12 February 2009

A Good Day

February 12, 1809.

Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born.   Stephen Jay Gould could have (and probably did) use this interesting coincidental connection as the basis for a wonderful allegorical essay about setting minds free or something poetic like that.   Aware of my own lack of talent in that vein, I'll content myself with making note of the bicentennial of two of the greatest men to walk this earth, and leave it at that.


  1. You probably don't have a lot of time to read, but if you get a chance, I highly recommend Evolution's Captain, by Peter Nichols. It's about the captain of the HMS Beagle, the man directly responsible for inviting Darwin on the voyage that lead to his study of the origin of the species. The problem arose when the captain, who already had mental issues, could not reconcile his religious fundamentalism with Darwin's "heresy". Fascinating read.

  2. Back in 2000 (I think it was 2000!), while visiting friends in NY, the husband and I were fortunate to attend a small dinner party with Stephen and his wife, Rhonda. Although my writing at the time had more to do with fashion than anything else, I've always been a bit of a science nerd, so it was a complete thrill, as you can imagine.

    People were discussing architecture, specifically proportions, and I mentioned that my great-uncle (a mathematician) had taught me about the the Fibonacci sequence; I recall a wonderful conversation with Stephen then ensued, mainly to do with fractals and the existence of same in the fossil record. He was a lovely, funny, and (of course) brilliant man, one whose interests weren't limited to a single discipline, but rather, which were very spiral and interconnected, extending in every conceivable direction and circling back into themselves. He died much too soon.

  3. Setting minds free essentialy means that one becomes aware, fully aware, as this occurs:

    "Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens."

    --- Dr. Carl Jung


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