Friday, June 11, 2010

The Raven

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

"Why is a raven like a writing-desk?" — Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Arthur Koestler, The Roots of Coincidence

"In his The Nature of the Physical World  (1928) Sir Arthur Eddington introduced his famous 'parable of the two writing desks.' One is the antique piece of furniture on which his elbows solidly rest while writing; the other is the desk as the physicist conceives it, consisting almost entirely of empty space, sheer nothingness…. Eddington concluded:

In the world of physics we watch a shadowgraph performance of familiar life. The shadow of my elbow rests on the shadow-table as the shadow-ink flows over the shadow-paper….

Though the constituents of matter could be described with great mathematical accuracy as patterns of vibrations, the question remained—  what was it that vibrated? On the one hand, these matter-waves produced physically real phenomena, such as interference patterns on a screen, or the currents in a transistor radio. On the other hand, the whole conception of matter-waves excludes by definition any medium with physical attributes as a carrier of the waves. A wave is movement; but what is that something that moves, producing the shadows on Eddington's shadow-desk? Short of calling it the grin of the Cheshire Cat, it was named the 'psi field' or 'psi function.'"

What is it that moves? Perhaps not the Cheshire Cat, but rather The Raven

Closeup, he’s blue—streaked iris blue, india-ink blue—and
black—an oily, fiery set of blacks—none of them
true—as where hate and order touch—something that cannot
become known. Stages of black but without
graduation. So there is no direction.
All of this happened, yes.

 — Jorie Graham, "The Dream of the Unified Field"

See also notes on darkness in this journal.

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