It seems to me that the world feels a lot more barren when there are no clouds in the air. I feel more vulnerable and helpless when the air shows the openness of space, and the infinite area that exceeds the view my eyes can allow me. When clouds roam the sky, I feel secure in my own right, unconsciously knowing that we are safe from any space invasions. For us as humans, clouds speak volumes when it comes to freedom and spiritual beliefs. They give us a feeling of hope; the glowing white that they cast down onto us gives us mental strength to move on with our lives, and allows us, not all, to keep faith in our beliefs of the afterlife, ultimately giving ourselves a reason to reach and achieve higher every day. Though they are merely balls of condensed water vapor, clouds do have the ability to not only cause both minor and extreme weather changes, but also to help humans, and maybe even other creatures, feel free and motivated.

In David Macauley’s Elemental Philosophy, he states ways in how philosophers, poets, writers, religious figures, and other humans see and value the clouds. Philosophers such as Anaximenes first sought ways of how clouds were shaped and created to begin with: Water condenses and forms together to create cotton ball figures miles in the sky. According to Oscar Wilde, people would have never thought much of clouds if it weren’t for poets and painters. Artists such as these brought about the true character of clouds, something more than just a pillow of vapor. Religions such as Judaism and Christianity look to clouds as guiding figures for the believers to follow, and the grand home of God himself. People ourselves see clouds as “emblems of freedom, harbingers of doom, and symbols of the divine”, stated by Macauley himself. The most interesting idea that Macauley brings to the table in this interstice of clouds is the paintings of clouds by Magritte. The paintings I have found by Magritte show interesting and mind blowing ways of clouds existing in unnatural places, such as drinking glasses and in the human eye. These paintings, personally, make me to believe that clouds have the ability to be anywhere other than high in the sky and that they can take the shape of any form.

eye cloud

This is a painting by Magritte. This painting can be interpreted in several ways: Are the clouds inside the person, symbolizing that we are our own world? Or is this a mere reflection of the sky from the person’s eye? And if the latter remains true, then is this painting creating a lesson that  we should look towards the sky for answers, or should we understand that the sky is the limit of our successes? So many questions can be asked just by looking at this simple yet extraordinary painting.

Honestly, I don’t find clouds all that interesting. Even after reading this interstice, I find that we as humans have shown little interest in clouds, compared to the other elements shared in this book Elemental Philosophy. I feel like we should dig deeper – or better yet fly higher-  and find more ways to find how clouds represent something true and meaningful in our lives. Personally, after experiencing quite a few forms and types of media, including videogames and films, I have found that designers and artists find it easier to make a skybox by illustrating the sky with clouds. I feel that adding far away buildings, planets, stars, or anything else that can be found in space far away is too difficult to paint than simple clouds. Though this may sound lazy, it still does add atmosphere to the area, breathing life to not only the close-up area which the screen shows us, but also to the sky and any creature that can be found in the background. I hope that in the future, designers and artists find more ways to incorporate clouds into their games/films other than in the sky, such as clouds and fog inside of a building that brings both suspense and imagination to what’s actually in the given room.


This is the skybox in the game Destiny. As you can see, the sky of Venus portrayed in this picture is filled with mostly clouds. I feel that the artists of the game could have made a skybox with less clouds, and more of actual space and tall buildings humans have created on Venus.

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