The Humanity of Mathematics, from discussing “Event”

(I organize a Maths-Except-That-It-Is-Much-Cooler-Than-Most-School-Maths Society, and during our last meeting a question came up: What do we mean by an "event"? Here is my answer—which reads like a piece of Heideggerian apology): We have to first specify what we really mean by an "event". When we say event, we can mean an "event" in mathematics … Continue reading The Humanity of Mathematics, from discussing “Event”

The Great Dictator

Chaplin did not disappoint. The Great Dictator is profound. It would be an ordinary, though terrifically executed, political satire without the mysterious last scene, where Hynkel (i.e. Hitler)'s benign double, the Barber, gives a benign humanitarian speech? And this seen really is enigmatic. Though it seems to be a triumph of speech from its dimensions … Continue reading The Great Dictator

(Very Long) Reflections on Nothing

Unedited essay for the UChicago supplement: “Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.“—Miles Davis (1926–91). (It is way over the word limit. But...) I “Why do you love me?” This is an impossible question that we can only answer with our flailing gestures and stutters and awkward false starts and pauses and frustrated faces. … Continue reading (Very Long) Reflections on Nothing


Ecstatic comes from the Greek word ekstatikos, of "unstable, inclined to depart from." Heidegger made a big deal about it by writing existence as ek-sistence. "Ek" as outside of yourself. This eksistence is characteristic of Dasein's temporality, because the present is always sandwiched between the past and the future, where we also, strictly, are. That … Continue reading Ecstasy.