And this man, whose mind constantly rested in a sea of numbers and lines and fractions and decimals, I wonder if he, who could solve the impossible equations and crack the most unbreakable of codes, knew then where we would be now. It feels to me that he did. I see the years between his passing and the birth of the twenty-first century floating in the pools of the never-ending depths of his pupils. All the mistakes and the advancements. The numbers and the breaths. The light and the dark. Could he weave through it all with addition and subtraction? With multiplication and division? Could he see what we have now and what we've lost?
He looks back to me and I know that he does not look back to me at all. He looks back at the camera. He looks back on what he knew then. Perhaps on what he lost, or what he gained, or just wondering how he and the world got where they were. How they worked their way into and out of revolution, Nazism, racism, classism, the Cold War, one World War, a second World War, depression, the atomic age, and general mass confusion. Did he know the answer? Could, that wisest of minds, work his way through history and understand how he got to be where he was, how he got to sit in front of the camera and ponder?
Did the world at the time of the picture seem settled? Did he feel fulfilled? There's sadness in the eyes. There's a fringe of pain. Does that come with knowing the answer? Does that come with settling into the bog of trying to understand the past? There's confusion there, too, in this most intelligent man. But, still you can feel that his glance is a most knowing look, one that reaches beyond from where his soul rests. I feel it piercing.
Maybe all that separates a genius from the herd is the difference between obsessing over problems and obsessing over solutions.
Originally Posted On Facebook.