“May you have that freedom,” he concludes.
Richard Feynman had the remarkable capacity to call a spade a spade, to refute errors when he saw them, no matter who was making them. Even if the error was made by one of the great scientific minds of his time, his talent - one of them - was asking questions. Refusing to accept pat answers was just not in his nature. Challenging perceived errors was how he was, as a person.
The world's a better place for his having so very much been his own man, but genius aside, he comes across as having been one very not-arrogant human being who happened to have had the gifts of genius: “1% inspiration, 99% perspiration,” as the saying goes. Now, I dunno if this has much bearing on a new twist in my own character development, but I'm surprised by the fact that discovering I've got to pack, got to prepare, thousands of miles looming in front of me is starting to make me feel light-headed, like I've got some kind of vertigo.
But then that "silver lining in every cloud" I hear about comes into my head and gets me wondering if there's a way to stockpile it (I mean, to stockpile the silver lining) so it can be melted down to coin?
Think what can be done with such gelt! Pave the bumpy Arcosanti road? Get several challenging unfinished tasks completed, fold several more out of the way? Construct a waste-digestion system for thousands of bodies? Build an amazing, glorious new maintenance facility out of all the recyclable materials on site? Develop varieties of actual neighborhoods, each its own co-housing initiative?
What brought me to ruminate about this, what sparked my flash, was something that might seem totally apart from all that and have no bearing whatsoever but is tin my own mind connected to the sequence of tragedy, meditation, great music and tribal consciousness. Last month, in the course of researching for a new paper about sandplay therapy I've been working on for a while, I came to discover that Martin Foss, husband of Hilde Schindler, father of composer Lukas and painter Oliver, the very same Martin Foss who was the beloved teacher of my father at Haverford College when, as an Army enlistee, he was ordered to improve his command of German (I think): that very same Dr. Foss to whom toddler me was introduced by my parents, was a contemporary of CG Jung and wrote a book titled (yes!) Symbol and Metaphor in Human Experience. I tracked it down after I happened into his authorship, grasping intuitively its centrality in the meta-analysis of sandplay therapy. It's rare, that book: a copy in NY Public's Main branch is on reserve, can't be checked out; copies on eBay are priced in the three figures. There's no copy in the VPL or at UBC, although it's in the holdings of the UW in Seattle, among others in the Pacific Northwest. I found it on Amazon for the equivalent of taxi fare from Penn Sta. to Lincoln Center.. Holding it in my hands is indescribable.
The intricacy is amazing. Analogous to a "small world" experience, it surpasses one because it's more like Dorothy finding all she needs to do, to go home, is click her red heels: "It was here, Toto, it was here all along!" 'Home' is around the corner, and hiding in plain sight. Dr. Foss! Imagine! Thank you, Mr. Feynman. Thank you, Dr. Foss.
That such synchronous events abound in my life never ceases to amaze me. But to get anywhere, mother said, "You put one foot in front of the other" - so you must, to keep going.
To start, the same. Just that one first step.