Andrew Graystone writes:
The news came through a while back that scientists have discovered a new shade of the colour black. Apparently it’s twenty-five times blacker than the blackest black anyone’s ever seen before. I suppose you can’t exactly say they’ve discovered a new shade of black. Presumably it was there before the scientists managed to find it. But it’s exciting because it means the whole spectrum of colours has grown a bit. In a way it’s like discovering a whole new continent that we didn’t know was there.
The scientist who developed this new black was very excited about it. “Its incredibly beautiful”, he said – “like black velvet”. The only trouble is, you need scientific instruments to tell just how black it is. To you and me, black is just – well black. But there’s obviously much more to black than meets the eye.
All my life I’ve been blissfully unaware of how much detail and richness there is, even in the simple colour black. I guess most of the time I just look at the surface of things. I’m rather ashamed to have missed so much of the intensity of the world. Obviously there’s a whole range of detail that I’m just not equipped to pick up. It makes me wonder what else I’ve been missing. Is there a mass of sounds that my ears just aren’t hearing? Are there a million different flavours that my taste-buds have been ignoring? The mind boggles.
If you believe in God, then this extravagance will make you stand back in awe. God’s attention to detail is amazing. Fancy creating stuff that’s far more clever than we’re even equipped to experience. And if you don’t believe in God maybe the world’s just a more wonderful place than we’d realised till now.
People too – we’re inclined to look just at the surface of people. We paint them in black and white, or at least a very limited range of colours. Goodies and baddies, friends and enemies; she’s smart, he’s stupid, vote for him, bomb him. But every person from the boss of your workplace to the person on the desk next to you is a mass of complex and subtle detail all put there by God, and marked by a million experiences that you and I know nothing about. Probably if we could see beneath the surface the depths and the details would astound us. Maybe there’s some people we’d be more gentle with. Probably we’d stand in awe of every person we met.
Oh – and the scientist who discovered the new black – he’s Dr Richard Brown!
Andrew Graystone is the Director of the Church and Media Network