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This post spoke to me in two ways. One, I can't do math. I can understand mathematical principles and theories but when it comes to working with the actual numbers, I invariably mess it up. I think part of it is that as a kid I was never inspired by numbers. Words I loved. Words I understood and enjoyed. Numbers, not at all. My experience, when talking about this with other people, is that the world is made up of number people and word people and a very small minority who deeply understand and capably deal with both. Secondly, your discussion of other worlds and exploring what "might be", even if it isn't, totally struck a chord for me. I've always loved stories, doesn't matter what shape they take, what they're about or who is telling them. I love that if I take a moment to think about them they always reveal something to me about my life, the world I live in and/or how I understand both of these phenomena. My favourite stories, and the ones that have meant the most to me over the years, are almost all stories about the possibility of impossible things. These stories allow me to create the connections, to think about how the story relates to the world I know, and to interpret the material in a more personal and involved manner; they challenged me and encouraged my inclination to explore and play with ideas. A prime example of authors who do this well, and whom I thoroughly enjoy reading, is Neil Gaiman. I love the way his novels take "the real world" and twist it just slightly, offering us a glimpse at what it would be like if some of the things we take for granted were not actually what we understood them to be. To end of this ridiculously long response (perhaps there is such a thing as enjoying words too much), I'd like to toss out a Shaw quote that seems appropriate: “You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'” Thanks Wil, for the inspiration to reflect and the opportunity to express!
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Dec 1, 2009