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house under construction ceiling structure with ladder on the rightSometimes I like to see photos in black and white. Things appear clearer to me and I can focus on the image rather than on the colors.

I think seeing black and white photos is not very different from seeing life in black and white. When we strip down to fewer pieces of information the ones that are there become more pronounced. This can be good when you are struggling to understand a difficult concept. Stripping things down to their constituent  parts helps understand how things get to be what they are. Sometimes though the constituent parts are no longer apparent.

When I used to teach statistics I used the analogy of baking a cake to help students understand some of the concepts of complex statistics. In some of the theory-building multi variable problems, you put multiple things together and when they emerge from the formula they have created something new. The original things you put into the equation are combined in with each other and you cannot see them individually anymore. Students struggled with this. I struggled with this.

The cake analogy seemed to work. To make a cake you have eggs, butter, milk, flour, sugar, vanilla and a cake pan. First you cream the eggs and the butter. You know they are creamed when the color changes and you cannot distinguish the eggs from the sugar. You have created something different. And on it goes. By the time heat acts on the batter in the cake pan it is impossible to determine where the butter, the eggs, the flour, the sugar, the milk and the vanilla are. You have used multiple ingredients and created something entirely new.

When I look at black and white pictures I can imagine what the milk, butter, eggs, flour, sugar and vanilla might have looked like but I cannot see them now.

When my new house is finished I will know that there is concrete, stone, wood, nails, rough in valves, shower pans, grout and backer board. I may go stand in my shower and look at the tile and in my minds eye look behind the tile to the mastic that makes the tile stick to the cement board which keeps the water off the studs that are attached to the basement and the roof.

Our house will no longer be its constituent parts. It will be something entirely new.