Log24

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Bullshit Studies . . .

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

Continues.

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

Related news for fans of Language Games

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Bullshit Studies

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

In memory of Wilford Brimley:

“The polymorphic Thing, capable of absorbing the human
as but one among other morphological possibilities in its
seemingly infinite repertoire, can be understood, that is,
as the embodiment of evolution.”

— Eric White,  Science Fiction Studies  #61  (Vol. 20, Part 3, Nov. 1993),
The Erotics of Becoming: XENOGENESIS and The Thing

Friday, June 12, 2020

Bullshit Studies: “Hyperseeing”

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 12:13 AM

In memoriam —

Friedman co-edited the ISAMA journal  Hyperseeing .  See also . . .

See too the other articles in Volume 40 of  Kybernetes .

Related material —

Compare and contrast the discussion of the geometry
of the 4×4 square
in the diamond theorem (1976) with
Nat Friedman’s treatment of the same topic in 2001 —

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Bullshit Studies

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:59 PM

From https://www.mathunion.org/outreach/logos/versions-all-logos

Click the logo for some IMU history.

Related bullshit —

Hegel’s Conceptual Group Action

Click the banner below for the background of the logo

Friday, May 1, 2020

Bullshit Studies

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 2:55 PM

The following passage is from Amanda Gefter’s  Trespassing
on Einstein’s Lawn  (Bantam Books, 2014).

“You know the story of Plato’s cave?” my father asked. “All the prisoners are chained up in the cave and they can’t see the real world outside, only the shadows on the wall? That’s supposed to be a negative thing, like they’ll never know reality. But the truth is, you have to be stuck inside a limited reference frame for there to be any reality at all! If you weren’t chained to your light cone, you’d see nothing. The H-state.”

I nodded. “You’d have no information. You need the broken symmetry, the shadow, to have information and information gives rise to the world. It from bit.”

I couldn’t help but grin with excitement. The message was clear: having a finite frame of reference creates the illusion of a world, but even the reference frame itself is an illusion. Observers create reality, but observers aren’t real. There is nothing ontologically distinct about an observer, because you can always find a frame in which that observer disappears: the frame of the frame itself, the boundary of the boundary.

“If physicists discover an invariant someday, the game will be up,” my father mused. “That would rule out the hypothesis that the universe is really nothing.”

That was true. But so far, at least, every last invariant had gone the way of space and time, rendered relative and observer-dependent. Spacetime, gravity, electromagnetism, the nuclear forces, mass, energy, momentum, angular momentum, charge, dimensions, particles, fields, the vacuum, strings, the universe, the multiverse, the speed of light— one by one they had been downgraded to illusion. As the surface appearance of reality fell away, only one thing remained. Nothing.

My path to Gefter’s father’s musing led from a quotation attributed,
probably falsely, to John Archibald Wheeler on page 52 of Octavio
Paz’s  Claude Lévi-Strauss: An Introduction  (Cornell, 1970)

“There is a point at which

‘something is nothing and nothing is something.’

The quote may actually be by AP writer John Barbour reporting
on a 1967 American Physical Society talk by Wheeler, “The End
of Time.”

Gefter mentions Wheeler 369 times:

See as well Introduction to Quantum Woo.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Mage Studies: Art vs. Bullshit

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:32 PM

Art:

From an October 3 post

Bullshit:

From an academic's website —

Friday, September 8, 2017

Bullshit Studies

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:02 AM

Or:  Nine, Eight, Seven . . .

See as well
Rainbow Countdown.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Bullshit Studies

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:24 PM

The previous post dealt with a symbol of an apparently
admirable "social development environment."

For a less admirable development environment, see a film
described in a July 2014 story from Film New Europe —

"Shooting started in Bucharest on 9 June 2014. . . ."

This  journal on 8-9 June 2014 —

Monday, April 10, 2017

Bullshit Studies Continued*

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:29 PM

Yin Yang Yung

* See also earlier posts on Bullshit Studies.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Bullshit Studies

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:19 AM

From The Chronicle of Higher Education  on March 2, 2017 —

These days, in a world totally dependent on microprocessors, lasers, and nanotechnology, it has been estimated that 30 percent of the U.S. gross national product is based on inventions made possible by quantum mechanics. With the booming high-tech industry and the expected advent of quantum computers, this percentage will only grow. Within a hundred years, an esoteric theory of young physicists became a mainstay of the modern economy.

It took nearly as long for Einstein’s own theory of relativity, first published in 1905, to be used in everyday life in an entirely unexpected way. The accuracy of the global positioning system, the space-based navigation system that provides location and time information in today’s mobile society, depends on reading time signals of orbiting satellites. The presence of Earth’s gravitational field and the movement of these satellites cause clocks to speed up and slow down, shifting them by 38 milliseconds a day. In one day, without Einstein’s theory, our GPS tracking devices would be inaccurate by about seven miles.

Robbert Dijkgraaf, Director, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

The above paragraphs are clearly propaganda, not physics.

For "It has been estimated," see

The "without Einstein 's theory" statement may or may not be correct.
See the lengthy discussion at

http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/1061/
why-does-gps-depend-on-relativity
.

See also Princeton's March of Mediocrity Continues.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Bullshit Studies

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 1:21 PM

Continued.

" The origin of new ways of doing things may often be
a disciplinary crisis. The definition of such a crisis
provided by Barry Mazur in Mykonos (2005) applies
equally well to literary creation. '[A crisis occurs] when
some established overarching framework, theoretical
vocabulary or procedure of thought is perceived as
inadequate in an essential way, or not meaning
what we think it means.' "

— Circles Disturbed :
The Interplay of Mathematics and Narrative

Edited by Apostolos Doxiadis & Barry Mazur
Princeton University Press, 2012. See
Chapter 14, Section 5.1, by Uri Margolin.

See also "overarching" in this journal.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Bullshit Studies

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:00 PM

(Continued)

Click image to enlarge.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Bullshit Studies

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

(Continued)

"The allusion to 'the most precious square of sense' shows
Shakespeare doing an almost scholastic demonstration of
the need for a ratio and interplay among the senses as
the very constitution of rationality."

— Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy ,
University of Toronto Press, 1962, page 13

"What Shakespeare refers to in Lear  as the 'precious
square of sense' probably has reference to the traditional
'square of opposition' in logic and to that four-part analogy
of proportionality which is the interplay of sense and reason."     

— McLuhan, ibid. , page 241

This is of course nonsense, and, in view of McLuhan's pose
as a defender of the Catholic faith, damned  nonsense.

Epigraph by McLuhan —

"The Gutenberg Galaxy  develops a mosaic or field
approach to its problems."

I prefer a different "mosaic or field" related to the movable
blocks  of Fröbel, not the movable type  of Gutenberg.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Bullshit Studies

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 1:06 AM

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

This suggests a review of another noted four-set.

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

Midrash —

Log24 post titled 'As Is'

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

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Die Scheinung

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

See also Die Scheinung  in this journal.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Die Scheinung des Wesens

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 4:00 AM

… und Nachtformen des Urgrundes

From George , by Friedrich Gundolf (Berlin, Bondi, 1920):

Wenn das Schlußgedicht des Teppichs "Der Schleier"
das ganze gestaltige "Leben" des Dichters als
einen Traum-nu des Geistes zeigt so ist damit
der Geistestag vollbracht und der Geist selbst
der dies vermag ist am Ende seiner Herrschaft
er steht vor dem Urgrund der ihn bewegt:
er erkennt sich selbst wenn nicht als Stoff
so doch als Kraft zu träumen. Die kosmische Nacht
in die er blickt ist zugleich Widerspiel des Gestaltenreiches
das er als Geist der Erde verwirk licht
und Widerspiel des Gesetzes das er als Geist des Lebens
verewigt kurz sie ist Traum und Tod "Traum"
nicht als die Fülle der Gesichte sondern als "Maja"
die Scheinung des Wesens vermöge
deren der Urgrund sich der Bindung im Raum immer wieder entzieht
wie er im Tod der Bindung durch die Zeit entgeht.
Traum ist die Aufhebung des Raum-Ichs,
Tod die Aufhebung des Zeit-Ichs— beides sind
Nachtformen des Urgrundes
die raumschaffende und -vernichtende Bewegung und
das zeitschaffende und -vernichtende Sein.

The original:

IMAGE- A passage from 'George,' by Friedrich Gundolf (Berlin, 1920)

Related material:  Die Scheinung  in this journal.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Bullshit Studies

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 3:12 PM

The essay excerpted in last night's post on structuralism
is of value as part of a sustained attack by the late
Robert de Marrais on the damned nonsense of the late
French literary theorist Jacques Derrida—

Catastrophes, Kaleidoscopes, String Quartets:
Deploying the Glass Bead Game

Part I:  Ministrations Concerning Silliness, or:
Is “Interdisciplinary Thought” an Oxymoron?

Part II:  Canonical Collage-oscopes, or:
Claude in Jacques’ Trap?  Not What It Sounds Like!

Part III:  Grooving on the Sly with Klein Groups

Part IV:  Claude’s Kaleidoscope . . . and Carl’s

Part V:  Spelling the Tree, from Aleph to Tav
(While  Not Forgetting to Shin)

The response of de Marrais to Derrida's oeuvre  nicely
exemplifies the maxim of Norman Mailer that

"At times, bullshit can only be countered
with superior bullshit."

Monday, February 15, 2021

Philosophy for Emma Stone

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:51 PM

From a post of August 30, 2015

“… recall the words of author Norman Mailer
that summarized his Harvard education —

‘At times, bullshit can only be countered
with superior bullshit.’ “

And at times, non-bullshit is required.

BS from The New York Times  Friday  on the mathematical fields
known as topology  and analysis  in the 1960s —

“The two fields seemed to be nearly irremediably divided,
because topology twists objects around, and analysis
needs them to be rigid.”

Some less ignorant remarks from 1986:

The above Gauss-Bonnet theorem (ca. 1848) is explained in a talk titled
Analysis Meets Topology” labeled with the above Emma Stone date —

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Unframed Prime

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:30 PM

A Veritable Frame

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:21 PM

A search in this journal for “Jean Brodie” suggests a review —

“A professor is all-powerful, Gareth liked to tell his daughter, he puts
‘a veritable frame around life,’ and ‘organizes the unorganizable.
Nimbly partitions it . . . .'”

Review of Special Topics in Calamity Physics , Aug. 13, 2006

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Annals of Academia

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:21 PM

New York  magazine’s “The Cut” —

BAD SCIENCE
JULY 14, 2016

Why It Took Social Science Years to Correct a Simple Error
About ‘Psychoticism’

By Jesse Singal

“What should we make of all of this? Partly, of course, this is
a story of conflicting personalities, of competitiveness between
researchers, of academics acting — let’s be frank — like dicks.”

Or, worse, like New York Times  reporter Benedict Carey —

A Theory About Conspiracy Theories

In a new study, psychologists tried to get a handle on the personality types that might be prone to outlandish beliefs.

By Benedict Carey, New York Times  science reporter,
on Sept. 28, 2020

. . . .

The personality features that were solidly linked to conspiracy beliefs included some usual suspects: entitlement, self-centered impulsivity, cold-heartedness (the confident injustice collector), elevated levels of depressive moods and anxiousness (the moody figure, confined by age or circumstance). Another one emerged from the questionnaire that aimed to assess personality disorders — a pattern of thinking called “psychoticism.”

Psychoticism is a core feature of so-called schizo-typal personality disorder, characterized in part by “odd beliefs and magical thinking” and “paranoid ideation.” In the language of psychiatry, it is a milder form of full-blown psychosis, the recurrent delusional state that characterizes schizophrenia. It’s a pattern of magical thinking that goes well beyond garden variety superstition and usually comes across socially as disjointed, uncanny or “off.”

In time, perhaps some scientist or therapist will try to slap a diagnosis on believers in Big Lie conspiracies that seem wildly out of line with reality. For now, Dr. Pennycook said, it is enough to know that, when distracted, people are far more likely to forward headlines and stories without vetting their sources much, if at all.
. . . .

Some elementary  fact-checking reveals that historical definitions
of “psychoticism” vary greatly. Carey forwards this bullshit without
vetting his sources much, if at all.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Vanity Fair Cover Girl

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 11:15 AM

Elle Fanning recently played Catherine the Great.

Starring J. J. Abrams as Leonhard Euler?

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Structure and Mutability . . .

Continues in The New York Times :

“One day — ‘I don’t know exactly why,’ he writes — he tried to
put together eight cubes so that they could stick together but
also move around, exchanging places. He made the cubes out
of wood, then drilled a hole in the corners of the cubes to link
them together. The object quickly fell apart.

Many iterations later, Rubik figured out the unique design
that allowed him to build something paradoxical:
a solid, static object that is also fluid….” — Alexandra Alter

Another such object: the eightfold cube .

Nexus

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 1:32 AM

“This article is a nexus of ideas and vision….”

— Jack Plotkin at Medium.com yesterday

As are many other things. See nexus  in this  journal
and . . .

“Show me all  the blueprints.”

— Howard Hughes, according to Hollywood

Monday, August 17, 2020

Art School Confidential . . .

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 4:13 PM

Continues.

See also  Obelisk  in this journal.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

The Mephisto Device

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:39 PM

The previous post, and Wallace Stevens, suggest a search
in this journal for “The Trials of Device.” That search yields,
among other images, the following —

The Mephisto Waltz  author, Fred Mustard Stewart, reportedly died
on February 7, 2007.  A check of that date in this journal yields . . .

This is not John Belushi, whose cover of
Frankie Laine’s “Rawhide” was memorable,
but Laine himself.

Some Frankie Laine lyrics quoted here on Stewart’s death date:

Frankie Laine (left) and the Blues Brothers

“Times when I know you’ll be lonesome,
times when I know you’ll be sad
Don’t let temptation surround you,
don’t let the blues make you bad”

— “We’ll Be Together Again,”
Frankie Laine,
March 30, 1913 —
February 6, 2007

Mephisto  fans may prefer Sting’s version of the phrase
“we’ll be together.” See Complex Reflection,  April 20, 2012.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Lit for Brats

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 8:36 AM

From a search in this journal for Salinger

“… the wind was noisy the way it is in spooky movies
on the night the old slob with the will gets murdered.”

— From the opening sentence of the first Holden Caulfield
story, published in the Collier’s  of December 22, 1945

See as well the previous post.

Game

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 8:18 AM

Rules for a game codesigned by Ellie Black, the cartoonist
of yesterday's post Cutting-Edge Prize

Gropius Moritat…

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 7:00 AM

Continued from other posts so tagged.

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

Walter Gropius,

Another approach to changing the game

See also a search here  for a phrase related to 
last night's Country Music Association awards 
speech by Reba McEntire — "Rule the World."

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Sein Feld

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:25 PM

Cutting-Edge Prize

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 1:51 PM

From November 13, 2005 —

Detail from a Log24 post of September 23, 2019

Cartoon by Ellie Black in The New Yorker , uploaded there on the above date.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Child’s Play Continues — La Despedida

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:03 PM

This post was suggested by the phrase "Froebel Decade" from
the search results below.

This journal a decade ago had a post on the late Donald Westlake,
an author who reportedly died of a heart attack in Mexico on Dec. 31,
2008, while on his way to a New Year's Eve dinner.

One of Westlake's books —

Related material —

"La Despedida " and "Finality indeed, and cleavage!"

Thursday, July 26, 2018

In Memoriam

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:14 AM

Friday, January 5, 2018

Subway Art Continues

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

Subway art related to an event of January 3, 2018

Monday, November 7, 2016

Subway Art for Times Square Church

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 9:11 PM 

Click images for related material.

 

Monday, December 25, 2017

New Kids on a Block:

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:59 PM

A Midnight Special for Charles Wallace


Peter Block —

Old Kid on Peter Block —

See the remarks today of Harvard philosophy professor Sean D. Kelly
in The New York Times :

Alexander's "15 properties that create the wholeness and aliveness" —

This is the sort of bullshit that seems to go over well at Harvard.
See Christopher Alexander in this journal.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Core

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 4:01 PM

From the New York Times Wire  last night —

"Mr. Hefner styled himself as an emblem
of the sexual revolution."

From a Log24 post on September 23 —

A different emblem related to other remarks in the above Sept. 23 post

On the wall— A Galois-geometry 'inscape'

(On the wall — a Galois-geometry inscape .)

The Last Word

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 6:00 AM

Remarks suggested by the previous post

From Jeremy Biles, "Introduction: The Sacred Monster," in
Ecce Monstrum: Georges Bataille and the Sacrifice of Form

(Fordham University Press, 2007, page 3) —

Bataille’s insistent conjunction of the monstrous and the sacred is the subject of this book. Regarded by many as one of the most important thinkers of our time, and acknowledged as an important influence by such intellectuals as Michel Foucault, Julia Kristeva, Maurice Blanchot, and Jacques Derrida, Bataille produced a corpus of wide-ranging writings bearing the monstrous marks of the affective and intellectual contradictions he also sought to produce in his readers. In the following chapters, I will specify some of the ways in which Bataille evokes monstrosity to elicit in himself and his audience an experience of simultaneous anguish and joy—an experience that he calls sacred. In particular, Bataille is fascinated with the ‘‘left-hand’’ sacred. In contradistinction to its lucent and form-conferring ‘‘right-hand’’ counterpart, the left-hand sacred is obscure and formless—not transcendent, pure, and beneficent, but dangerous, filthy, and morbid. This sinister, deadly aspect of the sacred is at once embodied in, and communicated by, the monster. As we will see, it is in beholding the monster that one might experience the combination of ecstasy and horror that characterizes Bataille ’s notion of the sacred.

The dual etymology of ‘‘monster’’ reveals that aspect of the sacred that enticed Bataille. According to one vein of etymological study, the Latin monstrum  derives from monstrare  (to show or display). The monster is that which appears before our eyes as a sign of sorts; it is a demonstration. But another tradition emphasizes a more ominous point. Deriving from monere  (to warn), the monster is a divine omen, a portent; it heralds something that yet remains unexpected, unforeseeable—as a sudden reversal of fortune. In the writings of Bataille, the monster functions as a monstrance, putting on display the sinister aspect of the sacred that Bataille sees as the key to a ‘‘sovereign’’ existence. But in doing so the monster presents us with a portent of something that we cannot precisely foresee, but something that, Bataille claims, can be paradoxically experienced in moments of simultaneous anguish and ecstasy: death.

See as well

(Order of news items transposed for aesthetic effect.)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Badreads

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 6:11 AM

    See also a related Log24 post.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Turn of the Frame

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 2:19 AM

"With respect to the story's content, the frame thus acts
both as an inclusion of the exterior and as an exclusion
of the interior: it is a perturbation of the outside at the
very core of the story's inside, and as such, it is a blurring
of the very difference between inside and outside."

— Shoshana Felman on a Henry James story, p. 123 in
"Turning the Screw of Interpretation,"
Yale French Studies  No. 55/56 (1977), pp. 94-207.
Published by Yale University Press.

See also the previous post and The Galois Tesseract.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Zero Monstrance

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 6:00 AM

From "The Metaphysics of Entities," a post of Sept. 20, 2014 —

Anthony Lane in The New Yorker  on a 2013 film —

"The hero of 'The Zero Theorem' is a computer genius
called Qohen Leth (Christoph Waltz)…. He is the sole
resident of a derelict church, where, on a crucifix in front
of the altar, the head of Christ has been replaced by a
security camera. No prayers are ever said, and none are
answered."

Related dialogue from a 2008 film

Another view of the Zero Theorem derelict church —

Saturday, September 9, 2017

How It Works

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 8:48 PM

Del Toro and the History of Mathematics ,
Or:  Applied Bullshit Continues

 

For del Toro


 

For the history of mathematics —

Thursday, September 1, 2011

How It Works

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

"Design is how it works." — Steven Jobs (See Symmetry and Design.)

"By far the most important structure in design theory is the Steiner system S(5, 8, 24)."
 — "Block Designs," by Andries E. Brouwer

. . . .

Friday, September 8, 2017

Applied Bullshit

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 8:08 PM

A page from a book suggested by the previous post

Another approach to "the midrash  of space" —

    

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday School:

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:01 AM

Bullshit Studies  Continued

The remarks by Mikhail Gromov on neuroscience in his papers
cited in the previous post suggest some related remarks —

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Science Marches On

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

Connoisseurs of bullshit who enjoyed the previous post
might also enjoy the following:

The previous two posts introduced Mazzola's noxious combination of 
category theory and Hegel. The current version (Rev. 254) of the above 
nLab "Science of Logic" article, though not by Mazzola, displays this
combination in its full hideous splendor.

Some posts in this  journal that might be viewed as leading up to 
the original Sept. 2, 2012, "Science of Logic" article are now tagged
Death Warmed Over.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mystery Woman

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

From a book review quoted here in yesterday’s post
of 12:41 PM ET, “Special Topics” —

“That teacher, Hannah Schneider, has the magnetism of
Miss Jean Brodie and the film-noir mystique of Lauren Bacall.
When Blue meets her, in a ‘Hitchcock cameo,’ by the frozen-food
section at a grocery store, she falls under her spell. ‘She had an
elegant sort of romantic, bone-sculpted face, one that took well to
both shadows and light,’ Blue recalls. ‘Most extraordinary though
was the air of a Chateau Marmont bungalow about her, a sense
of RKO, which I’d never before witnessed in person.’ Hannah
teaches a course on cinema in a room lined with posters . . . .

From a Facebook page related to the death yesterday morning at
Webster University of the teacher of a course on cinema —

“I need a photo opportunity . . . .” — Paul Simon

The title of the film in the cover photo above is not without relevance.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Paz

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:27 AM

The Paz quote below is from the last chapter
of his book, titled "The Dialectic of Solitude."

The phrase "dialectic of solitude" has been applied also to a 1967
book by the Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez:

The conclusion of One Hundred Years of Solitude ,
a 1967 novel by Gabriel García Márquez —

"He was so absorbed that he did not feel the second surge of wind either as its cyclonic strength tore the doors and windows off their hinges, pulled off the roof of the east wing, and uprooted the foundations. Only then did he discover that Amaranta Úrsula was not his sister but his aunt, and that Sir Francis Drake had attacked Riohacha only so that they could seek each other through the most intricate labyrinths of blood until they would engender the mythological animal that was to bring the line to an end. Macondo was already a fearful whirlwind of dust and rubble being spun about by the wrath of the biblical hurricane when Aureliano skipped eleven pages so as not to lose time with facts he knew only too well, and he began to decipher the instant that he was living, deciphering it as he lived it, prophesying himself in the act of deciphering the last page of the parchments, as if he were looking into a speaking mirror. Then he skipped again to anticipate the predictions and ascertain the date and circumstances of his death. Before reaching the final line, however, he had already understood that he would never leave that room, for it was foreseen that the city of mirrors (or mirages) would be wiped out by the wind and exiled from the memory of men at the precise moment when Aureliano Babilonia would finish deciphering the parchments, and that everything written on them was unrepeatable since time immemorial and forever more, because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth."

Update of Saturday, October 8:

I do not recommend taking very seriously the work of Latin American leftists
(or American academics) who like to use the word "dialectic."

A related phrase does, however, have a certain mystic or poetic charm,
as pointed out by Wikipedia —

"Unity of opposites is the central category of dialectics,
and it is viewed sometimes as a metaphysical concept,
a philosophical concept or a scientific concept."

See also Bullshit Studies.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Folk Notation

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:01 PM

See the Chautauqua Season post of June 25
and a search for Notation  in this journal.

See as well the previous post and Bullshit Studies .

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Day of the Locus

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

From A. Trehub's remarks on the "space-like retinoid system"
mentioned by Bernd Schmeikal in his masterpiece of bullshit,
"Four Forms Make a Universe" —

The Self Locus 

Trehub - 'Self as the neuronal origin of retinoid space'

For a different grounding of the self, see the previous post.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Intellect Limited

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:29 AM

Explorations in Media Ecology
Volume 12 Numbers 3 & 4
© 2013 Intellect Ltd Article.

For some background, see Bullshit Studies.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Buyers and Sellers of Children

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 6:45 AM

(Continued.)

Featured on this morning's online front page of
The New York Times

Some further details —

An example of New York Times  culture is shown above —

"… Mondrian paintings at the Museum of Modern Art
blend symmetry with a tensile volatility."

(To be fair, this contemptible bullshit is from a picture caption,
not from the art review being summarized.)

Related cultural observations —

Math for Child Buyers  and  Fiction for Child Sellers.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Lines

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 11:01 AM

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” — Joan Didion

A post from St. Augustine’s day, 2015, may serve to
illustrate this.

The post started with a look at a painting by Swiss artist
Wolf Barth, “Spielfeld.” The painting portrays two
rectangular arrays, of four and of twelve subsquares,
that sit atop a square array of sixteen subsquares.

To one familiar with Euclid’s “bride’s chair” proof of the
Pythagorean theorem, “Spielfeld” suggests a right triangle
with squares on its sides of areas 4, 12, and 16.

That image in turn suggests a diagram illustrating the fact
that a triangle suitably inscribed in a half-circle is a right
triangle… in this case, a right triangle with angles of 30, 60,
and 90 degrees… Thus —

In memory of screenwriter John Gregory Dunne (husband
of Joan Didion and author of, among other things, The Studio )
here is a cinematric approach to the above figure.

The half-circle at top suggests the dome of an observatory.
This in turn suggests a scene from the 2014 film “Magic in
the Moonlight.”

As she gazes at the silent universe above
through an opening in the dome, the silent
Emma Stone is perhaps thinking,
prompted by her work with Spider-Man

“Drop me a line.”

As he  gazes at the crack in the dome,
Stone’s costar Colin Firth contrasts the vastness
of the Universe with the smallness of Man, citing 

“the tiny field F2 with two elements.”

In conclusion, recall the words of author Norman Mailer
that summarized his Harvard education —

“At times, bullshit can only be countered
with superior bullshit.”

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Das Scheinen

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

The title of Saturday night's post, "Die Scheinung ," is taken from
a 1920 book on a German poet, where "Scheinung " is associated
with "Maja ," a German spelling of a word with the connotation of
"the veil of illusion."

The phrase "Das Scheinen " is closer to "The Shining" in the
novel of that title by Stephen King. Some related remarks —

From a review of Capobianco's Engaging Heidegger —

"refreshing for its clarity and scholarly precision"

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Plan 9…

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

Or:  Bullshit for Brit   continues.

From the new film "I Origins," starring Brit Marling —

Plan 9:

The protagonist of "I Origins" is led to the above billboard
by apparently chance encounters with 11 's — such as the
1111 on the following page —

Update of Dec. 10, 2014: The "bullshit" in the subtitle above refers
to the remarks of Joan Stambaugh, not those of Nicholas of Cusa.
The passage from Nicholas was added because it indicates a more
reliable source than Stambaugh, because it is relevant to lines
about the metaphorical significance of light in "I Origins," and 
because it contains the number 1111. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mystery

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

"Welcome to America." — Harrison Ford in "The Devil's Own"

America  (current issue):

On readings at Mass on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014 —

"Isaiah 55:8-9: 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.'

The Gospel reading… was a perfect complement to
the passage from Isaiah…."

The America  piece quoting Isaiah was titled "The Mystery of God."

The author "currently works at Xavier College Preparatory
in Palm Desert, CA, where he teaches theology…."

Related material: This  journal that Sunday morning:

See also "The Mystery of God, Part II" —

Other secular stand-ins for "the thing one doesn't know"—
The mysteries of the late Joseph D. McNamara.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Contest

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

Once again, Harvard defeats Holy Cross.

IMAGE- Joseph Campbell, 'The Inner Reaches of Outer Space,' meditation on the number nine, the Goddess, and the Angelus

See also a related remark by Norman Mailer, and Plan 9 in this journal.

Presumably the Holy Cross defeat will please art theorist Rosalind Krauss (below).

(Click to enlarge.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Nocciolo

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 5:01 AM

In memory of an actor “who as a boy was one of the few Jewish children
in his mostly Italian-American neighborhood in Brooklyn” —

See the link nocciolo  from The Book of Abraham (Oct. 7, 2013).

Friday, March 14, 2014

Whitewashing Picasso

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 4:30 PM

A search today for Edward Frenkel's phrase
"portals into the magic world of modern math"
leads to a reprint of his March 2 LA Times  opinion piece
in The Salem News —

IMAGE- Edward Frenkel in The Salem News

To hell with Picasso, I'll take Tom Sawyer.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Triumph of the Will

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

"… the human will cannot be simultaneously
triumphant and imaginary."

— Ross Douthat, Defender of the Faith,
     in this afternoon's New York Times  at 3:25* PM ET

Some— even some Catholics— might say the will
cannot be triumphant unless  imaginary.

Related material The Galois Quaternion: A Story.

See also C. S. Lewis on enchantment

* Cf.,  in this  journal,  the most recent 3/25 , 
  and a bareword —

Click image for some context.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Cast (continued)

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 3:31 AM

The death yesterday of British cinematographer
Gilbert Taylor suggests an image from last evening's
Log24 search Point Omega —

.

The die in the above image (shown here Dec. 28, 2012
displays the numbers 3-6-5 in counterclockwise order.
A similar die in an earlier post served as a metaphor for
a time-jump to 365 days in the past.

For some religious remarks by Umberto Eco that may
serve as a small memorial to Taylor, see this journal 
a year before  the day he died— August 23, 2012.

"Everybody comes to Rick's."

Friday, December 28, 2012

Cube Koan

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , , — m759 @ 4:56 AM
 

From Don DeLillo's novel Point Omega —

I knew what he was, or what he was supposed to be, a defense intellectual, without the usual credentials, and when I used the term it made him tense his jaw with a proud longing for the early weeks and months, before he began to understand that he was occupying an empty seat. "There were times when no map existed to match the reality we were trying to create."

"What reality?"

"This is something we do with every eyeblink. Human perception is a saga of created reality. But we were devising entities beyond the agreed-upon limits of recognition or interpretation. Lying is necessary. The state has to lie. There is no lie in war or in preparation for war that can't be defended. We went beyond this. We tried to create new realities overnight, careful sets of words that resemble advertising slogans in memorability and repeatability. These were words that would yield pictures eventually and then become three-dimensional. The reality stands, it walks, it squats. Except when it doesn't."

He didn't smoke but his voice had a sandlike texture, maybe just raspy with age, sometimes slipping inward, becoming nearly inaudible. We sat for some time. He was slouched in the middle of the sofa, looking off toward some point in a high corner of the room. He had scotch and water in a coffee mug secured to his midsection. Finally he said, "Haiku."

I nodded thoughtfully, idiotically, a slow series of gestures meant to indicate that I understood completely.

"Haiku means nothing beyond what it is. A pond in summer, a leaf in the wind. It's human consciousness located in nature. It's the answer to everything in a set number of lines, a prescribed syllable count. I wanted a haiku war," he said. "I wanted a war in three lines. This was not a matter of force levels or logistics. What I wanted was a set of ideas linked to transient things. This is the soul of haiku. Bare everything to plain sight. See what's there. Things in war are transient. See what's there and then be prepared to watch it disappear."

What's there—

This view of a die's faces 3, 6, and 5, in counter-
clockwise order (see previous post) suggests a way
of labeling the eight corners  of a die (or cube):

123, 135, 142, 154, 246, 263, 365, 456.

Here opposite faces of the die sum to 7, and the
three faces meeting at each corner are listed
in counter-clockwise order. (This corresponds
to a labeling of one of MacMahon's* 30 colored cubes.)
A similar vertex-labeling may be used in describing 
the automorphisms of the order-8 quaternion group.

For a more literary approach to quaternions, see
Pynchon's novel Against the Day .

* From Peter J. Cameron's weblog:

  "The big name associated with this is Major MacMahon,
   an associate of Hardy, Littlewood and Ramanujan,
   of whom Robert Kanigel said,

His expertise lay in combinatorics, a sort of
glorified dice-throwing, and in it he had made
contributions original enough to be named
a Fellow of the Royal Society.

   Glorified dice-throwing, indeed…"

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cast

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

IMAGE- 'Inception' totems: red die and chess bishop, with Inception 'Point Man' poster

Note that the visible faces of the die, in counter -clockwise
order, are 3 6 5. See also this journal 365 days ago and,
since 2012 is a leap year, also today's date last year.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Another Green Door, and…

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 3:48 AM

Another Bullshit Night in Suck City:

IMAGE- 'Another Bullshit Night in Suck City,' by Nick Flynn

For the 2012 film version, see

(Click image below for a review.)

Personally, I prefer the green door of last night's 10 PM post
(
written partly in honor of the body mentioned here on October 23).

The cover of the Nick Flynn book shows a green door beneath a tree.
For a different tree, but similar metaphor, see Confirmation (July 16, 2007).

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Incommensurables

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

(Continued from Midsummer Eve)

"At times, bullshit can only be countered with superior bullshit."

— Norman Mailer, March 3, 1992, PBS transcript

"Just because it is a transition between incommensurables, the transition between competing paradigms cannot be made a step at a time, forced by logic and neutral experience. Like the gestalt switch, it must occur all at once (though not necessarily in an instant) or not at all."

Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions , 1962, as quoted in The Enneagram of Paradigm Shifting

"In the spiritual traditions from which Jung borrowed the term, it is not the SYMMETRY of mandalas that is all-important, as Jung later led us to believe. It is their capacity to reveal the asymmetry that resides at the very heart of symmetry." 

The Enneagram as Mandala

I have little respect for Enneagram enthusiasts, but they do at times illustrate Mailer's maxim.

My own interests are in the purely mathematical properties of the number nine, as well as those of the next square, sixteen.

Those who prefer bullshit may investigate non-mathematical properties of sixteen by doing a Google image search on MBTI.

For bullshit involving nine, see (for instance) Einsatz  in this journal.

For non-bullshit involving nine, sixteen, and "asymmetry that resides at the very heart of symmetry," see Monday's Mapping Problem continued. (The nine occurs there as the symmetric  figures in the lower right nine-sixteenths of the triangular analogs  diagram.)

For non-bullshit involving psychological and philosophical terminology, see James Hillman's Re-Visioning Psychology .

In particular, see Hillman's "An Excursion on Differences Between Soul and Spirit."

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Graveyard Shift

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:28 AM

(Happens)

IMAGE- Nicolas Cage in 'Bringing Out the Dead'

http://www.log24.com/log/pix12A/120528-May28-TopObits.jpg

For TapiaLooking Back at "Mi Vida Loca"

For RichmondGoodnight, Irene

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Act

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

Acts 12:4 —  

"And when he had apprehended him,
he put him  in prison, and delivered him 
to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him;
intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people."

With six you get egg roll.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Past Tense

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:09 PM

From a post that was written for Twelfth Night

Bernhard Weiss on the philosophy of Michael Dummett—

" … debates about realism, that is, those debates that ask
whether or not one or another aspect of the world is independent
of the way we represent that aspect to ourselves. For example,
is there a realm of mathematical entities that exists fully formed
independently of our mathematical activity? Are there facts about
the past that our use of the past tense aims to capture?"

Yes and Yes.

See also The Whirligig of Time in this journal.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Truth, Beauty, Bullshit

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:16 PM

This post is for the Stonehenge solstice crowd, who might,
like the London artist Steve Richards, confuse bullshit
with scholarship and inspire the same confusion
in others.

IMAGE- Motto of Forgotten Books, with pirated quotation from Shakespeare that might be appropriate for London's 'Piracy Project'

The image, apparently an epigraph put there
by the author, is from the Forgotten Books edition
of Cassirer's Substance and Function:
And Einstein's Theory of Relativity
.

This is a scanned copy of the 1923 original.
The egg-figure above, however, is from the publisher's
prefatory notes and not  from the original.

A check of other Forgotten Books publications
shows that the motto and the Bacon
attribution are those of Forgotten Books and
not  of the authors they reprint — in particular,
not  of Ernst Cassirer, who would probably
be dismayed to have this nonsense associated
with his work.

Why nonsense? The attribution to Francis Bacon is
false. The lines are from "The Phoenix and the Turtle"
by William Shakespeare.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Hello Note

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

(Continued from yesterday's Brightness at Noon, Afternoon Delight, and Goodbye Note.)

"The Catholic Church, through the Holy Office, has declared it is not lawful 'to take part in spiritualistic communications or manifestations of any kind, whether through a so-called medium or without one, whether hypnotism is used or not, even with the best of intentions among the participants, whether for the purpose of interrogating the souls of the departed or spiritual beings, whether by listening to their responses or even in idle curiosity, even with the tacit or express protestation of not having anything to do with the evil spirits' (Denzinger 3642*).

Behind the church's attitude toward Spiritualism is the concern that a Catholic would expose himself to the risk of actually dealing with the evil spirit. The assumption is that if fraud or deception are excluded, and manifestations occur that are beyond natural explanation, the active agent in these cases is neither God nor any one of the good spirits (whether angelic or human) but demonic forces that are sure to mislead the Catholic and endanger the integrity of his faith."

Modern Catholic Dictionary

* 3642 2182 Qu.: An liceat per Medium, ut vocant, vel sine Medio, adhibito vel non hypnotismo, locutionibus aut manifestationibus spiritisticis quibuscumque adsistere, etiam speciem honestatis vel pietatis praeseferentibus, sive interrogando animas aut spiritus, sive audiendo responsa, sive tantum aspiciendo, etiam cum protestatione tacita vel expressa, nullam cum malignis spiritibus partem se habere velle. Resp.: (cfirm. a S. P'ce, 26 avril): Negative in omnibus.

See also The Ecclesiastical Review , Volume 57,
by Catholic University of America, page 186.
This volume, from Harvard University, was digitized on June 19, 2008.

IMAGE-- Matt Damon stands where a door opens in 'Hereafter'

Katherine Neville, The Eight

"Continue a search for thirty-three and three.
Veiled forever is the secret door."

See Combinational* Delight.

See also The Maker's Gift.

* Corrected Dec. 14, 2014, from "Combinatorial."

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Where Credit Is Due…

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

The Dick Medal

Review of the film "Knowing" from 2009—

Nicolas Cage's character, an astrophysicist, looks at a chart (written 50 years earlier by a child) with a colleague and points out a chronologically correct prediction of the date and number of dead in world wide tragedies over the last fifty years, and his colleague's response is "Systems that find meaning in numbers are a dime a dozen. Why? Because people see what they want to see." Well that would be a pretty neat trick. You could build a career on that in a Vegas showroom.

Summary of the film "Next"

Film Title:  Next
Based on the 1954 short story
"The Golden Man" by Philip K. Dick

Release Date:
April 27, 2007

About the Film:
Nicolas Cage stars as Cris Johnson, a Las Vegas magician with a secret gift that is both a blessing and a curse: He has the uncanny ability to tell you what happens next.

Related material from this journal on the release date of "Next"— April 27, 2007


Production Credits:

Thanks to the
Pennsylvania Lottery for
  today’s suggestion of links 
to the dates 9/15 and 6/06–

PA lottery April 27, 2007: Midday 915, Evening 606

– and to
Hermann Weyl
for the illustration
from 6/06 (D-Day)
underlying the
following “gold medal”
from 9/15, 2006:

Medal of 9/15/06

"It’s almost enough to make you think that time present and time past might both be present in time future. As someone may have said."

— David Orr, "The Age of Citation"

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday September 21, 2009

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 2:56 AM
Keys

A Google search for "Das Scheinen," a very rough translation into Heidegger's German of "The Shining," leads to a song. A search for the English version of the song leads to a site with a sidebar advertising Pearl Jam's new (Sept. 20) album "Backspacer."
 

Packaging:

Pearl Jam 'Backspacer' album released Sept. 20, 2009

Happy birthday,
 Stephen King.

Background:

Yesterday's entries
and the plot of
L'Engle's classic
A Wrinkle in Time.
(See this journal's entries
for March 2008.)

The Pearl Jam album cover art
is of particular interest in light
of King's story "Apt Pupil" and
of Katherine Neville's remark
"Nine is a very powerful
Nordic number.
"

Those who prefer more sophisticated
aesthetic theory may click on the
following keys:

Back Space key from manual typewriter, linking to Babich on Music, Nietzsche, and Heidegger
Shift Lock key from manual typewriter, linking to Levin's 'The Philosopher's Gaze'

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday September 20, 2009

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

The Appearances

scheinen
German verb:

1.  to shine; to gleam
2.  to seem; to appear….

Quine, Pursuit of Truth,
Harvard U. Press, 1990, epigraphs:

http://www.log24.com/log/pix09A/090920-QuineEpigraph.jpg

Google search:

http://www.log24.com/log/pix09A/090920-SozeinChi.jpg

Owen Barfield,
Saving the Appearances:
http://www.log24.com/log/pix09A/090920-Barfield.jpg

George S. Lensing,
Wallace Stevens and the Seasons:

http://www.log24.com/log/pix09A/090920-Stevens.jpg

"Poetry is often a revelation  
of the elements of appearance."

Sunday September 20, 2009

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

Der Einsatz

Motto of Plato's Academy: 'Let no one ignorant of geometry enter'

The 3x3 grid

Nichts ist wie es scheint.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday July 14, 2009

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:29 PM
Herschel’s Onion

The Herschel Chronicle, by Constance A. Lubbock, Cambridge University Press, 1933, page 139:

“Sir John Herschel has recorded that his father [astronomer William Herschel, 1738-1822], when observing at Datchet, ‘when the waters were out round his garden, used to rub himself all over, face and hands &c., with a raw onion, to keep off the infection of the ague, which was then prevalent; however he caught it at last.'”

Herschel and his onion appear in a large illustration on the cover of next Sunday’s New York Times Book Review.  A review, titled “Science and the Sublime,” states that Herschel and his sister

“spent endless hours at the enormous telescopes that Herschel constructed, rubbing raw onions to warm their hands….'”

Clearly the anti-ague motive makes more sense.

A quotation from the book under review, The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science (published today, Bastille Day, 2009):

“The emphasis of on [sic] secular, humanist (even atheist) body of knowledge… was particularly strong in revolutionary France.”

This, apparently, is the terror part.

A related quotation from Publishers Weekly:

“It’s an engrossing portrait of scientists as passionate adventurers, boldly laying claim to the intellectual leadership of society. Illus. (July 14)”

On its front page next Sunday, The New York Times Book Review boldly lays claim to intellectual leadership with the following opening sentence:

“In this big two-hearted river of a book, the twin energies of scientific curiosity and poetic invention pulsate on every page.”

The sentence begins with an insult to Hemingway and ends with a cascade of vulgarized-science bullshit. Its author, Christopher Benfey, has done better, and should be ashamed.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday March 18, 2009

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:00 AM
Gallic Clarity

Yesterday’s entry Deep Structures discussed the “semiotic square,” a device that exemplifies the saying “If you can’t dazzle ’em with brilliance, then baffle ’em with bullshit.”

A search today for what the Marxist critic Fredric Jameson might have meant by saying that the square “is capable of generating at least ten conceivable positions out of a rudimentary binary opposition” leads to two documents of interest.

1. “Theory Pictures as Trails: Diagrams and the Navigation of Theoretical Narratives” (pdf), by J.R. Osborn, Department of Communication, University of California, San Diego (Cognitive Science Online, Vol.3.2, pp.15-44, 2005)

2. “The Semiotic Square” (html), by Louis Hébert (2006), professor, Université du Québec à Rimouski, in Signo (http://www.signosemio.com).

Shown below is Osborn’s picture of the semiotic square:

http://www.log24.com/log/pix09/090318-OsbornTrails.jpg

Osborn’s discussion of the square, though more clear than, say, that of Rosalind Krauss (who reverses the bottom two parts of the square– see Deep Structures), fails. His Appendix A is miserably obscure.

On the brighter side, we have, as a sign that Gallic clarity still exists, the work of Hébert.

Here is how he approaches Jameson’s oft-quoted, but seemingly confused, remark about “ten conceivable positions”–

The Semiotic Square,”
  by Louis Hébert

1. ABSTRACT

The semiotic square, developed by Greimas and Rastier, is a means of refining oppositional analyses by increasing the number of analytical classes stemming from a given opposition from two (life/death, for instance) to four (for example, life, death, life and death (the living dead), and neither life nor death (angels)) to eight or even ten.

2. THEORY

The actantial model, isotopy and the semiotic square are undoubtedly the best-known theoretical propositions that have emerged from the Paris School of semiotics, with Greimas as its central figure. Like the actantial model and the veridictory square, the semiotic square is designed to be both a conceptual network and a visual representation of this network, usually depicted in the form of a “square” (which actually looks like a rectangle!). Courtés defines it as the visual representation of the logical structure of an opposition (cf. Courtés, 1991, 152). The semiotic square is a means of refining oppositional analyses by increasing the number of analytical classes stemming from a given opposition from two (for instance, life/death) to four (for example, life, death, life and death (the living dead), and neither life nor death (angels)) to eight or even ten. Here is an empty semiotic square.

Structure of the semiotic square

   
5. (=1+2) COMPLEX TERM
   
 
1. TERM A  
2. TERM B
 
9. (=1+4)
10. (=2+3)
 
3. TERM NOT-B  
4. TERM NOT-A
 

7. (=1+3)

POSITIVE DEIXIS

8. (=2+4) NEGATIVE DEIXIS
   
   
6. (=3+4) NEUTRAL TERM
   

LEGEND:
The + sign links the terms that are combined to make up a metaterm (a compound term); for example, 5 is the result of combining 1 and 2.

2.1 CONSTITUENT ELEMENTS

The semiotic square entails primarily the following elements (we are steering clear of the constituent relationships of the square: contrariety, contradiction, and complementarity or implication):

1. terms
2. metaterms (compound terms)
3. object(s) (classified on the square)
4. observing subject(s) (who do the classifying)
5. time (of the observation)

2.1.1 TERMS

The semiotic square is composed of four terms:

Position 1 (term A)
Position 2 (term B)
Position 3 (term not-B)
Position 4 (term not-A)

The first two terms form the opposition (the contrary relationship) that is the basis of the square, and the other two are obtained by negating each term of the opposition.

2.1.2 METATERMS

The semiotic square includes six metaterms. The metaterms are terms created from the four simple terms. Some of the metaterms have been named. (The complex term and the neutral term, despite their names, are indeed metaterms).

Position 5 (term 1 + term 2): complex term
Position 6 (term 3 + term 4): neutral term
Position 7 (term 1 + term 3): positive deixis
Position 8 (term 2 + term 4): negative deixis
Position 9 = term 1 + term 4: unnamed
Position 10 = term 2 + term 3: unnamed

These ten “positions” are apparently meant to explain Jameson’s remark.

Hébert’s treatment has considerably greater entertainment value than Osborn’s. Besides “the living dead” and angels, Hébert’s examples and exercises include vampires, transvestites, the Passion of Christ, and the following very relevant quotation:

“Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tuesday March 3, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:32 AM
Straight

“For every kind of vampire,
there is a kind of cross.”

— Thomas Pynchon in  
Gravity’s Rainbow

This entry is continued
from yesterday evening,
from midnight last night,
and from an entry of
 February 20 (the date
four years ago of
 Hunter Thompson’s death)–
  “Emblematizing the Modern“–

Emblematizing the Modern

Note that in applications, the vertical axis of the Cross of Descartes often symbolizes the timeless (money, temperature, etc.) while the horizontal axis often symbolizes time.

T.S. Eliot:


“Men’s curiosity searches past and future
And clings to that dimension. But to apprehend
The point of intersection of the timeless
With time, is an occupation for the saint….”

“I played ‘Deathmaster’ straight….
 The best villains are the ones who are
 both protagonist and antagonist.”
The late Robert Quarry

“Selah.”
The late Hunter Thompson

'Deathmaster' Robert Quarry and gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson, who both died on a February 20

Yesterday afternoon’s online
New York Times:

NY Times online front page, 5 PM March 2, 2009-- graph of stock market plunge

Today’s online New York Times:

Footnote

Descending financial graph's arrow strikes man's pants cuff, immobilizing him

Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday February 23, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:22 PM
Another Manic Monday
McGee and Smee 

Project MUSE —

and interpretations, “any of the
Zingari shoolerim [gypsy schoolchildren]
may pick a peck of kindlings yet from the
sack of auld hensyne” (FW 112.4-8).

— Patrick McGee, “Reading Authority:
Feminism and Joyce,” MFS: Modern
Fiction Studies
— Volume 35, Number 3,
Fall 1989, pp. 421-436, The Johns Hopkins
University Press

McGee Thanks the Academy:

“The ulterior motive behind this essay [“Reading Authority,” above], the purpose for which I seize this occasion, concerns the question or problem of authority. I stress at the outset my understanding of authority as the constructed repository of value or foundation of a system of values, the final effect of fetishism– in this case, literary fetishism. [Cf. Marx, Das Kapital] Reading– as in the phrase ‘reading authority’– should be grasped as the institutionally determined act of constructing authority….”

Wikipedia:

“[In Peter Pan] Smee is Captain Hook’s right-hand man… Barrie describes him as ‘Irish’ and ‘a man who stabbed without offence‘….”

Background: In yesterday’s morning entry, James Joyce as Jesuit, with “Dagger Definitions.”

A different Smee appears as an art critic in yesterday’s afternoon entry “Design Theory.”–

Smee Stabs Without Offence:

“Brock, who has a brisk mind, is a man on a mission. He read mathematical economics and political philosophy at Princeton (he has five degrees in all) and is the founder and president of Strategic Economic Decisions Inc., a think tank specializing in applying the economics of uncertainty to forecasting and risk assessment.

But phooey to all that; Brock has deeper things to think about. He believes he has cracked the secret of beautiful design. He even has equations and graphs to prove it.”

A Jesuit in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man:

“When may we expect to have something from you on the esthetic question?”

Beckett Bethicketted:

“Our entanglement in the wilderness of Finnegans Wake is exemplified by the neologism ‘Bethicket.’ This word condenses a range of possible meanings and reinforces a diversity of possible syntactic interpretations. Joyce seems to allude to Beckett, creating a portmanteau word that melds ‘Beckett’ with ‘thicket’ (continuing the undergrowth metaphor), ‘thick’ (adding mental density to floral density)…. As a single word ‘Bethicket’ contains the confusion that its context suggests. On the one hand, ‘Bethicket me for a stump of a beech’ has the sound of a proverbial expletive that might mean something like ‘I’ll be damned’ or ‘Well, I’ll be a son of a gun.’….”

Stephen Dilks

Winslet, Penn, and Cruz at the Oscars, 2009

At the Oscars, 2009

Related material:

Frame Tales and Dickung

Friday, October 12, 2007

Friday October 12, 2007

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:10 AM
From
A Harvard Education
in a Sentence:

“At times, bullshit can
only be countered
with superior bullshit.”

Norman Mailer,
Harvard ’43

Illustration from
today’s Crimson:

Nobel Laureate Morrison
Reads at Opening Event

Friday, October 12, 2007 3:17 AM

From the reserved elegance of Memorial Church to the sweeping grandeur of Sanders Theatre, the Harvard community honored 28th University President Drew G. Faust with two festive events on the eve of her inauguration.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thursday October 11, 2007

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:26 PM
Words and Music
suggested by the recent
Princeton symposium
"Deep Beauty"

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07A/071011-vonNeumann.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

1. From my childhood:

"You remind me of a man."
"What man?"
"The man with the power."
"What power?"
"The power of hoodoo."
"Hoodoo?"
"You do."
"Do what?
"Remind me of a man…."

— Dialogue from
"The Bachelor and the
Bobby-Soxer" (1947)


2.  From later years:

"When I was a little boy,
(when I was just a boy)
and the Devil would
call my name
(when I was just a boy)
I'd say 'now who do,
who do you think
you're fooling?'"

Paul Simon, 1973 

"At times, bullshit can
only be countered
with superior bullshit."
— Norman Mailer

(See A Harvard Education
in a Sentence.)

From Plato's Cave:

A description of caveman life
translated from German

John von
 Neumann

"Soon Freud, soon mourning,
Soon Fried, soon fight.
Nevertheless who know this language?"

(Language courtesy of
Google's translation software)

Picture of von Neumann courtesy of
Princeton University Library

More from Rhymin' Simon–

"one funny mofo"–

"Oh, my mama loves,
she loves me,
she get down on her knees
and hug me
like she loves me
like a rock.
She rocks me
like the rock of ages"

Related material:

The previous Log24 entries
of Oct. 7-11, 2007, and
the five Log24 entries
ending with "Toy Soldiers"
(Valentine's Day, 2003).

See also

"Taking Christ to the Movies,"
by Anna Megill, Princeton '06
.
 

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Saturday July 21, 2007

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:45 AM

Death of a Nominalist

“All our words from loose using have lost their edge.” –Ernest Hemingway

(The Hemingway quotation is from the AP’s “Today in History” on July 21, 2007; for the context, see Death in the Afternoon.)

Today seems as good a day as any for noting the death of an author previously discussed in Log24 on January 29, 2007, and January 31, 2007.

Joseph Goguen
died on July 3, 2006. (I learned of his death only after the entries of January 2007 were written. They still hold.)

Goguen’s death may be viewed in the context of the ongoing war between the realism of Plato and the nominalism of the sophists. (See, for instance, Log24 on August 10-15, 2004, and on July 3-5, 2007.)

Joseph A. Goguen, “Ontology, Society, and Ontotheology” (pdf):

“Before introducing algebraic semiotics and structural blending, it is good to be clear about their philosophical orientation. The reason for taking special care with this is that, in Western culture, mathematical formalisms are often given a status beyond what they deserve. For example, Euclid wrote, ‘The laws of nature are but the mathematical thoughts of God.’ Similarly, the ‘situations’ in the situation semantics of Barwise and Perry, which resemble conceptual spaces (but are more sophisticated– perhaps too sophisticated), are considered to be actually existing, real entities [23], even though they may include what are normally considered judgements.5 The classical semiotics of Charles Sanders Peirce [24] also tends towards a Platonist view of signs. The viewpoint of this paper is that all formalisms are constructed in the course of some task, such as scientific study or engineering design, for the heuristic purpose of facilitating consideration of certain issues in that task. Under this view, all theories are situated social entities, mathematical theories no less than others; of course, this does not mean that they are not useful.”

5 The “types” of situation theory are even further removed from concrete reality.

[23] Jon Barwise and John Perry. Situations and Attitudes. MIT (Bradford), 1983.
[24] Charles Sanders Peirce. Collected Papers. Harvard, 1965. In 6 volumes; see especially Volume 2: Elements of Logic.

From Log24 on the date of Goguen’s death:

Requiem for a clown:

“At times, bullshit can only be
countered with superior bullshit.”

Norman Mailer

This same Mailer aphorism was quoted, along with an excerpt from the Goguen passage above, in Log24 this year on the date of Norman Mailer’s birth.  Also quoted on that date:

Sophia. Then these thoughts of Nature are also thoughts of God.

Alfred. Undoubtedly so, but however valuable the expression may be, I would rather that we should not make use of it till we are convinced that our investigation leads to a view of Nature, which is also the contemplation of God. We shall then feel justified by a different and more perfect knowledge to call the thoughts of Nature those of God….

Whether the above excerpt– from Hans Christian Oersted‘s The Soul in Nature (1852)– is superior to the similar remark of Goguen, the reader may decide.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Friday May 4, 2007

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

May '68 Revisited

"At his final Paris campaign rally… Mr. Sarkozy declared himself the candidate of the 'silent majority,' tired of a 'moral crisis in France not seen since the time of Joan of Arc.'

'I want to turn the page on May 1968,' he said of the student protests cum social revolution that rocked France almost four decades ago.

'The heirs of May '68 have imposed the idea that everything has the same worth, that there is no difference between good and evil, no difference between the true and the false, between the beautiful and the ugly and that the victim counts for less than the delinquent.'

Denouncing the eradication of 'values and hierarchy,' Mr. Sarkozy accused the Left of being the true heirs and perpetuators of the ideology of 1968."

— Emma-Kate Symons, Paris, May 1, 2007, in The Australian

Related material:

From the translator's introduction to Dissemination, by Jacques Derrida, translated by Barbara Johnson, University of Chicago Press, 1981, page xxxi —

"Both Numbers and 'Dissemination' are attempts to enact rather than simply state the theoretical upheavals produced in the course of a radical reevaluation of the nature and function of writing undertaken by Derrida, Sollers, Roland Barthes, Julia Kristeva and other contributors to the journal Tel Quel in the late 1960s. Ideological and political as well as literary and critical, the Tel Quel program attempted to push to their utmost limits the theoretical revolutions wrought by Marx, Freud, Nietzsche, Mallarme, Levi-Strauss, Saussure, and Heidegger."

This is the same Barbara Johnson who has served as the Frederic Wertham Professor of Law and Psychiatry in Society at Harvard.

Johnson has attacked "the very essence of Logic"–

"… the logic of binary opposition, the principle of non-contradiction, often thought of as the very essence of Logic as such….

Now, my understanding of what is most radical in deconstruction is precisely that it questions this basic logic of binary opposition….

Instead of a simple 'either/or' structure, deconstruction attempts to elaborate a discourse that says neither 'either/or', nor 'both/and' nor even 'neither/nor', while at the same time not totally abandoning these logics either."

— "Nothing Fails Like Success," SCE Reports 8, 1980

Such contempt for logic has resulted, for instance, in the following passage, quoted approvingly on page 342 of Johnson's  translation of Dissemination, from Philippe Sollers's Nombres (1966):

"The minimum number of rows– lines or columns– that contain all the zeros in a matrix is equal to the maximum number of zeros located in any individual line or column."

For a correction of Sollers's  Johnson's damned nonsense, click here.

Update of May 29, 2014:

The error, as noted above, was not Sollers's, but Johnson's.
See also the post of May 29, 2014 titled 'Lost in Translation.'

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Wednesday March 7, 2007

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 8:35 AM
Footprints for
Baudrillard

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

"Was there really a cherubim
waiting at the star-watching rock…?
Was he real?
What is real?

 

— Madeleine L'Engle, A Wind in the Door,
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1973,
conclusion of Chapter Three,
"The Man in the Night"

 

"Oh, Euclid, I suppose."

— Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time,
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1962,
conclusion of Chapter Five,
"The Tesseract"

In memory of the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard, who died yesterday, Tuesday, March 6, 2007. 

The following Xanga footprints may be regarded as illustrating Log24 remarks of Dec. 10, 2006 on the Library of Congress, geometry, and bullshit, as well as remarks of Aug. 28, 2006 on the temporal, the eternal, and St. Augustine.

From the District of Columbia–
Xanga footprints in reverse
chronological order from
the noon hour on Tuesday,
March 6, 2007, the date
of Baudrillard's death:

District of Columbia
/499111929/item.html
Beijing String
3/6/2007
12:04 PM
District of Columbia
/497993036/item.html
Spellbound
3/6/2007
12:03 PM
District of Columbia
/443606342/item.html
About God, Life, Death
3/6/2007
12:03 PM
District of Columbia
/494421586/item.html
A Library of Congress Reading
3/6/2007
12:03 PM
District of Columbia
/500434851/item.html
Binary Geometry
3/6/2007
12:03 PM
District of Columbia
/404038913/item.html
Prequel on St. Cecelia's Day
3/6/2007
12:03 PM

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wednesday January 31, 2007

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 3:09 PM
Ontotheology

“At times, bullshit can only be
countered with superior bullshit.”
Norman Mailer

“It may be that universal history is the
history of the different intonations
given a handful of metaphors.”
— Jorge Luis Borges (1951),
“The Fearful Sphere of Pascal,”
in Labyrinths, New Directions, 1962

“Before introducing algebraic semiotics and structural blending, it is good to be clear about their philosophical orientation. The reason for taking special care with this is that, in Western culture, mathematical formalisms are often given a status beyond what they deserve. For example, Euclid wrote, ‘The laws of nature are but the mathematical thoughts of God.'”

— Joseph A. Goguen, “Ontology, Society, and Ontotheology” (pdf)

Goguen does not give a source for this alleged “thoughts of God” statement.

A Web search for the source leads only to A Mathematical Journey, by Stanley Gudder, who apparently also attributes the saying to Euclid.

Neither Goguen nor Gudder seems to have had any interest in the accuracy of the Euclid attribution.

Talk of “nature” and “God” seems unlikely from Euclid, a pre-Christian Greek whose pure mathematics has (as G. H. Hardy might be happy to point out) little to do with either.

Loose talk about God’s thoughts has also been attributed to Kepler and Einstein… and we all know about Stephen Hawking.

Gudder may have been misquoting some other author’s blather about Kepler.  Another possible source of the “thoughts of God” phrase is Hans Christian Oersted. The following is from Oersted’s The Soul in Nature

“Sophia. Nothing of importance; though indeed I had one question on my lips when the conversion took the last turn. When you alluded to the idea, that the Reason manifested in Nature is infallible, while ours is fallible, should you not rather have said, that our Reason accords with that of Nature, as that in the voice of Nature with ours?

Alfred. Each of these interpretations may be justified by the idea to which it applies, whether we start from ourselves or external nature. There are yet other ways of expressing it; for instance, the laws of Nature are the thoughts of  Nature.

Sophia. Then these thoughts of Nature are also thoughts of God.

Alfred. Undoubtedly so, but however valuable the expression may be, I would rather that we should not make use of it till we are convinced that our investigation leads to a view of Nature, which is also the contemplation of God. We shall then feel justified by a different and more perfect knowledge to call the thoughts of Nature those of God; I therefore beg you will not proceed to [sic] fast.”

Oersted also allegedly said that “The Universe is a manifestation of an Infinite Reason and the laws of Nature are the thoughts of God.” This remark was found (via Google book search) in an obscure journal that does not give a precise source for the words it attributes to Oersted.

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070131-OerstedGudder.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Friday December 29, 2006

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:01 AM
Tools
of Christ Church

"For every kind of vampire,
there is a kind of cross."
— Thomas Pynchon

Cover of Thomas, by Shelley Mydans: Sword and its shadow, a cross

Click on picture for details.

Today is the feast
of St. Thomas Becket.

In his honor, a meditation
on tools and causation:

"Lewis Wolpert, an eminent developmental biologist at University College London, has just published Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast, a pleasant, though rambling, look at the biological basis of belief. While the book focuses on our ability to form causal beliefs about everyday matters (the wind moved the trees, for example), it spends considerable time on the origins of religious and moral beliefs. Wolpert defends the unusual idea that causal thinking is an adaptation required for tool-making. Religious beliefs can thus be seen as an odd extension of causal thinking about technology to more mysterious matters. Only a species that can reason causally could assert that 'this storm was sent by God because we sinned.' While Wolpert's attitude toward religion is tolerant, he's an atheist who seems to find religion more puzzling than absorbing."

Review by H. Allen Orr in
The New York Review of Books,
Vol. 54, No. 1, January 11, 2007    


"An odd extension"–

Wolpert's title is, of course,
from Lewis Carroll.

Related material:

"It's a poor sort of memory
that only works backwards."
Through the Looking-Glass

An event at the Kennedy Center
broadcast on
December 26, 2006
(St. Steven's Day):

"Conductor John Williams, a 2004 Honoree, says, 'Steven, sharing our 34-year collaboration has been a great privilege for me. It's been an inspiration to watch you dream your dreams, nurture them and make them grow. And, in the process, entertain and edify billions of people around the world. Tonight we'd like to salute you, musically, with a piece that expresses that spirit beautifully … It was written by Leonard Bernstein, a 1980 Kennedy Center Honoree who was, incidentally, the first composer to be performed in this hall.' Backed by The United States Army Chorus and The Choral Arts Society, soprano Harolyn Blackwell and tenor Gregory Turay sing the closing number for Spielberg's tribute and the gala itself. It's the finale to the opera 'Candide,' 'Make Our Garden Grow,' and Williams conducts."

CBS press release

See also the following,
from the conclusion to

"Mathematics and Narrative"

(Log24, Aug. 22, 2005):

Diamond on cover of Narrative Form, by Suzanne Keen

"At times, bullshit can
only be countered
   with superior bullshit."
Norman Mailer

Many Worlds and Possible Worlds in Literature and Art, in Wikipedia:

    "The concept of possible worlds dates back to at least Leibniz who in his Théodicée tries to justify the apparent imperfections of the world by claiming that it is optimal among all possible worlds.  Voltaire satirized this view in his picaresque novel Candide….
    Borges' seminal short story El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan ("The Garden of Forking Paths") is an early example of many worlds in fiction."

"Il faut cultiver notre jardin."
— Voltaire

"We symbolize
logical necessity
with the box (box.gif (75 bytes))
and logical possibility
with the diamond (diamond.gif (82 bytes))."

Keith Allen Korcz 

Diamond in a square

"The possibilia that exist,
and out of which
the Universe arose,
are located in
     a necessary being…."

Michael Sudduth,
Notes on
God, Chance, and Necessity
by Keith Ward,
 Regius Professor of Divinity,
  Christ Church College, Oxford
(the home of Lewis Carroll)

For further details,
click on the
Christ Church diamond.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sunday December 10, 2006

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 PM
On This Date

“… in 1896 Alfred Nobel,
the inventor of dynamite and
founder of the Nobel prizes,
died in San Remo, Italy,
at age 63.”

— “Today in History,”
by The Associated Press

… And the Nobel Prize
     for Bullshit goes to…

David Titcher,

author and co-producer of
The Librarian: Quest for the Spear.


First Runner-up

A Piece of Justice.

From a summary of the novel:

The story deals with “one Gideon Summerfield, deceased.” Summerfield, a former tutor at (the fictional) St. Agatha’s College, Cambridge University, “is about to become the recipient of the Waymark prize. This prize is awarded in Mathematics and has the same prestige as the Nobel….”

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunday September 17, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 AM

At Midnight

“At midnight
   on the Emperor’s pavement flit
Flames that no faggot feeds,
   nor steel has lit,
Nor storm disturbs, flames
   begotten of flame,
Where blood-begotten spirits come
And all complexities of fury leave,
Dying into a dance,
An agony of trance,
An agony of flame that cannot
   singe a sleeve.”

— From Byzantium, by
    William Butler Yeats

“The only hope, or else despair
    Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre–
    To be redeemed from fire by fire.”

— From Four Quartets, by
    Thomas Stearns Eliot

“Look around you. There is an eerie sense of Panic in the air, a silent Fear and Uncertainty that comes with once reliable faiths and truths and solid Institutions that are no longer safe to believe in…”

Prepare for the Weirdness, by Hunter S. Thompson, quoted in a sermon for Pentecost Sunday, 2005

“If you passed, you got to live, and if you failed you were burned alive on a pyre that’s now the Transgender Studies Building.”

Baccalaureate address at the interfaith worship service, Princeton University, on Pentecost Sunday, June 4, 2006

Review:

“At midnight on the Emperor’s pavement….”

Friday, September 15, 2006

Friday September 15, 2006

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 7:11 AM
Medal

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060915-Roots.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

In memory of
journalist Oriana Fallaci,
who died last night:

"In September [2005], she had a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI at Castel Gandolfo, his summer residence outside Rome. She had criticized John Paul II for making overtures to Muslims, and for not condemning terrorism heartily enough, but she has hopes for Joseph Ratzinger. (The meeting was something of a scandal in Italy, since Fallaci has always said that she is an atheist; more recently, she has called herself a 'Christian atheist,' out of respect for Italy's Catholic tradition.) Last December, the Italian government presented her with a gold medal for 'cultural achievement.'"
 

The New Yorker, issue of June 5, 2006

 

Fallaci's book The Force of Reason
was published in March.

For more on the "medal"
pictured above,
see Log24 entries of
September 13 and 14
and of  D-Day 2006.

Update of 4 PM Sept. 15–

Click for further details:
"She has hopes
for Joseph Ratzinger….
"
 

Monday, July 3, 2006

Monday July 3, 2006

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:13 AM
Requiem for a Clown

For Jan Murray,
who died yesterday–


Into the Sunset, Part I:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060703-Sunset.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Into the Sunset, Part II:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060703-Achelous21.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Requiem for a clown:

“At times, bullshit can only be
countered with superior bullshit.”

Norman Mailer

See also 10/13.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Tuesday January 17, 2006

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 PM
The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060117-Globe.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
BBC News Jan. 17

Related material:
Log24  Sept. 27 and
Sept. 28, 2005,
as well as
The Harvard Crimson,
Jan. 13, 2006:
“President was resolute–
‘This is bullshit'”

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060117-Nixon.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Wednesday November 30, 2005

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 8:20 PM

Hobgoblin?

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

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

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

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

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

— Edward Nelson,
   Mathematics and Faith (pdf)

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

“The consistency of PA cannot be concretely demonstrated.”

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

For instance, the Toronto philosopher William Seager writes that

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

Yesterday’s Algorithm:
    Penrose and the Gödel Argument

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

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

Consider the following list A1 of axioms.

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

Now consider the following list A2 of axioms.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Edward Nelson,
   Mathematics and Faith (pdf)

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

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

— Edward Nelson,
   Mathematics and Faith (pdf)

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

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Tuesday September 27, 2005

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:23 AM
Mathematical Narrative

Gwyneth Paltrow is said to be 33 today.

Mathematics

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/050925-Summers.jpg”  cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Narrative

Anthony Hopkins in 'Proof'


Recommended reading
for Harvard's president:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/050925-Truth.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Truth: A Guide,
by Simon Blackburn


Recommended reading
for Gwyneth Paltrow:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/050925-Bullshit.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

On Bullshit,
by Harry G. Frankfurt

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Blackburn

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/050927-Frankfurt2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Frankfurt

Monday, August 22, 2005

Monday August 22, 2005

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 4:07 PM
The Hole

Part I: Mathematics and Narrative

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/050822-Narr.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Apostolos Doxiadis on last month's conference on "mathematics and narrative"–

Doxiadis is describing how talks by two noted mathematicians were related to

    "… a sense of a 'general theory bubbling up' at the meeting… a general theory of the deeper relationship of mathematics to narrative…. "

Doxiadis says both talks had "a big hole in the middle."  

    "Both began by saying something like: 'I believe there is an important connection between story and mathematical thinking. So, my talk has two parts.  [In one part] I’ll tell you a few things about proofs.  [And in the other part] I’ll tell you about stories.' …. And in both talks it was in fact implied by a variation of the post hoc propter hoc, the principle of consecutiveness implying causality, that the two parts of the lectures were intimately related, the one somehow led directly to the other."
  "And the hole?"
  "This was exactly at the point of the link… [connecting math and narrative]… There is this very well-known Sidney Harris cartoon… where two huge arrays of formulas on a blackboard are connected by the sentence ‘THEN A MIRACLE OCCURS.’ And one of the two mathematicians standing before it points at this and tells the other: ‘I think you should be more explicit here at step two.’ Both… talks were one half fascinating expositions of lay narratology– in fact, I was exhilarated to hear the two most purely narratological talks at the meeting coming from number theorists!– and one half a discussion of a purely mathematical kind, the two parts separated by a conjunction roughly synonymous to ‘this is very similar to this.’  But the similarity was not clearly explained: the hole, you see, the ‘miracle.’  Of course, both [speakers]… are brilliant men, and honest too, and so they were very clear about the location of the hole, they did not try to fool us by saying that there was no hole where there was one."
 

Part II: Possible Worlds

"At times, bullshit can only be countered with superior bullshit."
Norman Mailer

Many Worlds and Possible Worlds in Literature and Art, in Wikipedia:

    "The concept of possible worlds dates back to a least Leibniz who in his Théodicée tries to justify the apparent imperfections of the world by claiming that it is optimal among all possible worlds.  Voltaire satirized this view in his picaresque novel Candide….
    Borges' seminal short story El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan ("The Garden of Forking Paths") is an early example of many worlds in fiction."

 

Background:

Modal Logic in Wikipedia

Possible Worlds in Wikipedia

Possible-Worlds Theory, by Marie-Laure Ryan
(entry for The Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory)

The God-Shaped Hole
 

Part III: Modal Theology

  "'What is this Stone?' Chloe asked….
  '…It is told that, when the Merciful One made the worlds, first of all He created that Stone and gave it to the Divine One whom the Jews call Shekinah, and as she gazed upon it the universes arose and had being.'"

  — Many Dimensions, by Charles Williams, 1931 (Eerdmans paperback, April 1979, pp. 43-44)


"The lapis was thought of as a unity and therefore often stands for the prima materia in general."

  — Aion, by C. G. Jung, 1951 (Princeton paperback, 1979, p. 236)

"Its discoverer was of the opinion that he had produced the equivalent of the primordial protomatter which exploded into the Universe."

 
  — The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester, 1956 (Vintage hardcover, July 1996, p. 216)
 
"We symbolize
logical necessity
with the box (box.gif (75 bytes))
and logical possibility
with the diamond (diamond.gif (82 bytes))."

Keith Allen Korcz 

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/050802-Stone.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

"The possibilia that exist,
and out of which
the Universe arose,
are located in
     a necessary being…."

Michael Sudduth,
Notes on
God, Chance, and Necessity
by Keith Ward,
Regius Professor of Divinity
at Christ Church College, Oxford
(the home of Lewis Carroll)

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Saturday August 20, 2005

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:07 PM
Truth vs. Bullshit

Background:
For an essay on the above topic
from this week’s New Yorker,
click on the box below.

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/050819-Critic4.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Representing truth:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/050820-Goldstein.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Rebecca Goldstein

Representing bullshit:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/050820-Doxiadis.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Apostolos Doxiadis

Goldstein’s truth:

Gödel was a Platonist who believed in objective truth.

See Rothstein’s review of Goldstein’s new book Incompleteness.

Doxiadis’s bullshit:

Gödel, along with Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Einstein, and Heisenberg, destroyed a tradition of certainty that began with Plato and Euclid.

“Examples are the stained-glass
windows of knowledge.” — Nabokov

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Sunday February 20, 2005

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 2:20 PM

Relativity Blues

Today, February 20, is the 19th anniversary of my note The Relativity Problem in Finite Geometry.  Here is some related material.

In 1931, the Christian writer Charles Williams grappled with the theology of time, space, free will, and the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics (anticipating by many years the discussion of this topic by physicists beginning in the 1950's).

(Some pure mathematics — untainted by physics or theology — that is nevertheless related, if only by poetic analogy, to Williams's 1931 novel, Many Dimensions, is discussed in the above-mentioned note and in a generalization, Solomon's Cube.)

On the back cover of Williams's 1931 novel, the current publisher, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company of Grand Rapids, Michigan, makes the following statement:

"Replete with rich religious imagery, Many Dimensions explores the relation between predestination and free will as it depicts different human responses to redemptive transcendence."

One possible response to such statements was recently provided in some detail by a Princeton philosophy professor.  See On Bullshit, by Harry G. Frankfurt, Princeton University Press, 2005.

A more thoughtful response would take into account the following:

1. The arguments presented in favor of philosopher John Calvin, who discussed predestination, in The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought, by Marilynne Robinson

2. The physics underlying Einstein's remarks on free will, God, and dice
 
3. The physics underlying Rebecca Goldstein's novel Properties of Light and Paul Preuss's novels  Secret Passages and Broken Symmetries

4. The physics underlying the recent so-called "free will theorem" of John Conway and Simon Kochen of Princeton University

5. The recent novel Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson, which deals not with philosophy, but with lives influenced by philosophy — indirectly, by the philosophy of the aforementioned John Calvin.

From a review of Gilead by Jane Vandenburgh:  

"In The Death of Adam, Robinson shows Jean Cauvin to be the foremost prophet of humanism whose Protestant teachings against the hierarchies of the Roman church set in motion the intellectual movements that promoted widespread literacy among the middle and lower classes, led to both the American and French revolutions, and not only freed African slaves in the United States but brought about suffrage for women. It's odd then that through our culture's reverse historicism, the term 'Calvinism' has come to mean 'moralistic repression.'"

For more on what the Calvinist publishing firm Eerdmans calls "redemptive transcendence," see various July 2003 Log24.net entries.  If these entries include a fair amount of what Princeton philosophers call bullshit, let the Princeton philosophers meditate on the summary of Harvard philosophy quoted here on November 5 of last year, as well as the remarks of November 5, 2003,  and those of November 5, 2002.

From Many Dimensions (Eerdmans paperback, 1963, page 53):

"Lord Arglay had a suspicion that the Stone would be purely logical.  Yes, he thought, but what, in that sense, were the rules of its pure logic?"

A recent answer:

Modal Theology

"We symbolize logical necessity
with the box (box.gif (75 bytes))
and logical possibility
with the diamond (diamond.gif (82 bytes))."

Keith Allen Korcz,
(Log24.net, 1/25/05)

And what do we           
   symbolize by  The image “http://www.log24.com/theory/images/Modal-diamondbox.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. ?

"The possibilia that exist,
and out of which
the Universe arose,
are located in
     a necessary being…."

Michael Sudduth,
Notes on
God, Chance, and Necessity
by Keith Ward,
Regius Professor of Divinity
at Christ Church College, Oxford
(the home of Lewis Carroll)

Friday, November 5, 2004

Friday November 5, 2004

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

A Harvard Education
in a Sentence

Harvard alumnus Norman Mailer:

At times, bullshit can only be countered with superior bullshit.

For Harvard bullshit, see
The Crimson Passion.

For superior bullshit, see
Shrine of the Holy Whapping.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Tuesday August 17, 2004

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

The Zen of Abraham

Today’s Zen Chautauqua, prompted by the fact that this is Abrahamic week at the real Chautauqua, consists of links to

The Matrix of Abraham,

Matrix of the Death God, and

Happy Birthday, Kate and Kevin.

The real Chautauqua’s program this week is, of course, Christian rather than Zen.  Its theme is “Building a Global Neighborhood: The Abrahamic Vision 2004.”  One of the featured performers is Loretta Lynn; in her honor (and, of course, that of Sissy Spacek), I will try to overcome the fear and loathing that the Semitic (i. e., “Abrahamic”) religions usually inspire in me.

To a mathematician, the phrase “global neighborhood” sounds like meaningless politico-religious bullshit —  a phrase I am sure accurately characterizes most of the discourse at Chautauqua this week.  But a Google search reveals an area of research — “particle swarm optimization” in which the phrase “global neighborhood” actually means something.  See

A Hybrid Particle Swarm
and Neural Network Approach
for Reactive Power Control,
by Paulo F. Ribeiro and
W. Kyle Schlansker
(pdf).

This article includes the following:

Given the sophistication of his writing, I am surprised at Schlansker’s Christian background:

A good omen for the future is the fact that Schlansker balances the looney Semitic (or “Abrahamic”) teachings of Christianity with good sound Aryan religion, in the form of the goddess Themis.

 Themis, often depicted as “Justice”

For those who must have an Abraham, Schlansker’s paper includes the following:

A Themis figure I prefer to the above:

For more on religious justice
at midnight in the garden of
good and evil, see the Log24
entries of Oct. 1-15, 2002.

For material on Aryan religion that is far superior to the damned nonsense at Chautauqua, New York, this week, see

Jane Ellen Harrison’s Themis: a Study of the Social Origins of Greek Religion, with an excursus on the ritual forms preserved in Greek tragedy by Gilbert Murray and a chapter on the origin of the Olympic games by F. M. Cornford.  Rev. 2nd ed., Cambridge, Cambridge U.P., 1927.

Those who prefer the modern religion of Scientism will of course believe that Themis is purely imaginary, and that truth is to be found in modern myths like that of Carl Sagan’s novel Contact, illustrated below.

Jodie Foster (an admirer of
Leni Riefenstahl) and the
opening of the 1936 Olympics

“Heraclitus…. says: ‘The ruler whose prophecy occurs at Delphi oute legei oute kryptei, neither gathers nor hides, alla semainei, but gives hints.'”
An Introduction to Metaphysics, by Martin Heidegger, Yale University Press paperback, 1959, p. 170

“The lord whose oracle is in Delphi neither indicates clearly nor conceals, but gives a sign.”
Adolf Holl, The Left Hand of God, Doubleday, 1998, p. 50

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Saturday July 10, 2004

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 3:17 PM
Oxford Word

From today's obituary in The New York Times of R. W. Burchfield, editor of A Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary:

"Robert William Burchfield was born Jan. 27, 1923, in Wanganui, New Zealand. In 1949, after earning an undergraduate degree at Victoria University College in Wellington, he accepted a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford.

There, he read Medieval English literature with C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien."

For more on literature and Wanganui, see my entry of Jan. 19. 2003, from which the following is taken.

 

 

Literature
and
Geography

"Literature begins
with geography."

Attributed to
Robert Frost

The Maori Court at
the Wanganui Museum

 

"Cullinane College is a Catholic co-educational college, set to open in Wanganui (New Zealand) on the 29th of January, 2003."

The 29th of January will be the 40th anniversary of the death of Saint Robert Frost.

New Zealand, perhaps the most beautiful country on the planet, is noted for being the setting of the film version of Lord of the Rings, which was written by a devout Catholic, J. R. R. Tolkien.

For other New Zealand themes, see Alfred Bester's novels The Stars My Destination and The Deceivers.

The original title of The Stars My Destination was Tyger! Tyger! after Blake's poem. 

For more on fearful symmetry, see the work of Marston Conder, professor of mathematics at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

 

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Thursday May 20, 2004

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 7:00 AM

Parable

“A comparison or analogy. The word is simply a transliteration of the Greek word: parabolé (literally: ‘what is thrown beside’ or ‘juxtaposed’), a term used to designate the geometric application we call a ‘parabola.’….  The basic parables are extended similes or metaphors.”

http://religion.rutgers.edu/nt/
    primer/parable.html

“If one style of thought stands out as the most potent explanation of genius, it is the ability to make juxtapositions that elude mere mortals.  Call it a facility with metaphor, the ability to connect the unconnected, to see relationships to which others are blind.”

Sharon Begley, “The Puzzle of Genius,” Newsweek magazine, June 28, 1993, p. 50

“The poet sets one metaphor against another and hopes that the sparks set off by the juxtaposition will ignite something in the mind as well. Hopkins’ poem ‘Pied Beauty’ has to do with ‘creation.’ “

Speaking in Parables, Ch. 2, by Sallie McFague

“The Act of Creation is, I believe, a more truly creative work than any of Koestler’s novels….  According to him, the creative faculty in whatever form is owing to a circumstance which he calls ‘bisociation.’ And we recognize this intuitively whenever we laugh at a joke, are dazzled by a fine metaphor, are astonished and excited by a unification of styles, or ‘see,’ for the first time, the possibility of a significant theoretical breakthrough in a scientific inquiry. In short, one touch of genius—or bisociation—makes the whole world kin. Or so Koestler believes.”

— Henry David Aiken, The Metaphysics of Arthur Koestler, New York Review of Books, Dec. 17, 1964

For further details, see

Speaking in Parables:
A Study in Metaphor and Theology

by Sallie McFague

Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1975

Introduction
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7

“Perhaps every science must start with metaphor and end with algebra; and perhaps without metaphor there would never have been any algebra.”

— attributed, in varying forms (1, 2, 3), to Max Black, Models and Metaphors, 1962

For metaphor and algebra combined, see

“Symmetry invariance in a diamond ring,” A.M.S. abstract 79T-A37, Notices of the Amer. Math. Soc., February 1979, pages A-193, 194 — the original version of the 4×4 case of the diamond theorem.

Saturday, February 7, 2004

Saturday February 7, 2004

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

Scholarship vs. Bullshit

“Examples are the stained-glass windows of knowledge.” — Vladimir Nabokov

An example of scholarship:

Paul Friedlander.

An example of bullshit:

Leo Strauss.

Further background:

Noble lies and perpetual war: Leo Strauss, the neo-cons, and Iraq.

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

Wednesday August 6, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:23 AM

Postmodern
Postmortem

“I had a lot of fun with this audacious and exasperating book. … [which] looks more than a little like Greil Marcus’s Lipstick Traces, a ‘secret history’ tracing punk rock through May 1968….”

— Michael Harris, Institut de Mathématiques de Jussieu, Université Paris 7, review of Mathematics and the Roots of Postmodern Thought, by Vladimir Tasic, Notices of the American Mathematical Society, August 2003

For some observations on the transgressive  predecessors of punk rock, see my entry Funeral March of July 26, 2003 (the last conscious day in the life of actress Marie Trintignant — see below), which contains the following:

“Sky is high and so am I,
If you’re a viper — a vi-paah.”
The Day of the Locust,
    by Nathanael West (1939)

As I noted in another another July 26 entry, the disease of postmodernism has, it seems, now infected mathematics.  For some recent outbreaks of infection in physics, see the works referred to below.

Postmodern Fields of Physics: In his book The Dreams of Reason, H. R. Pagels focuses on the science of complexity as the most outstanding new discipline emerging in recent years….”

— “The Semiotics of ‘Postmodern’ Physics,” by Hans J. Pirner, in Symbol and Physical Knowledge: The Conceptual Structure of Physics, ed. by M. Ferrari and I.-O. Stamatescu, Springer Verlag, August 2001 

For a critical look at Pagels’s work, see Midsummer Eve’s Dream.  For a less critical look, see The Marriage of Science and Mysticism.  Pagels’s book on the so-called “science of complexity” was published in June 1988.  For more recent bullshit on complexity, see

The Critical Idiom of Postmodernity and Its Contributions to an Understanding of Complexity, by Matthew Abraham, 2000,

which describes a book on complexity theory that, besides pronouncements about physics, also provides what “could very well be called a ‘postmodern ethic.’ “

The book reviewed is Paul Cilliers’s Complexity and Postmodernism: Understanding Complex Systems.

A search for related material on Cilliers yields the following:

Janis Joplin, Postmodernist

” …’all’ is ‘one,’ … the time is ‘now’ and … ‘tomorrow never happens,’ …. as Janis Joplin says, ‘it’s all the same fucking day.’

It appears that ‘time,’ … the linear, independent notion of ‘time’ that our culture embraces, is an artifact of our abstract thinking …

The problem is that ‘tomorrow never happens’ …. Aboriginal traditionalists are well aware of this topological paradox and so was Janis Joplin. Her use of the expletive in this context is therefore easy to understand … love is never having to say ‘tomorrow.’ “

Web page citing Paul Cilliers

“That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard.”

— Ryan O’Neal in “What’s Up, Doc?”

A more realistic look at postmodernism in action is provided by the following news story:

Brutal Death of an Actress Is France’s Summertime Drama

By JOHN TAGLIABUE

The actress, Marie Trintignant, died Friday [Aug. 1, 2003] in a Paris hospital, with severe head and face injuries. Her rock star companion, Bertrand Cantat, is confined to a prison hospital….

According to news reports, Ms. Trintignant and Mr. Cantat argued violently in their hotel room in Vilnius in the early hours of [Sunday] July 27 at the end of a night spent eating and drinking….

In coming months, two films starring Ms. Trintignant are scheduled to debut, including “Janis and John” by the director Samuel Benchetrit, her estranged husband and the father of two of her four children. In it, Ms. Trintignant plays Janis Joplin.

New York Times of Aug. 5, 2003

” ‘…as a matter of fact, as we discover all the time, tomorrow never happens, man. It’s all the same f…n’ day, man!’ –Janis Joplin, at live performance in Calgary on 4th July 1970 – exactly four months before her death. (apologies for censoring her exact words which can be heard on the ‘Janis Joplin in Concert’ CD)”

Janis Joplin at FamousTexans.com

All of the above fits in rather nicely with the view of science and scientists in the C. S. Lewis classic That Hideous Strength, which I strongly recommend.

For those few who both abhor postmodernism and regard the American Mathematical Society Notices

as a sort of “holy place” of Platonism, I recommend a biblical reading–

Matthew 24:15, CEV:

“Someday you will see that Horrible Thing in the holy place….”

See also Logos and Logic for more sophisticated religious remarks, by Simone Weil, whose brother, mathematician André Weil, died five years ago today.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Wednesday June 25, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:45 AM

In memory of Staige D. Blackford

Introibo ad Altare Dei

“…they [the clergy] believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

Thomas Jefferson

“Stately, thin Thomas Jefferson came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed…. He held the bowl aloft and intoned:
Introibo ad altare Dei.
Halted, he peered down the dark winding stairs and called out coarsely:
Come up, Staige! Come up, you fearful editor!”

With apologies to the University of Virginia, to the Virginia Quarterly Review, and to James Joyce.

“Man, it’s long…
It’s a long, long, long road.”

Frank Sinatra

See also memorials to George Axelrod and Leon Uris, both of whom died at the summer solstice, June 21.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Thursday May 15, 2003

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

The Only Pretty Ring Time

On May 14 five years ago, the night Sinatra died, the Pennsylvania (State of Grace) lottery evening number was 256:  see my note, Symmetries, of April 2, 2003.

On May 14 this year, the Pennsylvania lottery evening number was 147.  Having, through meditation, perhaps established some sort of minor covenant with whatever supernatural lottery powers may exist, this afternoon I sought the significance of this number in Q's 1939 edition of the Oxford Book of English Verse.  It is the number of "It was a Lover and his Lass," a song lyric by William Shakespeare.  The song includes the following lines:

In the spring time,
    the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing,
    Hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.

For the Sinatra connection, see
Metaphysics for Tina.

The selection of Q's book for consultation was suggested by the home page of Simon Nickerson at Jesus College, Cambridge University, and by the dedication page of Q's 1925 Oxford Book of English Prose, which names Nickerson's school.

Ian Lee on the communion of saints and the association of ideas:

"The association is the idea."

For translation of the Greek phrase in Q's 1925 dedication, see

Greek and Roman Grammarians
on Motion Verbs and Place Adverbials

Malcolm D. Hyman
Harvard University
January 4, 2003

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Thursday April 24, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:13 PM

ART WARS:

A Terrible Beauty

On this date in 1905, Robert Penn Warren, the first poet laureate of the United States, was born.  

This is also the date of Ireland’s 1916 Easter Monday rebellion, of which Yeats wrote that “a terrible beauty is born,”  and the date of Vatican I’s 1870 attack on reason, Dei Filius.

My comment on Yeats’s remarks:

“No honourable and sincere man, said Stephen, has given up to you his life and his youth and his affections from the days of Tone to those of Parnell, but you sold him to the enemy or failed him in need or reviled him and left him for another. And you invite me to be one of you. I’d see you damned first.”

— James Joyce, Portrait of the Artist, published 1914-15 in serial form

My comment on the Vatican’s remarks:

“[Robert Penn] Warren taught for years at Yale and became toward the end of his life one of the most vocal critics of deconstruction, which had Yale as its headquarters. He is said to have exclaimed, ‘They got a whole new line of bullshit up here.’ ”

Dr. Gerald McDaniel 

Warren wrote that

“…only, only,
In the name of Death do we learn
    the true name of Love.”

For some clues as to whether this, too, is bullshit, see my note of Easter Monday 2003,

Time, Song, and Tragedy.

Monday, April 21, 2003

Monday April 21, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:23 PM

Riddle
 
This world is not conclusion;
  A sequel stands beyond,
Invisible, as music,
  But positive, as sound.
It beckons and it baffles;         
  Philosophies don’t know,
And through a riddle, at the last,
  Sagacity must go.

Emily Dickinson

From an obituary of a biographer of Emily Dickinson, Richard B. Sewall, who died on Wednesday, April 16, 2003:

"Descended from a line of Congregational ministers dating back to the Salem of the witch trial era, Mr. Sewall was known for infusing his lectures with an almost religious fervor."

Riddle

What is the hardest thing to keep?

For one answer, see my entry of April 16, 2003.   For commentary on that answer, see the description of a poetry party that took place last April at Sleepy Hollow, New York.

See, too, the story that contains the following passages:

"As to the books and furniture of the schoolhouse, they belonged to the community, excepting Cotton Mather's History of Witchcraft, a New England Almanac, and book of dreams and fortune-telling….

The schoolhouse being deserted soon fell to decay, and was reported to be haunted by the ghost of the unfortunate pedagogue, and the plough-boy, loitering homeward of a still summer evening, has often fancied his voice at a distance, chanting a melancholy psalm tune among the tranquil solitudes of Sleepy Hollow."

Washington Irving

Update of 11:55 PM April 21, 2003,

in memory of
Nina Simone:

See also the last paragraph of this news story,
this website, and this essay,
or see all three combined.

From the entry of midnight, October 25-26, 2002:

Make my bed and light the light,
I'll arrive late tonight,
Blackbird, Bye-bye.

Nina Simone

For more on the eight-point star of Venus,
see "Bright Star," my note of October 23, 2002.

Saturday, February 1, 2003

Saturday February 1, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:10 AM

Time and Eternity

 

Kali figure


Shiva figure

 

Windmill


Victory

Yesterday’s meditation on St. Bridget suggests the above graphic summary of two rather important philosophical concepts. Representing Kali, or Time, is Judy Davis in “The New Age.” Representing Shiva, or Eternity, is sword-saint Michioka Yoshinori-sensei.  The relationship between these two concepts is summarized very neatly by Heinrich Zimmer in his section on the Kalika Purana in The King and the Corpse.

The relationship is also represented graphically by the “whirl” of Time and the “diamond” of Eternity.

On this day in 1944, Mondrian died.  Echoes of the graphic whirl and diamond may be found (as shown above) in his “Red Mill” and “Victory Boogie-Woogie.”

Sunday, January 19, 2003

Sunday January 19, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:30 PM

Literature
and
Geography

“Literature begins
with geography.”

 Attributed to
Robert Frost

The Maori Court at
the Wanganui Museum

Cullinane College is a Catholic co-educational college, set to open in Wanganui (New Zealand) on the 29th of January, 2003.”

The 29th of January will be the 40th anniversary of the death of Saint Robert Frost.

New Zealand, perhaps the most beautiful country on the planet, is noted for being the setting of the film version of Lord of the Rings, which was written by a devout Catholic, J. R. R. Tolkien. 

Here is a rather Catholic meditation on life and death in Tolkien’s work:

Frodo: “…He deserves death.”

Gandalf: “Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.”

Personally, I prefer Clint Eastwood’s version of this dialogue:

The Schofield Kid: “Well, I guess they had it coming.”

William Munny: “We all have it coming, Kid.”

For other New Zealand themes, see Alfred Bester’s novels The Stars My Destination and The Deceivers.

The original title of The Stars My Destination was Tyger! Tyger! after Blake’s poem. 

For more on fearful symmetry, see the work of Marston Conder, professor of mathematics at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. 

 

Friday, October 11, 2002

Friday October 11, 2002

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 5:10 PM

The Fourth Man:
In Lieu of Rosebud, Part III

Business

Posted on Fri, Oct. 11, 2002

Carlos Castañeda, who led
El Nuevo Herald, dies at 70

Carlos Castañeda, the publisher emeritus of El Nuevo Herald whose passionate belief in a free press helped guide several newspapers across Latin America, died Thursday morning in Lisbon, Portugal. He was 70.

From a site titled
Enlightened Transmissions“:

The Active Side of Infinity

by Carlos Castañeda

Carlos’ last book before his untimely death. In his desperate search for meaning, Carlos recapitulates Don Juan’s teachings in perhaps his best effort. The nature of silence, and the statement that the egoic mind is a foreign implant, give deep resonance to these final teachings of Don Juan.

Perhaps a little too active.

Arthur Koestler’s somewhat more respectable mystical thoughts about infinity may be found here.  Related material: my September 5 entry, Arrow in the Blue.


Added ca. 10 to 11:40 p.m. October 11, 2002:

A review of Castaneda seems in order… the bad Carlos, not the good Carlos.  (The bad Carlos being, of course, the bullshit artist who apparently died in 1998, and the good Carlos the publisher who died yesterday.)

From the LiveJournal site of fermina —

Today’s Public Service Message:

Hi. You’re going to die.

My comment:

From a review of Carlos Castaneda’s last book, The Active Side of Infinity:

“We wind up learning something more of Castaneda but not much at all about the active side of infinity, which is mystically translated as ‘intent.’ It appears that we ought to live with intent, never forgetting that we will die, regardless. Death (and the knowledge of it) should thus inform all of our actions and relationships, providing a perspective and enforcing our humility. This is hardly an original idea, and it can’t justify wading through Castaneda’s welter of self-indulgence, which might translate better to a bumper-sticker adage.”

Hmm… What adage might that be?

As for the good Carlos, see “In Lieu of Rosebud, Part II,” below… As was said of Saint Francis Borgia, whose feast is celebrated on the day good Carlos died, he

rendered glorious a name which, but for him, would have remained a source of humiliation.

        

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