Sunday, May 21, 2006

Puzzling evening

The title for this is rather deliberate. I am puzzled but only in the sense that the three things have been reading have no immediate relation to each other but I feel obliged to identify and reveal some startling and amazing connection.

I finished the 'Oxford Murders' by Guillermo Martinez, a rather clever whodunnit by an Argentine mathematician. The idea is that a serial killer reveals a code to two friends who are forced into a bizarre game to try to predict the next murder. The book plays with the idea of how can mathematics understand chance, coincidence and meaning in life. It may not be a spectacular read but I can't help feeling that there is an underlying message - a sort of 'Da Vinci Code' conspiracy. On the front cover there is quite clearly a geometrical symbol which has no absolute bearing in the book. I assume the cover is the first murder and I was reading the book thinking when was the symbol going to be mentioned but it never was - puzzling.

I then picked up 'Human Phenomenon'. I am making my way through fairly slowly, making notes. He spends almost half the book giving a detailed history of life on earth which is a fairly slow introduction to what I feel is the real purpose of the book - the origin of man and the start of reflection ie human thought. With the human being the species has not needed to specialise, it is adapted to the whole world and the uniting force has been thought.

I have just reached the stage where he describes thought as the unifying force that brings life together. I don't like the term 'superhuman' but that is the term chosen to describe the phase where in the future human beings are able to unite in thought and to advance towards unity and a spiritual renewal. In the notes the translator gives a different translation which I find fascinating - 'the fundamental law of convergence is not only within ourselves but above ourselves'. I don't completely understand the significance of this but I think Teilhard is suggesting that when we unite, it will appear not only within our consciousness but outside or above ourselves. I still find this - puzzling.

As chance would have it, I bought a new Borges book today. I started to read the preface of the other Borges book I have - which I thought in my ignorance that I didn't need to read (!). Andre Maurois is talking about the ideas that fascinate Borges and spark his imagination. Pascal wrote 'Nature is an infinite sphere whose centre is everywhere, whose circumference is nowhere', this is also reflected upon by Alain de Lille a 12th centure theologian who wrote 'God is an intelligent sphere whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere'. It seems to me that in some way this is also hinted upon by Teilhard, that we have an omega point but the alpha point is difficult to identify, that God is all in all. I can't give an explanation just at the moment but it is puzzling.

Of course, perhaps the most interesting thing about tonight is that it is almost the first chance I have had to use my new desk. I now have converted the attic into a fairly good study area - and thanks to Isabel, it has been tidied and looks excellent!

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