Richard Feynman, fiddling with an ailing tape recorder: “You just have to know how the world works. Physicists know how the world works. There’s always some dirt or infinity or something.” Naturally, I love the equation of dirt and infinity — both being things that get into stuff and mess it up.
As a writer, Feynman really reminds me of C.S. Lewis. Both of them have very distinctive personal voices, so that when you read them, you feel that you know and even like them. They both take difficult concepts and clarify them with homely metaphors and humble explanations which neither condescend nor assume prior knowledge.
But there are basic assumptions. For example, when I tell you that the azaleas are blooming, those in my region will be able to add the rest on their own — fluffy clouds, cloudbursts followed by lambent pools, tender new green growth, redbuds, forsythia, drifts of spring bulbs flowering.
Just so, in an explanation, you have to be able to find the parts that are essential to understanding the whole. When Feynman says that photons are emitted, not because they were there already, but in the same way that words only come into being as we “emit” them in our speech, our basic knowledge about speech allows us to understand what he is saying about photons.
I still have a little trouble with the idea of “some” infinity.
Here is the front of the T-shirt. It looks a whole lot like the back, of course. I am going to put a graphic rather than words on the front. At one point, I had thought I might stick with a single color and do the design in knit and purl texture — subtle, you see. However, with spring really here, things are different. Choirs of frogs make noises under my window all night, noises reminiscent of space aliens invading. Every time I walk up to my front door I am driven to stick my hands into the worm-filled dirt to pull up weeds (though frankly, they look better right now than most of the perennials). This is no time for timidity.
I need to make a final decision about the graphic in, oh, about five inches. Thanks to KnitPro, the world is absolutely my oyster when it comes to the graphics. KnitPro will magically graph any image you give it. I plan to do one from Dover Electronic Clip Art’s Arts and Crafts Designs. The reference here is to the Arts and Crafts movement, a sort of late Art Nouveau style with which I have both philosophical and aesthetic sympathies. The hard part is deciding among all the splendid designs. My current favorite charted out at 64 rows by 48 stitches, so I have counted out a spot that size on the back, and am using that as my guide for estimating where on the front to put the graphic.