Log24

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Was Ist … ?

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 10:00 PM

Istism, illustrated by dickism

Happy birthday to Piper Laurie.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

As Is

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:05 PM

"That simple operator, 'as,' turns out to carry within its philosophical grammar
a remarkable complex field* of operations…."

Charles Altieri,  Painterly Abstraction in Modernist American Poetry,
Cambridge University Press, 1989, page 343

See also Rota on Heidegger (What "As" Is, July 6, 2010), and Lead Belly
on the Rock Island Line — "You got to ride it like you find it."

* Update of Oct. 10, 2014: See also "Complex + Grid" in this journal.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

As Is

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:56 AM

What "As" Is —

Image- The Three-Point Line: A Finite Projective Geometry

"This poem is concerned with language on a very plain level."

Shadow Train

"You got to ride it like you find it."
Song lyric

Related entertainment —

IMAGE- Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Conceptual Minimalism

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 10:08 AM

 

"At the point of convergence
the play of similarities and differences
cancels itself out in order that 
identity alone may shine forth
The illusion of motionlessness,
the play of mirrors of the one: 
identity is completely empty;
it is a crystallization and
in its transparent core
the movement of analogy 
begins all over once again."

— The Monkey Grammarian 

by Octavio Paz, translated by Helen Lane 

See also AS IS.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Status Symbols

Filed under: Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 2:02 PM

"Status: Defunct"  

As is now its owner, who reportedly
died at 80 on Sunday, October 15, 2017.

In memoriam —

Excerpts from Log24 posts on Sunday night 
and yesterday evening

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11/110203-Scholia.jpg.

" … listen: there's a hell
of a good universe next door; let's go"

— e. e. cummings

Some literary background —

"At the point of convergence
the play of similarities and differences
cancels itself out in order that 
identity alone may shine forth
The illusion of motionlessness,
the play of mirrors of the one: 
identity is completely empty;
it is a crystallization and
in its transparent core
the movement of analogy 
begins all over once again."

— The Monkey Grammarian 

by Octavio Paz, translated by Helen Lane 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

For St. Christopher (Hitchens)

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 9:00 PM

who reportedly died at 62 late on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011.

Related material — The "What As Is" link above, and a Sept. 14 post
quoting art critic Roberta Smith on a current exhibition —

"You grab your experiential richness where you find it."

— Roberta Smith"Postwar Art Gets a Nervy Makeover"
     in the online New York Times  

Monday, June 26, 2017

Four Dots

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 9:57 AM

Analogies — "A : B  ::  C : D"  may be read  "A is to B  as  C is to D."

Gian-Carlo Rota on Heidegger…

"… The universal as  is given various names in Heidegger's writings….

The discovery of the universal as  is Heidegger's contribution to philosophy….

The universal 'as' is the surgence of sense in Man, the shepherd of Being.

The disclosure of the primordial as  is the end of a search that began with Plato….
This search comes to its conclusion with Heidegger."

— "Three Senses of 'A is B' in Heideggger," Ch. 17 in Indiscrete Thoughts
 

See also Four Dots in this journal. 

Some context:  McLuhan + Analogy.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Dem Bones

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 12:15 PM

A note at the end of an article on architecture historian
Christopher Gray in the current online New Yorker  —

This article appears in other versions
of the April 10, 2017, issue, with
the headline “Dem Bones.”

"Defeated, you will rise to your feet as is said of Dry Bones .
These bones will rise again." — Agnes Martin, 1973

Accounting for Taste —

Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty at the Oscars:

Ben Affleck, star of "The Accountant," at the Oscars:

See also Prisoner + Bones in this  journal.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Where Entertainment Is God

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Continues .

The Guardian 's summary today of the new film "Arrival" —

"I have been agnostic about this kind of movie recently,
after the overwrought disappointments of Christopher
Nolan’s Interstellar and Jeff Nichols’s Midnight Special.
But Villeneuve’s Arrival is both heartfelt and very entertaining."

Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian  today

As is Amy's.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Plan 4

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:45 AM

See a search in this journal for "As Is."

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Bullshit Studies

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 1:06 AM

The originator of the phrase 'Fab Four' reportedly
died at 80 on Saturday, May 14, 2016.

This suggests a review of another noted four-set.

The above image is from a study of Lévi-Strauss's "Canonical Formula"

Midrash —

Log24 post titled 'As Is'

[Above photo of Lévi-Strauss and formula added June 6, 2016.]

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Thing and I

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 2:01 PM

The New York Times  philosophy column yesterday —

The Times's philosophy column "The Stone" is named after the legendary
"philosophers' stone." The column's name, and the title of its essay yesterday
"Is that even a thing?" suggest a review of the eightfold cube  as "The object
most closely resembling a 'philosophers' stone' that I know of" (Page 51 of
the current issue of a Norwegian art quarterly, KUNSTforum.as).

The eightfold cube —

Definition of Epiphany

From James Joyce’s Stephen Hero , first published posthumously in 1944. The excerpt below is from a version edited by John J. Slocum and Herbert Cahoon (New York: New Directions Press, 1959).

Three Times:

… By an epiphany he meant a sudden spiritual manifestation, whether in the vulgarity of speech or of gesture or in a memorable phase of the mind itself. He believed that it was for the man of letters to record these epiphanies with extreme care, seeing that they themselves are the most delicate and evanescent of moments. He told Cranly that the clock of the Ballast Office was capable of an epiphany. Cranly questioned the inscrutable dial of the Ballast Office with his no less inscrutable countenance:

— Yes, said Stephen. I will pass it time after time, allude to it, refer to it, catch a glimpse of it. It is only an item in the catalogue of Dublin’s street furniture. Then all at once I see it and I know at once what it is: epiphany.

— What?

— Imagine my glimpses at that clock as the gropings of a spiritual eye which seeks to adjust its vision to an exact focus. The moment the focus is reached the object is epiphanised. It is just in this epiphany that I find the third, the supreme quality of beauty.

— Yes? said Cranly absently.

— No esthetic theory, pursued Stephen relentlessly, is of any value which investigates with the aid of the lantern of tradition. What we symbolise in black the Chinaman may symbolise in yellow: each has his own tradition. Greek beauty laughs at Coptic beauty and the American Indian derides them both. It is almost impossible to reconcile all tradition whereas it is by no means impossible to find the justification of every form of beauty which has ever been adored on the earth by an examination into the mechanism of esthetic apprehension whether it be dressed in red, white, yellow or black. We have no reason for thinking that the Chinaman has a different system of digestion from that which we have though our diets are quite dissimilar. The apprehensive faculty must be scrutinised in action.

— Yes …

— You know what Aquinas says: The three things requisite for beauty are, integrity, a wholeness, symmetry and radiance. Some day I will expand that sentence into a treatise. Consider the performance of your own mind when confronted with any object, hypothetically beautiful. Your mind to apprehend that object divides the entire universe into two parts, the object, and the void which is not the object. To apprehend it you must lift it away from everything else: and then you perceive that it is one integral thing, that is a  thing. You recognise its integrity. Isn’t that so?

— And then?

— That is the first quality of beauty: it is declared in a simple sudden synthesis of the faculty which apprehends. What then? Analysis then. The mind considers the object in whole and in part, in relation to itself and to other objects, examines the balance of its parts, contemplates the form of the object, traverses every cranny of the structure. So the mind receives the impression of the symmetry of the object. The mind recognises that the object is in the strict sense of the word, a thing , a definitely constituted entity. You see?

— Let us turn back, said Cranly.

They had reached the corner of Grafton St and as the footpath was overcrowded they turned back northwards. Cranly had an inclination to watch the antics of a drunkard who had been ejected from a bar in Suffolk St but Stephen took his arm summarily and led him away.

— Now for the third quality. For a long time I couldn’t make out what Aquinas meant. He uses a figurative word (a very unusual thing for him) but I have solved it. Claritas is quidditas . After the analysis which discovers the second quality the mind makes the only logically possible synthesis and discovers the third quality. This is the moment which I call epiphany. First we recognise that the object is one  integral thing, then we recognise that it is an organised composite structure, a thing  in fact: finally, when the relation of the parts is exquisite, when the parts are adjusted to the special point, we recognise that it is that  thing which it is. Its soul, its whatness, leaps to us from the vestment of its appearance. The soul of the commonest object, the structure of which is so adjusted, seems to us radiant. The object achieves its epiphany.

Having finished his argument Stephen walked on in silence. He felt Cranly’s hostility and he accused himself of having cheapened the eternal images of beauty. For the first time, too, he felt slightly awkward in his friend’s company and to restore a mood of flippant familiarity he glanced up at the clock of the Ballast Office and smiled:

— It has not epiphanised yet, he said.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Global Game

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 9:06 PM

Seymour Lazar, Flamboyant Entertainment Lawyer, Dies at 88

The New York Times  this evening has an obituary for Seymour Lazar, 
"Seymour the Head in Supermoney George Goodman’s 1972 account
of the global financial game, written under the pen name Adam Smith."

From that obituary —

"It was in Cuernavaca that Mr. Goodman, quite skeptical of the Lazar lore
he had heard so much of, met the man behind the myth. 'Seymour was
real,' he wrote…."

As is the Hungarian algorithm.

Mr. Lazar reportedly died on March 30. This journal on that date

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Quality

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 9:00 AM

"William Tell’s weapon of choice has become
the symbol of Switzerland, a sign of sovereignty
and a guarantee of Swiss quality. On the eve of
the Second World War, these values seemed
especially important and necessary to the Swiss.
This five-centime green stamp was issued for
the 1939 national exhibition."

Related material in this journal:  Basel.

See also Jung + Imago.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Space

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 1:37 PM

Was ist Raum, wie können wir ihn
erfassen und gestalten?”

Walter Gropius,

The Theory and
Organization of the
Bauhaus
  (1923)

This post was suggested by the Bauhaus song
"Bela Lugosi's Dead" at the beginning of the
1983 Tony Scott classic "The Hunger."

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Putting the Con in Conceptual

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 6:00 AM

Edward Frenkel in The New York Times ,
in an op-ed piece dated Feb. 20, 2015 —

"… I suggest that we regard the paradoxes
of quantum physics as a metaphor for
the unknown infinite possibilities
of our own existence. This is poignantly
and elegantly expressed in the Vedas:
'As is the atom, so is the universe;
as is the microcosm, so is the macrocosm;
as is the human body, so is the cosmic body;
as is the human mind, so is the cosmic mind.'"

The Times : "Edward Frenkel, a professor of mathematics
at the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of
Love and Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality. "

See also Con Vocation (Sept. 2, 2014).

Friday, December 5, 2014

Wittgenstein’s Picture

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 PM

From Zettel  (repunctuated for clarity):

249. « Nichts leichter, als sich einen 4-dimensionalen Würfel
vorstellen! Er schaut so aus… »

"Nothing easier than to imagine a 4-dimensional cube!
It looks like this… 

[Here the editor supplied a picture of a 4-dimensional cube
that was omitted by Wittgenstein in the original.]

« Aber das meine ich nicht, ich meine etwas wie…

"But I don't mean that, I mean something like…

…nur mit 4 Ausdehnungen! » 

but with four dimensions!

« Aber das ist nicht, was ich dir gezeigt habe,
eben etwas wie…

"But isn't  what I showed you like

…nur mit 4 Ausdehnungen? » 

…only with four dimensions?"

« Nein; das meine  ich nicht! » 

"No, I don't mean  that!"

« Was aber meine ich? Was ist mein Bild?
Nun der 4-dimensionale Würfel, wie du ihn gezeichnet hast,
ist es nicht ! Ich habe jetzt als Bild nur die Worte  und
die Ablehnung alles dessen, was du mir zeigen kanst. »

"But what do I mean? What is my picture?
Well, it is not  the four-dimensional cube
as you drew it. I have now for a picture only
the words  and my rejection of anything
you can show me."

"Here's your damn Bild , Ludwig —"

Context: The Galois Tesseract.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Gods and Giants

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 2:01 PM

A weblog reports Chris Rock’s remarks
on Saturday Night Live this past weekend:

“It’s America, we commercialize everything.
Look at what we did to Christmas.
Christmas.  Christmas is Jesus’ birthday.
It’s Jesus’ birthday.  Now, I don’t know Jesus
but from what I’ve read, Jesus is the least
materialistic person to ever roam the earth.
No bling on Jesus.
Jesus kept a low profile and we turned his
birthday into the most materialistic day of the
year.  Matter of fact, we have the Jesus birthday
season.  It’s a whole season of materialism.
Then, at the end of the Jesus birthday season
we have the nerve to have an economist come
on TV and tell you how horrible the Jesus birthday
season was this year.  Oh, we had a horrible Jesus’
birthday this year.  Hopefully, business will pick up
by his Crucifixion.”

Related music and image:

Show us the way to the next little girl …”

Natalie Wood in “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947)

Related non-materialistic meditations:
The Rhetoric of Abstract Concepts and Gods and Giants.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Cut to Stanley Chase

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 9:00 PM

Chase worked for years to make a movie of
‘The Threepenny Opera.’ He finally got it done in 1989 as
Mack the Knife,’ with Menahem Golan directing.”

— David Colker, LA Times  obituary, Oct. 9, 2014

See also, from Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, the date of Chase’s death,
the Log24 posts Grids and Space, Concepts of Space, and As Is.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Raum

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 8:00 AM

A possible answer to the 1923 question of Walter Gropius, "Was ist Raum?"—

See also yesterday's Source of the Finite and the image search
on the Gropius question in last night's post.

Monday, July 7, 2014

“‘Consider,’ said I…”

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 8:28 PM

Roger Cooke in The History of Mathematics: A Brief Course
(2nd ed., Wiley-Interscience, 2005)—

“Like all numbers, the number four is bound to occur
in many contexts.”

— Ch. 1: “The Origin and Prehistory of Mathematics,”
Part 3, “Symbols,” footnote 1, page 11.

As is the number 382:

Click the above image for some related material.

Commentary:

“Once the students are taken in by the story, it will be
the instructor’s job to elaborate on the historical
calculations and proofs.”

— Gary S. Stoudt, Professor of Mathematics,
Indiana U. of Pennsylvania, review of Cooke’s book
at the Mathematical Association of America

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Bronfman Catechism

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 10:21 AM

Meanwhile

Log24 on Sunday, October 5, 2008

Theologian James Edwin Loder:

“In a game of chess, the knight’s move is unique because it alone goes around corners. In this way, it combines the continuity of a set sequence with the discontinuity of an unpredictable turn in the middle. This meaningful combination of continuity and discontinuity in an otherwise linear set of possibilities has led some to refer to the creative act of discovery in any field of research as a ‘knight’s move’ in intelligence.”

Related material:

Terence McKenna:

“Schizophrenia is not a psychological disorder peculiar to human beings. Schizophrenia is not a disease at all but rather a localized traveling discontinuity of the space time matrix itself. It is like a travelling whirl-wind of radical understanding that haunts time. It haunts time in the same way that Alfred North Whitehead said that the color dove grey ‘haunts time like a ghost.’”

Anonymous author:

“‘Knight’s move thinking’ is a psychiatric term describing a thought disorder where in speech the usual logical sequence of ideas is lost, the sufferer jumping from one idea to another with no apparent connection. It is most commonly found in schizophrenia.”

Related journalism

IMAGE- Scene from a blackboard jungle

"What's the 'S'  stand for?" — Amy Adams

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

But Seriously…

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 11:09 PM

(Continued)

"Now this is fairly serious stuff."

As is this.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Plan 9 (continued)–

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 PM

In Like Flynn

From the Wall Street Journal  site Friday evening—

ESSAY September 21, 2012, 9:10 p.m. ET

Are We Really Getting Smarter?

Americans' IQ scores have risen steadily over the past century.
James R. Flynn examines why.

IMAGE- Raven's Progressive Matrices problem with ninth configuration a four-diamonds grid

No, thank you. I prefer the ninth configuration as is

IMAGE- Four-diamonds grid, the ninth configuration in a Raven's Progressive Matrices problem

Why? See Josefine Lyche's art installation "Grids, you say?"

Her reference there to "High White Noon" is perhaps
related to the use of that phrase in this journal.

The phrase is from a 2010 novel by Don DeLillo.
See "Point Omega," as well as Lyche's "Omega Point,"
in this journal.

The Wall Street Journal  author above, James R. Flynn (born in 1934)
"is famous for his discovery of the Flynn effect, the continued
year-after-year increase of IQ scores in all parts of the world."
 —Wikipedia

His son Eugene Victor Flynn is a mathematician, co-author
of the following chapter on the Kummer surface— 

For use of the Kummer surface in Buddhist metaphysics, see last night's
post "Occupy Space (continued)" and the letters of Nanavira Thera from the 
late 1950s at nanavira.blogspot.com.

These letters, together with Lyche's use of the phrase "high white noon,"
suggest a further quotation

You know that it would be untrue
You know that I would be a liar
If I was to say to you
Girl, we couldn't get much higher

See also the Kummer surface at the web page Configurations and Squares.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Simple Skill

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 10:18 AM

But with good Will
To show our simple skill…

( Continued from Midsummer Eve, 1993 )

The "Black Diamond" search from Holy Cross Day 
leads to Talk Amongst Yourselves, which in turn
leads to PyrE in the Book, with Alfred Bester's
version of "Will and Idea."

This phrase may be regarded as a version of 
Schopenhauer's "Will and Representation."

Related material—

"Schopenhauer's notion of the will comes from the Kantian thing-in-itself, which Kant believed to be the fundamental reality behind the representation that provided the matter of perception, but lacked form. Kant believed that space, time, causation, and many other similar phenomena belonged properly to the form imposed on the world by the human mind in order to create the representation, and these factors were absent from the thing-in-itself. Schopenhauer pointed out that anything outside of time and space could not be differentiated, so the thing-in-itself must be one and all things that exist, including human beings, must be part of this fundamental unity. Our inner-experience must be a manifestation of the noumenal realm and the will is the inner kernel* of every being. All knowledge gained of objects is seen as self-referential, as we recognize the same will in other things as is inside us." —Wikipedia

* "Die Schrecken des Todes beruhen großentheils auf dem falschen Schein, daß jetzt das Ich verschwinde, und die Welt bleibe, Vielmehr aber ist das Gegentheil wahr: die Welt verschwindet; hingegen der innerste Kern des Ich, der Träger und Hervorbringer jenes Subjekts, in dessen Vorstellung allein die Welt ihr Daseyn hatte, beharrt." 

— Schopenhauer, Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung , Kapitel 41

Added Nov. 16, 2012, a translation by E. F. J. Payne—

"The terrors of death rest for the most part on the false illusion that then the I or ego vanishes, and the world remains. But rather is the opposite true, namely that the world vanishes; on the other hand, the innermost kernel of the ego endures, the bearer and producer of that subject in whose representation alone the world had its existence."

THE WORLD AS WILL AND REPRESENTATION

by Arthur Schopenhauer
Translated from the German by E. F. J. Payne
In two volumes
© 1969 Dover Publications, Inc.
© 1958 by The Falcon's Wing Press

Volume Two: Supplements to the Fourth Book, 
XLI. On Death and Its Relation to the Indestructibility of Our Inner Nature

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Colorful Tale

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 6:06 AM

(Continued from July 19, 2008)

From the Diamond 16 Puzzle

IMAGE- The Diamond 16 Puzzle

The resemblance between the "quadrants" part of
the above picture and the new Microsoft symbol

IMAGE- New Microsoft symbol, August 2012

— is of course purely coincidental, as is the fact
that the new symbol illustrates four colors.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Space Cadets

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 PM

From this journal on June 19, 2012

Walter Gropius on space—

"Was ist Raum, wie können wir ihn
 erfassen und gestalten?"

Walter Gropius,

The Theory and
Organization of the
Bauhaus
  (1923)

A book published on the same date—
June 19, 2012:

IMAGE- 'The Cryptos Conundrum,' by Chase Brandon

"… what Chalmers called the convergence of coincidence
a force majeure of unrelated events that shaped one's life,
that perhaps defined the concept of life itself.
He believed in the power of that force."

The Cryptos Conundrum , by Chase Brandon

See also Chase Brandon in Sunday's Huffington Post .

"I wrote another book."
— Robert De Niro as Harlan Kane

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Looking Deeply

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 3:48 PM

Last night's post on The Trinity of Max Black  and the use of
the term "eightfold" by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute
at Berkeley suggest a review of an image from Sept. 22, 2011

IMAGE- Eightfold cube with detail of triskelion structure

The triskele  detail above echoes a Buddhist symbol found,
for instance, on the Internet in an ad for meditation supplies—

Related remarks

http://www.spencerart.ku.edu/about/dialogue/fdpt.shtml

Mary Dusenbury (Radcliffe '64)—

"… I think a textile, like any work of art, holds a tremendous amount of information— technical, material, historical, social, philosophical— but beyond that, many works of art are very beautiful and they speak to us on many layers— our intellect, our heart, our emotions. I've been going to museums since I was a very small child, thinking about what I saw, and going back to discover new things, to see pieces that spoke very deeply to me, to look at them again, and to find more and more meaning relevant to me in different ways and at different times of my life. …

… I think I would suggest to people that first of all they just look. Linger by pieces they find intriguing and beautiful, and look deeply. Then, if something interests them, we have tried to put a little information around the galleries to give a bit of history, a bit of context, for each piece. But the most important is just to look very deeply."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikaya_Buddhism

According to Robert Thurman, the term "Nikāya Buddhism" was coined by Professor Masatoshi Nagatomi of Harvard University, as a way to avoid the usage of the term Hinayana.[12] "Nikaya Buddhism" is thus an attempt to find a more neutral way of referring to Buddhists who follow one of the early Buddhist schools, and their practice.

12. The Emptiness That is Compassion:
An Essay on Buddhist Ethics, Robert A. F. Thurman, 1980
[Religious Traditions , Vol. 4 No. 2, Oct.-Nov. 1981, pp. 11-34]

http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.2:1:6.pali

Nikāya [Sk. nikāya, ni+kāya]
collection ("body") assemblage, class, group

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/नि

Sanskrit etymology for नि (ni)

From Proto-Indo-European *ni …

Prefix

नि (ni)

  • down
  • back
  • in, into

http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Kaya

Kaya (Skt. kāya སྐུ་, Tib. ku Wyl. sku ) —
the Sanskrit word kaya literally means ‘body’
but can also signify dimension, field or basis.

སྐུ། (Wyl. sku ) n. Pron.: ku

structure, existentiality, founding stratum ▷HVG KBEU

gestalt ▷HVG LD

Note that The Trinity of Max Black  is a picture of  a set
i.e., of an "assemblage, class, group."

Note also the reference above to the word "gestalt."

"Was ist Raum, wie können wir ihn
erfassen und gestalten?"

Walter Gropius

Bright Black

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 12:12 AM

“‘In the dictionary next to [the] word “bright,” you should see Paula’s picture,’ he said. ‘She was super smart, with a sparkling wit. … She had a beautiful sense of style and color.'”

— Elinor J. Brecher in The Miami Herald  on June 8, quoting Palm Beach Post writer John Lantigua on the late art historian Paula Hays Harper

This  journal on the date of her death—

IMAGE- The Trinity of Max Black (a 3-set, with its eight subsets arranged in a Hasse diagram that is also a cube)

For some simpleminded commentary, see László Lovász on the cube space.

Some less simpleminded commentary—

Was ist Raum, wie können wir ihn
erfassen und gestalten?”

Walter Gropius,

The Theory and
Organization of the
Bauhaus
  (1923)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Design

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 PM

The New York Times online front page last night

"Microsoft introduced its own tablet computer,
called Surface, illustrating the pressure
Apple's success has put on it to marry
software and hardware more tightly."

Commentary—

IMAGE- The Marriage of Heaven and Hell-- Swedenborg Chapel and the Harvard Graduate School of Design

Google Maps image

Related material

"Was ist Raum, wie können wir ihn
 erfassen und gestalten?"

Walter Gropius,

The Theory and
Organization of the
Bauhaus
  (1923)

Update of Feb. 3, 2013:
See also The Perception of Doors in this journal.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Coxeter and the Relativity Problem

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 PM

In the Beginning…

"As is well known, the Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet."
– Borges, "The Aleph" (1945)

From some 1949 remarks of Weyl—

"The relativity problem is one of central significance throughout geometry and algebra and has been recognized as such by the mathematicians at an early time."

Hermann Weyl, "Relativity Theory as a Stimulus in Mathematical Research," Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society , Vol. 93, No. 7, Theory of Relativity in Contemporary Science: Papers Read at the Celebration of the Seventieth Birthday of Professor Albert Einstein in Princeton, March 19, 1949  (Dec. 30, 1949), pp. 535-541

Weyl in 1946—:

"This is the relativity problem: to fix objectively a class of equivalent coordinatizations and to ascertain the group of transformations S mediating between them."

— Hermann Weyl, The Classical Groups , Princeton University Press, 1946, p. 16

Coxeter in 1950 described the elements of the Galois field GF(9) as powers of a primitive root and as ordered pairs of the field of residue-classes modulo 3—

"… the successive powers of  the primitive root λ or 10 are

λ = 10,  λ2 = 21,  λ3 = 22,  λ4 = 02,
λ5 = 20,  λ6 = 12,  λ7 = 11,  λ8 = 01.

These are the proper coordinate symbols….

(See Fig. 10, where the points are represented in the Euclidean plane as if the coordinate residue 2 were the ordinary number -1. This representation naturally obscures the collinearity of such points as λ4, λ5, λ7.)"

http://www.log24.com/log/pix12/120220-CoxeterFig10.jpg

Coxeter's Figure 10 yields...

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11/110107-The1950Aleph-Sm.jpg

The Aleph

The details:

(Click to enlarge)

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11/110107-Aleph-Sm.jpg

Coxeter's phrase "in the Euclidean plane" obscures the noncontinuous nature of the transformations that are automorphisms of the above linear 2-space over GF(3).

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Getting with the Program

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 4:28 AM

Stanley Fish in The New York Times  yesterday evening—

IMAGE- Stanley Fish, 'The Old Order Changeth,' Boxing Day, 2011

From the MLA program Fish discussed—

IMAGE- MLA session, 'Defining Form,' chaired by Colleen Rosenfeld of Pomona College

Above: An MLA session, "Defining Form," led
by Colleen Rosenfeld of Pomona College

An example from Pomona College in 1968—

IMAGE- Triangular models of small affine and projective finite geometries

The same underlying geometries (i.e., "form") may be modeled with
a square figure and a cubical figure rather than with the triangular
figures of 1968 shown above.

See Finite Geometry of the Square and Cube.

Those who prefer a literary approach to form may enjoy the recent post As Is.
(For some context, see Game of Shadows.)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Lining the Train

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 7:30 PM

IMAGE- Wilfred Owen, 'faces grimly gay' in 'The Send-Off'

See also Thursday morning's "As Is."

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Innermost Kernel and Physics

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 PM

"Letzen Endes wird also der Materiebegriff in beiden Fällen auf Mathematik zurückgefürt. Der innerste Kern alles Stofflichen ist für uns wie für Plato eine Form, nicht irgendein materieller Inhalt."

"In the final analysis, in both cases [Plato and modern physics] the notion of matter is essentially a mathematical concept. The most fundamental kernel of all that is material is for us, as well as for Plato, a [mathematical] form, and not some material content."

— W. Heisenberg, "Platons Vorstellungen von den kleinsten Bausteinen der Materie und die Elementarteilchen der modernen Physik," Im Umkreis der Kunst. Eine Festschrift für Emil Preetorius , Wiesbaden 1953, pp. 137-140, as cited by Luc Brisson and F. Walter Meyerstein in Inventing the Universe , SUNY Press, 1995.

See also remarks by Pauli in For All Hallows Day.

Update of 1 PM

Related material —

IMAGE- Schopenhauer, 'innermost kernel,' and atman

"Zweiteilung und Symmetrieverminderung, das ist des Pudels Kern. Zweiteilung ist ein sehr altes Attribut des Teufels."

—Pauli to Heisenberg

Here "the poodle's kernel" is a reference to Faust , where the devil appears as a poodle.

On Schopenhauer's later years—

"In Frankfurt he spent the remaining years of his life, living quietly in two rooms with his pipe and his flute but with no friends or companions except a small poodle, the only creature to which Schopenhauer ever seems to have felt any real attachment. He named the dog Atman, a term taken from the pessimistic religion of India, in which Schopenhauer had become more and more interested in his later years."

— Robert F. Davidson, "Pessimism: Arthur Schopenhauer" in Philosophies Men Live By , New York, The Dryden Press, 1952

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lunch at the Y

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Or: Starting Out in the Evening, continued from noon yesterday

Yesterday evening's New York Lottery numbers were 510 and 5256.

For the former, see post  510, Music for Patricias.

For the latter, see Richard Feynman at the Caltech YMCA Lunch Forum on 5/2/56—

"The Relation of Science and Religion."

Some background….

The Aleph

"As is well known, the Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
Its use for the strange sphere in my story may not be accidental.
For the Kabbala, the letter stands for the En Soph ,
the pure and boundless godhead; it is also said that it takes
the shape of a man pointing to both heaven and earth…."

— Borges, "The Aleph," quoted in Ayn Sof (January 7th, 2011)

The Y

See "Pythagorean Letter" in this journal.

Edenville

"Hello! Kinch here. Put me on to Edenville. Aleph, alpha: nought, nought, one." 

"A very short space of time through very short times of space…. Am I walking into eternity along Sandymount strand?"

James Joyce, Ulysses , Proteus chapter

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hierophant

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 7:59 PM

Some background for yesterday's posts:

Midrash for Gnostics and related notes,
as well as yesterday's New York Lottery

                                      ….    "We seek
The poem of pure reality, untouched
By trope or deviation, straight to the word,
Straight to the transfixing object, to the object
At the exactest point at which it is itself,
Transfixing by being purely what it is…."
— Wallace Stevens (1879-1955),
“An Ordinary Evening in New Haven” IX

"Reality is the beginning not the end,
Naked Alpha, not the hierophant Omega,
of dense investiture, with luminous vassals."
— Wallace Stevens,
“An Ordinary Evening in New Haven” VI

Wikipedia

"A hierophant is a person who brings religious congregants into the presence of that which is deemed holy . The word comes from Ancient Greece, where it was constructed from the combination of ta hiera , 'the holy,' and phainein , 'to show.' In Attica it was the title of the chief priest at the Eleusinian Mysteries. A hierophant is an interpreter of sacred mysteries and arcane principles."

Weyl as Alpha, Chern as Omega—

(Click to enlarge.)

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11A/110610-WeylChernSm.jpg

Postscript for Ellen Page, star of "Smart People"
and of "X-Men: The Last Stand"— a different  page 679.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it—

Interpret today's  NY lottery numbers— Midday 815, Evening 888.

My own bias is toward 815 as 8/15 and 888 as a trinity,
but there may be less obvious and more interesting approaches.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Unity and Multiplicity (continued*)

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 10:48 AM

Heisenberg on Heraclitus

From Physics and Philosophy , by Werner Heisenberg, 1958, reprinted by Penguin Classics, 2003—

Page 28—

… In the philosophy of Heraclitus of Ephesus the concept of Becoming occupies the foremost
place. He regarded that which moves, the fire, as the basic element. The difficulty, to reconcile
the idea of one fundamental principle with the infinite variety of phenomena, is solved for him by
recognizing that the strife of the opposites is really a kind of harmony. For Heraclitus the world is
at once one and many, it is just 'the opposite tension' of the opposites that constitutes the unity
of the One. He says: 'We must know that war is common to all and strife is justice, and that all
things come into being and pass away through strife.'

Looking back to the development of Greek philosophy up to this point one realizes that it has
been borne from the beginning to this

Page 29—

stage by the tension between the One and the Many. For our senses the world consists of an
infinite variety of things and events, colors and sounds. But in order to understand it we have to
introduce some kind of order, and order means to recognize what is equal, it means some sort
of unity. From this springs the belief that there is one fundamental principle, and at the same
time the difficulty to derive from it the infinite variety of things. That there should be a material
cause for all things was a natural starting point since the world consists of matter. But when one
carried the idea of fundamental unity to the extreme one came to that infinite and eternal
undifferentiated Being which, whether material or not, cannot in itself explain the infinite variety
of things. This leads to the antithesis of Being and Becoming and finally to the solution of
Heraclitus, that the change itself is the fundamental principle; the 'imperishable change, that
renovates the world,' as the poets have called it. But the change in itself is not a material cause
and therefore is represented in the philosophy of Heraclitus by the fire as the basic element,
which is both matter and a moving force.

We may remark at this point that modern physics is in some way extremely near to the
doctrines of Heraclitus. If we replace the word 'fire' by the word 'energy' we can almost repeat
his statements word for word from our modern point of view. Energy is in fact the substance
from which all elementary particles, all atoms and therefore all things are made, and energy is
that which moves. Energy is a substance, since its total amount does not change, and the
elementary particles can actually be made from this substance as is seen in many experiments on
the creation of elementary particles. Energy can be changed into motion, into heat, into light
and into tension. Energy may be called the fundamental cause for all change in the world. But this
comparison of Greek philosophy with the ideas of modern science will be discussed later.

* See earlier uses of the phrase in this journal. Further background— Hopkins and Heraclitus.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Ayn Sof

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 7:26 PM

(A continuation of this morning's Coxeter and the Aleph)

"You've got to pick up every stitch… Must be the season of the witch."
Donovan song at the end of Nicole Kidman's "To Die For"

Mathematics and Narrative, Illustrated
http://www.log24.com/log/pix11/110107-The1950Aleph-Sm.jpg

Mathematics

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11/110107-ScriptAlephSm.jpg
Narrative

"As is well known, the Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
Its use for the strange sphere in my story may not be accidental.
For the Kabbala, the letter stands for the En Soph ,
the pure and boundless godhead; it is also said that it takes
the shape of a man pointing to both heaven and earth, in order to show
that the lower world is the map and mirror of the higher; for Cantor's
Mengenlehre , it is the symbol of transfinite numbers,
of which any part is as great as the whole."

— Borges, "The Aleph"

From WorldLingo.com

Ein Sof

Ein Soph or Ayn Sof (Hebrew  אין סוף, literally "without end", denoting "boundlessness" and/or "nothingness"), is a Kabbalistic term that usually refers to an abstract state of existence preceding God's Creation of the limited universe. This Ein Sof , typically referred to figuratively as the "light of Ein Sof " ("Or Ein Sof "), is the most fundamental emanation manifested by God. The Ein Sof  is the material basis of Creation that, when focused, restricted, and filtered through the sefirot , results in the created, dynamic universe.
….

Cultural impact

Mathematician Georg Cantor labeled different sizes of infinity using the Aleph. The smallest size of infinity is aleph-null (0), the second size is aleph-one (1), etc. One theory about why Cantor chose to use the aleph is because it is the first letter of Ein-Sof. (See Aleph number)

"Infinite Jest… now stands as the principal contender
for what serious literature can aspire to
in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries."

All Things Shining, a work of pop philosophy published January 4th

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10B/101231-AllThingsShining-Cover.jpg

"You're gonna need a bigger boat." — Roy Scheider in "Jaws"

"We're gonna need more holy water." — "Season of the Witch," a film opening tonight

See also, with respect to David Foster Wallace, infinity, nihilism,
and the above reading of "Ayn Sof" as "nothingness,"
the quotations compiled as "Is Nothing Sacred?"

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Game

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 11:07 PM
'Magister Ludi,' or 'The Glass Bead Game,' by Hermann Hesse

We shall now give a brief summary of the beginnings of the Glass Bead Game. It appears to have arisen simultaneously in Germany and in England. In both countries, moreover, it was originally a kind of exercise employed by those small groups of musicologists and musicians who worked and studied in the new seminaries of musical theory. If we compare the original state of the Game with its subsequent developments and its present form, it is much like comparing a musical score of the period before 1500, with its primitive notes and absence of bar lines, with an eighteenth-century score, let alone with one from the nineteenth with its confusing excess of symbols for dynamics, tempi, phrasing, and so on, which often made the printing of such scores a complex technical problem.

The Game was at first nothing more than a witty method for developing memory and ingenuity among students and musicians. And as we have said, it was played both in England and Germany before it was ‘invented’ here in the Musical Academy of Cologne, and was given the name it bears to this day, after so many generations, although it has long ceased to have anything to do with glass beads.

The inventor, Bastian Perrot of Calw, a rather eccentric but clever, sociable, and humane musicologist, used glass beads instead of letters, numerals, notes, or other graphic symbols. Perrot, who incidentally has also bequeathed to us a treatise on the Apogee and Decline of Counterpoint, found that the pupils at the Cologne Seminary had a rather elaborate game they used to play. One would call out, in the standardized abbreviations of their science, motifs or initial bars of classical compositions, whereupon the other had to respond with the continuation of the piece, or better still with a higher or lower voice, a contrasting theme, and so forth. It was an exercise in memory and improvisation quite similar to the sort of thing probably in vogue among ardent pupils of counterpoint in the days of Schütz, Pachelbel, and Bach — although it would then not have been done in theoretical formulas, but in practice on the cembalo, lute, or flute, or with the voice.

Bastian Perrot in all probability was a member of the Journeyers to the East. He was partial to handicrafts and had himself built several pianos and clavichords in the ancient style. Legend has it that he was adept at playing the violin in the old way, forgotten since 1800, with a high-arched bow and hand-regulated tension of the bow hairs. Given these interests, it was perhaps only natural that he should have constructed a frame, modeled on a child’s abacus, a frame with several dozen wires on which could be strung glass beads of various sizes, shapes, and colors. The wires corresponded to the lines of the musical staff, the beads to the time-values of the notes, and so on. In this way he could represent with beads musical quotations or invented themes, could alter, transpose, and develop them, change them and set them in counterpoint to one another. In technical terms this was a mere plaything, but the pupils liked it; it was imitated and became fashionable in England too. For a time the game of musical exercises was played in this charmingly primitive manner. And as is so often the case, an enduring and significant institution received its name from a passing and incidental circumstance. For what later evolved out of that students’ sport and Perrot’s bead-strung wires bears to this day the name by which it became popularly known, the Glass Bead Game.

Hermann Hesse

“For although in a certain sense and for light-minded persons non-existent things can be more easily and irresponsibly represented in words than existing things, for the serious and conscientious historian it is just the reverse. Nothing is harder, yet nothing is more necessary, than to speak of certain things whose existence is neither demonstrable nor probable. The very fact that serious and conscientious men treat them as existing things brings them a step closer to existence and to the possibility of being born.”

— “Albertus Secundus,” epigraph to The Glass Bead Game

From DownloadThat.com

(Click to enlarge.)

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10B/100815-ThePaletteSm.jpg

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What “As” Is

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — m759 @ 8:00 PM

or:  Combinatorics (Rota) as Philosophy (Heidegger) as Geometry (Me)

"Dasein’s full existential structure is constituted by
the 'as-structure' or 'well-joined structure' of the rift-design*…"

— Gary Williams, post of January 22, 2010

Background—

Gian-Carlo Rota on Heidegger…

"… The universal as  is given various names in Heidegger's writings….

The discovery of the universal as  is Heidegger's contribution to philosophy….

The universal 'as' is the surgence of sense in Man, the shepherd of Being.

The disclosure of the primordial as  is the end of a search that began with Plato….
This search comes to its conclusion with Heidegger."

— "Three Senses of 'A is B' in Heideggger," Ch. 17 in Indiscrete Thoughts

… and points as separating rifts

Image-- The Three-Point Line: A
 Finite Projective Space

    Click image for details.

* rift-design— Definition by Deborah Levitt

"Rift.  The stroke or rending by which a world worlds, opening both the 'old' world and the self-concealing earth to the possibility of a new world. As well as being this stroke, the rift is the site— the furrow or crack— created by the stroke. As the 'rift design' it is the particular characteristics or traits of this furrow."

— "Heidegger and the Theater of Truth," in Tympanum: A Journal of Comparative Literary Studies, Vol. 1, 1998

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Summa Mythologica

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 10:10 PM

Book review by Jadran Mimica in Oceania, Vol. 74, 2003:

"In his classic essay of 1955 'The Structural Study of Myth' Levi-Strauss came up with a universal formula of mythopeic dynamics

[fx(a) : fy(b) :: fx(b) : fa-1(y)]

that he called canonical 'for it can represent any mythic transformation'. This formulation received its consummation in the four massive Mythologiques volumes, the last of which crystallises the fundamental dialectics of mythopoeic thought: that there is 'one myth only' and the primal ground of this 'one' is 'nothing'. The elucidation of the generative matrix of the myth-work is thus completed as is the self-totalisation of both the thinker and his object."

So there.

At least one mathematician has claimed that the Levi-Strauss formula makes sense. (Jack Morava, arXiv pdf, 2003.)

I prefer the earlier (1943) remarks of Hermann Hesse on transformations of myth:

"…in the spirit of the Glass Bead Game, everything actually was all-meaningful, that every symbol and combination of symbols led not hither and yon, not to single examples, experiments, and proofs, but into the center, the mystery and innermost heart of the world, into primal knowledge. Every transition from major to minor in a sonata, every transformation of a myth or a religious cult, every classical or artistic formulation was, I realized in that flashing moment, if seen with a truly meditative mind, nothing but a direct route into the interior of the cosmic mystery, where in the alternation between inhaling and exhaling, between heaven and earth, between Yin and Yang, holiness is forever being created."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday February 18, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:30 AM

Raiders of
the Lost Well

"The challenge is to
 keep high standards of
 scholarship while maintaining
 showmanship as well."
 

— Olga Raggio, a graduate of the Vatican library school and the University of Rome who, at one point in her almost 60 years with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, organized "The Vatican Collections," a blockbuster show. Dr. Raggio died on January 24.

The next day, "The Last Templar," starring Mira Sorvino, debuted on NBC.
 

Mira Sorvino in 'The Last Templar'

"The story, involving the Knights Templar, the Vatican, sunken treasure, the fate of Christianity and a decoding device that looks as if it came out of a really big box of medieval Cracker Jack, is the latest attempt to combine Indiana Jones derring-do with 'Da Vinci Code' mysticism."

The New York Times

Sorvino in "The Last Templar"
at the Church of the Lost Well:

Mira Sorvino at the Church of the Lost Well in 'The Last Templar'

"One highlight of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's first overseas trip will be a stop in China. Her main mission in Beijing will be to ensure that US-China relations under the new Obama administration get off to a positive start."

— Stephanie Ho, Voice of America Beijing bureau chief, today

Symbol of The Positive,
from this journal
on Valentine's Day:

'Enlarge' symbol from USA Today

"Stephanie started at the Voice of America as an intern in 1991. She left briefly to attend film school in London in 2000. Although she didn't finish, she has always wanted to be a film school dropout, so now she's living one of her dreams.

Stephanie was born in Ohio and grew up in California. She has a bachelor's degree in Asian studies with an emphasis on Chinese history and economics, from the University of California at Berkeley."

"She is fluent in
Mandrin Chinese."
VOA

As is Mira Sorvino.

Chinese character for 'well' and I Ching Hexagram 48, 'The Well'

Those who, like Clinton, Raggio, and
Sorvino's fictional archaeologist in
"The Last Templar," prefer Judeo-
Christian myths to Asian myths,
may convert the above Chinese
"well" symbol to a cross
(or a thick "+" sign)
by filling in five of
the nine spaces outlined
by the well symbol.

In so doing, they of course
run the risk, so dramatically
portrayed by Angelina Jolie
as Lara Croft, of opening
Pandora's Box.

(See Rosalind Krauss, Professor
of Art and Theory at Columbia,
for scholarly details.)

Rosalind Krauss

Krauss

Greek Cross, adapted from painting by Ad Reinhardt

The Krauss Cross

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday October 5, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 4:23 PM
Nash Equilibrium or:
To Make a Short Story Long

Last night's entry presented a
short story summarized by
four lottery numbers.

Today's mid-day lotteries
and associated material:

Pennsylvania, 201– i.e., 2/01:
Kindergarten Theology

Theologian James Edwin Loder:

"In a game of chess, the knight's move is unique because it alone goes around corners. In this way, it combines the continuity of a set sequence with the discontinuity of an unpredictable turn in the middle. This meaningful combination of continuity and discontinuity in an otherwise linear set of possibilities has led some to refer to the creative act of discovery in any field of research as a 'knight's move' in intelligence."

New York, 229– i.e., 2/29:
I Have a Dreamtime

"One must join forces with friends of like mind"

Related material:

Terence McKenna:

"Schizophrenia is not a psychological disorder peculiar to human beings. Schizophrenia is not a disease at all but rather a localized traveling discontinuity of the space time matrix itself. It is like a travelling whirl-wind of radical understanding that haunts time. It haunts time in the same way that Alfred North Whitehead said that the color dove grey 'haunts time like a ghost.'"

Anonymous author:

"'Knight's move thinking' is a psychiatric term describing a thought disorder where in speech the usual logical sequence of ideas is lost, the sufferer jumping from one idea to another with no apparent connection. It is most commonly found in schizophrenia."

Star Wars:
 
John Nash, as portrayed by Russell Crowe

I know more than Apollo,
For oft when he lies sleeping
I see the stars at mortal wars
In the wounded welkin weeping.

Tom O'Bedlam's Song

For more on the sleep of Apollo,
see the front page of today's
New York Times Book Review.

Garrison Keillor's piece there,
"Dying of the Light," is
about the fear of death felt
by an agnostic British twit.

For relevant remarks by
a British non-twit, see
William Dunbar–

Timor Mortis conturbat me.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thursday June 26, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 10:04 AM
Review


Yesterday, June 25, was the 100th anniversay of W.V. Quine’s birth and also the day on the calendar opposite Christmas–  In the parlance of Quine’s son Douglas, Anti-Christmas.

Having survived that ominous date, I feel it is fitting to review what Wallace Stevens called “Credences of Summer”– religious principles for those who feel that faith and doubt are best reconciled by art.


“Credences of Summer,” VII,

by Wallace Stevens, from
Transport to Summer (1947)

“Three times the concentred
     self takes hold, three times
The thrice concentred self,
     having possessed
The object, grips it
     in savage scrutiny,
Once to make captive,
     once to subjugate
Or yield to subjugation,
     once to proclaim
The meaning of the capture,
     this hard prize,
Fully made, fully apparent,
     fully found.”

Definition of Epiphany

From James Joyce’s Stephen Hero, first published posthumously in 1944. The excerpt below is from a version edited by John J. Slocum and Herbert Cahoon (New York: New Directions Press, 1959).

Three Times:

… By an epiphany he meant a sudden spiritual manifestation, whether in the vulgarity of speech or of gesture or in a memorable phase of the mind itself. He believed that it was for the man of letters to record these epiphanies with extreme care, seeing that they themselves are the most delicate and evanescent of moments. He told Cranly that the clock of the Ballast Office was capable of an epiphany. Cranly questioned the inscrutable dial of the Ballast Office with his no less inscrutable countenance:

— Yes, said Stephen. I will pass it time after time, allude to it, refer to it, catch a glimpse of it. It is only an item in the catalogue of Dublin’s street furniture. Then all at once I see it and I know at once what it is: epiphany.

— What?

— Imagine my glimpses at that clock as the gropings of a spiritual eye which seeks to adjust its vision to an exact focus. The moment the focus is reached the object is epiphanised. It is just in this epiphany that I find the third, the supreme quality of beauty.

— Yes? said Cranly absently.

— No esthetic theory, pursued Stephen relentlessly, is of any value which investigates with the aid of the lantern of tradition. What we symbolise in black the Chinaman may symbolise in yellow: each has his own tradition. Greek beauty laughs at Coptic beauty and the American Indian derides them both. It is almost impossible to reconcile all tradition whereas it is by no means impossible to find the justification of every form of beauty which has ever been adored on the earth by an examination into the mechanism of esthetic apprehension whether it be dressed in red, white, yellow or black. We have no reason for thinking that the Chinaman has a different system of digestion from that which we have though our diets are quite dissimilar. The apprehensive faculty must be scrutinised in action.

— Yes …

— You know what Aquinas says: The three things requisite for beauty are, integrity, a wholeness, symmetry and radiance. Some day I will expand that sentence into a treatise. Consider the performance of your own mind when confronted with any object, hypothetically beautiful. Your mind to apprehend that object divides the entire universe into two parts, the object, and the void which is not the object. To apprehend it you must lift it away from everything else: and then you perceive that it is one integral thing, that is a thing. You recognise its integrity. Isn’t that so?

— And then?

— That is the first quality of beauty: it is declared in a simple sudden synthesis of the faculty which apprehends. What then? Analysis then. The mind considers the object in whole and in part, in relation to itself and to other objects, examines the balance of its parts, contemplates the form of the object, traverses every cranny of the structure. So the mind receives the impression of the symmetry of the object. The mind recognises that the object is in the strict sense of the word, a thing, a definitely constituted entity. You see?

— Let us turn back, said Cranly.

They had reached the corner of Grafton St and as the footpath was overcrowded they turned back northwards. Cranly had an inclination to watch the antics of a drunkard who had been ejected from a bar in Suffolk St but Stephen took his arm summarily and led him away.

— Now for the third quality. For a long time I couldn’t make out what Aquinas meant. He uses a figurative word (a very unusual thing for him) but I have solved it. Claritas is quidditas. After the analysis which discovers the second quality the mind makes the only logically possible synthesis and discovers the third quality. This is the moment which I call epiphany. First we recognise that the object is one integral thing, then we recognise that it is an organised composite structure, a thing in fact: finally, when the relation of the parts is exquisite, when the parts are adjusted to the special point, we recognise that it is that thing which it is. Its soul, its whatness, leaps to us from the vestment of its appearance. The soul of the commonest object, the structure of which is so adjusted, seems to us radiant. The object achieves its epiphany.

Having finished his argument Stephen walked on in silence. He felt Cranly’s hostility and he accused himself of having cheapened the eternal images of beauty. For the first time, too, he felt slightly awkward in his friend’s company and to restore a mood of flippant familiarity he glanced up at the clock of the Ballast Office and smiled:

— It has not epiphanised yet, he said.

Under the Volcano,

by Malcolm Lowry,
1947, Chapter VI:

“What have I got out of my life? Contacts with famous men… The occasion Einstein asked me the time, for instance. That summer evening…. smiles when I say I don’t know. And yet asked me. Yes: the great Jew, who has upset the whole world’s notions of time and space, once leaned down… to ask me… ragged freshman… at the first approach of the evening star, the time. And smiled again when I pointed out the clock neither of us had noticed.”

An approach of
the evening star yesterday:

Four-elements figure from webpage 'The Rotation of the Elements'

This figure is from a webpage,
The Rotation of the Elements,”
cited here yesterday evening.

As noted in yesterday’s early-
morning entry on Quine
, the
figure is (without the labels)
a classic symbol of the
evening star.

“The appearance of the evening star brings with it long-standing notions of safety within and danger without. In a letter to Harriet Monroe, written December 23, 1926, Stevens refers to the Sapphic fragment that invokes the genius of evening: ‘Evening star that bringest back all that lightsome Dawn hath scattered afar, thou bringest the sheep, thou bringest the goat, thou bringest the child home to the mother.’ Christmas, writes Stevens, ‘is like Sappho’s evening: it brings us all home to the fold’ (Letters of Wallace Stevens, 248).”

— Barbara Fisher,
“The Archangel of Evening,”
Chapter 5 of Wallace Stevens:
The Intensest Rendezvous
,
The University Press of Virginia, 1990

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tuesday August 14, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 PM
Philip K. Dick,
1928 – 1982

 
on the cover of
a 1987 edition of
his 1959 novel
Time Out of Joint:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07A/070814-timejoin15.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Cover art by Barclay Shaw reprinted
from an earlier (1984) edition

Philip K. Dick as a
window wraith (see below)

The above illustration was suggested by yesterday's quoted New Yorker characterization by Adam Gopnik of Philip K. Dick–

"… the kind of guy who can't drink one cup of coffee without drinking six, and then stays up all night to tell you what Schopenhauer really said and how it affects your understanding of Hitchcock and what that had to do with Christopher Marlowe."

— as well as by the illustrations of Gopnik's characterization in Kernel of Eternity, and by the following passage from Gopnik's 2005 novel The King in the Window:

"What's a window wraith?"

"It's someone who once lived in the ordinary world who lives now in a window, and makes reflections of the people who pass by and look in."

"You mean you are a ghost?!" Oliver asked, suddenly feeling a little terrified.

"Just the opposite, actually. You see, ghosts come from another world and haunt you, but window wraiths are the world. We're the memory of the world. We're here for good. You're the ones who come and go like ghosts. You haunt us."

Related material: As noted, Kernel of Eternity, and also John Tierney's piece on simulated reality in last night's online New York Times. Whether our everyday reality is merely a simulation has long been a theme (as in Dick's novel above) of speculative fiction. Interest in this theme is widespread, perhaps partly because we do exist as simulations– in the minds of other people. These simulations may be accurate or may be– as is perhaps Gopnik's characterization of Philip K. Dick– inaccurate. The accuracy of the simulations is seldom of interest to the simulator, but often of considerable interest to the simulatee.

The cover of the Aug. 20 New Yorker in which the Adam Gopnik essay appears may also be of interest, in view of the material on diagonals in the Log24 entries of Aug. 1 linked to in yesterday's entry:

IMAGE- New Yorker cover echoing Hexagram 14 in the box-style I Ching

"Summer Reading,"
by Joost Swarte

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Tuesday May 8, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 2:56 PM
The Public Square

Center of Town, Cuernavaca, from Paul Goodman's Communitas

On the words “symbology” and “communitas” (the former used, notably, as the name of a fictional field at Harvard in the novel The Da Vinci Code)–

Symbology:

“Also known as ‘processual symbolic analysis,’ this concept was developed by Victor Turner in the mid-1970s to refer to the use of symbols within cultural contexts, in particular ritual. In anthropology, symbology originated as part of Victor Turner’s concept of ‘comparative symbology.’ Turner (1920-1983) was professor of Anthropology at Cornell University, the University of Chicago, and finally he was Professor of Anthropology and Religion at the University of Virginia.” —Wikipedia

Symbology and Communitas:

 From Beth Barrie’s
  Victor Turner
“‘The positional meaning of a symbol derives from its relationship to other symbols in a totality, a Gestalt, whose elements acquire their significance from the system as a whole’ (Turner, 1967:51). Turner considered himself a comparative symbologist, which suggests he valued his contributions to the study of ritual symbols. It is in the closely related study of ritual processes that he had the most impact.

The most important contribution Turner made to the field of anthropology is his work on liminality and communitas. Believing the liminal stage to be of ‘crucial importance’ in the ritual process, Turner explored the idea of liminality more seriously than other anthropologists of his day.

As noted earlier Turner elaborated on van Gennep’s concept of liminality in rites of passage. Liminality is a state of being in between phases. In a rite of passage the individual in the liminal phase is neither a member of the group she previously belonged to nor is she a member of the group she will belong to upon the completion of the rite. The most obvious example is the teenager who is neither an adult nor a child. ‘Liminal entities are neither here nor there; they are betwixt and between the positions assigned and arrayed by law, custom, convention, and ceremonial’ (Turner, 1969:95). Turner extended the liminal concept to modern societies in his study of liminoid phenomena in western society. He pointed out the similarities between the ‘leisure genres of art and entertainment in complex industrial societies and the rituals and myths of archaic, tribal and early agrarian cultures’ (1977:43).

Closely associated to liminality is communitas which describes a society during a liminal period that is ‘unstructured or rudimentarily structured [with] a relatively undifferentiated comitatus, community, or even communion of equal individuals who submit together to the general authority of the ritual elders’ (Turner, 1969:96).

The notion of communitas is enhanced by Turner’s concept of anti-structure. In the following passage Turner clarifies the ideas of liminal, communitas and anti-structure:

I have used the term ‘anti-structure,’… to describe both liminality and what I have called ‘communitas.’ I meant by it not a structural reversal… but the liberation of human capacities of cognition, affect, volition, creativity, etc., from the normative constraints incumbent upon occupying a sequence of social statuses (1982:44).

It is the potential of an anti-structured liminal person or liminal society (i.e., communitas) that makes Turner’s ideas so engaging. People or societies in a liminal phase are a ‘kind of institutional capsule or pocket which contains the germ of future social developments, of societal change’ (Turner, 1982:45).

Turner’s ideas on liminality and communitas have provided scholars with language to describe the state in which societal change takes place.”

Turner, V. (1967). The forest of symbols: Aspects of Ndembu ritual. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Turner, V. (1969). The ritual process: structure and anti-structure. Chicago: Aldine Publishing Co.

Turner, V. (1977). Variations of the theme of liminality. In Secular ritual. Ed. S. Moore & B. Myerhoff. Assen: Van Gorcum, 36-52.

Turner, V. (1982). From ritual to theater: The human seriousness of play. New York: PAJ Publications.

Related material on Turner in Log24:

Aug. 27, 2006 and Aug. 30, 2006.  For further context, see archive of Aug. 19-31, 2006.

Related material on Cuernavaca:

Google search on Cuernavaca + Log24.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Friday February 16, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 6:16 AM

The Judas Seat

Janet Maslin in today’s New York Times:

“The much-borrowed Brown formula involves some very specific things. The name of a great artist, artifact or historical figure must be in the book’s story, not to mention on its cover. The narrative must start in the present day with a bizarre killing, then use that killing as a reason to investigate the past. And the past must yield a secret so big, so stunning, so saber-rattling that all of civilization may be changed by it. Probably not for the better.

This formula is neatly summarized….”

Cover illustration
for
The Judas Seat:
The Narrative:

The Secret:

Part I

“Little ‘Jack’ Horner was actually Thomas Horner, steward to the Abbot of Glastonbury during the reign of King Henry VIII…. Always keen to raise fresh funds, Henry had shown a interest in Glastonbury (and other abbeys). Hoping to appease the royal appetite, the nervous Abbot, Richard Whiting, allegedly sent Thomas Horner to the King with a special gift. This was a pie containing the title deeds to twelve manor houses in the hope that these would deflect the King from acquiring Glastonbury Abbey. On his way to London, the not so loyal courier Horner apparently stuck his thumb into the pie and extracted the deeds for Mells Manor, a plum piece of real estate. The attempted bribe failed and the dissolution of the monasteries (including Glastonbury) went ahead from 1536 to 1540. Richard Whiting was subsequently executed, but the Horner family kept the house, so the moral of this one is: treachery and greed pay off, but bribery is a bad idea.” –Chris Roberts, Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind the Rhyme

Part II

“The Grail Table has thirteen seats, one of which is kept vacant in memory of Judas Iscariot who betrayed Christ.” —Symbolism of King Arthur’s Round Table

“In medieval romance, the grail was said to have been brought to Glastonbury in Britain by Joseph of Arimathea and his followers. In the time of Arthur, the quest for the Grail was the highest spiritual pursuit.” —The Camelot Project

Part III

The Log24 entry
for the date–
February 13, 2007–
of the above Bible scholar’s death,

and the three entries preceding it:

“And what the dead had no speech for, when living,
they can tell you, being dead:
the communication of the dead is tongued with fire
beyond the language of the living.”

— T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Wednesday July 5, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 11:07 PM

Solemn Dance
 
Virgil on the Elysian Fields:

  Some wrestle on the sands, and some in play
  And games heroic pass the hours away.
  Those raise the song divine, and these advance
  In measur'd steps to form the solemn dance.

(See also the previous two entries.)
 

Bulletin of the
American
Mathematical Society,
July 2006 (pdf):

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060705-Dioph1.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

"The cover of this issue of the Bulletin is the frontispiece to a volume of Samuel de Fermat’s 1670 edition of Bachet’s Latin translation of Diophantus’s Arithmetica. This edition includes the marginalia of the editor’s father, Pierre de Fermat.  Among these notes one finds the elder Fermat’s extraordinary comment [c. 1637] in connection with the Pythagorean equation x2 + y2 = z2, the marginal comment that hints at the existence of a proof (a demonstratio sane mirabilis) of what has come to be known as Fermat’s Last Theorem."

— Barry Mazur, Gade University Professor at Harvard

Mazur's concluding remarks are as follows:
 

"But however you classify the branch of mathematics it is concerned with, Diophantus’s Arithmetica can claim the title of founding document, and inspiring muse, to modern number theory. This brings us back to the goddess with her lyre in the frontispiece, which is the cover of this issue. As is only fitting, given the passion of the subject, this goddess is surely Erato, muse of erotic poetry."

Mazur has admitted, at his website, that this conclusion was an error:

"I erroneously identified the figure on the cover as Erato, muse of erotic poetry, but it seems, rather, to be Orpheus."

"Seems"? 

The inscription on the frontispiece, "Obloquitur numeris septem discrimina vocum," is from a description of the Elysian Fields in Virgil's Aeneid, Book VI:

  His demum exactis, perfecto munere divae,
  Devenere locos laetos, & amoena vireta
  Fortunatorum nemorum, sedesque beatas.
  Largior hic campos aether & lumine vestit
  Purpureo; solemque suum, sua sidera norunt.
  Pars in gramineis exercent membra palaestris,
  Contendunt ludo, & fulva luctanter arena:
  Pars pedibus plaudunt choreas, & carmina dicunt.
  Necnon Threicius longa cum veste sacerdos
  Obloquitur numeris septem discrimina vocum:
  Jamque eadem digitis, jam pectine pulsat eburno.
PITT:

  These rites compleat, they reach the flow'ry plains,
  The verdant groves, where endless pleasure reigns.
  Here glowing AEther shoots a purple ray,
  And o'er the region pours a double day.
  From sky to sky th'unwearied splendour runs,
  And nobler planets roll round brighter suns.
  Some wrestle on the sands, and some in play
  And games heroic pass the hours away.
  Those raise the song divine, and these advance
  In measur'd steps to form the solemn dance.
  There Orpheus graceful in his long attire,
  In seven divisions strikes the sounding lyre;
  Across the chords the quivering quill he flings,
  Or with his flying fingers sweeps the strings.

DRYDEN:

  These holy rites perform'd, they took their way,
  Where long extended plains of pleasure lay.
  The verdant fields with those of heav'n may vie;
  With AEther veiled, and a purple sky:
  The blissful seats of happy souls below;
  Stars of their own, and their own suns they know.
  Their airy limbs in sports they exercise,
  And on the green contend the wrestlers prize.
  Some in heroic verse divinely sing,
  Others in artful measures lead the ring.
  The Thracian bard surrounded by the rest,
  There stands conspicuous in his flowing vest.
  His flying fingers, and harmonious quill,
  Strike seven distinguish'd notes, and seven at once they fill.

It is perhaps not irrelevant that the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's next role would have been that of Orfeo in Gluck's "Orfeo ed Euridice."  See today's earlier entries.

The poets among us may like to think of Mazur's own role as that of the lyre:

"You are the words,
I am the tune;
Play me."

Neil Diamond    

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Sunday June 18, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 7:59 AM
Father’s Day

For Mel Gibson,
who may or may not
see a parallel here.

IMDb Trivia for Music Box (1989)

  • After the movie was released, screenwriter Joe Eszterhas‘s own father Istvan Eszterhas was accused of war crimes in Hungary by printing anti-Semitic editorials and even organizing a book burning.
  • Both Kirk Douglas and Walter Matthau wanted to play the father….
Once a son,
now a father:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060618-Eszterhas.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

“He spent his earliest years in post WWII–refugee camps. He came to America and grew up in Cleveland–stealing cars, rolling drunks, battling priests, nearly going to jail. He became the screenwriter of the worldwide hits Basic Instinct, Jagged Edge, and Flashdance. He also wrote the legendary disasters Showgirls and Jade. The rebellion never ended, even as his films went on to gross more than a billion dollars at the box office and he became the most famous–or infamous–screenwriter in Hollywood. Joe Eszterhas is a complex and paradoxical figure: part outlaw and outsider combined with equal parts romantic and moralist. More than one person has called him ‘the devil.’ He has been referred to as ‘the most reviled man in America.’ But Time asked, ‘If Shakespeare were alive today, would his name be Joe Eszterhas?'”

Random House promotional material

And eventually to become
a holy ghost…

“Yea, though I walk
through the valley of death
I will fear no evil,
for I am the meanest
son of a bitch
in the valley.”

Karl Cullinane

in The Silver Crown,
by Joel Rosenberg

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Wednesday May 3, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 1:00 PM
Ontology Alignment
continued

“Mathematics ushers one into the realm of abstraction and universality, grasped only through pure reason.  Mathematics is the threshold we cross to pass into the ideal, the truly real.”

     — Rebecca Goldstein,
       Mathematics and
       the Character of Tragedy

Pennsylvania Lottery:

The winning numbers
for Tuesday, May 2–
the feast of
St. Athanasius:

Mid-day 703
Evening 462

“You gotta be true to your code”
— Sinatra (see previous entry)

 Dewey Decimal Code:

703 The Arts:
       Dictionaries &
       Encyclopedias
462 Spanish Etymology

Related material:

For the arts, see
the previous entry.
For Spanish etymology,
see the remarks on
a Spanish word in
Plato, Pegasus, and
the Evening Star,
a note linked to in the
April 30 memorial entry
for John Kenneth Galbraith.

The numbers 703 and 462 are, in Goldstein’s phrase, “truly real.”  However, their link to St. Athanasius and to the Spanish language is, as purveyors of fiction* say, “purely coincidental”– as is much of what makes life interesting.

“All persons living and dead are purely coincidental….”– Kurt Vonnegut, epigraph to Bagombo Snuff Box

* For instance,
   David Auburn in Proof,

   The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060503-DrLecter2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

   which also involves
   Dewey decimal numbers

Friday, February 24, 2006

Friday February 24, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:31 PM

Final Club

For the feast of St. Matthias
(traditional calendar)–
from Amazon.com, a quoted Library Journal review of Geoffrey Wolff‘s novel The Final Club:

“‘What other colleges call fraternities, Princeton calls Eating Clubs. The Final Club is a group of 12 Princeton seniors in 1958 who make their own, distinctive club….
Young adults may find this interesting, but older readers need not join The Final Club.’
— Previewed in Prepub Alert, Library Journal 5/1/90.  Paul E. Hutchison, Fisherman’s Paradise, Bellefonte, Pa. Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.”

From The Archivist, by Martha Cooley:

“Although I’ve always been called Matt, my first name isn’t Matthew but Matthias: after the disciple who replaced Judas Iscariot.  By the time I was four, I knew a great deal about my namesake.  More than once my mother read to me, from the New Testament, the story of how Matthias had been chosen by lot to take the place of dreadful Judas.  Listening, I felt a large and frightened sympathy for my predecessor.  No doubt a dark aura hung over Judas’s chair– something like the pervasive, bitter odor of Pall Malls in my father’s corner of the sofa.
As far as my mother was concerned, the lot of Matthias was the unquestionable outcome of an activity that seemed capricious to me: a stone-toss by the disciples.  I tried with difficulty to picture a dozen men dressed in dust-colored robes and sandals, playing a child’s game.  One of the Twelve had to carry on, my mother explained, after Judas had perpetrated his evil.  The seat couldn’t be left empty.  Hence Matthias: the Lord’s servants had pitched their stones, and his had traveled the farthest.”

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Wednesday November 30, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 8:20 PM

Hobgoblin?

Brian Davies is a professor of mathematics at King’s College London.  In the December Notices of the American Mathematical Society, he claims that arithmetic may, for all we know, be inconsistent:

“Gödel taught us that it is not possible to prove that Peano arithmetic is consistent, but everyone has taken it for granted that in fact it is indeed consistent.
    Platonistically-inclined mathematicians would deny the possibility that Peano arithmetic could be flawed.  From Kronecker onwards many consider that they have a direct insight into the natural numbers, which guarantees their existence. If the natural numbers exist and Peano’s axioms describe properties that they possess then, since the axioms can be instantiated, they must be consistent.”

“It is not possible to prove that Peano arithmetic is consistent”…?!

Where did Gödel say this?  Gödel proved, in fact, according to a well-known mathematician at Princeton, that (letting PA stand for Peano Arithmetic),

“If PA is consistent, the formula expressing ‘PA is consistent’ is unprovable in PA.”

— Edward Nelson,
   Mathematics and Faith (pdf)

Remarkably, even after he has stated correctly Gödel’s result, Nelson, like Davies, concludes that

“The consistency of PA cannot be concretely demonstrated.”

I prefer the argument that the existence of a model ensures the consistency of a theory.

For instance, the Toronto philosopher William Seager writes that

“Our judgement as to the consistency of some system is not dependent upon that system’s being able to prove its own consistency (i.e. generate a formula that states, e.g. ‘0=1’ is not provable). For if that was the sole basis, how could we trust it? If the system was inconsistent, it could generate this formula as well (see Smullyan, Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems, (Oxford, 1992, p. 109)). Furthermore, [George] Boolos allows that we do know that certain systems, such as Peano Arithmetic, are consistent even though they cannot prove their own consistency. Presumably, we know this because we can see that a certain model satisfies the axioms of the system at issue, hence that they are true in that model and so must be consistent.”

Yesterday’s Algorithm:
    Penrose and the Gödel Argument

The relationship between consistency and the existence of a model is brought home by the following weblog entry that neatly summarizes a fallacious argument offered in the AMS Notices by Davies:

The following is an interesting example that I came across in the article “Whither Mathematics?” by Brian Davies in the December issue of Notices of the American Mathematical Society.

Consider the following list A1 of axioms.

(1) There is a natural number 0.
(2) Every natural number a has a successor, denoted by S(a).
(3) There is no natural number whose successor is 0.
(4) Distinct natural numbers have distinct successors: a = b if and only if S(a) = S(b).
(5) If a property is possessed by 0 and also by the successor of every natural number which possesses it, then it is possessed by all the natural numbers.

Now consider the following list A2 of axioms.

(1) G is a set of elements and these elements obey the group axioms.
(2) G is finite but not isomorphic to any known list of finite simple groups.
(3) G is simple, in other words, if N is a subset of G satisfying certain properties then N=G.

We can roughly compare A2 with A1. The second axiom in A2 can be thought of as analogous to the third axiom of A1. Also the third axiom of A2 is analogous to the fifth axiom of A1, insofar as it refers to an unspecified set with cetain properties and concludes that it is equal to G.

Now, as is generally believed by most group theorists, the system A2 is internally inconsistent and the proof its inconsistency runs for more than 10000 pages.

So who is to deny that the system A1 is also probably internally inconsistent! Particularly since Godel proved that you can not prove it is consistent (staying inside the system). May be the shortest proof of its inconsistency is one hundred million pages long!

— Posted by Krishna,
   11/29/2005 11:46:00 PM,
   at his weblog,
  “Quasi-Coherent Ruminations”

An important difference between A1 (the set of axioms of Peano arithmetic) and A2 (a set of axioms that describe a new, unknown, finite simple group) is that A1 is known to have a model (the nonnegative integers) and A2 is not known to have a model.

Therefore, according to Seager’s argument, A1 is consistent and A2 may or may not be consistent.

The degree to which Seager’s argument invokes Platonic realism is debatable.  Less debatable is the quasireligious faith in nominalism proclaimed by Davies and Nelson.  Nelson’s own account of a religious experience in 1976 at Toronto is instructive.

I must relate how I lost my faith in Pythagorean numbers. One morning at the 1976 Summer Meeting of the American Mathematical Society in Toronto, I woke early. As I lay meditating about numbers, I felt the momentary overwhelming presence of one who convicted me of arrogance for my belief in the real existence of an infinite world of numbers, leaving me like an infant in a crib reduced to counting on my fingers. Now I live in a world in which there are no numbers save those that human beings on occasion construct.

— Edward Nelson,
   Mathematics and Faith (pdf)

Nelson’s “Mathematics and Faith” was written for the Jubilee for Men and Women from the World of Learning held at the Vatican, 23-24 May 2000.  It concludes with an invocation of St. Paul:

During my first stay in Rome I used to play chess with Ernesto Buonaiuti. In his writings and in his life, Buonaiuti with passionate eloquence opposed the reification of human abstractions. I close by quoting one sentence from his Pellegrino di Roma.  “For [St. Paul] abstract truth, absolute laws, do not exist, because all of our thinking is subordinated to the construction of this holy temple of the Spirit, whose manifestations are not abstract ideas, but fruits of goodness, of peace, of charity and forgiveness.”

— Edward Nelson,
   Mathematics and Faith (pdf)

Belief in the consistency of arithmetic may or may not be foolish, and therefore an Emersonian hobgoblin of little minds, but bullshit is bullshit, whether in London, in Princeton, in Toronto, or in Rome.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Tuesday November 1, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Antidote to Atiyah

In a recent talk, "The Nature of Space," Sir Michael Atiyah gave a misleading description of Plato's doctrine of "ideas," or "idealism."  Atiyah said that according to Plato, ideas reside in  "an imaginary world–  the world of the mind," and that what we see in the external world is "some pale reflection" of ideas in the mind.

An antidote to Atiyah's nonsense may be found in the Catholic Encyclopedia:

"So it came to pass that the word idea in various languages took on more and more the meaning of 'representation,' 'mental image,' and the like. Hence too, there was gradually introduced the terminology which we find in the writings of Berkeley, and according to which idealism is the doctrine that ascribes reality to our ideas, i.e. our representations, but denies the reality of the physical world. This sort of idealism is just the reverse of that which was held by the philosophers of antiquity and their Christian successors; it does away with the reality of ideal principles by confining them exclusively to the thinking subject; it is a spurious idealism…."

Atiyah contrasts his mistaken view of Plato with what he calls the "realism" of Hume.  He does not mention that Plato's doctrine of ideas is also known as "realism."  For details, see, again, the Catholic Encyclopedia:

"The conciliation of the one and the many, the changing and the permanent, was a favourite problem with the Greeks; it leads to the problem of universals. The typical affirmation of Exaggerated Realism, the most outspoken ever made, appears in Plato's philosophy; the real must possess the attributes of necessity, universality, unity, and immutability which are found in our intellectual representations. And as the sensible world contains only the contingent, the particular, the unstable, it follows that the real exists outside and above the sensible world. Plato calls it eîdos, idea. The idea is absolutely stable and exists by itself (ontos on; auta kath' auta), isolated from the phenomenal world, distinct from the Divine and human intellect…. The exaggerated Realism of Plato… is the principal doctrine of his metaphysics."
 
Atiyah's misleading remarks may appeal to believers in the contemptible religion of Scientism, but they have little to do with either historical reality or authentic philosophy.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Sunday November 21, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 9:00 PM

A Burning Cross
for Ireland

Friday's entries included a cross-burning in honor of the late Protestant activist Bobby Frank Cherry and of a 1963 bombing in Birmingham, Alabama:
 

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04B/041121-Flame.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Click on picture for details.

The following honors today's 30th anniversary of other bombings, apparently by Catholics, in another Birmingham in England.
 
" 'Caritas' is a Latin word which means love, charity and compassion. The international symbol of Caritas is a flaming cross, symbolising Christ’s burning love for his people."

— Catholic Lay Organisations of Darwin, Australia

For Gerry Adams and
all the Catholics of Ireland,
 here's a hunka hunka
burnin' love:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04B/041121-Cross.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Click on picture for details.
 

Sunday, November 7, 2004

Sunday November 7, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 5:55 PM
Big Fish

In honor of the reversion of Leningrad
to its former name, St. Petersburg,
and in honor of the late Howard Keel,
who died this morning:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04B/041107-Keel3.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04B/041107-Dallas2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

SSN 700, The USS Dallas:

“USS Dallas is the 13th Los Angeles class
nuclear powered attack submarine.
The boat plays a very prominent part
in Tom Clancy’s Hunt for Red October.”

Friday, September 17, 2004

Friday September 17, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 3:57 PM

3:57:09…
Time is a Weapon

In memory of rock star and NRA member Johnny Ramone, who died on Wednesday, Sept. 15:

“You’ve got to ask yourself a question.”
Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry

“At the end, when the agent pumps Neo full of lead, the agent is using a .357 Magnum. That gun only holds 9 bullets, but the agent shoots 10 shots at Neo. I don’t know where he got that gun.”

— Jesse Baumann,
    The Matrix: The Magic Bullet 

Manufacturer:
Ta’as Israel Industries,
Ramat Hasharon, Israel

Friday, August 01, 2003:

Fearful Meditation 

Ray Price - Time

TIME, Aug. 4, 2003

Ray Price — Time

“The Max D. Barnes-penned title track, with its stark-reality lyrics, is nothing short of haunting: ‘Time is a weapon, it’s cold and it’s cruel; It knows no religion and plays by no rules; Time has no conscience when it’s all said and done; Like a beast in the jungle that devours its young.’ That’s so good, it hurts! Price’s still-amazing vocals are simply the chilling icing on the cake.”

— Lisa Berg, NashvilleCountry.com

O fearful meditation!
Where, alack,
Shall time’s best jewel
from time’s chest lie hid?

— Shakespeare, Sonnet 65

Clue: click here.  This in turn leads to my March 4 entry Fearful Symmetry, which contains the following:

“Every transition from major to minor in a sonata, every transformation of a myth or a religious cult, every classical or artistic formulation was, I realized in that flashing moment, if seen with a truly meditative mind, nothing but a direct route into the interior of the cosmic mystery….”

— Hermann Hesse, The Glass Bead Game

“How strange the change from major to minor….”

— Cole Porter, “Every Time We Say Goodbye

Friday September 17, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 PM

God is in…
The Details

From an entry for Aug. 19, 2003 on
conciseness, simplicity, and objectivity:

Above: Dr. Harrison Pope, Harvard professor of psychiatry, demonstrates the use of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale “block design” subtest.

Another Harvard psychiatrist, Armand Nicholi, is in the news lately with his book The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life.

Pope

Nicholi

Old
Testament
Logos

New
Testament
Logos

For the meaning of the Old-Testament logos above, see the remarks of Plato on the immortality of the soul at

Cut-the-Knot.org.

For the meaning of the New-Testament logos above, see the remarks of R. P. Langlands at

The Institute for Advanced Study.

On Harvard and psychiatry: see

The Crimson Passion:
A Drama at Mardi Gras

(February 24, 2004)

This is a reductio ad absurdum of the Harvard philosophy so eloquently described by Alston Chase in his study of Harvard and the making of the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski.  Kaczynski’s time at Harvard overlapped slightly with mine, so I probably saw him in Cambridge at some point.  Chase writes that at Harvard, the Unabomber “absorbed the message of positivism, which demanded value-neutral reasoning and preached that (as Kaczynski would later express it in his journal) ‘there is no logical justification for morality.'” I was less impressed by Harvard positivism, although I did benefit from a course in symbolic logic from Quine.  At that time– the early 60’s– little remained at Harvard of what Robert Stone has called “our secret culture,” that of the founding Puritans– exemplified by Cotton and Increase Mather.

From Robert Stone, A Flag for Sunrise:

“Our secret culture is as frivolous as a willow on a tombstone.  It’s a wonderful thing– or it was.  It was strong and dreadful, it was majestic and ruthless.  It was a stranger to pity.  And it’s not for sale, ladies and gentlemen.”

Some traces of that culture:

A web page
in Australia:

A contemporary
Boston author:

Click on pictures for details.

A more appealing view of faith was offered by PBS on Wednesday night, the beginning of this year’s High Holy Days:

Armand Nicholi: But how can you believe something that you don’t think is true, I mean, certainly, an intelligent person can’t embrace something that they don’t think is true — that there’s something about us that would object to that.

Jeremy Fraiberg: Well, the answer is, they probably do believe it’s true.

Armand Nicholi: But how do they get there? See, that’s why both Freud and Lewis was very interested in that one basic question. Is there an intelligence beyond the universe? And how do we answer that question? And how do we arrive at the answer of that question?

Michael Shermer: Well, in a way this is an empirical question, right? Either there is or there isn’t.

Armand Nicholi: Exactly.

Michael Shermer: And either we can figure it out or we can’t, and therefore, you just take the leap of faith or you don’t.

Armand Nicholi: Yeah, now how can we figure it out?

Winifred Gallagher: I think something that was perhaps not as common in their day as is common now — this idea that we’re acting as if belief and unbelief were two really radically black and white different things, and I think for most people, there’s a very — it’s a very fuzzy line, so that —

Margaret Klenck: It’s always a struggle.

Winifred Gallagher: Rather than — I think there’s some days I believe, and some days I don’t believe so much, or maybe some days I don’t believe at all.

Doug Holladay: Some hours.

Winifred Gallagher: It’s a, it’s a process. And I think for me the big developmental step in my spiritual life was that — in some way that I can’t understand or explain that God is right here right now all the time, everywhere.

Armand Nicholi: How do you experience that?

Winifred Gallagher: I experience it through a glass darkly, I experience it in little bursts. I think my understanding of it is that it’s, it’s always true, and sometimes I can see it and sometimes I can’t. Or sometimes I remember that it’s true, and then everything is in Technicolor. And then most of the time it’s not, and I have to go on faith until the next time I can perhaps see it again. I think of a divine reality, an ultimate reality, uh, would be my definition of God.

Winifred
Gallagher

Sangaku

Gallagher seemed to be the only participant in the PBS discussion that came close to the Montessori ideals of conciseness, simplicity, and objectivity.  Dr. Montessori intended these as ideals for teachers, but they seem also to be excellent religious values.  Just as the willow-tombstone seems suited to Geoffrey Hill‘s style, the Pythagorean sangaku pictured above seems appropriate to the admirable Gallagher.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Monday August 30, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:07 PM

Q.E.D.

A Log24 entry of Aug. 17, 2004, on the
three Semitic (or “Abrahamic”) religions:

“Looney.”

From Scotsman.com News
Mon., 30 Aug., 2004
11:43 AM (UK)

Ex-Priest Sentenced
for Disrupting Marathon

By Pat Hurst, PA News, in Athens

An ex-priest who lives in Britain was given a 12-month suspended sentence today for disrupting the men’s Olympic marathon in Athens.

Cornelius Horan, 57, a former Catholic priest living in London, appeared before a Greek judge this morning, local police said.

He was sentenced and released from custody but his whereabouts are unknown.

Irishman Horan, originally from Kerry, dashed from the sidelines to attack the marathon front-runner during yesterday’s event.

He told officers he staged the disruption to “prepare for the second coming”.

A police spokesman said: “He has got mental problems. He is not very well.

“His only explanation for his behaviour was that it was for the second coming.”

Horan also disrupted last year’s Silverstone Formula One Grand Prix by dashing across the track.

Leslie Broad, of Deunant Books, which publishes Mr Horan’s books on its website, said: “We publish two of his books on biblical prophecies and he seems to be fairly convinced that the second coming is due fairly shortly.

“After the incident at Silverstone, he did say he would never do anything like that again.

“He comes across as a shy, very intelligent and compassionate man but as is often the way with people who are very intelligent, it sometimes manifests itself in very strange ways.

“I think he found prison a fairly uplifting experience. He came out feeling that he had met a lot of people he wouldn’t normally have met, people who had committed serious crimes.”

Horan’s victim yesterday, Vanderlei De Lima, from Brazil, was at the head of the race just three miles from the finish.

Horan grabbed him and bundled him into spectators at the side of the road.

After a scuffle, the runner managed to get away, but he was clearly ruffled and finished third.

The Brazilian Olympic Committee put in an official complaint to the Greeks and at one point the final medal ceremony to be staged during the closing ceremony was in doubt.

Horan was arrested and taken to the General Police Division of Attica, where he stayed overnight.

Author biography
from
Deunant Books:

Father Cornelius (“Neil”) Horan


Horan

“Neil Horan was born in 1947, in Scartaglen, County Kerry, in the Republic of Ireland. After schooling in Ireland he was ordained a Catholic Priest in Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Killarney, in 1973.

He has served all his priestly life in the Southwark Diocese, covering London south of the River Thames and Kent, his first Parish being Bexley in Kent. His interest in Bible prophecy began when he attended a lecture in 1974, given by the Apostolic Fellowship of Christ, a group which had originated with the Christadelphians. Meaning ‘Brothers in Christ’, the Christadelphians were a small Church formed in 1861 by Dr John Thomas. Father Horan says he owes a debt of gratitude to the Christadelphian tradition for the understanding of the Bible which they gave him. He regards the Bible as the greatest Book in the world and has devoted his life to making it better known, especially the Prophecies.

He is not a prophet, considering himself to be merely an interpreter, has never received a Divine message or vision, and God has never spoken to him. He feels that he is right only in so far as he interprets the Book of Books correctly.

He is still a Catholic Priest, listed in the Catholic Directory under his full name of Cornelius Horan. Cornelius, a Centurian [sic] in the Roman army, was the first Christian convert; Father Horan is proud to bear that name and hopes to meet his famous namesake soon, when Jesus comes.”

A Glorious New World
by Father Neil Horan

“Are there passages in the Bible that foretell events that were, at the time it was written, far in the future? Father Neil Horan argues eloquently, knowledgeably and persuasively in this book, first published in 1985, that this is so. It is easy to scoff at predictions of events that were, according to the book, to have taken place a few years ago but which have not happened, but to do that would be wrong. With only the most subtle changes of emphasis in interpretation, it could just as easily be argued that events in the Middle East particularly have to a large degree fulfilled the prophecies for the years since 1985.

Then there are the events yet to come. They are, according to the author and his sources, to be the most significant in the history of mankind, and are going to happen soon. With a little thought, certain current-day world figures are a disconcertingly comfortable match for some of the characters who will act out the earth-shattering dramas to come. Even the most hardened cynic will get that prickly feeling down the back of his neck as he reads this book.

Taken together with Father Horan’s later work ‘Christ Will Soon Take Power From All Governments’ (also available from Deunant Books) the two books represent one of the most remarkable and significant bodies of work seen in this field for many, many years.”

Deunant Books on Theology

Ludwig Wittgenstein,
Philosophical Investigations:

373. Grammar tells what kind of object anything is. (Theology as grammar.)

Grammar and Geometry:
The Euclidean Proposition,
by J. B. Calvert:

For more on Wittgenstein, theology, and grammar, see the Log24

entries of Jan. 14, 2004.

Related material:

God Goes Hollywood,
by Jeremiah Cullinane

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Wednesday August 11, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 5:35 AM

Battle of Gods and Giants,
Part II:

Wonders of the Invisible World

Yesterday at about 5 PM I added a section titled "Invariants" to the 3:01 PM entry Battle of Gods and Giants.  Within this added section was the sentence

"This sort of mathematics illustrates the invisible 'form' or 'idea' behind the visible two-color pattern."

Now, at about 5 AM, I see in today's New York Times a review of a book titled The Invisible Century, by Richard Panek.  The reviewer, David Gelernter, says the "invisible" of the title refers to

"science that is done not by studying what you can see…. but by repairing instead to the privacy of your own mind, with the shades drawn and the lights off: the inner sanctum of intellectual history."

The book concerns the research of Einstein and Freud.  Gelernter says

"As Mr. Panek usefully notes, Einstein himself first called his work an 'invariant theory,' not a 'relativity theory.' Einstein does not say 'everything is relative,' or anything remotely like it."

The reader who clicks on the word "invariants" in Battle of Gods and Giants will receive the same information.

Gelernter's conclusion:

"The Invisible Century is a complex book about a complex topic. Mr. Panek's own topic is not so much invisibility, it seems to me, as a different kind of visibility, centering on mind-pictures revealed by introspection, which are just as sharp and clear as (for example) the mind-music Beethoven heard when he was deaf.

Inner visibility is a fascinating topic…."

As is synchronicity, a topic in the work of a greater man than Freud– Carl Jung.  The above remarks may be viewed as "synchronicity made visible."

All of this was, of course, foreshadowed in my web page "A Mathematician's Aesthetics" of August 2000:

C. G. Jung on Archetypes
and Visible Reality:

"All the most powerful ideas in history go back to archetypes. This is particularly true of religious ideas, but the central concepts of science, philosophy, and ethics are no exception to this rule. In their present form they are variants of archetypal ideas, created by consciously applying and adapting these ideas to reality. For it is the function of consciousness not only to recognize and assimilate the external world through the gateway of the senses, but to translate into visible reality the world within us."

— Carl Gustav Jung, "The Structure of the Psyche" (1927), in Collected Works Vol. 8, Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche, P. 342

Paul Klee on Visible Reality:

"Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible…. My aim is always to get hold of the magic of reality and to transfer this reality into painting– to make the invisible visible through reality. It may sound paradoxical, but it is, in fact, reality which forms the mystery of our existence."

— Paul Klee, "Creative Credo" from The Inward Vision: Watercolors, Drawings, Writings. Abrams, not dated; published c. 1958.

Wallace Stevens on
the Visibility of Archetypes:

"These forms are visible
     to the eye that needs,
Needs out of the whole
     necessity of sight."

— Wallace Stevens, "The Owl in the Sarcophagus," (first publ. 1950) in
Collected Poetry and Prose, Library of America, 1997

Tuesday, April 6, 2004

Tuesday April 6, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:00 PM

Ideas and Art, Part III

The first idea was not our own.  Adam
In Eden was the father of Descartes…

— Wallace Stevens, from
Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction

“Quaedam ex his tanquam rerum imagines sunt, quibus solis proprie convenit ideae nomen: ut cùm hominem, vel Chimaeram, vel Coelum, vel Angelum, vel Deum cogito.”

Descartes, Meditationes III, 5

“Of my thoughts some are, as it were, images of things, and to these alone properly belongs the name idea; as when I think [represent to my mind] a man, a chimera, the sky, an angel or God.”

Descartes, Meditations III, 5

Begin, ephebe, by perceiving the idea
Of this invention, this invented world,
The inconceivable idea of the sun.

You must become an ignorant man again
And see the sun again with an ignorant eye
And see it clearly in the idea of it.

— Wallace Stevens, from
Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction

“… Quinimo in multis saepe magnum discrimen videor deprehendisse: ut, exempli causâ, duas diversas solis ideas apud me invenio, unam tanquam a sensibus haustam, & quae maxime inter illas quas adventitias existimo est recensenda, per quam mihi valde parvus apparet, aliam verò ex rationibus Astronomiae desumptam, hoc est ex notionibus quibusdam mihi innatis elicitam, vel quocumque alio modo a me factam, per quam aliquoties major quàm terra exhibetur; utraque profecto similis eidem soli extra me existenti esse non potest, & ratio persuadet illam ei maxime esse dissimilem, quae quàm proxime ab ipso videtur emanasse.”

Descartes, Meditationes III, 11

“… I have observed, in a number of instances, that there was a great difference between the object and its idea. Thus, for example, I find in my mind two wholly diverse ideas of the sun; the one, by which it appears to me extremely small draws its origin from the senses, and should be placed in the class of adventitious ideas; the other, by which it seems to be many times larger than the whole earth, is taken up on astronomical grounds, that is, elicited from certain notions born with me, or is framed by myself in some other manner. These two ideas cannot certainly both resemble the same sun; and reason teaches me that the one which seems to have immediately emanated from it is the most unlike.”

Descartes, Meditations III, 11

“Et quamvis forte una idea ex aliâ nasci possit, non tamen hîc datur progressus in infinitum, sed tandem ad aliquam primam debet deveniri, cujus causa sit in star archetypi, in quo omnis realitas formaliter contineatur, quae est in ideâ tantùm objective.”

Descartes, Meditationes III, 15

“And although an idea may give rise to another idea, this regress cannot, nevertheless, be infinite; we must in the end reach a first idea, the cause of which is, as it were, the archetype in which all the reality [or perfection] that is found objectively [or by representation] in these ideas is contained formally [and in act].”

Descartes, Meditations III, 15

Michael Bryson in an essay on Stevens’s “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction,”

The Quest for the Fiction of the Absolute:

“Canto nine considers the movement of the poem between the particular and the general, the immanent and the transcendent: “The poem goes from the poet’s gibberish to / The gibberish of the vulgate and back again. / Does it move to and fro or is it of both / At once?” The poet, the creator-figure, the shadowy god-figure, is elided, evading us, “as in a senseless element.”  The poet seeks to find the transcendent in the immanent, the general in the particular, trying “by a peculiar speech to speak / The peculiar potency of the general.” In playing on the senses of “peculiar” as particular and strange or uncanny, these lines play on the mystical relation of one and many, of concrete and abstract.”

Brian Cronin in Foundations of Philosophy:

“The insight is constituted precisely by ‘seeing’ the idea in the image, the intelligible in the sensible, the universal in the particular, the abstract in the concrete. We pivot back and forth between images and ideas as we search for the correct insight.”

— From Ch. 2, Identifying Direct Insights

Michael Bryson in an essay on Stevens’s “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction“:

“The fourth canto returns to the theme of opposites. ‘Two things of opposite natures seem to depend / On one another . . . . / This is the origin of change.’  Change resulting from a meeting of opposities is at the root of Taoism: ‘Tao produced the One. / The One produced the two. / The two produced the three. / And the three produced the ten thousand things’ (Tao Te Ching 42) ….”

From an entry of March 7, 2004

From the web page

Introduction to the I Ching–
By Richard Wilhelm
:

“He who has perceived the meaning of change fixes his attention no longer on transitory individual things but on the immutable, eternal law at work in all change. This law is the tao of Lao-tse, the course of things, the principle of the one in the many. That it may become manifest, a decision, a postulate, is necessary. This fundamental postulate is the ‘great primal beginning’ of all that exists, t’ai chi — in its original meaning, the ‘ridgepole.’ Later Chinese philosophers devoted much thought to this idea of a primal beginning. A still earlier beginning, wu chi, was represented by the symbol of a circle. Under this conception, t’ai chi was represented by the circle divided into the light and the dark, yang and yin,

.

This symbol has also played a significant part in India and Europe. However, speculations of a gnostic-dualistic character are foreign to the original thought of the I Ching; what it posits is simply the ridgepole, the line. With this line, which in itself represents oneness, duality comes into the world, for the line at the same time posits an above and a below, a right and left, front and back-in a word, the world of the opposites.”

The t’ai chi symbol is also illustrated on the web page Cognitive Iconology, which says that

“W.J.T. Mitchell calls ‘iconology’
a study of the ‘logos’
(the words, ideas, discourse, or ‘science’)
of ‘icons’ (images, pictures, or likenesses).
It is thus a ‘rhetoric of images’
(Iconology: Image, Text, Ideology, p. 1).”

A variation on the t’ai chi symbol appears in a log24.net entry for March 5:

The Line,
by S. H. Cullinane

See too my web page Logos and Logic, which has the following:

“The beautiful in mathematics resides in contradiction. Incommensurability, logoi alogoi, was the first splendor in mathematics.”

— Simone Weil, Oeuvres Choisies, ed. Quarto, Gallimard, 1999, p. 100

 Logos Alogos,
by S. H. Cullinane 

In the conclusion of Section 3, Canto X, of “Notes,” Stevens says

“They will get it straight one day
at the Sorbonne.
We shall return at twilight
from the lecture
Pleased that
the irrational is rational….”

This is the logoi alogoi of Simone Weil.

In “Notes toward a Supreme Fiction,”
Wallace Stevens lists three criteria
for a work of the imagination:

It Must Be Abstract

The Line,
by S.H. Cullinane 

It Must Change

 The 24,
by S. H. Cullinane

It Must Give Pleasure

Puzzle,
by S. H. Cullinane

Related material:

Logos and Logic.

 

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Thursday February 19, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 9:22 PM

What is Poetry, Part II —

Gombrich vs. Gadamer

Excerpts from
Tetsuhiro Kato on

Gombrich and the
Hermeneutics of Art

Kato on Gombrich

“… according to Gombrich, an image is susceptible to become a target for ‘symbol detectives’…. But the hidden authorial intention… ([for example]… astrology, recalling the famous warning of Panofsky [1955: 32]), almost always tends to become a reproduction of the interpreter’s own ideological prejudice. Not to give into the irrationalism such psychological overinterpretation might invite…. we have to look for the origin of meaning… in…  the social context…. The event of image making is not the faithful transcription of the outside world by an innocent eye, but it is the result of the artist’s act of selecting the ‘nearest equivalence’… based on social convention….”

Kato on Gadamer 

“For [Gadamer], picture reading is a process where a beholder encounters a picture as addressing him or her with a kind of personal question, and the understanding develops in the form of its answer (Gadamer 1981: 23-24; Gadamer 1985: 97,102-103).  But, it must be noted that by this Gadamer does not mean to identify the understanding of an image with some sort of ‘subsumption’ of the image into its meaning (Gadamer 1985: 100). He insists rather that we can understand an image only by actualizing what is implied in the work, and engage in a dialogue with it. This process is ideally repeated again and again, and implies different relations than the original conditions that gave birth to the work in the beginning (Gadamer 1985: 100).

What matters here for Gadamer is to let the aesthetic aspect of image take its own ‘Zeitgestalt’ (Gadamer 1985: 101).”

Example (?) — the Zeitgestalt
of today’s previous entry:

See, too,
 The Quality of Diamond.

Kato’s References:

Gadamer, Hans-Georg. 1981. “Philosophie und Literatur: Was ist die Literatur?,” Phänomenologische Forschungen 11 (1981): 18-45.

Gadamer, Hans-Georg. 1985. “Über das Lesen von Bauten und Bildern.” Modernität und Tradition: Festschrift für Max Imdahl zum 60. Geburtstag. Ed. Gottfried Boehm, Karlheinz Stierle, Gundorf Winter. Munchen: Wilhelm Fink. 97-103.

Panofsky, Erwin. 1955. Meaning in the Visual Arts: Papers in and on Art History. New York: Anchor.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Thursday December 11, 2003

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 1:15 PM

Rough Beast

The title is a reference to the horse in yesterday’s entry of 6:13 PM.

The time of that entry, 6:13, is a deliberate reference* to the date of a June 13, 2003, entry, for the birthday of W. B. Yeats.

That entry contains the following —

Behold a Pale Horse:
A link in memory of Gregory Peck,

which leads to…

“It was not a mere soldier’s courage, like gripping a weapon and charging the foe: it was like charging Death itself on his pale horse.

Even at his best, his island parrot, the better loved of the two, spoke no word he was not taught to speak by his master. How then has it come about that this man of his, who is a kind of parrot and not much loved, writes as well as or better than his master? For he wields an able pen, this man of his, no doubt of that. Like charging Death himself on his pale horse. His own skill, learned in the counting house, was in making tallies and accounts, not in turning phrases. Death himself on his pale horse: those are words he would not think of. Only when he yields himself up to this man of his do such words come.”

— J. M. Coetzee, Nobel Prize Lecture
   of Dec. 10, 2003

* As is the time of this entry.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Monday September 29, 2003

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 3:03 PM

Magic Hawaii

Today, the birthday of singer Jerry Lee Lewis, is also the feast of St. Michael and All Angels.

In honor of Lewis:

Killer Radio, an entry of July 31, 2003, that contains the following…

“When the light came she was sitting on the bed beside an open suitcase, toying with her diamond rings.  She saw the light first in the depths of the largest stone.”

— Paul Preuss, Broken Symmetries,
    scene at Diamond Head, Oahu,
    Hawaii

In honor of the angels:

Mathematics as an Adequate Language,
by Israel Gelfand, Sept. 2, 2003, which contains the following…

“Many people consider mathematics to be a boring and formal science.  However, any really good work in mathematics always has in it: beauty, simplicity, exactness, and crazy ideas.  This is a strange combination.  I understood earlier that this combination is essential on the example of classical music and poetry.  But it is also typical in mathematics.  It is not by chance that many mathematicians enjoy serious music.

This combination of beauty, simplicity, exactness, and crazy ideas is, I think, common to both mathematics and music.”

These qualities seem also to be sought by practitioners of religion and physics… for example, by the spiritually-minded physicist in Preuss’s Broken Symmetries.  Skeptics might prefer, to the word “religion,” the word (pronounced with a sneer) “magic.”

What do we find if, following in the footsteps of Gelfand and Preuss, we do a Google search on the following words…

beauty simplicity exactness
 crazy magic Hawaii
“?

The search yields two results:

  1. The Pupil: Poems by W. S. Merwin.
    The above link is to a poem, “Prophecy,” that seems suitable for these, the High Holy Days at the end of one year and the beginning of another.

    For a follow-up to the poem, see
    The Shining of Lucero.

  2. Striking Through the Mask, or
     The Allegorical Meanings
     in Moby Dick
    .”

These two selections, both on the theme of light and darkness, offer a language that is perhaps more adequate than mathematics for dealing with the nature of the High Holy Days.  For a more lighthearted approach to these concerns, also with a Hawaiian theme, see

The Aloha Mass.

Monday, August 4, 2003

Monday August 4, 2003

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 2:00 AM

A Queer Religion

August 4 headline:

Gay bishop on way to win

This suggests the following theological meditation by a gay Christian:

“I can’t resist but end by pointing out the irony of the doctrine of the Trinity as seen by gay eyes. Please don’t take what I say next too seriously. I don’t believe that gender is very important or that it is any more present in God than is ‘green-ness,’ however, I simply can’t resist.

The Trinity seems to be founded on the ecstatic love union of two male persons; the Father and the Son. If one takes this seriously it is incestuous pedophilia. There is no doubt that this union is generative (and so in the origin of the meaning ‘sexual’) in character, because from it bursts forth a third person: Holy Spirit; neuter in Greek, feminine in Hebrew! Whereas Islam detests the Catholic idea that the Blessed Virgin was ‘impregnated’ by God, as demeaning to the transcendence of God, the internal incestuous homosexuality that the doctrine of the Trinity amounts to should really offend more!

Any orthodox  account of the inner life of God is at best highly uncongenial to the paradigm of the heterosexual nuclear family. Amusingly, the contemporary Magisterium fails to notice this and even attempts to use the doctrine of the procession of the Spirit from the Father and the Son to bolster its conventional championing of ‘male-female complementarity’ and the centrality of procreation to all authentically ‘self-giving’ relationships. Absurdities will never cease!”

Amen to the conclusion, at least.

The author of this meditation, “Pharsea,” is a “traditional Catholic” and advocate of the Latin Mass — just like Mel Gibson.  One wonders how Gibson might react to Pharsea’s theology.

As for me… I always thought there was something queer about that religion.

Saturday, July 5, 2003

Saturday July 5, 2003

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 4:17 AM

Elements

In memory of Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus and head of the Harvard Graduate School of Design.  Gropius died on this date in 1969.  He said that

"The objective of all creative effort in the visual arts is to give form to space. … But what is space, how can it be understood and given a form?"

"Alle bildnerische Arbeit will Raum gestalten.Was ist Raum, wie können wir ihn erfassen und gestalten?"


Gropius

— "The Theory and Organization
of the Bauhaus
" (1923)

I designed the following logo for my Diamond Theory site early this morning before reading in a calendar that today is the date of Gropius's death.  Hence the above quote.

"And still those voices are calling
from far away…"
— The Eagles
 

Stoicheia:

("Stoicheia," Elements, is the title of
Euclid's treatise on geometry.)

Monday, May 19, 2003

Monday May 19, 2003

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 11:45 PM

DAY OF THE MOTHER SHIP
Part II: A Mighty Wind

I just saw the John Travolta film “Phenomenon” for the first time.  (It was on the ABC Family Channel from 8 to 11.)

Why is it that tellers of uplifting stories (like Zenna Henderson, in “Day of the Mother Ship, Part I,” or the authors of “Phenomenon” or the Bible) always feel they have to throw in some cockamamie and obviously false miracles to hold people’s attention?

On May 11 (Mother’s Day), Mother Nature got my attention with a mighty wind waving the branches of nearby trees, just before a tornado watch was issued for the area I was in.  This made me recall a Biblical reference I had come across in researching references to “Our Lady of the Woods” for my Beltane (May 1) entry

Isaiah 7:2

…And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind.

This is what I thought of on May 11 watching branches swaying in the wind on Mother’s Day — which some might regard as a festival of Our Lady of the Woods.  John Travolta in “Phenomenon” sees a very similar scene partway through the picture; then, at the end, explains to his girlfriend how the swaying branches made him feel — without mentioning the branches — by asking her to describe how she would cradle and rock a child in her arms.  At the very end of the film, she herself is reminded of his question by the swaying branches of another tree.

Events like these are miracle enough for me.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Monday March 10, 2003

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 5:45 AM

ART WARS:

Art at the Vanishing Point

Two readings from The New York Times Book Review of Sunday,

March 9,

2003 are relevant to our recurring "art wars" theme.  The essay on Dante by Judith Shulevitz on page 31 recalls his "point at which all times are present."  (See my March 7 entry.)  On page 12 there is a review of a novel about the alleged "high culture" of the New York art world.  The novel is centered on Leo Hertzberg, a fictional Columbia University art historian.  From Janet Burroway's review of What I Loved, by Siri Hustvedt:

"…the 'zeros' who inhabit the book… dramatize its speculations about the self…. the spectator who is 'the true vanishing point, the pinprick in the canvas.'''

Here is a canvas by Richard McGuire for April Fools' Day 1995, illustrating such a spectator.

For more on the "vanishing point," or "point at infinity," see

"Midsummer Eve's Dream."

Connoisseurs of ArtSpeak may appreciate Burroway's summary of Hustvedt's prose: "…her real canvas is philosophical, and here she explores the nature of identity in a structure of crystalline complexity."

For another "structure of crystalline
complexity," see my March 6 entry,

"Geometry for Jews."

For a more honest account of the
New York art scene, see Tom Wolfe's
 
The Painted Word.
 

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Tuesday February 18, 2003

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Fat Man and Dancing Girl

 

Dance of
Shiva and Kali

Paul Newman as
General Groves

 

Physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, portrayed in the film "Fat Man and Little Boy," died on this date in 1967.

He is sometimes called the "father of the A-bomb."  He said that at the time of the first nuclear test he thought of a line from the Sanskrit holy book, the Bhagavad Gita: "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds."  The following gives more details.

The Bomb of the Blue God

M. V. Ramana

Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, Princeton University

Published in SAMAR: South Asian Magazine for Action and Reflection, Issue 13

Oppenheimer had learned Sanskrit at Berkeley so as to read the Gita in the original; he always kept a worn pink copy on the bookshelf closest to his desk. It is therefore likely that he may have actually thought of the original, Sanskrit, verse rather than the English translation. The closest that fits this meaning is in the 32nd verse from the 11th chapter of the Gita.

 kalosmi lokaksaya krt pravrddho

This literally means: I am kAla, the great destroyer of Worlds. What is intriguing about this verse, then, is the interpretation of kAla by Jungk and others to mean death. While death is technically one of the meanings of kAla, a more common one is time.  Indeed, the translations of the Gita by S. Radhakrishnan, A. C. Bhaktivedanta, Nataraja Guru and Eliot Deutsch say precisely that. One exception to this, however, is the 1929 translation by Arthur Ryder. And, indeed, in a 1933 letter to his brother, Robert Oppenheimer does mention that he has "been reading the Bhagavad Gita with Ryder and two other Sanskritists." The misinterpretation, therefore, may not have been the fault of Oppenheimer or Jungk. Nevertheless, the verse does not have anything to do with an apocalyptic or catastrophic destruction, as most people have interpreted it in connection with nuclear weapons. When kAla is understood as time, the meaning is drastically changed to being a reminder of our mortality and finite lifetimes ­ as also the lifetimes of everything else in this world (including plutonium and uranium, despite their long, long, half-lives!). It then becomes more akin to western notions of the "slow march of time" and thus having little to do with the immense destruction caused by a nuclear explosion. While the very first images that arose in the father of the atomic bomb are a somewhat wrong application of Hindu mythology, his recollection of the Bhagavad Gita may have been quite pertinent. As is well known, the Bhagavad Gita was supposedly intended to persuade Arjuna to participate in the Kurukshetra battle that resulted in the killing of thousands. Thus, Oppenheimer may well have been trying to rationalize his involvement in the development of a terrible weapon.

Source: Google cache of
http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/5409/samar_bluegod.pdf

See also
http://www.samarmagazine.org/archive/article.php?id=36.
 
"KAla" (in the Harvard-Kyoto transliteration scheme) is more familiar to the West in the related form of Kali, a goddess sometimes depicted as a dancing girl; Kali is related to kAla, time, according to one website, as "the force which governs and stops time."  See also the novel The Fermata, by Nicholson Baker.

The fact that Oppenheimer thought of Chapter 11, verse 32, of the Gita may, as a mnemonic device, be associated with the use of the number 1132 in Finnegans Wake.

 See 1132 A. D. & Saint Brighid, and my weblog entries of January 5 (Twelfth Night and the whirligig of time), January 31 (St. Bridget's Eve), and February 1 (St. Bridget's Day), 2003.
 

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Wednesday October 23, 2002

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 8:00 PM

Bright Star

From the website of Karey Lea Perkins:

“The truth is that man’s capacity for symbol-mongering in general and language in particular is…intimately part and parcel of his being human, of his perceiving and knowing, of his very consciousness…”

Walker Percy, The Message in the Bottle, Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 1975

Today’s New York Times story on Richard Helms, together with my reminiscences in the entry that follows it below, suggest the following possibility for symbol-mongering:

Compare the 16-point star of the C.I.A.

with the classic 8-point star of Venus:

This comparison is suggested by the Spanish word “Lucero” (the name, which means “Bright Star,” of the girl in Cuernavaca mentioned two entries down) and by the following passage from Robert A. Heinlein‘s classic novel, Glory Road:

    “I have many names. What would you like to call me?”

    “Is one of them ‘Helen’?”

    She smiled like sunshine and I learned that she had dimples. She looked sixteen and in her first party dress. “You are very gracious. No, she’s not even a relative. That was many, many years ago.” Her face turned thoughtful. “Would you like to call me ‘Ettarre’?”

    “Is that one of your names?”

    “It is much like one of them, allowing for different spelling and accent. Or it could be ‘Esther’ just as closely. Or ‘Aster.’ Or even ‘Estrellita.’ ”

    ” ‘Aster,’ ” I repeated. “Star. Lucky Star!”

The C.I.A. star above is from that organization’s own site.  The star of Venus (alias Aster, alias Ishtar) is from Symbols.com, an excellent site that has the following variations on the Bright Star theme:

Ideogram for light Alchemical sign
Greek “Aster” Babylonian Ishtar
Phoenician Astarte Octagram of Venus
Phaistos Symbol Fortress Octagram

See also my notes The Still Point and the Wheel and Midsummer Eve’s Dream.  Both notes quote Robinson Jeffers:

“For the essence and the end
Of his labor is beauty…
one beauty, the rhythm of that Wheel,
and who can behold it is happy
and will praise it to the people.”

— Robinson Jeffers, “Point Pinos and Point Lobos,”
quoted at the end of The Cosmic Code,
by Heinz Pagels, Simon & Schuster, 1982

Place the eightfold star in a circle, and you have the Buddhist Wheel of Life:

Sunday, September 8, 2002

Sunday September 8, 2002

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 4:24 PM

ART WARS of September 8, 2002:

Sunday in the Park with Forge

From The New York Times obituary section of Saturday, September 7, 2002:

Andrew Forge, 78, Painter
and a Former Dean at Yale, Dies

By ROBERTA SMITH

Andrew Forge, a painter, critic, teacher and former dean of painting at the Yale School of Art, died on Wednesday [Sept. 4] in New Milford, Conn. He was 78…

[As a painter] he reduced his formal vocabulary to two small, basic units: tiny dots and short, thin dashes of paint that he called sticks. He applied those elements meticulously, by the thousands and with continual adjustments of shape, color, orientation and density until they coalesced into luminous, optically unstable fields.

These fields occasionally gave hints of landscapes or figures, but were primarily concerned with their own internal mechanics, which unfolded to the patient viewer with a quiet, riveting lushness. In a New York Times review of Mr. Forge’s retrospective at the Yale Center for British Art in 1996, John Russell wrote that “the whole surface of the canvas is mysteriously alive, composing and recomposing itself as we come to terms with it.”

Above: Untitled image from Andrew Forge: Recent Paintings, April 2001, Bannister Gallery, Rhode Island College, Providence, RI

See also

An Essay on the work of Andrew Forge
by Karen Wilkin
in The New Criterion, September 1996

From that essay:

“At a recent dinner, the conversation—fueled, I admit, by liberal amounts of very good red wine—became a kind of Socratic dialogue about the practice of art criticism…. There was… general agreement that it’s easier to find the rapier phrase to puncture inadequate or pretentious work than to come up with a verbal equivalent for the wordless experience of being deeply moved by something you believe to be first rate.”

See also my journal note of March 22, 2001, The Matthias Defense, which begins with the epigraph

Bit by bit, putting it together.
Piece by piece, working out the vision night and day.
All it takes is time and perseverance
With a little luck along the way.
— Stephen Sondheim

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