Tuesday, December 31, 2013

There are things more important in life than meetings


Definitions are not enough

The meeting had ground to a halt yet again on the subject of which compound would offer least electrical resistance. The deep-hued rings under the scientists’ eyes reflected the long hours they had spent in pursuit of the enigma of super-conductivity, which had been the focus of their research over the past few months.Professor Wilkins, a scientist greatly renowned for his ruthless investigative methods into the secrets of physical chemistry, said, “I’m sure if we were able to increase the amount of bismuth in the oxide compound we would get closer to the desired results. Just imagine what zero electrical resistance would bring us - super-fast chips, super-cheap electro-magnets… The possibilities are endless.” His face took on a far-away look as he thought about all the ways in which their research, if it succeeded, could transform so many areas of everyday life.“I personally am inclined toward the strontium. In any case, how far have we reached?” his colleague, Dr Smith, interrupted.The professor, pulled out of his reverie, smiled. “We have gotten within 23 degrees of absolute freezing and . . .”Suddenly, the door to the meeting room swung open as one of the lab assistants burst through, a cordless phone in hand. “Professor, there’s a call for you.”Professor Wilkins couldn’t hide his irritation. “Didn’t I tell you not to disturb us!”“It’s urgent, sir. It’s your wife.”Gruffly, the professor picked up the phone. “How many times have I told you not to call me here? What is it?”“Something terrible has happened,” his wife sobbed. “Our Johnny has been knocked down by a car in front of the house. I’ve laid him on the sofa and called an ambulance but I can’t feel his pulse.”He went pale. “I’ll be right there.” The phone slipped from his hand as he looked over at his team.“What’s the matter?” asked Dr Smith. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.  Professor? Professor?”The professor grasped the edge of the table and stumbled out of the room without even picking up his papers . . .

Interpreting the tale

While research into the laws of physics has led to a deeper understanding and harnessing of matter and energy, our lives and deeper hopes move at a different pace to our intellectual activity.From time to time we are jolted by events that defy our intellectual capacity. When the unpredictable occurs, we require something beyond mere definition. We need inner power.Meditation helps us to retain balance in the face of the unexpected. In one moment we can be totally focused on and efficient in our professional capacities and, in the next, able to stay calm and concerned as we deal with whatever personal difficulties arise. The more able we are to focus and concentrate, the more able we are to avoid useless speculation and maintain enough patience to await the facts.

This is a short story I wrote in an anthology called 'Tales for Better Living'