Their mantra became, “Am I making any progress?” Over a long summer it is wonderful to find projects that can engage your children. I was over at a friend’s house and saw their daughter meticulously placing tiny colored dots on a pre-made surface to fill in as an overlay and add dimension to the image. The company that produces them calls it a form of painting, a point that initially escaped me as there is no paint involved.
It did remind me of George Seruat’s 1884 classic A Sunday on La Grande Jatte. At that time, art critics ridiculed this new art form naming it pointillism, perhaps as a way of asking rhetorically, “What is the point?”
Watching my daughters methodically and meticulously place one tiny dot after another I began to appreciate what Seraut and others were innovating. While the whole may be more than its parts, each part, each dot, (each stich, each note,) each concentrated effort, contributes to the whole. There can be no masterpiece without the pieces.
Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point is another case in point. The subtitle to his book already gives it away: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. Gladwell uses the metaphor of a virus or as we have accustomed ourselves to the notion of products, ideas, fashions or memes “going viral.” “In order to create one contagious movement,” Gladwell claimed, “you often have to create many small movements first.”
What is the small movement we have started through the teaching of Transformative Kabbalah? We may only be a small dot, one point on raising the consciousness of people to be more aware of what is needed to live harmoniously with each other and to value each dot on this planet. It starts by adopting a greater reverence for what may seem insignificant, a small action of picking up a wrapper from the street or welcoming someone in, off the street. No deed, however small, is pointless, as a favorite story illustrates:
“Tell me the weight of a snowflake,” a coal-mouse asked a wild dove.
“Nothing more than nothing,” came the answer.
“In that case, I must tell you a marvelous story,” said the coal-mouse.
“I sat on the branch of a fir tree, close to its trunk, when it began to snow — not heavily, not in a raging blizzard — no, just like in a dream, without a wound and without any violence. Since I did not have anything better to do, I counted the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles of my branch. Their number was exactly 3,741,952. When the 3,741,953rd dropped onto the branch — nothing more than nothing, as you say — the branch broke off.”
Having said that, the coal-mouse scurried away. The dove, an authority on this since the time of Noah, thought about the story for a while, and finally said to herself, “Perhaps there is only one person’s voice lacking for peace to come to the world.”