Untitled (November 9, 2013 9:49AM) (detail), by Richard Misrach, 2013. Archival pigment print, 60 x 80 inches. © Richard Misrach, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York, and Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles.

States of Mind

Volume XI, Number 1 | winter 2018


Thomas Aquinas was so absorbed in solving a philosophical problem while dining with Louis IX around 1269 that he believed himself to be in his own office; when the solution came to him, he slapped the table and called to his secretary—who was not present—to get ready to write. The king, “amazed and edified that a man’s mind could be so enraptured by the spirit that none of the body’s senses could disturb it,” summoned a scribe to record the revelation.

Strength of mind is exercise, not rest.

—Alexander Pope, 1733