Saturday, August 1, 2009

Notes on Complementarity 1

All light is light.

Light in the everyday world is delivered by different sources: the sun, fire, electric light fixtures, lightning, and moonlight. Light from those sources may be differentiated in the sense that each source may have more of some characteristics than others. One of those sources is intense, regular, encompassing in its influence, and a requisite for life; one flickers when domesticated, but roaring when it threatens; one is constant, quiet, and subject to fingertip control; yet another arrives in a crooked flash, a near-blinding expenditure of energy; and the last is a cyclical, soft, echo of the first. But what they have in common is equally important. At the level of particle physics, the light from all of the sources is the same thing: radiation within a thin slice of the electromagnetic spectrum. It’s all the same stuff, which means that light from one source works with another without conflict. Light from the sources can be combined and no one source cancels another. The sources and characteristics are often are combined to make rich and varied architectural environments. It also means that there is no such thing as “artificial” light. All light is light.

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