I have been able to hear a shadow and I have even perceived by ear the passage of a cloud across the sun’s disk.” Today, such light orders the data that passes beneath the ocean waves in the secure transport of fibre-optic cables, and orders the collective intelligence of the world.
In his preface to the published version of his lectures, Ruskin advised readers that “The following lectures, drawn up under the pressure of more imperative and quite otherwise directed work, contain many passages which stand in need of support, and some, I do not doubt, more or less of correction, which I always prefer to read openly from the better knowledge of friends, after setting down my impressions of the matter in clearness and as far as they reach, than to guard myself against by submitting my manuscript, before publication, to annotators whose stricture or suggestion I might often feel pain in refusing, yet hesitation in admitting.”Caveat lector.
Light, he says, is “as much the ordering of Intelligence as the ordering of Vision”.
Just a few years previously, in 1880, Alexander Graham Bell first demonstrated a device called the photophone, a companion invention to the telephone, which enabled the first wireless transmission of the human voice.
Lewis Fry Richardson was a mathematician and a Quaker.
When war broke out in 1916, he registered as a Conscientious Objector and volunteered for the Friends’ Ambulance Unit attached to the 16th French Infantry Division.
I am fifty years old, and more; and since I was five, have gleaned the best hours of my life in the sun of spring and summer mornings; and I never saw such as these, till now.
And the scientific men are busy as ants, examining the sub, and the moon, and the seven stars, and they can tell me all about them, I believe, by this time; and how they move, and what they are made of.“And I do not care, for my part, two copper spangles how they move, nor what they are made of.
Neither Homer not Virgil, neither Aristophanes nor Horace, acknowledges any such clouds among those compelled by Jove.
Chaucer has no word for them, nor Dante; Milton none, nor Thomson.