For Tiresias

“Stop reading signs. Sense them,” he tells me. “Stop reading altogether,” he furthermore says. I’m happy to oblige. I’ve just been on the phone with Georg Cantor and he told me the same thing. I presented Cantor with a line from Shakespeare’s King Lear: “never, never, never, never, never”. Shakespeare knew his Sophocles. Cantor didn’t. Cantor knew set theory, but Tiresias beat him to it. “Infinity is a question of trust,” I imagine Cantor saying. I believe him. There is a reason why Lear said what he said five times. Tiresias prophesized twice as a woman, twice as a man, and once as a sex god for good measure. Blindness is knowledge that can’t tolerate one’s knowing that one sees. Nothing converges with never. Not even when we insist five times. I vacillate between the trivial and the momentous. The Greek choir that numbers the fabulous five: Cantor, Lear, Tiresias, Shakespeare, and Sophocles, urges me on: “forget about the whole thing, but don't forget us.” I nod. Everything is possible in the infinite. No chaste divas are allowed there. Only fractions. And fractals. And fragments.


Bent said…
Sacrifice allowed? For the sake of a Platonic ideal, perhaps? Uncle Will and Sophocles were big on that theme. Poor Lear and Eddie Pus - both were asked for the supreme sacrifice...

And of course Norma (not Norma Jean this time, although she was a sacrificial lamb too) would be asked for a big one of her own by her 'casta diva'... Bellini and Puccini and all the other Inis were keen on women sacrificing themselves.

Cantor, btw., was also a severely Platonic mathematician: "A set is a Many that allows itself to be thought of as a One."

Or more insistently: "I have never proceeded from any 'Genus supremum' of the actual infinite. Quite the contrary, I have rigorously proved that there is absolutely no "Genus supremum' of the actual infinite. What surpasses all that is finite and transfinite is no 'Genus'; it is the single, completely individual unity in which everything is included, which includes the Absolute, incomprehensible to the human understanding. This is the Actus Purissimus, which by many is called God."

Boom! Methinks George protests too much...!

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