Thursday, 12 April 2012

K is for ... Kaleidoscope

Did you ever have a kaleidoscope when you were little?

I did. It was red.

I also had a telescope. That was red too.

Because the two 'scopes' were a similar size, shape and colour, I thought they must be somehow related (which, I suppose, wasn't an entirely ridiculous assumption to make).

To me, the telescope was always the sensible one, the reliable one; the one that showed you things exactly how they were. I knew that when I put the telescope to my eye, I would be able to see that bird sitting in the tree at the bottom of the garden in much greater detail than I would have been able to if I had looked with the naked eye.

The kaleidoscope, on the other hand, was the fun one, the unpredictable one. I never knew exactly what the kaleidoscope would show me, but I could guarantee that it would be colourful and pretty and far more interesting than the scene through the telescope, and for that reason, the kaleidoscope was always my favourite.

As I grew up, though, my opinion changed.

Both 'telescope' and 'kaleidoscope' are made up of Greek words.
'Telescope' literally means 'seeing from far away'.
'Kaleidoscope' literally means 'seeing something beautiful'.

A kaleidoscope will always show you something beautiful, but it will never allow you to see something which is truly there; using it to look at that bird in the tree would have been pointless.

A telescope, however, will help you see something more clearly. A powerful one will let you see the moon and planets in great detail. Some can even show us whole galaxies. Kind of beautiful, no?

So, it is with that in mind that I leave you with the thought that ...

 No kaleidoscope is a telescope, but any telescope can be a kaleidoscope.


  1. What an awesome thought! Love it!!

  2. I love that quote. It is true. I like both. We all need beauty and facts. Thanks for posting.

  3. awwww thats a really lovely quote :)