Monday, June 13, 2005

Why Noneuclidean?

"If God exists and if He really did create the world, then, as we all know, He created it according to the geometry of and the human mind with the conception of only three dimensions in space. Yet there have been and still are geometricians and philosophers, and even some of the most distinguished, who doubt whether the whole universe, or to speak more widely the whole of being, was only created in Euclid's geometry; they even dare to dream that two parallel lines, which according to Euclid can never meet on earth, may meet somewhere in infinity. I have come to the conclusion that, since I can't understand even that, I can't expect to understand about God. I acknowledge humbly that I have no faculty for settling such questions, I have a Euclidian, earthly mind, and how could I solve problems that are not of this world? And I advise you never to think about it either, my dear Alyosha, especially about God, whether He exists or not. All such questions are utterly inappropriate for a mind created with an idea of only three dimensions" (Ivan from The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky).

We all may have a Noneuclidean mind-a mind to know God and "dare to dream"-but not of our own strength or wisdom. Alone, we, like Ivan, "have a Euclidian, earthly mind".

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