Reflection refers to both a behavior of light and thought, as if their flows obey the same laws, that thought illuminates reality as light illuminates objects. The luminous ideas of researchers, the enlightening explanations of professors, the clear solutions of students all demonstrate understanding.
A question, a paradox, a dissatisfaction, an observation that doesn't fit, a need to be filled... a spark triggers a search for information. From the information then accumulated, an embryo of a model emerges, an idea is formed, nebulous, still vague... there comes a moment when we want to understand, without any grey area. Then one enters in reflection. As in the heart of the ruby of lasers, we reflect with what we have, we add energy, we make it more coherent, we assemble the disparate bits into a beam. In reflection, one organizes the information to draw a form of conclusion, a knowledge, which may be partial, with missing elements identified, or definitive, when one has come full circle.
Reflection also involves its phenomena of narcissism, falling in love with one's own image, of distortion, seeing something other than what is reflected, including in self-evaluation, and often of avoidance, looking away, with all sorts of good reasons. Also, reflection can be taught, both in intent and manner and in validity.
The art of reflection is multifaceted. Some use proven techniques, others use intuition or emotion. Some apply discipline, others indulge in daydreaming. One does not disturb a reflection. Sometimes a flash occurs, light is shed, the reflection is over and can lead to a creative frenzy, a need to communicate or an ineffable serenity.
When Planck understood that the concept of the quantum that he was fiercely fighting finally explained the energy levels of the emission of light, he was able to define the value of his constant and open up a whole field of physics. He then described a state of serenity equal to the intellectual investment he had devoted to it. The light illuminates the scene, the horizon reveals itself, the fog lifts, the vision is clear.
Denys Lamontagne - [email protected]
Illustration: DepositPhotos - davisales