The bigger one appears within one’s view of the world, the smaller one actually is. One’s true size is determined not by how large one seems relative to one’s context, but rather by how large one’s context seems relative to oneself. For one’s context is oneself, whether that context consists of the most ephemeral and transitory aspects of individual existence, or of the most distant expanses of the permanent and unchanging. A narrow context, resulting in a perceptually larger self, indicates a life defined by the ephemeral and transitory; a wider context, in which one’s temporal and material existence (one’s “personhood”) has almost disappeared as an ever-shrinking point, indicates a life increasingly defined by the ether. Hence our “big men,” as they appear to our perception in the moment, are typically extremely small men in themselves.
This perceptual illusion is not simply a foolish error, however. It is intrinsic to our nature as developmental, which is to say potential, beings. Our “big men,” as perceived in the realm of the temporal and immediate, serve a necessary purpose in human development, namely as our material nature’s initial imagination of greatness, which, under proper education, gives way to knowledge of the truly great as we gradually master the science of spiritual geometry, i.e., as we become more of what we actually are.