Log24

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."

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."

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."

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.

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.

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.

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)

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.

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