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No, not the mouthwash you drank out of desperation to get drunk when you were fourteen. The scope I am talking about is encompassment: envelopment of certain properties, behaviors, actions, etc., contained within.

Huh?

Take this example: an envelope is the scope. The letter, and everything that letter contains, is the contents that are within the scope of the envelope.

Okay, I think that makes sense. Scope is basically a container full of…something.

You got it. It sounds simple, and conceptually it is. But it becomes more powerful when you apply it in real life, to real situations.

A man once took his son camping. They went to a very remote place with no cell signals, no running water, and most importantly, no other people. Camping the way God intended. Who the hell wants to go into the woods to be with other people?

The son had been spending too much time on the Internet, getting wrapped up in the politics of the day. His father was getting worried, and proposed the trip to get him away from screens, and into the wilderness. They camped together a few times a year, and both found it to be a good bonding experience.

The first day, the father observed that his son was having trouble settling in at the camp site. Nervous, twitchy, and distracted from his surroundings. He assumed it was screen withdrawal, and figured it would tire itself out. He missed the days when he could dictate the amount of screen time his son had.

The second day, the son had still not settled in. The father asked the boy what was the matter:

“Son, you seem very preoccupied, is there a lot on your mind?”

“Well, I’ve been trying to calm down and enjoy myself with you Dad, but I’m worried about what’s happening with the President and Supreme Court. I feel like there is a lot of badness happening right now”

“Understandable. We live in what seems like a contentious time. Let me ask you, how does what is going on affect your life?”

“Well, uh, I’m worried that this guy is a bad drunk and womanizer, and that he will start rolling back women’s rights and help the President when he shouldn’t”

“Sure, I can understand all that son. But let me ask again, how does what is going on affect YOUR life?”

“I don’t get what you mean, it affects all of us!”

“Does it? Here, let’s walk up back toward the picnic table. I have something I want to show you.”

“Okay”.

The man and boy walked the path to the area of the campsite where the picnic table and trash barrel sat. The father walked around a few moments, staring at the ground and not saying anything. Finally, he looked up and gestured for his son to join him at his side.

“Alright, I think I can kind of explain what I mean. First, let me ask you, where are we?”

“Uh…at our camp site”

“Sure, but where are we really?”

“In the woods”

“Okay, that’s getting better. We’re on the planet Earth, right? And we’re existing in something we call reality, right?”

“Uh, okay haha…this is getting kind of weird”

“I know, it sounds goofy, but hang in there with me a minute and I’ll fast-forward where I’m going. Okay, so we’re on Earth, existing in reality. What’s missing right now? Well, for one, you don’t have your phone, so you can’t see the latest news. Has your life been affected in any way since we lost our cell phone signal on the drive up yesterday?”

“Uh, I guess not. I’m still thinking about everything, and kinda annoyed I can’t get any updates about what’s happening.”

“Sure, sure. But, nothing has happened to you right?”

“Right”

“Okay…so let’s say that our campsite here is the world. It’s not a globe or anything, but it’s a space. And in this space we exist. And so do these ants”.

The man gestures down toward his feet, which is inches from an active ant hill.

“So let’s pretend your nervous system hasn’t been over-whelmed by non-stop news and social media. Let’s pretend you haven’t been following the latest outrage. You’re here with your old man, on the second day of your camping trip, and you’re really relaxed.”

“Okay”

“Okay great, you’re relaxed. Squat down and look at the ant hill. You see the frenetic activity of the ants? Do you think they really notice us? Or really care that we’re here?”

“No, it doesn’t seem like it, they are just chugging along doing their thing”

“Right! And it’s independent of us, right? So here we are, me and you, and here are these ants. And we’re all existing in this little campsite we’re calling planet Earth.”

“Okay”

“Now, pretend those ants are journalists, politicians, social media influencers, television shows, commercials, and even your classes at school. Do those ants exist independent of us still? Yes. Are you and I both separate from them and doing our own thing by standing here, even though they are running around non-stop, oblivious to the world around them?”

“Yes”

“These ants, they will go non-stop until they are dead. And they never really will see us or care that we’re here. They are running around living their version of life, in their little ant microcosm of the planet, and we’re running around living life in our own way. So, now you understand.”

“I do?”

“You do.”

……

“Ohhhhhh” they say in unison.