26 May 2015

Maximum strangeness with maximum simplicity

It is cheering to think than an object so different from all others, a from that achieves the maximum strangeness with the maximum simplicity and regularity and harmony, is rotating in the sky. 
 “If the ancients had been able to see it as I see it now,” Mr Palomar thinks, “they would have thought they had projected their gaze into the heaven of Plato’s ideas, or in the immaterial space of the postulates of Euclid; but instead, thanks to some misdirection or other, this sight has been granted to me, who fear it is too beautiful to be true, too gratifying to my imaginary universe to belong to the real world. But perhaps it is this same distrust of our senses that prevents us from feeling comfortable in the universe. Perhaps the first rule I must impose on myself is this: stick to what I see.”
Mr Palomar by Italo Calvino (1983)


Image: NASA

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