I was whisking melted dark chocolate into banana-cream batter on a quiet, serene, mild afternoon, when suddenly, our kitchen burst into blazing golden heat. Invisible fire licked my arms. My eyes — which had been staring absently into the horizon as my hands went through the motion — squeezed shut on autopilot, but the blindness that engulfed me was a searing red-gold. Behind the thin veil of my eyelids, tears brimmed. I raised a blistered palm to rub them away, and smelt vanilla on myself.
And then, just as suddenly, there was blissful darkness. I peeped cautiously through my fingers. My mother had tucked a long (but narrow) towel on the window-grill. The fiery golden beams still lit up the kitchen, but I had a blessed square of filtered, soft white light to work in.
It’s awfully bright today. The sun is too bright to look at, and when it falls on your eyes it hurts, but in an amazing happy way. Our housemaid observed from the balcony, looking at the clouds, that they look like cauliflower. Which is quite true of those billowy cumulus clouds. But this similarity deserves more than a passing remark.
Cloud surfaces are fractal shapes… cauliflower are also fractals. So is broccoli, or a bunch of other natural produce.
This is not an isolated factoid. There’s boundless more of these if you start looking. The world is like this. As Feynman said, “Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry.” These amazing little wonders are all around us. They surround us and enclose us. This is a magical world. Ask, read, know, and feel awesome.
That, in short, is the best reason for learning and knowledge-picking I’ve ever come across. This world is magical. We are miracles of creation. And science leads us gently by the hand into deciphering and understanding and feeling awed by this wealth of astonishing beauty and craftship. If we let it.
Summarising from a section of the Upanishads — or so he said — my devout grandfather once told us, “Knowledge is the only path to god. The more you know of the world, the more you’ll marvel at it. Slowly, you’ll begin to share your soul with it, feel a part of it, have such a strong sense of belonging that nothing will shake it. And when you do, you will discover a spring of such peace and happiness within, that it will never run dry”.