â¦ one tries to make language into a weightless element that hovers above things like a cloud or better, perhaps, the finest dust or, better still, a field of magnetic impulsesâ¦
The resulting texts always took a narrative term, enigmatic at first but ultimately explicit and often premonitory.
If a book were written all in numbers, it would be true. It would be just. Nothing said in words ever came out quite even. Things in words got twisted and ran together, instead of staying straight and fitting together.
The semantic distribution of these basic elements diverted them from their original meaning, thus revealing their real significance. Henceforth, every form of writing will consist of an operation of decoding, of contamination, and of sense perversion. All this because all language is essentially mystification, and everything is fiction.
(voice trembling with emotion trying not to shout)
But underneath the words, at the center, like the center of the Square, it all came out even. Everything could change, yet nothing would be lost. If you saw the numbers you could see that, the balance, the pattern. You saw the foundations of the world. And they were solid.
(standing up with excitement, knocking his teacup over)
It's like shuffling a deck and getting the exact same shuffle for 52 cards. You could shuffle every second for the entire life of the universe, and you wouldn't come close to getting two of the same.
Everyone looks at each other in silence.
Italo Calvino, Six Memos for the Next Millennium, 1988
Brion Gysin, The Third Mind, 1978 (co-authored by William S. Burroughs)
Ursula Le Guine, The Dispossessed, 1974
Kenneth Libbrecht, a physics professor at the California Institute of Technology and avid snowflake photographer, USA