Posts Tagged ‘physics’

Greatness

January 21, 2009

 

Mahatma Ghandi and his spinning wheel

Mahatma Ghandi and his spinning wheel

 

 

I watched the film “Ghandi” last night– tears in my eyes throughout. Talk about a LIFE. That man truly lived and achieved. I oftentimes tend to think we as Americans are far too comfortable in our living to actually claim any kind of heroism. And yet, the simple burden of daily living is in itself a heroic feat for the strongest or weakest among us. Despite America being a wealthy nation, wealth somehow does not always take away the suffering of a hard life. Wealth does not always bring confidence or convince us of the idea that we have inherent worth or that we are capable of achieving greatness. Wealth does not buy greatness.

This brings me to something my sister-in-law said once; that only a very small number of people have actually “evolved” on their own. The rest just follow. True. How many of us can create the internet? How many of us can discover the space-time continuum? Or inspire millions through non-violent civil disobedience to regain control of their country. How many of us will refuse to sit in the back of the bus one more time? And yet, there is the smallest of acts within us that are created every day that, despite their smallness, help humanity evolve as a whole.

We do not evolve from single acts of greatness only, but from that which happens so slowly and deliberately that we do not recognize it as change until it is long past. 

I think too often that we define greatness by great individuals in history. The reality is, greatness is small. It’s slow. It can sometimes only be measured in the simplest acts of kindness, or by the love we show our children every day and the devoted consistency in which we build our homes and raise our families. 

As I watched the inauguration of Barack Obama I thought, this is a great man who will achieve great things, things that average people could never imagine. And yet, the span of over a million and a half people, gathered together on the mall helped me realize that no man’s greatest comes alone. That we are all connected and every act, no matter how big or small, has its own merit or greatness. Even in physics, “subatomic particles have no meaning as isolated entities, but can only be understood as interconnections between the preparation of an experiment and the subsequent measurement.” (Tao of Physics, Fritjof Capra) 

I have hope in this smallness and I see that my life has worth and value. I may never be a president or save the world. But every meal I put on the table for my family, ever hug, ever kiss is but a building block in my own legacy of achievement. Every time I choose to listen to my children instead of yelling at them I am creating a chain reaction of kindness and goodness. But it takes strength, courage, faith and having the confidence and self-respect to believe that greatest is not defined outside but rather, within. That greatness is not so much in one, but in the interconnectedness of us all.

 

We can do no great things; only small things with great love.

-Mother Theresa

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The essential nature of things

January 15, 2009

I am currently reading The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra and learning a thing or two about Eastern Mysticism and subatomic particles. Very interesting. This is one of those books where the author has read almost everything in the world there is to read and so he decides to throw two of the most dissimilar topics together so as to stave off his own boredom. 

I have to admit that it took me till chapter three to get the parallel between the two. But in a nutshell this is it: both eastern mysticism and physics must be taught and learned without the advantage of the known senses. We cannot see subatomic particles. We cannot smell them, taste them, hear them and most importantly, we cannot even think about them LOGICALLY as they, apparently, defy logic. But we can see “the consequences” of them in how they react in certain natural and unnatural situations. Fritjof writes on the subject of the atom: “What we see, or hear, are never  the investigated phenomena themselves but always their consequences.” Eastern mysticism is much the same. Knowledge of life and wisdom cannot be taught with logic. It cannot be seen, heard, smelled, tasted or touched. But we can experience the consequences of that knowledge as it exists in the form of our spirituality. In fact, “whenever the essential nature of things is analyzed by the intellect, it must seem absurd or paradoxical.” This is much how “faith” runs. It cannot be explained. It’s not logical. 

So, of course, that all got me thinking about my own life in general and how I am incessantly trying to figure things out with my brain. Wondering about people and/or situations that cannot be understood. Analyzing, detail for detail why we do the things we do. But it’s pointless. It at once crushes me to know that all my years of analyzing were done in vain, and yet, it frees me of having to continue searching into truths that will probably never expose themselves to me.

The essential nature of things is a vast and deep mystery. Faith is required to explain certain things. Mystics know this. Physicists know this. Now Tracy needs to know it.