Thursday, September 28, 2017

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.)

Thursday, August 24, 2017


Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:49 PM




Some context for the new novel The Seventh Function

Click image to search Log24 for Gitterkrieg .

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 6:45 PM

Continued from November 30, 2014

"Number right Everything right." — Burkard Polster. 

See also the six  posts of November 30, St. Andrew's Day.

Related material —

Peter J. Cameron today discussing Julia Kristeva on poetry

"This seems to be saying that the Kolmogorov
complexity of poetry is very low: the entire poem
can be generated from a small amount of information."

… and this  journal on St. Andrew's day :

From "A Piece of the Storm,"
by the late poet Mark Strand —

A snowflake, a blizzard of one….

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Sunday May 6, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:09 PM

Masters of Chaos

“Any text is constructed as a mosaic of quotations.”
Julia Kristeva

Paris vaut bien une messe.”
Henri IV

“Certain details might be considered and elucidated more fully.”
A Mass for Lucero

“There is never any ending to Paris….”
Ernest Hemingway

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.'

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Thursday May 3, 2007

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 3:00 PM
A Web
of Links

"Some postmodern theorists like to talk about the relationship between 'intertextuality' and 'hypertextuality'; intertextuality makes each text a 'mosaic of quotations' [Kristeva, Desire in Language, Columbia U. Pr., 1980, 66] and part of a larger mosaic of texts, just as each hypertext can be a web of links and part of the whole World-Wide Web." —Wikipedia

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070503-Tiffany.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Related material

Day Without Logic,
Introduction to Logic,
The Geometry of Logic,
Structure and Logic,
Spider-Man and Fan:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070503-Devillers.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

"There is such a thing
as a tesseract."
A Wrinkle in Time  

Friday, July 25, 2003

Friday July 25, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:24 PM

For Jung’s 7/26 Birthday:
A Logocentric Meditation

Leftist academics are trying to pull a fast one again.  An essay in the most prominent American mathematical publication tries to disguise a leftist attack on Christian theology as harmless philosophical woolgathering.

In a review of Vladimir Tasic’s Mathematics and the Roots of Postmodern Thought, the reviewer, Michael Harris, is being less than candid when he discusses Derrida’s use of “logocentrism”:

“Derrida uses the term ‘logocentrism’… as ‘the metaphysics of phonetic writing’….”

Notices of the American Mathematical Society, August 2003, page 792

We find a rather different version of logocentrism in Tasic’s own Sept. 24, 2001, lecture “Poststructuralism and Deconstruction: A Mathematical History,” which is “an abridged version of some arguments” in Tasic’s book on mathematics and postmodernism:

“Derrida apparently also employs certain ideas of formalist mathematics in his critique of idealist metaphysics: for example, he is on record saying that ‘the effective progress of mathematical notation goes along with the deconstruction of metaphysics.’

Derrida’s position is rather subtle. I think it can be interpreted as a valiant sublation of two completely opposed schools in mathematical philosophy. For this reason it is not possible to reduce it to a readily available philosophy of mathematics. One could perhaps say that Derrida continues and critically reworks Heidegger’s attempt to ‘deconstruct’ traditional metaphysics, and that his method is more ‘mathematical’ than Heidegger’s because he has at his disposal the entire pseudo-mathematical tradition of structuralist thought. He has himself implied in an interview given to Julia Kristeva that mathematics could be used to challenge ‘logocentric theology,’ and hence it does not seem unreasonable to try looking for the mathematical roots of his philosophy.”

The unsuspecting reader would not know from Harris’s review that Derrida’s main concern is not mathematics, but theology.  His ‘deconstruction of metaphysics’ is actually an attack on Christian theology.

From “Derrida and Deconstruction,” by David Arneson, a University of Manitoba professor and writer on literary theory:

Logocentrism: ‘In the beginning was the word.’ Logocentrism is the belief that knowledge is rooted in a primeval language (now lost) given by God to humans. God (or some other transcendental signifier: the Idea, the Great Spirit, the Self, etc.) acts a foundation for all our thought, language and action. He is the truth whose manifestation is the world.”

Some further background, putting my July 23 entry on Lévi-Strauss and structuralism in the proper context:

Part I.  The Roots of Structuralism

“Literary science had to have a firm theoretical basis…”

Part II.  Structuralism/Poststructuralism

“Most [structuralists] insist, as Levi-Strauss does, that structures are universal, therefore timeless.”

Part III.  Structuralism and
             Jung’s Archetypes

Jung’s “theories, like those of Cassirer and Lévi-Strauss, command for myth a central cultural position, unassailable by reductive intellectual methods or procedures.”

And so we are back to logocentrism, with the Logos — God in the form of story, myth, or archetype — in the “central cultural position.”

What does all this have to do with mathematics?  See

Plato’s Diamond,

Rosalind Krauss on Art –

“the Klein group (much beloved of Structuralists)”

Another Michael Harris Essay, Note 47 –

“From Krauss’s article I learned that the Klein group is also called the Piaget group.”

and Jung on Quaternity:
      Beyond the Fringe –

“…there is no denying the fact that [analytical] psychology, like an illegitimate child of the spirit, leads an esoteric, special existence beyond the fringe of what is generally acknowledged to be the academic world.”

What attitude should mathematicians have towards all this? 

Towards postmodern French
  atheist literary/art theorists –

Mathematicians should adopt the attitude toward “the demimonde of chic academic theorizing” expressed in Roger Kimball’s essay, Feeling Sorry for Rosalind Krauss.

Towards logocentric German
  Christian literary/art theorists –

Mathematicians should, of course, adopt a posture of humble respect, tugging their forelocks and admitting their ignorance of Christian theology.  They should then, if sincere in their desire to honestly learn something about logocentric philosophy, begin by consulting the website

The Quest for the Fiction of an Absolute.

For a better known, if similarly disrespected, “illegitimate child of the spirit,” see my July 22 entry.

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