Spatial Dynamics and the Social Network

With Easter upon us, I believe it is a fine time to consider various aspects of rebirth which apply regardless of religious belief. The thrill and sometimes daunting challenge of starting anew involves establishing a new network of people, unless of course, you have opted to live the life of a hermetically sealed monk. Although at times it is difficult for me to see how my life differs from the latter course, I have, in fact, chosen the former, which leads me to a discussion of scientific principles.


The concept of Brownian motion is one which can roughly be explained as a naturally occurring event that involves the random motion of small particles leading to a change in position. Stock market fluctuations, particle theory, stellar dynamics, and a fantastic biology matter identified as “the narrow escape problem” all involve Brownian motion. It was this concept that a highly erudite and well intentioned friend mentioned she had first learned when taking Physics 101 at Rice. Her idea was to encourage me to use this as a starting point in making new friends, by randomly getting myself out there and seeing who I might bump into.


But I, having taken the same course (and nearly failing) years before her, was far too distracted by this new scientific principle to focus on her main theme. Vigorously, I denied having heard of such a concept—it made no sense! How could they teach something like that? Were they serious? Was this some sort of new fangled physics? My reaction was such that my friend started questioning her premise—she thought she was correct, but perhaps she hadn’t appreciated all the nuances that somehow seemed to provoke this reaction in me. Meanwhile, my imagination was working furiously to see if I could possibly begin to fathom such a bizarre concept…


As it turns out, my brain had taken this well articulated hypothesis and interpreted it into an image of a giant brownie hurtling through space. (So much for my being a physicist.) At last, cutting edge research and artistic license blended together to formulate a new law of social networking ”Brownie in Motion.” It is a creed by which I live my life and have successfully launched new friendships aplenty.


And so, my friends, when faced with having to start anew, I recommend that you keep this principle in mind. The awe and splendor of an Enterprise-sized chocolate treat floating gently through the star system can bring hope and joy to you, too, as you go about reinventing yourselves. Hermetically sealed monk not included.

(NB: The “narrow escape problem” to be explored at a later date.)


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