Tuesday, July 10, 2012


 November, 2011

    Piscator says-- that he is puzzled that the recent programs on PBS’s Nova about string theory as a possible explanation of everything about our universe fail to take a  step back to  discuss the  problem of language itself. Can it bear the burden of the secrets of the universe?
     Piscator fears there may be a great gulf fixed between our daily language and cosmological understanding. For instance; is it really of any help to compare the universe to slices of a loaf of bread, each slice representing a  “membrane” on  which our  universe is made up of strings-- and the next slice of the loaf,  another and parallel universe? Piscator worries and so do I.
    My daughter tells me, in her new book, that the French philosopher Alain Badiou holds that he can show mathematically that absolute Truths exit and enter history as events. And so makes possible a “new politics”.Yet he attempts to explain himself in our daily language.
    It’s hard.

   July, 2012

   And now we have the Higgs Bosom, the ultimate particle that may, in fact explain everything. For a metaphor in order to think about it, we retreat to the language of trekking through deep snow and the accretion of that snow to our feet.
   Perhaps the universe resides outside all possibility of metaphor…. The universe may be like nothing but itself.
   Anyhow, I like the snow idea better than that of sliced bread-- which is another problem: our emotional and aesthetic preferences for one metaphor over another. Meanwhile, all that dark matter is still out there-- lurking, we think….
    It only gets harder.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


    Beg to report that some nameless, extravagant soul out there has caused to be sent to me an extravagantly beautiful cherry wood gentleman’s walking stick from the distinguished London firm of James Smith and Sons. She or he who sent it must know that I now depend on such a stick and think of it as my friend, as I have my wading staff that for years has got me safely, and with some ease, around in the streams of the nation.
   This new stick is really impressive. Surely the giver will somehow give him or herself up and, confess.
  Who could have done such a thing!
   Thank you; yea, heartily.