On Gestalt

Stanza derives from the Italian word for room. Stanza breaks are doorways and line breaks are furniture. Together, they build a house.

This is how I remember my grandma’s house: 4518 N, the Lakers logo on the basketball court, spaghetti and meatballs on the stove, the color pink, poinsettias.

Psycholinguistics is the study of how our brain synthesizes letters and sounds into words and grammatical structure into meaningful syntax. Psych means mind, lingu means tongue, and ics means art.

My favorite children’s book is illustrated with optical illusions. The trees becomes the steeples of a cathedral. The candles become women in nightgowns. A checkerboard becomes the fields of rural America.

The Law of Pragnanz in perceptual psychology explains that humans perceive that which is simple. We group that which is similar, which is why we can be tricked by illusions.

When my mom used to tell me the story of The Little Mermaid, the short version, before bed, I watched it unfold in the stucco, as the contours of the walls became shapes and took on color.

In biology, emergent properties are characteristics that only exist when the organelles come together to form the cell, or tissues come together to form organs, or populations come together to form a community. A story is an emergent property. Life is an emergent property.

When my uncle was hit by a car and killed, he became homogeneous in memory and in ash. I focused on his legs. At 6’7”, he towered over me, and when I was little, I always wanted to climb him, to sit in his branches and feel safe.

Marie Curie died with radium on her hands. Radiation is an emergent property. The protons, electrons, and neutrons turned into the atoms that irradiated her. In the morning, Curie rose early, opened the bottle and held it in her hand and watched, as it slowly oxidized, darkening into a tiny volcano. She didn’t know it could kill her.

I have stood in front of Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. It was like a mirror.