Stanislaw Lem died yesterday. His writing has had a great influence on me and how I see the world. His stories combined a clarity of thought and vision with a sense of awe and wonder. The universe is not a simple place, easily defined. It escapes definition, slipping out of our grasp like a drop of mercury. Even our simplest observations are tangled in a mess of interpretations, dreams and fears. Yet he also knew that it is in our nature to try to understand it. No matter how futile, there is honor in making that attempt.
To quote another great Polish artist, the poet Czeslaw Milosz:
“How could I have expected that after a long life I would understand no more than to wake up at night and to repeat: strange, strange, strange, O how strange, how strange, O how funny and strange.”
So tonight, raise a glass of vodka to Mr. Lem. We’ll miss you. Na zdrowie!