Saturday, 13 June 2015

How we ask the questions affects the answers we arrive at

My mother died on Oct 4, 2014. It was not unexpected but, as I have learned from this experience, a heart-pounding surprise. She had battled ovarian cancer for 4 years but finally slipped away in a hospital bed with her glasses on her nose and a book on her chest, thankfully comfortable after a day facing pleading-with-God pain.

This morning I read (following the wonderful suggestion of Maria Popova’s  Brian Picker and the book’s arrival for pick-up by me at my Idylwylde Branch of the Edmonton Public Library) Krista Tippett’s Einstein’s God: Conversations about Science and the Human Spirit. It touched me in so many places, I could not put it down.

And it has driven me to write (in more than 140 characters) which is something I have not managed for more than a year.

I realize, this morning that I am finally emerging from the darkness of the last year. Activities like reading something meaningful from cover to cover and forming thoughts that could make it to print have just not mattered. I have been numbly going through all the motions of my life and am finally rediscovering the joy that has been there.

I met with my writer friends this week in a small café in my neighborhood. I never got to creating anything with my own words. By the time I had caught up on various aspects of their lives like travel, health and the Alberta election, I recorded a few prompts and then had to leave to collect my grand-daughter. This morning I turned to those prompts I had chosen to copy down. My subconscious was definitely trying (it appears it was shouting) to tell me something.
   
                “But how can you have a sense of wonder if you’re prepared for everything? Prepared for a sunset, prepared for the moonrise, prepared for the ice storm. What a flat existence that would be.” Margaret Atwood; Stone Mattress: Nine Tales 

                “Death is outside life….. It leaves a hole in the fabric of things…” Salley Vickers; Miss Garnet’s Angel

                “You never come closer to owning the whole world than when you wake up before everyone else.”  Åsa Larsson; Until Thy Wrath be Past: A Rebecka Martinsson Investigation

                “All my journeys start with an anxious pang of doubt.  … You point your mind to an invisible land-fall.” Lawrence Durrell; Sicilian Carousel: Adventures on an Italian Island

                “…..in the hours of that first darkness, were astonished by love.” Alice McDermott; Someone

Krista Tippett interviewed a wonderful collection of brilliant thinkers and pulled together their thoughts exploring the nexus (what a pleasing word) of science and spirituality. One of her distillations is “…modern science increasingly suggests that contradictory explanations of reality can be simultaneously true.”  She then examines the puzzle of light as particle or wave and the discovery that it is both.  “And here is the key that made the discovery possible:  how we ask the questions affects the answers we arrive at. Light appears as a wave if you ask it ‘a wave-like question’ and it appears as a particle if you ask it ‘a particle-like question’. “

And what should I find Maria Popova has tweeted to me this morning but a lovely jazz treatment, Heisenberg’s Aha by Lori Henriques from Lori's album titled How Great Can This Day Be.  Those lyrics contain this take on the nexus of art and science:
And remember your imagination
is a voice inside that can help you
to understand quantum mechanics
and so many more things about you.

Then Google reveals to me that scientists have actually just now (research posted March 2015) photographed light as both particle and wave.

“But how can you have a sense of wonder if you’re prepared for everything?”
How great can this day be?