“What’s the purpose of you writing so much lately?” I’ve been asked this question more than a few times over the past few weeks. It’s a good question. Maybe a story will help.
I helped my 10-year-old with his science fair project this week. His project focused on refraction. Refraction is the change in direction of a wave due to a change in its transmission medium, and his experiment was based on this YouTube video.
What’s happening here? In the video, we can see a slight visual distortion of the light waves as they bounce off the arrows and pass through the glass, but until they pass through the water, the waves don’t change direction dramatically. Water and the right amount of distance are the keys to this experiment. The water causes the change in direction of the wave and the distance allows us to see it. Science is cool.
Thoughts As Waves
Over the past few weeks, my answer to the “what is the purpose of your writing?” question, has been, “to exercise my atrophying writing muscles.” But I realize now that what I’m enjoying most about the process of writing is found in the behavior of waves.
Thoughts are like waves. They change direction due to a change in their transmission medium.
The process of passing an idea through this medium of writing changes its direction. This is not the same post I started writing last night when I quickly jotted down the premise. Writing is like the pouring of the water into that glass in the video. And the distance between that original idea and what you are reading now allows me to see that. You, of course, are only seeing my thoughts through this medium.
And if I were to have decided to share this thought over the phone, using the medium of sound, the words would be coming out differently than they are now. The direction would change again if they were to pass through the medium of video, or a more intimate face-to-face conversation. And my thoughts change direction again as they pass through you and out to someone else, who then becomes another medium of transmission.
Thoughts display other properties of waves as well. They can be refracted, yes, but they can also be transmitted, interfered, reflected, and amplified. Waves amplify each other if two high points (crests) or two low points (troughs) happen to meet. When my thoughts align with yours, they get amplified. When they do not, they get interfered.
But unlike inanimate liquids, solids, and gases which act on waves in a predictable and measurable fashion, we have the ability to judge the quality of thought waves and act on them variably. We can improve the waves as they pass through us, amplify them, if we choose. Or we can interfere with them. I dig that.
I’m writing because I like seeing how my thoughts look as they pass through this medium of writing. And I like standing at a distance and seeing how they look if you choose to allow them to pass through you.
We’re in this together.
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