Sunday, January 28, 2007

Snow Flakes

Small tourist towns such as South Lake Tahoe, near where I was
fortunate enough to ski with my wife and daughters over the Chirstmas
holidays, can still sustain independent and small businesses such as
the Neighbors Bookstore.

We went there to supplement the books we had bought or borrowed from
libraries back home--one must have alternatives to skiing when snow
pack is insufficient. In the very small but
well-stocked drama section, I was yet again fortunate enough to find and
buy the single copy of Lajos Egri's The Art of Dramatic Writing: Its Basis in The Creative Interpretation of Human Motives that still stood on the half full shelves.

I found this passage particularly apt given how it started:

Science will tell you that no two snowflakes have ever been discovered to be identical. The slightest disturbance in the atmosphere, the direction of the wind, the position of the falling snowflake, will alter the pattern. Thus there is endless variety in their design.  The same law governs us all. Whether one's father is always kind, or only kind occasionally, or kind but once, or never kind, will profoundly affect one's development. And if the paternal kindness coincided with one's happiest and most contented moments, it might pass unrecognized. Every move hinges upon the peculiar circumstances of the given moment. 

There you have it -- lots of philosophy packed into a fragment from one paragraph by Egri, found on a cold snowy night in South Lake Tahoe with no laptop in sight.


For the physics of snow crystals, see here.

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