Saturday, August 31, 2013
Friday, August 30, 2013
(A sequel to today's noon post, Hymn)
"By recalling the past and freezing the present
he could open the gates of time…."
— Mark Helprin, In Sunlight and in Shadow
Thursday, August 29, 2013
(Mathematics and Narrative, continued from May 9, 2013)
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Some backstory for this post's title—
A post from the day of Mrozek's death may also be relevant—
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
From An Experiment in Criticism
by C.S. Lewis, 1961–
“If we go steadily through all the myths of any people
we shall be appalled by much of what we read.
Most of them, whatever they may have meant to
ancient or savage man, are to us meaningless and
shocking; shocking not only by their cruelty and
obscenity but by their apparent silliness— almost
what seems insanity. Out of this rank and squalid
undergrowth the great myths— Orpheus, Demeter
and Persephone, the Hesperides, Balder, Ragnarok,
or Ilmarinen’s forging of the Sampo– rise like elms.”
Lewis’s term Ragnarok refers to the twilight of the gods of Valhalla.
A more conventional illustration from the gamer website Ragnarok/Valhalla Wiki —
For Fans of Bad Movies*
This post was suggested by my viewing last night
the 1995 horror film Species , and by news that
Scarlett Johansson will be starring in a similar
production at the Venice Film Festival, which
The new Johansson film, Under the Skin ,
is based on a novel by one Michel Faber.
"Most influential has possibly been John Berger's Ways of Seeing —
not a novel at all (although Berger has written fiction) but a book of
art criticism. The influence of these wonderfully perceptive and
thought-provoking essays peeps out everywhere in my own work."
An excerpt from the Berger book—
Click image for a better view of the original.
* And of Ben Kingsley, who starred both in Species and in
a previous film by the director of Under the Skin .
Monday, August 26, 2013
C.S. Lewis somewhere (in time, in retirement, I might recover
the passage) surveys the spectrum of plot-outlines, and notes
that that of Orpheus retains its power to spellbind, even in a
bare-bones form, whereas that of almost all worthy modern novels,
become as dust upon such summary.
We venture now upon that territory where words fail ….
Related material :
C. S. Lewis on Orpheus (click to enlarge) —
Lewis, according to Justice, "surveys the spectrum of plot-outlines."
A related image (see, too, today's previous post) —
C. S. Lewis on myth —
"The stories I am thinking of always have a very simple narrative shape—
a satisfactory and inevitable shape, like a good vase or a tulip."
For concepts of prism, spectrum, and tulip combined, see Sicilian Reflections.
"Got to keep the loonies on the path."
— Lyrics to Dark Side of the Moon
For those who, like Tom Stoppard, prefer the dark side—
INT. OFFICE BUILDING – NIGHT
Bateman wheels around and shoots him.
INT. PIERCE & PIERCE LOBBY – NIGHT
— AMERICAN PSYCHO
Not quite so dark—
"And then one day you find ten years have got behind you."
— Lyrics to Dark Side of the Moon
This journal ten years ago, on August 25, 2003—
… We seek
The poem of pure reality, untouched
At the exactest point at which it is itself,
The eye made clear of uncertainty, with the sight
Everything, the spirit's alchemicana
The solid, but the movable, the moment,
— Wallace Stevens, "An Ordinary Evening
A similar version of this Apollonian image —
Related material for the loonies:
Sunday, August 25, 2013
For film and TV director Ted Post, who
reportedly died on Tuesday, Aug. 20.
Saturday, August 24, 2013
For the late Julie Harris —
By slow and carefully modulated steps Bradford's narrative
has brought his community of separatists to the place he
calls Cape Harbor… where, face-to-face with the bleak
and wintry reduction that is his image for American space,
he finds himself stopped, able to do nothing but come to
an astonished pause. The final step, that of imaginative
crossing into the land that lies before them, remains
beyond the power of narrative to take. Narrative falters, and
finding his journey advanced to an "odd Fork in Being's Road"
and himself nothing so much as an "empty spirit / In vacant
space" (to adopt apt phrases from Dickinson and Stevens…),
Bradford requires the sublime if he is to continue moving
forward: separation becomes exaltation as it becomes
manifest that only an influx of "the Spirit of God and His
grace" can have permitted the community to survive its
passage to the limit depicted.
— David Laurence, "William Bradford's American Sublime,"
PMLA , Vol. 102, No. 1, 1987, pp. 55-65
The die in the above image (shown here Dec. 28, 2012)
displays the numbers 3-6-5 in counterclockwise order.
A similar die in an earlier post served as a metaphor for
a time-jump to 365 days in the past.
For some religious remarks by Umberto Eco that may
serve as a small memorial to Taylor, see this journal
a year before the day he died— August 23, 2012.
Friday, August 23, 2013
A passage from Wallace Stevens—
The spirit and space,
The empty spirit
In vacant space.
A frame from the film American Psycho (2000), starring Christian Bale—
The rest of the film is not recommended.
"24 Hour Psycho" at the Museum of Modern Art in the novel Point Omega .
Illustration from a New York Times review—
Philip Rieff, The Crisis of the Officer Class,
The third culture's life-style, its way, is no way: it is abandonment,
This is masterly anti-theology. This is what no "mickey mockers" of
 Wallace Stevens, "To the One of Fictive Music," in Collected
velous panic and emptiness of belief by which the "sublime comes
The spirit and space,
This poet is no great character, nor temple priest. He is a virtuoso
 Stevens, "The American Sublime," 130-31
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Kristen Wiig turns 40
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
A useful article on finite geometry,
"21 – 6 = 15: A Connection between Two Distinguished Geometries,"
by Albrecht Beutelspacher, American Mathematical Monthly ,
Vol. 93, No. 1, January 1986, pp. 29-41, is available for purchase
McPartland said the conversations themselves
were very much like jazz, spontaneous and
"It's so easy to make it a conversation, and
you don't know where it's going to lead,"
See, too, last night's Conversations with an Empty Chair .
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
(Continued from 4 AM Sunday, Sept. 10, 2006 —
Meet Max Black .)
In memory of office chair designer Charles Pollock,
who reportedly died today at 83.
An image from the 2006 Meet Max Black empty-chair post
appears also in today's previous post, The 20 .
The conversation of this post's title (see The 20 ) —
In memory of author Elmore Leonard—
A graphic symbol and a search for "Nowhere"*
in this journal yield…
"Cotton Mather died
— Wallace Stevens,
* See previous post.
Monday, August 19, 2013
"We all know where it is they've gone, the dead:
Beyond Noplace, far into wide Nowhere."
See also Nagel's book The View from Nowhere .
Last midnight's post quoted poet John Hollander
"… the Don’s view of the world is correct at midnight,
and Sancho’s at noon."
The post concluded with a figure that might, if
rotated slightly, be regarded as a sort of Star of
David or Solomon's Seal. The figure's six vertices
may be viewed as an illustration of Pascal's
Pacal's hexagram is usually described
as a hexagon inscribed in a conic
(such as a circle). Clearly the hexagon
above may be so inscribed.
The figure suggests that last midnight's Don be
played by the nineteenth-century mathematician
James Joseph Sylvester. His 1854 remarks on
the nature of geometry describe a different approach
to the Pascal hexagram—
|"… the celebrated theorem of Pascal known under the name of the Mystic Hexagram, which is, that if you take two straight lines in a plane, and draw at random other straight lines traversing in a zigzag fashion between them, from A in the first to B in the second, from B in the second to C in the first, from C in the first to D in the second, from D in the second to E in the first, from E in the first to F in the second and finally from F in the second back again to A the starting point in the first, so as to obtain ABCDEF a twisted hexagon, or sort of cat's-cradle figure and if you arrange the six lines so drawn symmetrically in three couples: viz. the 1st and 4th in one couple, the 2nd and 5th in a second couple, the 3rd and 6th in a third couple; then (no matter how the points ACE have been selected upon one of the given lines, and BDF upon the other) the three points through which these three couples of lines respectively pass, or to which they converge (as the case may be) will lie all in one and the same straight line."|
For a Sancho view of Sylvester's "cat's cradle," see some twentieth-century
remarks on "the most important configuration of all geometry"—
"Now look, your grace," said Sancho,
"what you see over there aren't giants,
but windmills, and what seems to be arms
are just their sails, that go around in the wind
and turn the millstone."
"Obviously," replied Don Quijote,
"you don't know much about adventures.”
PD: You wrote in the introduction to the new edition of Reflections on Espionage that whenever you have been "free of political callowness" it was partly as a result of reading W.H. Auden, George Orwell, and George Bernard Shaw. Do you think these writers might possibly be an antidote to political callowness that exists in much contemporary literary criticism?
JH: If not they, then some other writers who can help one develop within one a skepticism strongly intertwined with passion, so that each can simultaneously check and reinforce the other. It provides great protection from being overcome by blind, true-believing zeal and corrupting cynicism (which may be two sides of the same false coin). Shaw was a great teacher for many in my generation. I started reading him when I was in sixth grade, and I responded strongly not only to the wit but to various modes, scene and occasions of argument and debate as they were framed by various kinds of dramatic situation. I remember being electrified when quite young by the moment in the epilogue scene of Saint Joan when the English chaplain, De Stogumber, who had been so zealous in urging for Joan’s being burned at the stake, returns to testify about how seeing her suffering the flames had made a changed man of him. The Inquisitor, Peter Cauchon, calls out (with what I imagined was a kind of moral distaste I’d never been aware of before), "Must then a Christ perish in torment in every age to save those who have no imagination?" It introduced me to a skepticism about the self-satisfaction of the born-again, of any persuasion. With Auden and Orwell, much later on and after my mental world had become more complicated, it was education in negotiating a living way between a destructively naïve idealism and the crackpot realism—equally inimical to the pragmatic.
PD: Would you consider yourself a "formal" pragmatist, i.e., a student of Peirce, James, Dewey, Mead (etc.) or an "informal" pragmatist – someone taking the common-sense position on events…or someone who refuses to be pigeon-holed politically?
JH: "Informal" – of the sort that often leads me to ask of theoretical formulations, "Yes, but what’s it for ?"
PD: Which other authors do you think might help us negotiate between "naïve idealism" and "crackpot realism"? I think of Joyce, Wallace Stevens, perhaps Faulkner?
JH: When I was in college, a strong teacher for just this question was Cervantes. One feels, in an Emersonian way, that the Don’s view of the world is correct at midnight, and Sancho’s at noon.
Then there is mathematical realism.
A post in this journal on Saturday, the reported date of Hollander's death,
discussed a possible 21st-century application of 19th-century geometry.
For some background, see Peter J. Cameron's May 11, 2010, remarks
on Sylvester's duads and synthemes . The following figure from the
paper discussed here Saturday is related to figures in Cameron's remarks.
Sunday, August 18, 2013
Alexander Pierce and Black Widow, scheduled
to appear in Captain America: The Winter Soldier
on April 4, 2014—
"God, isn't there already enough crap in this story?"
— Margaret Soltan, quoted here on Aug. 7, 2007
Happy birthday, Robert Redford.
A book noted here on Sept. 16, 2010—
On that date, Harvard historian of science
John E. Murdoch died.
Related material: Faust + Potter in this journal.
Happy birthday, Roman Polanski.
Academy Award-winning director Roman Polanski is 80.
Actor-director Robert Redford is 77.
Actor-comedian Martin Mull is 70.
— The Associated Press
Related material —
… and Your Shiny Friend.
Saturday, August 17, 2013
The following excerpt from a January 20, 2013, preprint shows that
a Galois-geometry version of the large Desargues 154203 configuration,
although based on the nineteenth-century work of Galois* and of Fano,**
may at times have twenty-first-century applications.
Atkinson's paper does not use the square model of PG(3,2), which later
in 2013 provided a natural view of the large Desargues 154203 configuration.
See my own Classical Geometry in Light of Galois Geometry. Atkinson's
"subset of 20 lines" corresponds to 20 of the 80 Rosenhain tetrads
mentioned in that later article and pictured within 4×4 squares in Hudson's
1905 classic Kummer's Quartic Surface.
* E. Galois, definition of finite fields in "Sur la Théorie des Nombres,"
Bulletin des Sciences Mathématiques de M. Férussac,
Vol. 13, 1830, pp. 428-435.
** G. Fano, definition of PG(3,2) in "Sui Postulati Fondamentali…,"
Giornale di Matematiche, Vol. 30, 1892, pp. 106-132.
Friday, August 16, 2013
(From French Wikipedia. Click image for
more about the Théâtre de la Madeleine.*)
"To me, the most genuine last words are those
that arise naturally from the moment, such as
Voltaire’s response to a request that he forswear
Satan: 'This is no time to make new enemies.' "
— Christopher Orlet, The Vocabula Review
July/August 2002 Issue, as quoted in
* Le Théâtre de la Madeleine is apparently named for
its proximity to L'Église de la Madeleine .
From April 23, 2013, in
"Classical Geometry in Light of Galois Geometry"—
Click above image for some background from 1986.
Related material on six-set geometry from the classical literature—
Baker, H. F., "Note II: On the Hexagrammum Mysticum of Pascal,"
in Principles of Geometry , Vol. II, Camb. U. Press, 1930, pp. 219-236
Richmond, H. W., "The Figure Formed from Six Points in Space of Four Dimensions,"
Mathematische Annalen (1900), Volume 53, Issue 1-2, pp 161-176
Richmond, H. W., "On the Figure of Six Points in Space of Four Dimensions,"
Quarterly Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics , Vol. 31 (1900), pp. 125-160
Thursday, August 15, 2013
(Continued from previous posts)
See Quine + Boxer in this journal.
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Odin's Day continues.
The title is a reference to the recent film
"Olympus Has Fallen," directed by Antoine Fuqua
(which I watched last night).
Update of 6:45-7:59 PM Aug. 14:
See also (in keeping with the ART WARS
theme of today's previous post)
Juneteenth (Wednesday, June 19) 2013.
This last link may be regarded as posted in
memory of author Vince Flynn, who reportedly
died at about 2 AM on that date. Background:
Tuesday, June 18.
Quoted 24 hours ago in this journal—
Remark by Aldous Huxley on an artist's work:
"All the turmoil, all the emotions of the scenes
have been digested by the mind into a
grave intellectual whole."
Quoted in a video uploaded on May 9, 2012:
Norway Toilet Scene
I prefer a different, Norwegian, interpretation of "the dance of four."
"Give 'em hell." — Ben Bernanke at Princeton's Baccalaureate, 2013
Some background — Janet Leigh and the Museum of Modern Art
"The Varnedoe Debacle," by Hilton Kramer (Dec. 1991)
Hell… Hell. — Sinatra in The Manchuran Candidate
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
(Continued from this morning)
The above stylized "N," based on
an 8-cycle in the 9-element Galois field
GF(9), may also be read as an Aleph.
Graphic designers may prefer a simpler,
(Continued from August 28 last year)
Reflections from today's date, August 13, in 2003, that included
the following remark by Aldous Huxley on an artist's work:
"All the turmoil, all the emotions of the scenes
have been digested by the mind into a
grave intellectual whole. It is as though
Bach had written the 1812 Overture."
Josefine Lyche, from her 2013 Crackquarelle series:
Steven H. Cullinane, The Story of N ,
from The Misalignment of Mars and Venus series:
See, too, previous posts on The Story of N.
Monday, August 12, 2013
From "Ramble On" lyrics as quoted by OzWho:
The Galois tesseract is the basis for a representation of the smallest
projective 3-space, PG(3,2), that differs from the representation at
Wolfram Demonstrations Project. For the latter, see yesterday's post.
The tesseract representation underlies the diamond theorem, illustrated
below in its earliest form, also from the above February 1977 article—
As noted in a more recent version, the group described by
the diamond theorem is also the group of the 35 square
patterns within the 1976 Miracle Octad Generator (MOG) of
R. T. Curtis.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Saturday, August 10, 2013
Friday, August 9, 2013
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Related material: Peter O'Toole as another Jesus for Jews.
And then there is Liam Neeson….
Yesterday's post Devil's Gate provided a dark view of life and culture.
Levin reportedly died at 67 on July 31, 2013.*
An image from an interview with Levin —
The date in the image, July 19th, 2006, is the broadcast
date of the PBS "American Masters" program on Monroe.
A check for synchronicity shows there was no Log24 post
on that date.
A related quote from an article linked to in the latter—
"First world culture, which is 'pagan and in the majority
everywhere,' has as its defining characteristic
a 'primacy of possibility,' or pop— a broadly inclusive
concept that covers everything from the Aboriginal
dreamtime to Plato’s Forms."
— Review by Jess Castle of Philip Rieff’s
Sacred Order/Social Order, Vol. 1: My Life among the
Deathworks: Illustrations of the Aesthetics of Authority,
University of Virginia Press, 2006. 256 pages, $34.95.
This quote may serve as the missing July 19, 2006, post.
* See that date in this journal for two less famous American
masters, artist Edward Valigursky and writer Robert Silverberg.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
(Continued from August 3)
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
The following image gives a brief description
of the geometry discussed in last spring's
Classical Geometry in Light of Galois Geometry.
Update of Aug. 7, 2013: See also an expanded PDF version.
Monday, August 5, 2013
The diamond theorem is now in the arXiv—
I added links today in the following Wikipedia articles:
The links will probably soon be deleted,
but it seemed worth a try.
Saturday, August 3, 2013
By chance, the latest* remarks in philosopher Colin McGinn's
weblog were posted (yesterday) at 10:04 AM.
Checking, in my usual mad way, for synchronicity, I find
the following from this weblog on the date 10/04 (2012)—
- The Shining (politics and philosophy)
- Big Bird (Kerouac on jazz)
- Kids Grow Up (children's books and philosophy)
Note too the time of this morning's previous post here
(on McGinn)— 9:09 AM. Another synchronistic check
yields Log24 posts from 9/09 (2012):
Related to this last post:
Detail from a stock image suggested by the web page of
a sociologist (Harvard '64) at the University of Washington in Seattle—
Note, on the map of Wyoming, Devil's Gate.
There are, of course, many such gates.
* Correction (of about 11:20 AM Aug. 3):
Later remarks by McGinn were posted at 10:06 AM today.
They included the phrase "The devil is in the details."
Yet another check for synchronicity leads to
10/06 (2012) in this journal with its post related to McGinn's
weblog remarks yesterday on philosophy and art.
That 10/06 Log24 post is somewhat in the spirit of other
remarks by McGinn discussed in a 2009 Harvard Crimson review.
See the title in this journal.
Friday, August 2, 2013
— From one whose name was writ in water*
(The final quote above is bogus. Stevens did write "Death is the mother
of beauty," but the "perishable" part is from a lesser poet, Billy Collins.)
The dance suggests a 1956 passage by Robert Silverberg—
"There was something in the heart of the diamond—
not the familiar brown flaw of the others, but something
of a different color, something moving and flickering.
Before my eyes, it changed and grew.
And I saw what it was. It was the form of a girl—
a woman, rather, a voluptuous, writhing nude form
in the center of the gem. Her hair was a lustrous blue-black,
her eyes a piercing ebony. She was gesturing to me,
holding out her hands, incredibly beckoning from within
the heart of the diamond.
I felt my legs go limp. She was growing larger, coming closer,
holding out her arms, beckoning, calling—
She seemed to fill the room. The diamond grew to gigantic size,
and my brain whirled and bobbed in dizzy circles.
I sensed the overpowering, wordless call."
— "Guardian of the Crystal Gate," August 1956
For similar gestures, see Nicole Kidman's dance in "The Human Stain."
Thursday, August 1, 2013
For a conceptual artist who reportedly died
on Thursday, July 25, 2013—
Yesterday afternoon's post, combined with Tom Wolfe's
remarks on conceptual art quoted here July 23 and an
obituary this morning for a conceptual artist who reportedly
died on July 25, suggest a review of this journal's content
from the day of the artist's reported death—
"Und was für ein Bild des Christentums
ist dabei herausgekommen?"