rabindranath tagore in conversation with albert einstein

AUGUST 19, 1930

TAGORE: I was discussing with Dr. Mendel today the new mathematical discoveries which tell us that in the realm of infinitesimal atoms chance has its play; the drama of existence is not absolutely predestined in character.

EINSTEIN: The facts that make science tend toward this view do not say good-bye to causality.

TAGORE: Maybe not, yet it appears that the idea of causality is not in the elements, but that some other force builds up with them an organized universe.

EINSTEIN: One tries to understand in the higher plane how the order is. The order is there, where the big elements combine and guide existence, but in the minute elements this order is not perceptible.

TAGORE: Thus duality is in the depths of existence, the contradiction of free impulse and the directive will which works upon it and evolves an orderly scheme of things.

EINSTEIN: Modern physics would not say they are contradictory. Clouds look as one from a distance, but if you see them nearby, they show themselves as disorderly drops of water.

TAGORE: I find a parallel in human psychology. Our passions and desires are unruly, but our character subdues these elements into a harmonious whole. Does something similar to this happen in the physical world? Are the elements rebellious, dynamic with individual impulse? And is there a principle in the physical world which dominates them and puts them into an orderly organization?

EINSTEIN: Even the elements are not without statistical order; elements of radium will always maintain their specific order, now and ever onward, just as they have done all along. There is, then, a statistical order in the elements.

TAGORE: Otherwise, the drama of existence would be too desultory. It is the constant harmony of chance and determination which makes it eternally new and living.

EINSTEIN: I believe that whatever we do or live for has its causality; it is good, however, that we cannot see through to it.
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big black – l dopa

In memory of Gerdte Terblanche, who left us seven years ago today. Miss your rotten smile!

I got a sickness sweet as a love note
I got a headache like a pillow
Called me Daisy, called me Daisy, called me Daisy, that one
Called me Daisy
I am a sweetheart
I am a prom queen
I am some puppies
What, Daisy?
What, Daisy?
Are we here now?
I am a horror
This is an old one
What, Daisy?
L Dopa fixed me, all right

from Big Black’s 1987 album, Songs About Fucking.

elena filatova – the serpent’s wall

Elena Filatova has created this intriguing site about the defensive walls around Kiev in the Ukraine. They were built before the Mongol invasion in the 12th Century and a huge resistance was mounted in WWII against the Germans there. It’s a fascinating read, despite her not-so-good English.

Elena and a bunch of friends spend loads of time digging for relics around Kiev. They take bikes and metal detectors and beers and camp out and play guitar at night, after digging until they drop in the daylight. They’re addicted to the thrill of unearthing old arrowheads and earrings and coins that go back thousands of years, or machine guns or helmets or grenades from massive, half-flooded concrete bunkers from the Second World War.

Elena, whose father was a nuclear physicist, also (apparently) rode through the Chernobyl ‘dead’ site on a fuckoff big motorbike, documenting the destruction that was left behind, including how the ‘liquidators’ were sent in to seal the site and how many died later as a result of massive exposure to radiation. It’s all on kidofspeed.com. There has been a lot of speculation on the Net that Elena didn’t actually ride through the Chernobyl zone on a bike. Some writers on sites like Wikipedia suspect her story is a hoax. But even if she did go as part of a tour, in a car, her photos are nevertheless real, and so are the stories they tell, for instance, of people who refused to leave, who have mostly since died… “I would rather die at home from radiation, than die in an unfamiliar place of home-sickness,” as one old man put it… Stories of an area of the earth that will be polluted for the next 48 000 years…

Elena has also documented experiences of Russian prisoners – you can find these on Echoes of Trapped Voices – with titles like “Shoveling diamonds up the arse of one’s own destiny”. If you do enough trawling on the Net, you’ll find she’s written about a host of topics, from the nuclear disaster in Japan to the London bombings. She is sure one fascinating, free, unusual hell of a woman.