‘In the old days,’ he said, ‘writers’ lives were more interesting than their writing. Now-a-days neither the lives nor the writing is interesting.’
Let us remember that topology and the theory of numbers sprang up in part from that which used to be called “mathematical entertainments,” “recreactional mathematics.” I salute in passing the memory of Bachet de Meziriac, author of Problèms plaisants et delectable qui se font par les nobres (1612—not, as Larousse says, 1613), and one of the first members of the French Academy. Let us also remember that the calculation of probabilities was at first nothing other than an anthology of “diversions,” as Bourbaki states in the “Notice Historique” of the twenty-first fascicle on Integration. And likewise game theory until von Neumann.
Words that live are those which we hear, like “click” or “chuckle”, or which we see, like “freckled” or “veined”, or which we taste, like “vinegar” or “sugar”, or touch, like “prickle” or “oily”, or smell, like “tar” or “onion”. Words which belong directly to one of the five senses.
—words don’t just stand on their own, they exist within the context of a phrase; a word juxtaposed to another word isn’t an arbitrary word, it shifts the meaning into another dimension. It’s a labyrinth of linkages that that has a purpose.
- The action of feeding upon oneself; spec. metabolic consumption of the body’s own tissue, as in starvation or certain diseases.
Image of “Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War),” 1936, by Salvador Dalí, on exhibit (last I checked) at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Apparently, if one happens to be an octopus, the act is literally common within a lifespan; among humans, however, (as the Catalonian so vividly demonstrates) the concept is disturbing even at the arms-length of a metaphor.