October 3, 2010

Good Old Fashioned Paint Watching

I wanted to see if I could write on a topic so pathetically boring that at first glance it looked like even I could not finish a train of thought while writing about it. The topic that popped into my head was the proverbial "exciting as watching paint dry". Hence the title and the following post. Please bear with this post...it actually goes somewhere other than a catatonic state.

When I see the paint I think of the effort that goes into getting it there...on the wall that is. I think about the fact that the moisture needs to evaporate and move out of the paint for it to dry. I think about how evaporation is a transfer of moisture into the air from the wall. Boring yes, but systematic in its process. A process that is always the same. Aspects of the process may change relative to elevation, humidity, etc. but no matter where you go, paint drys the same everywhere. It drys according to rules of physics. Rules that require order, rules that require consistency in the physical universe. A universe that is usually consistant and uniform no matter where you are at in it. (Although we are beginning to find that at the sub-atomic level things get rather interesting but that is a topic for another post).

I see the color of the wall. Or should I say I see the color the the wall paint's pigment rejects. The color I see is the portion of visible light or wavelength that the wall would not absorb so it reflects that light back and I see it as the color that was not absorbed. As a matter of fact, no matter what we look at we are looking at the portion of the visible spectrum of light that an object doesn't absorb. A white surface reflects most if not all of the wavelengths of white light back into the receptors in our retina. A black surface absorbs all wavelengths and reflects little or no light to our retina. I guess it is no surprise that pupils of eyes were created as a hole located in the center of the iris of the eye that allows light to enter the lens and subsequently, the retina. It appears black because most of the light entering the pupil is absorbed by the tissues inside the eye. The inside of the eye is actually a dark chamber designed to absorb light or electromagnetic radiation (light). Think about that. While most things in creation were created to reflect all but a certain portion of the visible light spectrum, your eye was actually made to absorb as broad a range as possible which is why we have such an immense array of colors that we can make out (as long as you are not colorblind).
Consider this: We are only seeing a very small sliver of what is available in the Electromagnetic Spectrum. The wavelength spectrum encompasses everything from Radio waves (long) to Gamma waves (short). If we had to rely on only our eyes to judge everything that was going on with things that dealt with waves...we literally would be blind to most of reality. No Radio, no TV transmission, no cell phones...well, you get the picture...or maybe you don't?

If the light that is reflecting off the wall came from the sun it is the product of thermonuclear reactions 93 million miles away of 8 light minutes from Earth. A light wave that has traveled unmolested until it reached the wall in your house. If you put your hand up 3 inches from the wall you have effectively stopped light rays that have traveled just under 93 million miles and stopped them 3 inches short of the wall and bounced them either back out into space or some of them were absorbed by your hand, heating it or illuminating it.

I could go on some more...isn't it marvelous the complexity that goes into something so simple that we take so much for granted? Simple processes that had to have been designed perfectly for the universe and our world to function exactly the way I have just described.

And you thought it was just paint drying didn't you? Actually, it was...but so much more. Just like every other process around us that has been laid out with perfect precision, order and sequence that we take for granted every day. How...or should I say...Who do you suppose established the order in these seemingly mundane occurances? Fate? Odds? Even if someone didn't believe in God how could they possible explain the repetitive order and a tendency towards order rather than disorder or entropy which science claims is the end of all things? Granted the evaporation process is more or less a transfer of heat/moisture but it is in the process of creating or making something beautiful like a freshly painted room, not destroying it (unless of course you let me paint your wall). Someone please explain that order that supposedly is diminishing not increasing in a closed system. Atheists? Scientists?......anybody? I didn't think so.

Perhaps at a later date I could pen something about watching grass grow?

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