Chapter 8: Only Unripe Mangoes Are Safe
Both of the mathematicians were of the same caliber, of the same genius. Godel was almost completing his treatise, because he was an older man than Bertrand Russell. It was almost a thousand pages of complicated argument to prove mathematics is the fundamental science and the only science which has no flaw.
Just at that time, when he was going to give it to the publisher, Godel received a letter from Bertrand Russell. Bertrand Russell had himself received a letter, from the librarian of the British Museum - he had received a few letters. The British Museum was ordered by the government to compile catalogs of all the libraries of England. So they ordered all the libraries to compile catalogs of all their books. And they should compile two catalogs; one they should keep in the library and the other they should send to the British Museum. Then the British Museum would compile a final catalog in which all the books of the country, including the British Museum, would be included. They would make two catalogs: one would remain in the British Museum and one would go to the Ministry of Education from where the order had come.
A few librarians became puzzled about something like your question. When they compiled the catalogs, one remained with them and one was going to the British Museum. Now the problem was whether to put that catalog also in the catalog - because it was a book in the library - or to leave it out. Both seemed to be not right. How can you put the catalog itself in it? And not to put it in means you are leaving one book in the library without being cataloged.
So they wrote questions to the librarian of the British Museum. He himself was puzzled by the same problem: whether to put the final catalog also in the catalog.which looks absurd because a catalog is for other books, not for itself. But there was this final catalog in the British Museum which remained uncataloged, so rather than sending it to the Ministry of Education, he sent the question to Bertrand Russell, knowing that he was a great mathematician. And he was a great mathematician, so great that I don’t think anybody reads his book. The book is so complicated that just to prove that two plus two is four, he devoted two hundred and fifty big pages. All the complicated arguments.you cannot even think to write one page about the simple subject, two plus two is four.
But when he received the letter from the librarian, Bertrand Russell was puzzled. What to do? Just then he remembered: Old Godel thinks that everything can be solved by mathematics. It is better to send it to him.
He sent him the puzzle, saying “What do you suggest? According to you, every problem can be solved and it is a mathematical problem.”
Godel thought over it, but could not find the way. And because he could not find the way, he did not publish his book. He said, “If I cannot solve a simple puzzle, on what grounds can I claim that mathematics is capable of solving every problem?”
You are saying: one can become aware, and one can become aware of one’s awareness. Or one can become aware of one’s unawareness and then can become aware of one’s awareness of unawareness - but where it will lead?