Time Capsule #85
On rain, the Greek city-states, and surgical creativity.
Welcome to the Time Capsule — a weekly newsletter that serves as both my public journal and personal scrapbook. I write about the things on my mind and close to my heart in hopes that those who read it find value and enjoyment in it, and perhaps some solace too.
💭 Quote(s) of the Week
The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.
I’ve always loved the rain.
The cadence, the outpour:
it feels like the Earth is crying.
It feels like home —
that inner home of memories
of old friends and lovers
of times gone by.
It feels like life,
in the way it can come on slowly,
like the first movement of a sonata,
or commence instantly,
as if by a light switch,
as if it were being held back by some mysterious force.
And in the moments after,
when the rain has finally passed,
you are left with peace —
a voluminous solitude,
empty bars which are ready to house new notes.
📸 Photo(s) of the Week
📖 Book of the Week — In The First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Solzhenitsyn’s autobiographical and much-admired In the First Circle is his first full-length novel. For the first 40 years, since its publication in English from its publication in 1968 as The First Circle, the novel was only available in a version that Solzhenitsyn had “lightened” in the vain hope that it would pass muster with the Soviet censors. Only in 2008 was the complete authorized English edition published (translation by Harry Willetts).
The novel is set during 24-27 December 1949, and the main action occurs on prison grounds near Moscow that originally encompassed a seminary. The religious overtones of these time and place settings, along with the title drawn from Dante’s Inferno, provide the groundwork for a novel about conflicting sets of beliefs. Soviet authorities turned the ecclesiastical site into asharashka, an institution where incarcerated scientists and technologists are required to work on secret state projects but in exchange receive better provisions and gentler treatment than others in the Gulag system. The large cast comprises a cross-section of society, including persons inside and outside the sharashka and historical personages (such as Stalin) alongside fictional characters.
💡 Food for Thought
Your way of living is not something to be thrown around or inflicted on other people.
Everyone has their own experiences and is entitled to their own beliefs.
🔭 Sunday Best
Relationship Between the Greek States During 490BCE — a look at the relationship between the different Greek States around the time of the Battle of Marathon 490BCE. This includes relations between Athens and Sparta, why the Plataeans fought alongside the Athenians, the fate of the Eretrians, the aggression of Thebes and the peacekeeping of Corinth.
Map of Left- and Right-Driving Countries — most of the left-driving countries appear to be countries under the influence of the former British Empire (i.e., India, South Africa, Australia).
Creativity & the Surgeon — by MWL Gauderer, MD.
This Robert E. Gross lecture is an analysis of the concept of creativity and how it relates to the practice of surgery. The questions—why surgery and creativity are closely associated; what influences creativity; why we should be concerned about it; and, finally, what rewards it brings—are discussed. In a personal note, the author describes his approach to creativity, with simplification as a central theme.