I'm reading an excellent novel right now: Quiet
by Sandro Veronesi, translated from the Italian by
Michael F. Moore (Ecco, 2004, 2011).
The narrator has just learned that his boss stole money from the
company they worked for. He was very close to his boss, and saw
nothing in him that would lead him to believe he could steal. He
wonders whether the boss had had a predisposition to steal. He
wonders where the boss's "dishonesty was when he was still honest?"
His boss's boss tells him, "It wasn't there. That's the answer. It
"You see, at college I majored in physics. And I remember
learning that an atom, passing from one state to another, emits a
particle of light called a photon. I especially remember the
question they asked me at the exam: they asked me, where does a
photon come from? How does it manage to appear? Where was it before?
… I, who had not thought about it, said something foolish: I said
that the photon is already inside the atom. So it was explained to
me that no, the photon wasn't inside the atom at all. The photon
appears the same moment as the electron's transition, and it appears
precisely because of
that transition. Do you see? It's a
simple concept: the sounds that my voice is producing in this
moment are not found inside of me.
That's how I've managed to
reconcile myself to Jean-Claude's dishonesty without having to erase
thirty years of my life: the actions he committed in the past two
years did not come from inside of him. Like the photons, they
appeared at a very distinct moment, due to very distinct causes."