Saturday, January 11, 2020

Mathematics or Theology?

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:12 AM

Hersh wrote a paper with a title containing the phrase 
“The Kingdom of Math is Within You.”

In his memory, see Log24 posts from the date of his death
tagged Inner-Space Variations.

Related literature:  Hersh's "Death and Mathematics Poems."

See as well this  journal on the above publication date.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Mathematics, Not Theology

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 5:00 PM


“A set having three members is a single thing
wholly constituted by its members but distinct from them.
After this, the theological doctrine of the Trinity as
‘three in one’ should be child’s play.”

— Max Black, Caveats and Critiques: Philosophical Essays
in Language, Logic, and Art
 , Cornell U. Press, 1975

IMAGE- The Trinity of Max Black (a 3-set, with its eight subsets arranged in a Hasse diagram that is also a cube)

“There is  such a thing as a three-set.”
— Saying adapted from a novel by Madeleine L’Engle

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Geometric Theology

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

“Before time began” — Optimus Prime

IMAGE- The Trinity of Max Black (a 3-set, with its eight subsets arranged in a Hasse diagram that is also a cube)

See also posts tagged Aitchison.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Poetic Theology at the New York Times

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 12:19 PM

Or:  Trinity Test Site

From the New York Times Book Review  of
next Sunday, August 6, 2017 —

"In a more conventional narrative sequence,
even a sequence of poems,
this interpenetration would acquire
sequence and evolution." [Link added.]

The concept under review is that of the Holy Trinity.

See also, in this  journal, Cube Trinity.

For a simpler Trinity model, see the three-point line  

Monday, January 2, 2017

Constructivist Theology

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:21 PM

This journal on December 24, 2016 (Christmas Eve)
quoted some remarks on "constructivism" in art and 
added a link to the same word as applied in mathematics:

"The word 'constructivism' also refers to
a philosophy of mathematics. See a Log24 post,
'Constructivist Witness. . . ."

From that post

From a post later the same day, Dec. 22— "The Laugh-Hospital"—

Constructivism in mathematics and the laughing academy

This  (Jan. 2, 2017) post was suggested by the reported Christmas Eve death
of a Jesuit priest, Joseph Fitzmyer.

Those entertained by the thought of constructivist laugh-hospitals may
contemplate the New Year's  Eve death of a sitcom actor who played 
a priest. See today's previous post, Sitcom Theology.

Related material — "Laugh Track" in this journal.

Sitcom Theology

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 1:20 PM

The Hollywood Reporter

"William Christopher, best known for playing Father Mulcahy
on the hit sitcom M*A*S*H , died Saturday [Dec. 31, 2016] of
lung cancer, his agent confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.
He was 84.

Christopher died at his home in Pasadena, with his wife by
his bedside, at 5:10 a.m. on New Year's Eve, according to a
statement from his agent."

— 5:59 PM PST 12/31/2016 by Meena Jang

Image reshown in this journal on the midnight (Eastern time)
preceding Christopher's death —

IMAGE- Triangular models of the 4-point affine plane A and 7-point projective plane PA

Related material —

From a Log24 search for "Deathly Hallows" —



The Fano plane block design



The Deathly Hallows symbol—
Two blocks short of  a design.

Those who prefer Latin with their theology
may search this journal for "In Nomine Patris."

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Theology and Art

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Recommended reading for Josefine Lyche:

See also Ayn Sof (Jan. 7, 2011).

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dance Theology

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 3:00 PM

Background: Geometry of the Dance (May 9)
and Midnight in Oslo (May 10).

Peter Pesic has described the action of the
symmetric group S4 on a tetrahedron as a dance

IMAGE- 'The geometry of the dance' is that of a tetrahedron, according to Peter Pesic

Compare and contrast:

The following figure may be seen as a tetrahedron,
viewed from above

IMAGE- The 'Shield of the Trinity' may be viewed as a tetrahedron, as in Peter Pesic's 'Geometry of the Dance.'

See also Masterman and Child’s Play.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Digital Theology

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 7:20 AM

See also remarks on Digital Space and Digital Time in this journal.

Such remarks can, of course, easily verge on crackpot territory.

For some related  pure  mathematics, see Symmetry of Walsh Functions.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Theology for Antichristmas

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

Hypostasis (philosophy)

“… the formula ‘Three Hypostases  in one Ousia
came to be everywhere accepted as an epitome
of the orthodox doctrine of the Holy Trinity.
This consensus, however, was not achieved
without some confusion….” —Wikipedia



Click for further details:


Wednesday, July 22, 2020


Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:48 AM

“The pattern of the thing precedes the thing.
I fill in the gaps of the crossword at any spot
I happen to choose. These bits I write on
index cards until the novel is done.”

— Vladimir Nabokov, interview,
Paris Review  No. 41 (Summer-Fall 1967).

Another story —

Related material:  Mathematics as a Black Art.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Gran Torino

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 3:55 PM

Source citation for an article quoted here last night

Hegel’s Conceptual Group Action —

A check of that source yields the seal of the University of Torino —

Related material —

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Bullshit Studies

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

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

Click the logo for some IMU history.

Related bullshit —

Hegel’s Conceptual Group Action

Click the banner below for the background of the logo

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Easter Egg for Wittgenstein

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:24 PM

A language game on Orthodox Easter —

See also Geometric Theology and Trinity Staircase.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Same Staircase, Different Day

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 2:18 PM

Freeman Dyson on his staircase at Trinity College
(University of Cambridge) and on Ludwig Wittgenstein:

“I held him in the highest respect and was delighted
to find him living in a room above mine on the same
staircase. I frequently met him walking up or down
the stairs, but I was too shy to start a conversation.”

Frank Close on Ron Shaw:

“Shaw arrived there in 1949 and moved into room K9,
overlooking Jesus Lane. There is nothing particularly
special about this room other than the coincidence that
its previous occupant was Freeman Dyson.”

— Close, Frank. The Infinity Puzzle  (p. 78).
Basic Books. Kindle Edition.

See also other posts now tagged Trinity Staircase.

Illuminati enthusiasts  may enjoy the following image:

'Ex Fano Apollinis'- Fano plane, eightfold cube, and the two combined.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Springer Link

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 5:08 PM

Related reading

"I closed my eyes and saw the number 137—
so very close to the reciprocal of alpha—
on the chest of the runner in Van Cortlandt Park.
Should I start the story there? "

— Alpert, Mark.  Saint Joan of New York
(Science and Fiction) (p. 103).
Springer International Publishing. Kindle edition. 

Cover detail:

See as well St. Joan in this  journal.

Friday, December 27, 2019

The Secret Life of Mark Alpert

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

Booklist on Final Theory :

"Alpert, an editor for Scientific American , laces his high-IQ
doomsday thriller with clearly explicated and hauntingly beautiful
scientific theories…."

Booklist on The Omega Theory

"Alpert’s follow-up to his acclaimed first novel, Final Theory  (2008),
continues the adventures of science historian David Swift."

See as well this  journal on June 1, 2008.

God in the Object…

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 7:55 AM

. . . Pace  Wallace Stevens.

"The history of the universe can thus be seen as
an endless chain of changes, but Aquinas argued
that there must be some transcendent entity that
initiated the chain, something that is itself
unchanging and that already possesses all of the
properties that worldly objects can come to possess.
He also claimed that this entity must be eternal;
because it is the root of all causes, nothing else
could’ve caused it. And unlike all worldly objects,
the transcendent entity is necessary—it must  exist."

— Mark Alpert in Scientific American, 12/23/2019

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Stage Direction: “Comments Off.”

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 11:29 AM

The previous post dealt with “magic” cubes, so called because of the
analogous “magic” squares. Douglas Hofstadter has written about a
different, physical , object, promoted as “the  Magic Cube,” that Hofstadter
felt embodied “a deep invariant”:

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Coordinatizing the Deathly Hallows

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:59 PM

See as well, in this journal, Deathly HallowsRelativity Problem, and Space Cross.

A related quote "This is not mathematics; this is theology."


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

A remark on coordinatization linked to by John Baez today —

This suggests a more historical perspective:

See as well a search for Interpenetration in this  journal.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The Medium and the Message

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:45 PM

In memory of Quentin Fiore — from a Log24 search for McLuhan,
an item related to today's previous post . . .

Related material from Log24 on the above-reported date of death —

See also, from a search for Analogy in this journal . . .


Sunday, December 2, 2018

Symmetry at Hiroshima

Filed under: G-Notes,General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 6:43 AM

A search this morning for articles mentioning the Miracle Octad Generator
of R. T. Curtis within the last year yielded an abstract for two talks given
at Hiroshima on March 8 and 9, 2018




Construction of highly symmetric Riemann surfaces, related manifolds, and some exceptional objects, I, II


Since antiquity, some mathematical objects have played a special role, underpinning new mathematics as understanding deepened. Perhaps archetypal are the Platonic polyhedra, subsequently related to Platonic idealism, and the contentious notion of existence of mathematical reality independent of human consciousness.

Exceptional or unique objects are often associated with symmetry – manifest or hidden. In topology and geometry, we have natural base points for the moduli spaces of closed genus 2 and 3 surfaces (arising from the 2-fold branched cover of the sphere over the 6 vertices of the octahedron, and Klein’s quartic curve, respectively), and Bring’s genus 4 curve arises in Klein’s description of the solution of polynomial equations of degree greater than 4, as well as in the construction of the Horrocks-Mumford bundle. Poincare’s homology 3-sphere, and Kummer’s surface in real dimension 4 also play special roles.

In other areas: we have the exceptional Lie algebras such as E8; the sporadic finite simple groups; the division algebras: Golay’s binary and ternary codes; the Steiner triple systems S(5,6,12) and S(5,8,24); the Leech lattice; the outer automorphisms of the symmetric group S6; the triality map in dimension 8; and so on. We also note such as: the 27 lines on a cubic, the 28 bitangents of a quartic curve, the 120 tritangents of a sextic curve, and so on, related to Galois’ exceptional finite groups PSL2(p) (for p= 5,7,11), and various other so-called `Arnol’d Trinities’.

Motivated originally by the `Eightfold Way’ sculpture at MSRI in Berkeley, we discuss inter-relationships between a selection of these objects, illustrating connections arising via highly symmetric Riemann surface patterns. These are constructed starting with a labeled polygon and an involution on its label set.

Necessarily, in two lectures, we will neither delve deeply into, nor describe in full, contexts within which exceptional objects arise. We will, however, give sufficient definition and detail to illustrate essential inter-connectedness of those exceptional objects considered.

Our starting point will be simplistic, arising from ancient Greek ideas underlying atomism, and Plato’s concepts of space. There will be some overlap with a previous talk on this material, but we will illustrate with some different examples, and from a different philosophical perspective.

Some new results arising from this work will also be given, such as an alternative graphic-illustrated MOG (Miracle Octad Generator) for the Steiner system S(5,8,24), and an alternative to Singerman – Jones’ genus 70 Riemann surface previously proposed as a completion of an Arnol’d Trinity. Our alternative candidate also completes a Trinity whose two other elements are Thurston’s highly symmetric 6- and 8-component links, the latter related by Thurston to Klein’s quartic curve.

See also yesterday morning’s post, “Character.”

Update: For a followup, see the next  Log24 post.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018


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

See some posts related to three names
associated with Trinity College, Cambridge —

Atiyah + Shaw + Eddington .

Sunday, July 22, 2018


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 10:29 AM

See also interality in the eightfold cube.

IMAGE- The Trinity Cube (three interpenetrating planes that split the eightfold cube into its eight subcubes)

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Trinity Meditation

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

See Interpenetration and Trinity Cube.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Taken In

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 9:36 AM

A passage that may or may not have influenced Madeleine L’Engle’s
writings about the tesseract :

From Mere Christianity , by C. S. Lewis (1952) —

“Book IV – Beyond Personality:
or First Steps in the Doctrine of the Trinity”
. . . .

I warned you that Theology is practical. The whole purpose for which we exist is to be thus taken into the life of God. Wrong ideas about what that life is, will make it harder. And now, for a few minutes, I must ask you to follow rather carefully.

You know that in space you can move in three ways—to left or right, backwards or forwards, up or down. Every direction is either one of these three or a compromise between them. They are called the three Dimensions. Now notice this. If you are using only one dimension, you could draw only a straight line. If you are using two, you could draw a figure: say, a square. And a square is made up of four straight lines. Now a step further. If you have three dimensions, you can then build what we call a solid body, say, a cube—a thing like a dice or a lump of sugar. And a cube is made up of six squares.

Do you see the point? A world of one dimension would be a straight line. In a two-dimensional world, you still get straight lines, but many lines make one figure. In a three-dimensional world, you still get figures but many figures make one solid body. In other words, as you advance to more real and more complicated levels, you do not leave behind you the things you found on the simpler levels: you still have them, but combined in new ways—in ways you could not imagine if you knew only the simpler levels.

Now the Christian account of God involves just the same principle. The human level is a simple and rather empty level. On the human level one person is one being, and any two persons are two separate beings—just as, in two dimensions (say on a flat sheet of paper) one square is one figure, and any two squares are two separate figures. On the Divine level you still find personalities; but up there you find them combined in new ways which we, who do not live on that level, cannot imagine.

In God’s dimension, so to speak, you find a being who is three Persons while remaining one Being, just as a cube is six squares while remaining one cube. Of course we cannot fully conceive a Being like that: just as, if we were so made that we perceived only two dimensions in space we could never properly imagine a cube. But we can get a sort of faint notion of it. And when we do, we are then, for the first time in our lives, getting some positive idea, however faint, of something super-personal—something more than a person. It is something we could never have guessed, and yet, once we have been told, one almost feels one ought to have been able to guess it because it fits in so well with all the things we know already.

You may ask, “If we cannot imagine a three-personal Being, what is the good of talking about Him?” Well, there isn’t any good talking about Him. The thing that matters is being actually drawn into that three-personal life, and that may begin any time —tonight, if you like.

. . . .

But beware of being drawn into the personal life of the Happy Family .


“The colorful story of this undertaking begins with a bang.”

And ends with

Martin Gardner on Galois

“Galois was a thoroughly obnoxious nerd,
suffering from what today would be called
a ‘personality disorder.’  His anger was
paranoid and unremitting.”

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Paved with Good Intentions

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

'The Road to Universal Logic: Festschrift …'

See also David Brooks on logic in today’s online New York Times —

“…the necessary skill of public life, the ability to
see two contradictory truths at the same time.”

For Dan Brown

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 1:09 PM

See also Eightfold Trinity in this  journal.

Symbologist Robert Langdon views a corner of Solomon's Cube

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Trinity Stone Defined

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 8:56 PM

“Unsheathe your dagger definitions.” — James Joyce, Ulysses

The “triple cross” link in the previous post referenced the eightfold cube
as a structure that might be called the trinity stone .

An Approach to Symmetric Generation of the Simple Group of Order 168

Some small Galois spaces (the Cullinane models)

Saturday, April 7, 2018


Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:41 PM

The late Philip J. Davis in his 2004 essay 

"A Brief Look at Mathematics and Theology,"
Humanistic Mathematics Network Journal ,
Issue 27, Article 14. Available at:

wrote —

"In my childhood, the circle persisted as a potent magic figure
in the playtime doggerel 'Make a magic circle and sign it with a dot.'
The interested reader will find thousands of allusions to the phrase
'magic circle' on the Web."

There are fewer allusions to "magic circle" + "sign it with a dot."

One such allusion (click to enlarge) is . . .

Davis died on Pi Day .

Thursday, March 29, 2018

“Before Creation Itself . . .”

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 10:13 AM

From the Diamond Theorem Facebook page —

A question three hours ago at that page

“Is this Time Cube?”

Notes toward an answer —

And from Six-Set Geometry in this journal . . .

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Binary Revolution

Michael Atiyah on the late Ron Shaw

Phrases by Atiyah related to the importance in mathematics
of the two-element Galois field GF(2) —

  • “The digital revolution based on the 2 symbols (0,1)”
  • “The algebra of George Boole”
  • “Binary codes”
  • “Dirac’s spinors, with their up/down dichotomy”

These phrases are from the year-end review of Trinity College,
Cambridge, Trinity Annual Record 2017 .

I prefer other, purely geometric, reasons for the importance of GF(2) —

  • The 2×2 square
  • The 2x2x2 cube
  • The 4×4 square
  • The 4x4x4 cube

See Finite Geometry of the Square and Cube.

See also today’s earlier post God’s Dice and Atiyah on the theology of
(Boolean) algebra vs. (Galois) geometry:

Sunday, November 5, 2017


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

A model of the smallest projective  line:

Related drama:  See Wicker Man in this journal.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:35 PM

"She wrote her doctoral thesis, which was supervised
by Friedrichs, on the stability of a spherical implosion
and was awarded her Ph.D. in 1951."


See also a related Google Image Search.

For images from the reported date of Morawetz's death,
see Theology for Child Buyers.

Update of 2:56 PM ET Friday, August 11, 2017 —

Legacy.com and NYU now report that Morawetz died
on Tue., Aug. 8, not, as the AMS reported, on Mon., Aug. 7.
(The AMS has now corrected its error.)

For sloppiness about mathematics that echoes this
sloppiness about dates, see a post of Tue., Aug. 8.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Glitter at the Dark Tower

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

"The centre of transformations that
Transform for transformation's self,

In a glitter that is a life, a gold
That is a being, a will, a fate."

— Wallace Stevens, "Human Arrangement"

From "The Dark Tower," a post of July 9, 2016 —

See also a search for Glitter in this journal.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Four Dots

Analogies — "A : B  ::  C : D"  may be read  "A is to B  as  C is to D."

Gian-Carlo Rota on Heidegger…

"… The universal as  is given various names in Heidegger's writings….

The discovery of the universal as  is Heidegger's contribution to philosophy….

The universal 'as' is the surgence of sense in Man, the shepherd of Being.

The disclosure of the primordial as  is the end of a search that began with Plato….
This search comes to its conclusion with Heidegger."

— "Three Senses of 'A is B' in Heideggger," Ch. 17 in Indiscrete Thoughts

See also Four Dots in this journal. 

Some context:  McLuhan + Analogy.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Road to Hell

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 1:28 AM

An image in the previous post referred to something called
“universal logic,” touted in 2015 by the publisher Birkhäuser*
as a “new interdisciplinary field.”

From this journal on April 20 last year —

Universal Logic and the Road to Hell.

* See the webpage excerpted below.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Music Box

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 3:07 PM

Guitart et al. on 'box' theory of creativity

A box from the annus mirabilis

See Hudson’s 4×4 array.

Related material —

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Star Wars

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

See also in this journal “desmic,” a term related
to the structure of Heidegger’s Sternwürfel .

Friday, August 19, 2016

Princeton University Press in 1947

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 11:17 AM

From a review, in the context of Hollywood, of a Princeton
University Press book on William Blake from 1947 —

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Analogies Test

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

Obituary for Wilford Stanton Miller, author in 1926
of the Miller Analogies Test  —  

Marshall McLuhan writing to Ezra Pound on Dec. 21, 1948—

"The American mind is not even close to being amenable
to the ideogram principle as yet.  The reason is simply this.
America is 100% 18th Century. The 18th century had
chucked out the principle of metaphor and analogy—
the basic fact that as A is to B so is C to D.  AB:CD.   
It can see AB relations.  But relations in four terms are still
verboten.  This amounts to deep occultation of nearly all
human thought for the U.S.A.

I am trying to devise a way of stating this difficulty as it exists.  
Until stated and publicly recognized for what it is, poetry and
the arts can’t exist in America."

A line for W. S. Miller, taken from "Annie Hall" —

"You know nothing of my work."

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Bullshit Studies

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


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

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

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

— McLuhan, ibid. , page 241

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

Epigraph by McLuhan —

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

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

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Ideogram Principle …

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 4:23 PM

According to McLuhan

Marshall McLuhan writing to Ezra Pound on Dec. 21, 1948—

"The American mind is not even close to being amenable
to the ideogram principle as yet.  The reason is simply this.
America is 100% 18th Century. The 18th century had
chucked out the principle of metaphor and analogy—
the basic fact that as A is to B so is C to D.  AB:CD.   
It can see AB relations.  But relations in four terms are still
verboten.  This amounts to deep occultation of nearly all
human thought for the U.S.A.

I am trying to devise a way of stating this difficulty as it exists.  
Until stated and publicly recognized for what it is, poetry and
the arts can’t exist in America."

For context, see Cameron McEwen,
"Marshall McLuhan, John Pick, and Gerard Manley Hopkins."
(Renascence , Fall 2011, Vol. 64 Issue 1, 55-76)

A relation in four terms

A : B  ::  C : D   as   Model : Crutch  ::  Metaphor : Ornament —

See also Dueling Formulas and Symmetry.

Monday, May 2, 2016


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 3:48 PM

The previous post, on subjective  and objective  quality,
suggests a review of Pirsig

     “And finally: Phaedrus, following a path
that to his knowledge had never been taken before
in the history of Western thought,
went straight between the horns of
the subjectivity-objectivity dilemma and said
Quality is neither a part of mind, nor is it a part of matter.
It is a third  entity which is independent of the two.
He was heard along the corridors
and up and down the stairs of Montana Hall
singing softly to himself, almost under his breath,
‘Holy, holy, holy…blessed Trinity.’ “

See also Guitart in this journal, noting esp. Zen and the Art.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Symmetric Generation of a Simple Group

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

The reference in the previous post to the work of Guitart and
The Road to Universal Logic  suggests a fiction involving
the symmetric generation of the simple group of order 168.

See The Diamond Archetype and a fictional account of the road to Hell 

'PyrE' in Bester's 'The Stars My Destination'

The cover illustration below has been adapted to
replace the flames of PyrE with the eightfold cube.

IMAGE- 'The Stars My Destination' (with cover slightly changed)

For related symmetric generation of a much larger group, see Solomon’s Cube.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

ABC Art or: Guitart Solo

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 5:55 PM

“… the A B C of being….” — Wallace Stevens

Scholia —

Compare to my own later note, from March 4, 2010 —

“It seems that Guitart discovered these ‘A, B, C’ generators first,
though he did not display them in their natural setting,
the eightfold cube.” — Borromean Generators (Log24, Oct. 19)

See also Raiders of the Lost Crucible (Halloween 2015)
and “Guitar Solo” from the 2015 CMA Awards on ABC.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 5:04 AM

“Die Philosophie ist ein Kampf gegen die Verhexung
unsres Verstandes durch die Mittel unserer Sprache.”

— Philosophical Investigations  (1953),  Section 109

An example of Verhexung  from the René Guitart article in the previous post

See also Ein Kampf .

Monday, October 19, 2015

Symmetric Generation of the Simple Order-168 Group

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

This post continues recent thoughts on the work of René Guitart.
A 2014 article by Guitart gives a great deal of detail on his
approach to symmetric generation of the simple group of order 168 —

“Hexagonal Logic of the Field F8 as a Boolean Logic
with Three Involutive Modalities,” pp. 191-220 in

The Road to Universal Logic:
Festschrift for 50th Birthday of
Jean-Yves Béziau, Volume I,

Editors: Arnold Koslow, Arthur Buchsbaum,
Birkhäuser Studies in Universal Logic, dated 2015
by publisher but Oct. 11, 2014, by Amazon.com.

See also the eightfold cube in this journal.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

For the Machiavelli School*

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

See also Weyl + Palermo in this  journal —


* The title refers to the previous post, on a current New Yorker  cartoon.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Haiku for DeLillo*

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:23 PM

A music video that opens with remarks by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
at the Last Waltz concert (Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, 1976):

"Our Father, whose art's in heaven…" —

For other religious remarks from the above upload date,
Sept. 9, 2011, see Holy Field GF(3).

Click the above "ripple" image for a Grateful Dead haiku
quoted here on Sunday, July 5, 2015.

For another meditation from the second upload date above,
March 19, 2012, see some thoughts on the word "field."

IMAGE- Japanese character for 'field'

* For the title, see an excerpt from Point Omega .

Monday, November 24, 2014

Metaphysician in the Dark

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

Continued from Friday, November 21:

Friday, November 21, 2014


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

When Three Into One Equals More” New York Times  headline

See also Trinity in this journal.  From that search:

                     … The actor is
A metaphysician in the dark….

— Wallace Stevens,
Of Modern Poetry

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Raiders of the Lost Articulation

Tom Hanks as Indiana Langdon in Raiders of the Lost Articulation :

An unarticulated (but colored) cube:

Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks) and a corner of Solomon's Cube

A 2x2x2 articulated cube:

IMAGE- Eightfold cube with detail of triskelion structure

A 4x4x4 articulated cube built from subcubes like
the one viewed by Tom Hanks above:

Image-- Solomon's Cube

Solomon’s Cube

The Horse

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

A New York Times  piece today on author Donald Antrim:

“The next project is a novel ‘about’ (having loosely to do with)
his father, Harry, a T. S. Eliot scholar who wrote a well-regarded
monograph on the poet.”

— John Jeremiah Sullivan

From Harry T. Antrim’s 1967 thesis on Eliot:

“That words can be made to reach across the void
left by the disappearance of God (and hence of all
Absolutes) and thereby reestablish some basis of
relation with forms existing outside the subjective
and ego-centered self has been one of the chief
concerns of the first half of the twentieth century.”

An epigraph selected by Sullivan for a 2002 Harper’s Magazine
article, “Horseman, Pass By“—

Far back, far back in our dark soul
the horse prances.

— D. H. Lawrence

A related image from pure mathematics
(a source of Absolutes unrelated to theology):

See April 9, 2004, for a post on the “Horseman” article.

Friday, August 29, 2014


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 8:00 AM

A possible answer to the 1923 question of Walter Gropius, “Was ist Raum?“—

See also yesterday’s Source of the Finite and the image search
on the Gropius question in last night’s post.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Schau der Gestalt

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

(Continued from Aug. 19, 2014)

“Christian contemplation is the opposite
of distanced consideration of an image:
as Paul says, it is the metamorphosis of
the beholder into the image he beholds
(2 Cor 3.18), the ‘realisation’ of what the
image expresses (Newman). This is
possible only by giving up one’s own
standards and being assimilated to the
dimensions of the image.”

— Hans Urs von Balthasar,
The Glory of the Lord:
A Theological Aesthetics,

Vol. I: Seeing the Form
[ Schau der Gestalt ],
Ignatius Press, 1982, p. 485

A Bauhaus approach to Schau der Gestalt :

I prefer the I Ching ‘s approach to the laws of cubical space.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Monkey Business

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Welcome to the Ape Stuff.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The McLuhan Dimension

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

"History is a deep and complicated puzzle—
especially when it involves more dimensions than time."

Introduction to a novella in Analog Science Fiction

IMAGE- Marshall McLuhan

IMAGE- Annenberg Hall at Harvard

IMAGE- Search for 'quilt geometry' yields a result from Annenberg Media.

"Annenberg Hall" at Harvard was originally part of a memorial for
Civil War dead. Formerly "Alumni Hall," it was renamed in 1996.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Through the Vanishing Point*

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

Marshall McLuhan in "Annie Hall" —

"You know nothing of my work."

Related material — 

"I need a photo opportunity
I want a shot at redemption
Don't want to end up a cartoon
In a cartoon graveyard"

— Paul Simon

It was a dark and stormy night…


— Page 180, Logicomix

A photo opportunity for Whitehead
(from Romancing the Cube, April 20, 2011)—

IMAGE- Whitehead on Fano's construction of the 15-point projective Galois space over GF(2)

See also Absolute Ambition (Nov. 19, 2010).

* For the title, see Vanishing Point in this journal.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Heaven Descending

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

An I Ching  study quoted in Waiting for Ogdoad (St. Andrew’s Day, 2013)—

(Click for clearer image.)

The author of the above I Ching  study calls his lattice “Arising Heaven.”

The following lattice might, therefore, be called “Heaven Descending.”

IMAGE- Construction of 'Heaven Descending' lattice

Click for the source, mentioned in Anatomy of a Cube (Sept. 18, 2011).

Friday, November 1, 2013

Cameron’s Group Theory Notes

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

In "Notes on Finite Group Theory"
by Peter J. Cameron (October 2013),
some parts are particularly related to the mathematics of
the 4×4 square (viewable in various ways as four quartets)—

  • Definition 1.3.1, Group actions, and example on partitions of a 4-set, p. 19.
  • Exercise 1.1, The group of Fano-plane symmetries, p. 35.
  • Exercise 2.17, The group of the empty set and the 15 two-subsets of a six-set, p. 66.
  • Section 3.1.2, The holomorph of a group, p. 70.
  • Exercise 3.7, The groups A8 and AGL(4,2), p. 78.

Cameron is the author of Parallelisms of Complete Designs ,
a book notable in part for its chapter epigraphs from T.S. Eliot's
Four Quartets . These epigraphs, if not the text proper, seem
appropriate for All Saints' Day.

But note also Log24 posts tagged Not Theology.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Up and Down

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:29 AM

Heraclitus, Fragment 60 (Diels number):

The way up and the way down is one and the same.

ὁδὸς ἄνω κάτω μία καὶ ὡυτή

hodòs áno káto mía kaì houté

— http://www.heraclitusfragments.com/B60/index.html

IMAGE- Fetzer on ambiguity in Mann's 'Doctor Faustus'

See also Blade and Chalice and, for a less Faustian
approach, Universe of Discourse.

IMAGE- Logic related to 'the arsenal of algebraic analysis tools for fields'

Further context:  Not Theology.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Post-Production (continued)

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

This journal on Oct. 2, the date of death for
the developer of mathematical Braille —

Clicking on the image of St. Peter's Square in that post led to

Braille, as noted in last midnight's post, is based
on a six-dot cell. For some pure mathematics of
the six-dot cell, see 

Modeling the 21-point plane
with outer automorphisms of S6

Two quotations that seem relevant —

"When Death tells a story, you really have to listen"
Cover of The Book Thief

"This is not theology, this is mathematics."
Steven H. Cullinane, Sept. 22, 2013

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.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:13 PM

"Eight is a Gate." — Mnemonic rhyme

Today's previous post, Window, showed a version
of the Chinese character for "field"—

This suggests a related image

The related image in turn suggests

Unlike linear perspective, axonometry has no vanishing point,
and hence it does not assume a fixed position by the viewer.
This makes axonometry 'scrollable'. Art historians often speak of
the 'moving' or 'shifting' perspective in Chinese paintings.

Axonometry was introduced to Europe in the 17th century by
Jesuits returning from China.

Jan Krikke

As was the I Ching.  A related structure:

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cube Space

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 12:24 PM

For the late Cardinal Glemp of Poland,
who died yesterday, some links:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Too Much Meaning

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

Last night’s post discussed ways of draining the world of meaning.

For some tastes, poets like Dante do the opposite, supplying too much  meaning.

See a New Republic  review, dated Oct. 5, in which Harvard atheist Helen Vendler discusses Dante’s

“… assertion that Beatrice herself  ‘was this number [nine],’ since nine is the square of three, the number belonging to the Trinity. Dante’s fantastic reasoning requires pages of annotation, which Frisardi, drawing on a number of commentators, furnishes to the bewildered reader. The theological elaboration of the number nine— merely one instance of how far from our own* are Dante’s habits of thought— will convince any doubting reader that the Vita Nuova  requires annotation far beyond what its pages might seem to demand.”

Related material— Ninefold in this journal, and remarks by Joseph Campbell in a post, Plan 9, from Sept. 5.

* Speak for yourself, Helen.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Child’s Play

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 2:56 PM


“A set having three members is a single thing
wholly constituted by its members but distinct from them.
After this, the theological doctrine of the Trinity as
‘three in one’ should be child’s play.”

– Max Black, Caveats and Critiques: Philosophical Essays
in Language, Logic, and Art
, Cornell U. Press, 1975

IMAGE- The Trinity of Max Black (a 3-set, with its eight subsets arranged in a Hasse diagram that is also a cube)

Related material—

The Trinity Cube

IMAGE- The Trinity Cube (three interpenetrating planes that split the eightfold cube into its eight subcubes)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Brightness at Noon

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

Occultation according to McLuhan

Marshall McLuhan writing to Ezra Pound  on Dec. 21, 1948—

"The American mind is not even close to being amenable to the ideogram principle as yet.  The reason is simply this. America is 100% 18th Century. The 18th century had chucked out the principle of metaphor and analogy— the basic fact that as A is to B so is C to D.  AB:CD.   It can see AB relations.  But relations in four terms are still verboten.  This amounts to deep occultation of nearly all human thought for the U.S.A.

I am trying to devise a way of stating this difficulty as it exists.  Until stated and publicly recognized for what it is, poetry and the arts can’t exist in America."

For context, see Cameron McEwen, "Marshall McLuhan, John Pick, and Gerard Manley Hopkins." (Renascence , Fall 2011, Vol. 64 Issue 1, 55-76)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Palpatine Dimension

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

A physics quote relayed at Peter Woit's weblog today—

"The relation between 4D N=4 SYM and the 6D (2, 0) theory
is just like that between Darth Vader and the Emperor.
You see Darth Vader and you think 'Isn’t he just great?
How can anyone be greater than that? No way.'
Then you meet the Emperor."

— Arkani-Hamed

Some related material from this  weblog—

(See Big Apple and Columbia Film Theory)


The Meno Embedding:


Some related material from the Web—

IMAGE- The Penrose diamond and the Klein quadric

See also uses of the word triality  in mathematics. For instance…

A discussion of triality by Edward Witten

Triality is in some sense the last of the exceptional isomorphisms,
and the role of triality for n = 6  thus makes it plausible that n = 6
is the maximum dimension for superconformal symmetry,
though I will not give a proof here.

— "Conformal Field Theory in Four and Six Dimensions"

and a discussion by Peter J. Cameron

There are exactly two non-isomorphic ways
to partition the 4-subsets of a 9-set
into nine copies of AG( 3,2).
Both admit 2-transitive groups.

— "The Klein Quadric and Triality"

Exercise: Is Witten's triality related to Cameron's?
(For some historical background, see the triality  link from above
and Cameron's Klein Correspondence and Triality.)

Cameron applies his  triality to the pure geometry of a 9-set.
For a 9-set viewed in the context of physics, see A Beginning

From MIT Commencement Day, 2011—

A symbol related to Apollo, to nine, and to "nothing"

A minimalist favicon—

IMAGE- Generic 3x3 square as favicon

This miniature 3×3 square— http://log24.com/log/pix11A/110518-3x3favicon.ico — may, if one likes,
be viewed as the "nothing" present at the Creation. 
See Feb. 19, 2011, and Jim Holt on physics.

Happy April 1.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Literary Field

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

An image suggested by Google's observance today
of Mies van der Rohe's 126th birthday—

Related material:

See also yesterday's Chapter and Verse  by Stanley Fish,
and today's Arts & Letters Daily .

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Field (continued)

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

In memory of director Ulu Grosbard (continued from yesterday)

From  http://scripturetext.com/matthew/13-44.htm —

Again the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field
the which when a man hath found he hideth and for joy thereof
goeth and selleth all that he hath and buyeth that field

ΚΑΤΑ ΜΑΤΘΑΙΟΝ 13:44 Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)
παλιν ομοια εστιν η βασιλεια των ουρανων θησαυρω κεκρυμμενω εν τω αγρω


παλιν  adverb

palin  pal'-in:  (adverbially) anew, i.e. (of place) back, (of time) once more, or (conjunctionally) furthermore or on the other hand — again.

ομοια  adjective – nominative singular feminine

homoios  hom'-oy-os:  similar (in appearance or character) — like, + manner.

εστιν  verb – present indicative – third person singular 

esti  es-tee':  he (she or it) is; also (with neuter plural) they are

η  definite article – nominative singular feminine

ho  ho:  the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom) — the, this, that, one, he, she, it, etc.

βασιλεια  noun – nominative singular feminine

basileia  bas-il-i'-ah:  royalty, i.e. (abstractly) rule, or (concretely) a realm — kingdom, + reign.

των  definite article – genitive plural masculine

ho  ho:  the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom) — the, this, that, one, he, she, it, etc.

ουρανων  noun – genitive plural masculine

ouranos  oo-ran-os':  the sky; by extension, heaven (as the abode of God); by implication, happiness, power, eternity; specially, the Gospel (Christianity) — air, heaven(-ly), sky.

θησαυρω  noun – dative singular masculine

thesauros  thay-sow-ros':  a deposit, i.e. wealth — treasure.

κεκρυμμενω  verb – perfect passive participle – dative singular masculine 

krupto  kroop'-to:  to conceal (properly, by covering) — hide (self), keep secret, secret(-ly).

εν  preposition

en  en:  in, at, (up-)on, by, etc.

τω  definite article – dative singular masculine

ho  ho:  the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom) — the, this, that, one, he, she, it, etc.

αγρω  noun – dative singular masculine

agros  ag-ros':  a field (as a drive for cattle); genitive case, the country; specially, a farm, i.e. hamlet — country, farm, piece of ground, land.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:08 AM

IMAGE- Two versions of 'field'

— Illustration by Neill Cameron for his father, combinatorialist Peter J. Cameron

Illustration by Nao of the Japanese (and Chinese) character for "field"—

IMAGE- Japanese character for 'field'

Related material—

Finitegeometry.org favicon from February 24, 2012

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Rock

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:26 PM

(Continued. See previous post and Red and Gray in this journal.)

“Give faith a fighting chance.” —Country song

From a post of June 3, 2007—

Related illustration relevant to theology


For some background, see Cube Trinity in this journal.

For greater depth, see Levering’s Scripture and Metaphysics:
Aquinas and the Renewal of Trinitarian Theology 
Blackwell, 2004, page 150.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


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

Pentagram design agency on the new Windows 8 logo

"… the logo re-imagines the familiar four-color symbol
as a modern geometric shape"—


Sam Moreau, Principal Director of User Experience for Windows,

On Redesigning the Windows Logo

"To see what is in front of one's nose
needs a constant struggle."
George Orwell

That is the feeling we had when Paula Scher
(from the renowned Pentagram design agency)
showed us her sketches for the new Windows logo.

Related material:


Wednesday, January 11, 2012


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

“Examples galore of this feeling must have arisen in the minds of the people who extended the Magic Cube concept to other polyhedra, other dimensions, other ways of slicing.  And once you have made or acquired a new ‘cube’… you will want to know how to export a known algorithm , broken up into its fundamental operators , from a familiar cube.  What is the essence of each operator?  One senses a deep invariant lying somehow ‘down underneath’ it all, something that one can’t quite verbalize but that one recognizes so clearly and unmistakably in each new example, even though that example might violate some feature one had thought necessary up to that very moment.  In fact, sometimes that violation is what makes you sure you’re seeing the same thing , because it reveals slippabilities you hadn’t sensed up till that time….

… example: There is clearly only one sensible 4 × 4 × 4 Magic Cube.  It is the  answer; it simply has the right spirit .”

— Douglas R. Hofstadter, 1985, Metamagical Themas: Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern  (Kindle edition, locations 11557-11572)

See also Many Dimensions in this journal and Solomon’s Cube.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Defining Form

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

(Continued from Epiphany and from yesterday.)

Detail from the current American Mathematical Society homepage


Further detail, with a comparison to Dürer’s magic square—

http://www.log24.com/log/pix12/120110-Donmoyer-Still-Life-Detail.jpg http://www.log24.com/log/pix12/120110-DurerSquare.jpg

The three interpenetrating planes in the foreground of Donmoyer‘s picture
provide a clue to the structure of the the magic square array behind them.

Group the 16 elements of Donmoyer’s array into four 4-sets corresponding to the
four rows of Dürer’s square, and apply the 4-color decomposition theorem.
Note the symmetry of the set of 3 line diagrams that result.

Now consider the 4-sets 1-4, 5-8, 9-12, and 13-16, and note that these
occupy the same positions in the Donmoyer square that 4-sets of
like elements occupy in the diamond-puzzle figure below—


Thus the Donmoyer array also enjoys the structural  symmetry,
invariant under 322,560 transformations, of the diamond-puzzle figure.

Just as the decomposition theorem’s interpenetrating lines  explain the structure
of a 4×4 square , the foreground’s interpenetrating planes  explain the structure
of a 2x2x2 cube .

For an application to theology, recall that interpenetration  is a technical term
in that field, and see the following post from last year—

Saturday, June 25, 2011 

Theology for Antichristmas

— m759 @ 12:00 PM

Hypostasis (philosophy)

“… the formula ‘Three Hypostases  in one Ousia
came to be everywhere accepted as an epitome
of the orthodox doctrine of the Holy Trinity.
This consensus, however, was not achieved
without some confusion….” —Wikipedia



Click for further details:



Friday, September 16, 2011

Art, Jung, Toronto

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 9:29 AM


Related art—

Midnight's Icons,


Faust in Toronto,



McLuhan 'tetrad' figure with four diamonds surrounding a fifth, the medium

McLuhan and the Four Diamonds

(Wikipedia figure)

"Visually, a tetrad can be depicted as
 four diamonds forming an X…."

" X never, ever, marks the spot."

Friday, September 9, 2011

Galois vs. Rubik

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 2:56 PM

(Continued from Abel Prize, August 26)

IMAGE- Elementary Galois Geometry over GF(3)

The situation is rather different when the
underlying Galois field has two rather than
three elements… See Galois Geometry.

Image-- Sugar cube in coffee, from 'Bleu'

The coffee scene from “Bleu”

Related material from this journal:

The Dream of
the Expanded Field

Image-- 4x4 square and 4x4x4 cube

A Beginning

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 5:29 AM

From MIT Commencement Day, 2011—

A symbol related to Apollo, to nine, and to "nothing"

A minimalist favicon—

IMAGE- Generic 3x3 square as favicon

This miniature 3×3 square— http://log24.com/log/pix11A/110518-3x3favicon.ico — may, if one likes,
be viewed as the "nothing" present at the Creation. 
See Feb. 19, 2011, and Jim Holt on physics.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Cosmic Part

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 6:29 PM

Yesterday’s midday post, borrowing a phrase from the theology of Marvel Comics,
offered Rubik’s mechanical contrivance as a rather absurd “Cosmic Cube.”

A simpler candidate for the “Cube” part of that phrase:


The Eightfold Cube

As noted elsewhere, a simple reflection group* of order 168 acts naturally on this structure.

“Because of their truly fundamental role in mathematics,
even the simplest diagrams concerning finite reflection groups
(or finite mirror systems, or root systems—
the languages are equivalent) have interpretations
of cosmological proportions.”

Alexandre V. Borovik in “Coxeter Theory: The Cognitive Aspects

Borovik has a such a diagram—


The planes in Borovik’s figure are those separating the parts of the eightfold cube above.

In Coxeter theory, these are Euclidean hyperplanes. In the eightfold cube, they represent three of seven projective points that are permuted by the above group of order 168.

In light of Borovik’s remarks, the eightfold cube might serve to illustrate the “Cosmic” part of the Marvel Comics phrase.

For some related theological remarks, see Cube Trinity in this journal.

Happy St. Augustine’s Day.

* I.e., one generated by reflections : group actions that fix a hyperplane pointwise. In the eightfold cube, viewed as a vector space of 3 dimensions over the 2-element Galois field, these hyperplanes are certain sets of four subcubes.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cosmic Cube*

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , , — m759 @ 12:25 PM

IMAGE- Anthony Hopkins exorcises a Rubik cube

Prequel (Click to enlarge)

IMAGE- Galois vs. Rubik: Posters for Abel Prize, Oslo, 2008

Background —

IMAGE- 'Group Theory' Wikipedia article with Rubik's cube as main illustration and argument by a cuber for the image's use

See also Rubik in this journal.

* For the title, see Groups Acting.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Review

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

The Sunday New York Times  today—


This suggests…

The Elusive Small Idea—

Part I:

McLuhan and the Seven Snow Whites


Part II (from "Marshall, Meet Bagger," July 29):

"Time for you to see the field."


For further details, see the 1985 note
"Generating the Octad Generator."

McLuhan was a Toronto Catholic philosopher.
For related views of a Montreal Catholic philosopher,
see the Saturday evening post.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Marshall, Meet Bagger

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

Marshall McLuhan writing to Ezra Pound on Dec. 21, 1948—

"The American mind is not even close to being amenable to the ideogram principle as yet.  The reason is simply this.  America is 100% 18th Century.  The 18th century had chucked out the principle of metaphor and analogy— the basic fact that as A is to B so is C to D.  AB:CD.  It can see AB relations.  But relations in four terms are still verboten.  This amounts to deep occultation of nearly all human thought for the U.S.A.

I am trying to devise a way of stating this difficulty as it exists.  Until stated and publicly recognized for what it is, poetry and the arts can’t exist in America."

"Time for you to see the field." —Bagger Vance

The field — See June 2010.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Accentuate the Positive

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

An image that may be viewed as
a cube with a + on each face—


The eightfold cube


Underlying structure

For the Pope and others on St. Benedict’s Day
who prefer narrative to mathematics

Friday, June 10, 2011


Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 7:59 PM

Some background for yesterday’s posts:

Midrash for Gnostics and related notes,
as well as yesterday’s New York Lottery.

….    “We seek
The poem of pure reality, untouched
By trope or deviation, straight to the word,
Straight to the transfixing object, to the object
At the exactest point at which it is itself,
Transfixing by being purely what it is….”
— Wallace Stevens (1879-1955),
“An Ordinary Evening in New Haven” IX

“Reality is the beginning not the end,
Naked Alpha, not the hierophant Omega,
of dense investiture, with luminous vassals.”
— Wallace Stevens,
“An Ordinary Evening in New Haven” VI


“A hierophant is a person who brings religious congregants into the presence of that which is deemed holy . The word comes from Ancient Greece, where it was constructed from the combination of ta hiera , ‘the holy,’ and phainein , ‘to show.’ In Attica it was the title of the chief priest at the Eleusinian Mysteries. A hierophant is an interpreter of sacred mysteries and arcane principles.”

Weyl as Alpha, Chern as Omega—

(Click to enlarge.)


Postscript for Ellen Page, star of “Smart People
and of “X-Men: The Last Stand“— a different  page 679.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it—

Interpret today’s  NY lottery numbers— Midday 815, Evening 888.

My own bias is toward 815 as 8/15 and 888 as a trinity,
but there may be less obvious and more interesting approaches.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Absolute Ambition

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:30 AM

"It's my absolute ambition that you are touched to the core of your being with the content…."

— Julie Taymor on Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark  (Playbill video, undated)

Another ambitious comic-book promotion —

"What Logicomix  does that few works in any medium do is to make intellectual passion palpable. That is its greatest strength. And it’s here that its form becomes its substance."

— Judith Roitman, review (pdf, 3.7 MB) of Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth , in …


 The December 2010 AMS Notices  cover has excerpts from Logicomix.

Related material:

"In the classical grammarians’ sense of the power of form over 'content' and style over 'substance,' he originated the phrase, 'the medium is the message.'"

— Joseph P. Duggan on Marshall McLuhan at The University Bookman

See also, in this  journal, The Medium is the Message, Wechsler, and Blockheads .

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Plato’s Logos

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

“The present study is closely connected with a lecture* given by Prof. Ernst Cassirer at the Warburg Library whose subject was ‘The Idea of the Beautiful in Plato’s Dialogues’…. My investigation traces the historical destiny of the same concept….”

* See Cassirer’s Eidos und Eidolon : Das Problem des Schönen und der Kunst in Platons Dialogen, in Vorträge der Bibliothek Warburg II, 1922/23 (pp. 1–27). Berlin and Leipzig, B.G. Teubner, 1924.

— Erwin Panofsky, Idea: A Concept in Art Theory, foreword to the first German edition, Hamburg, March 1924

On a figure from Plato’s Meno

IMAGE- Plato's diamond and finite geometry

The above figures illustrate Husserl’s phrase  “eidetic variation”
a phrase based on Plato’s use of eidos, a word
closely related to the word “idea” in Panofsky’s title.

For remarks by Cassirer on the theory of groups, a part of
mathematics underlying the above diamond variations, see
his “The Concept of Group and the Theory of Perception.”

Sketch of some further remarks—


The Waterfield question in the sketch above
is from his edition of Plato’s Theaetetus
(Penguin Classics, 1987).

The “design theory” referred to in the sketch
is that of graphic  design, which includes the design
of commercial logos. The Greek  word logos
has more to do with mathematics and theology.

“If there is one thread of warning that runs
through this dialogue, from beginning to end,
it is that verbal formulations as such are
shot through with ambiguity.”

— Rosemary Desjardins, The Rational Enterprise:
Logos in Plato’s Theaetetus
, SUNY Press, 1990

Related material—

(Click to enlarge.)


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Go Ask Alice

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:13 PM

McLuhan in Space  by Richard Cavell—

As the word "through" in the title of Through the Vanishing Point hints… key reference points for McLuhan and Parker in writing Through the Vanishing Point  were the "Alice" books.

[The footnote symbol here is mine.]

Alice Rae, McLuhan's Unconscious, doctoral dissertation, School of History and Politics, University of Adelaide, May 2008

What McLuhan calls the "unconscious"' is more often named by him as Logos, "acoustic space" or the "media environment," and I trace the debts that these concepts owe not only to Freud and Jung, but to Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas, gestalt theory, art theory, Henri Bergson, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Wyndham Lewis, Siegfried Giedion, Harold Innis, the French symbolist poets of the late nineteenth century and the British modernists of the early twentieth.

The declaration section of the thesis is dated November 19, 2008.

Related material— Halloween 2005 and The Gospel According to Father Hardon.

A work suggested by Ander Monson's new Vanishing Point . (See April 17 and April 23, together with the April 22 picture of a non-Euclidean  point in the context of "The Seventh Symbol.")

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Eightfold Symmetries

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 9:48 PM

Harvard Crimson headline today–
Deconstructing Design

Reconstructing Design

The phrase “eightfold way” in today’s
previous entry has a certain
graphic resonance…

For instance, an illustration from the
Wikipedia article “Noble Eightfold Path” —

Dharma Wheel from Wikipedia

Adapted detail–

Adapted Dharma Wheel detail

See also, from
St. Joseph’s Day

Weyl's 'Symmetry,' the triquetrum, and the eightfold cube

Harvard students who view Christian symbols
with fear and loathing may meditate
on the above as a representation of
the Gankyil rather than of the Trinity.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Gameplayers of the Academy

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

New Game

In memory of a Jesuit who died on February 22 (see yesterday's "For the Ides of March")–

“The Game in the Ship cannot be approached as a job, a vocation, a career, or a recreation. To the contrary, it is Life and Death itself at work there. In the Inner Game, we call the Game Dhum Welur, the Mind of God."

— M. A. Foster, The Gameplayers of Zan

"… for Othello, no less than his creator Shakespeare, death without speechmaking is almost unthinkable."

"Walter Ong," by Jeet Heer (Book & Culture, July/August 2004)

"This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, patch, matchwood…."

— Jesuit quote at David Lavery's weblog today

See also this journal on February 22, the date of the Jesuit death. A post on that date mentions Ong and his teacher McLuhan, and displays a McLuhan figure related to the "joke" quote above–

McLuhan 'tetrad' figure with four diamonds surrounding a fifth, the medium

Click figure for background.

Ong discussed "agonistic" culture.
See "Sunday's Theater" and a film
based on the novel discussed there–

Menin... First line, in Greek, of the Iliad

Classics 101

IMAGE- Anthony Hopkins in 'The Human Stain'

Prof. Coleman Silk introduces
freshmen to academic values

For academic gameplayers who prefer
less emotionally challenging subjects,
there is Othello Online —


"New Game. You May Pass for White to Start."

Monday, February 22, 2010

Annals of Philosophy

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

The Medium is the Message

Marshall McLuhan

From the Wikipedia article
on Marshall McLuhan–

McLuhan 'tetrad' figure with four diamonds surrounding a fifth, the medium

From yesterday

(Click images for some background.)

Ian McKellen at 'Neverwas' diamond windows

Related material:

Feast of St. Louis, 2003,

a web page on McLuhan's
student Walter J. Ong, S. J.,

and Jung and the Imago Dei

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thursday July 16, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:00 PM

The White Itself

David Ellerman has written that

"The notion of a concrete universal occurred in Plato's Theory of Forms [Malcolm 1991]."

A check shows that Malcolm indeed discussed this notion ("the Form as an Ideal Individual"), but not under the name "concrete universal."

See Plato on the Self-Predication of Forms, by John Malcolm, Oxford U. Press, 1991.

From the publisher's summary:

"Malcolm…. shows that the middle dialogues do indeed take Forms to be both universals and paradigms…. He shows that Plato's concern to explain how the truths of mathematics can indeed be true played an important role in his postulation of the Form as an Ideal Individual."

Ellerman also cites another discussion of Plato published by Oxford:

Kneale and Kneale on Plato's theory of forms and 'the white itself'

For a literary context, see W. K. Wimsatt, Jr., "The Structure of the Concrete Universal," Ch. 6 in Literary Theory: An Anthology, edited by Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan, Wiley-Blackwell, 2004.

Other uses of the phrase "concrete universal"– Hegelian and/or theological– seem rather distant from the concerns of Plato and Wimsatt, and are best left to debates between Marxists and Catholics. (My own sympathies are with the Catholics.)

Two views of "the white itself" —

 "So did God cause the big bang?
 Overcome by metaphysical lassitude,
 I finally reach over to my bookshelf
 for The Devil's Bible.
 Turning to Genesis I read:
 'In the beginning
 there was nothing.
 And God said,
 'Let there be light!'
 And there was still nothing,
 but now you could see it.'"
 -- Jim Holt, Big-Bang Theology,
    Slate's "High Concept" department 
   Fiat Lux, and After

"The world was warm and white when I was born:
Beyond the windowpane the world was white,
A glaring whiteness in a leaded frame,
Yet warm as in the hearth and heart of light."

-- Delmore Schwartz

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thursday February 5, 2009

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

Through the
Looking Glass:

A Sort of Eternity

From the new president’s inaugural address:

“… in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.”

The words of Scripture:

9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 

First Corinthians 13

“through a glass”

[di’ esoptrou].
By means of
a mirror [esoptron]

Childish things:

Froebel's third gift, the eightfold cube
© 2005 The Institute for Figuring
Photo by Norman Brosterman
fom the Inventing Kindergarten
exhibit at The Institute for Figuring
(co-founded by Margaret Wertheim)


Three planes through
the center of a cube
that split it into
eight subcubes:
Cube subdivided into 8 subcubes by planes through the center
Through a glass, darkly:

A group of 8 transformations is
generated by affine reflections
in the above three planes.
Shown below is a pattern on
the faces of the 2x2x2 cube
that is symmetric under one of
these 8 transformations–
a 180-degree rotation:

Design Cube 2x2x2 for demonstrating Galois geometry

(Click on image
for further details.)

But then face to face:

A larger group of 1344,
rather than 8, transformations
of the 2x2x2 cube
is generated by a different
sort of affine reflections– not
in the infinite Euclidean 3-space
over the field of real numbers,
but rather in the finite Galois
3-space over the 2-element field.

Galois age fifteen, drawn by a classmate.

Galois age fifteen,
drawn by a classmate.

These transformations
in the Galois space with
finitely many points
produce a set of 168 patterns
like the one above.
For each such pattern,
at least one nontrivial
transformation in the group of 8
described above is a symmetry
in the Euclidean space with
infinitely many points.

For some generalizations,
see Galois Geometry.

Related material:

The central aim of Western religion– 

"Each of us has something to offer the Creator...
the bridging of
 masculine and feminine,
 life and death.
It's redemption.... nothing else matters."
-- Martha Cooley in The Archivist (1998)

The central aim of Western philosophy–

 Dualities of Pythagoras
 as reconstructed by Aristotle:
  Limited Unlimited
  Odd Even
  Male Female
  Light Dark
  Straight Curved
  ... and so on ....

“Of these dualities, the first is the most important; all the others may be seen as different aspects of this fundamental dichotomy. To establish a rational and consistent relationship between the limited [man, etc.] and the unlimited [the cosmos, etc.] is… the central aim of all Western philosophy.”

— Jamie James in The Music of the Spheres (1993)

“In the garden of Adding
live Even and Odd…
And the song of love’s recision
is the music of the spheres.”

— The Midrash Jazz Quartet in City of God, by E. L. Doctorow (2000)

A quotation today at art critic Carol Kino’s website, slightly expanded:

“Art inherited from the old religion
the power of consecrating things
and endowing them with
a sort of eternity;
museums are our temples,
and the objects displayed in them
are beyond history.”

— Octavio Paz,”Seeing and Using: Art and Craftsmanship,” in Convergences: Essays on Art and Literature (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1987), 52

From Brian O’Doherty’s 1976 Artforum essays– not on museums, but rather on gallery space:

Inside the White Cube

“We have now reached
a point where we see
not the art but the space first….
An image comes to mind
of a white, ideal space
that, more than any single picture,
may be the archetypal image
of 20th-century art.”


“Space: what you
damn well have to see.”

— James Joyce, Ulysses  

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wednesday February 4, 2009

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:23 PM
In memory of
James Joyce and of
Patrick McGoohan.
who both died on
a January 13th —
Scene from 'The Seventh Seal' on McLuhan book cover
Baby Blues cartoon on global positioning systems


Related material:

The phrase
"Habitat Global Village"
in the previous entry.

Marshall McLuhan was
apparently the originator
of the phrase
"global village."

The phrase, coined by McLuhan,
 a Catholic, should be associated
more with Rome than
with Americus, Georgia.

"The association is the idea."
— Ian Lee, The Third Word War

Number Six meets Global Village

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wednesday January 28, 2009

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 7:59 AM
continued from
October 25, 2008

John Updike at Boston Public Library, 2006, photo by Robert Spencer for The New York Times

"The only wealth he bestowed on his subjects lay in the richness of his descriptive language, the detailed fineness of which won him comparisons with painters like Vermeer and Andrew Wyeth."

Christopher Lehmann-Haupt in today's International Herald Tribune  


"These people have discovered how to turn dreams into reality. They know how to enter their dream realities. They can stay there, live there, perhaps forever."

— Alfred Bester on the inmates of Ward T in his 1953 short story, "Disappearing Act"

Related material:
"Is Nothing Sacred?"



Going to dark bed there was a square round Sinbad the Sailor roc's auk's egg in the night of the bed of all the auks of the rocs of Darkinbad the Brightdayler.


Black disc from end of Ch. 17 in Ulysses

Ulysses, conclusion of Episode 17


Cover of 'Through the Vanishing Point,' by Marshall McLuhan and Harley Parker

Happy Feast of
St. Thomas Aquinas.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday November 24, 2008

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

Frame Tale

'Brick' octads in the Miracle Octad Generator (MOG) of R. T. Curtis

Click on image for details.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thursday October 30, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 12:25 PM

Readings for
Devil's Night

Pope Benedict XVI, formerly the modern equivalent of The Grand Inquisitor

1. Today's New York Times  review
    of Peter Brook's production of
   "The Grand Inquisitor"
2. Mathematics and Theology
3. Christmas, 2005
4. Cube Space, 1984-2003

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday August 18, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 9:00 AM
The Revelation Game

(See also Jung’s birthday.)

Google logo, Aug. 18, 2008: Dragon playing Olympic ping pong

Lotteries on
August 17,
(No revelation)
New York
(No belief)
No belief,
no revelation



4 9 2
3 5 7
8 1 6

(See below.)

without belief



in Toronto

Belief without


on Grace

(See below.)

Belief and



and Art

No belief, no revelation:
An encounter with “492”–

“What is combinatorial mathematics? Combinatorial mathematics, also referred to as combinatorial analysis or combinatorics, is a mathematical discipline that began in ancient times. According to legend the Chinese Emperor Yu (c. 2200 B.C.) observed the magic square

4 9 2
3 5 7
8 1 6

on the shell of a divine turtle….”

— H.J. Ryser, Combinatorial Mathematics, Mathematical Association of America, Carus Mathematical Monographs 14 (1963)

Belief without revelation:
Theology and human experience,
and the experience of “272”–

From Christian Tradition Today,
by Jeffrey C. K. Goh
(Peeters Publishers, 2004), p. 438:

“Insisting that theological statements are not simply deduced from human experience, Rahner nevertheless stresses the experience of grace as the ‘real, fundamental reality of Christianity itself.’ 272

272  ‘Grace’ is a key category in Rahner’s theology.  He has expended a great deal of energy on this topic, earning himself the title, amongst others, of a ‘theologian of the graced search for meaning.’ See G. B. Kelly (ed.), Karl Rahner, in The Making of Modern Theology series (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1992).”

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sunday August 3, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 3:00 PM

Preview of a Tom Stoppard play presented at Town Hall in Manhattan on March 14, 2008 (Pi Day and Einstein’s birthday):

The play’s title, “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour,” is a mnemonic for the notes of the treble clef EGBDF.

The place, Town Hall, West 43rd Street. The time, 8 p.m., Friday, March 14. One single performance only, to the tinkle– or the clang?– of a triangle. Echoing perhaps the clang-clack of Warsaw Pact tanks muscling into Prague in August 1968.

The “u” in favour is the British way, the Stoppard way, “EGBDF” being “a Play for Actors and Orchestra” by Tom Stoppard (words) and André Previn (music).

And what a play!– as luminescent as always where Stoppard is concerned. The music component of the one-nighter at Town Hall– a showcase for the Boston University College of Fine Arts– is by a 47-piece live orchestra, the significant instrument being, well, a triangle.

When, in 1974, André Previn, then principal conductor of the London Symphony, invited Stoppard “to write something which had the need of a live full-time orchestra onstage,” the 36-year-old playwright jumped at the chance.

One hitch: Stoppard at the time knew “very little about ‘serious’ music… My qualifications for writing about an orchestra,” he says in his introduction to the 1978 Grove Press edition of “EGBDF,” “amounted to a spell as a triangle player in a kindergarten percussion band.”

Jerry Tallmer in The Villager, March 12-18, 2008

Review of the same play as presented at Chautauqua Institution on July 24, 2008:

“Stoppard’s modus operandi– to teasingly introduce numerous clever tidbits designed to challenge the audience.”

Jane Vranish, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Saturday, August 2, 2008

“The leader of the band is tired
And his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through
My instrument
And his song is in my soul.”

— Dan Fogelberg

“He’s watching us all the time.”

Lucia Joyce


Finnegans Wake,
Book II, Episode 2, pp. 296-297:

I’ll make you to see figuratleavely the whome of your eternal geomater. And if you flung her headdress on her from under her highlows you’d wheeze whyse Salmonson set his seel on a hexengown.1 Hissss!, Arrah, go on! Fin for fun!

1 The chape of Doña Speranza of the Nacion.


Log 24, Sept. 3, 2003:
From my entry of Sept. 1, 2003:

“…the principle of taking and giving, of learning and teaching, of listening and storytelling, in a word: of reciprocity….

… E. M. Forster famously advised his readers, ‘Only connect.’ ‘Reciprocity’ would be Michael Kruger’s succinct philosophy, with all that the word implies.”

— William Boyd, review of Himmelfarb, a novel by Michael Kruger, in The New York Times Book Review, October 30, 1994

Last year’s entry on this date:


Today’s birthday:
James Joseph Sylvester

Mathematics is the music of reason.”
— J. J. Sylvester

Sylvester, a nineteenth-century mathematician, coined the phrase “synthematic totals” to describe some structures based on 6-element sets that R. T. Curtis has called “rather unwieldy objects.” See Curtis’s abstract, Symmetric Generation of Finite Groups, John Baez’s essay, Some Thoughts on the Number 6, and my website, Diamond Theory.


The picture above is of the complete graph K6 …  Six points with an edge connecting every pair of points… Fifteen edges in all.

Diamond theory describes how the 15 two-element subsets of a six-element set (represented by edges in the picture above) may be arranged as 15 of the 16 parts of a 4×4 array, and how such an array relates to group-theoretic concepts, including Sylvester’s synthematic totals as they relate to constructions of the Mathieu group M24.

If diamond theory illustrates any general philosophical principle, it is probably the interplay of opposites….  “Reciprocity” in the sense of Lao Tzu.  See

Reciprocity and Reversal in Lao Tzu.

For a sense of “reciprocity” more closely related to Michael Kruger’s alleged philosophy, see the Confucian concept of Shu (Analects 15:23 or 24) described in

Shu: Reciprocity.

Kruger’s novel is in part about a Jew: the quintessential Jewish symbol, the star of David, embedded in the K6 graph above, expresses the reciprocity of male and female, as my May 2003 archives illustrate.  The star of David also appears as part of a graphic design for cubes that illustrate the concepts of diamond theory:

Click on the design for details.

Those who prefer a Jewish approach to physics can find the star of David, in the form of K6, applied to the sixteen 4×4 Dirac matrices, in

A Graphical Representation
of the Dirac Algebra

The star of David also appears, if only as a heuristic arrangement, in a note that shows generating partitions of the affine group on 64 points arranged in two opposing triplets.

Having thus, as the New York Times advises, paid tribute to a Jewish symbol, we may note, in closing, a much more sophisticated and subtle concept of reciprocity due to Euler, Legendre, and Gauss.  See

The Jewel of Arithmetic and


Salmonson set his seel:

“Finn MacCool ate the Salmon of Knowledge.”


George Salmon spent his boyhood in Cork City, Ireland. His father was a linen merchant. He graduated from Trinity College Dublin at the age of 19 with exceptionally high honours in mathematics. In 1841 at age 21 he was appointed to a position in the mathematics department at Trinity College Dublin. In 1845 he was appointed concurrently to a position in the theology department at Trinity College Dublin, having been confirmed in that year as an Anglican priest.”

Related material:

Kindergarten Theology,

Kindergarten Relativity,

Arrangements for
56 Triangles

For more on the
arrangement of
triangles discussed
in Finnegans Wake,
see Log24 on Pi Day,
March 14, 2008.

Happy birthday,
Martin Sheen.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wednesday June 11, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 8:00 PM

Indiana Jones and the
Worst Camping Trip Ever

Part I:

“Today’s Sermon”
from last Sunday —

The Holy Trinity vs.
   The New York Times


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Scary stories.
Jessica Hagy, card 675: The Holy Trinity

Posted by Jessica Hagy at 10:31 PM
39 comments Labels: faith, family

Part II:

Today’s previous entries

Wonder Woman delivers a diamond

Part III:

Harrison Ford and Shia LaBoeuf as Father and Son

Susan Sontag,
Notes on “Camp”

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tuesday April 29, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 11:09 AM
Sacerdotal Jargon
at Harvard:

Thomas Wolfe

Thomas Wolfe
(Harvard M.A., 1922)


Rosalind Krauss

Rosalind Krauss
(Harvard M.A., 1964,
Ph.D., 1969)


The Kernel of Eternity

"No culture has a pact with eternity."
George Steiner, interview in  
The Guardian of April 19

"At that instant he saw,
in one blaze of light, an image
of unutterable conviction….
the core of life, the essential
pattern whence all other things
proceed, the kernel of eternity."

— Thomas Wolfe, Of Time
and the River, quoted in
Log24 on June 9, 2005


From today's online Harvard Crimson:

"… under the leadership of Faust,
Harvard students should look forward
to an ever-growing opportunity for
international experience
and artistic endeavor."


Wolfgang Pauli as Mephistopheles

Pauli as Mephistopheles
in a 1932 parody of
Faust at Niels Bohr's
institute in Copenhagen

From a recent book
on Wolfgang Pauli,
The Innermost Kernel:

Pauli's Dream Square (square plus the two diagonals)

A belated happy birthday
to the late
Felix Christian Klein
  (born on April 25) —

The Klein Group: The four elements in four colors, with black points representing the identity

Another Harvard figure quoted here on Dec. 5, 2002:

"The theory of poetry, that is to say, the total of the theories of poetry, often seems to become in time a mystical theology or, more simply, a mystique. The reason for this must by now be clear. The reason is the same reason why the pictures in a museum of modern art often seem to become in time a mystical aesthetic, a prodigious search of appearance, as if to find a way of saying and of establishing that all things, whether below or above appearance, are one and that it is only through reality, in which they are reflected or, it may be, joined together, that we can reach them. Under such stress, reality changes from substance to subtlety, a subtlety in which it was natural for Cézanne to say: 'I see planes bestriding each other and sometimes straight lines seem to me to fall' or 'Planes in color…. The colored area where shimmer the souls of the planes, in the blaze of the kindled prism, the meeting of planes in the sunlight.' The conversion of our Lumpenwelt went far beyond this. It was from the point of view of another subtlety that Klee could write: 'But he is one chosen that today comes near to the secret places where original law fosters all evolution. And what artist would not establish himself there where the organic center of all movement in time and space– which he calls the mind or heart of creation– determines every function.' Conceding that this sounds a bit like sacerdotal jargon, that is not too much to allow to those that have helped to create a new reality, a modern reality, since what has been created is nothing less."

— Wallace Stevens, Harvard College Class of 1901, "The Relations between Poetry and Painting" in The Necessary Angel (Knopf, 1951)

From a review of Rosalind Krauss's The Optical Unconscious  (MIT Press hardcover, 1993):

Krauss is concerned to present Modernism less in terms of its history than its structure, which she seeks to represent by means of a kind of diagram: "It is more interesting to think of modernism as a graph or table than a history." The "table" is a square with diagonally connected corners, of the kind most likely to be familiar to readers as the Square of Opposition, found in elementary logic texts since the mid-19th century. The square, as Krauss sees it, defines a kind of idealized space "within which to work out unbearable contradictions produced within the real field of history." This she calls, using the inevitable gallicism, "the site of Jameson's Political Unconscious" and then, in art, the optical unconscious, which consists of what Utopian Modernism had to kick downstairs, to repress, to "evacuate… from its field."

— Arthur C. Danto in ArtForum, Summer 1993

Rosalind Kraus in The Optical Unconscious (MIT Press paperback, 1994):

For a presentation of the Klein Group, see Marc Barbut, "On the Meaning of the Word 'Structure' in Mathematics," in Introduction to Structuralism, ed. Michael Lane (New York: Basic Books, 1970). Claude Lévi-Strauss uses the Klein group in his analysis of the relation between Kwakiutl and Salish masks in The Way of the Masks, trans. Sylvia Modelski (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1982), p. 125; and in relation to the Oedipus myth in "The Structural Analysis of Myth," Structural Anthropology, trans. Claire Jackobson [sic] and Brooke Grundfest Schoepf (New York: Basic Books, 1963). In a transformation of the Klein Group, A. J. Greimas has developed the semiotic square, which he describes as giving "a slightly different formulation to the same structure," in "The Interaction of Semiotic Constraints," On Meaning (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987), p. 50. Jameson uses the semiotic square in The Political Unconscious (see pp. 167, 254, 256, 277) [Fredric Jameson, The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1981)], as does Louis Marin in "Disneyland: A Degenerate Utopia," Glyph, no. 1 (1977), p. 64.

For related non-sacerdotal jargon, see…

Wikipedia on the Klein group (denoted V, for Vierergruppe):

In this representation, V is a normal subgroup of the alternating group A4 (and also the symmetric group S4) on 4 letters. In fact, it is the kernel of a surjective map from S4 to S3. According to Galois theory, the existence of the Klein four-group (and in particular, this representation of it) explains the existence of the formula for calculating the roots of quartic equations in terms of radicals.

For radicals of another sort, see A Logocentric Meditation, A Mass for Lucero, and [update of 7 PM] Steven Erlanger in today's New York Times— "France Still Divided Over Lessons of 1968 Unrest."

For material related to Klee's phrase mentioned above by Stevens, "the organic center of all movement in time and space," see the following Google search:

April 29, 2008, Google search on 'penrose space time'

Click on the above
 image for details.

See also yesterday's
Religious Art.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday April 13, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 7:59 AM
The Echo
in Plato’s Cave

“It is said that the students of medieval Paris came to blows in the streets over the question of universals. The stakes are high, for at issue is our whole conception of our ability to describe the world truly or falsely, and the objectivity of any opinions we frame to ourselves. It is arguable that this is always the deepest, most profound problem of philosophy.”

— Simon Blackburn, Think (Oxford, 1999)

Michael Harris, mathematician at the University of Paris:

“… three ‘parts’ of tragedy identified by Aristotle that transpose to fiction of all types– plot (mythos), character (ethos), and ‘thought’ (dianoia)….”

— paper (pdf) to appear in Mathematics and Narrative, A. Doxiadis and B. Mazur, eds.

Mythos —

A visitor from France this morning viewed the entry of Jan. 23, 2006: “In Defense of Hilbert (On His Birthday).” That entry concerns a remark of Michael Harris.

A check of Harris’s website reveals a new article:

“Do Androids Prove Theorems in Their Sleep?” (slighly longer version of article to appear in Mathematics and Narrative, A. Doxiadis and B. Mazur, eds.) (pdf).

From that article:

“The word ‘key’ functions here to structure the reading of the article, to draw the reader’s attention initially to the element of the proof the author considers most important. Compare E.M. Forster in Aspects of the Novel:

[plot is] something which is measured not be minutes or hours, but by intensity, so that when we look at our past it does not stretch back evenly but piles up into a few notable pinnacles.”

Ethos —

“Forster took pains to widen and deepen the enigmatic character of his novel, to make it a puzzle insoluble within its own terms, or without. Early drafts of A Passage to India reveal a number of false starts. Forster repeatedly revised drafts of chapters thirteen through sixteen, which comprise the crux of the novel, the visit to the Marabar Caves. When he began writing the novel, his intention was to make the cave scene central and significant, but he did not yet know how:

When I began a A Passage to India, I knew something important happened in the Malabar (sic) Caves, and that it would have a central place in the novel– but I didn’t know what it would be… The Malabar Caves represented an area in which concentration can take place. They were to engender an event like an egg.”

E. M. Forster: A Passage to India, by Betty Jay

Dianoia —

Flagrant Triviality
or Resplendent Trinity?

“Despite the flagrant triviality of the proof… this result is the key point in the paper.”

— Michael Harris, op. cit., quoting a mathematical paper

Online Etymology Dictionary

c.1500, “resplendent,” from L. flagrantem (nom. flagrans) “burning,” prp. of flagrare “to burn,” from L. root *flag-, corresponding to PIE *bhleg (cf. Gk. phlegein “to burn, scorch,” O.E. blæc “black”). Sense of “glaringly offensive” first recorded 1706, probably from common legalese phrase in flagrante delicto “red-handed,” lit. “with the crime still blazing.”

A related use of “resplendent”– applied to a Trinity, not a triviality– appears in the Liturgy of Malabar:


The Liturgies of SS. Mark, James, Clement, Chrysostom, and Basil, and the Church of Malabar, by the Rev. J.M. Neale and the Rev. R.F. Littledale, reprinted by Gorgias Press, 2002

On Universals and
A Passage to India:


“”The universe, then, is less intimation than cipher: a mask rather than a revelation in the romantic sense. Does love meet with love? Do we receive but what we give? The answer is surely a paradox, the paradox that there are Platonic universals beyond, but that the glass is too dark to see them. Is there a light beyond the glass, or is it a mirror only to the self? The Platonic cave is even darker than Plato made it, for it introduces the echo, and so leaves us back in the world of men, which does not carry total meaning, is just a story of events.”


— Betty Jay,  op. cit.



Judy Davis in the Marabar Caves

In mathematics
(as opposed to narrative),
somewhere between
a flagrant triviality and
a resplendent Trinity we
have what might be called
“a resplendent triviality.”

For further details, see
A Four-Color Theorem.”

Friday, February 1, 2008

Friday February 1, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 5:01 AM
Kindergarten Theology

On the late James Edwin Loder,
a Presbyterian minister and
a professor of Christian education
at Princeton Theological Seminary,
co-author of The Knight’s Move (1992):

“At his memorial service his daughter Tami told the story of ‘little Jimmy,’ whose kindergarten teacher recognized a special quality of mind that set him apart. ‘Every day we read a story, and after the story is over, Jimmy gets up and wants to tell us what the story means.'” — Dana R. Wright

For a related story about
knight moves and kindergarten,
see Knight Moves: The Relativity
Theory of Kindergarten Blocks
and Log24, Jan. 16, 17, and 18.

See also Loder’s book
(poorly written, but of some
interest in light of the above):

The Knight's Move, by Loder and Neidhardt

Opening of The Knight’s Move —

“In a game of chess, the knight’s move is unique because it alone goes around corners. In this way, it combines the continuity of a set sequence with the discontinuity of an unpredictable turn in the middle. This meaningful combination of continuity and discontinuity in an otherwise linear set of possibilities has led some to refer to the creative act of discovery in any field of research as a ‘knight’s move’ in intelligence.

The significance of the title of this volume might stop there but for Kierkegaard’s use of the ‘knight’ image. The force of Kierkegaards’s usage might be described in relation to the chess metaphor by saying that not merely does Kierkegaard’s ‘knight of faith’ undertake a unique move within the rules of the human game, but faith transposes the whole idea of a ‘knight’s move’ into the mind of the Chess Master Himself. That is to say, chess is a game of multiple possibilities and interlocking strategies, so a chess master must combine the  continuity represented by the whole complex of the game with the unpredictable decision he must make every time it is his turn. A master chess player, then, does not merely follow the rules; in him the game becomes a construct of consciousness. The better the player the more fully the game comes into its own as a creation of human intelligence. Similarly, for Kierkegaard, the knight of faith is a unique figure in human experience. The knight shows how, by existing in faith as a creative act of Christ’s Spirit, human existence comes into its own as an expression of the mind of Christ. Thus, the ultimate form of a ‘knight’s move’ is a creative act raised to the nth power by Spiritus Creator, but it still partakes fully in the concrete pieces and patterns that comprise the nature of the human game and the game of nature.”

— James E. Loder and W. Jim Neidhardt (Helmers & Howard Publishing, 1992)

For a discussion, see Triplett’s
Thinking Critically as a Christian.”

Many would deny that such
a thing is possible; let them
read the works of T. S. Eliot.

Related material:

The Knight’s Move
discusses (badly) Hofstadter’s
“strange loop” concept; see
Not Mathematics but Theology
(Log24, July 12, 2007).

Monday, January 21, 2008

Monday January 21, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:30 PM
Serious Numbers

"When times are mysterious
Serious numbers will always be heard."

Paul Simon

Recent events in world financial markets suggest a return to this topic, considered here on October 13, 2007.

That day's entry, on mathematics and theology, may be of use to those who are considering, as their next financial move, prayer.

Some related material:

  1. The review in the Jan. 22 New York Times of a book by mathematics vulgarizer John Allen Paulos refuting arguments for the existence of God.

  2. Arguments in a less controversial area– for and against the consistency of elementary number theory:

    FOR: Kurt Gödel, Steven H. Cullinane, and John Dawson (See Log24– Nov. 30 and Dec. 2, 2005–  and "Gödel, Inconsistency, Provability, and Truth: An Exchange of Letters" (pdf), in the American Mathematical Society Notices of April 2006.)

    AGAINST: E. B. Davies, King's College London (See above.)

  3. André Weil: "God exists since mathematics is consistent, and the Devil exists since we cannot prove it."
  4. God: "605." (NY Lottery, mid-day Jan. 20, 2008) This can, of course, be interpreted as "6/05"– which is perhaps a reference to "God, the Devil, and a Bridge." Or perhaps not.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wednesday October 24, 2007

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 11:11 PM
Descartes’s Twelfth Step

An earlier entry today (“Hollywood Midrash continued“) on a father and son suggests we might look for an appropriate holy ghost. In that context…


A search for further background on Emmanuel Levinas, a favorite philosopher of the late R. B. Kitaj (previous two entries), led (somewhat indirectly) to the following figures of Descartes:

The color-analogy figures of Descartes
This trinity of figures is taken from Descartes’ Rule Twelve in Rules for the Direction of the Mind. It seems to be meant to suggest an analogy between superposition of colors and superposition of shapes.Note that the first figure is made up of vertical lines, the second of vertical and horizontal lines, and the third of vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines. Leon R. Kass recently suggested that the Descartes figures might be replaced by a more modern concept– colors as wavelengths. (Commentary, April 2007). This in turn suggests an analogy to Fourier series decomposition of a waveform in harmonic analysis. See the Kass essay for a discussion of the Descartes figures in the context of (pdf) Science, Religion, and the Human Future (not to be confused with Life, the Universe, and Everything).

Compare and contrast:

The harmonic-analysis analogy suggests a review of an earlier entry’s
link today to 4/30–  Structure and Logic— as well as
re-examination of Symmetry and a Trinity

(Dec. 4, 2002).

See also —

A Four-Color Theorem,
The Diamond Theorem, and
The Most Violent Poem,

Emma Thompson in 'Wit'

from Mike Nichols’s birthday, 2003.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Saturday October 13, 2007

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:22 AM

Simon’s Shema

“When times are mysterious
Serious numbers will always be heard
And after all is said and done
And the numbers all come home
The four rolls into three
The three turns into two
And the two becomes a

Paul Simon, 1983

Related material:

Simon’s theology here, though radically reductive, is at least consistent with traditional Jewish thought. It may help counteract the thoughtless drift to the left of academic writing in recent decades. Another weapon against leftist nonsense appears, surprisingly, on the op-ed page of today’s New York Times:

“There is a Communist jargon recognizable after a single sentence. Few people in Europe have not joked in their time about ‘concrete steps,’ ‘contradictions,’ ‘the interpenetration of opposites,’ and the rest.”

— Doris Lessing, winner of this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature

The Times offers Lessing’s essay to counter Harold Bloom’s remark that this year’s award of a Nobel Prize to Lessing is “pure political correctness.” The following may serve as a further antidote to Bloom.

The Communist use of “interpenetration,” a term long used to describe the Holy Trinity, suggests– along with Simon’s hymn to the Unity, and the rhetorical advice of Norman Mailer quoted here yesterday—  a search for the full phrase “interpenetration of opposites” in the context* of theology.  Such a search yields a rhetorical gem from New Zealand:

“Dipolarity and God”
by Mark D. Brimblecombe,
Ph.D. thesis,
University of Auckland, 1999

* See the final footnote on the final page (249) of Brimblecombe’s thesis:

3 The Latin word contexo means to interweave, join, or braid together.

A check of the Online Eymology Dictionary supports this assertion:

context 1432, from L. contextus “a joining together,” orig. pp. of contexere “to weave together,” from com “together” + textere “to weave” (see texture).

See also Wittgenstein on “theology as grammar” and “context-sensitive” grammars as (unlike Simon’s reductive process) “noncontracting”– Log24, April 16, 2007: Happy Birthday, Benedict XVI.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Monday July 23, 2007

Daniel Radcliffe
is 18 today.
Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter


“The greatest sorcerer (writes Novalis memorably)
would be the one who bewitched himself to the point of
taking his own phantasmagorias for autonomous apparitions.
Would not this be true of us?”

Jorge Luis Borges, “Avatars of the Tortoise”

El mayor hechicero (escribe memorablemente Novalis)
sería el que se hechizara hasta el punto de
tomar sus propias fantasmagorías por apariciones autónomas.
¿No sería este nuestro caso?”

Jorge Luis Borges, “Los Avatares de la Tortuga

Autonomous Apparition

At Midsummer Noon:

“In Many Dimensions (1931)
Williams sets before his reader the
mysterious Stone of King Solomon,
an image he probably drew from
a brief description in Waite’s
The Holy Kabbalah (1929) of
a supernatural cubic stone
on which was inscribed
‘the Divine Name.’”
The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070624-Waite.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Related material:
It is not enough to cover the rock with leaves.
We must be cured of it by a cure of the ground
Or a cure of ourselves, that is equal to a cure 

Of the ground, a cure beyond forgetfulness.
And yet the leaves, if they broke into bud,
If they broke into bloom, if they bore fruit,

And if we ate the incipient colorings
Of their fresh culls might be a cure of the ground.

– Wallace Stevens, “The Rock”

See also
as well as
Hofstadter on
his magnum opus:
“… I realized that to me,
Gödel and Escher and Bach
were only shadows
cast in different directions by
some central solid essence.
I tried to reconstruct
the central object, and
came up with this book.”
Goedel Escher Bach coverHofstadter’s cover.

Here are three patterns,
“shadows” of a sort,
derived from a different
“central object”:
Faces of Solomon's Cube, related to Escher's 'Verbum'

Click on image for details.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Saturday July 14, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:07 AM
A Note from the
Catholic University
of America

The August 2007 issue of Notices of the American Mathematical Society contains tributes to the admirable personal qualities and mathematical work of the late Harvard professor George Mackey.  For my own tributes, see Log24 on March 17, 2006April 29, 2006, and March 10, 2007.  For an entry critical of Mackey’s reductionism– a philosophical, not mathematical, error– see Log24 on May 23, 2007 (“Devil in the Details”).

Here is another attack on reductionism, from a discussion of the work of another first-rate mathematician, the late Gian-Carlo Rota of MIT:

“Another theme developed by Rota is that of ‘Fundierung.’ He shows that throughout our experience we encounter things that exist only as founded upon other things: a checkmate is founded upon moving certain pieces of chess, which in turn are founded upon certain pieces of wood or plastic. An insult is founded upon certain words being spoken, an act of generosity is founded upon something’s being handed over. In perception, for example, the evidence that occurs to us goes beyond the physical impact on our sensory organs even though it is founded upon it; what we see is far more than meets the eye. Rota gives striking examples to bring out this relationship of founding, which he takes as a logical relationship, containing all the force of logical necessity. His point is strongly antireductionist. Reductionism is the inclination to see as ‘real’ only the foundation, the substrate of things (the piece of wood in chess, the physical exchange in a social phenomenon, and especially the brain as founding the mind) and to deny the true existence of that which is founded. Rota’s arguments against reductionism, along with his colorful examples, are a marvelous philosophical therapy for the debilitating illness of reductionism that so pervades our culture and our educational systems, leading us to deny things we all know to be true, such as the reality of choice, of intelligence, of emotive insight, and spiritual understanding. He shows that ontological reductionism and the prejudice for axiomatic systems are both escapes from reality, attempts to substitute something automatic, manageable, and packaged, something coercive, in place of the human situation, which we all acknowledge by the way we live, even as we deny it in our theories.”

Robert Sokolowski, foreword to Rota’s Indiscrete Thoughts

Father Robert Sokolowski

Father Robert Sokolowski

Fr. Robert Sokolowski, Ph.D., is Professor of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1962, he is internationally recognized and honored for his work in philosophy, particularly phenomenology. In 1994, Catholic University sponsored a conference on his work and published several papers and other essays under the title, The Truthful and the Good, Essays In Honor of Robert Sokolowski.

Thomas Aquinas College newsletter

The tributes to Mackey are contained in the first of two feature articles in the August 2007 AMS Notices.  The second feature article is a review of a new book by Douglas Hofstadter.  For some remarks related to that article, see Thursday’s Log24 entry “Not Mathematics but Theology.”

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday July 13, 2007

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 7:00 AM
Today’s birthday:
Harrison Ford is 65.

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070713-Ford2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

“Three times the concentred
     self takes hold, three times
The thrice concentred self,
     having possessed
The object, grips it
     in savage scrutiny,
Once to make captive,
     once to subjugate
Or yield to subjugation,
     once to proclaim
The meaning of the capture,
     this hard prize,
Fully made, fully apparent,
     fully found.”

— “Credences of Summer,” VII,
    by Wallace Stevens, from
    Transport to Summer (1947)

“It was Plato who best expressed– who veritably embodied– the tension between the narrative arts and mathematics….

Plato clearly loved them both, both mathematics and poetry.  But he approved of mathematics, and heartily, if conflictedly, disapproved of poetry.  Engraved above the entrance to his Academy, the first European university, was the admonition: Oudeis ageometretos eiseto.  Let none ignorant of geometry enter.  This is an expression of high approval indeed, and the symbolism could not have been more perfect, since mathematics was, for Plato, the very gateway for all future knowledge.  Mathematics ushers one into the realm of abstraction and universality, grasped only through pure reason.  Mathematics is the threshold we cross to pass into the ideal, the truly real.”

   — Rebecca Goldstein, Mathematics and the Character of Tragedy

Related material:

Previous entry,
entries of July 1, 2007,
and A Little Story

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thursday July 12, 2007

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 7:00 PM
On Interpenetration,
or Coinherence, of Souls

The August 2007 issue of Notices of the American Mathematical Society contains a review of a new book by Douglas Hofstadter, I Am a Strange Loop. (2007, Basic Books, New York. $26.95, 412 pages.)

A better review, in the Los Angeles Times of March 18, 2007, notes an important phrase in the book, "interpenetration of souls," that the AMS Notices review ignores.

Here is an Amazon.com search on "interpenetration" in the Hofstadter book:

1. on Page 217:
"… described does not create a profound blurring of two people's identities. Tennis and driving do not give rise to deep interpenetrations of souls. …"
2. on Page 237:
"… What seems crucial here is the depth of interpenetration of souls the sense of shared goals, which leads to shared identity. Thus, for instance, Carol always had a deep, …"
3. on Page 270:
"… including the most private feelings and the most confidential confessions, then the interpenetration of our worlds becomes so great that our worldviews start to fuse. Just as I could jump to California when …"
4. on Page 274:
"… we choose to downplay or totally ignore the implications of the everyday manifestations of the interpenetration of souls. Consider how profoundly wrapped up you can become in a close friend's successes and failures, in their very …"
5. on Page 276:
"… Interpenetration of National Souls Earlier in this chapter, I briefly offered the image of a self as analogous to a country …"
6. from Index:
"… birthday party for, 350 "bachelor", elusiveness of concept, 178 bad-breath analogy, 150 bandwidth of communication as determinant of degree of interpenetration, 212 213, 220, …"
7. from Index:
"… phrases denying interpenetration of souls, 270 271; physical phenomena that lack consciousness, 281 282; physical structures lacking hereness, 283; potential personal attributes, 183; …"

The American Mathematical Society editors and reviewer seem to share Hofstadter's ignorance of Christian doctrine; they might otherwise have remembered a rather famous remark: "This is not mathematics, it is theology."
For more on the theology of interpenetration, see Log24 on "Perichoresis, or Coinherence" (Jan. 22, 2004).

For a more mathematical approach to this topic, see Spirituality Today, Spring 1991:

"… the most helpful image is perhaps the ellipse often used to surround divine figures in ancient art, a geometrical figure resulting from the overlapping, greater or lesser, of two independent circles, an interpenetration or coinherence which will, in some sense, reunify divided humanity, thus restoring to some imperfect degree the original image of God."

See also the trinitarian doctrine implicit in related Log24 entries of July 1, 2007, which include the following illustration of the geometrical figure described, in a somewhat confused manner, above:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070701-Ratio.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

"Values are rooted
in narrative."

Harvey Cox,    
Hollis Professor
of Divinity
at Harvard,
Atlantic Monthly,
  November 1995  

Related material:

Steps Toward Salvation:
An Examination of
Co-Inherence and
Substitution in
the Seven Novels
of Charles Williams
by Dennis L. Weeks

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thursday May 17, 2007

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 7:31 AM

Yolanda King,
who died May 15,
the birthday of
L. Frank Baum:

Tin Man, Lion, Scarecrow

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070517-Trinity.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Symbols of, left to right,
Philip K. Dick (see 3/2/06),
Robert Anton Wilson (see 6/11/03),
and Kurt Vonnegut (see Palm Sunday,
an Autobiographical Collage
See also An Unholy Trinity (5/6/07).
The “sunrise” logo at top,
along with the three-part motto
“Educate, Empower, Entertain,”
is Yolanda King’s own.


Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Tuesday April 3, 2007

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

Mathematics Awareness Month

Related material:

"But what is it?"
Calvin demanded.
"We know that it's evil,
but what is it?"

"Yyouu hhave ssaidd itt!"
Mrs. Which's voice rang out.
"Itt iss Eevill. Itt iss thee
Ppowers of Ddarrkknesss!"

A Wrinkle in Time

AMS Notices cover, April 2007

"After A Wrinkle in Time was finally published, it was pointed out to me that the villain, a naked disembodied brain, was called 'It' because It stands for Intellectual truth as opposed to a truth which involves the whole of us, heart as well as mind.  That acronym had never occurred to me.  I chose the name It intuitively, because an IT does not have a heart or soul.  And I did not understand consciously at the time of writing that the intellect, when it is not informed by the heart, is evil."

See also
"Darkness Visible"
"When all is said and done,
science is about things and
theology is about words."
— Freeman Dyson,
New York Review of Books,
issue dated May 28, 1998

"Does the word 'tesseract'
mean anything to you?"

Friday, March 16, 2007

Friday March 16, 2007

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 10:48 AM
 and Politics:

Context and Consequences of 

the Hobbes-Wallis Dispute"


by Douglas M. Jesseph
Dept. of Philosophy and Religion
North Carolina State University


"We are left to conclude that there was something significant in Hobbes's philosophy that motivated Wallis to engage in the lengthy and vitriolic denunciation of all things Hobbesian.

In point of fact, Wallis made no great secret of his motivations for attacking Hobbes's geometry, and the presence of theological and political motives is well attested in a 1659 letter to Huygens. He wrote:

But regarding the very harsh diatribe against Hobbes, the necessity of the case, and not my manners, led to it. For you see, as I believe, from other of my writings how peacefully I can differ with others and bear those with whom I differ. But this was provoked by our Leviathan (as can be easily gathered fro his other writings, principally those in English), when he attacks with all his might and destroys our universities (and not only ours, but all, both old and new), and especially the clergy and all institutions and all religion. As if the Christian world knew nothing sound or nothing that was not ridiculous in philosophy or religion; and as if it has not understood religion because it does not understand philosophy, nor philosophy because it does not understand mathematics. And so it seemed necessary that now some mathematician, proceeding in the opposite direction, should show how little he understand this mathematics (from which he takes his courage). Nor should we be deterred from this by his arrogance, which we know will vomit poison and filth against us. (Wallis to Huygens, 11 January, 1659; Huygens 1888-1950,* 2: 296-7)

The threats that Hobbes supposedly posed to the universities, the clergy, and all religion are a consequence of his political and theological doctrines. Hobbes's political theory requires that the power of the civil sovereign be absolute and undivided. As a consequence, such institutions as universities and the clergy must submit to the dictates of the sovereign in all matters. This extends, ironically enough, to geometry, since Hobbes notoriously claimed that the sovereign could ban the teaching of the subject and order 'the burning of all books of Geometry' if he should judge geometric principles 'a thing contrary to [his] right of dominion, or to the interest of men that have dominion' (Leviathan (1651) 1.11, 50; English Works** 3: 91). In the area of church government, Hobbes's doctrines are a decisive rejection of the claims of Presbyterianism, which holds that questions of theological doctrine is [sic] to be decided by the elders of the church– the presbytery– without reference to the claims of the sovereign. As a Presbyterian minister, a doctor of divinity, and professor of geometry at Oxford, Wallis found abundant reason to reject this political theory."

* Huygens, Christiaan. 1888-1950. Les oeuvres complètes de Chrisiaan Huygens. Ed. La Société Hollandaise des Sciences. 22 vols. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.

** Hobbes, Thomas. [1839-45] 1966. The English Works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury, now First Collected and Edited by Sir William Molesworth. Edited by William Molesworth. 11 vols. Reprint. Aalen, Germany: Scientia Verlag.


Related material:

"But what is it?"
Calvin demanded.
"We know that it's evil,
but what is it?"

"Yyouu hhave ssaidd itt!"
Mrs. Which's voice rang out.
"Itt iss Eevill. Itt iss thee
Ppowers of Ddarrkknesss!"

A Wrinkle in Time

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070316-AMScover.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

"After A Wrinkle in Time was finally published, it was pointed out to me that the villain, a naked disembodied brain, was called 'It' because It stands for Intellectual truth as opposed to a truth which involves the whole of us, heart as well as mind.  That acronym had never occurred to me.  I chose the name It intuitively, because an IT does not have a heart or soul.  And I did not understand consciously at the time of writing that the intellect, when it is not informed by the heart, is evil."


See also
"Darkness Visible"

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wednesday January 31, 2007

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

“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.

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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Sunday December 31, 2006

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 8:00 PM
Tools of
Christ Church
(Continued from
St. Thomas Becket’s day)

The author of the thesis
“Conversations with the Dead”

described in this morning’s entry,

Aesthetics of Evil
vs. Christ Church

is Darren Joseph Danylyshen.

This may be the same
Darren Danylyshen who has
taught at St. Stephen’s SS
(a Catholic secondary school
in Bowmanville, Ontario).
Following a link in the
section of that school’s site
beneath the title
“St. Stephen’s Goes Hollywood,”
we find the following:
The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06B/061231-McLuhan.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
This ties in rather neatly with the
“Tools of Christ Church” entry
for last Friday–
St. Thomas Becket’s day–
and with the fact that
today would be the feast day
of Marshall McLuhan,
if McLuhan were a saint.
(McLuhan, a Catholic, died on
Dec. 31, 1980.)
Related material:
The Communion of Saints as
the Association of Ideas

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sunday November 19, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:02 PM


From AP’s “Today in History,” Nov. 19, 2006:

Today’s birthdays: … Actress-director Jodie Foster is 44….

Thought for Today: “My theology, briefly, is that the universe was dictated but not signed.” –[Attributed to] Christopher Morley, American author and journalist (1890-1957).

A different story: Carl Sagan, Contact, Chapter 24– “The Artist’s Signature.”

Yet another story:  The Pennsylvania lottery yesterday, November 18, 2006– mid-day 914, evening 945. For interpretations, see 9/14 (Feast of the Triumph of the Cross) and also the following “signature” (i.e., “denominator”):

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06B/061119-Zeta6.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Number theorists may prefer to
think of 945 as the smallest
odd abundant number
(Al-Baghdadi, ca. 980-1037).

Neither of these occurrences
 of 945 in mathematics seems
 particularly divine; perhaps there
are some other properties of
 this number that make it more
credible as a divine signature–
other, that is, than its occurrence
in a lottery just in time for
Jodie Foster’s birthday.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Friday March 10, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:59 PM

Women’s History Month continues…

Raiders of the Lost


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In honor of the upcoming program
on Women and Mathematics
at the Institute for Advanced Study
and of Sharon Stone’s 2005 lecture
at Harvard’s Memorial Church,

here are links to reviews of
two Sharon Stone classics:

“King Solomon’s Mines” (1985),
said to be inspired by the
1981 box-office success
“Raiders of the Lost Ark,” and

“Diabolique” (1996), starring
Stone as
a teacher of mathematics
at St. Anselm’s School for Boys.

For related material on St. Anselm
and mathematics at Princeton, see
Modal Theology and the
April 2006 AMS Notices
on Kurt Gödel.

See also yesterday’s entry
Log24, Jan. 1-15, 2006.

Today’s birthdays:
Sharon Stone and
Gregory La Cava.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Monday August 22, 2005

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

Part I: Mathematics and Narrative

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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."



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 

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"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)

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