A Glimpse

Here is our Glass Bead Game:

In 1943 Herman Hesse published a book entitled “Der Glasperlenspiel” for which he later received the Nobel Peace Prize. In it, he envisaged a society where the best and the brightest were encouraged to become practitioners of “The Glass Bead Game”, a system of notation similar to musical notation which any practitioner could use to explain any concept. It functioned much as mathematics does for science except that mathematics has a few flaws which prevent even the most avid devotees from always attaining competency.

I first read this book about 45 years ago and it left an indelible mark on me that I didn’t even consider until I realized, after re-reading the book 25 years later, that I have been looking for this fictional Glass Bead Game for all of that time. I was born a model builder, I think. I have done it all my life and I realized that the Universe itself hasn’t been modelled in any satisfactory fashion as near as we can tell. And yet, so many of us are striving for this very understanding. Isn’t this what humankind has always done? Sought answers? In an interview I can’t recall the source of, an Ultra-orthodox rabbi was asked if he thought his religion conflicted with his work in genetic engineering. As best as I can recall his answer was something like, “If God didn’t want me to figure it out he wouldn’t have put it in front of me. He knows me.” Good answer!

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