Over Shabbat, I read a fascinating article in the latest issue of Cross Currents by Chacham Professor Jose Faur. The article,
Lord Keynes on
During these (the time he developed Principia) twenty-five years of intense study mathematics and astronomy were only one part, and perhaps not the most absorbing, of his occupations. Our record of these is almost wholly confined to the papers which he kept and put in his box when he left Trinity for
Lord Keynes’s description of
…he looked on the whole universe and all that is in it as a riddle, as a secret which could be read by applying pure thought to certain evidence, certain mystic clues that God had laid about the world to allow a sort of philosopher’s treasure hunt to esoteric brotherhood. … By pure thought, by concentration of the mind, the riddle, he believed, would be revealed to the initiate.
He did read the riddle of the heavens. And he believed that by the same powers of his introspective imagination he would read the riddle of the Godhead, the riddle of past and future events divinely foreordained, the riddle of the elements and their constitution from an original undifferentiated matter, the riddle of health and of immortality.
Chacham Faur explains the similarity of how
Not long before his death,
I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy, playing on the seashore, and diverting myself, in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, while the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
The Faur article is a worthwhile read and I hope the editors of Cross Current place it online, in full.
Ending, I just want to refer to Rambam in Hilchot Shemita Veyovel 13:11 which came to mind when reading this article –
ולא שבט לוי בלבד, אלא כל איש ואיש מכל באי העולם אשר נדבה רוחו אותו
והבינו מדעו להיבדל לעמוד לפני ה' לשרתו ולעובדו לדעה את ה', והלך ישר כמו
שעשהו האלוהים, ופרק מעל צווארו עול החשבונות הרבים אשר ביקשו בני
האדם--הרי זה נתקדש קודש קודשים, ויהיה ה' חלקו ונחלתו לעולם ולעולמי
Not only the tribe of Levi, but every man that passes through the world, whose spirit and intellect drove to separate him to stand before God to serve and worship Him, to know Him. Who also walked in the righteous path as God made him, removed the yoke of the many [extraneous] matters that men tend to seek out, such a person if considered holiest among the holy. God will be his legacy forever.
An anonymous commenter has directed us to the online version of the above article at