Making the invisible become visible
Side by SideThe Associated Press released an unreadable but enticing article in March 2010. The Tampa Tribune called it: "Cloak Of Invisibility Works In Laboratory." Despite the scientific jargon about the value of rendering "invisible" an undetectable-to-the-naked-eye bump on a piece of gold, one conclusion reached by lead researcher Tolga Ergin made sense: "Developing a cloak to hide something takes a long time."
Published: April 22, 2010
Published: April 22, 2010
If we do manage to hide something long enough, then we may believe our own propaganda. A character in Pat Conroy's "The Lords of Discipline" said: "Memory is a trick, and I have lied so often to myself about my own role and the role of others that I am not sure I can recognize the truth about those days."
Another Tribune article in April 2010, borrowed from the Los Angeles Times, was headlined, "Solar System Formation Ideas May Need Revision." It seems that sometimes when the invisible actually becomes visible, we must revamp what we thought were facts and admit our theories were based on wrong conclusions. Our ability to see farther into space is forcing researchers to question their beliefs on how solar systems are formed and recognize it is more complex than they suspected.
A lot of things we think we know may be like that. Marcel Proust, the French novelist, asked his servant to bring to his bed a certain page from his manuscript in which the death agony of one of his characters was described. He declared: "I have several retouchings to make here, now that I find myself in the same predicament."
Becoming invisible may not be the same thing as blocking visibility, but both demonstrate we are not always in charge. The Icelandic volcano could stop by the time you read this column or could go on for years, causing uncertainty and inconvenience. Several airlines, losing hundreds of millions of dollars a day, defied warnings of the authorities by sending test flights without passengers over Europe. After a few wait-and-see days, some commercial flights are resuming. There is no consensus of the "experts" as to what is an acceptable level of ash in the air, so they hope to force their way back to business as usual. Let's hope eager riders don't disappear from view.
We are a hurry-up society. Delay causes alarm. It ought to make us think. Florida Hometown Democracy is on the Nov. 2010 ballot as Amendment 4. Its promoters say that from the reaction of some, mainly would-be developers, we might think that its passage "will cause the end of Western Civilization." In truth, it mandates that changes to local growth plans approved by city or county commissions must go to the voters for final approval or rejection. Wouldn't that give time to make what could be invisible at first glance, visible? Why would we be afraid to allow people to inform themselves?
It might be a good thing if all of us who have been invisible in this nation become visible. Then we could all repent together, as ancient Job had to (38:4 NIV), when God asked this question: "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand." We don't; we have much to learn about that which is still invisible.
Finding truth requires the right starting point. That is the quest of this column. If you are a seeker of simple truth, we can find it together-side-by-side.
Linda M. Downing is a freelance writer. Contact her at lindadowning.com.