table duties 1987647.jpg

Today is March 14, which is of course often abbreviated as 03/14 or 03.14 and thus has come to be colloquially known as "Pi Day" (probably a fairly recent designation, although I haven't looked into the history of this phrase).

Pi relates the diameter of a circle to its circumference, and as an irrational number cannot be completely expressed as a fraction or as a numeral form, and its digits never end and never repeat when expressed in decimal form. Thus, pi evokes the Infinite. 

Above is an image of your author attempting to cut a circular pie into an even number of slices, probably taken during the winter of 1987 - 1988. The photograph is unstaged and completely extemporaneous -- I had no idea someone was taking my picture at that moment and don't even remember who took it. The image gives some idea of the way the complex set of rules and norms of West Point are imprinted upon the mind of those who enter into that particular institutional culture (or were imprinted during that period of history: things may have changed slightly since then).

This image was used in a blog post about "Pi Day" four years ago on 03.14.15 which you can find here.

The upperclassman who is giving me some gentle coaching as I cut the pie is a perfectly reasonable person who was simply acting out the same kind of indoctrination that was the norm at that time and which I would later act out as an upperclassman (as shown in an image in this recent previous post). 

The fact is that we are all indoctrinated into various social norms and behavior patterns in society, beginning even before we can talk and reinforced as we grow up, and these rules and norms are necessary even if there are undoubtedly better or worse ways to pass them on within a society. If you never learn the rules and norms that govern the complex task of driving a car in traffic among other cars and trucks and motorcycles and railroad crossings and freeway entrances, then you cannot really drive safely in a society that includes other drivers, for example. 

However, as discussed in the above-linked post entitled "What lies beneath the scurrying of the superficial mind?" there is great value in disciplines which enable us to get in touch with the enormous part of our consciousness which "lies beneath" the mental dialogue of our conscious mind and its endless calculations of what "should" and "could" and "would" and "might" be done in any situation (or "could have" or "should have" or "might have" been done in a past situation). 

This part of ourselves, which is often called the "unconscious" and which actually seems to be in touch (in some way not fully understood at this time, and in a way which is definitely outside of the conventional paradigms with which we are generally indoctrinated in society and academia), actually appears to be in contact with the Infinite, as discussed in this recent post.

Pi Day is a perfect opportunity to contemplate the Infinite, and our own internal and unbreakable connection with the Infinite, to which we have access all the time, although we often fail to realize it.