Omar Khayyam

Wednesday, 23 October 2013
I know Omar Khayyam from his Rubáiyát, or poems with 4 verses. I found them very beautiful, although a little bit sad. I found very striking the way he expressed his thoughts in such a modern way. He lived in the XII century, and his thoughts about religion and life were very up-to-date. Take these examples

You know, my Friends, with what a brave Carouse 
I made a Second Marriage in my house; 
Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed 
And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse. 

I sent my Soul through the Invisible, 
Some letter of that After-life to spell: 
And by and by my Soul return'd to me, 
And answer'd "I Myself am Heav'n and Hell:" 

So, some years after reading his poems, I was talking to a friend, and he told me that Omar Khayyam was also a very important mathematician and astronomer. I found out that Persia in those days was a decadent empire, and the detachment from religious beliefs and the immersion in hedonism was a common escape for intellectuals. 

It can be that, the reason of such decadent verses, but I also think that his point of view as a scientist could have influenced his world view. The observation of stars, the regular movements of planets and the moon, can be thought of as a divine signature, but the study of logic can only lead to a point where no explanation can be found. You want to explain the final cause of everything but that cannot be found with observation or logic. So that's why he divorced from Reason, and married the Daughter of Vine. He couldn't explain why we are here, the meaning of life, and some of his verses show this inability to explain the most asked questions in human history. Questions we have no explanation even now.

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