On lost moments

Whenever I have the feeling that this moment should have been preserved some way (on pixels, on a piece of paper, burnt into my memory…somehow) I like to remind myself of one of my favourite scenes of the Measuring of the World by Daniel Kehlmann, when Monsieur Daguerre attempts to take a picture of Humboldt and Gauss. Monsieur Daguerre was a protégé of Humboldt, “who was working on a piece of equipment which would fix the moment on a light-sensitive silver iodide plate and snatch it out of the onrush of time.” Gauss of course cannot stand still for fifteen minutes and pulls himself free.

“Daguerre stamped his foot. – Now the moment had been lost forever!

– Just like all the others, said Gauss calmly. – Just like all the others.”

 

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