universal light immediately confounds good and common sense (Cf. Dorothea Olkowski’s The Universal)

We are all unwell, if it comes to that, … for if some Plague were to take us all, why, these little spectra would still crawl about the room until the End of Days, neither knowing nor caring whether living hands were held up to catch them. Our flesh stops the light. The flesh is weak, yes, but the spirit is strong, and by applying our minds to the contemplation of what has been interrupted by our fleshly organs of sense, we may make our minds wiser and our spirits better, even though flesh decays.

… consider this light that you are catching in your hands. … During its hundred-million-mile passage, is it not acted upon by the gravity of the Sun, which is powerful enough to hold even mighty Jupiter in its grasp, though at a much greater remove? And is it not acted upon as well by the gravity of the Earth and Moon, and all the other planets? And yet it seems perfectly insensitive to these mighty forces. Yet there is embedded within this shard of glass some hidden Force that bends it and splits it with no effort. It’s as if a cannonball, hurled at infinite speed from some gun of inconceivable might, and passing through ramparts and bulwarks as if they were shadows, were deflected and shivered into bits by a child holding up a feather.

– Neal Stephenson, The Confusion, Vol. II of The Baroque Cycle, William Heinemann, London, 2004, pp. 422-423