A Rainbow of Light

I visited the Amazeum for the first time last weekend. The interactive children’s museum was hosting an adult’s night, and it was packed with people in small groups and pairs, sipping beer and wine and letting their inner children peek through.

One exhibit featured an arch made of light panels, with small icons of different objects printed around the sides. When you touched two icons at the same time, the panels changed color. But not any two icons: it had to be the paw print and the kitty, say, or the fish bowl and the squid.

Not all the pairs were within reach of each other, and in those cases, you had to recruit a friend to help you make the connection. You had to hold hands across the space beneath the arch, as one touched the butterfly on the right side and one touched the rose on the left. (I’m making up these matches, as I don’t remember exactly what they were.)

What would happen if all the icons were activated at the same time? You had to team with a whole bunch of people to find out. You couldn’t do it alone, and you couldn’t do it in little groups of twos and threes. You had to join efforts with others, reaching across the open space to hold hands with a stranger.

Then the arch became a rainbow, the panels lighting in a colorful display of red, yellow, orange, green and blue.

This seems to me to be a pretty good metaphor for the human condition. We can only get so far alone. We can go further in twos and threes and fours — the small groups we create in our families and friendships — but to really light the world? We need each other. All of each other. All the human community. All that we are.

And then we illuminate the world with a rainbow of light, each person, subgroup and ethnicity adding their unique perspective.

How do you contribute to the rainbow of human experience? Where do you hold back, and how might you loosen that fear?