Waves, says Alan Watts. Everything exists as part of a wave. There is a peak to every valley, and without the valley that peak would not exist. Or so says Mr. Watts. I agree that it would be hard to know a wave crest if not contrasted with a trough; hard to know warm without experiencing cold. To know up, one must know down. And then there are the light, sound, and electromagnetic waves: measurable physical waves.
If one thing observing nature has taught me is that patterns repeat…EVERYWHERE when you know what you’re looking at (another example is the golden ratio). So it is, that I now I tend to lean toward Mr Watts’ thinking because his theory can be supported with the laws of physical science. The pattern is there and I just have to know how to look at it.
Contrast becomes a tool by which we can identify the hard-to-define, less physical experiences. Happiness becomes the absence of sadness; relaxation, the absence of tension; and peace the absence of conflict. Just as, darkness is the absence of light. In reality, it is the spectrum of light-to-dark that creates an image. Looking at a black and white photo illustrates this. Artists who work in pencil or india ink also understand this. Too, they know the challenge of creating depth and three dimensions with only black and white and no gray. So moods too are part of a continuous wave, created from a spectrum of feeling.
As I understand it, three components are required for a rainbow to form: light, water, and a viewer in the right location. Really, that last component means that the refractive angles must be such that they create colors, and that requires the viewer to be in the right place when the other two components occur. It raises a great parallel to the “if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it” question. A rainbow is a construct of sight…or is it? Actually, I do believe rainbows exist whether I see them or not.
I mention these tricks of light because they are both great analogies that provide me comfort when life presents challenges. With a belief that everything is part of a wave, part of a bigger something and not separate, it is harder to judge and harder to get stuck in one single emotion. What is good? What is bad? What is wonderful? What is evil? All part of a wave spectrum of emotion and experience.
Just as the grayscale in the sunflower photo creates an image the ups and downs in life are all part of the same scene: features highlighted by the sun, shades of gray, and the dark shadows. And as with the rainbow, we may not always see all that’s occurring if we don’t look from the right angle. These tricks do, however, work to form an image and tell a story. They are all tricks of light that create the pixels of life.