Naipaul’s way of writing what he sees. Mandelbrot’s emphasis on pictures in a sterile academic environment. Ramon y Cajal’s pictures, drawings based on his analysis of “millions of neurons”. Then, this, the sterile picture that awaits the exalted eye, the practised hand of our parochial critics. Well, to hell with them.
I am thinking about strands as I write this, in the sense of connections. Who could have predicted that my two heroes, Mandelbrot and Ramon y Cajal, could have had so much in common? Or that Popper and von Hayek would as well? That Pareto would be detested by Popper, who could not stand his theoretical support of Fascism? That I would meet Naipaul, after Rushdie, and all the others, and find him standing with Sebald, Chaudhuri, and Chatwin? That Burton would prefigure these men in being a traveller, and that Nansen would also enter the mix via that connection? Pictures, visualisation, seeing again, imagining again, and not going inside oneself, that is the final word. As for my past: goodbye to all that.