From time to time I lie awake for a while after sleeping soundly during the early part of the night. If I don't drift off again in a few minutes, hunger takes hold and restlessness soon follows. I get up, go to the kitchen, cut a thick slice of bread and enjoy its salty taste with a cup of tea. I become more relaxed, but not sleepy so stroll into the sitting room and pick up a book, one of three or four lying near the sofa. These nocturnal interludes have continued for months, and usually after an hour reading I return to bed, sleeping uninterruptedly until the morning. Last night without forethought the routine changed. Having arrived in the kitchen and taken the loaf, I pushed it aside; and instead poured out some cornflakes adding plenty of milk and a little sugar. It was not as though the bread's taste had palled, but anyway at the time I gave it no thought, just chomped my way herbivorously through the cereal, before finding myself standing in front of the bookcase. I pulled out some translations of Osip Mandelstam and almost immediately read this: Tell me desert draftsman geometer of the shifting sands can these restless patterns be stronger than the growing wind? Suddenly I remembered my urgent hunger and the focusing of that hunger and the cloudy questions billowing in my head: as if a team of horses had drawn me hither stronger by far than I who thought to steer.
Four-in-hand, a team of horses managed by one driver, and also by extension a tie knot using the same technique as is used tying the reins of a team of horses.
“A group is a many which can be thought of as a one.” Easy to state in mathematics, and undoubtedly elegant. More difficult in the many incarnations of Science. A complete and irreversible communion, perhaps.
In Plato’s Phaedrus, the soul is described as a charioteer directing two winged horses, one intent on the heavens, one attracted earthwards.