Posted January 8, 2011 12:05 am by with 2 comments

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Some of you know that I grew up and currently live on the coast of South Carolina. The ocean has always been a part of my life and has taught me a lot of lessons. Probably, one of the most interesting lessons that I have learned and thought about over the last few years, is the difference between boats and octopuses. (And yes, I just said octopuses not octopi, look it up, like I did.)

Both boats and octopuses generally do the same thing, navigate the sea. They both are vulnerable to the ocean’s currents and tides. They both can fall victim to mother nature’s wrath, and at times they both are equally blessed by her grace.

But what makes this pair interesting, isn’t what they have in common, but, rather what makes them different.

If you are a boat, your primary goal is to stay above water. Sure you get wet, but if you are designed well, most of you stays dry. However, octopuses don’t understand the concept of “wet”, because all they have ever known is the sea. The air is just as foreign to them as water is to us.

If you are an octopus you have a very intimate understanding of the sea floor. You spend most of your days touching it, crawling across it, and feeding off of it. If you are a boat you have an almost equal understanding of the night sky. You might use it to guide your way, or keep you company when you are alone.

Boats see the horizon and all the amazing things that it holds. The sun rise, the silhouette of land, or the rise and fall of porpoises. Octopuses see the sun shine through the water’s surface. Bright green and yellow rays permeate the waters depth, creating dancing shapes on the ocean floor, illuminating the kelp and making the coral glow.

I guess when you really think about it, boats and octopuses really aren’t that different. They just have different perspectives. They are kind of like us in that way. The only difference is our ocean isn’t made of salt water, but rather bits of information moving at the speed of light.

So, the next time you think about engaging with anyone on the internet, remember that we are all either boats or octopuses. Each with our own perspective, finding beauty in our own different way. If you can remember that every time, then it will become habit, and in turn you will be better at everything you do online.

I promise.

[photo credit]

  • Hi Joe,
    A good metaphor you have given there, the octopus world is not that bad at all and the boat has its beauty as well…I would rather be a boat though…

  • A good comparison, Joe, and an excellent way to make a valid point!