Scientists once thought that all colors were distinct. Physics now shows us that one color has the same properties as all the others. Any color of the rainbow can be derived from another by moving toward or away from it at varying speeds.
This insight, shared by Nobel Prize winning physicist Frank Wilczek in Krista Tippet’s On Being podcast, made me wonder: How are we, as people, like this physical phenomenon?
As we move through life, we move toward and away from different people, circumstances and beliefs. What seems “true” one day is challenged the next with new information. If we’re paying attention, we can see how we shift and change as we move toward and away from ideas.
When we look at ourselves in relation to another person as a snapshot in time, we may seem very different than the other. But as we move through life, gaining experiences, suffering loss, experiencing failure and celebrating triumphs, we become one with the human experience.
Perhaps you feel incredibly distant from the person who can’t pay his bills until you fall into a medical trauma that eats up your savings and threatens your livelihood. Suddenly, you develop more empathy for the man evicted from his home.
We are all moving toward or away from our fellow human beings as we journey through life. When we can recognize that each circumstance of every person’s life is the human experience, we can see that we are all one. Just like the colors of the rainbow are the same, we are the same. We may not have had the life experience to see the sameness yet. Perhaps we never will. But the mere fact that another human is having an experience implies that same experience is a possibility for you.
As I talk with people about the UNITY interactive public art project, I’m struck by the human longing to come together. Perhaps expanding our relation to others beyond the snapshot of who we are today will help us build understanding, compassion and unity.
Volunteer for UNITY
UNITY is an interactive public art project that promotes human connection. The project consists of 32 posts, each with identifiers such as, “I’m a parent; I speak English as a second language; I identify as LGBTQ,” etc. Participants will wrap colorful yarn around the posts that reflect their identities. Ultimately their yarn will intertwine with others’ to create a web of interconnectedness.
UNITY launches soon! We need volunteers to welcome participants and help them through their journeys as they experience UNITY from June 2-12. The first 50 volunteers to sign up get the coveted UNITY t-shirt. Sign up today!
If you can't take a shift, but want to help, download this flier and post it in your office, a coffee shop, community center, place of worship, or wherever you think it will inspire people to become involved. Together, we can shift the national conversation and build a more compassionate world.