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Sunday, March 19, 2017
Sunday, May 1, 2011
A link in the previous post to Delos in this journal mentions physicist John Cramer.
His daughter Kathryn's weblog mentions the following story—
Graffiti in the Library of Babel • David Langford
—from her forthcoming anthology Year's Best SF 16 .
From the Langford story—
"'I suppose we have a sort of duty…' Out of the corner of her eye Ceri saw her notes window change. She hadn't touched the keyboard or mouse. Just before the flatscreen went black and flickered into a reboot sequence, she saw the coloured tags where no tags had been before. In her own notes. Surrounding the copied words 'quarantine regulations.'"
Related material from this journal last Jan. 9 —
"Show me all the blueprints."
– Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Aviator" (2004)
DiCaprio in "Inception"
In the "blueprints" link above, DiCaprio's spelling of "Q-U-A-R-A-N-T-I-N-E" is of particular interest.
See also a search for Inception in this journal.
A post on a spelling bee at the end of that search quotes an essay on Walter Benjamin—
This blissful state between the world and its creator as expressed in Adamic language has its end, of course, in the Fall. The “ignorance” introduced into the world that ultimately drives our melancholic state of acedia has its inception with the Fall away from the edenic union that joins God’s plan to the immediacy of the material world. What ensues, says Benjamin, is an overabundance of conventional languages, a prattle of meanings now localized hence arbitrary. A former connection to a defining origin has been lost; and an overdetermined, plethoric state of melancholia forms. Over-determination stems from over-naming. “Things have no proper names except in God. . . . In the language of men, however, they are overnamed.” Overnaming becomes “the linguistic being of melancholy.”7
7 Walter Benjamin, “On Language as Such and On the Languages of Man,” Edmund Jephcott, tr., Walter Benjamin , Selected Writings , Volume I: 1913-1926 , Marcus Bullock and Michael W. Jennings, eds., Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 1997, p. 73.
Compare and contrast with a remark by a translator mentioned here previously —
I fancy, myself, that this self-consciousness about translation dates approximately from the same time as man's self-consciousness about language itself. Genesis tells us that Adam named all the animals (just as in Indian tradition the monkey-god Hanuman invented grammar by naming all the plants in the Garden of Illo Tempore). No doubts, no self-consciousness: "Whatever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof." (Genesis II, 19). But after the expulsion from Paradise I see Adam doubting the moment the possibility occurs that another name might be possible. And isn't that what all translators are? Proposers, in another language, of another name ?
— Helen Lane in Translation Review , Vol. 5, 1980
"Among the awards, I submit, should be one for the entire oeuvre of a lifetime "senior" translator— and one for the best first translation…. Similar organization, cooperation, and fund-finding for a first-rate replacement for the sorely missed Delos ."
This leads to one of the founders of Delos , the late Donald Carne-Ross, who died on January 9, 2010.
For one meditation on the date January 9, see Bridal Birthday (last Thursday).
Another meditation, from the date of Carne-Ross's death—
|Saturday, January 9, 2010
"The positional meaning of a symbol derives from its relationship to other symbols in a totality, a Gestalt, whose elements acquire their significance from the system as a whole."
– Victor Turner, The Forest of Symbols , Ithaca, NY, Cornell University Press, 1967, p. 51, quoted by Beth Barrie in "Victor Turner."
To everything, turn, turn, turn …
See also Delos in this journal.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
“If it’s a seamless whole you want,
pray to Apollo, who sets the limits
within which such a work can exist.”
(Recall that Apollo is the god
of, among other things, reason.)
Monday, May 22, 2006
Google Maps image
of the isle of Delos,
birthplace of Apollo:
“I faced myself that day with
the nonplused apprehension
of someone who has
come across a vampire
and has no crucifix in hand.”
— Joan Didion, “On Self-Respect,”
in Slouching Towards Bethlehem
“For every kind of vampire,
there is a kind of cross.”
— Thomas Pynchon,
Friday, December 2, 2005
whose feast is today:
Apollo and Christ
“… a purely harmonious concept of beauty is not enough…. Apollo, who for Plato’s Socrates was ‘the God’ and the guarantor of unruffled beauty as ‘the truly divine’ is absolutely no longer sufficient.”
symbol of Apollo
as the source of
a Christian symbol–
the Greek Cross.
“now then again“
with cover art by Roz Francis
illustrating the time 8:05:19,
Hexagram 19 in the
(“A dance results”
— Marie-Louise von Franz),
Sunday, April 13, 2003
Palm Sunday, Part II:
“What are you thinking of? What thinking? What?
I never know what you are thinking. Think.”
— Tom Eliot, The Waste Land
“I am thinking…
… of the midnight picnic
Once upon a time….”
Once upon a time…
“De donde crece la palma” — Song lyric
“in Delos, beside Apollo’s altar —
the young slip of a palm-tree
springing into the light.”
— George Balanchine
Tuesday, September 24, 2002
The Shining of Lucero
From my journal note, “Shining Forth“:
The Spanish for “Bright Star” is “Lucero.”
The Eye of the Beholder:
When you stand in the dark and look at a star a hundred light years away, not only have the retarded light waves from the star been travelling for a hundred years toward your eyes, but also advanced waves from your eyes have reached a hundred years into the past to encourage the star to shine in your direction.
— John Cramer, “The Quantum Handshake“
From Broken Symmetries, by Paul Preuss, 1983:
He’d toyed with “psi” himself…. The reason he and so many other theoretical physicists were suckers for the stuff was easy to understand — for two-thirds of a century an enigma had rested at the heart of theoretical physics, a contradiction, a hard kernel of paradox….
Peter [Slater] had never thirsted after “hidden variables” to explain what could not be pictured. Mathematical relationships were enough to satisfy him, mere formal relationships which existed at all times, everywhere, at once. It was a thin nectar, but he was convinced it was the nectar of the gods.
Those so-called crazy psychics were too sane, that was their problem — they were too stubborn to admit that the universe was already more bizarre than anything they could imagine in their wildest dreams of wizardry. (Ch. 16)
Minakis caught up and walked beside him in silence, moving with easy strides over the bare ground, listening as Peter [Slater] spoke. “Delos One was ten years ago — quantum theory seemed as natural as water to me then; I could play in it without a care. If I’d had any sense of history, I would have recognized that I’d swallowed the Copenhagen interpretation whole.”
“Back then, you insisted that the quantum world is not a world at all,” Minakis prompted him. “No microworld, only mathematical descriptions.”
“Yes, I was adamant. Those who protested were naive — one has to be willing to tolerate ambiguity, even to be crazy.”
“The party line. Of course Bohr did say, ‘It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about nature.’ Meaning that when we start to talk what sounds like philosophy, our colleagues should rip us to pieces.” Peter smiled. “They smell my blood already.”
……………… Peter glanced at Minakis. “Let’s say there are indications — I have personal indications — not convincing, perhaps, but suggestive, that the quantum world penetrates the classical world deeply.” He was silent for a moment, then waved his hand at the ruins. “The world of classical physics, I mean. I suppose I’ve come to realize that the world is more than a laboratory.”
“We are standing where Apollo was born,” Minakis said. “Leto squatted just there, holding fast to a palm tree, and after nine days of labor gave birth to the god of light and music….”
To Lucero, in memory of
1962 in Cuernavaca
From On Beauty, by Elaine Scarry,
Princeton University Press, 1999 —
“Homer sings of the beauty of particular things. Odysseus, washed up on shore, covered with brine, having nearly drowned, comes upon a human community and one person in particular, Nausicaa, whose beauty simply astonishes him. He has never anywhere seen a face so lovely; he has never anywhere seen any thing so lovely….
I have never laid eyes on anyone like you,
neither man nor woman…
I look at you and a sense of wonder takes me.
Wait, once I saw the like —
in Delos, beside Apollo’s altar —
the young slip of a palm-tree
springing into the light.”
“When we try to look inside atoms,” Peter said, “not only can we not see what’s going on, we cannot even construct a coherent picture of what’s going on.”
“If you will forgive me, Peter,” Minakis said, turning to the others. “He means that we can construct several pictures — that light and matter are waves, for example, or that light and matter are particles — but that all these pictures are inadequate. What’s left to us is the bare mathematics of quantum theory.”
…. “Whatever the really real world is like, my friend, it is not what you might imagine.”
………………Talking physics, Peter tended to bluntness. “Tell me more about this real world you imagine but can’t describe.”
Minakis turned away from the view of the sunset. “Are you familiar with John Cramer’s transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics?”
“No I’m not.”
“Read Cramer. I’ll give you his papers. Then we can talk.”
From John Cramer, “The Quantum Handshake“:
Advanced waves could perhaps, under the right circumstances, lead to “ansible-type” FTL communication favored by Le Guin and Card….
For more on Le Guin and Card, see my journal notes below.
For more on the meaning of “lucero,” see the Wallace Stevens poem “Martial Cadenza.”