Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sunday November 20, 2005

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 4:04 PM
An Exercise
of Power

Johnny Cash:
“And behold,
a white horse.”

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Adapted from
illustration below:

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“There is a pleasantly discursive treatment of Pontius Pilate’s unanswered question ‘What is truth?'”

H. S. M. Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Richard J. Trudeau’s remarks on the “Story Theory” of truth as opposed to  the “Diamond Theory” of truth in The Non-Euclidean Revolution

“A new epistemology is emerging to replace the Diamond Theory of truth. I will call it the ‘Story Theory’ of truth: There are no diamonds. People make up stories about what they experience. Stories that catch on are called ‘true.’ The Story Theory of truth is itself a story that is catching on. It is being told and retold, with increasing frequency, by thinkers of many stripes*….”

Richard J. Trudeau in
The Non-Euclidean Revolution

“‘Deniers’ of truth… insist that each of us is trapped in his own point of view; we make up stories about the world and, in an exercise of power, try to impose them on others.”

— Jim Holt in The New Yorker.

(Click on the box below.)

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Exercise of Power:

Show that a white horse–

A Singer 7-Cycle

a figure not unlike the
symbol of the mathematics
publisher Springer–
is traced, within a naturally
arranged rectangular array of
polynomials, by the powers of x
modulo a polynomial
irreducible over a Galois field.

This horse, or chess knight–
“Springer,” in German–
plays a role in “Diamond Theory”
(a phrase used in finite geometry
in 1976, some years before its use
by Trudeau in the above book).

Related material

On this date:

 In 1490, The White Knight
 (Tirant lo Blanc The image “http://www.log24.com/images/asterisk8.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. )–
 a major influence on Cervantes–
was published, and in 1910

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/051120-Caballo1.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

the Mexican Revolution began.

Zapata by Diego Rivera,
Museum of Modern Art,
New York

The image “http://www.log24.com/images/asterisk8.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Description from Amazon.com

“First published in the Catalan language in Valencia in 1490…. Reviewing the first modern Spanish translation in 1969 (Franco had ruthlessly suppressed the Catalan language and literature), Mario Vargas Llosa hailed the epic’s author as ‘the first of that lineage of God-supplanters– Fielding, Balzac, Dickens, Flaubert, Tolstoy, Joyce, Faulkner– who try to create in their novels an all-encompassing reality.'”

Saturday, June 4, 2005

Saturday June 4, 2005

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 7:00 PM
  Drama of the Diagonal
   The 4×4 Square:
  French Perspectives

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05A/050604-Fuite1.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
   Les Anamorphoses:
   The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05A/050604-DesertSquare.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
  “Pour construire un dessin en perspective,
   le peintre trace sur sa toile des repères:
   la ligne d’horizon (1),
   le point de fuite principal (2)
   où se rencontre les lignes de fuite (3)
   et le point de fuite des diagonales (4).”
  Serge Mehl,
   Perspective &
  Géométrie Projective:
   “… la géométrie projective était souvent
   synonyme de géométrie supérieure.
   Elle s’opposait à la géométrie
   euclidienne: élémentaire
  La géométrie projective, certes supérieure
   car assez ardue, permet d’établir
   de façon élégante des résultats de
   la géométrie élémentaire.”
  Finite projective geometry
  (in particular, Galois geometry)
   is certainly superior to
   the elementary geometry of
  quilt-pattern symmetry
  and allows us to establish
   de façon élégante
   some results of that
   elementary geometry.
  Other Related Material…
   from algebra rather than
   geometry, and from a German
   rather than from the French:  

This is the relativity problem:
to fix objectively a class of
equivalent coordinatizations
and to ascertain
the group of transformations S
mediating between them.”
— Hermann Weyl,
The Classical Groups,
Princeton U. Press, 1946

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050124-galois12s.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Evariste Galois

 Weyl also says that the profound branch
of mathematics known as Galois theory

   “… is nothing else but the
   relativity theory for the set Sigma,
   a set which, by its discrete and
    finite character, is conceptually
   so much simpler than the
   infinite set of points in space
   or space-time dealt with
   by ordinary relativity theory.”
  — Weyl, Symmetry,
   Princeton U. Press, 1952
   Metaphor and Algebra…  

“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, 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
American Mathematical Society,
February 1979, pages A-193, 194 —
the original version of the 4×4 case
of the diamond theorem.

More on Max Black…

“When approaching unfamiliar territory, we often, as observed earlier, try to describe or frame the novel situation using metaphors based on relations perceived in a familiar domain, and by using our powers of association, and our ability to exploit the structural similarity, we go on to conjecture new features for consideration, often not noticed at the outset. The metaphor works, according to Max Black, by transferring the associated ideas and implications of the secondary to the primary system, and by selecting, emphasising and suppressing features of the primary in such a way that new slants on it are illuminated.”

— Paul Thompson, University College, Oxford,
    The Nature and Role of Intuition
     in Mathematical Epistemology

  A New Slant…  

That intuition, metaphor (i.e., analogy), and association may lead us astray is well known.  The examples of French perspective above show what might happen if someone ignorant of finite geometry were to associate the phrase “4×4 square” with the phrase “projective geometry.”  The results are ridiculously inappropriate, but at least the second example does, literally, illuminate “new slants”– i.e., diagonals– within the perspective drawing of the 4×4 square.

Similarly, analogy led the ancient Greeks to believe that the diagonal of a square is commensurate with the side… until someone gave them a new slant on the subject.

Friday, November 29, 2002

Friday November 29, 2002

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

A Logocentric Archetype

Today we examine the relativist, nominalist, leftist, nihilist, despairing, depressing, absurd, and abominable work of Samuel Beckett, darling of the postmodernists.

One lens through which to view Beckett is an essay by Jennifer Martin, "Beckettian Drama as Protest: A Postmodern Examination of the 'Delogocentering' of Language." Martin begins her essay with two quotations: one from the contemptible French twerp Jacques Derrida, and one from Beckett's masterpiece of stupidity, Molloy. For a logocentric deconstruction of Derrida, see my note, "The Shining of May 29," which demonstrates how Derrida attempts to convert a rather important mathematical result to his brand of nauseating and pretentious nonsense, and of course gets it wrong. For a logocentric deconstruction of Molloy, consider the following passage:

"I took advantage of being at the seaside to lay in a store of sucking-stones. They were pebbles but I call them stones…. I distributed them equally among my four pockets, and sucked them turn and turn about. This raised a problem which I first solved in the following way. I had say sixteen stones, four in each of my four pockets these being the two pockets of my trousers and the two pockets of my greatcoat. Taking a stone from the right pocket of my greatcoat, and putting it in my mouth, I replaced it in the right pocket of my greatcoat by a stone from the right pocket of my trousers, which I replaced by a stone from the left pocket of my trousers, which I replaced by a stone from the left pocket of my greatcoat, which I replaced by the stone which was in my mouth, as soon as I had finished sucking it. Thus there were still four stones in each of my four pockets, but not quite the same stones….But this solution did not satisfy me fully. For it did not escape me that, by an extraordinary hazard, the four stones circulating thus might always be the same four."

Beckett is describing, in great detail, how a damned moron might approach the extraordinarily beautiful mathematical discipline known as group theory, founded by the French anticleric and leftist Evariste Galois. Disciples of Derrida may play at mimicking the politics of Galois, but will never come close to imitating his genius. For a worthwhile discussion of permutation groups acting on a set of 16 elements, see R. D. Carmichael's masterly work, Introduction to the Theory of Groups of Finite Order, Ginn, Boston, 1937, reprinted by Dover, New York, 1956.

There are at least two ways of approaching permutations on 16 elements in what Pascal calls "l'esprit géométrique." My website Diamond Theory discusses the action of the affine group in a four-dimensional finite geometry of 16 points. For a four-dimensional euclidean hypercube, or tesseract, with 16 vertices, see the highly logocentric movable illustration by Harry J. Smith. The concept of a tesseract was made famous, though seen through a glass darkly, by the Christian writer Madeleine L'Engle in her novel for children and young adults, A Wrinkle in Tme.

This tesseract may serve as an archetype for what Pascal, Simone Weil (see my earlier notes), Harry J. Smith, and Madeleine L'Engle might, borrowing their enemies' language, call their "logocentric" philosophy.

For a more literary antidote to postmodernist nihilism, see Archetypal Theory and Criticism, by Glen R. Gill.

For a discussion of the full range of meaning of the word "logos," which has rational as well as religious connotations, click here.

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