The arendt files, p.5
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       The Arendt Files, p.5
 

           Ivan Rosemblatt
Leskov looked over his contraption. The machine had started simply enough; magnets at ascending and descending widths along the flywheel as a solid steel ball rotated inside of it. But then he remembered the admonition contained in the papers, “Leave the binary mode. Challenge your thinking towards the mulch-directional, the multi-planar. Forces don’t act in one direction, only things have directions and those directions are a defined by forces.” Of course at that point is was a metaphor, an intuition, a poesies rather than a thesis.

  Luckily he was no longer constrained by the usual expectations and limitations of academic science. There were no papers to be published, no grants to be written, no tenure to be achieved., in fact his laboratory more closely resembled the lair of a mad scientist than the bright clear halls of the laboratories of his past. “We are the wild opposing force; we are the daemon of science. Your thinking is getting to dramatic. Well perhaps that’s from the sleep deprivation or maybe the stimulants. He laughed to himself.” He realized that he had grasped onto the wrong image in his mind, what he had meant to think, what he had been mentally groping for, was the alchemist not the mad scientist. A forge, bellows, hand blown glass. alembic, mercury, nigredo, cinnabar, calcination

  It was true that his thinking had become wilder as the years rolled by and his results continually challenged his knowledge and expectations. That was what linked him to the alchemist, he looked for matter to confirm or deny, be linked to, to spring from, his own changes of feeling and mind. In this war of science he was fighting from a place of reason and intuition. He was not naïve; he knew that reality was not a fairy tale, but neither is it a machine, or impersonal.

  What the Nazi’s wanted above all else was simplicity, easy answers, not need for thought. “It’s the blood! It’s the blood that has all the answers.” He imagined Hitler in one of his maniacal fugue states, his fists clenched up by his face, the hair starting to fall over the eye. “Why didn’t he have it trimmed so it didn’t fall forward like that” he wondered? “He must have liked it that way. He must have liked the gesture of pulling his hair back to the side.” Leskov shook his head as he moved towards his invention, “That people were so moved by such an idiot, a person with such obvious ticks and neurosis.” He saw Hitler's gesture as that of a vain insecure girl always checking her makeup in the mirror, looking to see if her facade is in place, secure. The hair was something for him to hide behind and then reveal himself, like a child playing hide and seek by covering his face with his own hands and then and then showing it to the world. “You see! I disappeared and now I have returned.” And to see the joy in his mother's face. Hitler must have loved that moment when the hair fell over his eye and for a moment he disappeared from the world and then with a gesture magically reappeared, to see them there, the adoring crowd, his substitute for whatever it was he lacked.

  Thank god he was dead. Leskov felt that it provided them an opening. Sure, the German’s had a strong government and administrative class and still clearly had a strategic and a tactical advantage. Really they had the advantage on all levels. It had already been a eight years since Hitler’s stroke and if anything it seemed that they were stronger, more entrenched.

  Miguel was the only one who had any real appreciation for it. He would visit when he needed a break from his own work. Together they would sit and smoke and follow it's hypnotic dance. When he had had enough he would pat Leskov on the shoulders and say, “At some other time you would be a world famous artist.”

  “But I am not an artist, I am an artist, I am a scientist.”

  “Argue you all you want. To me you are an artist.” he would flash his winning handsome smile “you need to take a break and get out of your head for a while so that you can get some fresh ideas.”

  Miguel would always say to him, “De-abstract yourself. We must get you sex.” English was the lingua franca there in the cave, but since very few of them were native speakers all sorts of inventive uses of words and phrases had proliferated. He knew there was something a little odd about it but it made things funny, all the gaffs, and if there was one thing they were in sore need of was humor. Everybody had been overworked for years on end. “Yes please, by all means get me sex but don’t tell how to do my work. You do your research, I will do mine.”

  “I can lead you like a horse to the water but I can’t make you eat the shell.”

  “Miguel, when you speak English you are like a Dada oracle. So very Dada.”

  “Don’t compare me to those decadent miscreants.”

  “Don’t be a fascist Miguel. Don’t attack what you don’t understand.”

  “I am not a fascist, I am a catholic and I understand them just fine. Just because you put two things side by side does not mean they connect.”

  “They aren't saying they are connected, they are showing us that we connect them. Even saying they are not connected is a kind of connection.”

  “No! There are true laws of meaning. That is just adding chaos to Gods plan. It is a lie that sounds true because it is clever. If you put fire next to gasoline it matters. Things have an order.”

  “To me it is clear that must be like Dada scientist in order to try new, unthought of combinations. We are trying to make the leap of poetry to invention.”

  “I don’t know how you can believe in that nonsense when what you are creating there, whatever it is, is about harmony and beauty. To engage with the real world you have to move past chaos and humor into order. Into the abstract, the realm of pure ideas and that is closer to god.’

  “That is all pagan thought you know. Aristotle was not Christian. The church fathers drank it up like you Argentines drink wine with a meal.”

  “Don’t talk about the church and I won’t talk about your rabbi’s.” Thus ended their conversations and he would each return to the isolation of their work

  Other researchers would come in, stare at it and shake their heads in judgement, but once he set it in motion they couldn't leave. They would stay and watch, transfixed like bystanders in before a traffic accident. They saw that he had somehow managed to suspend three nested counter rotating orbs of brass and steel within each exclusively through the use of magnets. That alone was a massive achievement; before the war it would have been enough to secure his career and perhaps even have made him wealthy, but those days were long gone.

  The orbs were open in parts, the negative spaces forming designs that looked more like an ancient scripts and glyphs, Assyrian or Han Chinese, than the concatenation of platonic solid one might expect of a modern machine. Then there were the bars, heavy cylinders of solid metal that had made Leskov strong over the years from simply having to lift them on his shoulder and climb them up the ladders in order to insert into the spring loaded release pods placed at strange angles to the central mechanism.

  He would climb up, a short, wiry, improbable strongman- a circus performer from the old world performing an absurd trick. Some of his co-worker offered suggestions to eliminate this step but Leskov stubbornly refused. It was the only form of exercise he had, and over time it had improved both his strength and his balance. He had developed a pride in his ability and he liked to imagine that he was on a submarine or battleship carrying massive projectiles to a cannon. For a moment he felt like a real soldier which satisfied him deeply. He knew he was not the heroic type but wished he were.

  He would start the motor of types in motion, almost comically, by reaching into the through the orbs, finding the solid marble sized piece of platinum, grabbing it with his thumb and middle finger, and snapping his finger to set it spinning; then he would step back. This was his time for reflection and his only sense of triumph. He would sit of the metal step ladder, roll a cigarette, light it, and watch the process unfold. Little by little the motion that small ball would start to effect, move, the inner orb and then next, each outer one in turn.

  Once the four inch thick outer orb reached a certain speed the first cylinder was released from it's central position above. Miraculously it would drop unimp
eded through the three orbs, timed perfectly to avoid all solidity and move through empty space. The only recognizable natural movement it made, as it fell, miraculously unhindered through the middle. The platinum ball bearing was then knocked out from the center creating a noticeable shudder through the whole machine. Achieving the necessary stability the in the design so that removing the ball did not tear the whole thing apart had taken three long frustrating years.

  Smaller “sticks” as Leskov called them were positioned in those mechanical spring loaded arms which resembled some modern lamp design, or a mechanical woodpeckers beak poised to knock at the gyroscope. They would release from their improbable angles threading their way through shifting complex combinations of openings in the orb. The sticks had bizarre shapes to them that could have been sculptures from the same alien culture that created the openings carvings in the orb. They rotated and counter rotated as they moved from one end to another, making it's way through in mathematically complex angles and motions. More bizarrely as each one was added the sticks would begin to move through at a slower pace, or stop, or shoot through opening so quickly the movement couldn’t be followed. The orbs themselves would then begin to counter rotate, shudder, and stop all recognizable pattern. Of course there was the question of what pulled the central rod back up through to nest in its launch mechanism?

  “Those lateral sticks, how do they even make it into the core? Shouldn’t they fall in a curve?” his colleagues would demand angrily. They always got angry the first time, o one likes feeling the fool. Leskov would take a deep pull from his cigarette and answer, “It’s been accounted for in the design.” This would usually send them off in a huff. It was a small victory allowed himself, a little bit of gloating. Eventually they would return and he would explain a bit more about the principles.

  They would argue that the shapes were too complex and would, say that the solution should be simpler to which Leskov would answer something along the line, “these are simplest six dimensional forms I could find.” Many believe it was some kind of trick that was being played on them. Eventually he would reveal the flaw which would always set their minds at ease. He was always amused and a slight bit disheartened by the predictability of their responses at that point, how the failings of others set out own minds at ease. “You are right” he would say, “it is not a motor yet. The bowl you see, the concave electromagnets that create the necessary field to suspend it. It requires more energy than it produces.” He was convinced that there was a zero sum energy gain occurring, but the overall energy demands of the base were still making it energy negative.

  That’s was where it stood, after eleven years he had the world’s most complex mechanical sculpture. It was like having a beautiful women who didn’t actually love you. So he would smoke and stare and ponder, ponder, ponder.

  Chapter 6

 
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