Spheres and centers

From last week: “We teach children that they’re not the center of the universe, and in doing this we make solipsistic animals into human beings. But wouldn’t it accomplish the same moral goal, but with less intellectual violence, to teach them that they’re not the sole center?”

Maybe a better way to say it: It is not unreasonable to see yourself as the center of your world. What is unreasonable is to expect others to consider you the center of theirs. But to realize this is to realize each I is one of  an infinite number of centers of an infinite number of spheres, and now we’ve ventured into metaphysical speculation.


I think I learned this line of thought from Borges:

In one part of the Asclepius, which was also attributed to Trismegistus, the twelfth-century French theologian, Alain de Lille–Alanus de Insulis–discovered this formula which future generations would not forget: “God is an intelligible sphere, whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.”

We individual humans, and we, humanity, do have a circumference, but it is a spiral.


I, now, here — these are immediate, but this immediacy has no sense without metaphysical contrast.

To anticipate something, to remember something, to speak to someone, to feel something stir in your heart, to hold an object, to go somewhere, these are all reckless acts of faith in metaphysical concepts.

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