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S.V. White, the Sharp-veined White butterfly

The remarkable Hyatt Carter has now shared stations along the way of his intellectual experiences in his "Thinking is the Best Way to Travel: essays along the journey." With the bedrock of his intellect in Alfred North Whitehead, he makes continual leaps of the imagination via the writings of Ken Wilber and Charles Hartshorne among many others. Carter is that rare creature, an independent polymath, the scarcity of which in the epoch of specialization has severely scarred contemporary life. There are dabblers aplenty and no lack of what ordinary folk title `clever dicks`, but the polymath in full flow is an exciting phenomenon.

My good friend of many years, the poet Jeffrey Wainwright, has recently brought out a Collection entitled "Clarity or Death" and he has defined the razor edge choice. For without genuine clarity, there is indeed the thousand deaths that academia trudges through year by year in pursuit of the shimmering mountain top - the Pension.

But here in Carter`s book, the author elucidates Hartshorne`s "prosaic fallacy". Early on Hyatt Carter urges "May the fours be with you!" and with this in one`s pouch or sporran, the reader proceeds. Quadratic equations of the spirit tumble forth one after the other, each driving the flow forward. As related particles echo across the universe by some mysterious process, so the fourfold reaches epic proportions in Carter`s writing.

Small wonder it`s recently been revealed that in the basic early Stone Age of language, `three` and `five` were around, but no `four`. The evolution of the quaternal, with its metamorphoses in process, has been a hidden key to words becoming identical to the transforming object. There need be no distinction between science and art, or between language and reality. However complex the organisms or quanta being unravelled, human language and number remain the medium. So the specialists, the scientists, had to raid the work of James Joyce for the definition of one of their discoveries in the world of the infinitessimal - the quark.

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