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When Snails Lose Their Way

Friday, August 15, 2014 - 07:03 AM

Every so often, and I wish it were more often, Vi Hart becomes a snail. Vi is one of the Web'sfinest math geeks. Her site is where millions (and I mean that literally) of us go to learn about topology, hexaflexagons, infinity, mobius strips, Fibonacci numbers. She narrates. She draws, but there are moments — ecstatic moments — when she chucks the math and goes totally "snail." Her snails, by the way, either sing or are sung to. They are musical gastropods.

This one, for instance, likes to climb. In a snail, that's a good thing — to go up and up. But what happens when you run out of up? What do you do, Vi asks, when there "ain't more 'thing' to climb"? What you do is you sing your little snail heart out.

Vi Hart/YouTube

That song was published two years ago. More recently, the same little snail has had a climbing crisis. Having climbed pretty much all the things it can get to, it finds itself wondering if this incessant going up isn't a fools' game. Maybe things aren't worth climbing, maybe it would be better to stop, "sit here forever" and "waste away, or fade away." Oh dear.

When a snail loses purpose, the universe reels. This new ballad, so much sadder that the last one, is hard to bear if you have, like me, a fondness for snails, though I think when we get to the end of this second video, the snail appears to find solace climbing onto the pegs at the far edge of a violin, sitting and listening to its own song. I dearly hope so.

Vi Hart/YouTube

I've written about Vi Hart before, here and here. And snails too, here and here.


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Comments [2]

Catniss Kafkha from Pluto

Wow. From the largest dilemma a human will face, coping with death, depression, anxiety etc., to the full scale disaster the snail must go through every day, there is a BIG difference.It is so strange to think that while you know that not everyone in your species is going through the same struggles as you, some snail out there is having a grand self destruction based on running out of things to climb. It really puts into perspective the world and its creatures and how yes, we may be very similar in a lot of ways, this is one prime example of how we are set apart.

Mar. 31 2015 06:32 AM
Upton C. Gatsby from Florida

This is perhaps the most inspirational thing i have ever seen. When it really boils down to it, havent we all been in the position where there aint more thing to climb? I personally broke down listening these songs. Not only this, but I really grew attached to the snails as a character. When she/he reached the point where there wasnt anymore thing to climb, i yearned to help the snail but could not. I rate this video a solid 10/10 due to its vivid character, incredible cinematography, and timless themes.

Mar. 30 2015 10:15 PM

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