9 responses to “Knowing What You’re Looking At”

  1. Nance

    I can send the Vila video to my husband, the engineer and math fanatic, and he’ll know it’s a love letter that needs no words. He is an artist at heart who loves numbers for their truth. I am the philosophic skeptic whose trajectory has been toward greater and greater comfort with “an unsuccessful courtship” of truth. Three years into it, we”ve hit on the very thing for our retirement: we’ll take art classes together until one of us leaves first.

    Paul Valery’s quotation is close to the heart of every silver-tongued devil.

    And, on Nature, Numbers, Truth, and the nature of truth, this comes to mind from Monte Reel’s The Last of The Tribe:

    “In the rain forest, the unremitting cycles of life and death are so tangled together that their differences quickly blur. By the time something dies, it has already started to become something else; the trunk of a dying tree is overtaken by fungi, and soon the tree becomes those fungi; the flesh of a peccary carcass instantly swarms with beetles, until beetles are all that’s left. Individual distinctions grow nebulous, which can rattle the nerves of anyone who prefers a world efined by neatly ruled borders.”

    Imagine how Vila might illustrate those numbers, that beauty. Now, find the metaphor for it and there’s your truth.

  2. Jayne

    What we know is always to changing, evolving. Numbers are constant. But whether measured by numbers or other means, I don’t believe truth–absolute truth–can ever fully be captured. (Simple truths, maybe.) But then again, perhaps that’s how I rationalization–or remain in denial?

    Makes me think of the poet Seamus Heaney. From Postscript (last sentence):

    “…You are neither here nor there,
    A hurry through which known and strange things pass
    As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
    And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.”

  3. marta

    Okay, I’ve seen this video before. Did you send it to me once because of my son’s love for snails? I’m too tired to remember or to drill down through various emails or through broken links. Lovely video though.

    I’d like to ask Mr. Underhill (hard for me not to think of a certain hobbit there) if women don’t fall in love with truth or maybe we are truth…

    I am way too tired whether I am here or there.

  4. marta

    @John – Hmmm. Someone sent me that video a while back. Or posted it on facebook? Oh well. Nice to see it again.

    I don’t know if I would’ve gone so far as to the Underhill quote sexist. But I was in a bit of a mood because I’d heard that expression about having enough money for “wine, women, and cars” or some such, and that drives me crazy. So after I scolded the radio (yeah, I know) for suggesting that women were things to buy and that presumably only men can actually be successful, I read the quote and I couldn’t help but think, ah. Something else men do while we women sit around and wait to be won or desired or whatever.

    And yet at the same time–it is a nice quote.

    I’m conflicted that way.

  5. cynth

    And what about the Snark? I love Lewis Carroll for myriads of reasons. But I’ve met enough Boojams to believe that the Snark may just be a Boojam in pajamas.

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