Saturday, July 24, 2010

My young son asks me: Must I learn mathematics?


Lego: it's a way of life. Home, June 2010.

Those of you who keep an eye on my reading list on the right [there… →→→ over there… →→→] will have noted that I have recently gone back to one of my all time favourite writers, Graham Greene. I read most of his ‘literary’ novels in the period 1996–99 (the undergraduate life is a good setting for catching up with the canon), and have determined that now might be a good time to revisit an author I haven’t read in a while and reflect on whether time (and experience) changes my assumptions of the work.

Well, The End of the Affair and The Quiet American later, he’s even better. It is odd how an observer of human behaviour manages to quite so efficiently and effectively nails it. Honestly, his observations from 1951 on US ambitions in (then) French IndoChina could be applied across the board right up until today. The jaundiced European post-colonial malaise-influence rejoinder also resonates today. On top of it, we get a cracking good yarn as well!

Seriously, do yourself a favour and get down the library.

NOW!
My young son asks me..., Bertolt Brecht

My young son asks me: Must I learn mathematics?
What is the use, I feel like saying. That two pieces
Of bread are more than one's about all you'll end up with.
My young son asks me: Must I learn French?
What is the use, I feel like saying. This State's collapsing.
And if you just rub your belly with your hand and
Groan, you'll be understood with little trouble.
My young son asks me: Must I learn history?
What is the use, I feel like saying. Learn to stick
Your head in the earth, and maybe you'll still survive.

Yes, learn mathematics, I tell him.
Learn your French, learn your history!

2 comments:

Carola said...

While we are travelling my three year old son likes to play with LEGO. Great toys! His other toys are sticks and stones and sand and all what nature has to give.
We are in Germany, but still on our way. The last leg is on the river Rhein in a canoe.

Kris said...

LEGO is great fun.