Thursday, November 22, 2018

Geometric Incarnation

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

"The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation."

— T. S. Eliot in Four Quartets

Note also the four 4×4 arrays surrounding the central diamond
in the chi  of the chi-rho  page of the Book of Kells

From a Log24 post
of March 17, 2012

"Interlocking, interlacing, interweaving"

— Condensed version of page 141 in Eddington's
1939 Philosophy of Physical Science

Saturday, August 27, 2016


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

See a search for the title in this journal.

Related material:

The incarnation of three permutations,
named A, B, and C,
on the 7-set of digits {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7}
as  permutations on the eightfold cube.

See Minimal ABC Art, a post of August 22, 2016.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Incarnation, Part 2

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 10:18 AM

From yesterday —

"…  a list of group theoretic invariants
and their geometric incarnation…"

David Lehavi on the Kummer 166 configuration in 2007

Related material —

IMAGE- 'This is not mathematics; this is theology.' - Paul Gordan

"The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation."

T. S. Eliot in Four Quartets

"This is not theology; this is mathematics."

— Steven H. Cullinane on  four quartets

To wit:

Click to enlarge.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Geometric Incarnation

The  Kummer 166  configuration  is the configuration of sixteen
6-sets within a 4×4 square array of points in which each 6-set
is determined by one of the 16 points of the array and
consists of the 3 other points in that point's row and the
3 other points in that point's column.

See Configurations and Squares.

The Wikipedia article Kummer surface  uses a rather poetic
phrase* to describe the relationship of the 166 to a number
of other mathematical concepts — "geometric incarnation."

Geometric Incarnation in the Galois Tesseract

Related material from finitegeometry.org —

IMAGE- 4x4 Geometry: Rosenhain and Göpel Tetrads and the Kummer Configuration

* Apparently from David Lehavi on March 18, 2007, at Citizendium .

Friday, February 26, 2021

“Only Connect”

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:33 PM

Twelves   (in memory of Robert de Marrais)

Receipt date for the above article —

Synchronicity check —

Related reading —


Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Very Stable Kool-Aid

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:16 PM

Two of the thumbnail previews
from yesterday's 1 AM  post

"Hum a few bars"

"For 6 Prescott Street"

Further down in the "6 Prescott St." post, the link 5 Divinity Avenue
leads to

A Letter from Timothy Leary, Ph.D., July 17, 1961

Harvard University
Department of Social Relations
Center for Research in Personality
Morton Prince House
5 Divinity Avenue
Cambridge 38, Massachusetts

July 17, 1961

Dr. Thomas S. Szasz
c/o Upstate Medical School
Irving Avenue
Syracuse 10, New York

Dear Dr. Szasz:

Your book arrived several days ago. I've spent eight hours on it and realize the task (and joy) of reading it has just begun.

The Myth of Mental Illness is the most important book in the history of psychiatry.

I know it is rash and premature to make this earlier judgment. I reserve the right later to revise and perhaps suggest it is the most important book published in the twentieth century.

It is great in so many ways–scholarship, clinical insight, political savvy, common sense, historical sweep, human concern– and most of all for its compassionate, shattering honesty.

. . . .

The small Morton Prince House in the above letter might, according to
the above-quoted remarks by Corinna S. Rohse, be called a "jewel box."
Harvard moved it in 1978 from Divinity Avenue to its current location at
6 Prescott Street.

Related "jewel box" material for those who
prefer narrative to mathematics —

"In The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test , Tom Wolfe writes about encountering 
'a young psychologist,' 'Clifton Fadiman’s nephew, it turned out,' in the
waiting room of the San Mateo County jail. Fadiman and his wife were
'happily stuffing three I-Ching coins into some interminable dense volume*
of Oriental mysticism' that they planned to give Ken Kesey, the Prankster-
in-Chief whom the FBI had just nabbed after eight months on the lam.
Wolfe had been granted an interview with Kesey, and they wanted him to
tell their friend about the hidden coins. During this difficult time, they
explained, Kesey needed oracular advice."

— Tim Doody in The Morning News  web 'zine on July 26, 2012**

Oracular advice related to yesterday evening's
"jewel box" post …

A 4-dimensional hypercube H (a tesseract ) has 24 square
2-dimensional faces
.  In its incarnation as a Galois  tesseract
(a 4×4 square array of points for which the appropriate transformations
are those of the affine 4-space over the finite (i.e., Galois) two-element
field GF(2)), the 24 faces transform into 140 4-point "facets." The Galois 
version of H has a group of 322,560 automorphisms. Therefore, by the
orbit-stabilizer theorem, each of the 140 facets of the Galois version has
a stabilizer group of  2,304 affine transformations.

Similar remarks apply to the I Ching  In its incarnation as  
a Galois hexaract , for which the symmetry group — the group of
affine transformations of the 6-dimensional affine space over GF(2) —
has not 322,560 elements, but rather 1,290,157,424,640.

* The volume Wolfe mentions was, according to Fadiman, the I Ching.

** See also this  journal on that date — July 26, 2012.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

For the First of May

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

"The purpose of mathematics cannot be derived from an activity 
inferior to it but from a higher sphere of human activity, namely,

 Igor Shafarevitch in 1973

"The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation."

— T. S. Eliot in Four Quartets

See also Ultron Cube.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Kummerhenge Continues.

Filed under: G-Notes,General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 7:24 PM

Those pleased by what Ross Douthat today called
"The Return of Paganism" are free to devise rituals
involving what might be called "the sacred geometry
of the Kummer 166  configuration."

As noted previously in this journal, 

"The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation."

— T. S. Eliot in Four Quartets

Geometric incarnation and the Kummer configuration

See also earlier posts also tagged "Kummerhenge" and 
another property of the remarkable Kummer 166 

The Kummer 16_6 Configuration and the Nordstrom-Robinson Code

For some related literary remarks, see "Transposed" in  this journal.

Some background from 2001 —

Friday, December 7, 2018

The Angel Particle

Filed under: G-Notes,General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 7:15 PM

(Continued from this morning)

Majorana spinors and fermions at ncatlab

The Gibbons paper on the geometry of Majorana spinors and the Kummer configuration

"The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation."

— T. S. Eliot in Four Quartets

Geometric incarnation and the Kummer configuration

See also other Log24 posts tagged Kummerhenge.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Kummer’s (16, 6) (on 6/16)

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

"The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation."

— T. S. Eliot in Four Quartets

See too "The Ruler of Reality" in this journal.

Related material —

A more esoteric artifact: The Kummer 166 Configuration . . .

An array of Göpel tetrads appears in the background below.

"As you can see, we've had our eye on you
for some time now, Mr. Anderson."

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Metaphysics for Sunday

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:00 AM

From Chapter 1 of R. D. Laing's The Politics of Experience —

"An activity has to be understood in terms of the experience
from which it emerges. These arabesques that mysteriously
embody mathematical truths only glimpsed by a very few —
how beautiful, how exquisite — no matter that they were
the threshing and thrashing of a drowning man.

We are here beyond all questions except those of being
and nonbeing, incarnation, birth, life and death.

Creation ex nihilo  has been pronounced impossible even for
God. But we are concerned with miracles. We must hear the
music of those Braque guitars (Lorca*)."

See also Christmas Day, 2009.

*  Update of Sunday afternoon: A search for the Lorca quote yields
   no result, but Cocteau wrote that "Mon rêve, en musique, serait
   d'entendre la musique des guitares de Picasso. "
   (Oeuvres complètes , Vol. 10, p. 107)

   See also Stevens + "Blue Guitar" in this journal.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Pony Argument

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 7:00 PM

The title was suggested by this morning's post "Follow This."

From a previous incarnation of my home website, m759.com —
The second of the site's three pages mentions authors
Alfred Bester and Zenna Henderson :

"Bester and Henderson are particularly good at
fictional accounts of telepathy. The noted Harvard
philosopher W. V. Quine doubts such a thing exists,
but I prefer the 'There must be a pony' argument."

Related material: The date Nov. 27, 2014, in a web search today 

 in The Washington Post 

and in this  journal

Sunday, September 21, 2014


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

The previous post discussed the anatomy of the sum 9 + 6.

A different approach:  “A” and “The 6 spreads in A” below —

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday School

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

The Folding

Cynthia Zarin in The New Yorker , issue dated April 12, 2004—

“Time, for L’Engle, is accordion-pleated. She elaborated,
‘When you bring a sheet off the line, you can’t handle it
until it’s folded, and in a sense, I think, the universe can’t
exist until it’s folded — or it’s a story without a book.’”

The geometry of the 4×4 square array is that of the
3-dimensional projective Galois space PG(3,2).

This space occurs, notably, in the Miracle Octad Generator (MOG)
of R. T. Curtis (submitted to Math. Proc. Camb. Phil. Soc.  on
15 June 1974).  Curtis did not, however, describe its geometric
properties. For these, see the Cullinane diamond theorem.

Some history: 

Curtis seems to have obtained the 4×4 space by permuting,
then “folding” 1×8 binary sequences into 4×2 binary arrays.
The original 1×8 sequences came from the method of Turyn
(1967) described by van Lint in his book Coding Theory
(Springer Lecture Notes in Mathematics, No. 201 , first edition
published in 1971). Two 4×2 arrays form each 4×4 square array
within the MOG. This construction did not suggest any discussion
of the geometric properties of the square arrays.

[Rewritten for clarity on Sept. 3, 2014.]

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Physics and Theology

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

The titles of the previous three posts refer to
Hermann Weyl’s 1918 book Raum, Zeit, Materie
(Space, Time, Matter).

This suggests a look at a poetically parallel 1950 title —
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe —
and at its underlying philosophy:

I am among “those who do not know that this great myth became Fact.”
I do, however, note that some other odd things have become fact.
Those who wish more on this topic may consult:

Monday, September 30, 2013

Theologia Mathematica

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:10 AM

For the title, see the end of yesterday's post "For Michaelmas."

See also the Sept. 22 post Incarnation, Part 2 
as well as Noether in this journal.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Vril Chick

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 4:30 AM

Profile picture of "Jo Lyxe" (Josefine Lyche) at Vimeo

Profile picture for "Jo Lyxe" (Josefine Lyche) at Vimeo

Compare to an image of Vril muse Maria Orsitsch.

From the catalog of a current art exhibition
(25 May – 31 August, 2013) in Norway,

Josefine Lyche
Born in 1973 in Bergen, Norway.
Lives and works in Oslo and Berlin.

Keywords (to help place my artwork in the
proper context): Aliens, affine geometry, affine
planes, affine spaces, automorphisms, binary
codes, block designs, classical groups, codes,
coding theory, collineations, combinatorial,
combinatorics, conjugacy classes, the Conwell
correspondence, correlations, Cullinane,
R. T. Curtis, design theory, the diamond theorem,
diamond theory, duads, duality, error correcting
codes, esoteric, exceptional groups,
extraterrestrials, finite fields, finite geometry, finite
groups, finite rings, Galois fields, generalized
quadrangles, generators, geometry, GF(2),
GF(4), the (24,12) Golay code, group actions,
group theory, Hadamard matrices, hypercube,
hyperplanes, hyperspace, incidence structures,
invariance, Karnaugh maps, Kirkman’s schoolgirls
problem, Latin squares, Leech lattice, linear
groups, linear spaces, linear transformations,
Magick, Mathieu groups, matrix theory, Meno,
Miracle Octad Generator, MOG, multiply transitive
groups, occultism, octahedron, the octahedral
group, Orsic, orthogonal arrays, outer automorphisms,
parallelisms, partial geometries,
permutation groups, PG(3,2), Plato, Platonic
solids, polarities, Polya-Burnside theorem, projective
geometry, projective planes, projective
spaces, projectivities, Pythagoras, reincarnation,
Reed-Muller codes, the relativity problem,
reverse engineering, sacred geometry, Singer
cycle, skew lines, Socrates, sporadic simple
groups, Steiner systems, Sylvester, symmetric,
symmetry, symplectic, synthemes, synthematic,
Theosophical Society tesseract, Tessla, transvections,
Venn diagrams, Vril society, Walsh
functions, Witt designs.

(See also the original catalog page.)

Clearly most of this (the non-highlighted parts) was taken
from my webpage Diamond Theory. I suppose I should be
flattered, but I am not thrilled to be associated with the
(apparently fictional) Vril Society.

For some background, see (for instance) 
Conspiracy Theories and Secret Societies for Dummies .

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hacking 1984

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

Ian Hacking in 1984

"… theories about mathematics have had a big place in Western philosophy. All kinds of outlandish doctrines have tried to explain the nature of mathematical knowledge. Socrates set the ball rolling by using a proof in geometry to argue for the transmigration of souls. As reported by Plato in Meno , the boy who invents a proof of a theorem did not experiment on the physical world, but used only his mind in response to Socratic questions. Hence he must have had inborn knowledge of the proof and he must have got this knowledge in a previous incarnation.

Mathematics has never since been a subject for such philosophical levity."

See also this afternoon's post.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Notable Transitions

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:37 AM

This morning's New York Times  gives a folklorist's
view of The Great Gatsby

"Daisy Buchanan, he argued in a 1960 article,
is a Jazz Age incarnation of the beautiful,
seductive Fairy Queen of Celtic lore."

— Margalit Fox, obituary of Tristram P. Coffin,
     who died at 89 on January 31st, 2012

See also…

Two screenshots in memory of fashion and fine-art photographer
Lillian Bassman, who died yesterday at 94—

IMAGE- Model Coco Rocha with poster of the film 'Hanna'

Update of 10:10 AM EST Wed., Feb. 15, 2012… 

In memory of Dory Previn, a song for "Hanna" and "Lord of the Rings" star Cate Blanchett.

Previn died yesterday, on Valentine's Day.  Perhaps an inspiration for a lyric by  Leonard Cohen?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

And for Saint Les Daniels*…

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 8:28 PM

This evening's previous post honored a Jewish saint whose feast day is September 22nd.

Non-Jews may prefer to honor on that date St. Thomas of Villanueva.

* The late author of

"five novels featuring the vampire Don Sebastian de Villanueva, a cynical, amoral and misanthropic Spanish nobleman whose predatory appetites pale into insignificance compared with the historical catastrophes which he witnesses in his periodic reincarnations." — Wikipedia

Monday, April 18, 2011

Romancing the Junction

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:06 PM


From Thomas Pynchon's 1997 Introduction to Stone Junction

"He takes the Diamond, and then the Diamond takes him. For it turns out to be a gateway to elsewhere, and Daniel's life's tale an account of the incarnation of a god, not the usual sort that ends up bringing aid and comfort to earthly powers, but that favorite of writers, the incorruptible wiseguy known to anthropologists as the Trickster, to working alchemists as Hermes, to card-players everywhere as the Joker. We don't learn this till the end of the story, by which point, knowing Daniel as we've come to, we are free to take it literally as a real transfiguration, or as a metaphor of spiritual enlightenment, or as a description of Daniel's unusually exalted state of mind as he prepares to cross, forever, the stone junction between Above and Below— by this point, all of these possibilities have become equally true, for we have been along on one of those indispensable literary journeys, taken nearly as far as Daniel— though it is for him to slip along across the last borderline, into what Wittgenstein once supposed cannot be spoken of, and upon which, as Eliphaz Levi advised us— after 'To know, to will, to dare' as the last and greatest of the rules of Magic— we must keep silent."

"The devil likes metamorphoses." —The Club Dumas

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Pope’s Speech

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:25 PM

Last night's post was about a talk last year at the annual student symposium of the ACCA (Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area), a group of largely Christian colleges.

The fact that the talk was by a student from Benedictine University suggests a review of the Urbi et Orbi  speech by Pope Benedict XVI on Christmas 2010.

“The Word became flesh”. The light of this truth is revealed to those who receive it in faith, for it is a mystery of love. Only those who are open to love are enveloped in the light of Christmas. So it was on that night in Bethlehem, and so it is today. The Incarnation of the Son of God is an event which occurred within history, while at the same time transcending history. In the night of the world a new light was kindled, one which lets itself be seen by the simple eyes of faith, by the meek and humble hearts of those who await the Saviour. If the truth were a mere mathematical formula, in some sense it would impose itself by its own power. But if Truth is Love, it calls for faith, for the “yes” of our hearts.

And what do our hearts, in effect, seek, if not a Truth which is also Love? Children seek it with their questions, so disarming and stimulating; young people seek it in their eagerness to discover the deepest meaning of their life; adults seek it in order to guide and sustain their commitments in the family and the workplace; the elderly seek it in order to grant completion to their earthly existence.

The above excerpt from the Pope's speech may be regarded as part of a continuing commentary on the following remark—

There is a pleasantly discursive treatment of Pontius Pilate's unanswered question "What is truth?" — H. S. M. Coxeter, 1987

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Toronto vs. Rome

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

or: Catullus vs. Ovid

(Today's previous post, "Coxeter vs. Fano,"
might also have been titled "Toronto vs. Rome.")

ut te postremo donarem munere mortis

Catullus 101



Image by Christopher Thomas at Wikipedia
Unfolding of a hypercube and of a cube —


Image--Chess game from 'The 
Seventh Seal'

The metaphor for metamorphosis no keys unlock.
— Steven H. Cullinane, "Endgame"

The current New Yorker  has a translation of
  the above line of Catullus by poet Anne Carson.
According to poets.org, Carson "attended St. Michael's College
at the University of Toronto and, despite leaving twice,
received her B.A. in 1974, her M.A. in 1975 and her Ph.D. in 1981."

Carson's translation is given in a review of her new book Nox.

The title, "The Unfolding," of the current review echoes an earlier
New Yorker  piece on another poet, Madeleine L'Engle—

Cynthia Zarin in The New Yorker, issue dated April 12, 2004–

“Time, for L’Engle, is accordion-pleated. She elaborated,
‘When you bring a sheet off the line, you can’t handle it
until it’s folded, and in a sense, I think, the universe can’t
exist until it’s folded– or it’s a story without a book.’”

(See also the "harrow up" + Hamlet  link in yesterday's 6:29 AM post.)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Annals of Philosophy

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


The Legend of Bhagavan

"I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."
Bhagavad Gita 11:32 as translated by
J. Robert Oppenheimer

J. Robert Oppenheimer, January 1, 1947

LIFE magazine photo, Jan. 1, 1947

African-American Golf Pioneer Bill Powell Dies at 93 on New Year's Eve, 2009

Powell died on New Year's Eve– the day before yesterday. Yesterday's post was dedicated to Will Smith in his role as golf caddy Bagger Vance. In the novel from which the Smith film was taken, "Bagger Vance" is an anglicized form of the term "Bhagavan" from the Bhagavad Gita. In the Gita, "Bhagavan" refers to Krishna– an incarnation, or avatar, of the god Vishnu.

Let us hope that when, on the last day of the old year, Powell met the Reaper, he appeared as neither fearsome Krishna nor grim Oppenheimer, but rather as the kinder, gentler Bagger Vance.

See also "Bhagavad Gita" in this journal.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday June 21, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

From Mitchell Stephens, author of a website mentioned here yesterday:

“This paper is designed to be a conversation….

The ideas are organized loosely around a single theme: the Roman leader Pompey’s forced entry into the most sacred place of the Jewish temple. At issue are the origins and prevalence of doubt, even at the heart of religion….

The paper will be initially presented, with comments and additions, to the working group on ‘Secularism, Religious Authority, and the Mediation of Knowledge’ of the Center for Religion and Media at New York University on December 8, 2006.”

From the paper itself:

“All Pompey’s intrusion into the Holy of Holies will leave behind is one sentence in Tacitus; still, it is not hard to imagine it as a media show. As he enters this hidden room in the Temple of those weird, unGreek, Asian, tribal Jews, this cosmopolitan, sophisticated Roman is not just the insensitive anthropologist. He wants, to continue our imagining, to display the lack of contents of the Holy of Holies in a museum, to take them, like the treasures of Tutankhamen’s tomb, on tour. This all-powerful Roman wields klieg lights; he brings the press. He exposes. His expedition is something of an exposé. The whole scene feels as if it might have been filmed: like Dorothy’s peek behind the curtain at the diminutive Wizard of Oz. It feels as if it might have been televised: like Geraldo Rivera’s opening of Al Capone’s ‘secret vault.’ Pompey has in common with all journalists a desire to shove a microphone in God’s face. He wants to rant about what he has learned on his blog.

In his desecration of the Holy of Holies, Pompey has with him, in other words, what Jacques Derrida, in his essay ‘Faith and Knowledge,’ calls the ‘powers of abstraction’: ‘deracination, delocalization, disincarnation, formalization, universalizing schematization, objectification, telecommunication etc.'”

Related material:

Log24 entries of
 June 9-11, 2009.

Et cetera, et cetera.

Film posters-- 'Solomon and Sheba,' 'Strange Bedfellows'

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday March 29, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 7:48 PM

Getting All
the Meaning In

Webpage heading for the
2009 meeting of the
American Comparative
Literature Association:

ACLA 2009 web page heading with map and alphabetic symbols

The mysterious symbols on
the above map suggest the
following reflections:

From A Cure of the Mind: The Poetics of Wallace Stevens, by Theodore Sampson, published by Black Rose Books Ltd., 2000–

Page x:

"… if what he calls 'the spirit's alchemicana' (CP [Collected Poems] 471) addresses itself to the irrational element in poetry, to what extent is such an element dominant in his theory and practice of poetry, and therefore in what way is Stevens' intricate verbal music dependent on his irrational use of language– a 'pure rhetoric of a language without words?' (CP 374)?"

Related material:


From "'When Novelists Become Cubists:' The Prose Ideograms of Guy Davenport," by Andre Furlani:

Laurence Zachar argues that Davenport's writing is situated "aux frontieres intergeneriques" where manifold modes are brought into concord: "L'etonnant chez Davenport est la facon don't ce materiau qui parait l'incarnation meme du chaos– hermetique, enigmatique, obscur, avec son tropplein de references– se revele en fait etre construit, ordonne, structure. Plus l'on s'y plonge, et plus l'on distingue de cohesion dans le texte." 'What astonishes in Davenport is the way in which material that seems the very incarnation of chaos– hermetic, enigmatic, obscure, with its proliferation of allusions– in fact reveals itself to be constructed, organized, structured. The more one immerses oneself in them the more one discerns the texts' cohesion.' (62).

Davenport also works along the intergeneric border between text and graphic, for he illustrates many of his texts. (1) "The prime use of words is for imagery: my writing is drawing," he states in an interview (Hoeppfner 123). Visual imagery is not subordinated to writing in Davenport, who draws on the assemblage practice of superimposing image and writing. "I trust the image; my business is to get it onto the page," he writes in the essay "Ernst Machs Max Ernst." "A page, which I think of as a picture, is essentially a texture of images. […] The text of a story is therefore a continuous graph, kin to the imagist poem, to a collage (Ernst, Willi Baumeister, El Lissitzky), a page of Pound, a Brakhage film" (Geography 374-75).


(1.) Davenport is an illustrator of books (such as Hugh Kenner's The Stoic Comedians and The Counterfeiters) and journals (such as The Kenyon Review, Parnassus, and Paideuma). His art is the subject of Erik Anderson Reece's monograph, A Balance of Quinces, which reveals the inseparable relationship between Davenport's literary and pictorial work.


Davenport, Guy. The Geography of the Imagination. San Francisco: North Point Press, 1981. Rpt. New York: Pantheon, 1992.

Hoepffner, Bernard. "Pleasant Hill: An Interview with Guy Davenport." Conjunctions 24 (1995): 118-24.

Reece, Erik Anderson. A Balance of Quinces: The Paintings and Drawings of Guy Davenport. New York: New Directions, 1996.

Zachar, Laurence. "Guy Davenport: Une Mosaique du genres." Recherches Anglaises et Nord-Americaines 21 (1994): 51-63.

"… when novelists become Cubists; that is, when they see the possibilities of making a hieroglyph, a coherent symbol, an ideogram of the total work. A symbol comes into being when an artist sees that it is the only way to get all the meaning in."

— Guy Davenport, The Geography of the Imagination

See also last night's
commentary on the
 following symbols:

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

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saturday February 14, 2009

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:29 PM
The Devil
in the Details


Here are clearer pictures of
the Einstein-Gutkind letter
discussed here February 7.

The pictures are from
the Bloomsbury Auctions site.



The Bloomsbury Auctions caption for these images is as follows:

303. Einstein (Albert, theoretical physicist, 1879-1955) Autograph Letter signed to Eric B. Gutkind, in German, 1½pp. & envelope, 4to, Princeton, 3rd January 1954, thanking him for a copy of his book and expressing his view of God and Judaism, [The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish… . For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people…], folds, slightly browned ; and a photograph of Gutkind, v.s., v.d.

est. £6000 – £8000

Einstein’s view of God and Judaism.
Eric B. Gutkind (1877-1965), philosopher; author of Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt, 1952.
Albert Einstein – see also lot 497

Sold for £170000
Sale 649, 15th May 2008

Here is a close reading of the part of the letter itself that Bloomsbury gives in English, transcribed from the above images.

Line-by-line transcription of paragraph 2, starting at line 4 of that paragraph:                        

                   ... Das Wort Gott ist für mich nichts als Ausdruck
und Produkt menschlicher Schwächen, die Bibel eine Sammlung
ehrwürdiger, aber doch reichlich primitiver Legenden. Keine noch
so feinsinnige Auslegung kann (für mich) etwas daran ändern.
Diese verfeinerten Auslegungen sind naturgemäß höchst mannigfaltig
und haben so gut wie nichts mit dem Urtext zu schaffen. Für
mich ist die unverfälschte jüdische Religion, wie alle anderen
Religionen, eine Inkarnation des primitiven Aberglaubens. Und das
jüdische Volk, zu dem ich gern gehöre und mit dessen Mentalität ich
tief verwachsen bin, hat für mich doch keine andersartige
Qualität als alle anderen Völker. So weit meine Erfahrung reicht,
ist es auch um nichts besser als andere menschliche Gruppierungen,
wenn es auch durch Mangel an Macht gegen die schlimmsten
Auswüchse gesichert ist. Ansonsten kann ich nichts "Auserwähltes"
an ihm wahrnehmen.

The Guardian of May 13, 2008 stated that the following was "translated from German by Joan Stambaugh"–

... The word God is for me nothing more than the expression
and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection
of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No
interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.
These subtilised interpretations are highly manifold
according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text. For
me the Jewish religion like all other
religions is an incarnation of the most childish [German: primitiven] superstitions. And the
Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I
have a deep affinity have no different
quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes,
they are also no better than other human groups,
although they are protected from the worst
cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything 'chosen'
about them.

Phrases by Stambaugh that do not appear in the German text are highlighted.

Stambaugh, a philosophy professor, is the author of a work on Buddhism, The Formless Self. For some related material on young men who "go crying 'The world is myself, life is myself'" in May, see Wallace Stevens's "The Pediment of Appearance."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Monday December 22, 2008

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

The Folding

Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 5


“I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combined locks to part
And each particular hair to stand on end,
Like quills upon the fretful porpentine:
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood. List, list, O, list!”

This recalls the title of a piece in this week’s New Yorker:”The Book of Lists:
Susan Sontag’s early journals
.” (See Log24 on Thursday, Dec. 18.)

In the rather grim holiday spirit of that piece, here are some journal notes for Sontag, whom we may imagine as the ghost of Hanukkah past.

There are at least two ways of folding a list (or tale) to fit a rectangular frame.The normal way, used in typesetting English prose and poetry, starts at the top, runs from left to right, jumps down a line, then again runs left to right, and so on until the passage is done or the bottom right corner of the frame is reached.

The boustrophedonic way again goes from top to bottom, with the first line running from left to right, the next from right to left, the next from left to right, and so on, with the lines’ directions alternating.

The word “boustrophedon” is from the Greek words describing the turning, at the end of each row, of an ox plowing (or “harrowing”) a field.

The Tale of
the Eternal Blazon

by Washington Irving

Blazon meant originally a shield, and then the heraldic bearings on a shield.
Later it was applied to the art of describing or depicting heraldic bearings
in the proper manner; and finally the term came to signify ostentatious display
and also description or record by words or other means. In Hamlet, Act I. Sc. 5,
the Ghost, while talking with Prince Hamlet, says:

‘But this eternal blazon
must not be
To ears of flesh and blood.’

Eternal blazon signifies revelation or description of things pertaining to eternity.”

Irving’s Sketch Book, p. 461

By Washington Irving and Mary Elizabeth Litchfield, Ginn & Company, 1901

Related material:

Folding (and harrowing up)
some eternal blazons —

The 16 Puzzle: transformations of a 4x4 square
These are the foldings
described above.

They are two of the 322,560
natural ways to fit
the list (or tale)
“1, 2, 3, … 15, 16”
into a 4×4 frame.

For further details, see
The Diamond 16 Puzzle.

Moral of the tale:

Cynthia Zarin in The New Yorker, issue dated April 12, 2004–

“Time, for L’Engle, is accordion-pleated. She elaborated, ‘When you bring a sheet off the line, you can’t handle it until it’s folded, and in a sense, I think, the universe can’t exist until it’s folded– or it’s a story without a book.'”

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Saturday April 19, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 5:01 AM
A Midrash for Benedict

On April 16, the Pope’s birthday, the evening lottery number in Pennsylvania was 441. The Log24 entries of April 17 and April 18 supplied commentaries based on 441’s incarnation as a page number in an edition of Heidegger’s writings.  Here is a related commentary on a different incarnation of 441.  (For a context that includes both today’s commentary and those of April 17 and 18, see Gian-Carlo Rota– a Heidegger scholar as well as a mathematician– on mathematical Lichtung.)

From R. D. Carmichael, Introduction to the Theory of Groups of Finite Order (Boston, Ginn and Co., 1937)– an exercise from the final page, 441, of the final chapter, “Tactical Configurations”–

“23. Let G be a multiply transitive group of degree n whose degree of transitivity is k; and let G have the property that a set S of m elements exists in G such that when k of the elements S are changed by a permutation of G into k of these elements, then all these m elements are permuted among themselves; moreover, let G have the property P, namely, that the identity is the only element in G which leaves fixed the nm elements not in S.  Then show that G permutes the m elements S into

n(n -1) … (nk + 1)

m(m – 1) … (mk + 1)

sets of m elements each, these sets forming a configuration having the property that any (whatever) set of k elements appears in one and just one of these sets of m elements each. Discuss necessary conditions on m, n, k in order that the foregoing conditions may be realized. Exhibit groups illustrating the theorem.”

This exercise concerns an important mathematical structure said to have been discovered independently by the American Carmichael and by the German Ernst Witt.

For some perhaps more comprehensible material from the preceding page in Carmichael– 440– see Diamond Theory in 1937.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Saturday September 8, 2007

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

The Intensest Rendezvous

"There is one story and one story only
That will prove worth your telling….

Dwell on her graciousness, dwell on her smiling,
Do not forget what flowers
The great boar trampled down in ivy time.
Her brow was creamy as the crested wave,
Her sea-blue eyes were wild
But nothing promised that is not performed. "

— Robert Graves,
    To Juan at the Winter Solstice

Symbol of the evening star

The Devil and Wallace Stevens:

"In a letter to Harriet Monroe, written December 23, 1926, Stevens refers to the Sapphic fragment that invokes the genius of evening: 'Evening star that bringest back all that lightsome Dawn hath scattered afar, thou bringest the sheep, thou bringest the goat, thou bringest the child home to the mother.' Christmas, writes Stevens, 'is like Sappho's evening: it brings us all home to the fold.' (Letters of Wallace Stevens, 248)"

— "The Archangel of Evening," Chapter 5 of Wallace Stevens: The Intensest Rendezvous, by Barbara M. Fisher, The University Press of Virginia, 1990, pages 72-73

"Evening. Evening of this day. Evening of the century. Evening of my own life….

At Christmastime my parents held open house on Sunday evenings, and a dozen or more people gathered around the piano, and the apartment was full of music, and theology was sung into my heart."

— Madeleine L'Engle, Bright Evening Star: Mystery of the Incarnation

From the date of
 L'Engle's death:

Pavarotti takes a bow

Some enchanted evening…          

Friday, March 17, 2006

Friday March 17, 2006

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 5:00 PM
Dogma in the
State of Grace

“Words and numbers are of equal value,
for, in the cloak of knowledge,
one is warp and the other woof.”

— The princesses Rhyme and Reason
in The Phantom Tollbooth,
by Norton Juster, 1961

(From a Sermon for
St. Patrick’s Day, 2001

The Pennsylvania midday lottery
on St. Patrick’s Day, 2006:


Comparing, as in Philadelphia Stories,  the Catholic style of Grace Kelly with the Protestant style of Katharine Hepburn, we conclude that Princess Rhyme might best be played by the former, Princess Reason by the latter.

Reason informs us that the lottery result “618” may be regarded as naming ” – 0.618,” the approximate value of the negative solution to the equation

x2 – x – 1 = 0

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050208-Crowe.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Following the advice of Clint Eastwood (on the “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” soundtrack CD) to “accentuate the positive,” Reason notes that the other, positive, solution to this equation, approximately 1.618, a number symbolized by the Greek letter “phi,” occurs in the following geometric diagram illustrating a construction of the pentagon:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050208-pentagon2.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

For further enlightenment, we turn to Rhyme, who informs us that “618” may also be regarded as naming the date “6/18.” Consulting our notes, we find on 6/18, 2003, a reference to “claves,” Latin for “keys,” as in “claves regni caelorum.”

We may tarry at this date, pleased to find that the keys to the kingdom involve rational numbers, rather than the irrational ratios suggested, paradoxically, by Reason.

Or we may, with Miles Davis, prefer a more sensuous incarnation of the keys:

The image �http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060125-ZenerKeys.jpg� cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Alicia Keys

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

— Anne McCaffrey, 
Radcliffe ’47,
To Ride Pegasus

Monday, February 13, 2006

Monday February 13, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:00 PM
The Lincoln Brigade

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060213-Lincoln1.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Marches On.

As yesterday’s Lincoln’s Birthday entry indicated, my own sympathies are not with the “created equal” crowd.  Still, the Catholic Fascism of Franco admirer Andrew Cusack seems somewhat over-the-top.  A more thoughtful approach to these matters may be found in a recommendation by Ross Douthat at The American Scene:

Read Eve Tushnet on the virtues of The Man in the High Castle.

Related material: Log24 on Nov. 14, Nov. 15, and Nov. 16, 2003.

Another item of interest from Eve:

“Transubstantiation [is equivalent but not equal to] art (deceptive accident hides truthful substance), as vs. Plato’s condemnation of the physical & the fictive? (Geo. Steiner)”

Related material:

The End of Endings
by Father Richard John Neuhaus,
First Things
115 (Aug.-Sept. 2001), 47-56:

“In Grammars of Creation, more than in his 1989 book Real Presences, Steiner acknowledges that his argument rests on inescapably Christian foundations. In fact, he has in the past sometimes written in a strongly anti–Christian vein, while the present book reflects the influence of, among others, Miri Rubin, whose Corpus Christi: The Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture is credited in a footnote. Steiner asserts that, after the Platonisms and Gnosticisms of late antiquity, it is the doctrines of incarnation and transubstantiation that mark ‘the disciplining of Western syntax and conceptualization’ in philosophy and art. ‘Every heading met with in a study of “creation,” every nuance of analytic and figural discourse,’ he says, derives from incarnation and transubstantiation, ‘concepts utterly alien to either Judaic or Hellenic perspectives– though they did, in a sense, arise from the collisions and commerce between both.’….

The incarnation of God in the Son, the transubstantiation of bread and wine into his body and blood, are ‘a mysterium, an articulated, subtly innervated attempt to reason the irrational at the very highest levels of intellectual pressure.’ ‘Uniquely, perhaps, the hammering out of the teaching of the eucharist compels Western thought to relate the depth of the unconscious and of pre-history with speculative abstractions at the boundaries of logic and of linguistic philosophy.’ Later, the ‘perhaps’ in that claim seems to have disappeared:

At every significant point, Western philosophies of art and Western poetics draw their secular idiom from the substratum of Christological debate. Like no other event in our mental history, the postulate of God’s kenosis through Jesus and of the never-ending availability of the Savior in the wafer and wine of the eucharist, conditions not only the development of Western art and rhetoric itself, but at a much deeper level, that of our understanding and reception of the truth of art– a truth antithetical to the condemnation of the fictive in Plato.

This truth reaches its unrepeated perfection in Dante, says Steiner. In Dante, ‘It rounds in glory the investigation of creativity and creation, of divine authorship and human poesis, of the concentric spheres of the aesthetic, the philosophical, and the theological. Now truth and fiction are made one, now imagination is prayer, and Plato’s exile of the poets refuted.’ In the fashionable critical theories of our day, we witness ‘endeavors of the aesthetic to flee from incarnation.’ ‘It is the old heresies which revive in the models of absence, of negation or erasure, of the deferral of meaning in late–twentieth–century deconstruction. The counter-semantics of the deconstructionist, his refusal to ascribe a stable significance to the sign, are moves familiar to [an earlier] negative theology.’ Heidegger’s poetics of ‘pure immanence’ are but one more attempt ‘to liberate our experience of sense and of form from the grip of the theophanic.’ But, Steiner suggests, attempted flights from the reality of Corpus Christi will not carry the day. ‘Two millennia are only a brief moment.’

Sunday, February 5, 2006

Sunday February 5, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:00 AM

Catholic Schools Sermon

For those who might be tempted today, following yesterday’s conclusion of Catholic Schools Week, to sing (for whatever reason) “Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead”–

Here, from his classic Witchcraft (first published by Faber and Faber, London, 1941, reprinted by Apocryphile Press, Berkeley, CA, Oct. 1, 2005) is Charles Williams on the strong resemblance between witchcraft and the rituals of the Church:

Charles Williams on
Witchcraft and the Church

From Witchcraft, 2005 Apocryphile edition, pages 77-80–

[77] … The predisposition towards the idea of magic might be said to begin with a moment which seems to be of fairly common experience– the moment when it seems that anything might turn into anything else.  We have grown used– and properly used– to regarding this sensation invalid because, on the whole, things do not turn into other things except by processes which we realize, or else at least so frequently that we appreciate the probability.  But the occasional sensation remains.  A room, a street, a field becomes unsure.  The edge of a possibility of utter alteration intrudes.  A door, untouched, might close; a picture might walk; a tree might speak; an animal might not be an animal; a man might not be a man.  One may be with a friend, and a terror will take one even while his admirable voice is speaking; one will be with a lover and the hand will become a different and terrifying thing, moving in one’s own like a malicious intruder, too real for anything but fear.  All this may be due to racial memories or to any other cause; the point is that it exists.  It exists and can be communicated; it can even be shared.  There is, in our human centre, a heart-gripping fear of irrational change, of perilous and malevolent change.
    Secondly, there is the human body, and the movements of the human body.  Even now, when, as a general rule, the human body is not supposed to mean [78] anything, there are moments when it seems, in spite of ourselves, packed with significance.  This sensation is almost exactly the opposite of the last.  There, one was aware that any phenomenon might alter into another and truer self.  Here, one is aware that a phenomenon, being wholly itself, is laden with universal meaning.  A hand lighting a cigarette is the explanation of everything; a foot stepping from a train is the rock of all existence.  If the first group of sensations are due to racial fear, I do not know to what the second group are due– unless indeed to the Mercy of God, who has not left us without a cloud of witnesses.  But intellectually they are both as valid or invalid as each other; any distinction must be a matter of choice.  And they justify each other, at least to this extent, that (although the first suggests irrationality and the second rationality) they both at first overthrow a simple trust that phenomena are what phenomena seem.
    But if the human body is capable of seeming so, so are the controlled movements of the human body– ritual movements, or rather movements that seem like ritual.  A finger pointing is quite capable of seeming not only a significant finger, but a ritual finger; an evocative finger; not only a finger of meaning, but a finger of magic.  Two light dancing steps by a girl may (if one is in that state) appear to be what all the Schoolmen were trying to express; they are (only one cannot quite catch it) an intellectual statement of beatitude.  But two quiet steps by an old man may seem like the very speech of hell.  Or the other way round.  Youth and age have nothing to do with it, nor did the ages that defined and [79] denounced witchcraft think so.  The youngest witch, it is said, that was ever burned was a girl of eleven years old.
    Ordered movement, ritual, is natural to men.  But some ages are better at it, are more used to it, and more sensitive to it, than others.  The Middle Ages liked great spectacle, and therefore (if for no other reasons– but there were many) they liked ritual.  They were nourished by ritual– the Eucharist exhibited it.  They made love by ritual– the convention of courtly love preserved it.  Certainly also they did all these things without ritual– but ritual (outside the inner experience) was the norm.  And ritual maintains and increases that natural sense of the significance of movement.  And, of course, of formulae, of words.
    The value of formulae was asserted to be very high.  The whole religious life ‘as generally necessary to salvation’ depended on formulae.  The High God had submitted himself to formulae.  He sent his graces.  He came Himself, according to ritual movements and ritual formulae.  Words controlled the God.  All generations who have believed in God have believed that He will come on interior prayer; not all that He will come, if not visibly yet in visible sacraments, on exterior incantation.  But so it was.  Water and a Triune formula concentrated grace; so did oil and other formulae; so– supremely– did bread and wine and yet other formulae.   Invocations of saints were assumed, if less explicitly guaranteed, to be effective.  The corollaries of the Incarnation had spread, in word and gesture, very far.
    The sense of alteration, the sense of meaning, the [80] evocation of power, the expectation of the God, lay all about the world.  The whole movement of the Church had, in its rituals, a remarkable similarity to the other rites it denounced.  But the other rites had been there first, both in the Empire and outside the Empire.  In many cases the Church turned them to its own purposes.  But also in many cases it entirely failed to turn them to its own purposes.  In many cases it adopted statues and shrines.  But in others it was adopted by, at least, the less serious spells and incantations.  Wells and trees were dedicated to saints.  But the offerings at many wells and trees were to something other than the saint; had it not been so they would not have been, as we find they often were, forbidden.  Within this double and intertwined life existed those other capacities, of which we know more now, but of which we still know little– clairvoyance, clairaudience, foresight, telepathy.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Thursday December 15, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:48 PM
In honor of Freeman Dyson’s birthday:

Dance of the Numbers

“Mahlburg likens his approach to an analogous one for deciding whether a dance party has an even or odd number of attendees. Instead of counting all the participants, a quicker method is to see whether everyone has a partner—in effect making groups that are divisible by 2.

In Mahlburg’s work, the partition numbers play the role of the dance participants, and the crank splits them not into couples but into groups of a size divisible by the prime number in question. The total number of partitions is, therefore, also divisible by that prime.

Mahlburg’s work ‘has effectively written the final chapter on Ramanujan congruences,’ Ono says.

‘Each step in the story is a work of art,’ Dyson says, ‘and the story as a whole is a sequence of episodes of rare beauty, a drama built out of nothing but numbers and imagination.'”

Erica Klarreich in Science News Online, week of June 18, 2005

This would seem to meet the criteria set by Fritz Leiber for “a story that works.” (See previous entry.)  Whether the muse of dance (played in “Xanadu” by a granddaughter of physicist Max Born– see recent entries) has a role in the Dyson story is debatable.

Born Dec. 11, 1882, Breslau, Germany.

Died Jan. 5, 1970, Göttingen,
West Germany.

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/051215-Born.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Max Born

Those who prefer less abstract stories may enjoy a mythic tale by Robert Graves, Watch the North Wind Rise, or a Christian tale by George MacDonald, At the Back of the North Wind.

Related material:

“The valley spirit never dies. It’s named the mystic woman.”

Tao Te Ching

For an image of a particular
incarnation of the mystic woman
(whether as muse, as goddess,
or as the White Witch of Narnia,
I do not know) see Julie Taymor.

“Down in the valley,
 valley so low,
 hang your head over,
 hear the wind blow.”

Folk song

“Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in
    the same bare place

For the listener,
    who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there
    and the nothing that is.”

Wallace Stevens

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Tuesday January 25, 2005

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

Diamonds Are Forever

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


Robert Stone,
A Flag for Sunrise:

" 'That old Jew gave me this here.'  Egan looked at the diamond.  'I ain't giving this to you, understand?  The old man gave it to me for my boy.  It's worth a whole lot of money– you can tell that just by looking– but it means something, I think.  It's got a meaning, like.'

'Let's see,' Egan said, 'what would it mean?'  He took hold of Pablo's hand cupping the stone and held his own hand under it.  '"The jewel is in the lotus," perhaps that's what it means.  The eternal in the temporal.  The Boddhisattva declining nirvana out of compassion.   Contemplating the ignorance of you and me, eh?  That's a metaphor of our Buddhist friends.'

Pablo's eyes glazed over.  'Holy shit,' he said.  'Santa Maria.'  He stared at the diamond in his palm with passion.

'Hey,' he said to the priest, 'diamonds are forever!  You heard of that, right?  That means something, don't it?'

'I have heard it,' Egan said.  'Perhaps it has a religious meaning.' "

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

Keith Allen Korcz



Nythamar Fernandes de Oliveira

Pontifical Catholic University
at Porto Alegre, Brazil

"Such is the paradoxical 'encounter' of the eternal with the temporal. Just like the Moment of the Incarnation, when the Eternal entered the temporal, Kierkegaard refers to the category of the Instant (Danish Ojeblikket, 'a glance of the eye, eyeblink,' German Augenblick) as the dialectical kernel of our existential consciousness:

If the instant is posited, so is the eternal –but also the future, which comes again like the past … The concept around which everything turns in Christianity, the concept which makes all things new, is the fullness of time, is the instant as eternity, and yet this eternity is at once the future and the past.

Although I cannot examine here the Kierkegaardian conception of time, the dialectical articulation of time and existence, as can be seen, underlies his entire philosophy of existence, just as the opposition between 'eternity' and 'temporality': the instant, as 'an atom of eternity,' serves to restructure the whole synthesis of selfhood into a spiritual one, in man’s 'ascent' toward its Other and the Unknown. In the last analysis, the Eternal transcends every synthesis between eternity and time, infinity and finiteness, preserving not only the Absolute Paradox in itself but above all the wholly otherness of God. It is only because of the Eternal, therefore, that humans can still hope to attain their ultimate vocation of becoming a Chistian. As Kierkegaard writes in Works of Love (1847),

The possibility of the good is more than possibility, for it is the eternal. This is the basis of the fact that one who hopes can never be deceived, for to hope is to expect the possibility of the good; but the possibility of the good is eternal. …But if there is less love in him, there is also less of the eternal in him; but if there is less of the eternal in him, there is also less possibility, less awareness of possibility (for possibility appears through the temporal movement of the eternal within the eternal in a human being)."

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Wednesday February 11, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:15 AM

On Exporting Jobs

The liberal view:

“Outsourcing raises American productivity, gives our economy a boost, increases foreign demand for U.S. products and leaves us better off.”

Nicholas D. Kristof
   in today’s New York Times

The Perot view:

“Perot Systems, the computer services company founded by former presidential candidate Ross Perot, is all set to add about 3,500 jobs in India and move into two new facilities there this year.”

Times of India, Feb. 7, 2004

The conservative view:

As noted by Pat Buchanan in yesterday’s entry, the conservative view is strongly anti-free-trade.  This view currently seems best defended, not by Buchanan and Perot’s largely defunct Reform Party, but instead by the Communist Party… in, for instance, its incarnation as the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI).   See the Committee’s World Socialist Web Site for details.

See particularly the World Socialist account of demonstrations against the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) in Miami last year:

Legal observer details police violence
against FTAA protesters in Miami

Supporters of free-trader John Kerry might consider taking the Communists a bit more seriously this year.  There is no credible challenge to Bush from the right, but a challenge to Kerry from the disgruntled left — in the form of write-ins, stay-at-homes, and votes for obscure leftist candidates — could tip a close election in Bush’s favor… as Nader did in 2000.

Saturday, March 29, 2003

Saturday March 29, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:26 AM

The Ideology of Empire and
Springtime for Vishnu

There has been much talk lately of the establishment of a new American Empire.  An empire needs an ideology. The Bush family, which has strong ties to various right-wing Christian organizations, may favor an ideology best described as “Christian Zionism.”  For an excellent overview of this ideology, see the following Christ Church website:

Christian Zionism:
Its History, Theology, and Politics

In view of the strong influence of Christian Zionism on the United States government, the following festival should perhaps be known as “Springtime for Jesus” —

The National Cherry Blossom Festival,
Washington, DC.

A Christian Zionist haiku
celebrating this festival:

Cherry blossoms bloom.
Sure, it’s beautiful, but
Is it good for the Jews?

Personally, I side with Henry David ThoreauAldous Huxley, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Andre Weil in preferring the Hindu Holy Scripture The Bhagavad-Gita to any Abrahamic religious text.

The Gita deals, at one level, with a particular incarnation of the Aryan god VishnuHoli 2003, a springtime festival associated with Vishnu, will be celebrated tonight in Carteret, New Jersey.

“The old Aryan god, Vishnu, was portrayed as coming to Earth periodically in the form of Krishna, the embodiment of Spring….”

The Classical Empires, a website of the University of Kansas at Lawrence, Kansas (final home of William S. Burroughs)

Burroughs fans at the University of Kansas
might appreciate the following website
related both to the classical Athenian Empire
and to Lawrence, Kansas:

Politics of Hell.

Follow-up of Sunday, March 30, 2003:

See With God on His Side, by Garry Wills,
in the Sunday New York Times.

Saturday, December 7, 2002

Saturday December 7, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:30 PM


Shall we read?

From Contact, by Carl Sagan:

  “You mean you could decode a picture hiding in pi
and it would be a mess of Hebrew letters?”
  “Sure.  Big black letters, carved in stone.”
  He looked at her quizzically.
  “Forgive me, Eleanor, but don’t you think
you’re being a mite too… indirect? 
You don’t belong to a silent order of Buddhist nuns. 
Why don’t you just tell your

From The Nation – Thailand
Sat Dec 7 19:36:00 EST 2002:

New Jataka books
blend ethics and art

Published on Dec 8, 2002

“The Ten Jataka, or 10 incarnations of the Lord Buddha before his enlightenment, are among the most fascinating religious stories….

His Majesty the King wrote a marvellous book on the second incarnation of the Lord Buddha…. It has become a classic, with the underlying aim of encouraging Thais to pursue the virtue of perseverance.

For her master’s degree at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Arts, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn wrote a dissertation related to the Ten Jataka of the Buddha. Now with the 4th Cycle Birthday of Princess Sirindhorn approaching on April 2, 2003, a group of artists, led by prominent painter Theeraphan Lorpaiboon, has produced a 10-volume set, the “Ten Jataka of Virtues”, as a gift to the Princess.

Once launched on December 25, the “Ten Jataka of Virtues” will rival any masterpiece produced in book form….”

“How much story do you want?” 
— George Balanchine

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Wednesday August 28, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:49 AM

Music of the Dark Lady

Two journal notes below deal with the general mythology of the Dark Lady.
This note, more personal, deals with a particular incarnation of this Lady
that certain songs from this 1981 album remind me of.

Waiting for a Girl Like You,


and especially Woman in Black:

She draws me in
But she teaches me well
I never need any explanation
From that woman in black
She’s a mystery
She’s everything a woman should be
Woman in black got a hold on me

For sample sound clips of the above, click here.

For a summary of the August 27 note below, see the quote from William Congreve on the cover of the September 2002 Vanity Fair magazine:

“There is in true beauty, as in courage,
somewhat which narrow souls
cannot dare to admire.”

Saturday, August 3, 2002

Saturday August 3, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:42 PM

Miss Sauvé

Homily on Flannery O’Connor

for the Sunday following Corpus Christi Day, 2002:

The part of her fiction that most fascinates me, then and now, is what many critics referred to as “the grotesque,” but what she herself called “the reasonable use of the unreasonable.” [Flannery O’Connor, Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose, Robert and Sally Fitzgerald, eds. (New York: Farrar, Straus, 1969)] 

 A modest example comes to mind. In a short story  ….  the setting sun appears like a great red ball, but she sees it as “an elevated Host drenched in blood” leaving a “line like a red clay road in the sky.” [Flannery O’Connor, “A Temple of the Holy Ghost” from A Good Man is Hard to Find (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1971)] 

In a letter to a friend of hers, O’Connor would later write, “…like the child, I believe the Host is actually the body and blood of Christ, not just a symbol. If the story grows for you it is because of the mystery of the Eucharist in it.” In that same correspondence, O’Connor relates this awkward experience:

I was once, five or six years ago, taken by [Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Hardwick] to have dinner with Mary McCarthy…. She departed the Church at the age of 15 and is a Big Intellectual. We went and eight and at one, I hadn’t opened my mouth once, there being nothing for me in such company to say…. Having me there was like having a dog present who had been trained to say a few words but overcome with inadequacy had forgotten them. Well, toward morning the conversation turned on the Eucharist, which I, being the Catholic, was obviously supposed to defend. [McCarthy] said that when she was a child and received the Host, she thought of it as the Holy Ghost, He being the “most portable” person of the Trinity; now she thought of it as a symbol and implied that it was a pretty good one. I then said, in a very shaky voice, “Well, if it’s a symbol, to hell with it.” That was all the defense I was capable of but I realize now that this is all I will ever be able to say about it, outside of a story, except that it is the center of existence for me; all the rest of life is expendable. [Sally Fitzgerald, ed., The Habit of Being: The Letters of Flannery O’Connor (Vintage: New York, 1979) 124-125] 

….There is, of course, something entirely preposterous and, well, unreasonable, almost grotesque, about the Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence. We claim, with a perfectly straight face, to eat the body and drink the blood of the Eternal Word of God, the second person of the Most Holy Trinity who, according to some, shouldn’t even have a body to begin with. But therein lies precisely the most outlandish feature of the Eucharist: namely, that it embodies the essential scandal of the Incarnation itself.  

             — Friar Francisco Nahoe, OFM Conv.

From James Joyce

A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man

Chapter 3 :

Why was the sacrament of the eucharist instituted under the two species of bread and wine if Jesus Christ be present body and blood, soul and divinity, in the bread alone and in the wine alone? Does a tiny particle of the consecrated bread contain all the body and blood of Jesus Christ or a part only of the body and blood? If the wine change into vinegar and the host crumble into corruption after they have been consecrated, is Jesus Christ still present under their species as God and as man?

— Here he is! Here he is!

From The Gazette, Montreal,

of Sunday, August 20, 1995, page C4:

“Summer of ’69,” a memoir by Judy Lapalme on the death by accidental drowning of her 15-year-old younger brother:

“I had never tasted pizza until Jeff died.  Our family, of staunch Irish Catholic stock with more offspring than money, couldn’t cope with the luxury or the spice.

The Hallidays, neighbors from across the street, sent it over to us the day after the funeral, from Miss Sauvé’s Pizzeria, on Sauvé St., just east of Lajeunesse St. in Ahuntsic.  An all-dressed pizza with the hard hat in the centre….

I was 17 that summer and had just completed Grade 12 at Holy Names High School in Rosemont….

…. Jeff was almost 16, a handsome football star, a rebellious, headstrong, sturdy young man who was forever locking horns with my father…. On Friday, Aug. 1, Jeff went out on the boat… and never came back….    

The day after the funeral, a white Volkswagen from Miss Sauvé’s Pizzeria delivered a jumbo, all-dressed pizza to us. The Hallidays’ daughter,  Diane, had been smitten with Jeff and wanted to do something special.

My father assured us that we wouldn’t like it, too spicy and probably too garlicky. There could not be a worse indictment of a person to my father than to declare them reeking of garlic. 

The rest of us tore into the cardboard and began tasting this exotic offering — melted strands of creamy, rubbery, burn-your-palate mozzarrella that wasn’t Velveeta, crisp, dry, and earthy mushrooms, spicy and salty pepperoni sliding off the crust with each bite, green peppers…. Bread crust both crisp and soggy with tomato sauce laden with garlic and oregano. 

It was an all-dressed pizza, tasted for the first time, the day after we buried Jeff….

The fall of 1969, I went to McGill…. I never had another pizza from Miss Sauvé’s.  It’s gone now — like so many things.”

     Ten thousand places

AS kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:         
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I do is me: for that I came.
Í say móre: the just man justices;
Kéeps gráce: thát keeps all his goings graces;         
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is—
Chríst—for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

   — Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1844-1889

American Literature Web Resources:

Flannery O’Connor

She died on August 3, 1964 at the age of 39.

In almost all of her works the characters were led to a place where they had to deal with God’s presence in the world.

She once said “in the long run, a people is known, not by its statements or statistics, but by the stories it tells. Fiction is the most impure and the most modest and the most human of the arts.”

Encounter – 02/17/2002:

Flannery OConnor – Southern Prophet:

When a woman wrote to Flannery O’Connor saying that one of her stories “left a bad taste in my mouth,” Flannery wrote back: “You weren’t supposed to eat it.”

Etes-vous sauvé? 

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