Sunday, February 28, 2021

Language Games

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:31 PM

    Click Nina for the above film from Good Friday, 2019.

IMAGE- 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil' and 'I Put a Spell on You'

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Language Game for Nabokov

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 5:23 PM

A recent search for one Georgina Edwards, writer on Wittgenstein
and Hesse, yielded a different G.E. who is perhaps better suited to
illustrate the oeuvres  of Nabokov and of Stephen King


This post is in memory of a fashion designer —

— and of a Russian philologist:

Friday, October 23, 2020

Language GameThe Doily Curse

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 5:01 PM

“Quadrangle” is also a mathematical term.

Example: The Doily.

See also  The Crosswicks Curse .

Sunday, June 14, 2020

PC Language Game

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 3:33 PM

The above Nat Friedman is not to be confused with
the Nat Friedman of “Hyperseeing,” discussed here June 12.

“One game is real and one’s a metaphor.
Untold times this wisdom’s come too late.
Battle of White has raged on endlessly.
Everywhere Black will strive to seal his fate.
Continue a search for thirty-three and three.
Veiled forever is the secret door.”
— Katherine Neville, aka Cat Velis, in The Eight,
Ballantine Books, January 1989, page 140

Related literary remarks —

The Old Man and the Bull

The Old Man and the Topic

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Language Games: Reflection

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 3:20 AM

The conclusion of an elegy for George Steiner 
in th Times Literary Supplement  issue dated
March 13, 2020 —

"What distinguishes humans from other animals, Johann Gottfried Herder
suggested in his essay On the Origin of Language (1772), is not so much
their capacity for language as their capacity for arriving at general reflection
(Besonnenheit ) through language. Few thinkers of the postwar era can be
said to have pursued this reflection with as much range and rigour as George

Ben Hutchinson is Professor of European Literature at the University of Kent
and Director of the Paris School of Arts and Culture. His most recent book is 

Comparative Literature: A very short introduction, 2018 ."

See as well . . .

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Language Game

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:58 PM

"Wheel Turnin’ ’Round and ’Round" 

Steely Dan

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Language Game

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:28 AM

Previous posts now tagged Pyramid Game suggest

A possible New Yorker  caption:   " e . . . (ab) . . . (cd) . "

Caption Origins —

Playing with shapes related to some 1906 work of Whitehead:

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Language Game

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:30 AM

Continued from Zen and Language Games
(a post of May 2, 2003, written on March 1, 2002)

From The Harvard Crimson  on St. Andrew's Day 2017 —

See also a larger, clearer view of the titles in the above file photo.

Dialogue suggested by the above Harvard Crimson  line
"I am a book today . . . . I know it all." —

A problem child* of sorts in the 2017 film "Gifted"

Mary- "Maybe this school isn't as great as you think it is."

Mary is returned to the place of her examination.

Professor- "Mary, you knew that the problem was incorrect, 
            why didn't you say anything?"

Mary- "Frank says I'm not supposed to correct older people. 
       Nobody likes a smart-ass."

* "Problem Child" was a working title related to a novel
    Heinlein wrote in 1941, Beyond This Horizon —

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Language Game

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

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Language Game:

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:00 PM

A Counting-Pattern

Monday, April 4, 2016

Language Game

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:09 PM

The previous post was about the death of a figure
from the world of entertainment.

I prefer the work of a figure with the same last name
but from a different world —

"Spiel ist nicht Spielerei." — Friedrich Fröbel

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Language Game:

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:06 PM

After Menand

This subtitle refers to the previous post, Game Theory for Steiner.
That post suggested a search that led to a New Yorker  piece
by Louis Menand, "Game Theory," excerpted below.

"Then, on move 21, came Black's crusher: a6!"

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Language Game

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:01 PM

"O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell
and count myself a king of infinite space,
were it not that I have bad dreams." — Hamlet

The New York Review of Books , in a review
of two books on video games today, quotes an author
who says that the Vikings believed the sky to be 
“the blue skull of a giant.”

See as well posts tagged The Nutshell.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Language Game

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:00 AM

See Nine-Headed Dragon in this journal.

Shema, JC.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Language Game

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:01 PM

Continued from December 5 .

The previous post dealt with video game pioneer Ralph Baer. 
Here is a link in honor of mathematician Reinhold  Baer 
(see Baer in  Zero System , a post from the feast of St. Ignatius
Loyola in 2014.)

The posts in Reinhold 's link (those tagged "Yankee Puzzle")
include a reference to the Zero System post. The link tag was
suggested in part by the devil's claws in yesterday morning's post 
The Kernel Conundrum and in part by last night's 
Kennedy Center Honors tribute to Tom Hanks.

Hanks as the Harvard "symbologist" from the
novels of Dan Brown —

Friday, December 5, 2014

Language Game

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:23 PM

Note the mace.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Language Game

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 3:00 PM

Cullinane = Cullinan + e

Greene = Green + e

Monday, March 3, 2014

Language Game

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 PM

Mystic Pizza:  See Ellen and Pizza.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Language Game

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:29 AM

In which Plato continues to thank the Academy.

From the Academy, a lead balloon for 9/11 —
continued from March First, 2002.

A search today for the name Eisenman
(see previous post) yields the following :

"We need a cameo from Plato, a safecracker,
a wrinkle or two to be ironed out, some ice,
some diamonds, and, above all, laughter
for this irony of ironies."

Jeffrey Kipnis, "Twisting the Separatrix,"
Assemblage  No. 14, April 1991, MIT Press

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Language Game

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

The above images are from a prequel (March 29, 2013)
to 'Nauts  (March 26, 2006.)

See also Spider Mother,  Gamer Post,  and Spider Tale.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Language Game

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM
IMAGE- The five groups of order 8

See also Bab-ilu.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Language Game

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 8:08 AM

Tension in the Common Room

IMAGE- 'Launched from Cuber' scene in 'X-Men: First Class'

In memory of population geneticist James F. Crow,
who died at 95 on January 4th.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Language Game

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:33 PM


Related material—

Yesterday, 3:33 PM, in this journal— "Time for you to see the field"— and…

Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury , opening paragraph of part two, "June Second, 1910"—

"When the shadow of the sash appeared on the curtains it was between seven and eight oclock and then I was in time again, hearing the watch. It was Grandfather's and when Father gave it to me he said I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire; it's rather excruciating-ly apt that you will use it to gain the reducto absurdum of all human experience which can fit your individual needs no better than it fitted his or his father's. I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all your breath trying to conquer it. Because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly, and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools."

See also Willard Van Orman Quine in this journal on August 15, 2009

"A tale told by an idiot"— and such a tale—


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Language Game

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 AM

c6 d0 x2 y5 p5 d3 x4 y3 p5

Related material— yesterday's Programmers' Day note and 2009's Symbol Story.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Language Game continued…

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:30 PM

In the Details

This afternoon's post, Point Omega continued, concerned the New York Lottery numbers for yesterday evening and midday today.

A footnote to that post—

Today's evening New York Lottery number was 664.

In the spirit of the theological content of this afternoon's post—

Today's evening NY number 664 may or may not refer to the year of the Synod of Whitby.

That Synod was about reconciling the customs of Rome with the customs of Iona.

A somewhat relevant link from the Language Game post referred to in this afternoon's post was on the word "selving." This link, now broken, referred to a paper hosted by, as it happens, Iona College. The following is a link to a cached copy of that paper—

"The Story of the Self: The Self of the Story," by James E. Giles (Religion and Intellectual Life, Fall 1986— Volume 4, Number 1, pages 105-112)

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Bullshit Studies . . .

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 2:40 PM


Background reading — Math’s Big Lies and, more generally, Mazur.

Related news for fans of Language Games

Sunday, January 31, 2021


Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:33 PM

The ivory-tower games of the previous post, Space Poetics,
suggest a review of Hesse on the I Ching

“Once Knecht confessed to his teacher that he wished to
learn enough to be able to incorporate the system of the
I Ching  into the Glass Bead Game. Elder Brother laughed.
‘Go ahead and try’, he exclaimed. ‘You’ll see how it turns out.
Anyone can create a pretty little bamboo garden in the world.
But I doubt the gardener would succeed in incorporating
the world in his bamboo grove’ ” (P. 139).

— Hermann Hesse, The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi) .
Translated by Richard and Clara Winston ( London, Vintage, 2000).

The above passage is as quoted and cited in

Language Games in the Ivory Tower:
Comparing the Philosophical Investigations  with
Hermann Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game ,”
by Georgina Edwards
First published: 13 December 2019,
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1467-9752.12389 .

The cited publication date was also the date of death for
a Harvard classmate of mine.  As an alumnus of Phillips Andover,
he might have preferred Oliver Wendell Holmes to Hesse.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

“An Object Lesson” Continues.

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:28 AM

From yesterday morning’s post “An Object Lesson” —

IMAGE- A Jesuit on words and shadows

A search for the origin of a photo in yesterday’s New York Times
obituary of linguist Geoffrey Nunberg yields . . .

“Words are not things, but activities,” observed Dwight Bolinger,
a revered linguist who taught at Harvard before retiring to Palo Alto,
and he might have been describing Nunberg. Early this morning—
about 2:30 a.m.—he called Bolinger’s words “my favorite linguistic
epigram” in his posting on the Language Log, where blogging linguists
“chew the electronic fat,” as Nunberg puts it.

— Ann Hurst, undated article in Stanford Magazine , March/April 2005

In reality, Nunberg said something slightly different —

Meanwhile, elsewhere . . .

Scholium —

From Log24’s Language Game,  Jan. 14, 2004 —

“Ludwig Wittgenstein,  Philosophical Investigations :
373. Grammar tells what kind of object anything is. (Theology as grammar.)”

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Easter Egg for Wittgenstein

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:24 PM

A language game on Orthodox Easter —

See also Geometric Theology and Trinity Staircase.

Thursday, March 5, 2020


Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:56 AM
Suggested by the previous post:

"Garland is an architect of
        complicated stories 
        and actual spaces."

Adam Rogers, 7 AM March 4th, 2020,

See also The Reality Blocks.

Pythagorean Letter Meets Box of Chocolates

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 10:30 AM

Friday, July 11, 2014

Spiegel-Spiel des Gevierts

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 PM

See Cube Symbology.

Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks) and a corner of Solomon's Cube

Da hats ein Eck 

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Architect’s Elegy

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:31 PM

On Boston's Hancock Tower:

"I reflect that all art, all beauty, is reflection."

Fictional character by John Updike (July 1976)

The architect of the tower reportedly died Monday.

See as well "Reflections: Disturbing the Universe I"
by the late Freeman Dyson in The New Yorker
issue dated August 6, 1979.

A reflection I prefer:

Monday, September 9, 2019

A Word of Warning

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:41 AM

Language games

From the posts of July 8, 2008

Paul R. Halmos, Finite Dimensional Vector Spaces, Princeton, 1948-- Definition of linear manifold (denoted by script M)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Game Box

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 PM

In memory of a game inventor who reportedly died on
Dec. 6, the feast of St. Nicholas, a link: Game Box.

Update of 12 AM Dec. 8 — See also "How to watch The Game
Awards 2014
," from December 5, the date of the Game Awards
and also the date of the Log24 post Language Game.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Red to Green

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:00 PM

Part I:  The New Yorker

Passages from The New Yorker  issue dated March 17, 2014—

"Both autism and psychopathy entail a lack of empathy. Psychologists, though, distinguish between the 'cognitive empathy' deficits of autism (difficulty understanding what emotions are, trouble interpreting other people’s nonverbal signs) and the 'emotional empathy' deficits of psychopathy (lack of concern about hurting other people, an inability to share their feelings). The subgroup of people with neither kind of empathy appears to be small, but such people may act out their malice in ways that can feel both guileless and brutal."  — "The Reckoning," by Andrew Solomon

"The question of what constitutes a story is troublesome." — "Long Story Short," by Dana Goodyear

Part II: The New York Times

Part III:  Log24

Language Game,
Red to Green

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cubist Aesthetics…

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:00 PM

in Stevens' "The Man with the Blue Guitar"

Author:  Ruszkowska-Buchowska, Dominika
Publication: Studia Anglica Posnaniensia: 
An International Review of English Studies
Article Type: Critical essay
Date: Jan 1, 2004

See also Blue Guitar
and Cubist Language Game
as well as Dali Cube.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fleur de Derrida*

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:08 AM

The above news item seems to exemplify Baudelaire's (and Murdoch's)
notion of contingency —

"La modernité, c’est le transitoire, le fugitif, le contingent, la moitié de l’art, dont l’autre moitié est l’éternel et l’immuable."

— Baudelaire, "Le Peintre de la Vie Moderne," IV (1863)

"By 'modernity' I mean the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable."

— Baudelaire, "The Painter of Modern Life," IV (1863), translated by Jonathan Mayne (in 1964 Phaidon Press book of same title)

Thanks to the late Marshall Berman for pointing out this remark of Baudelaire.
(All That Is Solid Melts Into Air , Penguin edition of 1988, p. 133)

* For this post's title, see Language Game in this journal on 9/11,
   the morning of Berman's reported death.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:00 AM

In reply to "Poem," by Stanley Moss, in
the Sept. 16, 2012, New Yorker —

"Then we take Berlin." — Phrase by Leonard Cohen

See also this morning's 9:29 post Language Game.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:00 AM

From a mathematical review:

"The book ends with eye-opening explorations….
If pressed for an extra rubric, I would consider
a separate section on "Engaging Games," as
this is something that mathematicians are
preoccupied with— literally and metaphorically."

Alexander Bogomolny

See in this journal Language Game,  Nexus, and
posts of May 12, 2013.

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Fitting Symmetry

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 PM

For a pundit of pugilism:  Plan 9 continues.

"She was a panelist on many game shows, including
'What’s My Line?' and 'The Hollywood Squares.'*
These appearances had a fitting symmetry:
It was as a game-show contestant that Dr. Brothers
had received her first television exposure."

— Margalit Fox in this evening's online New York Times

* A language game for Hofstadter: click on "Seeing As"
   in today's noon post.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Claves Regni Caelorum

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 3:33 AM

Or: Night of Lunacy

From 9 PM Monday

IMAGE- Page 304 of Heidegger's 'Existence and Being' - Heidegger's essay 'Hölderlin and the Essence of Poetry,' tr. by Douglas Scott, publ. by Henry Regnery Company, Chicago, in 1949
Note that the last line, together with the page number, forms
a sort of key

The rest  of the story—

IMAGE- Heidegger quote continued, ending with reference to Hölderlin's 'night of lunacy'

For one reinterpretation of the page number 304, see a link— 
Sermon— from Tuesday's post Diamond Speech.

The linked-to sermon itself has a link, based on a rereading
of 304 as 3/04, to a post of March 4, 2004, with…

WW and ZZ

as rendered by figures from the Kaleidoscope Puzzle


Yesterday morning the same letter-combinations occurred
in a presentation at CERN of a newly discovered particle—

IMAGE- 'High mass: WW, ZZ'

(Click for context.)

Since the particle under discussion may turn out to be the
God  particle, it seems fitting to interpret WW and ZZ as part
of an imagined requiem  High Mass.

Ron Howard, director of a film about CERN and the God particle,
may regard this imaginary Mass as performed for the late
Andy Griffith, who played Howard's father in a television series.

Others may prefer to regard the imaginary Mass as performed 
for the late John E. Brooks, S. J., who served as president of
The College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Mass., for 24 years.

Griffith died Tuesday. Brooks died Monday.

For some background on the Holy Cross, see posts of
Sept. 14 (Holy Cross Day) and Sept. 15, 2010—

  1. Language Game,
  2. Wittgenstein, 1935, and
  3. Holy Cross Day Revisited.

For more lunacy, see…

Continue a search for thirty-three and three
— Katherine Neville, The Eight

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ein Kampf

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:00 AM

"Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of our language."

"Die Philosophie ist ein Kampf gegen die Verhexung unsres Verstandes durch die Mittel unserer Sprache."

— Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations  (1953),  Section 109

"When the battle's lost and won" — The Scottish play

Related material— Monday's Language Game.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Holy Cross Day* Revisited

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:33 AM

"Ready when you are, C. B."



Related material: Day 256 and Language Game.

* September 14

Friday, July 16, 2010

Point Omega continued

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:26 PM

"We tried to create new realities overnight…."
Point Omega, quoted here in the post
Devising Entities (July 3, 2010)

Image-- NY Lottery, evening  July 15=000, midday July 16=911

See also last night's Meditation as well as the earlier posts
Language Game and The Subject Par Excellence.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Phenomenology of 256

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

From Peter J. Cameron's weblog today

According to the Buddha,

Scholars speak in sixteen ways of the state of the soul after death. They say that it has form or is formless; has and has not form, or neither has nor has not form; it is finite or infinite; or both or neither; it has one mode of consciousness or several; has limited consciousness or infinite; is happy or miserable; or both or neither.

He does go on to say that such speculation is unprofitable; but bear with me for a moment.

With logical constructs such as “has and has not form, or neither has nor has not form”, it is perhaps a little difficult to see what is going on. But, while I hesitate to disagree with the Compassionate One, I think there are more than sixteen possibilities described here: how many?

Cameron's own answer (from problem solutions for his book Combinatorics)–

One could argue here that the numbers of choices should be multiplied, not added; there are 4 choices for form, 4 for finiteness, 2 for modes of consciousness, 2 for finiteness of consciousness, and 4 for happiness, total 28 = 256. (You may wish to consider whether all 256 are really possible.)

Related material– "What is 256 about?"

Some partial answers–

April 2, 2003 — The Question (lottery number)

May 2, 2003 — Zen and Language Games (page number)

August 4, 2003 — Venn's Trinity (power of two)

September 28, 2005 — Mathematical Narrative (page number)

October 26, 2005 — Human Conflict Number Five (chronomancy)

June 23, 2006 — Binary Geometry (power of two)

July 23, 2006 — Partitions (power of two)

October 3, 2006 — Hard Lessons (number of pages,
                                 as counted in one review)

October 10, 2006 — Mate (lottery number)

October 8, 2008 — Serious Numbers (page number)

Quoted here Nov. 10, 2009

Epigraphs at
Peter Cameron’s home page:

Quotes from Brautigan's 'The Hawkline Monster' and Hoban's 'Riddley Walker'

Happy birthday, Russell Hoban.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday October 10, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 AM
A Sunrise
for Sunrise

Related material:

This morning’s obituaries

(click to enlarge)


and Zen and Language Games

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Saturday August 1, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 9:26 AM
And the Tony
   goes to…

The New York Times

“Tony Rosenthal, who created ‘Alamo,’ the eternally popular revolving black cube in Astor Place in the East Village, and many other public sculptures, died on Tuesday [July 28, 2009] in Southampton, N.Y. He was 94.”

The Astor Place sculpture, near Cooper Union, is also known as The Borg Cube:


The Borg Cube, with
Cooper Union at left

Wikipedia on The Borg Queen:

“The Borg Queen is the focal point within the Borg collective consciousness.”

Possible Borg-Queen candidates:

Helen Mirren, who appeared in this journal on the date of Rosenthal’s death (see Monumental Anniversary), and Julie Taymor, who recently directed Mirren as Prospera in a feminist version of “The Tempest.”

Both Mirren and Taymor would appreciate the work of Anita Borg, who pioneered the role of women in computer science. “Her colleagues mourned Borg’s passing, even as they stressed how crucial she was in creating a kind of collective consciousness for women working in the heavily male-dominated field of computer technology.” —Salon.com obituary


Anita Borg

Borg died on Sunday, April 6, 2003. See The New York Times Magazine for that date in Art Wars: Geometry as Conceptual Art


(Cover typography revised)

I would award the Borg-Queen Tony to Taymor, who seems to have a firmer grasp of technology than Mirren.

Julie Taymor directing a film

See Language Game,
Wittgenstein’s birthday, 2009.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday April 26, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:00 AM
Language Game

Julie Taymor directing a film

Mirrors on the ceiling…

U. of California edition of Wittgenstein's 'Zettel'-- pink cover, white tesseract in background

pink champagne on ice   

— The Eagles  

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday March 21, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 12:25 AM

Counters in Rows

"Music, mathematics, and chess are in vital respects dynamic acts of location. Symbolic counters are arranged in significant rows. Solutions, be they of a discord, of an algebraic equation, or of a positional impasse, are achieved by a regrouping, by a sequential reordering of individual units and unit-clusters (notes, integers, rooks or pawns)."

— George Steiner
   (See March 10, "Language Game.")

For example:

Model of the 21-point projective plane consisting of the 1- and 2- subsets of a 6-set

Click to enlarge.


Notes on Finite Geometry
(Section on 6-set structures)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday March 10, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 9:26 AM
Language Game

“Music, mathematics, and chess are in vital respects dynamic acts of location. Symbolic counters are arranged in significant rows. Solutions, be they of a discord, of an algebraic equation, or of a positional impasse, are achieved by a regrouping, by a sequential reordering of individual units and unit-clusters (notes, integers, rooks or pawns). The child-master, like his adult counterpart, is able to visualize in an instantaneous yet preternaturally confident way how the thing should look several moves hence. He sees the logical, the necessary harmonic and melodic argument as it arises out of an initial key relation or the preliminary fragments of a theme. He knows the order, the appropriate dimension, of the sum or geometric figure before he has performed the intervening steps. He announces mate in six because the victorious end position, the maximally efficient configuration of his pieces on the board, lies somehow ‘out there’ in graphic, inexplicably clear sight of his mind….”

“… in some autistic enchantment, pure as one of Bach’s inverted canons or Euler’s formula for polyhedra.”

— George Steiner, “A Death of Kings,” in The New Yorker, issue dated Sept. 7, 1968

Related material:

“Classrooms are filled with discussions not of the Bible and Jesus but of 10 ‘core values’– perseverance and curiosity, for instance– that are woven into the curriculum.”

— “Secular Education, Catholic Values,” by Javier C. Hernandez, The New York Times, Sunday, March 8, 2009

“… There was a problem laid out on the board, a six-mover. I couldn’t solve it, like a lot of my problems. I reached down and moved a knight…. I looked down at the chessboard. The move with the knight was wrong. I put it back where I had moved it from. Knights had no meaning in this game. It wasn’t a game for knights.”

— Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep

The Chandler quotation appears in “Language Game,” an entry in this journal on April 7, 2008.

Some say the “Language Game” date, April 7, is the true date (fixed, permanent) of the Crucifixion– by analogy, Eliot’s “still point” and Jung’s “centre.” (See yesterday, noon.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wednesday October 8, 2008

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

Serious Numbers

A Yom Kippur

"When times are mysterious
Serious numbers
Will always be heard."
— Paul Simon,
"When Numbers Get Serious"

"There is a pleasantly discursive treatment of Pontius Pilate's unanswered question 'What is truth?'"

— H. S. M. Coxeter, introduction to Richard J. Trudeau's remarks on the "story theory" of truth as opposed to the "diamond theory" of truth in The Non-Euclidean Revolution

Trudeau's 1987 book uses the phrase "diamond theory" to denote the philosophical theory, common since Plato and Euclid, that there exist truths (which Trudeau calls "diamonds") that are certain and eternal– for instance, the truth in Euclidean geometry that the sum of a triangle's angles is 180 degrees. As the excerpt below shows, Trudeau prefers what he calls the "story theory" of truth–

"There are no diamonds. People make up stories about what they experience. Stories that catch on are called 'true.'"

(By the way, the phrase "diamond theory" was used earlier, in 1976, as the title of a monograph on geometry of which Coxeter was aware.)

Richard J. Trudeau on the 'Story Theory' of truth

Excerpt from
The Non-Euclidean Revolution

What does this have to do with numbers?

Pilate's skeptical tone suggests he may have shared a certain confusion about geometric truth with thinkers like Trudeau and the slave boy in Plato's Meno. Truth in a different part of mathematics– elementary arithmetic– is perhaps more easily understood, although even there, the existence of what might be called "non-Euclidean number theory"– i.e., arithmetic over finite fields, in which 1+1 can equal zero– might prove baffling to thinkers like Trudeau.

Trudeau's book exhibits, though it does not discuss, a less confusing use of numbers– to mark the location of pages. For some philosophical background on this version of numerical truth that may be of interest to devotees of the Semitic religions on this evening's High Holiday, see Zen and Language Games.

For uses of numbers that are more confusing, see– for instance– the new website The Daily Beast and the old website Story Theory and the Number of the Beast.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sunday July 6, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 PM

"Hancock" Powers to the Top
of July Fourth Box Office

This evening's online
  New York Times

New York Lottery
Sunday, July 6,
Mid-day 307
Evening  921

Log24  3/07:


Three 3x3 symbols of a language game:  the field, the game, checkmate

Log24  9/21:

"The consolations of form,
the clean crystalline work"
— Iris Murdoch, 
"Against Dryness"

Will Smith
on Chess

Will Smith with chessboard

Will Smith

The Independent, 9 July 2004:

"A devoted father, Smith passes on his philosophy of life to his children through chess, among other things.

'My father taught me how to play chess at seven and introduced beautiful concepts that I try to pass on to my kids. The elements and concepts of life are so perfectly illustrated on a chess board. The ability to accurately assess your position is the key to chess, which I also think is the key to life.'

He pauses, searching for an example. 'Everything you do in your life is a move. You wake up in the morning, you strap on a gun, and you walk out on the street– that's a move. You've made a move and the universe is going to respond with its move.

'Whatever move you're going to make in your life to be successful, you have to accurately access the next couple of moves– like what's going to happen if you do this? Because once you've made your move, you can't take it back. The universe is going to respond.'

Smith has just finished reading The Alchemist, by the Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho: 'It says the entire world is contained in one grain of sand, and you can learn everything you need to learn about the entire universe from that one grain of sand. That is the kind of concept I'm teaching my kids.'"

Related material:

"Philosophers' Stone"
and other entries
of June 25, 2008

Friday, May 9, 2008

Friday May 9, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:31 AM
Cubist Language Game

"Philosophers ponder the idea
 of identity: what it is to give
 something a name on Monday
 and have it respond to 
  that name on Friday…."

Bernard Holland 


From Log24 on
August 19, 2003
and on
Ash Wednesday, 2004:
a reviewer on
An Instance of the Fingerpost::

"Perhaps we are meant to
 see the story as a cubist
 retelling of the crucifixion."

Related material
for today's anniversay
of the birth of philosopher
Jose Ortega y Gasset:

Cubism as Multispeech
Halloween Meditations
(illustrated below)

Cover of 'The Gameplayers of Zan,' by M.A. Foster

"Modern art…
will always have
the masses against it."
Ortega y Gasset, 1925    

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wednesday December 26, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM
A Wonderful Life

Part I:
Language Games

on December 19:


See also the noir entry on
“Nightmare Alley” for
Winter Solstice 2002,
as well as a solstice-related
commentary on I Ching
Hexagram 41, Decrease.

Part II:

Language Game
on Christmas Day

Pennsylvania Lottery
December 25, 2007:

PA Lottery Christmas Day: Mid-day 041 and 2911, Evening 173 and 0666

Part III:
A Wonderful Life

The Pennsylvania Lottery on Christmas at mid-day paired the number of the I Ching Hexagram 41, “Decrease,” with the number 2911, which may be interpreted as a reference to I Chronicles 29:11

“Thine, O LORD is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.”

This verse is sometimes cited as influencing the Protestant conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer:

“Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever” (Mt 6.13b; compare 1 Chr 29.11-13)….

This traditional epilogue to the Lord’s prayer protects the petition for the coming of the kingdom from being understood as an exorcism, which we derive from the Jewish prayer, the Kaddish, which belonged at the time to the synagogical liturgy.

World Alliance of Reformed Churches

The Pennsylvania Lottery on Christmas evening paired 173 with the beastly number 0666.  The latter number suggests that perhaps being “understood as an exorcism” might not, in this case, be such a bad thing. What, therefore, might “173” have to do with exorcism?  A search in the context of the phrase “language games” yields a reference to Wittgenstein’s Zettel, section 173:


From Charles L. Creegan, Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard:

Language-games give general guidelines of the application of language. Wittgenstein suggests that there are innumerably many language-games: innumerably many kinds of use of the components of language.24 The grammar of the language-game influences the possible relations of words, and things, within that game. But the players may modify the rules gradually. Some utterances within a given language-game are applications; others are ‘grammatical remarks’ or definitions of what is or should be possible. (Hence Wittgenstein’s remark, ‘Theology as grammar’25 – the grammar of religion.)

The idea of the ‘form of life’ is a reminder about even more basic phenomena. It is clearly bound up with the idea of language. (Language and ‘form of life’ are explicitly connected in four of the five passages from the Investigations in which the term ‘form of life’ appears.) Just as grammar is subject to change through language-uses, so ‘form of life’ is subject to change through changes in language. (The Copernican revolution is a paradigm case of this.) Nevertheless, ‘form of life’ expresses a deeper level of ‘agreement.’ It is the level of ‘what has to be accepted, the given.’26 This is an agreement prior to agreement in opinions and decisions. Not everything can be doubted or judged at once.

This suggests that ‘form of life’ does not denote static phenomena of fixed scope. Rather, it serves to remind us of the general need for context in our activity of meaning. But the context of our meaning is a constantly changing mosaic involving both broad strokes and fine-grained distinctions.

The more commonly understood point of the ‘Private Language Argument’ – concerning the root of meaning in something public – comes into play here. But it is important to show just what public phenomenon Wittgenstein has in mind. He remarks: ‘Only in the stream of thought and life do words have meaning.’27

Investigations, sec. 23.
Investigations, sec. 373; compare Zettel, sec. 717.
Investigations, p. 226e.


Zettel, sec. 173. The thought is expressed many times in similar words.

And from an earlier chapter of Creegan:

The ‘possibility of religion’ manifested itself in considerable reading of religious works, and this in a person who chose his reading matter very carefully. Drury’s recollections include conversations about Thomas à Kempis, Samuel Johnson’s Prayers, Karl Barth, and, many times, the New Testament, which Wittgenstein had clearly read often and thought about.25 Wittgenstein had also thought about what it would mean to be a Christian. Some time during the 1930s, he remarked to Drury: ‘There is a sense in which you and I are both Christians.’26 In this context it is certainly worth noting that he had for a time said the Lord’s Prayer each day.27

Wittgenstein’s last words were: ‘Tell them I’ve had a wonderful life!’28

Drury (1981) ‘Conversations with Wittgenstein,’ in Ludwig Wittgenstein: Personal Recollections, pp. 112ff.
Drury, ‘Conversations,’ p. 130.
Drury, ‘Some notes,’ p. 109.
Reported by Mrs. Bevan, the wife of the doctor in whose house Wittgenstein was staying. Malcolm, Memoir, p. 81.

Part IV:

For more on the Christmas evening
number of the beast, see Dec. 3:
  “Santa’s Polar Opposite?” —

Did he who made the Lamb
make thee?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Saturday September 29, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:09 AM

From The New York Times
on the Feast of
St. Michael and All Angels:

NYT obituaries, Michaelmas 2007, with Wolfgang Panofsky

Recommended reading in the afterlife
for Rabbi Shapira:
The Man as Pure as Lucifer,”
by Graham Greene

Recommended viewing in the afterlife
for Dr. Panofsky, son of Erwin Panofsky:

An Instance of the Fingerpost, starring Kate Beckinsale

“Pray for the grace of accuracy.”
— Robert Lowell, quoted in
a web page titled
Is Nothing Sacred?

“The page numbers are
generally reliable.”
— Steven H. Cullinane,
Zen and Language Games

Related material:
Sacred Passion:
The Art of William Schickel
U. of Notre Dame Press, 1998

Click on the fingerpost
for further details.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wednesday May 23, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:15 AM
Angel in the Details

See the Dickinson poem quoted here on May 15 (the date, as it happens, of Dickinson’s death) in the entry “A Flag for Sunrise.”  See also Zen and Language Games and a discussion of a detail in a Robert Stone novel.

“I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose”

Emily Dickinson

Friday, May 11, 2007

Friday May 11, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:30 PM
Today’s Lottery Commentary:

Lonesome No More!

In keeping with the spirit of previous Log24 entries, here is today’s Pennsylvania Lottery commentary.  This afternoon’s entry suggests an interpretation of today’s numbers as comments on the new film “Georgia Rule.”

Pennsylvania Lottery today:
Mid-day 384
Evening 952

Today’s mid-day number, 384, is the number of symmetries of the tesseract, a geometric figure illustrated on the cover of the novel The Gameplayers of Zan (see, for instance, May 10, 2007).  That novel suggests an interpretation of today’s evening number, 952, as addressing (literally) the subject of Life.

See the address mathforum.org/library/view/952.html.

From that address:

“The Game of Life is played on a field of cells, each of which has eight neighbors (adjacent cells). A cell is either occupied (by an organism) or not. The rules for deriving a generation from the previous one are these: Death – If an occupied cell has 0, 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 occupied neighbors, the organism dies (0, 1: of loneliness; 4 thru 8: of overcrowding). Survival – If an occupied cell has two or three neighbors, the organism survives to the next generation. Birth – If an unoccupied cell has three occupied neighbors, it becomes occupied.”

Relevance to the film “Georgia Rule”: lonesomeness, generations, and the Lord’s name–

Georgia is a “lonesome and decent widow in wholesome Hull, Idaho…. her framed motto is ‘Count Your Blessings’ and she’s ready to ram [a] soap bar into your mouth if you insult the Lord’s name.” –David Elliott, San Diego Union-Tribune, May 11, 2007

There is not universal agreement on just what is the Lord’s name. Perhaps it includes the number 952.

From The Gameplayers of Zan:

“The Game in the Ship cannot be approached as a job, a vocation, a career, or a recreation. To the contrary, it is Life and Death itself at work there. In the Inner Game, we call the Game Dhum Welur, the Mind of God. And that Mind is a terrible mind, that one may not face directly and remain whole. Some of the forerunners guessed it long ago– first the Hebrews far back in time, others along the way, and they wisely left it alone, left the Arcana alone.”

From Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations:

“Nothing can be produced out of nothing.”
— 10th edition, 1919, page 952

See also “Zen and Language Games
and “Is Nothing Sacred?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Monday April 16, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:01 PM

The Abridgment of Hope

Part I: Framework

From Log24,
Here’s Your Sign,
Aug. 8, 2002–

“Paz also mentions the Christian concept of eternity as a realm outside time, and discusses what happened to modern thought after it abandoned the concept of eternity.

Naturally, many writers have dealt with the subject of time, but it seems particularly part of the Zeitgeist now, with a new Spielberg film about precognition.  My own small experience, from last night until today, may or may not have been precognitive.  I suspect it’s the sort of thing that many people often experience, a sort of ‘So that’s what that was about’ feeling.  Traditionally, such experience has been expressed in terms of a theological framework.”

Part II: Context

From Ann Copeland,
Faith and Fiction-Making:
The Catholic Context

“Each of us is living out a once-only story which, unlike those mentioned here, has yet to reveal its ending. We live that story largely in the dark. From time to time we may try to plumb its implications, to decipher its latent design, or at least get a glimmer of how parts go together. Occasionally, a backward glance may suddenly reveal implications, an evolving pattern we had not discerned, couldn’t have when we were ‘in’ it. Ah, now I see what I was about, what I was after.”

Part III: Context Sensitivity

From Log24’s
Language Game,
Jan. 14, 2004–

Ludwig Wittgenstein,
Philosophical Investigations:

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

From Wikipedia

Another definition of context-sensitive grammars defines them as formal grammars where all productions are of the form

a yields b where the length of a is less than or equal to the length of b

Such a grammar is also called a monotonic or noncontracting grammar because none of the rules decreases the size of the string that is being rewritten.

If the possibility of adding the empty string to a language is added to the strings recognized by the noncontracting grammars (which can never include the empty string) then the languages in these two definitions are identical.

 Part IV: Abridgment

“Know the one about the Demiurge and the Abridgment of Hope?”

— Robert Stone, A Flag for Sunrise, Knopf, 1981, the final page, 439

Also from Stone’s novel, quoted by Ann Copeland in the above essay:

You after all? Inside, outside, round and about. Disappearing stranger, trickster. Christ, she thought, so far. Far from where?

But why always so far?

Por qué?” she asked. There was a guy yelling.

Always so far away. You. Always so hard on the kid here, making me be me right down the line. You old destiny. You of Jacob, you of Isaac, of Esau.

Let it be you after all. Whose after all I am. For whom I was nailed.

So she said to Campos: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.” (416)

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Wednesday March 7, 2007

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 8:24 AM
In the Labyrinth
of Time:


Related material–


The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070307-Symbols.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.


The False Artaxerxes:
Borges and the
Dream of Chess

This entry was inspired by
Xanga footprints yesterday
from Virginia:

1. Virginia
Time and the Grid
9:48 AM
2. Virginia
11:38 AM
3. Virginia
Games and Truth
1:25 PM
4. Virginia
The Transcendent Signified
5:15 PM
5. Virginia
Zen and Language Games
5:16 PM
6. Virginia
Balanchine’s Birthday
6:12 PM
7. Virginia
The Agony and the Ya-Ya
6:12 PM
8. Virginia
Directions Out
6:13 PM
9. Virginia
The Four Last Things
6:13 PM

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Thursday July 27, 2006

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 5:09 PM

Number Sense

The NY lottery numbers for yesterday, 7/26, Jung's birthday, were 726 (mid-day) and 970 (evening).

We may view these numbers as representing the Jungian "sheep" and Freudian "goats" of yesterday's entry Partitions.

For the Jungian coincidence of 726 with 7/26, recall the NY lottery number 911 that was drawn on 9/11 exactly a year after the destruction of the World Trade Center. For more on this coincidence, see For Hemingway's Birthday: Mathematics and Narrative Continued (July 21, 2006).

For 970, Google reveals a strictly skeptical (i.e., like Freud, not Jung) meaning: 970 is the first page of the article "Sources of Mathematical Thinking," in Science, 7 May 1999: Vol. 284. no. 5416, pp. 970 – 974.

That article has been extensively cited in the scholarly literature on the psychology of mathematics.  Its lead author, Stanislas Dehaene, has written a book, The Number Sense.

What sense, if any, is made by 726 and 970?

The mid-day number again (see Hemingway's birthday) illustrates the saying

"Time and chance happeneth to them all."

The evening number again illustrates the saying

"Though truth may be very hard to find in the pages of most books, the page numbers are generally reliable."

— Steven H. Cullinane,
   Zen and Language Games

These sayings may suit the religious outlook of Susan Blackmore, source (along with Matthew 25:31-46) of the sheep/goats partition in yesterday's entry on that topic.  She herself, apparently a former sheep, is now a goat practicing Zen.

Update of later the same evening–

On Space, Time, Life, the Universe, and Everything:

Note that the "sheep" number 726 has a natural interpretation as a date– i.e., in terms of time, while the "goat" number 970 has an interpretation as a page number– i.e., in terms of space.  Rooting, like Jesus and St. Matthew, for the sheep, we may interpret both of today's NY lottery results as dates, as in the next entry, Real Numbers.  That entry may (or may not) pose (and/or answer) The Ultimate Question. Selah.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sunday June 25, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 PM

Language Games:

Chess and Bingo

Chess: See Log24, Midsummer Day, 2003. Happy mate change, Nicole.

Bingo: See a journal entry from seven years ago, On Linguistic Creation. Happy birthday, Willard Van Orman Quine.

Sunday, April 2, 2006

Sunday April 2, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:00 PM

Looking for a Miracle:
The Beatification of John Paul II



Last year’s April 2 entry

Part I:

Eight is a Gate

Part II:

Zen and Language Games
Directions Out,
Outside the World,
Diamonds Are Forever.

Today’s lottery in the
State of Grace
  (Kelly, of Philadelphia)–

Mid-day: 008 
Evening: 373.


Monday, December 26, 2005

Monday December 26, 2005

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 7:00 PM
Language Game on
Boxing Day

In the box-style I Ching
Hexagram 34,
The Power of the Great,
is represented by

  The image “http://www.log24.com/theory/images/Box34.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. .

Art is represented
by a box
(Hexagram 20,
Contemplation, View)

  The image “http://www.log24.com/theory/images/Box20.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. .

  And of course 
great art
is represented by
an X in a box.
(Hexagram 2,
The Receptive)

  The image “http://www.log24.com/theory/images/Box02.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. .

“… as a Chinese jar still   
Moves perpetually
 in its stillness”

“… at the still point,  
there the dance is.”

— T. S. Eliot 

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050501-Quad.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

A Jungian on this six-line figure:

“They are the same six lines that exist in the I Ching…. Now observe the square more closely: four of the lines are of equal length, the other two are longer…. For this reason symmetry cannot be statically produced and a dance results.”
— Marie-Louise von Franz,
   Number and Time

For those who prefer
technology to poetry,
there is the Xbox 360.

(Today is day 360 of 2005.)

Friday, June 4, 2004

Friday June 4, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:22 AM

Feel lucky?
Well, do you?

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/040604-Sting.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/040604-Lucky.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.  This entry was inspired by the following…
1.  A British blogger’s comment today.  This man, feeling like a miserable failure himself, was cheered up by the following practical joke: “If really fed up you could try putting in, miserable failure, (no quote marks) into Google and pressing the ‘I’m feeling lucky’ button.”

2. The page, excerpts from which are shown  above, that you get if you put lucky (no quote marks) into Google and press the “I’m feeling lucky” button.

3. My own entries of May 31 on Language Games and of June 1 on language and history,  Seize the Day and One Brief  Shining Moment.

4.  The related June 1 entry of Loren Webster, Carpe Diem, on the Marilyn Monroe rose.  Images from Carpe and Shining are combined below:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/040604-Feeling.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

5.  The fact that the “day” to be seized in Language Games is numbered 22, and that on day 22 of November 1963,  the  following died:

C. S. Lewis
John F. Kennedy
  Aldous Huxley.

6. The fact that November 22 is the feast of  Cecilia, patron saint of music.

7. Yesterday’s entry about the alignment of stars, combined with the alignment of Venus with Apollo (i. e., the sun) scheduled for June 8.

All of the above suggest the following readings from unholy scripture:

A.  The “long twilight struggle” speech of JFK

B.  “The Platters were singing ‘Each day I pray for evening just to be with you,’ and then it started to happen.  The pump turns on in ecstasy.  I closed my eyes, I held her with my eyes closed and went into her that way, that way you do, shaking all over, hearing the heel of my shoe drumming against the driver’s-side door in a spastic tattoo, thinking that I could do this even if I was dying, even if I was dying, even if I was dying; thinking also that it was information.  The pump turns on in ecstasy, the cards fall where they fall, the world never misses a beat, the queen hides, the queen is found, and it was all information.”

— Stephen King, Hearts in Atlantis, August 2000 Pocket Books paperback, page 437

C.  “I will show you, he thought, the war for us to die in, lady.  Sully your kind suffering child’s eyes with it.  Live burials beside slow rivers.  A pile of ears for a pile of arms.  The crisps of North Vietnamese drivers chained to their burned trucks…. Why, he wondered, is she smiling at me?”

— Robert Stone, A Flag for Sunrise,  Knopf hardcover, 1981, page 299

Monday, May 31, 2004

Monday May 31, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 PM

Language Games:

Now You’re Playing
with Power

My latest preoccupation…

Using search-and-replace programs to reformat earlier Xanga entries.  This involves the use of “regular expressions,” which lead to the following thoughts….

It seems that pure mathematics (i.e., the theory of finite automata) is not without relevance even in very practical data formatting problems.  One of the first math books I ever bought — perhaps the very first —was  Automata Studies (Princeton’s Annals of Mathematics Studies, No. 34, 1956).  This book, which I still have, begins with an essay by Stephen Cole Kleene.

Kleene’s legacy includes regular expressions and Kleene’s theorem.  For further details, see

Notes on
Formal Language Theory
and Parsing

James Power

Department of Computer Science
Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland.

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/images/021221-power2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Click on picture
for details.

Here’s more on
language games and robot wisdom
from an authority on James Joyce,

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Saturday May 15, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:23 AM

Language Game

In memory of
Samuel Iwry, Hebrew scholar,
who died on May 8, 2004:

From a log24 entry of May 8, 2004,
on Wittgenstein’s “language games” —

    “Let us imagine a language …”

— Ludwig Wittgenstein,
    Philosophical Investigations


Moral of the story:
If you must have a
religious language,
Elvish may,
in some situations,
do as well as Hebrew.

See also

The Unity of Mathematics,
or Shema, Israel

Monday, April 26, 2004

Monday April 26, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:00 PM

Directions Out

Part I: Indirections

“By indirections, find directions out.”

— Polonius in Hamlet: II, i

“Foremost among the structural similarities between Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein… is the use of indirect communication: as paradoxical as it may sound, both authors deliberately obfuscate their philosophy for the purposes of clarifying it….  let us examine more closely particular instances of indirect communication from both of the philosophers with the intention of finding similarity. ‘By indirections, find directions out.’ – Polonius in Hamlet: II, i


On religious numerology (indirections)…

For the page number373” as indicating “eternity,” see

Zen and Language Games (5/2/03), which features Wittgenstein,

Language Game (1/14/04), also featuring Wittgenstein, and

Note 31, page 373, in Kierkegaard’s Works of Love (1964 Harper Torchbook paperback, tr. by Howard and Edna Hong),  

  • Publisher: Perennial (Nov. 7, 1964)
  • ISBN: 0061301221

    which says “Compare I John 4:17.”


    4:17  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

    The reference to Judgment Day leads us back to Linda Hamilton, who appears (some say, as noted in Zen and Language Games, as the Mother of God) in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and to Part II of our meditation….

    Part II: Directions Out

    “This Way to the Egress”

    — Sign supposedly written by P. T. Barnum

    A Google search on this phrase leads to the excellent website

    The Summoning of Everyman.

    Related thoughts….

    A link from Part I of a log24 entry for Thursday, April 22:

    Judgment Day
    (2003, 10/07)

    to the following —


    Frame not included in
    Terminator 2: Judgment Day

    Dr. Silberman: You broke my arm!

    Sarah Connor: There are
    two-hundred-fifteen bones
    in the human body,
    [expletive deleted].
    That’s one.

    This suggests, in light of the above-mentioned religious interpretation of Terminator 2, in light of the 2003 10/07 entry, and in light of the April 22 10:07 PM log24 invocation, the following words from the day after the death of Sgt. Pat Tillman:

    Doonesbury April 23, 2004

    A more traditional farewell, written by a soldier, for a soldier, may be found at The Summoning of Everyman site mentioned above:

    A Few Noteworthy Words 
    From an American Soldier

  • Monday, January 26, 2004

    Monday January 26, 2004

    Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:11 PM

    Language Game

    More on "selving," a word coined by the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins.  (See Saturday's Taking Lucifer Seriously.)

    "… through the calibrated truths of temporal discipline such as timetabling, serialization, and the imposition of clock-time, the subject is accorded a moment to speak in."

    Dr. Sally R. Munt,

    Intelligibility, Identity, and Selfhood:
    A Reconsideration of
    Spatio-Temporal Models

    The "moment to speak in" of today's previous entry, 11:29 AM, is a reference to the date 11/29 of last year's entry

    Command at Mount Sinai.

    That entry contains, in turn, a reference to the journal Subaltern Studies.  According to a review of Reading Subaltern Studies,

    "… the Subaltern Studies collective drew upon the Althusser who questioned the primacy of the subject…."

    Munt also has something to say on "the primacy of the subject" —

    "Poststructuralism, following particularly Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida and Jacques Lacan, has ensured that 'the subject' is a cardinal category of contemporary thought; in any number of disciplines, it is one of the first concepts we teach to our undergraduates. But are we best served by continuing to insist on the intellectual primacy of the 'subject,' formulated as it has been within the negative paradigm of subjectivity as subjection?"

    How about objectivity as objection?

    I, for one, object strongly to "the Althusser who questioned the primacy of the subject."

    This Althusser, a French Marxist philosopher by whom the late Michael Sprinker (Taking Lucifer Seriously) was strongly influenced, murdered his wife in 1980 and died ten years later in a lunatic asylum.

    For details, see

    The Future Lasts a Long Time.


    For details of Althusser's philosophy, see the oeuvre of Michael Sprinker.

    For another notable French tribute to Marxism, click on the picture at left.

    Wednesday, January 14, 2004

    Wednesday January 14, 2004

    Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 3:00 AM

    Language Game

    Ludwig Wittgenstein,
    Philosophical Investigations:

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

    Related material:

    See this date last year, and

    Zen and Language Games

    (May 2, 2003).

    See also the phrase “May 2, 373.”

    Saturday, December 20, 2003

    Saturday December 20, 2003

    Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 5:00 PM

    White, Geometric, and Eternal

    This afternoon's surfing:

    Prompted by Edward Rothstein's own Fides et Ratio encyclical in today's NY Times, I googled him.

    At the New York Review of Books, I came across the following by Rothstein:

    "… statements about TNT can be represented within TNT: the formal system can, in a precise way, 'talk' about itself."

    This naturally prompted me to check what is on TNT on this, the feast day of St. Emil Artin.  At 5 PM this afternoon, we have Al Pacino in "The Devil's Advocate" — a perfect choice for the festival of an alleged saint.

    Preparing for Al, I meditated on the mystical significance of the number 373, as explained in Zen and Language Games: the page number 373 in Robert Stone's theological classic A Flag for Sunrise conveys the metaphysical significance of the phrase "diamonds are forever" — "the eternal in the temporal," according to Stone's Catholic priest.  This suggests a check of another theological classic, Pynchon's Gravity's RainbowPage 373 there begins with the following description of prewar Berlin:

    "white and geometric."

    This suggests the following illustration of a white and geometric object related to yesterday's entry on Helmut Wielandt:

    From antiquark.com

    Figure 1

    (This object, which illustrates the phrase "makin' the changes," also occurs in this morning's entry on the death of a jazz musician.)

    A further search for books containing "white" and "geometric" at Amazon.com yields the following:

    Figure 2

    From Mosaics, by
    Fassett, Bahouth, and Patterson:

    "A risco fountain in Mexico city, begun circa 1740 and made up of Mexican pottery and Chinese porcelain, including Ming.

    The delicate oriental patterns on so many different-sized plates and saucers [are] underlined by the bold blue and white geometric tiles at the base."

    Note that the tiles are those of Diamond Theory; the geometric object in figure 1 above illustrates a group that plays a central role in that theory.

    Finally, the word "risco" (from Casa del Risco) associated with figure 2 above leads us to a rather significant theological site associated with the holy city of Santiago de Compostela:

    Figure 3

    Vicente Risco's
    Dedalus in Compostela.

    Figure 3 shows James Joyce (alias Dedalus), whose daughter Lucia inspired the recent entry Jazz on St. Lucia's Day — which in turn is related, by last night's 2:45 entry and by Figure 1, to the mathematics of group theory so well expounded by the putative saint Emil Artin.

    "His lectures are best described as
    polished diamonds."
    Fine Hall in its Golden Age,
    by Gian-Carlo Rota

    If Pynchon plays the role of devil's advocate suggested by his creation, in Gravity's Rainbow, of the character Emil Bummer, we may hope that Rota, no longer in time but now in eternity, can be persuaded to play the important role of saint's advocate for his Emil.

    Update of 6:30 PM 12/20/03:


    The Absolutist Faith
    of The New York Times

    White and Geometric, but not Eternal.

    Friday, May 2, 2003

    Friday May 2, 2003

    Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:15 PM


    The following flashback to March 2002 seems a suitable entry for May, which is Mental Health Month.

    Zen and Language Games

    by Steven H. Cullinane
    on March First, 2002

    Two Experts Speak —

    A Jew on Language Games

    From On Certainty, by Ludwig Wittgenstein (Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1969):

    #508: What can I rely on?
    #509: I really want to say that a language game is only possible if one trusts something. (I did not say “can trust something”).
    — Quoted by Hilary Putnam in Renewing Philosophy, Chapter 8 (Harvard University Press, 1992)

    An Arab on Deconstruction

    From “Deconstructing Postmodernism,” by Ziauddin Sardar, at the website “The Free Arab Voice”:

    Doubt, the perpetual and perennial condition of postmodernism, is best described by the motto of the cult television series The X-files: ‘Trust no One’….

    Deconstruction – the methodology of discursive analysis – is the norm of postmodernism. Everything has to be deconstructed. But once deconstruction has reached its natural conclusion, we are left with a grand void: there is nothing, but nothing, that can remotely provide us with meaning, with a sense of direction, with a scale to distinguish good from evil.

    Those who, having reviewed a thousand years of lies by Jews, Arabs, and Christians, are sick of language games, and who are also offended by the recent skillful deconstruction of the World Trade Center, may find some religious solace in the philosophy of Zen.

    Though truth may be very hard to find in the pages of most books, the page numbers are generally reliable. This leads to the following Zen meditations.

    From a review of the film “The Terminator”:

    Some like to see Sarah as a sort of Mother of God, and her son as the saviour in a holy context. John Connor, J.C. , but these initials are also those of the director, so make up your own mind.
    — http://www.geocities.com/

    From a journal note on religion, science, and the meaning of life written in 1998 on the day after Sinatra died and the Pennsylvania lottery number came up “256”:

    “What is 256 about?”
    — S. H. Cullinane

    From Michael Crichton’s Rising Sun (Ballantine paperback, 1993) —
    John Connor (aka J. C.) offers the following metaphysical comment on the page number that appears above his words (256):

    “It seems to be.”
    “Is your investigation finished?”
    “For all practical purposes, yes,” Connor said.

    Connor is correct. The number 256 does indeed seem to be, and indeed it seemed to be again only yesterday evening, when the Pennsylvania lottery again made a metaphysical statement.

    Our Zen meditation on the trustworthiness of page numbers concludes with another passage from Rising Sun, this time on page 373:

    Connor sighed.
    “The clock isn’t moving.”

    Here J. C. offers another trenchant comment on his current page number.

    The metaphysical significance of 373, “the eternal in the temporal,” is also discussed in the Buddhist classic A Flag for Sunrise, by Robert Stone (Knopf hardcover, 1981)… on, of course, page 373.

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