Dream of a New World

July 26, 2001

When I was nine years old I thought a lot of thoughts that I had never thought before. I noticed that the shapes of the continents on a globe would fit together if they were cut apart and reassembled like a jigsaw puzzle, a notion scoffed at by my teacher. I imagined that the universe was like a white egg floating in a white field. I tried to imagine a new color. I knew that since I could not see a new color that I could not even imagine one, but I found this vision of the unattainable quite compelling. I had a vague sense that the new color would be toward the blue-purple end of the spectrum, perhaps somewhat opalescent. Indeed, I had the feeling that it would in some strange way resemble the shapeless cloudlike abstract surreal image science fiction covers by Richard M. Powers (1921-1996) that so excited my pre-pubescent imagination.

Trying to imagine that which is not expands the boundary of what is. Continental drift was advanced seriously by Alfred Wagner in 1912, and gained general acceptance in 1961. The universe seems to be expanding forever, a silent ever growing white egg in a strangely empty field of a greater infinity. Fluorescent colors reflect back the ultraviolet wavelength, otherwise invisible, as visible color, and seem to glow as though lit from within. We see because we strive to see, and as we learn to see we see more. It is as though we create the world that we inhabit, bit by bit, until it becomes real enough for now.




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