Not for the faint of art.
A complex number is expressed in the standard form a + bi, where a and b are real numbers and i is defined by i^2 = -1 (that is, i is the square root of -1). For example, 3 + 2i is a complex number.
The bi term is often referred to as an imaginary number (though this may be misleading, as it is no more "imaginary" than the symbolic abstractions we know as the "real" numbers). Thus, every complex number has a real part, a, and an imaginary part, bi.
Complex numbers are often represented on a graph known as the "complex plane," where the horizontal axis represents the infinity of real numbers, and the vertical axis represents the infinity of imaginary numbers. Thus, each complex number has a unique representation on the complex plane: some closer to real; others, more imaginary. If a = b, the number is equal parts real and imaginary.
Very simple transformations applied to numbers in the complex plane can lead to fractal structures of enormous intricacy and astonishing beauty.
|We turn today to the literary world. Of course, by "literary" I mean "science fiction."
Ursula K. Le Guin on Being a Man
A journey to where the semicolon meets the soul.
Okay, so, that whole thing is, I will admit, too dense for me. And by "dense" I mean "impenetrable." Like a New Yorker article.
And I'm not even going to tackle gender issues in this blog, because I still haven't figured out what the hell is meant by gender issues.
But Le Guin is, indisputably, a great writer. Not just because she helped give science fiction respectability, although that's part of it, but because she can put things into words that most of us find inexpressible.
Still, I'm at a loss to see her point, here, or that of the author who is excerpting her work. Maybe someone else can make some sense out of it and explain it to me.