The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

January 6, 2015

Glass Qin

two qin pieces, one on the modern, the other on the
Qing qin, played on the glass table. the angle and
sonic quality of the table in allegiance with the
1850s chair create an environment for experimentation
otherwise impossible, allowing for a wilder dwelling
against the grain. the sound is exact; the bodies of
the instruments add their own buzzes and creaks, the
sound and tensor of wood dwelling within itself.


"To summarize, I would use the words of Jeans, who said that
'the Great Architect seems to be a mathematician'. To those who
do not know mathematics it is difficult to get across a real
feeling as to the beauty, the deepest beauty, of nature. C.P.
Snow talked about two cultures. I really think that those two
cultures separate people who have and people who have not had
this experience of understanding mathematics well enough to
appreciate nature once.

It is too bad that it has to be mathematics, and that
mathematics is hard for some people. It is reputed - I do not
know if it is true - that when one of the kings was trying to
learn geometry from Euclid he complained that it was difficult.
And Euclid said, 'There is no royal road to geometry'. And there
_is_ no royal road. Physicists cannot make a conversion to any
other language. If you want to learn about nature, to appreciate
nature, it is necessary to understand the language that she
speaks in. She offers her information only in one form; we are
not so unhumble as to demand that she change before we pay any

All the intellectual arguments that you can make will not
communicate to deaf ears what the experience of music really is.
In the same way all the intellectual arguments in the world will
not convey an understanding of nature to those of 'the other
culture'. Philosophers may try to teach you by telling you
qualitatively about nature. I am trying to describe her. But it
is not getting across because it is impossible. Perhaps it is
because their horizons are limited in this way that some people
are able to imagine that the centre of the universe is man."

Richard Feynman, The Character of Physical Law, p. 58

/pronoun gender noted/

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