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