Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Theory of everything ... last Wednesday

I was on vacation a few days ago ... an almost perfect day ... the kind of day that makes me believe in a unified theory of everything ...

It started when I got up early (I love getting up early on days off!) ... I had a leisurely breakfast and went in to the library as soon as it opened ... yeah, I was on vacation, but I wanted to do some totally non-job-related (hah-hah) research about communites of content -- research I could have done at home, no doubt, but there is something wonderful about going to the library when you're not on-the-job ... With a cup of Scooter’s flavor-of-the-day in hand, I found a big window-side table, planted myself, and logged on to the library's public WiFi and found and read through gobs of stuff about communities of content across the world ... I'll write more of that at some time later ... I had my Creative Zen on shuffle, and listened to the likes of Style Council, Van Morrison, Cathie Ryan, Billy Taylor, and a holy host of others ... Four hours passed quickly ... and I didn’t really want to leave ... until I did ...

Back in my car, I switched the radio on to serendipitously discover Steve Kraske’s interview of Dr. Michio Kaku on KCUR ... Dr. Kaku is a theoretical physicist at the City University of New York, and was apparently in town promoing his book Parallel Worlds: A Journey through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos (now that’s a title!) ... I'm pretty much a social sciences/humanities kinda guy, but I've always found the artistry and mystery of science, and particularly physics, beautiful and inviting ...

My favorite part of Dr. Kaku's talk was his likening of physics to music ... string theory as the harmonics of the universe and chemistry as the melodies created when these harmonies play together creating something with infinite layers of uniqueness ... Man, I just love that!


I was also struck by something he said about simplicity ... if a theory on physics is too difficult to explain to a child, then it's not worth the explanation ... the theory of everything requires simplicity at its core and throughout its whole ... and that got me thinking that this should probably be true in libraries too ...


A few hours later, I found myself standing in the halls of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. I hadn’t been there for a while, and that was good ... you see, everything seemed somewhat new and different ... and my new favorites were the
Chinese and Japanese scrolls and screens ... they told stories, elaborate stories without words ... they reminded me of being a kid and looking through Richard Scarry’s art ... while the style was completely different, the stories had a way of wrapping around me ... I'm a passive observer of art (just as I am with physics, I guess) ... I understand less than I wish, but appreciate more than I used to ... and my few hours at the Nelson made me happy ...

I finished the day off at O'Dowd's Little Dublin, one of those staged Irish pubs that have sprung up all over ... I know that a lot of folks don’t care for these, but I have to say, the food was fantastic ... matched with live music (and hysterical conversation) with Eddie Delahunt, the night was a perfect topper.


So ... here it is ... my theory of everything ...


Happiness is time to consider, experience, and imagine the world and all its textures, tastes, smells, sounds, and sights ... most importantly, this happiness is only complete with someone with whom you can share it ...

How cool is it that I had it all of this in one day ... and for the rest of my life I'll have it with me everyday.

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