Where No Man Has Gone Before

I have to admit that finding material for the SciFi event was a daunting task for me.  I wasn’t too familiar with the subject and I had preconceived thoughts about what SciFi meant.  I just thought it was about aliens and rocket ships.  I had no idea that so much philosophy was involved in SciFi.  Some of the concepts that are dealt with in this misunderstood genre were mind blowing.  For example, I read ‘The Man Born Blind’ by CS Lewis.  In this story, a man gets eye surgery and can see for the first time.  He was talking to his wife and asked the simple question, ‘What is light?’  She tried to explain it, but nothing makes him understand what light is.  We ‘see’ it everyday but how do you explain this concept to someone who has never seen the light?  His wife points to a light bulb and says, ‘That is light.’  This is confusing to him because at first, she said that light is all around us. So why then, is light dwindled down to 2 wires in a bulb? Is that light?  He continues his search for light and one day he visits a quarry.  There is a painter who is trying to capture the scene.  Our man born blind asks the painter what he is doing.  The painter then says, ‘I’m capturing the light.  This is the only time where you can see the light.’  How interesting that a painter is also on a quest for light and has a mission to interpret the light.  The man born blind is relieved and fascinated and reaches out to touch the light and ends up falling to his death and the bottom of the quarry.  A tragic story.

Ever since reading this, I have tried to come up with an answer of how to explain light.  I don’t yet have a way to describe light, but maybe this is something you can think about and can share with me.

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~ by michellelamour on April 11, 2011.

One Response to “Where No Man Has Gone Before”

  1. I’ll give it a shot.

    Everything in the universe is made up of tiny particles. Every time one of those particles changes, it creates a little bit of light. That light travels until it hits another particle and causes it to change, at which point the bit of light disappears.

    So, each bit of light – each photon – is a line that connects two changes in the universe. If one of the changes happens to be in the back of your eye, then the other change is something you can “see”. Turning on a light bulb makes a lot of little changes on purpose, and different paints respond to light-bulb changes in different ways. The painter moves the paint around so that the changes whose lines go from the light bulb, to the painting, and on to your eye, tell a story when they get there.

    Light is a web of tiny little changes that ties together everything in the visible universe. (Another way of saying that is that the visible universe consists of all the stuff that can be tied together with light.)

    — wrp

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