Two films viewed in rather close succession to one another have left me even more convinced that we are born into certain circumstances, with certain conditions, and it is only through our choice to remain or move on that distinguishes us.

If you are even remotely interested in astrophysics, astronomy, Mars, or even more simply, stars, you could see Star Men. This is an extraordinarily precious production.

If you fancy the environment and the myriad systems that swim and soar and scheme in, around, and through us toward an elegant and chaotic universe, you could find the PBS Nature documentary on Keystone Species.

Wallace Sargent was an astronomer. He lived for 77 years and in that time he pioneered some of the early strides made in the study of black holes. Sargent was born of modest means and some of his earliest memories involve the sheer and utter darkness of the night’s sky made darker still by the necessity to cover or extinguish all visible light made by cities and towns in World War II era England in order to avoid detection from bombers who sought out light as a target; towns to be destroyed. The child, Wallace Sargent, remembers looking up at the stars. He was moved by the clarity he found up and through the fear and chaos on the ground. He would not remain. He would follow his distinction.

Mary Power is an ecologist. She has helped to usher in some of the great strides in species food web and free distribution interactions. Mary remembers so much of her childhood as blurry, indistinct. She thought this smearing of life’s images normal; that leaves and twigs were mere transitions from one color to the next; that this was what everyone saw. And then she was given a mask and snorkel. She peered underwater and entered a new dimension, one with “distorted” and “refracted” light. She witnessed perfect definition. Her eyes were reborn with this new world underwater and her purpose came into focus with it all at once. She wanted to spend as much time in this world as possible. She was moved by the clarity she found down and through the smear and chaos above ground. She would not remain. She would follow her distinction.

I believe it is a natural impulse to feel some measure of deficiency when we set out to appraise ourselves against the dynamic canvas of life, all at once glow-glowing and grim right before our eyes. Where do I fit? Who am I supposed to be? How is it that I could possibly make a difference?

If ever you have asked these questions of yourself, you are not alone but you, alone, have the answer.

If you see perfectly but only see darkness, you can study a black hole.

If you cannot see unless you seek another dimension, you can study a new world.

Make a new sound. Create a more wonderful wonder. Wander.

Ask yourself, “What is the most clear to me?”

This is your clarity. This is your distinction.