Sunday, April 26, 2009

My faces are many, my sides are not few

For whatever reason, the first line of this little rhyme popped into my head this morning. The full rhyme is "my faces are many, my sides are not few; I'm the Dodecahedron, and who are you?", and it's from the truly amazing children's book The Phantom Tollbooth. It's a story about a boy who finds himself transported to a world with no rhyme or reason (literally; Rhyme and Reason are princesses who've vanished from the land), where the king of words and the king of numbers are constantly at war. Eventually the boy reconciles them by proving that there is something they agree on, and brings Rhyme and Reason back to the land. It's safe to say that this book (and the associated movie) was one of the pillars of my childhood. Aside from being full of delightful word games and puzzles and such, it's a perfect allegory for the rational/emotional divide I've been talking about (see, it's not just me). The moral, of course, is that the world makes no sense if we try to separate qualitative and quantitative thought; by thinking of them two aspects of the same mind, rhyme and reason are restored. Anyway, philosophical lessons aside, it's a wonderful book, and I highly recommend it even if you're not a child.

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