And I often dream of chemistry at night, dreams that conflate the past and the present, the grid of the periodic table transformed to the grid of Manhattan. […] Sometimes, too, I dream of the indecipherable language of tin (a confused memory, perhaps, of its plaintive “cry”). But my favorite dream is of going to the opera (I am Hafnium), sharing a box at the Met with the other heavy transition metals my old and valued friends Tantalum, Rhenium, Osmium, Iridium, Platinum, Gold, and Tungsten.
Monotheistic religions in the West have tended to conflate having a general orientation in life, having a specific theory of the world, having a sense of the positive meaningfulness of one’s existence, and having a fixed set of rules for behavior, but these elements are in principle separable. ... The “metaphysical need,” ... both Marx and Nietzsche held, is a historical phenomenon that arises under determinate circumstances, and could be expected to disappear under other circumstances that we could relatively easily envisage.raymond geuss