During my afternoon nap, E.O. Wilson and I were having an argument about something that involved random processes and statistical mathematics.
Wilson is getting very agitated about it all. I ask him why the particular point we’re arguing about bothers him so much. He opens up a really thick mathematical textbook (yes, I know he’s a biologist), points out a citation in the back (Wilson, E.O., of course) and hands me the whole book.
The type is so small and there are so many “Wilson, E.O.” citations on the page I lose track of the particular one he was pointing at. I was bringing the book back to him so he could point it out again, and I woke up!
Damn. I mean, I know it was just a dream, but I was having a great argument with the man who is probably the greatest living Darwinist. Now I can’t even remember what we were arguing about.
And we were having it in a space that was like a cross between the War Room in Dr. Strangelove, and the central reading room in the Library of Congress. Even for Fred (my psychopomp or liminal guide or embodiment of the collective “unconscious”) that’s a particularly cruel tease.
Back in midsummer I read Wilson’s The Social Conquest of Earth. I’ve checked it out of the library to give it another go. I don’t feel like I’ve absorbed it quite. Fred doesn’t either.
By the by, I really like the Louisville Free Public Library. The online interface is handy for searching and reserving books. I just pick them up at the Front Desk when they come in.