Friday, April 28, 2017

Life Is Interaction

On Being always has though-provoking podcasts. In my spring yard work craze this week, I was able to listen to Krista Tippett’s dialogue with Italian physicist Dr. Carlo Rovelli entitled All Reality is Interaction for the second time and it was even more rewarding than the first. I am anxious to read his book, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, which they reviewed.

The very title of the discussion was a revelation to me. Dr. Rovelli’s assertion that life is not about things, it’s about interactions, made me pause to consider. At one level, it made me think of the old physics rules we learned in high school about energy moving from one form to another. We can picture everything as a dance and flow of energy. We expend and receive it all day long. To get to school, we use energy. When we talk, we’re converting calories to what fuels our brain, breathing and muscles.  When we reach out to pat a loved one’s shoulder, again, there’s energy conversion and interaction.

Then, he took it up another notch. He commented that we can either interact as warriors or as collaborators.

Talk about smacking me upside the head with simple truth. I had to set my branch clippers to the side for a minute  in order to sit with that idea for a bit.

Interaction is life. But WE choose HOW.

Why does this excite me?

Sometimes it feels like we’re stuck. Personally, I’ve had times where it’s seemed as though I wasn’t getting anywhere. Dr. Rovelli’s first assertion and proof establishes that life, by definition, is not static. It’s constantly moving. Even a rock, as he puts it, is a rock for only a while. It was in another state before it became a rock and it will decay into something else eventually. His words remind that there is always change, we just might not see it.

Sometimes the world feels excessively competitive and dangerous. From world leaders to us and the folks down the street, interactions can be weighted heavily towards “Me Versus You”. We can sit with “our” people on social media and separate ourselves a hundred different ways from “those people”.

Dr. Rovelli reminds us, using physics as his teaching prop, that the interaction of energy we experience doesn’t have to be that way. The idea that we’re all undergoing a constant flow of energy brings us together. With similar conditions placed upon us all, it makes sense to collaborate.

We should collaborate before we fight.

A kiss. A smile. A discussion. A birth. A death. A meal. A walk. We can’t hold any of these things in our desk drawer. They are interactions between us and everything and everyone around us. Dr. Rovelli’s thoughts challenged me to focus even more on building bridges and connections.

We can achieve so much more by holding hands than holding onto fears.

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