Thursday, December 31, 2009

All About Eve

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:57 AM

NY Times obituaries on New Year's Eve, 2009-- Carlene Hatcher Polite and David Levine

Genesis 3:24
So he drove out the man; and he placed
at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims,
and a flaming sword which turned every way,
to keep the way of the tree of life.

"The links are direct between the tautology out of the Burning Bush, that 'I am' which accords to language the privilege of phrasing the identity of God, on the one hand, and the presumptions of concordance, of equivalence, of translatability, which, though imperfect, empower our dictionaries, our syntax, our rhetoric, on the other. That 'I am' has, as it were, at an overwhelming distance, informed all predication. It has spanned the arc between noun and verb, a leap primary to creation and the exercise of creative consciousness in metaphor. Where that fire in the branches has gone out or has been exposed as an optical illusion, the textuality of the world, the agency of the Logos in logic—be it Mosaic, Heraclitean, or Johannine—becomes 'a dead letter.'"

George Steiner, Grammars of Creation

Carlene Hatcher Polite–
"Shall I help you?" asked a bass voice.
"If you can," answered a contralto.
"Trace down this tree. Let me show you
men in its stead. Leaf through this bush,
extinguish the burning fire…"
The Flagellants, page 8

"How much story do you want?"
George Balanchine

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fearful Symmetry

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 4:12 PM


Arthur Koestler by David Levine,
New York Review of Books,
December 17, 1964

A Jesuit at the
Gerard Manley Hopkins Archive

‘Bisociation’: The Act of Creation

Koestler’s concept of ‘bisociation’… enters into the very ‘act of creation.’ In every such act, writes Koestler, the creator ‘bisociates,’ that is, combines, two ‘matrices’– two diverse patterns of knowing or perceiving– in a new way. As each matrix carries its own images, concepts, values, and ‘codes,’ the creative person brings together– ‘bisociates’– two diverse matrices not normally connected.

— Joseph J. Feeney, S.J.

See also December 9, 2009:

The theme of the January 2010 issue of the
Notices of the American Mathematical Society
is “Mathematics and the Arts.”

Related material:

Adam and God (Sistine Chapel), with Jungian Self-Symbol and Ojo de Dios (The Diamond Puzzle)

To a Stand-Up Philosopher

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:28 AM

Simon Says

I need a photo opportunity,
I want a shot at redemption.
Don’t want to end up a cartoon
In a cartoon graveyard.

— Paul Simon

NY Review of Books 2010 David Levine calendar cover with cartoon of James Joyce

See also the page linked to on
Becket’s Day last year,
as well as…

University Diaries on the Kennedy Center Honors televised Dec. 29, 2009-- with photo of James Joyce on stamp

Monday, December 28, 2009

Brightness at Noon, continued

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

This journal’s Christmas Day entry, Brightness at Noon, was in response to the Orwellian headline “Arthur Koestler, Man of Darkness,” at the top of the online New York Times front page on Christmas morning.

The entry offered, as an example of brightness, some thoughts of Leibniz on his discovery of binary arithmetic.

Related material:

home > welcome > Leibniz

Omnibus ex nihilo ducendis sufficit unum

G W Leibniz

“To make all things from nothing, unity suffices.” So it is written on a medal entitled Imago Creationis and designed by Leibniz to “exhibit to posterity in silver” his discovery of the binary system.

Baron Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (also Leibnitz) 1646-1716. Philosopher and mathematician. Invented calculus independently of Newton. Proposed the metaphysical theory that we live in “the best of all possible worlds.”

He also discovered binary number system and believed in its profound metaphysical significance. He noticed similarity with the ancient Chinese divination system “I Ching.”

We chose him for our patron, for Krawtchuk polynomials can be understood as a sophistication of the simple counting of 0 and 1…

Philip Feinsilver and Jerzy Kocik, 17 July 2001

From Mikhail Krawtchouk: Short Biography

Anyone knowing even a little Soviet history of the thirties can conclude that Krawtchouk could not avoid the Great Terror. During the Orwellian “hours of hatred” in 1937 he was denounced as a “Polish spy,” “bourgeois nationalist,” etc. In 1938, he was arrested and sentenced to 20 years of confinement and 5 years of exile.

Academician Krawtchouk, the author of results which became part of the world’s mathematical knowledge, outstanding lecturer, member of the French, German, and other mathematical societies, died on March 9, 1942, in Kolyma branch of the GULAG (North-Eastern Siberia) more than 6 months short of his 50th birthday.

Incidentally, happy birthday
to John von Neumann.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Annals of Philosophy

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Towards a Philosophy of Real Mathematics, by David Corfield, Cambridge U. Press, 2003, p. 206:

"Now, it is no easy business defining what one means by the term conceptual…. I think we can say that the conceptual is usually expressible in terms of broad principles. A nice example of this comes in the form of harmonic analysis, which is based on the idea, whose scope has been shown by George Mackey (1992) to be immense, that many kinds of entity become easier to handle by decomposing them into components belonging to spaces invariant under specified symmetries."

For a simpler example of this idea, see the entities in The Diamond Theorem, the decomposition in A Four-Color Theorem, and the space in Geometry of the 4×4 Square.  The decomposition differs from that of harmonic analysis, although the subspaces involved in the diamond theorem are isomorphic to Walsh functions— well-known as discrete analogues of the trigonometric functions of traditional harmonic analysis.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Brightness at Noon

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 12:00 PM

New York Times online front page
Christmas morning:

“Arthur Koestler, Man of Darkness”–

NY Times front page, Christmas morning 2009

The photo is of Koestler in 1931 on a zeppelin expedition to the North Pole.

The Act of Creation is, I believe, a more truly creative work than any of Koestler’s novels….  According to him, the creative faculty in whatever form is owing to a circumstance which he calls ‘bisociation.’ And we recognize this intuitively whenever we laugh at a joke, are dazzled by a fine metaphor, are astonished and excited by a unification of styles, or ’see,’ for the first time, the possibility of a significant theoretical breakthrough in a scientific inquiry. In short, one touch of genius—or bisociation—makes the whole world kin. Or so Koestler believes.”

– Henry David Aiken, The Metaphysics of Arthur Koestler, New York Review of Books, Dec. 17, 1964

From Opus Postumum by Immanuel Kant, Eckart Förster, Cambridge U. Press, 1995, p. 260:

“In January 1697, Leibniz accompanied his New Year Congratulations to Rudolf August with the design of a medal with the duke’s likeness on one side, and the ‘image of Creation’ in terms of the binary number system on the other. Concerning the inscription on this side, Leibniz writes: ‘I have thought for a while about the Motto dell’impresa and finally have found it good to write this line: omnibus ex nihilo ducendis SUFFICIT UNUM [To make all things from nothing, UNITY SUFFICES], because it clearly indicates what is meant by the symbol, and why it is imago creationis’ (G. F. Leibniz, Zwei Briefe über das binäre Zahlensystem und die chinesische Philosophie, ed. Renate Loosen and Franz Vonessen, Chr. Belser Verlag: Stuttgart 1968, p. 21).”

Leibniz, design for medallion showing binary numbers as an 'imago creationis'

Figure from Rudolf  Nolte’s
Gottfried Wilhelms Baron von Leibniz
Mathematischer Beweis der Erschaffung und
Ordnung der Welt in einem Medallion…
(Leipzig: J. C. Langenheim, 1734).

Leibniz, letter of 1697:

“And so that I won’t come entirely empty-handed this time, I enclose a design of that which I had the pleasure of discussing with you recently. It is in the form of a memorial coin or medallion; and though the design is mediocre and can be improved in accordance with your judgment, the thing is such, that it would be worth showing in silver now and unto future generations, if it were struck at your Highness’s command. Because one of the main points of the Christian Faith, and among those points that have penetrated least into the minds of the worldly-wise and that are difficult to make with the heathen is the creation of all things out of nothing through God’s omnipotence, it might be said that nothing is a better analogy to, or even demonstration of such creation than the origin of numbers as here represented, using only unity and zero or nothing. And it would be difficult to find a better illustration of this secret in nature or philosophy; hence I have set on the medallion design IMAGO CREATIONIS [in the image of creation]. It is no less remarkable that there appears therefrom, not only that God made everything from nothing, but also that everything that He made was good; as we can see here, with our own eyes, in this image of creation. Because instead of there appearing no particular order or pattern, as in the common representation of numbers, there appears here in contrast a wonderful order and harmony which cannot be improved upon….

Such harmonious order and beauty can be seen in the small table on the medallion up to 16 or 17; since for a larger table, say to 32, there is not enough room. One can further see that the disorder, which one imagines in the work of God, is but apparent; that if one looks at the matter with the proper perspective, there appears symmetry, which encourages one more and more to love and praise the wisdom, goodness, and beauty of the highest good, from which all goodness and beauty has flowed.”

See also Parable.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

We’ll Always Have Paris

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:00 AM

A Christmas Card
from Spain:

By desconvencida

* Se acercan fechas de reencuentros, reuniones familiares y con amigos que viven lejos, regalos y, cómo no, ausencias. Os deseo lo mejor para estas fechas.

** El cuadro es de Jean Béraud.

Related material:

Béraud and the Belle Epoque

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Take a Bow

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:06 PM

Xmas at the Farolito

A Timely Question

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”
— Joan Didion, The White Album,
quoted here on her birthday–
December 5th, 2006

Also on that date, a question
from answerbag.com:

Answerbag logo: 'Every question deserves a great answer'

“Do dyslexic devil worshippers
sell their souls to Santa?”

The Great Answer:

NY Times obituaries, Dec. 23, 2009

Click image to enlarge.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Finite Geometry Note

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 10:10 PM

Click screenshot to try the page:

Half-Circle Patterns

Monday, December 21, 2009

It’s not easy…

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:06 PM


'The Green Man' with Albert Finney-- 'Spiritual Encounters of the Malevolent Kind'

See also Ross Douthat in today’s
New York Times on pantheism and
Al Gore and the Absence of Truth.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:00 PM

Hebrew letter Chet, meaning 'Eight'

See also The Book Thief,
The Devil’s Arithmetic

Scene from 'The Devil's Arithmetic 2/13'

–and The Story of 2/13.

The Test

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 11:00 AM

Dies Natalis of
Emil Artin

From the September 1953 Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society

Emil Artin, in a review of Éléments de mathématique, by N. Bourbaki, Book II, Algebra, Chaps. I-VII–

"We all believe that mathematics is an art. The author of a book, the lecturer in a classroom tries to convey the structural beauty of mathematics to his readers, to his listeners. In this attempt he must always fail. Mathematics is logical to be sure; each conclusion is drawn from previously derived statements. Yet the whole of it, the real piece of art, is not linear; worse than that its perception should be instantaneous. We all have experienced on some rare occasions the feeling of elation in realizing that we have enabled our listeners to see at a moment's glance the whole architecture and all its ramifications. How can this be achieved? Clinging stubbornly to the logical sequence inhibits the visualization of the whole, and yet this logical structure must predominate or chaos would result."

Art Versus Chaos

From an exhibit,
"Reimagining Space

The above tesseract (4-D hypercube)
sculpted in 1967 by Peter Forakis
provides an example of what Artin
called "the visualization of the whole."

For related mathematical details see
Diamond Theory in 1937.

"'The test?' I faltered, staring at the thing.
'Yes, to determine whether you can live
in the fourth dimension or only die in it.'"
Fritz Leiber, 1959

See also the Log24 entry for
Nov. 26,  2009, the date that
Forakis died.

"There is such a thing
as a tesseract."
Madeleine L'Engle, 1962

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Tale for Dickens

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:31 AM

From a Spider:

Criss Angel Celebrates His Birthday,

Long Story, and

Short Story

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070107-Story.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

From the Web:


From a Spider Web:

Damnation Morning
(the complete story),

Hitler Plans Burning Man
("What the hell is next?"),



and Vegas Angel.

There must be…
50 ways to leave Las Vegas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wings of Desire

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:06 PM

Lights! Darks! Action! Cut!

Merry Xmas from Arthur C. Clarke

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:09 PM


Some personal reminiscences from 1982
suggested the following notes on
yesterday’s thought from Arthur C. Clarke–

“Any sufficiently advanced technology
is indistinguishable from magic.”

‘Abracadabra’ is a well-recognized song recorded by the Steve Miller Band.

Released as the main single from Abracadabra in June 1982, it became a number-one hit on the United States Billboard Hot 100 chart, and also hit number two on the UK charts. It followed Survivor‘s ‘Eye of the Tiger‘ (from Rocky III ) on the Hot 100….” –Wikipedia

Advanced Technology:

MST 682 Advanced Topics in
Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM)

An overview of the components of CIM Enterprise, System Design, Material Handling, Materials Requirement Planning (MRP), Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRPII), Manufacturing Database and Management, Expert Systems for Manufacturing. Two hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory per week. Prerequisites: An undergraduate course in CAD or CAM or CIM, or consent of instructor. —SUNY Institute of Technology


Christian Surrealism,” an entry in this journal on Dec. 15, 2009, at 5:26 PM.

The time 5:26 may of course be interpreted as a reference to the date 5/26.

Technology and Magic:

NY Lottery yesterday, Dec. 16: mid-day 682, evening 526.

Roll Over, He Said

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:56 AM

Part I–
Ironic Symbols

From St. Andrew’s Day, 2009:

Childhood's End-- Overlords as 'ironic symbols of the Devil'

Also on that date:

Supreme Court rejects Ford’s
appeal in rollover case

The New York Times this morning:

Roll over to learn more

NY Times obits, Dec. 17, 2009, with Ford Motors ads that say, 'Roll over to learn more'

Click image to enlarge.

Part II–

Mad Men (logo for TV show)

Also from
St. Andrew’s Day, 2009:

Black monolith with text from The New Yorker of Nov. 30-- DeLillo on devil worship


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Passion of the Beast

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:10 AM

A thought from yesterday by David Brooks:

“Life is a struggle to push back against the evils of the world without succumbing to the passions of the beast lurking inside.”

Associated Press Thought for Today:

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

— British science-fiction author Arthur C. Clarke (born this date in 1917, died in 2008).

Photo by Amy Marash

Arthur C. Clarke at his home office
in Sri Lanka, 28 March 2005

A search for that date
in this journal yields…

Bright Star and Happy Six.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christian Surrealism

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:26 PM

Some context for David Brooks’s
New York Times column today,
Christian Realism“–

The death of Oral Roberts is
reported on the online front page
just below an ad picturing
a heavenly travel destination–

NY Times front page, 4:17 PM ET Dec. 15, 2009: Death of Oral Roberts reported below an ad picturing a heavenly travel destination

Click image to enlarge.

The part most interesting to me
in the Times‘s surrealistic tableau
is the time, 4:17 PM.

Interpreting this in a surreal manner
as a reference to the date 4/17, we
find an appropriate Wallace Stevens poem.

(See also today’s previous entry, where
3:23 may be similarly interpreted.)

A Christmas Carol

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:56 PM

“There are two silences.
One when no word is spoken.
The other when perhaps a torrent
of language is being employed.”

Harold Pinter, 1962

Stille Nacht…

Pinter died on December 24, 2008:

Top center front page, online NY Times, Christmas 2008-- Pinter dead at 78

Heilige Nacht…

Also on Christmas Eve, 2008

(“24/12/08  3:23 pm”):


Click to enlarge.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Peer Review at Wikipedia

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 5:40 PM

Recent Wikipedia activity in the area of finite geometry–

A list, complete up to now, of all Wikipedia changes made by anonymous user Marconet:

Note that all these items are related to changes in links that lead to my own web pages– with one exception, rather technical pages on finite geometry.

A list, complete up to now, of all Wikipedia changes made by anonymous user Greenfernglade:

Again, all these items are related to changes (in this case, deletions) in links that lead to my own web pages. Greenfernglade may or may not be the same person as Marconet. Neither one has a user home page at Wikipedia, but use of the pseudonyms has apparently served to cover up the IP address(es?) of the changes’ originator(s?).

For similar changes in the past, see my “user talk” page at Wikipedia. As I noted there on May 31, 2007, “There seems little point in protesting the deletions while Wikipedia still allows any anonymous user to change their articles.”

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ein Kampf

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:30 AM

YouTube: Hitler Plans Burning Man

(Click on image for video.)

See also Tyger! Tyger! and
The Stars My Destination.

Hitler's Peer Review–

YouTube: Hitler's Peer Review-- The Abstract

YouTube: Hitler's Peer Review-- Scientific American

See also Abstract 79T-A37
and Scientific American

Saturday, December 12, 2009

For Sinatra’s Birthday

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 2:02 PM

Today's previous entry quoted a review by Edward Rothstein of Jung's The Red Book. The entry you are now reading quotes a review by Jim Holt of a notable book by Rothstein:

The Golden Book

Rothstein's 'Emblems of Mind,' 1995, cover illustrations by Pinturicchio from Vatican

Cover illustration— Arithmetic and Music,
Borgia Apartments, The Vatican

Jim Holt reviewing Edward Rothstein's Emblems of Mind: The Inner Life of Music and Mathematics in The New Yorker of June 5, 1995:


"The fugues of Bach, the symphonies of Haydn, the sonatas of Mozart: these were explorations of ideal form, unprofaned by extramusical associations. Such 'absolute music,' as it came to be called, had sloughed off its motley cultural trappings. It had got in touch with its essence. Which is why, as Walter Pater famously put it, 'all art constantly aspires towards the condition of music.'

The only art that can rival music for sheer etheriality is mathematics. A century or so after the advent of absolute music, mathematics also succeeded in detaching itself from the world. The decisive event was the invention of strange, non-Euclidean geometries, which put paid to the notion that the mathematician was exclusively, or even primarily, concerned with the scientific universe. 'Pure' mathematics came to be seen by those who practiced it as a free invention of the imagination, gloriously indifferent to practical affairs– a quest for beauty as well as truth."

Related material: Hardy's Apology, Non-Euclidean Blocks, and The Story Theory of Truth.

See also Holt on music and emotion:


"Music does model… our emotional life… although
  the methods by which it does so are 'puzzling.'"

Also puzzling: 2010 AMS Notices.

Rothstein’s Temptation

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:30 AM

Edward Rothstein reviewing The Red Book of Jung in today's New York Times

"The temptation, after numbingly turning these pages, is to react finally like the psychiatrist Spielvogel at the end of Philip Roth’s 'Portnoy’s Complaint,' and say: 'So. Now vee may perhaps to begin. Yes?'"

Free association via Google Image Search on Spielvogel + Portnoy:


Click for further details.
See also Jews Telling Stories.

Friday, December 11, 2009

William Butler Yeats wishes…

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:28 PM

A Happy Hannukah
to Yoni Brenner:

Part I: Central Ideas

Part II: You Are Here

Central Ideas

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 7:59 AM

Hannukiah: the nine-part candelabra of Hanukkah

David Brooks today on the historical background of Hanukkah:

"The Greeks had one central idea: their aspirations to create an advanced universal culture. And the Jews had their own central idea: the idea of one true God. The reformers wanted to merge these two ideas."

Related material:

The Shamash,

The Power of the Center,

Identity and the rest of March 2008

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hotel Hymns

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Continued from December 2, 2009

"…no one will be surprised to learn that this Papini is the scoundrel of literature, the blackguard of journalism, the Barabbas of art, the thug of philosophy, the bully of politics, the Apache of culture, and that he is inextricably involved in all the enterprises of the intellectual underworld."

— Giovanni Papini, self-description in Four and Twenty Minds (1922)

Papini is also the author of Gog, Life of Christ, and The Devil

Related material:

This journal on Hotel Hymns in general,
and specifically on the Hotel Hassler.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

2010 AMS Notices

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 7:00 PM

The theme of the January 2010 issue of the
Notices of the American Mathematical Society
is "Mathematics and the Arts."

Related material:

Adam and God (Sistine Chapel), with Jungian Self-Symbol and Ojo de Dios (The Diamond Puzzle)

The Diamond Puzzle
may be downloaded by
  viewing it in Internet Explorer
and saving it in the
"web archive" (*.mht) format.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Something Eternal…

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:59 PM

Battleship Gray

“A colour is eternal.
It haunts time like a spirit.
It comes and it goes.
But where it comes it is the same colour.
It neither survives nor does it live.
It appears when it is wanted.”

– Alfred North Whitehead,
Science and the Modern World, 1925

The battleship New Jersey at Pearl Harbor, 1986

Another Opening of Another Show

Kate Beckinsale as a Pearl Harbor nurse

"What we've got now isn't really healthcare reform, it's a reshuffling of the deck chairs on the Titanic as far as our patients are concerned, and we're going to make sure that we … have universal healthcare that is truly universal and has eliminated the insurance companies," she told Reuters.

— Deborah Burger, president-elect of the new 150,000-member National Nurses United, comprising union locals from Maine to Hawaii

Kyoto Prize

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:29 AM

After Wallace Stevens:

To an Old Philosopher
in Kyoto

See too
"Is Nothing Sacred?"

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Holiday Book, continued

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:02 PM

From the Red Book of Jung:

The Red Book of Jung

Related material:

Smaug and the Arkenstone
in the Red Book of Bilbo
and Crystal and Dragon.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Holiday Book

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 10:00 PM

Time and Chance, continued…

NY Lottery numbers today–
Midday 401, Evening 717  


From this journal on 4/01, 2009:

The Cruelest Month

Fictional Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon, as portrayed by Tom Hanks

"Langdon sensed she was
      toying with him…."

Dan Brown


From this journal on 7/17, 2008:

Jung’s four-diamond figure from
Aiona symbol of the self

Jung's four-diamond figure showing transformations of the self as Imago Dei

Jung’s Map of the Soul,
by Murray Stein:

“… Jung thinks of the self as undergoing continual transformation during the course of a lifetime…. At the end of his late work Aion, Jung presents a diagram to illustrate the dynamic movements of the self….”

For related dynamic movements,
see the Diamond 16 Puzzle
and the diamond theorem.

A piece related to both of the above posts–
"The Symbologist," a review, respectful despite the editor's sarcastic title, of Jung's Red Book in the December 6th New York Times Book Review.

Logic of the Labyrinth

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:02 AM

Continuing the Daedalian theme…
A flashback to Icarus and a followup…

The  Crimson: Family sues over Harvard suicide

Song of the Minotaur

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:00 AM

"I was visited by a minotaur."
— Harvard student, Fall 2009.

(For the visit, see yesterday's posts
Glory Road continuedAnd continued….)

Song of the Minotaur– Part I, Part II, Part III

Friday, December 4, 2009

And continued…

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Glory Road postgraduate curriculum–

"Learning has always been a major part of Catholic tradition."

Related material:

The Labyrinth of Solitude
entry in this journal,
The Harvard Crimson on the
Harvard FML Video Contest,
and the winning video


Another view of Harvard–

St. Paul's RC Church and the Harvard Lampoon building, photo from MSPdude at Flickr

Photo from MSPdude at Flickr

"Let Noon Be Fair."
— Novel title, Willard Motley.

See also Soul at Harvard.

Glory Road continued…

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:07 AM

Thanks to Critical Mass for a July 24, 2009, discussion of the word "glory."

Related material: The glorious illustrations by Arnold Roth in the City Journal  of November 13, 2009.


Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 12:00 AM

From Peter J. Cameron's
Parallelisms of Complete Designs (pdf)–

Epigraph by Eliot on Little Gidding in Cameron's 'Parallelisms'

"…the Feast of Nicholas Ferrar
  is kept on the 4th December."

Little Gidding Church

Cameron's is the usual definition
of the term "non-Euclidean."
I prefer a more logical definition.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Out of What Chaos

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:28 PM

Mathematics and Narrative, continued…

Out of What Chaos, a novel by Lee Oser

"This book is more or less what one would expect if Walker Percy wrote about a cynical rock musician who converts to Catholicism, and then Nabokov added some of his verbal pyrotechnics, and then Buster Keaton and the Marquis de Sade and Lionel Trilling inserted a few extra passages. It is a loving and yet appalled description of the underground music scene in the Pacific Northwest. And it is a convincing representation of someone very, very smart."

Matt Greenfield in The Valve

"If Evelyn Waugh had lived amid the American Northwest rock music scene, he might have written a book like this."

–Anonymous Amazon.com reviewer

A possible source for Oser's title–

"…Lytton Strachey described Pope's theme as 'civilization illumined by animosity; such was the passionate and complicated material from which he wove his patterns of balanced precision and polished clarity.' But out of what chaos did that clarity and precision come!"

Authors at Work, by  Herman W. Liebert and Robert H. Taylor, New York, Grolier Club, 1957, p. 16

Related material:

Unthought Known

Pearl Jam 'Backspacer' album released Sept. 20, 2009

and the

Catholic Analyst's Couch, White Cube Gallery, 2002

White Cube Gallery, 2002

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sacred Cow

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:31 PM

"It is a story with many actors…."

— Boston.com, "Harvard ignored warnings about investments"

Don't forget the cow–


Harvard Crimson, Sept. 11, 2009

Related material:

Tale with a moral

I thought I heard them say, “Welcome to…”

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:30 AM


The William James Hotel

Charles A.  Hobbs,

paper at William James Studies

"There are at least two well known examples that James employs to illustrate what is meant by this formulation of pragmatism. Returning here to pragmatic method, the second of these, drawn from the Italian thinker Giovanni Papini, is meant to illustrate how this method is compatible with a number of varying results, that is, how this method is one of pluralism.26 With a remarkable illustration of the meaning of pragmatism, we are asked to understand James's pragmatic method as being like a hotel corridor, one whose doors lead to numerous rooms in which there are thinkers involved with numerous types of projects and pursuits. There could, for example, be a metaphysical idealist in one room and a committed anti-metaphysical thinker in another, both in the same hotel. In any case, James holds that his pragmatic method remains neutral with regard to the various types of thought taking place within the rooms.27

The hotel represents a great deal of the world of thinking.28 The various rooms represent individual philosophies. Of course, the corridor represents pragmatism, which is the connection between these, the philosophical method of choice and action. We might also say that pragmatism affords us our one chance at escaping the isolation of the individual rooms. This corridor method allows one to move from one concept or theory to another concept or theory. It does so insofar as it offers a concrete manner in which to comprehend, enter, or 'penetrate' a given theory, and in which to step outside of the theory so to test and contrast it with other theories. That is, to enter or leave their various rooms, the varying occupants must employ the pragmatic method.

Accordingly, we see that, for James, pragmatism is not a set doctrine. Again, it is a method, one that allows for a great many differing views to co-exist under the same umbrella, for pragmatism '…has no dogmas, and no doctrines save its method.'"29

26 The Writings of William James: A Comprehensive Edition, ed. John J. McDermott (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1977), p. 380.

27 Following Papini, James says that pragmatic method "Lies in the midst of our theories, like a corridor in a hotel. Innumerable chambers open out of it. In one you may find a man writing an atheistic volume; in the next some one on his knees praying for faith and strength; in a third a chemist investigating a body's properties. In a fourth a system of idealistic metaphysics is being excogitated; in a fifth the impossibility of metaphysics is being shown. But they all own the corridor, and all must pass through it if they want a practicable way of getting into or out of their respective rooms." Ibid.

28 Not included would be dogmatists such as dictators and/or theocrats, for they are fundamentally closed to inquiry.

29 The Writings of William James, p. 380.

Powered by WordPress