind, so that’s my comment! (for now, reserving the right to add more later). BTW: Words and phrases and even whole ideas often come to me at night. Sometimes I’m too tired to jot them down, and in the morning, they’ve flown away, and I can’t remember, though I know there was a visitor. Maybe I just should have stopped at 9 raindrops! Fun post. I like posts that question their readers.


    • I can’t believe I missed this most obvious point. Nine is my favourite number, reminds me of the muses, and there are attributes assigned to it – tolerance, generosity, forgiveness, universal truths etc. And that conflict between the literal and the figurative is of course universal. Raindrops for thought 🙂
      Love the image of opening the mouth to the sky to catch the rain …


  4. I was going to say exactly the same thing as Joe! The difference is nine raindrops, each of which runs down your skylight leaving a unique watery trail behind. Everything matters to the extent that it exists uniquely, and will never be reproduced again. Even if, like a raindrop running down a pane of glass, that existence is counted in seconds.


  5. I will consult MY unconscious before replying to this post. The question seems too important to imagine I can reply before consulting the Master. Not that s-he always obliges!


  6. I’ve no doubt something interesting will emerge from your expansive connections.


  7. A couple of things came to mind – first of all a memory of very early childhood, in the part of UK where I was born the “government” had taken the iron railings to make arms during the second world war. The stone walls all had dips in them – the dips filled with rain and as little children we used to sip the rain from the walls. Probably not that good in the terms of health and safety but even today I can remember the gritty, smoky taste of the rain The other memory was one that I am sure we all have of watching drops on the windows and trying to guess which would win the race. As for the question – maybe it was something to do with individuality. They all seem the same but of course they are each unique. I was really surprised when I learned that all rain starts as ice high in the heavens. Nice post and lovely images.


  8. Iron railings to make arms, huh, that gets the imagination going.
    … watching drops on the windows and trying to guess which would win the race …
    I remember marvelling at how raindrops got diverted by dust on the pane and always re-found gravity again.
    A group of my friends will meet next Saturday to explore the theme of ‘diversion,’ someone’s proposal for our monthly afternoons. Should be interesting. Will report back.


  9. I’m new to social media and still exploring ways of becoming a part of this world, while staying true to my beliefs about meaningful connections. So the meaning I choose to see in the phrase, is that we are all individuals (one raindrop), who can find our own meaning and our own way of being in the bigger social media collective (10 raindrops).


  10. jedoliver

    Lovely, Pia. A warm hug! Jed Oliver


  11. Viv

    Made me think of the A.A Milne poem about raindrops racing down the window.
    After some thought, the point seems to be about accumulation: one raindrop or ten raindrops doesn’t amount to much, even though ten is 10 times a single. There seems to be critical mass needed before change happens and often that mass is significantly bigger than we believe.
    Also, a proverb from Watership Down (water again) : one cloud feels lonely (the rabbit equivalent of it never rains but it pours)
    Just my random thoughts.


    • Fascinating random thoughts , Viv. The lonely cloud, the lonely raindrop – the lonely thought, too, and the critical mass needed before change happens – from ice to water to river to ocean … each cycle with new information, new stories. It’s heartening to see all these contributions ‘drop’ in here.


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