Of Geometry and God.
I saw last night on BBC World- courtesy of our newly installed satellite disc an interview with Michael Heller, the distinguised phycisist and Jesuit Priest. I qoute Wikipedia:
'In March of 2008, Heller was awarded the $1.6 million USD (£820,000) Templeton Prize for his extensive philosophical and scientific probing of "big questions." His works have sought to reconcile the often contradictory "known scientific world with the unknowable dimensions of God." He has published nearly 200 scientific papers not only in general relativity and relativistic cosmology, but also in philosophy and the history of science and science and theology and is the author of more than 20 books. In his most recent volume, Is Physics an Art? (Biblos, 1998), he writes about mathematics as the language of science and also explores such humanistic issues as beauty as a criterion of truth, creativity, and transcendence.
In commenting on this award of the Templeton Prize, Heller said:
"If we ask about the cause of the universe we should ask about the cause of mathematical laws. By doing so we are back in the great blueprint of God’s thinking about the universe, the question on ultimate causality: why is there something rather than nothing? When asking this question, we are not asking about a cause like all other causes. We are asking about the root of all possible causes. Science is but a collective effort of the human mind to read the mind of God from question marks out of which we and the world around us seem to be made.”
The interwiever on BBC World asked whether it was true that Heller had tried to prove the existence of God through mathematics. Heller of course said that it is not, and will never be possible to prove the existence of God. But he said that God has a mathematical mind. With that he meant, I believe, that the more he studied physics and mathematics the more he understood the mind of God ( or something like that…)
And what does all this have to do with Hotel Djenné Djenno?
Well, I am working on our new hangar, the restaurant area by the bar. We are taking down the grass cover which will be replaced with a new mud structure. This new building will house not only seating below, but a whole expanse above where people will dine under the stars. It is quite an ambitious plan and it needs many pillars for support, between which will be placed the roniers, or the strong, straight beams made from coconut palms.
The floor shape will remain the same: it is a section of a circle, the centre of which lies in the reception, in the circular building behind the bar.
While sketching and measuring and trying to understand how this structure should be made it slowly became quite clear that the building itself wanted to do something. The answer lay in the building itself. The number of pillars is given by the measurement needed between them, and the pattern of the roof beams suddenly revealed itself as a series of hexagons. Once I saw this, there was no other answer possible. The building itself had spoken. Or, one might say that this is the design of God?
Secondly I thought it may be a good moment to introduce a theme of religion. Monsigneur Fonghoro, The Bishop of Mopti, has kindly agreed once more to come to Djenné and celebrate mass at the Hotel, and this time on St. Patrick’s Day, this Monday. (See entry mid December 2006 for his previous visit).
The mass will be in inauguration of the new textile studio, and the brand new great hand loom which is arriving from Segou today. More of this later...