"Like the study of science and art, accounts of historical events can be intrinsically fascinating. But they have a wider significance. I believe that people are better able to chart their life course and make life decisions when they know how others have dealt with pressures and dilemmas---historically, contemporaneously, and in works of art. And only equipped with such understanding can we participate knowledgeably in contemporary discussions (and decisions) about the culpability of various individuals and countries in the Second World War. Only with such understanding can we ponder the responsibilty of human beings everywhere to counter current efforts at genocide in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia to bring the perpetrators to justice."
"...we humans are the kinds of animals who learn chiefly by observing others---what they value, what they spurn, how they conduct themselves from day to day, and especially, what they do when they believe that no one is looking."
----Howard Gardner, from The Disciplined Mind, published in 1999

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Signal to Noise; or, A Field Trip

Dear reader, I've been meaning to address the theme of motion that has appeared here lately: the toys, the automata, the motion that is the progress of language development, the progess that makes up a personal story, a life; all somehow connected to thoughts of Brownian motion and stochastic resonance.
For now, it is more pressing for me to discuss those scientific constructs in a different context. Please go visit over at Bee and Jai's place via the following link.
I then offer a comic for your additional consideration.

Dear reader, let's not wait for A Big Wind.
Let's be the small noise, almost imperceptible within the greater static, that affects a change, that helps direct the motion of our neighbors. For at the most basic of levels, we affect each other in the same way as particles under the scope: the most basic, intricate, and wondrous laws of the universe that we all move and hum, dance and live by are one and the same.
Please believe that; and in so doing, it begins.


bee said...

melissa, you have a wonderful way with words.

I have lots of neckties said...

Anthropologist Margaret Mead recognized the power of the "small noise" when she said:

"Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has."

Anonymous said...

We need to build roads from our lifestyle to theirs and allow the traffic to flow both directions. No wind would be necessary if people just got up and walked.

neroli said...

Bee, thank you not only for your kindness, but for inspiring us all, day in and day out: walking through the world as if it is already the way that you believe it *should* and *could* be. You and Jai are marking the trail for us, waving us on. Thank you.

Lots Of, thanks for this! I learn something from you just about every time that you speak (or type)...your students are going to be some very lucky people.

Min, you are so right: traffic needs to go both ways for the path to remain usable, and we have to be able to be the builders this time around. Thank you.
And I suppose that is one reason why my sidebar keeps the picture show: I used to live in some fairly remote places, and oftimes, roads were forgotten, were misplaced, and all at the ends of those roads abandoned.
And then, we forget what had been, and that we used to be able to walk there.

The Artist formerly Known as Purpleworms (!) said...

I feel so superficial after reading your and Bee's blogs. I write unconsideredly about wasteful ridiculous people and you make steps toward world improvement - It is I who should wonder if I am welcome at your place!

neroli said...

Dear Artist,
Might I remind you of your own work, in its totality?
We are what we are, day to day, minute to minute; and never once entirely the same. We're all serious and funny, affecting and amusing: it's all warp and weft to the whole cloth.
(In "Hugo Cabret," our hero is trained as a clockmaker: he sees his value by recognizing that there are no extra parts in a clock: therefore, every part of the workings have form and function.)
You are most welcome here, and wherever you may go, I assure you, dear one!

neroli said...

I've not been "grok'd" as some other people I know have been ;-)!