Thursday, August 29, 2019

As Well

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 12:45 PM

For some backstory, see
http://m759.net/wordpress/?s=”I+Ching”+48+well .

See as well elegantly packaged” in this journal.

Well” in written Chinese is the hashtag symbol,
i.e., the framework of a 3×3 array.

My own favorite 3×3 array is the ABC subsquare
at lower right in the figure below —

'Desargues via Rosenhain'- April 1, 2013- The large Desargues configuration mapped canonically to the 4x4 square


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Writing Well*

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:00 PM

See Stevens + New Haven.

* The above figure may be viewed as
the ChineseHoly Field” or as the
Chinese character for “Well
inscribed in a square.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Old Well*

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

See posts tagged The Well.

Related material:  Artist Joseph Kosuth, who pictured
the dictionary definition of “nothing” shown in the index of
today’s LA Times  obituaries, and a Chinese film director,
one of those portrayed in that index.

Also mentioned on the obituaries index page —

IMAGE- Leonard Knight, Salvation Mountain, Niland, CA

See as well  The Church of the Holy Hubcap.

* Film title, translation of Chinese: 老井; pinyin: lǎo jǐng.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chinese Cubes

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

From the Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, Jan. 26, 2005:

What is known about unit cubes
by Chuanming Zong, Peking University

Abstract: Unit cubes, from any point of view, are among the simplest and the most important objects in n-dimensional Euclidean space. In fact, as one will see from this survey, they are not simple at all….

From Log24, now:

What is known about the 4×4×4 cube
by Steven H. Cullinane, unaffiliated

Abstract: The 4×4×4 cube, from one point of view, is among the simplest and the most important objects in n-dimensional binary space. In fact, as one will see from the links below, it is not simple at all.

Solomon’s Cube

The Klein Correspondence, Penrose Space-Time, and a Finite Model

Non-Euclidean Blocks

Geometry of the I Ching

Related material:

Monday’s entry Just Say NO and a poem by Stevens,

The Well Dressed Man with a Beard.”

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

The Work of a Comedian

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:57 AM

Flashback to Sept. 7, 2008

Change for Washington:

'The Laws of Change: I Ching and the Philosophy of Life,' by Jack M. Balkin

For the details, see yale.edu/lawweb:

“As important to Chinese civilization as the Bible is to Western culture,
the I Ching  or Book of Changes  is one of the oldest treasures of
world literature. Yet despite many commentaries written over the years,
it is still not well understood in the English-speaking world. In this
masterful [sic ] new interpretation, Jack Balkin returns the I Ching  to
its rightful place….

Jack M. Balkin

Jack M. Balkin

Jack M. Balkin is Knight Professor of Constitutional Law
and the First Amendment at Yale Law School, and
the founder and director of Yale’s Information Society Project.
His books and articles range over many different fields….”

Wallace Stevens on 'the work of a comedian'

Monday, May 11, 2020

Nietzsche for Comedians

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:33 AM

See also Shangri-La  and  “At the Back of the North Wind .”

Update from the Times —

Some things that happen for the first time….” — Song lyric

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Plato Again Thanks the Academy

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:41 PM

I prefer  The Pride of Lowell —

IMAGE- Scenes from 'The Fighter'- Amy Adams, Christian Bale

Some literary background— Doctor Sax.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Gate of Heavenly Peace

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:29 AM

Wikipedia — 

"The Tian'anmen (also Tiananmen or Tienanmen)
([tʰjɛ́n.án.mə̌n]), or the Gate of Heavenly Peace, is
a monumental gate in the centre of Beijing, widely
used as a national symbol of China. First built during
the Ming dynasty in 1420, Tiananmen was the entrance
to the Imperial City . . . ."

A related article on Chinese history, The Critical Moment,
suggests an associated (if only by title) webpage —

See as well The Painted Word .

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Eliot’s Perpetual Motion Structure*

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

From a date described by Peter Woit in his post
Not So Spooky Action at a Distance” (June 11) —

See also The Lost Well.

 * “As a Chinese jar….” — Four Quartets

Monday, June 3, 2019

Jar Story

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 3:41 PM


  “. . . Only by the form, the pattern,
Can words or music reach
The stillness, as a Chinese jar still
Moves perpetually in its stillness.”

— T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets

From Writing Chinese Characters:

“It is practical to think of a character centered
within an imaginary square grid . . . .
The grid can be subdivided, usually to
9 or 16 squares. . . .

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04B/041119-ZhongGuo.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

These “Chinese jars” (as opposed to their contents)
are as follows:

Grids, 3x3 and 4x4 .

See as well Eliot’s 1922 remarks on “extinction of personality”
and the phrase “ego-extinction” in Weyl’s Philosophy of Mathematics

Monday, May 6, 2019


Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 12:25 PM

Related material — The last three posts —

The Crimson Abyss,
Transgressive Politics at Harvard, and
"Thousand" Rhetoric

— as well as Saturday's The Chinese Jars of Shing-Tung Yau.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Kaleidoscope and Old Lace

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:31 PM

See posts now tagged "Kaleidoscope Society" and, more generally,
a search in this journal for "Kaleidoscope."

Related material —

Photo caption in a news story today:

"Father Gary Thomas attends the premiere of Warner Brothers’
'The Rite' at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, in Los Angeles,
on January 26, 2011. Thomas is holding a special Mass
on Thursday and Saturday [Oct. 18 and 20] to counter
a planned hex on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh."

See as well posts tagged "Rubik Exorcism."

IMAGE- Anthony Hopkins exorcises a Rubik cube

Wednesday, August 1, 2018


Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:00 PM

“… I realized that to me, Gödel and Escher and Bach
were only shadows cast in different directions
by some central solid essence.
I tried to reconstruct the central object . . . ."

— Douglas Hofstadter (1979)

See also posts of July 23, 2007, and April 7, 2018.

* Term from a visual-culture lexicon —

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A is for Abschattungen

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

Max Bialystock discovers a new playwright


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 9:00 AM

"A blank underlies the trials of device." — Wallace Stevens

IMAGE- The ninefold square .

Friday, July 6, 2018


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:48 AM

"… Only by the form, the pattern,
Can words or music reach
The stillness, as a Chinese jar still
Moves perpetually in its stillness."

— T. S. Eliot, "Burnt Norton," 1936

"Read something that means something."

Advertising slogan for The New Yorker

The previous post quoted some mystic meditations of Octavio Paz
from 1974. I prefer some less mystic remarks of Eddington from
1938 (the Tanner Lectures) published by Cambridge U. Press in 1939 —

"… we have sixteen elements with which to form a group-structure" —

See as well posts tagged Dirac and Geometry.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Characteristica Universalis

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 PM

From Wikipedia —

"Many Leibniz scholars… seem to agree that he intended
his characteristica universalis  … to be a form of … 
ideographic language. This was to be based on a
rationalised version of the 'principles' of Chinese characters…."

See as well O Nine,  Chinese Calligraphy, and Holy Field.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Without Border

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 3:18 PM

The previous post's Holy Field symbol, 
with border removed, becomes the
Chinese character for "well."

See also The Lost Well.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Dark Fields*

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 5:26 PM

A date in the previous post suggests a flashback to March 11, 2014,
and a post on that date titled "Dark Fields of the Republic"—

This uncredited translation of Plato is, Google Books tells us,
by “Francis MacDonald Cornfield.”  The name is an error,
but the error is illuminating —

Signs Movie Stills: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Patricia Kalember, M. Night Shyamalan

* See posts mentioning the novel with that title, republished as Limitless.

Gullible’s Travels

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 12:01 PM

The President of the United States
on the Sony hacking 
in his Dec. 19 press conference:

"But let’s talk of the specifics of what we now know.
The FBI announced today and we can confirm that
North Korea engaged in this attack. I think it says
something interesting about North Korea that they
decided to have the state mount an all-out assault
on a movie studio because of a satirical movie…."

This post was suggested in part by the contemptibly
misleading remarks of Carl Sagan in his "Cosmos"
TV series (see yesterday's Colorful Tale) and by the 
following remarks in a Presentation Zen  piece dated
March 11, 2014, "More Storytelling Lessons from 'Cosmos'," 
praising Sagan's vulgarizations —

"Good storytelling causes the audience to ask questions
as your narrative progresses. As the storyteller you can
ask questions directly, but often a more interesting approach
is to present the material in a way that triggers the audience
to come up with the questions themselves. And yet we must
not be afraid to leave some (many?) questions unanswered.
When we think of a story we may think of clear conclusions
and neat, clear endings, but reality can be quite a bit more
complicated than that."

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Jews on Style

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

"A window unto  the world"?  "The classical  style"?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Source

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:00 PM

“In ancient Greece, 9 was the number of
the Muses, patron goddesses of the arts.
They were the daughters of Mnemosyne (‘memory’),
the source of imagination, which in turn is
the carrier of archetypal, elementary ideas to
artistic realization in the field of space-time.”

— Joseph Campbell in The Inner Reaches of Outer Space

In memoriam:

 See also Raiders of the Lost Well and…

 The Eliot Omen 

Ground plan for a game of Noughts and Crosses

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Dark Fields of the Republic

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

This post was suggested by today's previous post, Depth,
by Plato's Diamond, and by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein's
recent fanciful fiction about Plato.

Plato, Republic , Book II, Paul Shorey translation at Perseus

“Consider,” [382a] said I; “would a god wish to deceive, or lie, by presenting in either word or action what is only appearance?” “I don’t know,” said he. “Don’t you know,” said I, “that the veritable lie, if the expression is permissible, is a thing that all gods and men abhor?” “What do you mean?” he said. “This,” said I, “that falsehood in the most vital part of themselves, and about their most vital concerns, is something that no one willingly accepts, but it is there above all that everyone fears it.” “I don’t understand yet either.” “That is because you suspect me of some grand meaning,” [382b] I said; “but what I mean is, that deception in the soul about realities, to have been deceived and to be blindly ignorant and to have and hold the falsehood there, is what all men would least of all accept, and it is in that case that they loathe it most of all.” “Quite so,” he said.

Related material —

A meditation from the Feast of St. Francis, 2012 —

A post from Sept. 30, 2012, the reported date of  death
for British children's author Helen Nicoll —

The New Criterion  on the death of Hilton Kramer —

This uncredited translation of Plato is, Google Books tells us,
by "Francis MacDonald Cornfield."  The name is an error,
but the error is illuminating —

Signs Movie Stills: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Patricia Kalember, M. Night Shyamalan

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sunday Dinner (continued)

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:00 PM

Judith Shulevitz in The New York Times
on Sunday, July 18, 2010
(quoted here Aug. 15, 2010) —

“What would an organic Christian Sabbath look like today?”

One possibility —

See also The Pride of Lowell  (Oct. 3, 2012)
and, a year later, The Hunt for Green October .

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Structure and Character

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:00 PM

(Continued from May 4, 2013)

“I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand
Walking through the streets of Soho in the rain”

Warren Zevon

“It is well
That London, lair of sudden
Male and female darknesses,
Has broken her spell.”

— D. H. Lawrence in a poem on a London blackout
during a bombing raid in 1917. See also today’s previous
posts, Down Under and Howl.

Backstory— Recall, from history’s nightmare on this date,
the Battle of Borodino and the second  London Blitz.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:48 AM

From Jim Holt’s Aug. 29, 2008, review of
The Same Man:
George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh in Love and War

by David Lebedoff

Orwell thought ‘good prose is like a window pane,’
forceful and direct. Waugh was an elaborate stylist
whose prose ranged from the dryly ironical to the
richly ornamented and rhetorical. Orwell was solitary
and fiercely earnest. Waugh was convivial and
brutally funny. And, perhaps most important, Orwell
was a secularist whose greatest fear was the
emergence of Big Brother in this world. Waugh was
a Roman Catholic convert whose greatest hope lay
with God in the next.”

The Orwell quote is from “Why I Write.”
A search for the original yields

IMAGE- Heading data for Orwell's 'Why I Write' in Chinese weblog 'Acquisition of Sunshine'


IMAGE- Date of a Chinese weblog post: 2009-06-04


Log24 posts of 2009-06-04.

See, too, in this journal the
Chinese character for “field”

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Night of Lunacy*

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

Structure vs. Character continued

   IMAGE- The 3x3 square


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


Related vocabulary:

Nick Tosches on the German word “Quell 

and Heidegger on Hölderlin.

* The title is from Heidegger.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

’Round Midnight

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

  The Pride of Lowell
IMAGE- Scenes from 'The Fighter'- Amy Adams, Christian Bale

  Some literary background— Doctor Sax

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:45 AM


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Literary Field

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 1:00 PM

An image suggested by Google's observance today
of Mies van der Rohe's 126th birthday—

Related material:

See also yesterday's Chapter and Verse  by Stanley Fish,
and today's Arts & Letters Daily .

Friday, November 26, 2010

Shining Forth

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

continued from 2001

A quotation from Robert Lowell in this journal —

From “Epilogue,” in Robert Lowell’s Day by Day , 1977:

The painter’s vision is not a lens,
it trembles to caress the light.

All’s misalliance.
Yet why not say what happened?
Pray for the grace of accuracy
Vermeer gave to the sun’s illumination….

Lowell’s stepdaughter published a memoir, Why Not Say What Happened? , on October 19th, 2010.

What happened in this journal on that date was “Savage Logic and the New York Lottery.”

That post includes the quoted rhetorical question

“Is it a genuine demolition of the walls which seem to separate mind from mind…?”

Here is the context of October 19th—


For a different, and to me more interesting, context for the “walls” question, see Party Phone  (August 31st, 2006).

Friday, March 12, 2010

Meanwhile, back in 1963…

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 12:29 PM

Today’s Harvard Crimson

Lowell House alumni include novelists John H. Updike ’54 and Michael Crichton ’64. Lowell House can also count several famous actors as alumni—Natalie Portman ’03 and Matt P. Damon (formerly ’92) both resided in Lowell House as undergraduates. Several Lowell alumni—such as Nicholas D. Kristof ’81 and Chris Wallace ’69—have pursued careers in journalism. Other famous names include former Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter ’61 and Japenese [sic] Crown Princess Masako ’85.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Brightness at Noon, continued

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

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

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

Related material:

home > welcome > Leibniz

Omnibus ex nihilo ducendis sufficit unum

G W Leibniz

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

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

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

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

Philip Feinsilver and Jerzy Kocik, 17 July 2001

From Mikhail Krawtchouk: Short Biography

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

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

Incidentally, happy birthday
to John von Neumann.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday March 28, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 11:07 PM

The Rest
of the Story

Today's previous entry discussed the hermeneutics of the midday NY and PA lottery numbers.

The rest of the story:

The Revelation Game
(continued from 7/26, 2008)

on Reba's
(No revelation)
New York
(No belief)
No belief,
no revelation

without belief

Belief without

Belief and


Interpretations of the evening numbers–

The PA evening number, 006, may be viewed as a followup to the PA midday 726 (or 7/26, the birthday of Kate Beckinsale and Carl Jung). Here 006 is the prestigious "00" number assigned to Beckinsale.

Will: Do you like apples?     
Clark: Yeah.                       
Will: Well, I got her number.
 How do you like them apples?

— "Good Will Hunting

Kate Beckinsale in 'Underworld: Evolution'

The NY evening number, 091, may be viewed as a followup to the NY midday 378 (the number of pages in The Innermost Kernel by Suzanne Gieser, published by Springer, 2005)–

Page 91: The entire page is devoted to the title of the book's Part 3– "The Copenhagen School and Psychology"–

Page 91 of 'The Innermost Kernel' by Suzanne Gieser, Springer 2005

The next page begins: "With the crisis of physics, interest in epistemological and psychological questions grew among many theoretical physicists. This interest was particularly marked in the circle around Niels Bohr."

A particularly
marked circle
 from March 15:

Diamond Theory version of 'The Square Inch Space' with yin-yang symbol for comparison

The circle above is
marked with a version of
the classic Chinese symbol
adopted as a personal emblem
by Danish physicist Niels Bohr,
leader of the Copenhagen School.

"Two things of opposite natures seem to depend
On one another, as a man depends
On a woman, day on night, the imagined

On the real. This is the origin of change.
Winter and spring, cold copulars, embrace
And forth the particulars of rapture come."

-- Wallace Stevens,
  "Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction,"
   Canto IV of "It Must Change"

The square above is marked
with a graphic design
related to the four-diamond
figure of Jung's Aion.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday February 18, 2009

Filed under: General — 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.”

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


Greek Cross, adapted from painting by Ad Reinhardt

The Krauss Cross

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday December 13, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:06 PM

The Shining
of Dec. 13

continued from
Dec. 13, 2003

“There is a place for a hint
somewhere of a big agent
to complete the picture.”

Notes for an unfinished novel,
The Last Tycoon,
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Internet Movie Database
Filmography:William Grady

The Good Earth (1937)
casting: Chinese extras

A Place for a Hint:

http://www.log24.com/log/pix08A/081213-Tea2.jpg(From the book Tangram)

See also
yesterday’s entries
as well as…

Serpent’s Eyes Shine,
Alice’s Tea Party,
Janet’s Tea Party,
Hollywood Memory,
Hope of Heaven.

“… it’s going to be
accomplished in steps,
this establishment of
the Talented
in the scheme of things.”

Anne McCaffrey

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thursday October 30, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:01 AM
From the Mountaintop

Katherine Neville, author of perhaps the greatest bad novel of the twentieth century, The Eight, has now graced a new century with her sequel, titled The Fire. An excerpt:

“Our family lodge had been built at about this same period in the prior century, by neighboring tribes, for my great-great-grandmother, a pioneering mountain lass. Constructed of hand-hewn rock and massive tree trunks chinked together, it was a huge log cabin that was shaped like an octagon– patterned after a hogan or sweat lodge– with many-paned windows facing in each cardinal direction, like a vast, architectural compass rose.
From here on the mountaintop, fourteen thousand feet atop the Colorado Plateau, I could see the vast, billowing sea of three-mile-high mountain peaks, licked by the rosy morning light. On a clear day like this, I could see all the way to Mount Hesperus– which the Diné call Dibé Nitsaa: Black Mountain. One of the four sacred mountains created by First Man and First Woman.

Together with Sisnaajinii, white mountain (Mt. Blanca) in the east; Tsoodzil, blue mountain (Mt. Taylor) in the south, and Dook’o’osliid, yellow mountain (San Francisco Peaks) in the west, these four marked out the four corners of Dinétah– ‘Home of the Diné,’ as the Navajo call themselves.

And they pointed as well to the high plateau I was standing on: Four Corners, the only place in the U.S. where four states– Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona– come together at right angles to form a cross.”

Related material
(Oct. 14, 2004):

The Eight

Lest the reader of the previous entry mistakenly take Katherine Neville’s book The Eight more seriously than Fritz Leiber’s greatly superior writings on eightness, here are two classic interpretations of Leiber’s “spider” or “double cross” symbol:

Greek: The Four Elements

The 4 elements and
the 4 qualities
(On Generation and
Corruption, II, 3

Chinese: The Eight Trigrams

Richard Wilhelm:
The 8 trigrams
the I Ching

The eight-rayed star may be taken
as representing what is known
in philosophy as a “universal.”

See also

The Divine Universals,

Plato, Pegasus, and the Evening Star,

A Little Extra Reading, and

Quine in Purgatory.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday September 7, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:09 AM
Bringing Change
to Washington

'Only I can bring change to Washington'-- LA Times, Sept. 7, 2008

First in War,
   First in Peace…

Quotations for
Chairman George

on February 22, 1999
(Washington’s Birthday)

I Ching Hexagram 49: The Image of Revolution

Fire in
the lake:
the image of Revolution

Thus the
superior man
Sets the calendar
in order
And makes the seasons clear.

Change for Washington:

'The Laws of Change: I Ching and the Philosophy of Life,' by Jack M. Balkin

For the details, see

“As important to Chinese civilization as the Bible is to Western culture, the I Ching or Book of Changes is one of the oldest treasures of world literature. Yet despite many commentaries written over the years, it is still not well understood in the English-speaking world. In this masterful [sic] new interpretation, Jack Balkin returns the I Ching to its rightful place….

Jack M. Balkin\

Jack M. Balkin

Jack M. Balkin is Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School, and the founder and director of Yale’s Information Society Project. His books and articles range over many different fields….”

Wallace Stevens on 'the work of a comedian'

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sunday December 16, 2007

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 1:09 PM
Mad Phaedrus
Meets Mad Ezra

“Plato’s Good was a fixed and eternal and unmoving Idea, whereas for the rhetoricians it was not an Idea at all. The Good was not a form of reality. It was reality itself, ever changing, ultimately unknowable in any kind of fixed, rigid way.” –Phaedrus in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

This apparent conflict between eternity and time, fixity and motion, permanence and change, is resolved by the philosophy of the I Ching and by the Imagism of Ezra Pound.  Consider, for example, the image of The Well

as discussed here on All Saints’ Day 2003 and in the previous entry.

As background, consider the following remarks of James Hillman in “Egalitarian Typologies Versus the Perception of the Unique,” Part  III: Persons as Images

“To conceive images as static is to forget that they are numens that move.  Charles Olson, a later poet in this tradition, said:  ‘One perception must immediately and directly lead to a further perception… always, always one perception must must must move instanter, on another.’ 80  Remember Lavater and his insistence on instantaneity for reading the facial image.  This is a kind of movement that is not narrational, and the Imagists had no place for narrative.  ‘Indeed the great poems to come after the Imagist period– Eliot’s The Waste Land and Four Quartets; Pound’s Cantos; Williams’s Paterson– contain no defining narrative.’ 81  The kind of movement Olson urges is an inward deepening of the image, an in-sighting of the superimposed levels of significance within it. 82  This is the very mode that Jung suggested for grasping dreams– not as a sequence in time, but as revolving around a nodal complex.  If dreams, then why not the dreamers.  We too are not only a sequence in time, a process of individuation. We are also each an image of individuality.”

80  The New American Poetry (D. M. Allen, ed.) N.Y.: Evergreen, Grove, 1960, pp. 387-88. from Jones, p. 42.

81  Jones,* p. 40.

82  H. D. later turned narration itself into image by writing a novel in which the stories were “compounded like faces seen one on top of another,” or as she says “superimposed on one another like a stack of photographic negatives” (Jones, p. 42).  Cf. Berry,** p. 63: “An image is simultaneous. No part precedes or causes another part, although all parts are involved with each other… We might imagine the dream as a series of superimpositions, each event adding texture and thickening to the rest.”

    * Imagist Poetry (Peter Jones, ed.) London: Penguin, 1972

    ** The contrast between image simultaneity and narrative succession, and the different psychological effects of the two modes, is developed by Patricia Berry, “An Approach to the Dream,” Spring 1974 (N. Y./Zürich: Spring Publ.), pp. 63, 68-71

Hillman also says that

“Jung’s ‘complex’ and Pound’s definition of Image and Lavater’s ‘whole heap of images, thoughts, sensations, all at once’ are all remarkably similar.  Pound calls an Image, ‘that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time’… ‘the Image is more than an Idea.  It is a vortex or cluster of fused ideas and is endowed with energy’… ‘a Vortex, from which and through which, and into which, ideas are constantly rushing.’ 79 Thus the movement, the dynamics, are within the complex and not only between complexes, as tensions of opposites told about in narrational sequences, stories that require arbitrary syntactical connectives which are unnecessary for reading an image where all is given at once.”

79  These definitions of Image by Pound come from his various writings and can all be found in Jones, pp. 32-41.  Further on complex and image, see J. B. Harmer, Victory in Limbo: Imagism 1908-17, London: Secker & Warburg, 1975, pp. 164-68.

These remarks may help the reader to identify with Ada during her well-viewing in Cold Mountain (previous entry):

“She was dazzled by light and shade, by the confusing duplication of reflections and of frames. All coming from too many directions for the mind to take account of. The various images bounced against each other until she felt a desperate vertigo….”

If such complexity can be suggested by Hexagram 48, The Well, alone, consider the effect of the “cluster of fused ideas… endowed with energy” that is the entire 64-hexagram I Ching.

Related material:St. Augustine’s Day 2006

Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday December 14, 2007

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 9:00 AM

Well, it changes.”

Nicole Kidman at a press conference
for the London premiere of
“The Golden Compass” on November 27:

Nicole Kidman'-- kittens and tiger

A related Log24 link from
that same date, November 27:

Deep Beauty

See also Zen and the Art of
Motorcycle Maintenance

“Plato hadn’t tried to destroy areté. He had encapsulated it; made a permanent, fixed Idea out of it; had converted it to a rigid, immobile Immortal Truth. He made areté the Good, the highest form, the highest Idea of all. It was subordinate only to Truth itself, in a synthesis of all that had gone before.That was why the Quality that Phaedrus had arrived at in the classroom had seemed so close to Plato’s Good. Plato’s Good was taken from the rhetoricians. Phaedrus searched, but could find no previous cosmologists who had talked about the Good. That was from the Sophists. The difference was that Plato’s Good was a fixed and eternal and unmoving Idea, whereas for the rhetoricians it was not an Idea at all. The Good was not a form of reality. It was reality itself, ever changing, ultimately unknowable in any kind of fixed, rigid way.”

— as well as Cold Mountain

Page 48: “It’s claimed that if
you take a mirror and look
backwards into a well, you’ll
see your future down in the water.”

“So in short order Ada found herself bent backward over the mossy well lip, canted in a pose with little to recommend it in the way of dignity or comfort, back arched, hips forward, legs spraddled for balance.  She held a hand mirror above her face, angled to catch the surface of the water below.

Ada had agreed to the well-viewing as a variety of experiment in local custom and as a tonic for her gloom. Her thoughts had been broody and morbid and excessively retrospective for so long that she welcomed the chance to run counter to that flow, to cast forward and think about the future, even though she expected to see nothing but water at the bottom of the well.

She shifted her feet to find better grip on the packed dirt of the yard and then tried to look into the mirror.  The white sky above was skimmed over with backlit haze, bright as a pearl or as a silver mirror itself.  The dark foliage of oaks all around the edges framed the sky, duplicating the wooden frame of the mirror into which Ada peered, examining its picture of the well depths behind her to see what might lie ahead in her life. The bright round of well water at the end of the black shaft was another mirror.  It cast back the shine of sky and was furred around the edges here and there with sprigs of fern growing between stones.

Ada tried to focus her attention on the hand mirror, but the bright sky beyond kept drawing her eye away.  She was dazzled by light and shade, by the confusing duplication of reflections and of frames. All coming from too many directions for the mind to take account of. The various images bounced against each other until she felt a desperate vertigo, as if she could at any moment pitch backward and plunge head first down the well shaft and drown there, the sky far above her, her last vision but a bright circle set in the dark, no bigger than a full moon.

Her head spun and she reached with her free hand and held to the stonework of the well.  And then just for a moment things steadied, and there indeed seemed to be a picture in the mirror.”

— and Log24 on December 3 —

I Ching Hexagram 48: The Well
The above Chinese character
stands for Hexagram 48, “The Well.”
For further details, click on the well.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Wednesday August 30, 2006

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 10:07 AM
The Seventh Symbol:

A Multicultural Farewell

to a winner of the
Nobel Prize for Literature,
the Egyptian author of
The Seventh Heaven:
Supernatural Stories

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The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060830-SeventhSymbol.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

"Jackson has identified
the seventh symbol."

Other versions of
the seventh symbol —

Chinese version:

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pictorial version:

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algebraic version:

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"… Max Black, the Cornell philosopher, and others have pointed out how 'perhaps every science must start with metaphor and end with algebra, and perhaps without the metaphor there would never have been any algebra' …."

— Max Black, Models and Metaphors, Cornell U. Press, 1962, page 242, as quoted in Dramas, Fields, and Metaphors, by Victor Witter Turner, Cornell U. Press, paperback, 1975, page 25

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Wednesday June 21, 2006

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

Go with the Flow

The previous entry links to a document that discusses the mathematical concept of “Ricci flow (pdf).”

Though the concept was not named for him, this seems as good a time as any to recall the virtues of St. Matteo Ricci, a Jesuit who died in Beijing on May 11, 1610. (The Church does not yet recognize him as a saint; so much the worse for the Church.)

There was no Log24 entry on Ricci’s saint’s day, May 11, this year, but an entry for 4:29 PM May 10, 2006, seems relevant, since Beijing is 12 hours ahead of my local (Eastern US) time.

Ricci is famous for constructing
a “memory palace.”
Here is my equivalent,
from the May 10 entry:

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The relevance of this structure
to memory and to Chinese culture
is given in Dragon School and in
Geometry of the 4x4x4 Cube.

For some related remarks on
the colloquial, rather than the
mathematical, concept of flow,
Philosophy, Religion, and Science
as well as Crystal and Dragon.

Yesterday’s entry on the 1865
remarks on aesthetics of
Gerard Manley Hopkins,
who later became a Jesuit,
may also have some relevance.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Monday October 31, 2005

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 2:00 AM


The image “http://log24.com/log/pix03/030109-gridsmall.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

“An asymmetrical balance is sought since it possesses more movement. This is achieved by the imaginary plotting of the character upon a nine-fold square, invented by some ingenious writer of the Tang dynasty. If the square were divided in half or in four, the result would be symmetrical, but the nine-fold square permits balanced asymmetry.”– Chiang Yee, Chinese Calligraphy,
quoted in Aspen no. 10, item 8“‘Burnt Norton’ opens as a meditation on time. Many comparable and contrasting views are introduced. The lines are drenched with reminiscences of Heraclitus’ fragments on flux and movement….  the chief contrast around which Eliot constructs this poem is that between the view of time as a mere continuum, and the difficult paradoxical Christian view of how man lives both ‘in and out of time,’ how he is immersed in the flux and yet can penetrate to the eternal by apprehending timeless existence within time and above it. But even for the Christian the moments of release from the pressures of the flux are rare, though they alone redeem the sad wastage of otherwise unillumined existence. Eliot recalls one such moment of peculiar poignance, a childhood moment in the rose-garden– a symbol he has previously used, in many variants, for the birth of desire. Its implications are intricate and even ambiguous, since they raise the whole problem of how to discriminate between supernatural vision and mere illusion. Other variations here on the theme of how time is conquered are more directly apprehensible. In dwelling on the extension of time into movement, Eliot takes up an image he had used in ‘Triumphal March’: ‘at the still point of the turning world.’ This notion of ‘a mathematically pure point’ (as Philip Wheelwright has called it) seems to be Eliot’s poetic equivalent in our cosmology for Dante’s ‘unmoved Mover,’ another way of symbolising a timeless release from the ‘outer compulsions’ of the world. Still another variation is the passage on the Chinese jar in the final section. Here Eliot, in a conception comparable to Wallace Stevens’ ‘Anecdote of the Jar,’ has suggested how art conquers time:

       Only by the form, the pattern,
Can words or music reach
The stillness, as a Chinese jar still
Moves perpetually in its stillness.”

— F. O. Matthiessen,
The Achievement of T.S. Eliot,
Oxford University Press, 1958,
as quoted in On “Burnt Norton”

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Saturday October 22, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:12 PM
North Country Outrage

In memory of Barrington Moore Jr.,
Harvard observer of social folly,
who died on Sunday, October 16

Barrington Moore Jr. in 1978 On Moral Outrage:

“People’s organizations, loudspeakers, newspapers, the secret police, and the courts all swing into action and the campaign is launched. A reasonably intelligent person, particularly the educated product of Chinese civilization, which for centuries has stressed the nuances of moral indignation in a setting of intrigue and bureaucratic protocol, will know at once just how to adjust facial expressions and tones of voice in showing the correct degree of indignation for each degree on the official set of priorities that ranks all possible varieties of the execrable behavior of the enemies of the people. A poor peasant or worker cannot be expected to do as well.

Worse still, a peasant or a worker may have trouble understanding why this year’s enemies of the people include some of last year’s heroes, and why it is necessary to have another exhausting campaign so soon if the last one was as successful as everybody said it was. But since socialism is a workers’ and peasants’ state that belongs to the people, there are lots of people to explain such matters to workers and peasants, and indeed to anybody else who cares to listen. Furthermore just about everybody must care to listen. Woe to the person who stubbornly refuses to listen to the right noises or to try to make the right noises under socialism, since a socialist state is very efficient in its allocation of human as well as material resources.”

“Come gather ’round friends
And I’ll tell you a tale of when
the red iron pits ran plenty….

My children will go
As soon as they grow.
Well, there ain’t nothing
here now to hold them.”

— Robert Zimmerman,
North Country Blues,” 1963

Well, if you’re travelin’
in the north country fair,
Where the winds hit heavy
on the borderline,
Remember me to
one who lives there.
She once was
a true love of mine.”

— Robert Zimmerman,
Girl of the North Country,” 1963

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/051022-Poster2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Click to enlarge.

Above: propaganda poster of
the 2005 October revolution.

The title of the current film
North Country
was taken from Zimmerman’s
second song above.

Apparently Zimmerman’s first lament, about the iron pits being idle, is not currently in favor with leftists.  It still has validity, however.  See

 Where the Rivers Run North,
by Diane Alden.

Alden, who has lived in northern Minnesota, is perhaps more familiar with its problems than is the New Zealand feminist Niki Caro (director of “Whale Rider,” as well as “North Country”).

Friday, April 15, 2005

Friday April 15, 2005

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 7:11 AM
Leonardo Day

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In memory of Leonardo and of Chen Yifei (previous entry), a link to the Sino-Judaic Institute’s review of Chen’s film “Escape to Shanghai” —

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Click on the above for details.

Related material
from Log24.net:

Saturday, December 27, 2003  10:21 PM


“If little else, the brain is an educational toy.  While it may be a frustrating plaything — one whose finer points recede just when you think you are mastering them — it is nonetheless perpetually fascinating, frequently surprising, occasionally rewarding, and it comes already assembled; you don’t have to put it together on Christmas morning.

The problem with possessing such an engaging toy is that other people want to play with it, too.  Sometimes they’d rather play with yours than theirs.  Or they object if you play with yours in a different manner from the way they play with theirs.  The result is, a few games out of a toy department of possibilities are universally and endlessly repeated.  If you don’t play some people’s game, they say that you have ‘lost your marbles,’ not recognizing that,

while Chinese checkers is indeed a fine pastime, a person may also play dominoes, chess, strip poker, tiddlywinks, drop-the-soap or Russian roulette with his brain.

One brain game that is widely, if poorly, played is a gimmick called ‘rational thought.’ “

— Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

Sol LeWitt
June 12, 1969

“I took the number twenty-four and there’s twenty-four ways of expressing the numbers one, two, three, four.  And I assigned one kind of line to one, one to two, one to three, and one to four.  One was a vertical line, two was a horizontal line, three was diagonal left to right, and four was diagonal right to left.  These are the basic kind of directions that lines can take…. the absolute ways that lines can be drawn.   And I drew these things as parallel lines very close to one another in boxes.  And then there was a system of changing them so that within twenty-four pages there were different arrangements of actually sixteen squares, four sets of four.  Everything was based on four.  So this was kind of a… more of a… less of a rational… I mean, it gets into the whole idea of methodology.”

Yes, it does.
See Art Wars, Poetry’s Bones, and Time Fold.

Friday, December 26, 2003  7:59 PM

ART WARS, St. Stephen’s Day:

The Magdalene Code

Got The Da Vinci Code for Xmas.

From page 262:

When Langdon had first seen The Little Mermaid, he had actually gasped aloud when he noticed that the painting in Ariel’s underwater home was none other than seventeenth-century artist Georges de la Tour’s The Penitent Magdalene — a famous homage to the banished Mary Magdalene — fitting decor considering the movie turned out to be a ninety-minute collage of blatant symbolic references to the lost sanctity of Isis, Eve, Pisces the fish goddess, and, repeatedly, Mary Magdalene.

Related Log24 material —

December 21, 2002:

A Maiden’s Prayer

The Da Vinci Code, pages 445-446:

“The blade and chalice?” Marie asked.  “What exactly do they look like?”

Langdon sensed she was toying with him, but he played along, quickly describing the symbols.

A look of vague recollection crossed her face.  “Ah, yes, of course.  The blade represents all that is masculine.  I believe it is drawn like this, no?”  Using her index finger, she traced a shape on her palm.

“Yes,” Langdon said.  Marie had drawn the less common “closed” form of the blade, although Langdon had seen the symbol portrayed both ways.

“And the inverse,” she said, drawing again upon her palm, “is the chalice, which represents the feminine.”

“Correct,” Langdon said….

… Marie turned on the lights and pointed….

“There you are, Mr. Langdon.  The blade and chalice.”….

“But that’s the Star of Dav–“

Langdon stopped short, mute with amazement as it dawned on him.

The blade and chalice.

Fused as one.

The Star of David… the perfect union of male and female… Solomon’s Seal… marking the Holy of Holies, where the male and female deities — Yahweh and Shekinah — were thought to dwell.

Related Log24 material —

May 25, 2003:
Star Wars.

Concluding remark of April 15, 2005:
For a more serious approach to portraits of
redheads, see Chen Yifei’s work.

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Monday, April 4, 2005

Monday April 4, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:04 AM
Fourth Day of the Fourth Month,

“My wife took, unnoticed, this picture, unposed, of me in the act of writing a novel…. The date (discernible in the captured calendar) is February 27, 1929. The novel, Zashchita Luzhina (The Defense), deals with the defense invented by an insane chess player….”
— Vladimir Nabokov, note to photograph following page 256 in Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited, Vintage International paperback, August 1989

— Quoted in The Matthias Defense

From a site titled Meaning of the Twentieth Century —

“Freeman Dyson has expressed some thoughts on craziness. In a Scientific American article called ‘Innovation in Physics,’ he began by quoting Niels Bohr. Bohr had been in attendance at a lecture in which Wolfgang Pauli proposed a new theory of elementary particles. Pauli came under heavy criticism, which Bohr summed up for him: ‘We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. My own feeling is that is not crazy enough.’ To that Freeman added: ‘When a great innovation appears, it will almost certainly be in a muddled, incomplete and confusing form. To the discoverer, himself, it will be only half understood; to everyone else, it will be a mystery. For any speculation which does not at first glance look crazy, there is no hope!’ “

Kenneth Brower, The Starship and the Canoe, 1979, pp. 146, 147

It is my hope that the speculation, implied in The Matthias Defense, that the number 162 has astonishing mystical properties (as a page number, article number, etc.) is sufficiently crazy to satisfy Pauli and his friend Jung as well as the more conventional thinkers Bohr and Dyson.

— Log24.net, Feast of St. Mark, 2003

See also The Black Queen and The Eight.
In accordance with the theology of the previous entry, based on Zein’s list of the most common Chinese characters, here are some meanings of

character 162:

[si4] {sì} /to watch/to wait/to examine/to spy/
[si4] {sì} /to seem/to appear/similar/like/to resemble/
[si4] {sì} /until/wait for/
[si4] {sì} /rhinoceros indicus/
[si4] {sì} /four/
[si4] {sì} /(surname)/wife of older brother/
[si4] {sì} /Buddhist temple/
[si4] {sì} /6th earthly branch/9-11 a.m./
[si4] {sì} /stream which returns after branching/
[si4] {sì} /place name/snivel/
[si4] {sì} /offer sacrifice to/
[si4] {sì} /hamper/trunk/
[si4] {sì} /plough/ploughshare/
[si4] {sì} /four (fraud-proof)/market/
[si4] {sì} /to feed/
[si4] {sì} /to raise/to rear/to feed/
[si4] {sì} /team of 4 horses/
[si4 bai3 wan4] {sì bǎi wàn} /four million/
[si4 bai3 yi4] {sì bǎi yì} /40 billion/
[si4 cao2] {sì cáo} /feeding trough/
[si4 cao3] {sì cǎo} /forage grass/
[si4 chu4] {sì chù} /all over the place/everywhere and all directions/
[si4 chuan1] {sì chuān} /Sichuan province, China/
[si4 chuan1 sheng3] {sì chuān shěng} /(N) Sichuan, a south west China province/
[si4 de5] {sì de} /seem as if/rather like/
[si4 fang1] {sì fāng} /four-way/four-sided/
[si4 fen1 zhi1 yi1] {sì fēn zhī yī} /one-quarter/
[si4 fu2] {sì fú} /servo/
[si4 fu2 qi4] {sì fú qì} /server (computer)/
[si4 ge4 xiao3 shi2] {sì gè xiǎo shí} /four hours/
[si4 hu5] {sì hu} /apparently/to seem/to appear/as if/seemingly/
[si4 hu5 hen3 an1 quan2] {sì hu hěn ān quán} /to appear (to be) very safe/
[si4 ji1] {sì jī} /to watch for one's chance/
[si4 ji4] {sì jì} /(n) the four seasons/
[si4 liao4] {sì liào} /feed/fodder/
[si4 lun2 ma3 che1] {sì lún mǎ chē} /chariot/
[si4 men2 jiao4 che1] {sì mén jiào chē} /sedan (motor car)/
[si4 mian4 ba1 fang1] {sì miàn bā fāng} /in all directions/all around/far and near/
[si4 mian4 ti3] {sì miàn tǐ} /tetrahedron/
[si4 miao4] {sì miào} /temple/monastery/shrine/
[si4 nian2] {sì nián} /four years/
[si4 nian2 qian2] {sì nián qián} /four years previously/
[si4 nian2 zhi4 de5 da4 xue2] {sì nián zhì de dà xué} /four-year university/
[si4 qian1] {sì qiān} /four thousand/4 000/
[si4 shi2] {sì shí} /forty/40/
[si4 shi2 duo1] {sì shí duō} /more than 40/
[si4 shi2 liu4] {sì shí liù} /forty six/46/
[si4 shi2 san1] {sì shí sān} /43/forty three/
[si4 shi4 er2 fei1] {sì shì ér fēi} /(saying) appeared right but actually was wrong/
[si4 tian1] {sì tiān} /four days/
[si4 xiao4 fei1 xiao4] {sì xiào fēi xiào} /(saying) resemble a smile yet not smile/
[si4 xue3] {sì xuě} /snowy/
[si4 yang3] {sì yǎng} /to raise/to rear/
[si4 yang3 zhe3] {sì yǎng zhě} /feeder/
[si4 yuan4] {sì yuàn} /cloister/
[si4 yue4] {sì yuè} /April/fourth month/
[si4 yue4 shi2 qi1 hao4] {sì yuè shí qī hào} /April 17/
[si4 zhi1] {sì zhī} /(n) the four limbs of the body/
[si4 zhou1] {sì zhōu} /all around/

ktmatu.com Chinese-English dictionary

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Wednesday July 28, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:00 PM

The Freshmen, Part II

From the Daily Princetonian,
Feb. 3, 2004


Caption: Cate Edwards’ Princeton friends support her and her father.

“… when Sen. John Edwards, father of Cate Edwards ’04, decided to run for president, the troop of 17 students sacrificed tans and theses to pile into a fleet of minivans headed to New Hampshire….

    These volunteers… were on a first name basis with the man who had helped them move into freshman dorm rooms and had discussed Senate votes with them over Chinese food.”

Log24 May 22, 2004:

From Chuck Polisher’s
I Ching Lexicon

“It’s claimed that
if you take a mirror
and look backwards
into a well,
you’ll see your future
down in the water.”

Cold Mountain,
     Vintage paperback, 1998,
page 48

“Goin’ to Carolina in my mind…”
— James Taylor

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, July 4, 2003

Friday July 4, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 AM


Today many Americans celebrate a declaration of certain “self-evident” truths.  Others feel that these alleged “truths” are misleading.  Seeking a worthy opponent for the authors of the Declaration on this secular holy day, I settled on the following recently published book, a sort of Declaration of Dependence of government on God (an imaginary entity who speaks only through politicians, clergymen, and other liars):

Christian Faith
and Modern Democracy:

God and Politics in the Fallen World
By Robert P. Kraynak
Univ. of Notre Dame Press. 304p
$49.95 (cloth) $24.95 (paper)

From a review in the Dec. 24, 2001, issue of America, a Jesuit publication:

“The author, who identifies himself as a practicing Catholic, asserts that Christianity is weakened by its close alliance with the contemporary version of democracy and human rights…. 

The author states that ‘modern liberal democracy…subverts in practice the dignity of man.’  He defends his thesis relentlessly and persuasively…. 

Some readers of this well-organized volume will be disappointed that the author makes no mention of the four billion non-Christians among the world’s 6.1 billion inhabitants. The four billion Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists must be included in any attempt to make the modern state responsive to traditional and generally accepted norms of morality.”

— Robert F. Drinan, S.J.

Jefferson would probably appreciate Drinan’s remark on catholic (i.e., universal, or “generally accepted”) norms.

The “traditional and generally accepted norms of morality” Drinan mentions are discussed ably by Christian apologist C. S. Lewis in his book The Abolition of Man, which argues for the existence of a universal moral code that I am pleased to note he calls, rightly, the Tao.  As an Amazon.com reviewer notes, Lewis uses this term in the manner of Confucius rather than that of Lao Tsu.  I prefer the latter. 

For details, see the Tao Te Ching, (The Way and Its Power).  This is a far more holy scripture than the collections of lies called sacred by most other religions.  Both the leftist Jefferson and the rightist Kraynak wrongly assume that talk of a “Creator” means something.  It does not.  Classical Chinese thought is free from this absurd Western error.  Lewis at least had the grace to acknowledge the importance of non-Western thought, though he himself was unable to escape the lies of Christianity.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Thursday May 15, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Well Done

“So tell me about the matrix reloaded… and what it’s like to finish a job well done.”

— Weblog entry by Harvard student, May 15, 2003

The matrix reloaded: 

See chapter VII, “Composition,” in Chinese Calligraphy: An Introduction to Its Aesthetic and Technique, by Chiang Yee, Harvard University Press, first published April 21st, 1938.

A job well done:

“The Best is Yet to Come”
— Epitaph of Francis Albert Sinatra

Saturday, January 4, 2003

Saturday January 4, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:33 AM

A Darker Side of C. S. Lewis

Known for his fairy-story series “The Chronicles of Narnia,” C. S. Lewis had a more serious — some might say darker — side.

His portrayals of science and scientists in That Hideous Strength  give an accurate picture of moral degeneracy in that subculture.  The hero of Lewis’s “space trilogy,” of which That Hideous Strength is the conclusion, is a philologist  — a student of language.  In keeping with Lewis’s interest in philology and in fairy stories, and with the fact that today is Jacob Grimm‘s birthday, here are some philological observations related to the word “middle” — as in the “middle earth” of Lewis’s friend Tolkien, or in “middle kingdom,” the Chinese name for China.

From a bulletin board site, sciforums.com, that bills itself as an “intelligent science community”:

Forum: Art & Culture

Thread: Red Dragon

User: aseedrain

I’ve just watched “Red Dragon”. Not bad actually but there was a triviality in the film that somewhat spoilt my appreciation of it. In the film, the serial killer (played by Ralph Fiennes) leaves a mark behind – a Chinese character. The character is explained as a character that appear [sic] on mahjung pieces that carries the meaning ‘red dragon’.

Now I know for a fact that the Chinese character that appears in the film means ‘centre’ or ‘middle’. It is one of the two characters that make up the name “China” or its literal translation “Middle Kingdom”. I’m no expert on the mahjung game but I do know that even in the game, the piece that carry [sic] this character is also referred as “chung” meaning ‘middle’. I have never come across any instances where this particular character referred to dragons.

Therefore, in the absence of any other explanation, I assume the film made a mistake with this little detail….

From the Four Winds Mah Jong site:

The developers of the classical Mah Jong were educated and knew well the classical Chinese philosophical and mythological tradition, particularly the Book of Changes and the Book of Surprises. The elements of the game symbolize interaction of the three extremes of the universe: Heaven, Earth and Man, expressed in many ways, not only by images graved in the tiles, but also in a way the tiles form numerically significant groups and combinations.

Thus 144 is said to be the number of the plan of Earth, and the square formed by the tiles can be seen as a symbolic representation of the universe. Heaven is manifested in the Four Seasons, Earth in the Four regions (East, South, West and North), and Man in the Four Flowers (symbolizing motion or life). The Dragons (‘San Yuan’ or ‘San Chi’ in Chinese, meaning “Extremes”) symbolize Heaven (White Dragon, ‘Po’, meaning “white” or” blank”), Earth (Green Dragon, ‘Fa’, meaning “prosperous”) and Man (Red Dragon, ‘Chung’, meaning “center”, i.e. “between Heaven and Earth”). 

From another mah jong site:

Red Dragon
Chinese Character: “Chung”

The true name of this tile is represented by the Chinese character “Chung” which means centre or middle. The “Chung” character represents interpretation an arrow striking the centre of a target. The meaning of this tile is therefore – success or achievement.

This tile is the counterpart of the “The Green Dragon” tile which shows the arrow about to leave the bow. It is commonly called “The Red Dragon” in western Mah Jong sets because the “Chung” character is generally drawn in red ink.

From a page on a pilot of the USAF China National Aviation Corp. (CNAC) Air Transport Command Group:

The significance of the chung on the plane is explained here.  Suggested as an insignia by General Claire Chennault in 1942, it may be imagined to have signified — as on the mah jong tile — success or achievement in this area as well.

Let us hope that philologists and fairy-tale students like Grimm and Lewis — rather than followers of the religion of scientism — continue to inspire and guide those who must fight for our values.

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