Here’s a great two-page record of my infinity talk at the Goodship Academy of Higher Education the other night, and the discussion that followed. It was made by artist Jed Dunkerley, whose extraordinary talents range from animation design to musical theater.
(The talk, based on the next-to-last chapter of Agnostic: A Spirited Manifesto, ended up on the front page of the Seattle Times. It began with the pianist playing Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon,’ and yes, that’s me inviting people to come sit on the floor. The book’s due out in April, and I’d show you the cover except… well, infinity means it’s not yet finalized).
There’s a great short intro to infinity from BBC’s Horizon (hey, what’s one hour compared to forever?).
The BBC un-YouTubed it since I originally posted, so here’s a different link, courtesy of AT reader ‘whizmd’:
I love these eager, brilliant Brits shaking their heads and giggling in helpless amazement at how their calculations turn out. Yes, it’s heady stuff. Could mathematicians be the new theologists?
I’ve been wandering recently in the unreal estate of mathematical infinity, where ‘recently’ has zero meaning. In fact infinity may be an alternate way of thinking about God. Among other things, it’s a conceptual space where multiple mirror universes are not only possible, but inevitable. So it seemed rather perfect when I surfaced for a gulp of air this week to find that Adit, a reader in Indonesia, honored me last year by putting me into The Sims. Or rather, an alternative representation of me: an avatar.
The Sims, says Wikipedia, is “a strategic life simulation video game series.” Since I had to go to Wikipedia, it’s clear I’m no gamer, but I’m guessing you might think of it as an alternative universe which may or may not be related to this one. Which might mean that I may or may not be related in an alternative kind of way to Virginia Woolf, looking all cool and austere and maybe just a little bit fey.
It’s heady stuff, this simulation business. As is infinity. But it looks like my avatar just made a safe landing in a Virginia-Woolf-era plane — thanks, Adit! — so I’m hoping real life simulates the simulation:
Sometimes you need a break from war and politics and religion. Sometimes you just need to be very still and think about being human, or not even think about it, just contemplate it. This photo made me do that:
A man and woman moving with glacial slowness on a mound of earth, feathers, sticks and vegetation doesn’t sound at all like an enthralling theatrical experience. But such is the almost inexplicable magic of “Naked: A Living Installation,” that watching two bodies inch toward and away from each other in infinitely tiny increments is an utterly absorbing, potent drama of time and space — endless in the moment, over before you know it.
Sounds like life to me.