Light

For the last couple of days, I have been sick – aching body, scratchy throat, fever and general malaise.Simultaneously, I have been dwelling on the topic of God as light and it has led me into pondering the phenomenon of light and the meanings of the word light.

Light is described as being energy, consisting of waves with different frequencies, wavelengths and speeds. Without white light we would not see things as we do now. Light illuminates, it energises, it travels in straight lines and it has different forms.

As I contemplated this light, I remembered my very first presentation at an A level General Paper ( CAPE equivalent may be Communication Studies) class. I talked about the Aurora Borealis. I was fascinated by those dancing, beautiful, coloured lights that appeared in the horizon in the Arctic region. This magnificent display arises at both geomagnetic poles but is referred to as the Northern Lights in the northern hemisphere. It is supposed to be caused by ionisation of atmospheric gases due to bombardment by charged particles such as protons and electrons. These charged particles enter the atmosphere from higher regions. The result appears to be spectacular. How I would love to see this one day!

My mind then drifted to the colours of the rainbow. I was fortunate in jogging one evening last week to see two rainbows, almost completely and perfectly arched, concentrically  and majestically overhead. Each colour was easily discerned… and this brought me to think of the recently concluded celebrations of Phagwa and Carnival, both of which are celebrations of colour. I indulge in neither. Both Phagwa and Carnival represent creativity and colour but both have become imbued with excesses in behaviour which does not appeal to me.

These celebrations bring to mind a biblical phrase of not conforming to the world. Standards and morals ought not to be compromised in the name of culture or creativity. Too many esteemed films, books and songs are loaded with profanity. The world has compromised its values to such an extent that, without violence, profanity or sexually explicit scenes, a work of art is deemed less interesting. The catch phrase “sex sells” could be modified to so does violence and swearing. Light travels in straight lines and there are instruments using the principles of optics for levelling, making sure that a line is straight.

Ethics should be evaluated with laser lights; this would provide a good guide as to how we are maintaining our journey on the straight path. There ought to be incorporated some type of audio or alarm when we stray from that line of virtue. If we take the comparison one step further then just as two light waves could undergo destructive interference, cancelling each out when their troughs and crests coincide, then our goodness could be negated by the times we stray from the narrow path. The point is that we have to be ever vigilant to maintain our standards, ready to pull back when we detect divergence.

Speaking of lasers, to produce a laser light requires excitation or energising of electrons to such a level that the electrons begin to emit the excess light in specific wavelenghts. Excitation is brought about by shining light of high energy on the material being used for the laser. So light energises. As I am feeling under the weather, I do what even animals do when they are ill: I seek the warmth of the sun. The solar energy revitalises and rejuvenates. Warmth comforts and coddles, transferring its energy to the object of incidence.

There are some who believe that the best thirst quencher on a hot day is a “beastly cold Carib”. A Carib, in case you are unaware, is a local Trinidadian beer. Beer brings to mind another use of the word “light”. Food items and drinks which carry less calories than the norm are described as “light”. I was a Coke addict, Coca Cola that is. But it has always been my motto, adopted from my father, that if you are indulging, do it properly. I could never drink a Coke light. To me it defeats the purpose of drinking a Coke. Also it is so distressing to see someone eating chicken and chips, pizza, hamburger or doubles and drinking a “light” soft drink. It makes no sense to me. If you are going to have two doubles with plenty pepper, then have a good Coke with it!

There are different types of Coke and so too there are different types of light. Night vision devices utilise infra red radiation to increase visibilty at night time or in areas with limited light. We are all well aware of the detrimental effects of ultraviolet radiation on the skin.

So there we have it, my reflections on light! As I leave to eat a light snack before bed, I ask you to shed some light on your thoughts about this illuminating topic. Leave a comment and let me know about some of the aspects of light that I have not yet touched on. I left out a major one. I wonder if any one will detect that? Looking forward to your comments, I leave with these final words, flashes of brilliance will illuminate the path to transcendence.

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