To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child , a garden patch, or a redeemed condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Life - a prism?

Sometimes it seems that the core of our being is quite like a glassy prism (for those not inclined to math/geometry or physics: a three-sided solid block, sometimes made of clear glass-like substances): it receives light on one surface and (depending on some factors, read on) projects a somewhat changed light through another surface, a process known in physics as refraction.  The important thing is, the light going into the prism and that coming out is almost never the same - it may be at a different angle, or a different colour, sometimes a rainbow of colours.  To maintain this prism of life so it serves the purpose, we seem to have two duties:

One, to keep polishing the surfaces.  If the surface facing the source of the light is not clear, it wouldn't be able to let the light through to its innards, and thus perhaps be unable to give out any light.  The cleaner the receiving surface is, the more light it can perhaps receive (and give out!).  On the other hand, if the surfaces transmitting the light out are not clean, they wouldn't be able to give out the light either, regardless of how much light they receive and of what quality.  Some may be tempted to embellish the transmitting surfaces, to represent to the possible recipients of the light a different face than the actual.  However, remember that too much embellishment can actually affect the transparency of the surface and block the light going through.  Ideally, when the surfaces are smoothly polished, they almost act like mirrors, giving out the light inside but at the same time reflecting back the true image of the one who looks at it.

The second duty, it seems, is to control what goes inside the prism.  Yes, the surfaces of the prism are permeable, able to absorb outside material and vibrations (a process known in physics as osmosis), especially through the surface which is in touch with the base.  Some things going inside can improve the ability of the prism to act as a true transmitter of the refracted light.  However, other things can adversely affect this ability or, in extreme cases, react violently with the material of the prism, causing it to decay and eventually disintegrate.

And once the prism disintegrates, whether due to efflux of time or due to reactions as above, what is left is just a useless mess of particles.

1 comment:

G.S said...

Seriously good. A simple yet powerful thought projected uniquely.