1st march 2006
le monocle de Monod

Paramedic,  unknown woman,  Jacques Monod  /  Paris,  Latin Quarter,  11 May 1968*

Kindness, Proust says somewhere, is the commonest thing in the world. I've had the above news photo rattling around in my head for the last 25 years, since I saw it in Horace Freeland Judson's The Eighth Day of Creation, a study of 20th century molecular biology.
Monod's stance was that a life spent investigating cellular mechanics had taught him ethics as surely as if he had sat in the Athenian agora; as a teenager I used to carry around his book, Chance and Necessity, the way hipsters in 1960 carried a copy of Kind of Blue.
And I feasted on Monod's expression of infinite concern, as he leads a wounded student away from a riot zone; I loved his immaculate raincoat, his ring, his hand holding a held hand.

*photo by Guy Kopelowicz - see comment

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