the short version of the interview

INTERVIEWER: What were some of the places you dreamed of visiting during those years?

KUGELMASS: Interestingly, I’ve never had a strong preference for places. This has been true for as long as anyone can remember. When I was a couple years old, my parents took me to Yosemite National Park, which is a beautiful place full of forests, and mountains, and alpine meadows. At one point we parked at a “vista point” with a view of Half Dome, which is a rock climber’s paradise, an imposing cliff face, and a famous landmark. I responded by playing in the dirt. In a certain sense, all places resemble each other fairly closely. That’s less true when you’re talking about wild environments versus urban ones, but even at those extremes, the abstract world of thought remains so present and so noisy for me that the sequoias and skyscrapers are dwarfed by towering theories and a thick canopy of examples and possibilities.

(Cue footage of a flock of wild elisions, building their nests some 500 metres above the ground.)

NARRATOR: The biodiversity is staggering. Over 10,000 kinds of ironies, factoids, and digressions alone can exist in a single square kilometer. Of these, scientists estimate that at least half are found nowhere else on Earth.