I find something about prisms vaguely unsettling. Perhaps it’s the fact that they look so simply elegant, yet they so completely alter reality. Let me think on that.
Recently, I read that the speed of light changes when it moves from one medium to another, for example from air to water. I had always assumed that the speed of light is constant, that it does not change. Now, I wonder whether my assumption was wrong, or whether the writer of the article knew of my gullibility and simply lied to me out of spite. Regardless, prisms—simple pieces of transparent glass or plastic or what have you with angular polished surfaces—change the way I experience light.
My fascination is not with the idea of prisms themselves, but with the facts their existence lay forth. Reality as we know it can be bent, transformed into something different than we knew it by something as unremarkable as a piece of glass. The same is true of people who become important parts of our lives almost without our realizing it. Both prisms and people can bring beauty into our lives; both of them can alter the realities we have known. Both can give us focus and clarity. And intrigue.