diving into genius

You know, it’s interesting, peeking into all of the deep, beautiful disciplines that people use to examine and describe the structure and processes of the universe, or the built world, or the fabric of society. Last night I was fooling around with a manifold idea, fooling and fold being the key words there.

There are special kinds of geometric forms used to describe possible structural arrangements of spacetime in string theory, and we have been moving naturally toward them in our beadwork.

Calibi Yau manifolds

Why string theory? I don’t know. As I just realized that if my RNA stick or string was infinitely expandable, I could build an entire universe, I am sort of naturally wandering toward the people who work in that end of physics. Those are my people.

But I’m not really interested in spending my life doing their work. I find discovery exhausting, because I am incapable of turning away from an idea until I grasp it. Were I to go into a field like that, I would begin to suffer badly, as no one lifetime could manage the work.

When I look into deep fields, I’m only looking for signposts to help me find the right people, the ones who can see. So I’m not looking for just any architect. Or just any chaos theorist. Or just any painter.


I’m only looking for the ones who’ve seen the face of God, so to speak, and not gone mad. It isn’t information I want, I just start there, because the information, and the quality of it, is what sometimes leads me to my people. Admittedly half as often I just run into them on the street.

The ideas, the beads, the math… not much of it is really real to me. It’s just the structure I move through. Sometimes I say a lot of things in a row that sound silly, but eventually, you know, I wrangle them all down to 1.

Signposts from other fields are tremendously helpful. Last night, when I was struggling along with the idea of an infinitely expanding coding string, and I was studying how my little wizard sticks (the beadworked DNA bands with RNA-style edges) could start any one of the complex forms in my books:

Final NYC Poster web

then this bit made a lot more sense to me than it ever had before (paraphrased from a textbook on string theory):

In algebraic geometry and theoretical physics, mirror symmetry is a relationship between geometric objects. The term refers to a comparison of two objects that may look very different geometrically but are nevertheless equivalent in certain ways of counting, or dimensional expressions of string theory.

So from that I can understand that it is reasonable for me to make the statement that I can make a universe from an infinitely expanding string, or certainly at a minimum that I can begin (and code) every single shape on the poster, and an infinite number of other shapes, from a single strand of information. The information can be in almost any physically compatible form; it doesn’t even have to be made of beads to start beadwork from it. It can be a neutral field, even, like a piece of felt, or a circle of beads sewn onto a skirt.

In a way, the more complex my checks and balances, the more sure I am of my simple calculations. I feel a shred of the excitement that Gaudi might have had as he was hanging his weights on upside-down chains and seeing, in his mind, the catenary arches rising on the other side.

We do not actually have to count to describe anything, as far as I can tell, unless we choose to do so for purposes of human precision.


This is a photo I took at Casa Mila, in Barcelona. It hangs in an area under some beautiful catenary arches, and explains the weight calculations for the cathedral. The calculations would have been improbable to accomplish using mathematics (computers at the time were still very primitive) so Gaudi sidestepped math, and used intuitive structural geometry to solve it.

So I am looking into high end physics and mathematics and deconstruction and construction and modelling and genetics, but not because I fancy becoming or impersonating such a scientist. The only thing sillier than the latter would be the former. It’s not my work, I do something else.

I’m only looking for confirmations, really – for overlapping markers and for very clever people. And I find those markers (and the people leaving them) in every single time and place I look. I often wonder if perhaps other means and methods of calculation could be simplified by substituting more elemental basic forms for more sophisticated models. And although it’s not really my business, I keep coming up against the idea that perhaps everything really can be answered with some simple arrangements and rearrangements of points on a line.

Who knew?

9 thoughts on “diving into genius

  1. So good to see the Gaudi model, I saw it a few years ago and have always been so impressed with his work. Thank you for all the emails and inspiration, please keep them coming

  2. Of course, the total length of DNA present in one human can stretch to the sun and back nearly 70 times. And if we are inter-related, we humans, flora and fauna, the total length of our collective currently terra bound bio-genomic material is…a LOT. Which, when looked at in a certain manner, can create all manner of geometric shapes AND universes. While not an infinite string, one could consider that new genomic material is being created all the time. And if one were to place the length of all ideas end-to-end…all dreams end-to-end…if we had to measure, as you say.

    Great post with most excellent writing and concepts. You sent me on a totally different trajectory today…thank you.

    • Doriot! I miss you so much here. I think of you every day.
      And I have been thinking often of (and feeling again the chills from) each of the moments when we first saw the elemental forms appearing in our work. Of course we didn’t see them until after we had winnowed all of the possible threadpaths down to the only one that seemed perfect; perfect in the mathematical sense. Your thoughts were essential in seeing the connection early, rather than late, in the work. Man.

    • Diana, wasn’t it just incomprehensible at first, that load calculations for a building that would take generations to build could confidently be made by this type of model? I came to a complete halt at that, and I think I stood in the same spot, under those arches, for about six hours, until I was asked to leave as they were closing Mila. I wept, it was so beautiful, and so clean, and so incredibly, amazingly, ninja.

      • Oh, I’ll be elsewhere by then… home to kiss boys and cats this weekend (smartest thing I could do) and then to NYC and then to DC for the Planetary meeting (Pluto team victory lap!) and then home to Tucson for December. THEN, back to Boston in January for one exciting, fully unpaid month of thrill.
        I doubt anyone wants to visit me in January in Boston. Laughing.

  3. So enjoying the evolution of this work! Yesterday I sent you a link to theverymany.com. Their forms, shapes and colors inspire and seem so applicable.

  4. I read this and think that really, we possess the creative energy of the creative universe in the palms of our hands. Or between our fingers. We are all just extensions of this force in human form (or animal or botanical or whatever). How we each decide to manifest this truth…. well, that’s where the fun is, I think.

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