Saturday, October 24, 2009

black holes

A black hole is a super dense gravitational field from which light cannot escape. The super density of matter creates a gravitational field so strong that matter the size of the earth is condensed to the size of a thimble. And like a giant vacuum cleaner everything that is within its reach is sucked into a black hole. Matter is deconstructed into the smallest of galactic elements.

Physicists call the perimeter of the black hole the event horizon. This is point at which information cannot be retrieved and beyond which all is lost.

Every family has an event horizon, a point at which all information stops. The stopping point is nearer for some and further for others. There must be some comfort in being Jewish, for their family history is traced all the way back to Abraham. And even when cultures don't know for certain, they invent histories that explain our origins. The Greeks had Helen of Troy and before that Pandora. The Romans had Romulus and Remus along with Aeneas. But, the phenomenon is not limited to Western Civilization. It is universal. The ancient Aztec civilization of Mexico relate the story of its founder Tenoch bring his people on an odyssey to a lake in Mexico where an eagle was perched on a cactus. There on a swampy island they found their promised land and created a great civilization.

These stories of origin are often part fact and part fiction. They become our badge of cultural identification so that we know who we are and where we came from. This is important for if we don't know where we have been as a people, how do we know where we are going to?

History is one of the original seven muses. History is the oldest story of mankind; a story that continues to be written. Even though many of the pages are lost forever, torn from the book of who we are by war, famine, neglect, and time, still it is comforting to know that others have before us have lived, loved, and worked to get us to this point in the story of our families.

The black hole into which we cannot see is frustrating. There must be many stories of our families which are amusing even heroic, but at the same time we must acknowledge that sometime history can reveal stories that are difficult to deal with. Events in the history of mankind are both good and bad. That is the nature of humanity.



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