Spoiler Alert

By | Tuesday, November 14, 2023 Leave a Comment

I have heard it said that to name something is to destroy it. Once it is named, the thing that is right in front of you is then just an example of “one of those”, and you no longer see the thing itself.

I was reminded of this idea this morning. There was a rainbow over Oakland. I counted off the colors: ROYGBIV - Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. Then I looked to see where the sun was. I noted that it was in the east and the rainbow was to the west, just the way the science of physics tells us it will be.

In looking at the rainbow, I realized that I wasn’t seeing it as a beautiful phenomenon. I was seeing it as an artifact of atmospheric conditions and the mechanics of light. Like knowing how a trick is done, or the answer to a riddle, or that in the end the universe is saved but the hero dies, knowing how a rainbow works takes away the magic.

Perhaps physics classes should come with a warning: “Spoiler alert.” Now it is up to me to put knowledge aside and see the rainbow as beautiful again.

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