Thursday, April 7, 2016

"Who would have the imagination to invent that?"

There was an interesting discussion by an award-winning Harvard mathematician on yesterday’s BBC Today programme.  He was talking about the work of a mathematician from an obscure town in India, Srinivasa Ramanujan, who is the subject of a film I want to see, almost for its title alone, called “The Man Who Knew Infinity”.  The person being interviewed said of Ramanujan’s work that “it must be true because who would have the imagination to invent that”.  I found that a very profound thought.

“Infinity”, which is in the name of the film, is another word for what we call the Dao, the All, that which lies behind and beyond all that is known, but which encompasses everything.  I am always heartened when I hear of creative people who live their lives in some way constantly in touch with infinity.  They are found in all areas of life, from art, to literature, to music, to theatre and film, and also, much in my mind at the moment, to architecture, now so sadly deprived of one of its most shining jewels, Zaha Hadid.

I realise that the words I heard on the radio which referred to the sphere of mathematics also in some way apply to what I do.  Perhaps we “know infinity” each day as acupuncturists when we work with the elements, and through them attempt to reach the deepest part of what it is to be human.  When I feel my treatment has achieved what I want it to, I can indeed feel that the fundamental truth embodied in acupuncture must be valid because “who would have the imagination to invent it?”.



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