Sun Valley, 6,000 feet above sea level. My grandchildren and I are gazing at the stars above us. A glorious sight, this vast universe.
“Did you read about the Higgs Field in the Smithsonian, grandma?”, my grandson asked. “It’s hard to imagine that all this empty space is just an illusion. It’s permeated with radio and television waves, and with gravitational and magnetic fields, but now they think that the whole universe is filled with a Higgs Field.”
I took another awed look at the sky and timidly asked, “What is a Higgs Field?”
“Hard to describe. About 50 years ago Professor Higgs came up with a mathematical equation that suggested that an invisible something permeated the universe. No one believed him, but he pursued his idea and soon other scientists set out to find proof. Last year, thanks to the giant collider in Switzerland, physicists did find evidence that his theory was correct.”
“Do you mean that math can project theories long before we find actual evidence?”
“Apparently so—as Einstein did with his Theory of Relativity, or Karl Schwarzchild predicting black holes, or Paul Dirac anticipating anti-matter. Physicists come up with elegant equations, which are usually rejected, but eventually they catch on, until finally someone discovers evidence that proves they’re sound.”
“Amazing that mere, cold numbers can tell us the secrets of the universe! So what exactly did they discover?”
“They discovered the Higgs boson, a particle that is totally different from all known particles. Each particle has a characteristic spin that never changes, but the Higgs boson has no spin at all. More important, the Higgs equation seems to indicate that the universe is filled with something that causes resistance to anything that passes through space that causes particles to have a measurable mass. These math equations, therefore, seem to be of great value, because they may hold true anywhere in the universe—but only if we look at it from a universal perspective, beyond the particularities of our Planet Earth.”
“Perspective.” The word caught my imagination. Wouldn’t it be grand if we could bring a broader perspective into our daily lives? It might save much pain and disappointment.
We tend to see life filtered through the narrow prism of our personal experience, and remain oblivious of the experiences of others.
Envision a fish trying to imagine what it would be like to move through dry air—difficult, if not impossible! I never would have guessed how much effort it takes to run in water until the day I tried it—too much effort! I prefer jogging in the open air.
Looking at the world with a broader perspective might help us understand people’s actions and reactions that differ from ours. We tend to create our own little universe placing ourselves at its center, and often remain unaware of the perspectives of others.
Perhaps if we looked at the world as though we were seeing it for the very first time or maybe for the very last time, we might perceive a clearer image.
I gazed again at the stars above me and tried to imagine how it would feel if we saw them only three times during our lifetime— it would be a monumental event!
As Allen Klein says, “A little perspective, like a little humor, goes a long way.”
Until next time,Rosi