Ants and Opportunities

It is now over two weeks since my blog was born and, in these two weeks, I’ve learned a lot.  I’ve learned to find my way around WordPress.  Hopefully I have cracked the basics and can now focus on finding improvements, like making my Picture Gallery more aesthetically satisfying.  I have learned a little bit about using the Latex system to typeset mathematical expressions.  I have learned to query my phpinfo… but that’s about as technical as I have so far journeyed into the inner workings of this little site.

I have also learned that this blog isn’t going to be just about me and my pleasures.  It’s about my visitors; those who click through and move on, those who stay a while, and those who contribute.  It is one such contribution that inspired the title of this very post.

Today Jeremy posted the following in his comment on the Arethusa page:

  “On my musings about Arethusa I was sidetracked by Greek tragedy and decided to read Sophokles ‘Oedipus Rex’  yet again, in small doses. The play is steeped in layers of meaning and ambiguities, and I was pondering the text and feeling quite clever, when an ant proceeded to take a walk over the book, walking as ants do in a semi-random fashion, stopping here and there on the page, and finally walking off. I wondered whether the ant was blissfully unaware of the literary treasure he was wandering over. Then, I suddenly realized with horror that I was feeling superior to the ant, in the act of hubris – the very same error as the one at the heart of the Oedipus plot. I then wondered whether I was in fact appreciating the text on a level significantly higher than the ant was.

I loved this anecdote of the ant and the parallels Jeremy draws between the book the ant walks over and his own response to observing the ant walking over it.  It strikes me as quite a profound philosophical experience – and it made me laugh!

A moment after I had read it,  the rather silly thought occurred to me, “why hasn’t an ant walked over my book?”  with an emotion akin to that of a child seeing that another child has been given a lollipop.  Then I realised the importance of the next question: if an ant had walked over my book while I was reading it, would I have been similarly inspired?  Or would I simply have knocked the ant away and continued reading?  I’m still pondering the answer.

This is where Opportunity enters the equation.  Not simply the existence of an opportunity, but the way in which a person identifies and responds to that opportunity. How does one make sure that opportunities aren’t missed?  Not only opportunities for action, but opportunities for ideas and inspiration.  Like the ant, those could be the tiniest opportunities and the easiest to miss.  This is sounding like a “Thought for the Day” type thing now!

Fortunately, my meandering flow of contemplation was broken by a particularly appealing view of the sun breaking through clouds casting some stunning sunbeams and sea-stripes across the dark grey backdrop.  So I seized my own creative opportunity for the day and photographed it:

Thank you to Jeremy for inspiring today’s update and thank you to everybody who has supported this blog through its first two weeks.  I hope that you enjoy this site and that you will continue to do so for a long time to come.  As always, please be encouraged to contact me with any thoughts, feedback or suggestions you may have.  Here’s to the future!


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About Nova

Mathematically minded, poetically spirited and with a unique view of the world, this is my blog. This is a little piece of the internet dedicated to the things that make me happy.

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