Almost a year ago, I had a dream that my house was on fire. It was a moving experience; metaphor sailing into theater, into acceptance, and then moving into an awareness of responsibility to my surroundings, which demanded an action I was unaware I was about to take (calling a fire truck so that my personal spontaneous combustion wouldn’t light up the neighbors I didn’t know I had in the city I didn’t know I was in).
It was a progression; I appreciated the depth of it while I was experiencing it. I find that rare and beautiful, knowing that I am dreaming while still in the dream. I wrote about it, and especially noted at the time the idea that even with metaphor, one must take care, because every maquette is a model, and every model has the potential to be a working model.
If I model myself alone, or with some manner of existential ache, am I modeling a moment, or a future, or is it fluid? I have held myself apart from almost every level of society. Why?
Through collaboration, I’ve come to realize that I do mean something deeper than I realized by the term working model; it isn’t just a piece of a system that represents the rules and organization of a larger, possibly infinite form, it’s a model that is clean enough to entangle at a quantum level with the larger form.
If you can make that, and really hold it in your mind, then when you interact with the model, you also interact with and influence the system it is modelling. What level of interaction or influence depends on the quality of the model, and I think also the intention of the person making and using it. Entanglement through modelling isn’t voodoo; it’s more like voodoo uses the expressions of physics to be able to affect systems one cannot reach in other ways.
And know I know why Erik Demaine (my academic advisor at MIT) got that interesting look on his face when I asked him at what size our cherished Hypars and Warped Squares were working models of the infinite planar forms they modelled. Something deep passed over his face before he asked, “what do you mean specifically by a working model?” Did he wonder if I knew what I was asking?
That experience of deconstruction is ongoing. In my life now there is another wave of it; of thee deep restless energy of life, the creation of books, the vaporization of outworn ideas or constructs, and the birth of structure where none existed previously. Making something out of nothing has always been my superpower, but man, is it costly at an elemental level, things get very thin and membrane-like; structure is revealed to be a collaboration of intention.
We have accreted some surprising collaborators for my green power push; the celebrated Boston-based ad man Ron Lawner, and the equally celebrated Charles Chase, director of the Revolutionary & Disruptive Technology programs at Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works.
Would it surprise you to find that in the hearts of these secret R&D defense labs such as the Skunk Works there are scientists and engineers working in peace, working on clean power and on the concept of human potential as it applies to healing our planet? It surprised me. Everything surprises me, except what doesn’t. Chase says, “I work in a safe inside a safe.” Who knew what beauty was building along with machines of war?
Catch up on the progress of that work over at our web site, NinjasForScience.com.
And spare me a moment of your own inner peace, if you have a little well of it (like we keep coins in our ashtrays for toll bridges…) I am modelling a calm center, but not experiencing it.
For whatever reason, I am having to go back, way back, to find the signposts of my own heart. 1973 seems to be where this all really began, as suspected, foretold, and my God do I remember that year.