Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Abundant Ichiro

In early December, I traveled to Seattle, U.S.A. and interviewed Ichiro Suzuki of Seattle Mariners for "The Professionals" program produced and broadcast by NHK. With me were co-presenter of the program Miki Sumiyoshi, Chief Producer Nobuto Ariyoshi, and Directors Daisaku Kawase and Kenichiro Tsutsumida.

Ichiro is renowned for his stoic stance, meditative and restrained movements. However, the real Ichiro is something different. There is a fire within him, a raging volcano which would erupt when time comes. The superficial appearance of the quiet man is only a disguise behind which lurks a gigantic force.

That Ichiro is in fact a man full of elementary forces should come as no surprise when you consider the nature of the game of baseball. In a fast pitch by a major leaguer, the ball arrives at the home base 0.4 seconds after it is released from the thrower. You cannot afford to be just quiet and restrained to adapt to that sort of speed.

Ichiro is a vivid creature exploding with energy, and exemplifies a universal principle. In general, when there is abundance, it is possible to restrain the overflow and make a refined use. When superfluence is lacking, however, one cannot fake it, force the abundance, induce the overflow. Genius is hallmarked by excess, almost without exception. And Ichiro is no exception.

The program will be broadcast in the New Year (January 2nd 2008, 21:00 to 22:12 JST)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Rain Reaction

I am not sure if there's really such a word, but I am coining it anyway. I am going to write about the rain reaction.

I am fond of jogging in the forest near my flat in Tokyo. The other day, the sky was cloudy with a hint of imminent rain in the air. I ventured off notwithstanding. I enjoyed my running on that particular day. Feeling and breathing in the moisture in the space as you dash through is a soothing experience.

I was approaching my favorite spot, where the trees grow tall on a gentle slope. A dragonfly came into my view. It drew my attention because the way it flew was a bit unusual. I looked like a common Autumn Darter ("Akiakane"), but the manner of flight was definitely not.

I stopped running and observed the insect carefully. It flew in a zigzag trajectory as if in a jovial dancing, and approached a tree. There, after making some agitated turns, it perched on a leaf. I approached and took a good look at the specimen. It was an Autumn Darter all right.

I noticed that it had actually begun to rain. In a poignant period of transition, the raindrops gradually increased in number, and I myself had to run for cover.

It was the rain reaction. The insect, detecting the raindrop, apparently went into a different mode of flight than usual. This kind of behavior would be observable only in the transition period, as once it definitely started raining these creatures would not make flights but shelter themselves under the leaves.

I jogged on, pondering the rain reaction. Butterflies must also exhibit rain reactions. Their wings are so vulnerable. Ants must make rain reactions on the ground. These abrupt changes of behavior must be written in their genetic codes. Rain is such a common phenomenon.

Then I mused on rain reactions in life. When rain falls in life, what do people do? Do they dance in a heightened mood, or do they shriek for cover? Is it different from the snow reaction? Is there such a thing as a sunbeam reaction?

My jogging was almost over. As I dried my hair and took of the T-shirt, I thought of the dragonfly, biding time under the leaf.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Miscellaneous Weeds Gardening

On the veranda of my flat in Tokyo, I have several pots of plants. These were originally purchased in gardening shops, featuring the benjamin fig, orange, camellia tree, and other plant species of interest.

With the passage of time, some of these plants sadly perish. Some are flourishing, while some are in states of constant transitions the outcomes of which are still not clear to this writer.

Whatever the fates of the main inhabitants, I have one "pot policy". When miscellaneous weeds find their way into the pot, I do not get rid of them. I let them grow.

Many plant seeds have managed to land in the tiny soil in my pots whether by the whims of winds, or birds. It is fascinating to watch how different plant species fight for soil spaces and then settle to co-exist. The pots thus left alone are quite enjoyable gems of ecology.

Something uncontrollable, and yet by nature so peaceful. Like our own minds.

I regard this "miscellaneous weeds gardening" as one of the greatest achievements of my otherwise lamentable idleness.

The result of miscellaneous weeds gardening in one of the pots.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Janice Tay's article in the Straights Times.

Some time ago I received a mail about my 11th April blog from Janice Tay. Janice is an active writer originally from Singapore, who now stays in Kyoto. In the mail, she said that she was planning to write an article for the Straights Times, a venerable English newspaper founded in 1845. Janice asked if she could mention my blog in that article. I was overjoyed.

Janice's article titled "When closed doors set us free" has now been published on the 14th July issue.

Janice's article.
When closed doors set us free

Janice's blog.

Power of logic

Some time ago, I met with Prof. Lisa Randall of Harvard University at a lecture and discussions session held in Koshiba Hall at the University of Tokyo. I am an alumnus of the Physics Department of this university, where Prof. Emeritus Masatoshi Koshiba (Nobel Prize in Physics, 2002) used to teach.

One of the marvels of contemporary physics, from the eyes of an interested onlooker, lies in the belief that the power of logical consistency is pushed to the limit. Assuming that the laws of physics such as general relativity and quantum mechanics hold, one can make certain conclusions about the origin of the universe, scales of parameters involved in forces and particles, etc. What is remarkable is this belief in the "extendability" of the power of logic. For example, by applying the currently known laws of physics, one can make certain conclusions about the dynamics of the generation and annihilation of the universes, a great multitude of them in fact, one of which we supposedly inhabit.

Lisa's combination of logical rigidity, a well-balanced sense of humor, and healthy common sense was a great charmer for the full packed audience. Lisa's powerful role in generating new results as well as communicating about them to the general public is a super nova. The session was recorded, and will be broadcast on NHK (Japanese public television) on the 25th of August, 2007.

Lisa Randall lecturing in Koshiba hall, University of Tokyo on 28th July 2007

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The trumpet boy in Salzburg.

I have been visiting Salzburg, Austria, to attend the Quantum Mind
conference organized by a long time friend of mine, Gustav Bernroider of the University of Salzburg. Now I am heading back to Tokyo, lost in translation at Vienna airport.

On the last evening of my short stay in Salzburg, I was tasting my beer in the venerable Cafe Tomaselli. A small boy of about 6 or 7 years old was playing the trumpet. He was adequately good, but not particularly masterful, going out of tune here and there. About five meters from him, a man, apparently the father, was standing observant, eagerly watching his son's performance.

The sight reminded me of the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart was "on tour" from the age of six, traveling around Europe, earning money for his father by displaying his genius at the piano. It was a marvel which attracted people's attention, but the admiration waned with the growth of the great composer. The novelty value was diminished as Mozart's height increased and he became an ordinary young man. The real struggle of Mozart's life, to have people acknowledge that he was a serious musician to be appreciated on genuine merits rather than as a "small chap" playing the piano masterfully, started there.

As some approached the trumpet boy and showed their appreciation with the sound of dropping coins, I wondered what it would have felt like to witness the very young Mozart in performance, eagerly trying to please people all around. I would have liked to see the gleam in his eyes.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The brightest searchlight

I met with Mr. Adam Smith, who is the product management director for the Book Search service at Google. Mr. Smith visited Japan on the occasion of the Tokyo International Book Fair, in which Google announced the launch of the book search service in Japan.

The informational qualities of books are in general superior to those of digital information on the internet. The reason being that people put much more energy when they write up a book. Living things tend to take seriously those information sent out with a lot of energy behind. Cost can be the effective measure of the importance of a biological signal. Digital information on the net are easy to publish. There is in principle no prima facie reason why information published on the internet should be inferior to those in the books. However in practice, the quality of information on the web is varied.

The serious defect of books, however, is inaccessibility. I remember the time I was browsing through the books in the Cambridge University library while I was doing postdoc there. For a special reason I was looking for some passages in C. D. Broad's writings. I do not think that many people were interested in those volumes at that time. I doubt any human fingers have touched the covers of some of the books I went through since I returned them to the shelves more than 10 years ago.
In this modern age of connectivity and accessibility, the intractability of gaining information from a forgotten book is something on the verge of an intellectual scandal. Legal issues notwithstanding (I am sure somebody can sort them out in due time), making the contents of books searchable is clearly the right way to proceed. Not only currently available copies but also "public domain" books now becoming obscure have a right to be known to the general public.

During the meeting, Mr. Smith mentioned that making all the books digitally available was the original dream of Larry Page and Servey Brin, before they founded Google.

Shedding light to the forgotten corners is a healthy exercise, in which we outgrow the limitations of the contemporary and gain deeper insight into the history of human thinking. The internet with its powerful search functionalities is the brightest searchlight that we possess, in many cases for free.

Friday, May 04, 2007


Recently, I was invited to the Kankyu-an of Mushanokojisenke in Kyoto. I was to attend the most formal of tea ceremonies hosted by the next (15th) Iemoto Designate, Mr. Souoku Sen.
Certain cultural essences never travel far. People might get to have a very faint idea of what a tea ceremony is all about, by coming to witness some of the outreaching events. However, I knew from my own experience so far in life that the essence of certain ancient traditions would be never be known, unless one actually lives and breathes the "heart" of the event at its best.

In my life, a particularly poignant example was the Ise shrine. The essence of its natural and architectural beauty could never be understood, unless one actually visited the sacred place. All the historical, cultural and sometimes political connotations that surrounded this institution did not help, but rather hindered, my appreciation of its jealously conserved merits.

A tea ceremony at Kankyu-an is very special. It is said that even if one dedicates oneself to the teachings of the masters of the school all life, it is not certain whether one would be invited to a ceremony at this important historic site. It was a special consideration on the part of Mr. Sen to grant me, a complete novice in the art of tea and not even a formal pupil of his school, this very rare opportunity.

So here was my chance to get to know the real thing, where my only weapons were the open senses.

During the ceremony which lasted for more than four hours, I was moved by a series of inner discoveries. Although I do not have the time to go into all the details in this journal, I will try to convey the (in my view) most essential elements below.

I think I could understand the historical context surrounding the initiation of this form of art for the first time. I had to travel to Kankyu-an and go through the formal procedures of the classic tea ceremony to come to this realization.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi was the most powerful man at the time of the founder of tea ceremonies, Sen no Rikyu. After many years of warfare between the Daimyos, Hideyoshi united Japan. Being appointed Kampaku by the Emperor, his power was second to none in the earthly sense. After a long period of often brutal battles, in which betrayals by the closest of allies, sometimes even by those of one's own blood were the norm, people were accustomed to the idea of a man in power giving a free vent to his often savage whims. The grave matters of life and death were nothing but trifle movement of a finger for the powers that be.

It was all the more significant, then, that Sen no Rikyu defied the supreme political powers by inventing an art form which requested, for example, the practitioners to stoop as they enter the chasitsu. No weapons were allowed in the small hall of exquisite beauty where all the ceremonies took place. The powerful warriors had to abandon all the worldly glories they had fought all their lives for and obey rules of quite another world, where the most humble and unassuming items were deemed lofty and valuable.

No exceptions were made even for the most powerful of all. Hideyoshi must have felt that his world was being turned completely upside down, his taste for the decorative and rich effectively ridiculed by the tea master. It must have been as if that Hideyoshi's achievements, laudable by any reasonable estimates of history, were reduced to mere nothingness. Hideyoshi was again transformed into a complete novice, where he had to learn everything from scratch in the great universe of wabicha created by Sen no Rikyu.

Here was a creative tension between politics and the arts almost unrivaled in the long history of humanity. It would have been psychologically helpful for Hideyoshi if the cosmos of Sen no Rikyu was something he could reject and ignore. On the contrary, it was so attractive, probably more desirable than being the supreme power of the nation. Hideyoshi must have envied the tea master deeply. Yearning and respect can easily turn into resentment and an urge for a revenge, when it becomes clear that the object of desire is not attainable no matter how hard one tries.

It was a regrettable act of Hideyoshi to order Sen no Rikyu to commit ritual suicide. At the same time, it indicates that Hideyoshi perceived the significance of Rikyu's approach in full, seeing rightly the radicalism behind the seemingly peaceful processions.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Everybody is getting busier these days. The internet and the mobile phone are responsible for making us occupied with various things all day long, forcing us to accept miscellaneous contexts simultaneously, in a situation that was inconsiderable some years ago.

If the popular conception about the dog year holds, then more things must be compressed into the same amount of time compared to what used to be the case.

One consolation of the current situation is that there are more chances of different elements making associations with each other and leading to a non-trivial synthesis. In the association cortex of the brain, experiences would be accumulated with higher intensity, and would, during the course of the "editing" and "streamlining" of the various memory traces, lead to the genesis of new things.

The Flynn effect pinpoints the increase of Intelligence Quotient (IQ) scores in industrialized nations in recent times. If this particular effect is due to the changing information environment, then it can also lead to increased creativity among people. Creativity is difficult to give a measure to compared to the general intelligence, but it must be somehow possible to find empirical evidences in support of the increased productivity in the domain of intelligence.

It is as if the average information environment in which a common man finds himself is becoming something similar to the tropical jungle, where miscellaneous factors are compressed into one with an extremely high density.

For me, creativity increased induced by intensity is at least the gospel of the time, if not entirely the case.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Wittgenstein's cat

I have this bad habit of scribing nonsensical things in my notebook during meetings and conferences. Just listening to other people talk seems to bore my brain. I need to do something extra to properly exercise it.

That's how I came up with the idea of volcano whales, which illustration I use for the current version of my name card.

The other day I was attending a conference, and was half consciously "at it" again. After somehow going into drawing a cat, I came upon this idea of revising the fascinating concept of the Schrödinger's cat.

Schrödinger's venerable cat has been doing the scientific community a lot of service by providing a striking illustration of the mystery of quantum mechanics, after its introduction to humanity in 1935. However, as the Gedanken experiment involves the life and death of a lovable animal, some people might express uneasiness from politically correct reasons.

Here's the new version. It is called "Wittgenstein's cat". One Sunday afternoon, when the sky's blue and the sun is shining, the deep thinking philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein begins to lecture his latest theory to his cat. In this Gedanken experiment, the key question is whether the cat will be awake or asleep after five minutes. Would the cat be alert and attentive to what Wittgenstein is saying, or would it be happily asleep, taking a well-earned nap after listening to his mater's intractable ideas?
According to quantum mechanics, there will be a superposition of the awake cat and the sleeping cat. You would not know which until you actually make the observation. This is the Gedanken experiment of Wittgenstein's cat.

One crucial condition for this experiment to make sense is that the philosopher keeps talking philosophy (blah, blah, blah, ....) whatever the attitude of the cat turns out to be. In other words, the philosopher should not care whether the cat is listening or not, and keep talking philosophy anyway.

This particular condition, given the known facts about Wittgenstein and other philosophically oriented people, is quite likely to be satisfied.

Wittgenstein's cat. A politically correct version of the Schrödinger's cat experiment.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


I met with Dr. Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google for an interview to be broadcast in the "The Professionals" program in NHK during his visit to Tokyo.

Eric said that in Google, information regarding business and technology is made as open as possible, as freedom of information is one of the necessary premises of a creative company. Eric stressed the importance of listening, as a collection of people is bound to be cleverer than an individual, how gifted and experienced that particular person might be.

In a meeting, after expressing his own opinion, Eric waits for somebody else to oppose him, and then listen to the following discussions among the participants. Eric finds that listening is an essential part of creative management. Without listening, one cannot learn, especially in this era of distributed intelligence of the swarm.

Needless to say, the final decision is his, but in order to make an educated choice, a period of listening must precede the moment of truth.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


I met with Mr. Yukio Sakamoto, CEO of Elpida Memory Inc. for interview in "The Professionals" program that I host with Ms. Miki Sumiyoshi for NHK. Mr. Sakamoto's miraculous turning around of the once struggling company is well known.

One of the things that Mr. Sakamoto said and impressed me deeply during the shooting was the necessity to have a clear image for the future. Of course we know that the future is in fact unpredictable, Mr. Sakamoto said. All the same, we do need to have an idea of what kind of person (or company) we would like to be in, say, five years.

The here and now is the only controllable element in life. However, in order to live the here and now fully, we need to have an envisioned future for the guidance. It is admittedly a temporary, mocked-up future, which may not turn out to be the case, but we need to have that vision. And in order to make the vision good, we need to conduct a hard study, think deep, and take action after actions.

This strong urge to envision the future might be one of the key components of a successful entrepreneur. It is also necessary for anyone who cares for the development of his or her own career, coping with the unavoidable in life, but still sailing defiantly towards the promised island of his or her own choice. To know for a fact that the future is unpredictable is compatible with being a self-determined visionary.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Only positive things

Some time ago, I made a half conscious, and half unconscious resolution that I will basically refer to positive things coming from positive emotions in what I write. I have my share of rage and sometimes very fierce criticisms, but I reserve them for the medium of air. I just say it, and let it pass. When you write it down, it remains, and with the passage of time begins to stink. Positive things age into maturity, but negative things deteriorate and leave a bitter aftertaste. I recommend this differential usage of media for anyone with passion, both positive and negative or otherwise.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Thesis in oil

Leonard da Vinci's "Annunciation" is now on exhibit in the Tokyo National Museum. Taking a good look at it, I realized how it is not only an excellent manifestation of the artistry of painting, but also a fine expression of human intellect.

There is this misconception that the natural media for academism are papers and essays. A piece of art, on the other hand, is often considered as something separate from these expressions of human wisdom, something in coherence with the primordial emotions and urges that are rather curbed in the pursuit of excellence in academism.

But such a view is clearly ill-conceived, and Leonard's work is a fine proof in residence. For a starter, in this painting everything looks alive, vibrant, not only Mary and Gabriel, and the flowers at the foot of the angel, the trees in distance, all those which are considered alive in the conventional world view, but also the stone wall, the mountain, the clouds, the air, and even the Bible. Such a spiritual timbre captured on panel can only come from a deep understanding of the coherences and differentiations between life and materials, the mind and matter, space and time, the essence of all living things, and the relation between man and god.

In short, "Annunciation" is an exquisite expression of a deep thinking intellectual that was Leonard, just as Origin of Species was the culmination of Charles Darwin's intellectual endeavors over many years. Leonard was in his early twenties when he did this "thesis in oil"

Monday, April 16, 2007

The tuna night

In a warm night, when the wind is gently breezing around my body, there is one memory that comes back to me again and again. It is about two university undergraduates lying on the banks of the Sumida River in downtown Tokyo at dusk, just like a pair of tuna fish in the Tsukiji fish market. One is Ken Shiotani, the fat (or in other words, "gravitationally challenged") philosopher of temporality and other enigmas. The other is I, his best friend at that time and since, bubbling about everything like a boiling kettle.

In those days we hang out together and talked about difficult things in general, so there was nothing unusual about our killing time on the riverbank. Still, that night stands out as a hallmark in our youthful investigations. We had a can of beer each, with very casual clothing. We may have looked like two homeless people, or aspiring candidates thereof. There were a number of couples strolling along the river. Night was falling, and walking with your loved one was the only sensible thing to do. We talked about science and philosophy instead. We were clearly the odd ones out.

The couples, seeing that there were two shabbily dressed blokes with beer cans, apparently talking nonsense, chose to do what was clearly sensible. Each of them unfailingly made a large detour along the bank, avoiding us in a great circular trajectory, going back to their normal strolling behavior once they were safely distant from the two strange persona non grata.

I don't know why that night stands out so vividly in my memory. Maybe it is a symbol of our youthful misery, or perhaps it is rather that of a sublime glory in deprivation. In any case, I do cherish the remembrance, wishing that I could go back to that very night as an ignorant youth.

Theoretically, we could restage our "tuna night on the bank" anytime even at a mature age. Only stupid social customs and mannerisms prevent us from enjoying the fruits of poignant follies. Maybe I should get a can of beer and call up Shiotani and head for the Sumida River at this very moment.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


As one gets along with time in life, many thing accumulate in the brain. You cannot recall them explicitly. But it is all there. Therefrom come life's many blessings, like the growing personality and the nostalgic memories. On the other hand, like a wine that has gone bad due to an ill conceived maturation treatment, traces of the past can kill the vital freshness within the self.

Therefore it is sometimes good to forget. To feel as if one was born today, where everything in the world is fresh, envigorating, and full of surprises. To feel again that everything is possible, where you are provided with potentially infinite future time. You felt like that in your childhood. There is no reason why you cannot feel the same, no matter how old you are. It is just a matter of tricking your brain into an exquisite cocktail of context-formation, pretending, and believing in the potential of the universal elan vital. Everything is bottomless, and therefore infinite.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

From E. Coli to Chestnut Tigers

This saturday morning, I chatted with Dr. Ueda of Riken about his research on biological clockes, in the editorial office of Nikkei Science. While we strolled in the corridor of interesting facts and ponderings, he mentioned a ongoing research in which the investigator cultured E. Coli for 20 years. Apparently these small chaps "adapted" to the new environment. Wild types of E. Coli, when put into a new environment, do not start dividing until after some delay period, consistent with the idea that the primitive biological forms are "probing" the environment to see if it is fit. The cultured E. Coli, on the other hand, somehow learn to start reproduction "straight away". Presumably they have figured out that the environment they are in is fit for proliferating, and no initial probings are necessary. The underlying molecular mechanisms behind this adaptation are still to be elucidated.

That story somehow reminded me of the butterfly Chestnut Tiger (Parantica sita). This is a beautiful but poisonous species. The birds, after learning that these creatures with inviting appearances actually taste nastily, do not bother them. Chestnut Tigers therefore fly very slowly, with a certain air of elegance, as if they know they wouldn't be chased by birds. When an ignorant enemy tries to attack them, however, for example by the small boy that was I thiry-something years ago, Chestnut Tigers would suddenly shoot up into the high air.

When, however, I waved my hands towards the artificicially cultivated Chestnut Tigers in the Giant Glass Insect Dome of Tama zoo, they could be hardly less perturbated. They have somehow learned that they were now enclosed in a space with a ceiling, and that shooting up into the air did not make any sense. They just kept flying in a slow-motion elegance, after some irritated movement induced by my hands.

The adaptabilities of biological systems, from E. Coli to Chestnut Tigers, never ceases to amaze me. The wonder is how the system and molecules work together to make it happen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Creative Concessions

Recently, I met with the architect Kengo Kuma for intervew on the weekly "The Professionals" program that I am hosting for NHK with Ms. Miki Sumiyoshi. It was not the first time that I met with this famous architect. However, it was the first proper and long chat, lasting for more than 4 hours, which unfortunately would be compressed into 15 minutes in the actual broadcast.

Kengo's architectural philosophy is that of "creative concessions". He criticizes the modern approach of steel and concrete for the very freedom that these materials have given the architects. When you use alternative building materials such as wood, there are numerous restrictions to which you are obliged to make concessions to. True creativity arises from these restrictions and concessions, Kengo says.

When asked what kind of architecture he would build if there was no restriction arising from the environment, materials, or budget, Kengo answered after some moments of pondering that he would discover a restriction somehow even in that case. I realized why Kengo is considered as one of the key architects in the 21st century.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Whiskey time

We are supposedly living in a "dog year". But certain things take longer time. Take the maturation of whiskey, for example. If you would like to make a fine whiskey, you need to allow for at least ~ 10 years of maturation time. In order to stage a good aging of the liquid, a fine oak barrel is an absolute necessity. An oak tree takes a hundred years to grow to a size appropriate for use as a barrel. Peat, traditionally used in Scotland to give that peculiar flavor, is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter which takes ages to form. Whiskey time, in contrast to the dog year, is a symbol of painfully slow processions of things.

When it comes to the maturation of a personality, it takes all of life to materialize. The synaptic plasticity in the brain takes a few weeks to be molecularly completed. We learn very slowly as a molecular machine, but the accumulation hopefully would lead to a non-trivial transformation of character.

Even the computer, when deciphered in terms of the atoms that make it up, lives in a whisky time. The heavy atoms can only be transformed through cycles of galaxies being formed and then perished. The dog year can only flourish on top of the atomic whiskey time.

We sometimes become too enthusiastic at the cost of ignoring the whole picture. Information technology has not freed us from the curses and blessings of the cosmic whiskey time.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

When we look up to the cherry blossoms

We love the cherry blossoms in spring because of their short existence on earth. If these flowery manifestations of the power of life stayed for months, our enthusiasms would be greatly diminished.

When you think about it, everything in the universe is in permanent motion. A tiny stone on your desk, which, after being forced out of the earth and transported and gradually destroyed and frictioned by the workings of water, seems finally to be at rest. However, inside the cool and still image of the stone surface, electrons are swirling around the nucleus in an eternal zitterbewegung, the positrons and neutrons and the quarks that make up these particles are in constant motion, even being destroyed and created from nothing in the poignant void of space-time.

Life is based on the perpetual motion of things, and therefore changes and deaths are inevitable. When we look up to the cherry blossoms, and witness their rapid demise from the prime of beauty, what is happening is nothing more than a result of the universal passage of time which affect life and non-life in the cosmos alike. The fact that we are affected and feel a sweet pain in our soul is ultimately an enigma, albeit so natural from the point of life's common senses, as nothing is changing in terms of the fundamental ways of things when it happens.