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poetry

Opposite Dilution

Anyone familiar with painting techniques is familiar with a fundamental principle behind color mixing: not all pigments are created equal. One quickly learns to be very careful mixing dark paint into light paint– even the slightest drop could turn the whole color brown. Conversely, to lighten a dark color, one must add a whole ton of white to get it to change.
Great! You’ve learned the universal principle of color dilution. Your life will now be enriched. Every painting you see, river you swim, cloud you watch, and soup you cook will be guided by this truth.
But then you learn to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee… and it’s a full about-face. Both are dark liquids, but adding even a drop of white milk makes them completely change color. Do the opposite (add a bit of tea to a cup of milk) and the change is barely noticeable.
These days it is considered antiquated to posit the world in binaries, but… in what various contexts do the scales of light vs dark tip in unexpected directions? And in which of those can we force it to reverse?
[below, an excerpt from a poem I’m writing]:
….
The question, my fellow molecules, so cloudy to ask
should contain in it the word dilution
the answer to which must drive us to draft,
in concrete, a clearer constitution.
….

By the.vonz.himanen

Ivan Himanen is an architect, writer, and artist based in New York City.

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