KALEIDOSCOPE AS A UNIVERSAL MODEL

By William Markiewicz

In a kaleidoscope we change the patterns by moving a small round screen. The observer takes for granted the kaleidoscope's three characteristics:

1. The surface of the pattern is always flat; no simultaneous 'ghostly' third dimension, as in a hologram.

2. A limited number of elements form seldom repeated patterns. In this, nature goes farther, which may illustrate the difference between the limited and the open universe. In nature there are patterns that never repeat themselves like snowflakes, zebra patterns, fingerprints, etc. We can speculate on why it happens; perhaps countless imperceptible, constantly changing natural conditions (humidity, temperature, etc.) affect the genesis. The saying that fluttering butterfly wings can change weather conditions on another part of the globe poetically illustrates the power of the environmental factor.

3. The mosaic that appears in the kaleidoscope is composed of rigid particles. The patterns change while each particle remains immutable and, paradoxically, the overall impression is of elasticity. Everchanging patterns of neverchanging particles; isn't this the model of the universe? Atoms vary according to the number of electrons, molecules change according to the atoms. Each qualitative difference is, in reality, quantitatively measurable. Stable particles are the hard core of the universe. Some science fiction stories attempt to rebel against this stability of basic matter, creating universes where, for instance, a dog falling into the water becomes a fish. This is the dream of unattainable freedom where you are not prisoner of your basic fate. But our real universe is still better than this hypothetical free universe with no backbone. From our apparently "undesirable basics", we can aspire to build or become something more desirable. Tiny pearls give a feeling of liquidity; the tiny metallic links of a net offer an almost silky tissue feeling. "Quality" becomes a matter of proportions, meaning something quantitatively measurable.

If the principle of the universe is the elastic game of rigid particles, how can we apply this to the mental process? What is the behavioral "tiniest particle" in the mental operation? In the material world, elasticity means attachment combined with certain freedom of movement. So, the pearls, the links in the chain or net, stay together and move in relation to the immediate neighbour. The tiniest particle in the mental operation will be the tiniest point of contact between the interior and the exterior universes. The tiniest contact may engender the strongest jolt. The tiniest touch gives the clearest result/design. The tiniest component of a given psychological situation gives us the precise assessment of the situation. We feel the joy, the fear, the love, in the first spark of slight contact. The spatio-temporal instant may be the key to healing and other achievements.

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