Simple Complexities: The Sonnet

Continuing where we left off, taking the molecule and delving deeper to the core. I’ve just finished research on the intriguing development of the first nuclear reaction, from its brain child in the first Solvay conferences, to its materialization (or more appropriately, de-materialization) in the form of the trinity test. Side note that I’ve never liked how science, news, or pop culture have utilized religious nomenclature to apply to secular things. It has always bothered me.

Sophomore: But hey hypocrite, you were comparing molecules to angels and the Trinity in the last post! And you just stole “nomenclature” from the pagan Romans.
Me: Step off son, we put the Holy in Holy Roman Empire. Just listen to my boy Athanasius… *hands-off mic* (24 min rap solo by Athanasius Kircher.) “We Put the Holy in Your Holiday” single, in stores Dec 1st.
Wow, I was going to have this post be all somber and dark, quick in quick out, but it’s morphed for sure.

Snapping back to reality; that’s how I feel about the name of the trinity test. But the thing that intrigued me was Oppenheimer’s inspiration for naming the test “trinity” . For even he, as he was experimenting with the powers of the universe, could discern from what source the powers came. That he was witnessing it. Understanding it. Materializing it.

Would not God, who let the hand of Thomas touch His hands and side
let those probe the depths of the heavens, read the rays of the skies
just so that they might know and believe in Him?

Oppenheimer’s test codename was sourced from John Donne’s poem. (Yes, the same John Donne gave Hemingway the line “For whom the bell tolls”.) The sonnet below:

Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.

I, like an usurp’d town to another due,
Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv’d, and proves weak or untrue.

Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov’d fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

The sonnet is so complex in its inter-phrase rhythm, patterned rhyme, and symbolic nouns. It by its constituent parts can be subject to utter academic and scholarly scrutiny and made into endless typologies. Why? Because the crafting of a sonnet is an art. The art of mapping the complexity of rhyme and rhythm with the symbolic nouns and adjectives.

But probe the depths even deeper. See what inspired him to choose Donne’s poem in the first place. Remorse. Repentance. The need to be built up again. Acknowledging the power of God is beyond our power, and earthly powers because it is He that wrought them all.


Simple Complexities: The Diagram

Forgive the conflicting title, but it serves to quantify the use of treating a series of complexities as a unit, a simple whole. And for the sake of this current post, it may as well be laid down as Webster’s own.

Started off the evening with some unexpectedly good film noir; specifically, Behind Green Lights (1946).  As is custom with any noir flick, someone usually gets bumped off. My custom-hypothesis being confirmed, I noticed the way the man met his untimely end involved the constriction of his muscles. With thanks to Conan Doyle, I put my recently acquired Holmesian knowledge to work and quickly declared, from behind the sip of a cup of coffee, “Curare!”. I immediately repented, however, after a pause and research, that I remembered curare is a muscle relaxant, and strychnine the opposite. Quick tip of the hat to Miss Marple, Murder Ahoy (1964), and I was back to my original noir, slightly embarrassed but none-the-less enlightened: avoid rushing to conclusions and run-on sentences.

But in my sedentary effort to reduce the rushing and running that had once plagued my judgement, I discovered something so simple, yet so beautifully complex. The chemical diagram of Adenosine Triphosphate, the “molecular unit of currency” in intercellular energy transfer.


Just look at that. Only made up of four elements. Pattern. Rythym. Relationship.
It was both tinder and fuel for the archi-typing mind. I saw the three groupings as string on the left, triad in the middle, and cloud on the right. Could the center represent the Trinity, the cloud’s nitrogen be angels, the string be the geneology of man? In many ways I abstracted this diagram. Just for fun really. But I saw this complexity in the simple unit of a molecule of ATP.

To me, diagrams are simple maps of symbolic things. Thus allowing the relationship, manner, and order of the things to be understood while allowing the detail of the symbolism to be further expanded/researched at a later time. It saves time like the substituting of variable x for a tri-nomial equation in algebra. Like an equation within an equation (shout-out Inception)…