You are a tiny, minuscule, invisible dot living on planet Earth.
Which is invisible compared to the galaxy. Which is invisible compared to the whole universe.
Not that your human brain can ever comprehend that. But try to picture that in your mind for a second.
You… the Earth. Then zoom out about a billion times, and you see the Solar System.
Zoom out again and you see the galaxy… then the universe as we know it so far. Then… we don’t even know. The universe itself may be infinite.
Close your eyes and focus. Imagine you are traveling on a spaceship, from where you are right now to the limits of the observable universe.
How does that make you feel? Is it a sense of relief? Awe? Joy? Can you even describe what you feel?
Floating rock mentality: definition
Floating rock mentality is the mindset where everyone and everything here on Earth is looked at through a cosmic perspective. That is, anything and anyone imagined as a dot in the middle of a floating rock (our planet) in the middle of the vast universe.
Though a “floating rock mentality” can be totally terrifying or totally absurd depending on how you look at it, the term is often used to inspire people to forget about their seemingly big problems and therefore refers to a positive, inspiring mindset.
Some say floating rock mentality is terrifying, because the thought of being invisible, or pure nothingness, can threaten our ego and the way we look at our life in general.
Some say floating rock mentality is absurd and/or pointless because the human brain was designed to perceive things relatively (that is, in relation to other tiny dots in space rather than space itself).
However, the idea (or truth) that everything and anything that we humans can observe and perceive, including ourselves, is totally insignificant, can be liberating.
It can be the most enlightening, most liberating, most euphoric feeling ever. What if all your problems were insignificant? What if all your mistakes did not matter?
Put it this way — if you were to consider your pain, your problems, your demons from the point of view of an infinite universe, or an infinite series of infinite universes…
Compared to which you would be pure nothingness… would your pain, your problems, your demons matter at all? Or would they be nothingness as well?
Three benefits of floating rock mentality
1. No ego/self
Naturally, floating rock mentality threatens and reduces the importance of anything, including yourself. But is it a bad thing?
The truth is that, often, who we think we are is nothing but a character in our own mind, and that character is a limitation rather than a strength.
And you’ll find that as you remove (or ignore) the ego, your true self expands. Which is counterintuitive.
You would think that floating rock mentality — seeing yourself as insignificant — makes you smaller.
But in a way, it makes you bigger as well. It’s like, you become nothing, but nothing and everything are very similar to each other. Think about it.
2. No problems
Think of a certain negative event in your past (say, ten or twenty years ago) that seemed really important at the time then turned out to be totally unimportant.
Think of something ridiculous — losing your favorite toy as a child and crying, or agonizing over someone else’s words because you thought those words defined you.
Right now, with the perspective that you have right now, those problems are not problems anymore.
This is where floating rock mentality comes into play and liberates you: you can consciously decide to see all your problems as insignificant. All of them.
Because you are on a minuscule floating rock. The galaxy doesn’t care about your problems. The universe doesn’t care about your problems.
Therefore, your problems don’t exist. Your perspective, your subjective view as a human being sees them as important issues, but that’s not the “cosmic” truth.
3. The sublime
This is a philosophical concept which refers to the “beauty” (for lack of a better word) of vastness and immensity, and the sense of awe that it inspires.
Schopenhauer in particular gives a few examples of the sublime and its power in The World as Will and Representation.
When referring to the highest and most complete feeling of sublime (awareness of immensity of the universe and insignificance of the self), he basically describes floating rock mentality.
Floating rock mentality can inspire the feeling of sublime — the indescribable awe and amazement where you lose yourself in the immensity of everything around you.
Being an invisible dot on a floating rock is scary just like the ocean or the mountains or the sky are scary.
But that fear is also the gateway to something bigger. Lose yourself in the feeling of sublime and the self becomes nothing and everything at the same time. That’s beautiful.
Floating rock mentality = doing nothing?
Floating rock mentality has been criticized for being an excuse to basically do nothing. After all, if we don’t matter, and our problems don’t matter either, why do anything at all?
But that’s not the point. The thought of living on an invisible rock floating in the middle of the universe is simply a way to not let anxiety interfere with the things that you want to do.
Unnecessary, unmotivated, self-created and self-inflicted anxiety — that’s what prevents humans from living life to the fullest. Not just that, but it’s a big factor.
Floating rock mentality is not nihilistic, at least not in a dark, depressing way. Life and living beings do have meaning, and they are important, but we must look at them with the right perspective.
Things that are perceived as too important block energy and spontaneity. Imagine walking as if each step was, in your mind, the most important thing in the universe.
You’d either freeze or walk like a robot, at best. The total opposite of spontaneity, life, and the joyful flow of energy. Does that make sense? That’s literally what the floating rock mindset is about.
Yes, it’s great to work toward big goals, to have clear values, to try and control things, to identify problems and get rid of them.
But when those problems seem so important that they define you, that they become part of who you are — pause for a second and realize that you are exaggerating them. That gives you power.
You are an invisible dot on planet Earth… which is invisible compared to the galaxy… which is invisible compared to the whole universe.
What if all the things that have been causing you anxiety, insecurities, fear, and stress, for years, did not matter? What if you did not matter?
Well — look at actual pictures of the universe, and that’s the undeniable truth. And as I said, there are only three ways to react to this realization.
It can be scary. It can seem absurd. Or it can be the most liberating feeling in the world.
The universe is bigger than your problems.
But so is the real You.