There are moments in life, which I imagine to be a bit like getting struck by lightning (only less painful, and without all the damage from burns and whatnot (maybe this is a terrible metaphor, but stick with me.))
[I had a beautiful image in my head of how I’d describe the electricity pooling in the base of a cloud; reacting to something occurring in life, then flinging itself determinedly towards the point of occurrence, coating it in light and plasma, zinging through it in a blinding glow, then dissipating, leaving everything warm, charged up, and crackling with possibility…then my first sentence went off at an entirely different tangent and didn’t lead into the above description at all, but it was too compelling to leave out, so here we are.]
Back to those moments.
I doubt they all look the same, or probably even remotely similar, the way two patches of landscape which happen to get hit by lightning have (usually) only tallness and a positive charge. Maybe that’s the thing that’s similar – a positive charge; a feeling of rightness, as though we’ve hit upon something…then BAM! Glowiness.
There’s a theory purported by some, that ideas are just Out There, hanging around, waiting for someone to catch onto them. I don’t know how this tallies with the suggestion that every combination of words/musical notes possible must by now have been committed to permanency, because we still keep coming out with more music, more writing, however nuanced a version of something previously thunk. The ideas are still there, however many of them might be variations on a theme, and we (with our similar human brains and our galaxies of neurons) keep coming out with them.
I kind of like the notion that ideas are swirling invisibly, just waiting for the right brain to jump into; for the pattern of neurons and the context and the precedent to be just so; and for that gathering patch of positivity, inviting the strike.
That does rather take the onus away from our ability to think though, rendering us (albeit very sophisticated) vessels for concepts which were formed elsewhere and just needed the right moment, and the right person, to become a thing, rather than a nothing. I’d venture that it was teamwork, but that kind of collaboration seems to me to need a modicum of intent, and that’s more consciousness than I’m willing to imbue in an inchohate crowd of (currently unproven) roving ideas, OR (on any given day) my brain.
Maybe then, it’s the possibility of ideas that’s swirling all around us – the very air is saturated with potential, and the onus back on us to fire our small jolts of electricity through the network of our minds, joining neurons within the context of the moment and everything that led up to it, creating the perfect opportunity for an idea to come into being. From this viewpoint, the storm analogy comes back into alignment, rushing across the horizon to drench the landscape with perhapses.
That feels better. Glowy, yaknow?
What’s wonderful, is as well as having the capability for generating our own lightning strikes, we can witness other people’s; stand in their glow. There are times we notice it – we get caught up in what’s going on, our impulses zipping alongside those being worked by other people, and there’s a transfer – our charges converge, everything lights up behind our eyes, and the hairs on our arms stand up on end.
We get it with music. We get it with poetry. We get it with art. We get it when the cadence of a line in the middle of a paragraph that just hits the sweet spot in our minds and blossoms into perfect clarity. We get it when a plan we’ve been rolling around as a faint possibility somehow hits off the right set of points and crystallises into something that might be really, really good. We get it in the stillness that happens for a split-yet-endless-second of consciousness when we’re with people we love that *this*, right here, is IT.