Thursday, February 02, 2012

Navigate by the Son

A multiple choice quiz. Please complete the following sentence.

Phototaxis is...
A - the experience you have coming across multiple pictures of taxi cabs.
B - an electro-soul band based out of Israel.
C - the influence of light upon lower organisms.

If you answered C, you are correct. (By the way, if you answered B, apparently you are correct as well. But for our purposes we're going to expand upon answer C.)

Phototaxis is the influence that light has on a lower organism. Cockroaches, (they would populate anyone's "lower organism" list) are negatively phototactic. When the lights turns on they scurry away.

However, many flying insects are positively phototactic. They are drawn to light which has its benefits. Moths, for example, use moonlight to navigate. This light literally orders their world and gives them meaning. Of course, being guided by light has it's drawbacks as well. (Ask any of the bugs inside your light fixtures.) A moth will perceive an artificial light closer than the moon as stronger in one eye than the other. This causes one wing to beat faster than the other. The result is an ever tightening spiral around the wrong, misguiding light.

But, organisms on the low end aren't the only ones dealing with phototaxis. Humans (those are the high end organisms ) are positively phototactic as well. Yes, we're known for our astonishing attraction to the wrong lights! What kind of lights can we be misled by?

The limelight, preying upon our desires to be at the center of attention.
The nightlight, tempting us to be lazy and fearful.
The neon lights that promise exciting distractions from our problems.
The black light we use in scrutinizing and judging people.

What a sight... our industrious, distracted world navigating by the glow of a thousand artificial lights. Into this troubled picture Jesus says, "I am the light of the world."

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