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The Crab Nebula

When I first read Carl Sagan’s book Cosmos (1980), it was like a match struck in a dark room, making the shape of things emerge out of the dark of night. Certain books can illuminate the world: dispel our delusions and unveil the monsters in the closet as tricks of the mind. “Books permits us to voyage through time, to tap the wisdom of our ancestors […] they connect us with the insights and knowledge […] of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us…

Sanatorium de la Schatzalp, which served as the model for Berghof:

In the opening pages of Thomas Manns’ novel Der Zauberberg, the young protagonist Hans Castorp ascends the Swiss Alps to visit his cousin Joachim at the Berghof sanatorium in Davos, where he is treated for tuberculosis. As he ascends the mountain Castorp experiences a sense of vertigo and spiritual elevation, as he leaves the world of petty bourgeois obligations, social bonds and business interests behind. …

“In all the world, one man has been born, one man has died.

To insist otherwise is nothing more than statistics.”

— Jorge Luis Borges

From the vantage point of infinity, or a certain blind librarian from Buenos Aires, individuality is illusory: all differences converge as we survey the past millennia.

The philosophe who — from the safety of his castle in Ferney — one October morning in 1760 read about the auto-da-fé of an elderly jesuit in Lisbon in the Gazette de France, and the British barrister on his way to work who read about two portugese students, imprisoned…


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