Monday, March 10, 2014

It's Not Easy, Being Green

Sorry for leaving y'all hanging with the India thing. When I tell my stories extensively in person, through letters, journals, and Facebook albums, I have little energy left to blog about it too. Next time (November 2014) will be different though. I'll keep field notes like I did when I went to New Orleans. If you're reading this blog then you are likely my friend on Facebook anyway. Look there for pictures.

One of my friends has taken an interest in my Theory of Colors so I've decided to share a little more about it. It started coming together for me in 2010, during the altered state of consciousness I think of now as "the Time." I've referenced the theory a little bit before in my post, "A Drop of Red." I wouldn't be so bold (or stupid) as to claim God created the Theory. He just created the Colors. And a fanciful young woman who enjoys theorizing about them. I call this my "personal symbology" because I know it doesn't hold up universally. In fact I can see it is actually quite Lydia-shaped. There are myriads of ways to slice and dice Truth. Mine isn't particularly better or all-encompassing, it's just one more way of making sense of self and world.

But, for what it's worth...

(First, credit where credit is due - in addition to drawing inspiration from nature, bits and fragments of human culture and artifice, and even the Bible, my theory owes much to the True Colors personality test, as well as the classic four personality types that date back to ancient times.)

Today I'm writing to you about Green. Green like a leaf. Green like the bunny from the Last Mimzy. Green like the Android and the inside of an iPhone. Green like The Robinsons.  Forgive me while I speak in similies. Some things are too difficult to explain without them. Wizard. Mad Scientist. Evil Genius. Medicine Woman. "Witch." Green is a trait that, when noticed, is often misunderstood. Yet, it is always there behind the scenes planning for the future, making things run smoothly, making things go. Oftentimes just making things. But rarely without purpose. Green is celebrated today as "science" and was variously worshipped and feared in earlier times as "magic." It is the systematic creativity of architecture, mathematics, music. Observation meets creation. Intuition meets logic.

My dad - My favorite Green.
As a Green person, like my father, I have always been utterly fascinated by how things work. Poring over charts and diagrams, spending hours in the non-fiction section of the library, taking apart my laptop to see if I could fix it. Leornardo Da Vinci has been my muse since childhood because he is both artist and scientist. Attended to both form and function. The art I call red. The function, I call green. Nikola Tesla is another Green who captured my imagination from an early age.

Probably the most popular Green stereotype of modern times is the "nerd." The brainiac with thick glasses, the Unix programmer in his underwear with a beard 4 feet long because he is too consumed with code to bother with mundane things like clothes and shaving. Most of the characters on Big Bang theory. Read the book, Hackers: Heros of the Computer Revolution. I read it and loved it. Loved it because I identified so much with these guys, these "geeks," who just wanted to explore and make things work. They didn't care about their reputation, they didn't care about the authorities, they weren't interested in making trouble though if they happened to step into it, they weren't too concerned. They knew they were changing the world, they didn't need credit for it, and they didn't care that nobody in the whole world "got it" but them. 

That's one thing about Greens, we are always ahead of our time.

This can get us in trouble, so we tend to stay out of the limelight. We are used to being misunderstood, misinterpreted, dismissed. Our inventions are wierd, pointless, a waste of time. Our words are cryptic, nonsensical. Until 10 or 20 years later when everyone has one in their pocket and is quoting us like a mantra. Except it's usually not our name assigned to the quote, and the invention was made famous and mass-produced by someone else. Someone else takes the fame and the money, we're just forgotten nobodies, smiling small, self-satisfied smiles and thinking "Yes, but I did it first." Not that we always get shortchanged. Steve Wozniak seems to be pretty pleased with his lot in life.

If you are reading this and thinking "Wow, I am really a green! Finally, someone who gets me!" take this tip from me and I believe you will get much farther in life. Learn to play a game I call "Outside-Inside." I first conceived of Outside-Inside in the Training, studying for exams with note cards. On the "outside" of the card, a simple term or a picture. On the "inside," the full explanation. The nuts and bolts, so to speak. Most people in the world are only interested in the outside. Unlike us, they don't care how it works, they just want to know that it works. People like you and me, we are so fascinated by the details of how, we can find ourselves monologuing about filaments and fixtures, or knits, purls, and pssos, or a href= tags and extensibility, while the eyes of those we are with are glossing over and they are looking for the nearest exit.
from Anthony He on Flickr
Imagine removing the hood - no, the entire fiberglass body - from a car. Now you can see EVERYTHING that goes on in there. But...that level of detail is exhausting for most humans. They like it pretty and shiny. So do I, really. KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid. You and I know that nothing is truly simple - there are layers of complexity waiting to be peeled back everywhere we turn - but go ahead and let the masses think it's simple. Don't cast your pearls before swine. Leave the hood on the car. Play the game - just show them the front side of the card while you enjoy the complexities that only you know are there. Oh, and save the condescending attitude - it won't earn you any friends.

Apple plays Outside-Inside extroardinarily well. Unix...not so much. But then, the inventors of Unix weren't trying to get rich or famous or have their work become ubiquitous in every household. They were just trying to make something that works. Classic Greens.

I'll end with two objects that represent the best of Green to me, one from popular culture and one from nature. I mentioned them at the beginning of this post: the bunny from "The Last Mimzy," and a leaf.

I don't know how many of you have seen that wierd 2007 sci-fi movie, the "Last Mimzy." The general consensus seemed to be that it was kind of creepy and almost beautiful. *SPOILER ALERT.* The storyline revolves around this stuffed bunny discovered by a little girl. The bunny moves, murmers, and acts so lifelike that the little girl falls in love with it - it feels like a living being to her. But inside the soft fabric, crude stitches and fluffy stuffing it is actually the most advanced AI technology the world has ever seen, from the future in fact. It is sent back to the past to accomplish a mission to save the human race. But its mission has been condensed, crystallized, and presented in terms so simple, even a little girl can understand and play her part.

Leaves at Table Rock.
Leaves are a gift from God that I thank and praise Him for. Today I was lying in my hammock under the canopy, gazing up at the beautiful, fractaline chaos of leaves from all different trees, cutting relief against the sky. How can such chaos feel so peaceful? It's more than a common color palette. A leaf is a simple looking thing. Usually a solid color, some shade of green, often flat. One end is attached to a plant and the other is free. There are lots of variations of leaves but you can still pretty much tell one when you see one. And I have to say, leaves, on the whole, are pretty attractive, shapely little things. But a leaf is by no means simple. 
Firstly, it is composed of cells. Cells of at least two different types, with different functions. Those cells are composed of molecules, and those molecules are composed of atoms, the atoms of electrons, the electrons, quarks (somebody correct me if I'm getting this wrong - I really didn't pay much attention in science class). Taken as a whole, the cells in a leaf are working together toward a common goal. A beautiful thing known as photosynthesis - the conversion of sunlight to food. They are also taking in carbon dioxide and converting it into oxygen (awfully convenient for us oxygen-to-CO2 creatures) and often serve other functions simultaneously. 
That's an awful lot for one little piece of one little plant to accomplish, don't you think? Do you ever just stop to marvel at the complexity, the efficiency of it all? The beauty, the elegance? For me, it just makes me marvel and praise the Inventor of this ingenous, ubiquitous machine, this perfect system. In classic Green fashion, He has always been ahead of the curve, delights in making marvelous things that work, and doesn't need our praise or credit. Still, don't you think He enjoys it when we stop, notice, and let Him know we appreciate His brilliance?

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