Occasionally, I’ve been told that it would be helpful, for some of the things I’ve written, if I included notes

to help the reader understand. I have resisted doing this, I usually like to let the reader find their own understanding but, after receiving some comments on Consilience that seemed so foreign to what I thought that I was trying to achieve, I’ve decided to give it a try. I have included footnotes integrated with the text that I hope may help … be warned that some of the footnotes are a bit tongue in cheek. In addition to the footnotes I have included two appendices. The first is a mini-essay explaining, I hope the purpose for which I wrote Consilience. The second consists of two images that are visual representations of the meta-subject of this prose poem, the pattern underlying Space and Time.



Perhaps, after all, it is a path only for me; I look into its depths: one of the six classes, by the canon2, a square array3, eight by eight, numbers from one to sixty-four, a pattern that unfolds, each number fragmenting, falling into pieces, into bits, into its bits4. These bits, along with other previously invisible, even nonexistent bits, arrange themselves, and suddenly it becomes the adamantine5 structure of space, my space, our space; meanings starting to condense out of what was previously numbers, mere numbers, bringing an infinitude to my wonder, my joy6, tugging at me, calling me onwards; each changing point of view bringing a focus to further patterns: patterns of space, of time, and I think perhaps, of our material existence7.
1 2 3 4 “the unity of knowledge” “rule” or “principle” aligned in rows and columns a pun: “bits” as “pieces” versus “bits” as “binary digits” … if you don’t know what “binary digits” are, don’t worry it’s just one of those nerdy math things 5 a reference to a similarity between the crystal structure of a diamond and a structure, mentioned but not explained, underlying Euclidean Geometry 6 some people, of which I am one, freakishly find joy and wonder in mathematics 7 a reference to the same pattern underlying certain patterns found in the Relativity and Quantum Theories of Physics

First came a meaningless pattern8; meaningless but in some mysterious way, to me it was beautiful9. I took it apart, put it back together, rearranged it, and it became the whole world; and how strange, I think, that afterward it left the world just as it was before; just as before, and yet so much richer10. Thus have I looked upon the world in microcosmic form11, and though the desire to explain, to teach, to show others what I have seen, discovered, contemplated has been strong upon me, I have yet to find the words; though I have searched for, and endeavored to create the words, I have come to fear my time too short12. If I were to die now, today, having alone lived these moments, would it be worth it, knowing that I alone have captured this one brief lightning flash of immortality?

8 all patterns are meaningless when without reference … mathematics is the study of patterns meaningless in this way 9 once again, some weirdly find beauty in mathematics 10 richer because of the hidden simple pattern found underlying the world, patterns that didn’t change the world one bit … I don’t think there is any particular technological application … 11 a reference to the strange way this pattern has of showing up within the world and yet it also underlies the world 12 I tried with someone who was mathematically knowledgeable to explain the pattern that I had discovered, only to find that I was traveling, mathematically, so far off the beaten mathematical path that his understanding would seem to require that I recount the whole story of my explorations from the beginning … a matter of decades of my life

This essay could have just as easily have been titled Aha! Its purpose was to detail my emotional response to some mathematics that I had been playing with at the time – the discovery of a pattern that underlies the structure of Euclidean Space. This pattern was discovered because I was trying to understand, in my own way, some solutions to an arithmetical puzzle which had nothing to do, except in the most trivial way, with patterns underlying geometry and physics … and yet there it was … to my wonder and joy. The actual discovery, though referred to and, to a certain extent, described is not the subject matter of this “essay.” It is a prose poem of an emotional reaction and is intended as nothing more … no mathematics, no philosophy, just an emotional reaction. Since the writing of Consilience, my mathematical understanding of the discovery has continued to grow and my view of its philosophical consequences, if any, has continued to change. If I may speak metaphorically, the structure underlying Space is in the form of a story – distinctions are made, boundaries drawn … one side of the distinction is given more value and space appears … whatever that means. Along with the joy of the discovery is the sadness for my inability to adequately share my discoveries with others; any explanation would be of such tedious length that it seems unrealistic to expect that others would follow the argument to its completion … it ends, it seems, with me.


Illustration 1 Safety Net

Illustration 2 The Secret of the World Hidden in an Arrangement of Four Flavors of Gumballs

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