From “The Fourth Dimension”:


Passing on from hypergeometry properly so called, I will not linger amidst “these beings of hyperspace,” as Poincaré calls them; amidst these inconceivable figures whose parent is hypervolume and which bear fabulous names: hyperspheres, hyperquadrics, hyperquartics, hypercones, hyperpolyhedra, hyperpolyhedroids, octahedroids, pentahedroids, hexacosihedroids, icosatetrahedroids, and hecatoncosahedroids, which seem to be the offspring of a polytechnical nightmare, or of Father Ubu himself, and which conjure up a whole fauna of unimaginable monsters, linear, multitriangular, and polycubical; insects, dragons, polypi, larvae, and lumures; spectres which the unhappy geometers endeavour in vain to imagine as they pursue them through a space of whose very existence they had, until lately, not the faintest suspicion, into the geometrical infinity in which they pullulate, as ultra-spiritual entities which surround us on every side, and which must influence us in a way that will one day be defined, for it is probably that they participate in the fundamental laws of our being.

— Maeterlinck, Maurice. The Life of Space. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1928.

Let us suppose that these are the thoughts Capi has listing about in her mind while tracing her charts and the skies and watching weather and water; and later, in a quiet ocean, when the sky is done purpling its way to black, and her five children are dreaming, she sits no doubt in the dark on deck with her thumb in the pages, smoking and thinking about being alone but moving through time surrounded, like so, on every side. She has the mind for such mathematics. She has the literal senses for such angles, crevices, and bearings. And she has her cultivated mad heart that scorns definition and feels the shapes of these fabulous names.

It all begs the question of how mind, and its capability to pick up its skirts and step outside, and grow large enough to encompass an aspect of imagination that is something like a true willingness to face the other aware of the chance of encountering something unrecognizable, aware of the danger of not turning away–how mind actually might take place.

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