Saturday, October 18, 2003

I was looking around on the web for more information about a book I had as a kid. It was called 5000 BC and other philosophical fantasies by Raymond Smullyan. Sadly, it looks like the book is either out of print or hard to get. Its a book just filled with original stories, puzzles, aphorisms and other notes from Smullyan himself, a logician and philosopher with a really playful sense.

The title is a reference to a set of philosophers in his book who live in 5000 BC. By reading about how they debate the features of their world, you yourself realize how absurd some of our own premises might sound (They debate for example the meaning of "Up" and conclude that something must hold the world up, but then something must hold that up etc. - an infinity which they cannot resolve) Excerpt: A Universal Philosophical Refutation

I'm still trying, however, to find this other small book that changed my world around (Do most readers have a book like this?) It was on my grandfathers bookshelf in Mexico. It was a thin book with a short introduction to different deep concepts in science and philosopy. One short section introduced Relativity by talking about the Twin paradox. It even had a drawn picture of two identical looking guys in spacesuits. (I dont remember enough about the book to make a competent search. It would have to fall into my hands.)

Finding that book had the effect of a drug. What's this? I didnt know any of this! Its strange stuff but even stranger because it is real. Ever since finding that book I've held onto that uneasy feeling that there is something deeper and more beautiful, more sublime which others have found but I have'nt yet discovered. Its an optimistic sense.

No comments: