Updating and a New Direction


As with all things, change is a necessary part of life and something to welcome with open arms. Part of the excitement of life is getting to see all the new sights and experiencing all the things you never thought you’d be into or just didn’t have time for in the past. At the moment, I’m alluding to the changes that are coming to The Virtuosos in the very near future. I’ve been meaning to update the blog for some time now, but a lack of time and true commitment kept me from it until recently. And, let’s be honest, I’m still not sure what I want this blog to be. But I think we’re getting close.

That said, over the course of the next few weeks I’ll be trying a variety of new themes (unless I happen to fall in love with the one I just activated) as well as doing a bit of housecleaning with regard to the categories and pages. Frankly, they’re in the way and not what I want to emphasize anymore.

For me, this blog has become more of a personal outlet for the creative spark I wish to nurture and a very public expression of my mistakes and flaws. I’m not a perfect writer, nor am I an artist by any stretch of the imagination. However, that shouldn’t stop anyone from exercising their creativity. I like to think that being so forward and open with such personal endeavors – e.g. my poetry – helps me to become more comfortable with myself both in private and in the wider world. So far the experiment has proven itself enormously successful. And for that I am incredibly grateful.

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№ 52: Progress


i don’t know
all there is to know,
но я стараюсь

La Vie est belle

when you’re ready
to see всё
и ничего

so take chances
n’ayez pas peur;
se tromper

and smile

i still believe,
after all these years,
in all i’ve learned
— there’s nothing more profound,
simple

Здравствуйте
Bonjour
مرحبا

or as they say
where i come from:

Hello

(my bastion
of hope)

№ 41: Soft Structures


verification
in mixed company —
stopping, starting…
pauses predetermined
by forces unseen,
bending the free-willed
to some greater, unseen
purpose:
“you can’t see the forest
for the trees”
goes the refrain

and all the while
waiting, waiting,
making time — indistinct
banality — pass
second by agonizing second

verification
loaded, prepackaged,
and what fears i had,
lost in the black box
once more

№ 38: Fantasy, My Dream


How can it be

that dreams more real
— of which I can be
certain — should fail
to produce that fire

in my heart, should fail

to ignite my soul
in that most storied
way?
In their stead
do those question marks
upon waking, whose contents
are so far

beyond

the usual
I wonder if they don’t
tell the very story
of Egoism’s great beginning,

stand:

unwarranted,
inexorable,
and essential.

№ 35: The Transfer Game


This poem was written as an attempt to put into words the feelings I have regarding (once again) attempting to transfer to a 4-year university. It’s a mad, infuriating, and stressful process: one I hope to finally escape from this time around. (I’m ever the optimist, but the application process still manages to stress me out.)

 

there is uncertainty
now
a general hesitation

i might be scared
— of rejection
of success
of not measuring up
and of who knows what else —
but should that terror
grip
so strongly?

should i be left
stuck
in place

stopped

on tracks
i have spent
countless years laying
directing towards
this very point?

that heavy judgement
i know all too well
bites
brings memories of wounds
whose scars appear on hands
long-since healed
— by change of heart
and soothing passage of time —

surety
the biting
gnashing of the teeth

tradition
values its homogeny
keeps me out as best it can
and so deeds long-since
committed to the earth
rise up
oppress any hopes i hold
i cling to secretly
begging questions
for which answers are beyond
my ordinary grasp — why can’t i
start anew
sell my phantoms
as noble failures making possible
a miraculous reversal of fate?

— of this i am scared

what are precedents
but crude approximations
of future events
mistaken all too often
as promises
certainties
in an uncertain game
— ancients tossing dice
against the crumbling edifice
of their temple
gambling away
what isn’t theirs

what

treasures we shall never
know — i no longer
(wish to) play?

№ 3: Promise


A little late posting this, but I got caught up in the day’s events; later is better than never, though. This one is rather short, but sometimes a few lines are all that’s needed to make a point.

 

A nice guy…
sensitive, too…
taking on the world,
pushing boundaries,
questioning everything,
finds it all much,
too much.

What can’t he do?

A little push
in the right direction,
a little guidance
from the right people,
and he’ll be fine;
so much potential,
so young.

So much potential,
so very much.

What can’t he do?

The Infinite Book


infinite book

John D. Barrow’s The Infinite Book: A Short Guide to the Boundless, Timeless, and Endless is just one of those things that people like me find inexplicably attractive.

Infinity. What is it? What is it not? Why should anyone care about something so intangible?

For many people. infinity is just a word that they’ve been taught means, “without bound; forever; bigger than anything; beyond comprehension.” It’s usually associated with mathematics, especially math of a “higher order,” like Calculus. And it seems intuitively familiar despite an utter lack of understanding for the most part.

Barrow takes the everyday view of infinities (because, as you’ll learn, there are different types of infinity – thank Georg Cantor for that (I’m serious)) and meticulously attempts to teach us where we’re wrong and where we’re right. He illustrates just how much we aren’t built to accurately register, mentally, the nuances of such concepts. As a passing example, what happens when you add any two numbers together? We all know that. That’s easy. You get a sum, a finite sum. One that you can, theoretically count up to. The same rule applies to the other major mathematical operations (division, subtraction, multiplication). However, what if I asked you to add a finite number to infinity? Or subtract a finite number from infinity? Whatever the operation, the outcome will be the same: we’ll still have infinity as an answer. You may ask if that infinity is the “same size” as the original infinite, and guess what, it is. If you double infinity you still have infinity, and both infinities are the “same size!”

Needless to say, common sense is not really our friend when it comes to such mind-boggling concepts. Case in point, there are different gradations of infinity, each level infinitely larger than the previous one. There are countable infinities, like the set of positive integers! And there are uncountable infinities, like the set of real numbers between any two points on the number line, no matter how small! Perhaps, most impressive of all is that there are an infinite number of levels of infinity!

Despite the general mathematical nature of infinity, Barrow shows how it finds its way into a multitude of human endeavors. How big is the universe? What does it mean to live forever, corporeally or spiritually? What would it take to time travel, and what might the consequences be given different structures of the universe and time (infinite, finite and boundless, or finite and bounded)? Are there other yous out there? What are the chances of finding intelligent life in the universe? And on and on. The infinite seems to be a surprisingly recurrent topic in human thought and for good reason.

There are times when the book requires a bit of concerted effort to understand, and on more than one occasion I found myself considering putting it down – not for lack of interest in the subject, but a distaste for the somewhat dense nature of some of the explanations. Points that I think should have been further explained, either through example or diagram, were not; others that I felt had been hashed out a hundred different ways found themselves once more under consideration. Barrow is clearly a scientist, and it seems odd that he would choose to skip over the more complicated details of things like topology and set theory, which are integral to making sense of the book’s main topic and its application to real-world interests.

Overall , though, I think it was well written and a definite read for anyone interested in the topic. If you’re afraid you won’t be able to understand the more intimate (mathematical) details of infinity – because you never took advanced math or you have, but never touched on set theory – you needn’t worry. Barrow covers the major details early on and with surprising clarity. There are a few topics (like the brief overview of general topology that prepares you for the chapter on spatial infinities) that even I found somewhat tough to follow; however, I don’t think it’s really necessary for the layman to know such things in order to appreciate the grander points being made. All in all, I think most people will benefit from reading The Infinite Book, and don’t feel bad if you find yourself asking what? after you’ve finished – it wouldn’t be worthwhile if it didn’t make you think.