Friday, November 20, 2015

Avagadro's number and thoughts on MY STRUGGLE, Book One.

  1. I finished book one of Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle last night. I thought it was really good.
  2. There was one point in it where he was talking about reading but not really understanding literary philosophers like Adorno, but how having read them or even having them on the shelf generated an energy in your mind. I haven't read Adorno, but I have friends who have and it is kind of like having that on the bookshelf of your life.
  3. Since this massive book is about memory and intellectual triggers and the vastness of experience, I remembered a heady evening in my youth when I declared to my friends, "Everything is meaningful! Everything is a symbol!" and went off on how a puddle on the concrete was as significant as the ocean, depending on scale and where you are looking. I was probably a little drunk.
  4. Then, last night, I wondered which is a larger number: the number of water molecules in a drop of water or the number of drops of water in the earths oceans.  
  5. It all depends on Avogadro's number, which is 6.0221409e+23, or like 6 followed by 23 zeroes. This number is how many atoms or molecules are in a mole, and a mole is the amount of that substance that equals its atomic mass in grams. 
  6. Water molecule has two hydrogens (atomic mass 1) and an oxygen (16) saying that 18 grams of pure water had 6.0221409e+23 water molecules in it.
  7. This breakdown from Naked Scientists says that for every molecule in a drop of water, there is one liter of water on the earth. That seems significant.
  8. All metric measurements are related. A cubic centimeter of water at zero centigrade has one millimeter in volume and weighs one gram. It's a beautiful system. 
  9. Knausgaard, as portrayed in this sort-of memoir, is not plagued by such poetic, useless musings. In this first book, he isn't trying to connect anything. He's just trying to make it to a party and to make it through his father's death. Also, he isn't trying to solve the problem of himself, as revealed in his Charlie Rose appearance. He isn't trying to be happy. So metal.
  10. He said he is emptying his writing of himself, but he also says he is just trying to feed his family and write books, because that is better than being happy.
  11. One wants there to be a formula to life revealed in a 1500-page Struggle but what's revealed is only struggle. At least in the first 400 pages. 
  12. I want Knausgaard to have an atomic mass of 1500 so that My Struggle becomes one mole of the human spirit.
  13. But that's as goofy a notion as that of the Tao: that there are ten thousand things to the world. 
  14. "When the ten thousand things have been seen in their unity, we return to the beginning and remain where we have always been" says the Tao
  15. I want this list to go to 15 for 1500 pages. Also I wanted to write something, Its been since the summer that I write something here. Break that silence, which is all Knausgaard wanted to do. So, here it is.
  16. Evidently, I should have posted this on October 23rd. From Wikipedia: In honor of the unit, some chemists celebrate October 23 (a reference to the 1023 part of the Avogadro constant) as "Mole Day".