The Physicist and The Inner Self

The Physicist and The Inner Self
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Bob Dylan has been singing about "the times they are a'changin" since the 60s. But of course, change is not a one time thing, it does not belong to a particular decade or century, it's a continuous process. It is in the nature of life to be always changing..

I just read a wonderful article by Alan Lightman, a writer and physicist who teaches at MIT.. Alan is the author of "In Praise of Wasting Time". I find it inspiring to find scientists and physicists speaking and writing about "inner self" related topics.

Here is a portion of that article, entitled:The Virus Is a Reminder of Something Lost Long Ago. The subtitle of that article is: In rebuilding a broken world, we will have the chance to choose a less hurried life.

"With the forced slowing of life granted by the coronavirus, we are now seeing an explosion of creative ideas and innovations in many parts of the world. In Italy, quarantined citizens are singing from balconies. Writers have created new blogs. Parents have developed new art projects for their children.

But there is something more to be regained, something more subtle, more delicate, almost impossible even to name. That is the restoration of our inner selves. By inner self, I mean that part of me that imagines, that dreams, that explores, that is constantly questioning who I am and what is important to me. My inner self is my true freedom. My inner self roots me to me, and to the ground beneath me. The sunlight and soil that nourish my inner self are solitude and personal reflection. When I listen to my inner self, I hear the breathing of my spirit. Those breaths are so tiny and delicate, I need stillness to hear them, I need slowness to hear them. I need vast silent spaces in my mind. I need privacy. Without the breathing and the voice of my inner self, I am a prisoner of the frenzied world around me. I am a prisoner of my job, my money, the clothes in my closet. What am I? I need slowness and quiet to ponder that question.

Sometimes, I picture America as a person and think that, like a person, our entire nation has an inner self. If so, does our nation recognize that it has an inner self, does it nourish that inner self, listen to its breathing in order to know who America is and what it believes in and where it is going? If citizens of this nation, like me, have lost something of our own inner selves, then what of the nation as a whole? If our nation cannot listen to its inner self, how can it listen to others? If our nation cannot grant itself true inner freedom, how can it allow freedom for others? How can it bring itself into a respectful understanding and harmonious coexistence with other nations and cultures, so that we might truly contribute to peace and well-being in the world?

Like many of us, I will have the chance do that pondering for several months. But such self-reflection, such tending to the inner self, is not a onetime event. It should be an ongoing part of a life lived deliberately, to use Henry David Thoreau’s language. And that deliberate living requires an enduring change of lifestyle and habits."


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Read the entire article here.

Video/Presentation with Alan Lightman: 525,600 Minutes: Time, Eternity & Finding Value in Our Lives

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FROM THE EDITORS

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