Preface: An Unexpected Journey to the Intersection

1.

Some ideas come to you slowly, maturing at a measured pace; others come to you quickly, in a moment of sudden inspiration. The idea behind this book was of the latter kind. I woke up one morning in March 2001 with a stark vision in my mind’s eye. The image was simple—two bright beams of light intersecting. The reason this vision held my attention, however, was anything but simple.

In my vision, these light beams did not just represent light, as you would see it from, say, a flashlight or laser. Instead, each of the light beams represented a different field or culture. When I looked more closely, I could see each cone of light filled with smaller bits or pieces, such as you might see in a ...

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