Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Reborn at the Great Library of Alexandria circa 300 B.C.

I imagine sitting in the Great Library at Alexandria with Euclid around 300 B.C. I speak his tongue and he speaks mine. I have Heath’s translation of Elements with me, plus the mathematics notes I’ve collected over the years.

I show Euclid modern treatments of geometry and numbers. He shows me his original Elements and the ancient texts it was based on. At night we go drinking for a spell at his favorite spots.

The days drift by that way for who knows how long. Then the fire engulfs the library again. Our collective notes are rescued along with Euclid’s Elements. Science is advanced by 2,300 years.

I am reborn in the Twentieth Century, but this time mathematics is all changed because of our notes. The mathematics I learn occasionally sends chills through me, I can’t explain, yet I remember none of my time with Euclid.

I die again. I am reborn at the time of Euclid. We collaborate on mathematics again at the Great Library, only this time we marvel at even more mathematical prodigies. Life continues in this cycle indefinitely with mathematics advanced by 2,300 years at each cycle of birth and rebirth.

One night Euclid and I are drinking at a local bar. We figure out what has been happening to us in past lives. We try to explain it to the other scholars of the Great Library who have joined us at the bar. They take our wine away and lead us to bed. The believe we are drunk. Besides, tomorrow is another work day at the Great Library.


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