Half my life lives in thine image, And the rest is lost.

When thou art kind, I spend the day like a god;

But when thy face is turned aside, 

It is very dark with me.


grass srippers

Thought of this while walking around the concrete streets of home, missing Ithaca’s greenery and the feeling of walking on grass.  But not unexpectedly, someone else has already though of it before:

Wonder when we’ll develop the technology to have the analogous “Walking on Water” and “Walking on Sunshine” versions of this product!

80 g/m²

A world without memory is a world of the present. The past exists only in books, in documents. In order to know himself, each person carries his own Book of Life, which is filled with the history of his life.

Without his book of Life, a person is a snapshot, a two-dimensional image, a ghost.

Some pass the twilight hours at their tables reading from their Books of Life; others frantically fill its extra pages with the day’s events.

With time, each person’s Book of Life thickens until it cannot be read in its entirety. Then comes a choice. Elderly men and women may read the early pages, to know themselves as youths; or they may read the end, to know themselves in later years.

Some have stopped reading altogether. They have abandoned the past… Such people look you directly in the eye and grip your hand firmly. Such people walk with the limber stride of their youth. Such people have learned to live in a world without memory.

-Einstein’s Dreams

by Alan Lightman

3 years worth of notes. Weighing more than 50lbs. They masquerade as my Book of Life, and it is true that I have spent much time on time. Flipping through these ring-bound sheets of carefully penciled notes, I recall not the theorems and proofs, not the histories and facts, but a professor’s cough as a cloud of chalk floats from the board, or an aside shared only with you as the minutes tick away on the clock above the door. Maybe it is enough to tear a corner from each set of notes, a corner that bears on its shoulders the burden of triggering all the memories that its brothers would have triggered in me. But even then, these loose corners will not tell the tales of what happens between and after classes, will not tell of the dandelions crowns we make in Spring, the rainbows beneath our feet as we walk back to our dorms. You have photographs, you say. At least we live in a world with memories, and even though my memory leaks like a sieve, it is better than not remembering at all. Maybe it is time to grip your hand firmly and run with you into the present. I have you, and when this world fades into the distance as our plane climbs into the clouds, as the recycling truck swallows our notes whole, we can start over again, and build new memories together.

Santiago, Budapest

A conversation we overheard at lunch today, between two Singaporean tourists two tables away:

Girl A: So have you been to the biggest Santiago here?

Girl B: The biggest what?!

Girl A: Santiago. You know, like a Jewish church?

(a few moments)

Girl B: Oh! You mean a synagogue!!

back ashore

every thursday, after two days and nights of being asea, struggling to keep afloat on the waves of number fields and integer rings that threaten to engulf me, i steer my tiny paper boat to shore with just a pencil and eraser, and return to the world of men.

it is comforting to know that life goes on as usual, despite 2 O_K resisting all efforts at factorization in \mathbb{Q}[x]/(x^3 + x^2 - 2x + 8).

Accepting Love

We ask for unconditional love, we ask for acceptance, we ask for grace. And yet, such is the human psyche, the human sickness, the human sin, that when we are given what we demand, given what we do not and never will deserve, we fail to comprehend that such love exists, let alone that it has been accorded us.

In our smallness and wretchedness, incapable of understanding a lover, a giver so large, who gives expecting nothing in return, in our narrowmindedness, instead of giving thanks for such a wondrous gift bestowed, instead of accepting it with no strings attached, buoyant, free and soaring, we attach our own strings and tie to them our own feeble attempts at reciprocation, our own little sacrifices and observances, our own imagined prerequisites to accept such a love given, to weigh it down, and bring the heavenly down to our lowly earth, down to the only level our base minds can comprehend.

We demean the gift, and insult the giver, who expects nothing in return, in our attempts at repaying the gift with our deluded, misguided sacrifices, our self-imposed chains and fetters, our self-inflicted sufferances which we dare call our love.

Unless we accept love, we cannot love.

great fools

There is an apostolic injunction to suffer fools gladly. We always lay the stress on the word “suffer,” and interpret the passage as one urging resignation. It might be better, perhaps, to lay the stress upon the word “gladly,” and make our familiarity with fools a delight, and almost a dissipation. Nor is it necessary that our pleasure in fools (or at least in great and godlike fools) should be merely satiric or cruel. The great fool is he in whom we cannot tell which is the conscious and which the unconscious humour; we laugh with him and laugh at him at the same time.

An obvious instance is that of ordinary and happy marriage. A man and a woman cannot live together without having against each other a kind of everlasting joke. Each has discovered that the other is a fool, but a great fool. This largeness, this grossness and gorgeousness of folly is the thing which we all find about those with whom we are in intimate contact; and it is the one enduring basis of affection, and even of respect.