crystals, bubbles and needles

click the thumbnails, to enjoy the pictures full size …

When ice forms; it forms like most crystals, aggregating layer by layer, slow or fast.

The faster the process, the smaller the individual crystals in a juxtaposed poly-crystal. The frozen bubbles are such poly-crystals: many small grains, in many directions, all brought and stuck together.

The dendrites, however, hoarfrost and pure snow flakes, are mono-crystals. They form out of water vapour molecules, always present in air, and these are slowly deposited, molecule by molecule, when the temperature goes below zero centigrade.

In a way, the mental acquisition of knowledge and experiences, looks similar to the fast process of forming poly-crystals.

Meditation, a process to discover the nature of self and mind, seems similar to the slow ripening of mono-crystals.

A thinking mind, filled with knowledge, looks a lot like a blurry lump of ice.

The silent mind, free from mental and emotional activity and free from most hormonal influences, could perhaps be compared to a bright and transparent mono-crystal.


Pictures by bvdb (whoisbert) january 2014 – @home – Canon Ixus HS230 – IMG 5235-5957-6118-6172-6161-6148

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8 thoughts on “crystals, bubbles and needles

  1. I wonder how far that metaphor could be taken – what about sudden freezing of supercooled material?
    Or have you seen those videos recently of people throwing hot water into the air at -10°C ambient temperature – resulting in immediate crystallization = “snow” as the steam allows for efficient cooling by the air, in contrast to throwing (actually already cooler) water in the air. Many experimenters burnt themselves though.

    • The metaphor is just that. 🙂 I was inspired by my courses in crystallography, now 30 years ago, by today’s solar panels and silicon wafers. When you blow steam into cold air, there is added turbulence, so I don’t think this will yield perfect crystals, but only the real experiment will show reality, regardless of what we think 🙂

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