your goodness, i sometimes light
my anger with, is what you have. no one
can burn it away; it is not for my discussion.
i know, near you, i myself feel good.
& this is enough for me, my friend.
this is a life-time friendship; the poem
is short, inadequate &, except for a word,
– arthur yap
To summarize briefly: A white rabbit is pulled out of a top hat. Because it is an extremely large rabbit, the trick takes many billions of years. All mortals are born at the very tip of the rabbit’s fine hairs, where they are in a position to wonder at the impossibility of the trick. But as they grow older they work themselves ever deeper into the fur. And there they stay. They become so comfortable they never risk crawling back up the fragile hairs again. Only philosophers embark on this perilous expedition to the outermost reaches of language and existence. Some of them fall off, but others cling on desperately and yell at the people nestling deep in the snug softness, stuffing themselves with delicious food and drink.
‘Ladies and gentlemen,’ they yell, ‘ we are floating in space!’
– Jostein Gaarder, Sophie’s World
If you are like me, you have felt it before. I still remember, on that next-to-last day, Mr. Burge reciting in his gentle voice what in that moment became my favourite line of my favourite poem – it is
to catch the heart off guard and blow it open
It is the huge distracting glimpse of something so compelling, so beyond ordinary experience and yet intrinsic to it, that the response is rapture – although not loud, but rather quiet, and even more satisfying for being quiet, like some delicious secret kept between yourself and your self. Perhaps it is nothing so extravagant as Heaney’s fleeting impression of the swans’ earthed lightning; rather, like all love, it is a latch clicking into place: that sense of satisfaction that fastens when a difficult problem you’ve wrestled with and pondered in your mind suddenly flashes into resolution. It is motivated by intellectual inquiry, both playful and unflinching, gently curious and yet relentlessly severe: It is the love of the beautiful idea.
– myself, on introductory spiel for an old blog.
“Einstein demonstrated in his busy year of 1905 that this microscopic jiggle is actually caused by the impact of randomly dancing molecules. It was the first proof of the venerable Greek notion that matter is composed of impossibly tiny particles – and it also showed that those particles simply cannot be still. Electron microscopy delved more deeply, violating the privacy of the molecule itself, bringing us visions of a miniature cosmos deep inside all matter. And those uncertain electrons whirling somewhere in Zen emptiness have made us realize that the very stones beneath our feet are as loosely woven as lace.”
– Apollo’s Fire, Michael Sims