We can learn a lot about life from science.
I have what I would call a “casual interest” in science, especially quantum physics and chaos theory. I’m not even close to be conversant with anyone that’s really studying these topics, but I enjoy them. So I dabble.
A little over a year ago, I was listening to an NPR podcast on dark matter. I decided to listen because dark matter intrigues me. Dark matter is a strange thing. I’m attracted to strange things. But it ended up being interesting in a way I had not imagined.
So, what is dark matter? According to Wikipedia, “it is matter that is inferred to exist from gravitational effects on visible matter and background radiation, but is undetectable by emitted or scattered electromagnetic radiation.” It is strange, because it’s pure conjecture, we can’t directly see it, and yet we can see it’s influence everywhere we look in the universe. And it’s influence is vital.
“While we may not be able to see the dark matter, it’s a vitally important component of our galaxy. It makes up the bulk of what the actual stuff is in our galaxy,” says David Law, an astrophysicist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who says dark matter accounts for more than 70 percent of the mass in galaxies like the Milky Way.
“What is essential is invisible to the eye.” - Antoine de Saint Exupery
We can’t see dark matter, but it is essential to our universe. We also can’t see what attracts molecules together in ways that create different forms; some hard, some soft, some wet, some dry. We can’t see the energy that binds these things. We can’t see the relationships between these particles that make them what they are. But we know they are there.
It’s all about relationships. Everything. As Margaret Wheatley says, “In the quantum world, relationships aren’t just interesting; to many physicists, they are all there is to reality.” I believe this extends beyond physics. I believe this permeates every aspect of life.
Values Are The Dark Matter Of Human Relationships
We are attracted to people who are like us. And our values are the strongest attractors. Even in the social media space, this plays itself out. Just yesterday it was reported that people on Twitter ”have formed happy Twitter clubs.” It doesn’t surprise me that happier people tweet together. People who appear happy on Twitter surround themselves with others who appear happy. It’s how we’re wired.
I don’t do business with someone just because we share interests. I do business with someone because we share values. Consciously or uncononsciously, we choose those who are closest to us, and specifically those we do business with, based on things we can’t really see or touch. We watch how others behave and interact and we make judgements about their values.
Like dark matter, you can’t see values directly, you can only see their influence on behavior. And behavior is the truest form of communication. Our words either confirm or contradict it.