A. B. Clarke

Math & The Universe

by abclarke

We continually create narratives, of varying degrees of fantasy, to make order of a world that overwhelms and confuses us, “mathematics” being perhaps the most fantastical narrative of them all.

Math is a story that presumes the universe, far larger than our humble brains can comprehend, was created through a small series of beautifully precise rules.

I don’t know what is more fascinating – the thought of the hubris and insecurity that drives us to imagine that fantasy could be true, or the hope and thought that perhaps it is.

Worst Deal Ever

by abclarke

Spare a thought for the Devil, who must spend eternity enduring Faust’s constant diatribe of bitterness, resentment, and self-pity.

Travels through a fog filled valley

by abclarke

One view:

What if we’re all suffering?

Some are astutely aware of it. Others stumble drunkenly through their lives, dully sensing the pain in moments when the anesthesia wears off and we have not found our next fix.

What if suffering is the human condition?

Another view:

What if suffering is the price of the human condition — what we pay for our tenure in our lives?

What does the price buy?

It buys beauty, love, joy. It buys caresses, children falling asleep on our laps, unexpected presents from nervous suitors. It buys awe, sunrises, fog lying low, and more.

What if suffering is the currency we must pay to buy all that?

If so, it’s the deal of the century, even if prices have gone up.

“Young bodies” vs. “Old loves”

by abclarke


Old loves are like young bodies:

They are strong — each day, lifting their burdens, they grow more substantial, tougher, and more capable.

They are flexible — they can stretch and bend to extremes as needed to make it through the world.

They are radiant — they need no makeup, no coverings, no tricks of light for others to see their beauty.

They are resilient — they can withstand much pain yet wake up the next morning yelling, “Yes! Again! Again!”

They are mortal — they believe they can live forever, but can be wiped out in an instant if care is not taken.

(I took the above photo on Vigeland’s bridge)

Man in a Ring

by abclarke

IMG_0583 2

(I took this photo on Vigeland’s bridge)

My wife looked at the statue and said it reminded her of me.

“How,” I asked? “In his noble strength against his constraints? In his righteous fury in response to his captivity? In his perfect form against a perfect prison that can redistribute his force as he pushes, yet still he fights on?”

“No,” she said. “In that if he relaxed his grip, and stepped forward, he’d be free.”



Doing Nothing by Induction

by abclarke

N == 0: Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?

If N ==> N+1: Why do tomorrow what you can put off until the day after tomorrow?


Nietzsche & Descartes

by abclarke

He stood upon the edge looking into the abyss thinking ‘does it gaze back at me?’ No! Horror! It looked beyond him, past him, through him. There was no edge. There was no him. The abyss was everywhere, but even that was wrong. There was no abyss, no darkness, no lightness, no edge, no boundary, no nothing, no something. Nothing but his thought, and even that vanished as his eyes bolted open, heart beating, and he stared at the bed room ceiling, his wife’s body breathing beside him. There would be no sleep he knew now, just the despair he felt during the day his companion now in the night.

He rose slowly, so as not to wake her, and in the dark, still shivering, walked to the bathroom. There, head between his hands, he sat while slowly the urine trickled, then rushed, then gushed into the bowl below. And feeling, hearing it, the swish around the porcelain maelstrom, the thought came unbidden but welcome, comforting him, consoling him: I piss, therefore I am; I piss, therefore I am. I piss, therefore I am.

Other People Thoughts

by abclarke

When I was younger, I worried what other people thought of me.

As I grew older, I stopped worrying what other people thought of me.

As I grew older still, I realized other people don’t think about me.

As I grew older still, I realized I should think about other people.

Four Permutations of Three Words

by abclarke

Is this it?
Is it this?

It is this.
This is it.


by abclarke

Why don’t we paint the freeways?

Yellows, reds, greens, or blues?

Flowers, children, gay mosaics?

Why are they grey, lifeless, and morose?