The Element of Truth

This page written circa 4 December, 2022.

I have just put 58 T-shirts in the donation bag. I was renowned when I lived in Sydney for my collection, many of which I painted or printed myself in the 1980s, the printing done using a vacuum-tube electrostencil machine... but I rarely wear a chemisette these days. Perhaps I feel the cold too much. Many old friends will find new owners.

I am reminded of a story that Carolyne told me when we lived in Chatswood. When first married, she lived in the lower Blue Mountains, where she had an old lady as a neighbour. Carolyne and the lady became friends. At some stage, she gave Carolyne some object (a plate or vase or painting) that Carolyne had admired in her house. Carolyne told me that it was only much later that she realised what was happening. Her friend and neighbour, growing old, was giving away all the lovely things she had that she knew someone else would appreciate. No point leaving them to be buried in an estate sale.

I strangely enjoy the lean existence I have when living in flat 4 in Sydney. That I feel like I have all I need, barely filling 25 square meters of abode, continues to surprise me. It convinced me that I could live in a tiny house. Perhaps it is time for me to start doing the same thing as Carolyne's neighbour. Statistically almost 85% of my life is spent. I find myself weighed down with a lot of things I love. Not simply T-shirts, but original furniture, the train tables (so & so), historical model railway, many well-kept tools, a still, an electronics lab, nixie chronometers, you get the idea.

Do not panic, I am not about to give it all away, and I am not getting morbid. I am sure I would become bored if I did not have access to the tools of my hobbies. Nevertheless, I would part with many of those if I knew someone who would appreciate them. I could handle them being unlinked from me tomorrow if they found a new person to love them!

I read a story recently from an academic who was asked if he had children. He replied to the effect of "I have sent over 100 graduate students out into the world. I keep in touch with most of them. I have helped them to be wise and productive. This is my legacy." The story struck a chord with me. I keep in touch with colleagues who were my role models, I keep in touch with most of my grad students, and I still bump into students who recognise me (lately from videos we produced) and who thank me for helping them. I hope I provided reliable value to all of them. Such are the footprints I would leave.

This brings me to the meaning of the title of this essay. It is the first time (I think) that The Ingenuous Hamiltonian linked into something on YouTube instead of something on IMDb. What I value on YouTube is channels that are technically sound and reliably so, and that also provide something of lasting value. Derek's channel Veritasium is a perfect example.
To adapt Spock's customary salutation, live long, stay curious, have fun. I am going to tackle the next lot of T-shirts.

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