Let me take this opportunity to talk a little about the infinite sweetness of my youngest son.
Each look from his big brown eyes speaks ten thousand words and concepts that he can’t even begin to dream of.
Each discovery he makes reminds us of another wonder of existence.
We rejoice in his struggles, in the lessons that he learns, in a life that looks to us with total trust.
I present the jury with exhibit A, a short video clip recorded at Christmas:
The excitement, the joy, the innocent overflowing energy, but what is inspiring this? A little plastic train going around and around a simple loop. What’s so exciting and amazing about that? Why the enthusiasm about something so monotonous? What is it about young children that makes them exult in the ordinary over and over again? If you will excuse my utterly unschooled opinion, allow me to hypothesise:
It is perhaps the paradox of looping motion: moving, yet not moving; changing, yet staying the same. Perhaps it is the magic of monotony itself, of repeatability and reliability, of comprehensibility and predictability. They have grasped something new about the universe, they understand and rejoice in it, and in its confirmation again and again. “I knew that was going to happen, and it did! Do it again!” What power there is in that realisation, so many new possibilities are opened up.
While even as adults we appreciate the amazing nature of things as they change, we often forget how amazing it is that things can stay the same. The majesty of a mountain range that stands defiantly against the ravages of time; of an institution that stays true to its noble principles, despite the screams and sneers of petty fashionistas; of a stable and mighty anchor that holds fast against the storm; of an unshifting, unshakeable reference point to guide us through the murky waters of life.
Why should the ground beneath us still be here year after year, dependable and firm, that we can mine it, refine it, build upon it, farm it and thrive? Why should the laws of physics be the same from one moment to the next, dependable and firm, that we can investigate, explore, discover, harness and wield their myriad powers in ever more creative and astounding ways?
Einstein once said, “the most incomprehensible thing about the universe, is that it is comprehensible.”, and it is a profound thought. There is no reason for the laws of the universe to be logical or constant in space or time without there being something external to them that maintains them. Something that is itself logical, unchanging, able to act, while outside the physical realm and in no way dependent on anything else.
Next in the series: The Joy of Wonder