Reason is nothing without the sensation of it. Absent emotion, we’re just thermostats, inert. When feeling is drained, and our everyday is drawn over us like a tight sheet, we lose the desire to push further and the sense to know whether we have. Because that’s what it is and what people too often deny: creating something new from reason is all about the feeling of it. Even down to the “pure reason” of math. And I keep thinking of David Foster Wallace’s “horrifying billowing black sail at the edge of perception,” one of Infinite Jest’s lasting images and the purest portrait of a hellaciously tormented mind. I can’t truly empathize with it, but like most of what he wrote, it gives me a window into what it must be like out at the further edges of things, and it also stands for something much more basic. The desperate fear of being rendered inert. A pearl.