KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 8: August 2017
Nonfiction: 199 words [R]

Strange Matter: The physics and poetics
of the search for the God particle [an excerpt]

by John Olson


Each creative act we perform is a God particle. We are complicit in the creation of the universe. Matter without consciousness is raw ore. It is consciousness that smelts that ore into beams and bridges, enduring alloys that shine with an inner light.


It is more than a little coincidental that the fall of our financial institutions and the illusory nature of our wealth were revealed at approximately the same time as the Large Hadron Collider came online. Money, like language, like up, down, top, bottom, strange, and charmed flavors of quark, is a result of interactions, not fully realized realities. As long as we deepen and honor our experiences in this world with an audacious creativity and push our language to its utmost limits of possibility, we will keep those black holes and bankruptcies at bay. Language extends our ability to exist not merely because it envelops us, but because it is always in a state of potentiality. Reality may prove to be a probability pattern, but without anyone to perceive and give it value, it remains a pattern. It does not become a ship, an avocado, or a hand. It does not awaken. It does not shine.


—Excerpted from The American Scholar (Winter 2010 issue, posted 1 December 2009); the 3300-word essay also appears with the abbreviated title of “Strange Matter” in Olson’s collection Larynx Galaxy (Black Widow Press, 2012). Excerpt appears here with permissions from the poet and Black Widow Press.

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