Millennium Peace Day 2000
2000.09.19 - Tuesday September 19, 2000 - Millennium Peace Day
On the occasion of the celebration of Millennium Peace Day and what it represents as one of many, many manifestations of the emergence of a new Millennium based on a Culture of Peace - including the upcoming launch of the International Decade for the Promotion of a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World, it seems clear that this is an ideal time to share a special gift of light and colour - and of peace.
In the course of my participation in the series of global conferences and related follow-up processes at the United Nations over the past eleven years, it has been my great fortune to have received a remarkable gift of light and colour - a gift that it is my responsibility and privilege to make available to children of all ages throughout the world.
The gift - actually gifts, many, many gifts - symbolizes One Light in All - One Light in each and every person, and One Light in every manifestation of the material world. The centrepiece of the gift is a pair of amazing cubes, with their x, y and z dimensions defined as the primary colours of light - red, blue and green - and with the colour at any point in each cube equal to the sum of the red, blue and green coordinates of the point.
These cubes of light and colour - the light and colour cubes - contain virtually every possible colour - and besides being remarkably beautiful, and allowing the generation of infinite simple and complex variations of patterns of light and colour - they have given rise to a growing number of games and puzzles that can provide endless hours of playing with, and growing in, the light.
Equally importantly, these gifts of light can serve as a powerful lesson as to how it is possible to correct - virtually in an instant - widely held conceptions as to the nature a vital, and under-appreciated, dimension of our experience of reality - the realms of light and colour. They can literally teach us to see the world in a new light.
As symbols of One Light in all, the light and colour cubes can help us to remember, to recognize, and to appreciate that we are all one - part of one human family, living on one small earth, and of our oneness with a vast earth community of sentient beings. While we may, in various ways, exhibit different colours on the surface, the light and colour cubes - containing all colour - can help us remember that all the colours are part of a greater whole.
The gifts of light have given rise to a new and simple mathematics of colour - as well as to some fascinating discoveries and understanding of precisely what are the primary colours, and how many primary colours there are. Would any one be surprised to hear that the answer is nine, of which the ninth is a hidden one of sorts - at the centre of each cube?
The light and colour cubes demonstrate clearly that there are two symmetrical sets of primary colours - the colours of light - red, blue and green, on a zero base of black - and the colours of pigment - cyan, yellow and magenta, on a zero base of white.
The pair of light and colour cubes can teach us of the symmetry of the two sets of primary colours - the lights and the pigments - with each cube serving as a mirror image and photographic negative of each other.
The conventional wisdom that I grew up with had taught that the primary colours were red, blue and yellow - however, those colour definitions are actually an approximation of magenta, cyan and yellow, the primary colours of pigment, and the "red" and "blue" are not the bright red and blue that I had imagined them to be when I was growing up.
The light and colour cubes have made clear to me - and demonstrate in simple and profound ways - that pure white light is made up of three distinct dimensions of colour - red, blue and green. These dimensions appear to correspond to fundamental dimensions of the individual and collective human experience - to body, mind and soul, and to economy, society and environment respectively.
An appreciation of these dimensions of colour and light can serve to remind us that we will only be able to find the white light of peace if we are at peace in body, mind and soul - and if we can find the right balance between the economic, the social and the environmental dimensions. The latter balance has been one of the central underlying themes that has been present in the recent global conferences and is widely recognized as a pre-requisite to a sustainable, just and peaceful world.
The light and colour cubes - and what they represent - are also symbols of the power of the new economy, the new society, and the new environment that is rapidly being created in the process of the information revolution - the evolution of a new knowledge-based global economy, whose development was the priority theme of the High Level Segment of this year's Economic and Social Council.
The dynamics and properties of the new knowledge economy, society and environment - one in which there is virtually no direct material cost associated with the exchange of the underlying wealth in this new world, namely information and knowledge - as information has zero mass, zero physical size, and can travel at the speed of light.
As a result, once knowledge and information have been translated into digital / electronic format, it costs virtually nothing to share it with others - to give it and to make it freely available. The light and colour cubes are perfect examples of this new form of wealth, and you are warmly invited to use the light and colour cubes as a vehicle to discover more about the nature of the new economics.
For some time now - in between my other responsibilities - I have been accumulating a rapidly growing number of images based on the light and colour cubes, and discovering simple - and sometimes not so simple - games that one can play with them. Some of these images are already available online, others will be made available soon - sooner if there are friends who would like to help with the task.
With an inexpensive colour printer, it is a simple task to print some of the images and create one of the cubes - or a set of eight to make up a 2 x 2 x 2 cube. These can be assembled with 2 inch / 5 cm sides from a sheet of either A4 or 8.5 x 11 inch paper or card stock With a set of eight cubes, a vast number of arrangements can be made.
Please look at these gifts of light, and find a little time to explore them. If you have access to a colour printer, you can also can print - and cut up - square colour tiles - each of them with one of the faces of the cube, and explore some of the many, many patterns that can be created.
You can also print and cut up domino-sized tiles based on the faces of the cubes - also obtainable available in electronic form - that can be used to create endless patterns - alone or with friends and family.
If you are a teacher, consider how these resources might be used in a curriculum in light and colour - in conjunction with lessons in a simple but fascinating mathematics of colour - and as a gateway to allowing students to learn about creating and combining colours in the electronic medium in which more and more children are becoming immersed.
The light and colour cubes have been inextricably linked with a vision of peace in their short history. They were dedicated as Peace Cubes at an Earthday on the Equinox ceremony in March 1997 at the Peace Bell at United Nations Headquarters, in a program whose theme was "Towards a Culture of Peace".
On Friday, 22 September 2000 - at 17:22 Greenwich Mean Time, 11:22 a.m. at United Nations headquarters - less than three days from now - it will be time of the final Equinox of the Millennium that is drawing to a close. The Equinox is the moment when the Earth is momentarily in balance - the first Earth Day was observed on the Northern Spring Equinox in honour of that moment as a time to focus our attention on the state of the Earth and its inhabitants, and to re-dedicate ourselves to addressing
The upcoming Equinox will be the Autumn Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, however, South of the Equator, it will be celebrated as the Spring Equinox - the time of re-generation and re-birth. In a world in which there is such an imbalance between North and South, this Equinox can be an ideal time to reflect on the imbalance, and on how that imbalance can be redressed, as well as to reflect - in silence or in prayer - on the One Light that pervades all Life of Earth and that is symbolized by the light and colour cubes.
The upcoming Equinox will also be the occasion for the launch of another, related initiative, also dedicated to a Culture of Peace and a Millennium of sustainability, justice and peace. However, a description of that will have to wait for a separate message, so that the focus here can remain on the gifts of light and peace for all children.
I could say much more about these remarkable light and colour cubes, however the essence of these gifts is not the words and language that are used to describe them speak, but the colour and light themselves.
If you are interested in - or even just a little curious about - learning more about these wonderful gifts of light, you can send a message to email@example.com for more information. You can also find more information and images at habitat.igc.org/peace-cubes
Enjoy them in peace, and share them with friends, family and community.
In Peace and Light