The kaleidoscope research project has been moving ahead nicely. I have made quite a number of them and each new improved model is even more stunning. Most toy kaleidoscopes have poor quality mirrors. Mine have excellent front surface mirrors. What a difference that makes.
I don't know what it is, but the instant I peered down a kaleidoscope with good mirrors I was awestruck. They are very special instruments. They create fascination. Everyone who really looks into one feels it. Nobody knows why we feel like that about the imagery and surprise and beauty in there, but we do.
When I put my first high-quality kaleidoscope to my eye, I realized they were a vital thread in Moirae's web. Well, actually, I knew from the first - from the excitement and drive to do this project - something was leading me, again. Whales or Moirae or whatever my data-display wants to call it. The message was, "make kaleidoscopes," so I make kaleidoscopes. Nothing odd about a Ph.D. marine biologist making kaleidoscopes, is there?
Strewn out before me on Moira's dinette, are brass and copper tubes of different sizes, mirrors, bits of brilliantly colored broken glass, tiny sea shells, gem stones, glue, files, tape, polishing equipment, plastic and glass disks. A laboratory for the investigation of kaleidoscopy. Hot damn!
I pick up my latest effort. It is 215-mm long, 25-mm in diameter, made of polished copper. It has windows in the side of the tube to let the light in from the side. The end of the tube has a black surface to backdrop the objects in the action chamber. Light refracts through the objects in the end chamber and then reflects down the triangle of long mirrors lining the tube. The end effect is an interwoven tapestry of color and shapes which is a new environment - a unity made from the many little pieces.
I peer through it, rotate it slowly. Ahhhhh, yesssss. Terrific. OK, Moirae, let the lessons begin.
Changing, shifting, patterns of reality, bits of broken glass mirror-echoed in precision array. Never twice the same. Always destined to become the next image. Fate dictates, physics insists, the turn, the clink and the pattern is there.
Admire it, love it, each new pattern is a new reality, each new pattern is predestination in action.
The pattern, the view, the instants come and go, never the same, always changing, shifting....just like life. So beautiful I want to say "stop, don't change" but it does change. Just like life. After awhile I stop saying "stop, don't change" because I learn when it changes again - as it always does - it is still more beautiful, for the new image is new and fresh and different.
I learn fascination is ever changing patterns of beauty - newness.
The kaleidoscope is an educational device, teaching about levels of reality, beauty, symmetry and pattern and about the rules of the three sisters of fate - the necessity, the beauty, the fascination of change.
The Moirascope carries me to a Magic Sea on a rising tide of childlike wonder, blazing with joy each time I turn the tube and discover a new miracle of sight. My conscious mind wavers and vanishes and I am a child. A child in a thrilling universe aglitter with the fascination of the new and beautiful. Deep memories burst in my heart, Christmas trees, ice gleaming from branches on that first clear cold winter's day, the first look at day-glow colors. Luminescent colors of glowing stars on my bedroom ceiling when I was only a very small boy.
It is a practical demonstration of synergetics - who would ever suspect those little bits of glass and shell, when put together with a hall of mirrors and viewed from a certain angle, would behave like that?
Buckminster Fuller's ramblings about "The behavior of the whole is unpredictable and greater than the behavior of its parts" is transformed by the Moirascope into a vast maze of meanings, layers of understandings.
The instrument teaches me about flow and change. I look in and see life looking back. What is it in there?
I see each new pattern created and think about the odds of seeing it again. Since each little bit of glass or shell can turn on any axis and fall in any way, the odds of seeing the same scene again are astronomical, a billion to one chance. But what, then, were the odds of my seeing it in the first place?
Right, a billion to one. Lucky me.
There is something vital in the formation of so many crystalline patterns from the same, limited number of elements. Like....like the endless patterns of life which form and change in the Sea, created by the limited number of atomic elements.
"HA! Yes! YES!" I shout, peering into the kaleidoscope.
"Yes what?" Freddy's voice comes from some other world.
"The same bits and pieces, the same carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous and other elements. The very same atoms which have existed since the planet formed billions of years ago. No, the very same atoms forged in the heart of a star even before the planet formed." I put down the kaleidoscope, blinking rapidly to enter her world and look at her.
"Huh? What about atoms?" She looks confused.
"They are in here, in this kaleidoscope. In you and me. They are the same atoms created billions of year ago in a star. The same exact ones." I shout excitedly.
"Uh, sure. I guess so." She's looking at me strangely.
"These bits and pieces of stellar creation are still here today, right now, but they have changed their position, formed new shapes and relationships. The same atoms! But always changing patterns and relationships. An ever changing kaleidoscope of life on Earth." It is an obvious fact but there is something new and exciting about it. The atoms constructing my body, the kaleidoscope, the air, the sea, the Moira are ancient, unchanged, original issue, made in the heart of a star 4.5 billion years ago.
Freddy smiles, her shoulders start to shake. Then she bursts out laughing.
"What's so funny?" I demand, peeved she is not sharing in this momentous discovery.
"You. You should see yourself. The perfect image of the wild, crazy scientist." She begins to really hoot and guffaw. "Your hair is standing straight up, ohhhhh ha ha ha ha ha."
Insulting as this is, I can't help snicker along until she calms down. "Ok, Ok. But you're witnessing an important scientific breakthrough."
This sets her off again so I leave it alone and go back to my research. Within seconds after I peer into the Moirascope again, it's wonder recaptures my mind. I feel hot. Not figuratively, but really. Or maybe both figuratively and really. I see life flowing in a way I have never seen before. I see atoms flowing through organic molecules, molecules forming and reforming in cells, cells as little animals being born, living and dying in a matter of weeks or months and I can see how their birth, behavior, and death create the form and shape of a human, and I see humans come and go, flowing by from birth to death in a stream of beings which form an ever growing encrustation of civilization upon the planet.
There is another layer of meaning I find almost impossible to grasp. I keep thinking the word mana. Turn the tube, clink the pattern changes, Mana. Turn the tube, clink, Mana. Clink, Mana. Clink, Mana. Mana.
I hand the kaleidoscope to Freddy, "Here, have a look in here, smartass" I get the dictionary out of the bookshelf. Freddy, eye fixed to the copper tube, moans, "Ohhhhh, this is a really beautiful one." No longer the doubter, now. Her mind transfixed by the reality of kaleidoscopy.
The dictionary says, "Mana. N. (Native Polynesian term), the impersonal supernatural force to which certain primitive peoples attribute good fortune, magical powers, etc."
Why should I think of Mana? My eye wanders up the page of my Webster's dictionary and finds;
"Man. N. (ME.; AS, Mann; akin to G. Mann. Goth. Manna." Manna? "basic sense 'the one that thinks'." I didn't know that. The one that thinks? Hmmmm. Man? Manna?
Wow! This is it! It's part of the whale message. It's all linked together. It's one of the threads of the Moirae. Man. Mana. The one that thinks. Yes. Yes. That's the elusive concept I see in the Kaleidoscope. Here it is:
The symmetry, the pattern, the flow, the newness, the billion to one odds, synergetics, all happen because of the one that thinks - the eye peering with childlike wonder down the hall of mirrors. Mana. Synergetics. Man. Mana and Man are not nouns. They are verbs. That's why kaleidoscopes are important to evolution. Or rather, that's why evolution was part of the whale's message. To make me understand how the one who thinks is the thread of awareness in the evolution of life on Earth. Yes!