Life is the flow and the moment between symmetry and asymmetry.
Although it is manifested and experienced in many fields, in real life, symmetry is imperfect. In a way that’s how Kai’s speech is. A bit asymmetrical, a bit disjointed, utterly compelling, and beautiful. He jumps from Islamic art to fractals; from pottery to religious symbols; from Einstein’s spacetime continuum to Emmy Noether’s first theorem; from the science behind why the honeycomb is the most efficient structure found in nature, to the adorable “Would you bee my Valentine” card his son Aron made for him only yesterday. “And, look here”, he proudly points towards the two blue hearts cut out of paper and pasted slightly askew, that make the wings of the bee-shaped card, “they are almost perfectly symmetrical!” Kai Frithjof Brand-Jacobsen has lived, worked, and traveled in 119 countries. He had been shot, had a gun pointed at his head and lost 20 of his close friends to murder in one year. In the two decades of working as a peacebuilder in some of the most challenging war zones and crisis situations he has seen how out of symmetry our world really is. He might have asked us in the beginning to recall a special moment in (hopefully) all our lives, when we have fallen in love, be it with a significant other or, maybe, a newborn. He might have started the slide show with the serene picture of a beach “because who doesn’t like those?”. He might have shared in an endearingly geekish and humorous manner his passion for science and, especially for physics. He only cleverly prepared the gut punch, images that need no graph, no algebraical formula, no written explanation. Images that depict desperate refugees with fearful eyes; people struggling to leave conflict zones; faces of poverty and marginalization from our own community; desensitized child soldiers and dehumanized peacekeepers. The slides speak out loud about our inability to solve our problems as a race. But Kai speaks even louder about what we can do to improve the inner and outer symmetry. Don’t stick with the toxic, find out what works. Ask yourself not what life you want to live but in what type of community you want to live. Everything you do, every decision you take, affects others, matters, counts. Although our lives are overwhelming by themselves, everybody can care, if we reach them the right way. It happens that for Kai Brand-Jacobsen, the right way is through peacebuilding and peace education. Tap into a source where you are truly passionate about something, be it parenting, climate change, ballet, mathematics, or design. Find out what your passion is. Discover. Understand. Learn. Experience the flow, the timelessness and tranquility that come with it. Afterall, life is the flow and the moment between symmetry and asymmetry. Written by Maria Revnic