The theme of Parabola magazine this issue is "Alone & Together".
This is one of the predominant themes in my life, how much time to spend alone, and how much in direct communication and connection. I know we need community, and sometimes I need to be alone to sort and integrate my thoughts.
Even as a child, I loved my time alone in my room, my time in nature, my time in books.
Matthieu Ricard is a man I greatly admire. I extract one tiny piece from an interview in Parabola. He is speaking of emergent phenomena, of how "what emerges from a hundred persons or elements is more than just one plus one plus one, etc. equals one hundred. You have one plus one plus one equals one-hundred-and-twenty. Because there is something more than emerges."
Haven't we all felt that? This, we know.
He continues: "The emergent phenomena usually is dependent upon its basis or cause. Without its basis it is not an emergent phenomena. It has a quality of a life of its own. It's simply that there is a quality that is more than the arithmetical sum of each element. In biology, it is very clear, a single neuron doesn't do anything. Suddenly when you have twenty billion neurons, and there is the basis of what we call at least the normal action of intelligence - which is not intrinsically present in the neurons - what emerges is the brain faculty of consciousness. In the same way in physic, the quality of one single element has specific qualities that change or transform when related with others or when placed under the lens of observation. A particle, for instance, can become a wave when subjected to our methods of observation. When alone, it goes back to its intrinsic state of being a particle."
Alone and together - particle and wave - enjoy and savor this once-in-a-lifetime day in May.