Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Kaleidoscopic View - Whassat? - Black

I recall my sense of wonder and amazement at the beautiful designs I observed as a four or five-year-old looking into a kaleidoscope for the first time. All I had to do was gently turn the end of the tube and voilĂ  – a new colourful design instantly formed! Wow!

The changing colourful patterns intrigued me. How does it do that? I eventually discovered the secret of this magical tube. It was a miniature tunnel of mirrors, containing translucent coloured chips of various shapes and sizes. I came to realize that the components making up the continually-changing and perfect designs, in fact, fell into place in a random process when the tube was turned.

Those coloured chips only became distinguishable as a pattern, because the mirrors inside replicated the image several times. Of course, I should confess that the discovery was made because an intrigued little boy took the thing apart to investigate the phenomenon. Hmm, the problem he had was in getting it put back together again!

As I look back, I realize that I understood how the ‘scope worked, even at that young age, once I examined what comprised it, although I could not have expressed it then in the way I have just done.

Ah yes, the wonders of the kaleidoscope. And what is it, but a tube containing a jumble of coloured chips and mirrors. However, the contraption’s images would remain meaningless and chaotic were it not for several additional factors:

There has to be light, since light illuminates and reveals what’s there. One must have sight to observe. And the observer must have a brain and mind with the capacity to register what is seen and to recognize the apparent order and beauty in the image. The reflected replication helps the mind make sense of the chips where they lie.

And so, a kaleidoscope provides a way of seeing what is there in that tube, and what it would look like if the arrangement of the chips were actually replicated in the same order.

Do you have a kaleidoscopic view? Do we see patterns and find meaning in what is otherwise chaotic in situations around us, or elsewhere in our world, making sense of what sometimes appears meaningless? Yeah, and perhaps it takes more that brain and mind; a sensitive heart (in the spiritual sense) goes a long way.
In creative writing we are engaged in viewing, as it were, the random, coloured chips of events, situations, and scenes – the delightful (the brighter coloured chips), and even the tragic (the darker ones) – that occur in our lives or in the lives of others, and finding a way of ordering and reflecting them.

Those of us who write from a Christian world-view may intentionally – or perhaps unintentionally – so order our words, that the minds of our readers (who, after all, are made in the image of God, regardless of how distorted and fragmented that image may be) will view life and the world around them in a way that makes sense. And further, through our writing they may even be enabled to see beauty arise from the ashes of disaster and despair, or perhaps be inspired to see the glory of God in the innocent face of a child, or in the wizened countenance of a centenarian.

Let me suggest that the kaleidoscopic view is a cosmic view, since the word from Greek kosmos means order, beauty, and / or arrangement.

I hope that these rambling, random thoughts make sense to you, my writer friend/s.

Peter is a freelance writer living in Southwestern Ontario.

He is the author of "Parables from the Pond" (Word Alive Press),

and writes a weekly column in The Watford-Guide Advocate.


Marian said...

To add to your random thoughts...mirroring Christ makes a most beautiful pattern.

Peter Black said...

Thank you Marian,
Yes, it certainly does.
And how important it is for a mirror to be kept clean and clear.
Ah, how sad that sometimes we who claim to represent our Lord present the world with a very distorted view of what He is like. (Hmm. I'm reminded of walking through a hall of distorting mirrors as a kid at a fairground medway!)
How wonderful, though, when we encounter a life in which we can see the likeness of Jesus - unclouded and without distortion!

Glynis said...

Thanks, Peter, first for telling me about the inner workings of a kaleidescope. I, too, was always fascinated with the delightful toy, as a child.
Some lovely thoughts here. I also think that we need (the) Light in order to make sense of this disordered world, just as we need light to make out the beautiful patterns in the kaleidescope! :)

Peter Black said...

Thanks, Glynis. How true - we most certainly do need Jesus Christ, THE Light. People cannot live without hope, and Jesus is our Light of Hope. May multitudes every day find in Him their light of hope in an otherwise dark world.

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