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Alter Egos - I Am Done Watching This

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Friday, March 16, 2007

The Spirit of Kepler and other Celestial Matters

So Dead Beat isn't letting you away too easily. I know you wish he'd shut up about analogy and the creative process and just allow you all to get on with your writing, and for a while I thought I would, but just then who should materialise in the middle of a particularly cold and wintry night but Kepler himself. Yes that Kepler, Johannes.

Dead Beat props himself up on his down filled pillow. "Shut the screen door, Johannes."

"No time, no time."

"Speaking of time, what the hell time is it." Dead Beat notices that his clock has stopped upon his wall. The pendulum has ceased its motion.

"I know not the hour nor the year nor the century, Dead Beat."

"I know the feeling," D.B. groans wondering how many Guinness he had the night before.

"You speak of creativity and analogy."

"In a manner. Hof really."

"The roads by which men arrive at their insights into celestial matters seem to
me almost as worthy of wonder as those matters in themselves ."

Dead Beat rises to the bait.

"My thoughts exactly Johannes."

"In Astronomia Nova I say:
Here it is a question not only of leading the reader to an understanding of the subject matter in the easiest way, but also, chiefly, of the arguments, meanderings, or even chance occurrences by which I the author first came upon that understanding . Thus, in telling of Christopher Columbus, Magellan, and of the Portuguese, we do not simply ignore the errors by which the first opened up America, the second, the China Sea, and the last, the coast of Africa ; rather, we would not wish them omitted, which would indeed be to deprive ourselves of an enormous pleasure in reading ."

"Yes, you did, didn't you. The process of understanding being as important as the understanding itself."

"Dead Beat, we are kindred spirit."

"Did you mention spirits, Johannes? A wee tipple perhaps?"

"Just a small one," handing across his tumbler.

"Go on..."

"I therefore display these occasions [errors and meanderings] scrupulously, with, no doubt, some attendant difficulty for the reader. Nevertheless, that victory is sweeter that was born in danger, and the sun emerges from the clouds with redoubled splendour."

He sips from his glass. I sip from the bottle.

"I enjoy recognizing my errors, Dead Beat, because they tell me by what meanders, and by feeling along what walls through the darkness of ignorance,
I have reached the shining gateway of truth."

"We could all learn from this. Us scribes. Kep, you were a prolific analogizer, were you not? Not only in your books but also in your journals and letters, you used analogies constantly . In some cases the analogies seem simply playful . In other cases, analogizing is integral to your theorizing."

"Ah, yes D.B."

"We could, could we not trace your analogical processes, using structure-mapping theory to trace your inferences and analogical extensions. We could show that with reasonable representational assumptions we could simulate some, though not all, of your mapping processes."

"T'was my intention."

"T'was my intention to get a good night's sleep and to do the same thing for creativity in writing."

"Science, writing, D.B. What is the difference?"

And with that the clouds slid across the moon, the room went dark and the shutters banged emptily.

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