Saturday, April 20, 2013

Lightning Processes, Understanding Processes: The Similarity

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark;
The real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”

~ Plato

I remember a story my former school teacher told me and of course, I was at a very tender and not-so impressive age then, apparently, it was to get me scared of lightning, reminiscing about it, only makes me laugh. Well, the story behind this title is similar to how people look at an artistic sketch and find different interpretations; mine can be categorized under the word “Understanding”.

Starting with the obvious, when the storm clouds are charged like giant capacitors in the sky. The upper portion of the cloud is positively charged and the lower is negatively but if by chance, these two charges happen to fight over who's in charge, the storm clouds discharge and the result is Lightning and it occurs, not from bottom up but from above then moves down. This is just the summarized version of how lightning forms and it’s an allegory of what this article is about.

Moving away from this obvious, meaningful, physical phenomenon. Figuratively, light means understanding, darkness means ignorance.

Darkness can’t drive out darkness: only light can do that, Ignorance can’t drive out Ignorance; only understanding can do that.

Terry Pratchett once said; "No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has gotten there first and is waiting for it.

Usually, the insight that comes when someone suddenly have an idea on how to solve a problem or what is needed in a particular situation, can be likened to a sudden flash of light, blazing (with the required understanding) through an ignorant and uncertain mind and if this is true, then the processes that forms lightning must be the same as the processes that forms the understanding behind the idea.

One similarity between lightning and understanding is, lightning moves from a positive charged spot (which is usually above) to the negative spot (usually below) with a powerful and domineering effect, the same way insight or understanding also moves to address the needs of its environment. If the required understanding cannot meet the needs of its environment the same way a lightning does, it can never have the lightning effect.

Another similarity is in adding values to others; lightning, adds value to humans and its environment, research has it, lightning in itself help provide our daily need of Nitrogen which is the third most abundant element in the human body, and it must be renewed continually. So, how is this similar to understanding?

The simple way, understanding can help us to add value to others was suggested by John C. Maxwell. He suggested, "Find out what others need and meet that need with Excellence and generosity". But note, finding out what others need can only be met by putting them first, in your thinking.

Lightning (only God knows how) somehow knows a particular human need, in the same vein, understanding must also know.

So, which need(s) are you going to meet that will leave your footprint in the sands of time, the same way a physical lightning does?

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