2012/12/11 in Uncategorized
Tracking a thought in the changing Kalahari sands
After his third glass of wine
the mathematician, Jonathan, or Jakes, White
stumbled upon a question:
what shape does my mind have?
Dr White rather prided himself
on the fact that some of his forebears
were Khoisan, those persistent hunters
who could track an animal for days
over seemingly featureless sand.
He was not a tall man, a fact
he often repeated, that pointed
to his noble ancestry.
Was his mind perhaps octagonal?
he wondered, but could not see any reason why it should be.
Perhaps spherical, he mused, but then became uncomfortable
with the idea, as a sphere is limited on all sides.
He hoped not. That would mean his thought processes
were limited and led to predictable ends.
After his fifth glass of wine
his mind cleared
and he saw the solution
taking shape in the liquid lines
of his stinkwood dining table
which was engaged in scratching behind its ear
with a left hind-leg.
Yes, the scientist smiled to himself,
the shape of my mind:
I was on the right scent with octagonal,
but it is not quite that;
it is shaped like eight
twisted by Möbius in such a way
that my thinking moves
on two surfaces simultaneously
and always arrive at the beginning;
yet every time the journey is different, and
I should have another glass of wine.