Personal Musings

This blog is intended to be just a jumble of thoughts that hit me and need not necessarily mean anything.

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Location: Kerala, India

Water flows ...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

What makes clock tick?

What makes clock tick? It is really a difficult question to answer. We can come up with a very technical answer like, there is a quartz crystal,, which generates the ticks with the help of a timer circuit. Or something like, a spring wound tight unwinds itself, generating the tick. The technical aspect of it is superficial. The question can now be what makes the quartz crystal tick. We can yet again come up with lots of scientific answers, but then, they do get questions in turn.

The questions can be answered and deeper questions can still be posed. The question is how long will there will be a tryst to answer the question.

Now, What makes the clock tick? There is a story I heard a couple of years ago regarding an real life incident of one of the greatest American poets. I think it was T S Elliot. This gentleman was walking in the park, when one of his fans saw him. The lady was walking with her 5-yr old kid when she recognized that her idol is walking in front of her. Immediately she approached and self-introduced and poured on to the poor poet the normal ravishing of a fan. Her kid was uninterested first, but after a while, he asked " Can I ask you a doubt?". The poor poet was trapped. He is standing in front of his fan and her child wants to ask him a question.
"Go ahead. What do you want to ask me?"
"Why are the leaves of the pine tree green?"
The mother of the kid was completely bewildered and she wanted to divert the topic fast. But a gentleman as he was, he bent down to the child, thought for a while and simply said : " I dont know, my child."
Why the heck didn't he give the usual discourse of chlorophyll and all.This is quite a learned man, with lots of common sense. But he resorted to the most simplest of answers, simply because he truely didnot know. He knew that chlorophylls give the leaves the green color. But then, what makes chlorophyll green in color. We can boil down to a set of chemicals that has the green color, but then the question is how did those compounds get the color. Even thinking deeply, what is a color? The unending sequence of question continues. And at last we fall back to the simplest of all answers.

So, what really makes the clock tick? I dont know.

Now did I turn defeatist and give up even when the question was asked. There is a thin line. The question is, when the line was drawn, was i standing just one nanometer to the right or to the left. When the answer, I dont know came, it was not because of ignorance. I know the reasons the science behind the working of a clock. But how long will I go answering the counter questions. Did I go deep enough , before I said "I dont know", or was it a shallow search.

There are lots of things we dont know. The question is did we as deep as possible, before we said "this is all I can do".

Often, the simplest questions are the most profound.
Follow these simple questions, and the doors of heaven will be opened.



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