Monday, July 17, 2017

Athens Meets Jerusalem . . .

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 9:00 AM

At the Googleplex .

For those whose only interest in higher mathematics
is as a path to the occult

Plato's Diamond and the Hebrew letter Aleph —


and some related (if only graphically) mathematics —

Click the above image for some related purely mathematical  remarks.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Early Personal Computer

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 10:01 AM

(The title is from yesterday morning's Graphical Interfaces.)

Plato's diamond in Jowett's version of the Meno dialogue

Monday, May 15, 2017

Appropriation at MoMA

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 1:14 PM

For example, Plato's diamond as an object to be transformed —

Plato's diamond in Jowett's version of the Meno dialogue

Versions of the transformed object —

See also The 4×4 Relativity Problem in this journal.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Kostant Is Dead

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 1:10 PM

"Bertram Kostant, professor emeritus of mathematics at MIT,
died at the Hebrew Senior Rehabilitation Center in Roslindale,
Massachusetts, on Thursday, Feb. 2, at the age of 88."

MIT News, story dated Feb. 16, 2017

See also a search for Kostant in this journal.

Regarding the discussions of symmetries and "facets" found in
that search —


A word about E(8). In my opinion, and shared by others,
E(8) is the most magnificent ‘object’ in all of mathematics.
It is like a diamond with thousands of facets. Each facet
offering a different view of its unbelievable intricate internal


In the Steiner system S(5, 8, 24) each octad might be
regarded as a "facet," with the order of the system's
automorphism group, the Mathieu group M24 , obtained
by multiplying the number of such facets, 759, by the
order of the octad stabilizer group, 322,560. 


Platonic solids' symmetry groups   

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Unity of Opposites: Plato and Beyond

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

The "unity" of the title was suggested by this morning's update
at the end of yesterday's post Paz.

For the Plato of the title, see the Sept. 27, 2016, post

Chomsky and Lévi-Strauss in China
Or:  Philosophy for Jews

For glyphs representing the "unity of opposites" of the title,
see a webpage linked to here on Groundhog Day 2014

The above image is related to Jung's remarks on Coincidentia
. (See also coincidentia in this journal.)

A different Jung, in a new video with analogues of the rapidly
flashing images in Ajna's webpage "Diamond Theory Roullete" —

The above video promotes Google's new open-source "Noto" font

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Chomsky and Lévi-Strauss in China

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 7:31 AM

Or:  Philosophy for Jews

From a New Yorker  weblog post dated Dec. 6, 2012 —

"Happy Birthday, Noam Chomsky" by Gary Marcus—

"… two titans facing off, with Chomsky, as ever,
defining the contest"

"Chomsky sees himself, correctly, as continuing
a conversation that goes back to Plato, especially
the Meno dialogue, in which a slave boy is
revealed by Socrates to know truths about
geometry that he hadn’t realized he knew."

Socrates and the slave boy discussed a rather elementary "truth
about geometry" — A diamond inscribed in a square has area 2
(and side the square root of 2) if the square itself has area 4
(and side 2).

Consider that not-particularly-deep structure from the Meno dialogue
in the light of the following…

The following analysis of the Meno diagram from yesterday's
post "The Embedding" contradicts the Lévi-Strauss dictum on
the impossibility of going beyond a simple binary opposition.
(The Chinese word taiji  denotes the fundamental concept in
Chinese philosophy that such a going-beyond is both useful
and possible.)

The matrix at left below represents the feminine yin  principle
and the diamond at right represents the masculine yang .

      From a post of Sept. 22,
  "Binary Opposition Illustrated" —

A symbol of the unity of yin and yang —

Related material:

A much more sophisticated approach to the "deep structure" of the
Meno diagram —

The larger cases —

The diamond theorem

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Making Gatsby Great Again

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 2:24 PM

Image-- From the Diamond in Plato's Meno to Modern Finite Geometry

See also the previous post.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Blackboard Jungle…

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Continues .

An older and wiser James Spader —

"Never underestimate the power of glitter."

Glitter by Josefine Lyche, as of diamond dust

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 8:31 PM

"… I would drop the keystone into my arch …."

— Charles Sanders Peirce, "On Phenomenology"

" 'But which is the stone that supports the bridge?' Kublai Khan asks."

— Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, as quoted by B. Elan Dresher.

(B. Elan Dresher. Nordlyd  41.2 (2014): 165-181,
special issue on Features edited by Martin Krämer,
Sandra Ronai and Peter Svenonius. University of Tromsø –
The Arctic University of Norway.

Peter Svenonius and Martin Krämer, introduction to the
Nordlyd  double issue on Features —

"Interacting with these questions about the 'geometric' 
relations among features is the algebraic structure
of the features."

For another such interaction, see the previous post.

This  post may be viewed as a commentary on a remark in Wikipedia

"All of these ideas speak to the crux of Plato's Problem…."

See also The Diamond Theorem at Tromsø and Mere Geometry.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Retro or Not?

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

Happy birthday to the late Michael Crichton (Harvard '64).

See also Diamond Theory Roulette —

Part of the ReCode Project (http://recodeproject.com).
Based on "Diamond Theory" by Steven H. Cullinane,
originally published in "Computer Graphics and Art" 
Vol. 2 No. 1, February 1977.
Copyright (c) 2013 Radames Ajna 
— OSI/MIT license (http://recodeproject/license).

Related remarks on Plato for Harvard's
Graduate School of Design

See also posts from the above publication date, March 31,
2006, among posts now tagged "The Church in Philadelphia."

Monday, June 15, 2015

Slow Art

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 2:03 PM

Slowness is sometimes in the eye of the beholder.

See this journal on Slow Art Day 2015.

Related material: Epistemic States in this journal.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Paradigm for Pedagogues

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 7:14 PM

Illustrations from a post of Feb. 17, 2011:

Plato’s paradigm in the Meno —


Changed paradigm in the diamond theorem (2×2 case) —


Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Starbird Manifesto

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:00 PM

"But what was supposed to be the source of a compound's
authority? Why, the same as that of all new religious movements:
direct access to the godhead, which in this case was Creativity."

— Tom Wolfe, From Bauhaus to Our House

"Creativity is not a matter of magical inspiration."

— Burger and Starbird, The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking  (2012) 

Video published on Oct 19, 2012

"In this fifth of five videos, mathematics professor
Michael Starbird talks about the fifth element
in his new book, The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking ,
co-authored with Williams College professor
Edward B. Burger." 

For more on the Starbird manifesto, see Princeton University Press.

An excerpt —

See also a post for Abel's Birthday, 2011 —  
Midnight in Oslo — and a four-elements image from
the Jan. 26, 2010, post Symbology —

Logo for 'Elements of Finite Geometry'.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Where the Joints Are

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:00 AM

An image related to the recent posts Sense and Sensibility:

A quote from yesterday's post The Eight:

A possible source for the above phrase about phenomena "carved at their joints":

See also the carving at the joints of Plato's diamond from the Meno :

Image-- Plato's diamond and a modern version from finite geometry

Related material: Phaedrus on Kant as a diamond cutter
in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance .

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Plato Thanks the Academy

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 9:00 PM


Plato at Stanford:
Lacan and the Matheme of Fantasy

“… [in] the matheme of fantasy ($ ◊ ),
the diamond-shaped “lozenge” (poinçon )
can be read as a condensation of four symbols:
one, (the logical symbol for conjunction [“and”]);
two, (the logical symbol for disjunction [“or”]);
three, > (the mathematical symbol for “greater than”); and,
four, < (the mathematical symbol for “less than”). As per
Lacan’s matheme, the subject’s desires are scripted and
orchestrated by an unconscious fundamental fantasy
in which the desiring subject ($) is positioned in relation to
its corresponding object-cause of desire ( ).”

— plato.stanford.edu, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Plato.stanford.edu on Lacan, and Halle Berry in 'Frankie and Alice'

The Stanford author: 

The author is a professor in Albuquerque.
For other perspectives, see that city in this journal.

For the film  authors, see IMDb.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:00 AM

"To every man upon this earth,
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
and the temples of his gods…?"

— Macaulay, quoted in the April 2013 film "Oblivion"

"Leave a space." — Tom Stoppard, "Jumpers"

Related material: The August 16, 2014, sudden death in Scotland
of an architect of the above Cardross seminary, and a Log24 post,
Plato's Logos, from the date of the above photo: June 26, 2010.

See also…

IMAGE- T. Lux Feininger on 'Gestaltung'

Here “eidolon” should instead be “eidos .”

An example of eidos — Plato's diamond (from the Meno ) —


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Paradigm Shift:

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 11:01 AM

Continuous Euclidean space to discrete Galois space*

Euclidean space:

Point, line, square, cube, tesseract

From a page by Bryan Clair

Counting symmetries in Euclidean space:

Galois space:

Image-- examples from Galois affine geometry

Counting symmetries of  Galois space:
IMAGE - The Diamond Theorem

The reason for these graphic symmetries in affine Galois space —

symmetries of the underlying projective Galois space:

* For related remarks, see posts of May 26-28, 2012.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fashion Statements

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 3:28 AM

From Monday in this journal —

Related news this morning —

Anne Hollander, Scholar of Style, Dies at 83
By William Yardley in The New York Times ,
10:26 PM ET July 8, 2014

Anne Hollander, a historian who helped elevate
the study of art and dress by revealing the often striking
relationships between the two, died on Sunday at her home
in Manhattan. She was 83.

The cause was cancer, said her husband, the philosopher
Thomas Nagel.
. . . .
She received a degree in art history from Barnard College
in 1952. The next year she married the poet John Hollander.
Their marriage ended in divorce.

Related material from this journal last year —

“Be serious, because
The stone may have contempt
For too-familiar hands”

Adrienne Rich in “The Diamond Cutters” (1955)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Toward Freedom

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 PM

A search for “Dark Fields of the Republic,”
an F. Scott Fitzgerald phrase mentioned in
the previous post, yields a book by that title.

“When does a life bend toward freedom?
grasp its direction?”
— Adrienne Rich on page 275 of
Later Poems Selected and New: 1971-2012

The book’s author, Adrienne Rich, died at 82 on
March 27, 2012. See that date in this journal.

See also the following:

The Diamond Cutters
by Adrienne Rich (1955)

However legendary,
The stone is still a stone,
though it had once resisted
The weight of Africa,
The hammer-blows of time
That wear to bits of rubble
The mountain and the pebble–
But not this coldest one.

Now, you intelligence
So late dredged up from dark
Upon whose smoky walls
Bison took fumbling form
Or flint was edged on flint–
Now, careful arriviste,
Delineate at will
Incisions in the ice.

Be serious, because
The stone may have contempt
For too-familiar hands,
And because all you do
Loses or gains by this:
Respect the adversary,
Meet it with tools refined,
And thereby set your price.

Be hard of heart, because
the stone must leave your hand.
Although you liberate
Pure and expensive fires
Fit to enamor Shebas,
Keep your desire apart.
Love only what you do,
And not what you have done.

Be proud, when you have set
The final spoke of flame
In that prismatic wheel,
And nothing’s left this day
Except to see the sun
Shine on the false and the true,
And know that Africa
will yield you more to do.

Monday, July 7, 2014

“‘Consider,’ said I…”

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 8:28 PM

Roger Cooke in The History of Mathematics: A Brief Course
(2nd ed., Wiley-Interscience, 2005)—

“Like all numbers, the number four is bound to occur
in many contexts.”

— Ch. 1: “The Origin and Prehistory of Mathematics,”
Part 3, “Symbols,” footnote 1, page 11.

As is the number 382:

Click the above image for some related material.


“Once the students are taken in by the story, it will be
the instructor’s job to elaborate on the historical
calculations and proofs.”

— Gary S. Stoudt, Professor of Mathematics,
Indiana U. of Pennsylvania, review of Cooke’s book
at the Mathematical Association of America

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Dark Fields of the Republic

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:00 PM

This post was suggested by today's previous post, Depth,
by Plato's Diamond, and by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein's
recent fanciful fiction about Plato.

Plato, Republic , Book II, Paul Shorey translation at Perseus

“Consider,” [382a] said I; “would a god wish to deceive, or lie, by presenting in either word or action what is only appearance?” “I don’t know,” said he. “Don’t you know,” said I, “that the veritable lie, if the expression is permissible, is a thing that all gods and men abhor?” “What do you mean?” he said. “This,” said I, “that falsehood in the most vital part of themselves, and about their most vital concerns, is something that no one willingly accepts, but it is there above all that everyone fears it.” “I don’t understand yet either.” “That is because you suspect me of some grand meaning,” [382b] I said; “but what I mean is, that deception in the soul about realities, to have been deceived and to be blindly ignorant and to have and hold the falsehood there, is what all men would least of all accept, and it is in that case that they loathe it most of all.” “Quite so,” he said.

Related material —

A meditation from the Feast of St. Francis, 2012 —

A post from Sept. 30, 2012, the reported date of  death
for British children's author Helen Nicoll —

The New Criterion  on the death of Hilton Kramer —

This uncredited translation of Plato is, Google Books tells us,
by "Francis MacDonald Cornfield."  The name is an error,
but the error is illuminating —

Signs Movie Stills: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Patricia Kalember, M. Night Shyamalan

Sunday, March 2, 2014


Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 11:00 AM

Raiders of the Lost  (Continued)

“Socrates: They say that the soul of man is immortal….”

From August 16, 2012

In the geometry of Plato illustrated below,
“the figure of eight [square] feet” is not ,  at this point
in the dialogue, the diamond in Jowett’s picture.

An 1892 figure by Jowett illustrating Plato’s Meno

A more correct version, from hermes-press.com —

Socrates: He only guesses that because the square is double, the line is double.Meno: True.

Socrates: Observe him while he recalls the steps in regular order. (To the Boy.) Tell me, boy, do you assert that a double space comes from a double line? Remember that I am not speaking of an oblong, but of a figure equal every way, and twice the size of this-that is to say of eight feet; and I want to know whether you still say that a double square comes from double line?

[Boy] Yes.

Socrates: But does not this line (AB) become doubled if we add another such line here (BJ is added)?

[Boy] Certainly.

Socrates: And four such lines [AJ, JK, KL, LA] will make a space containing eight feet?

[Boy] Yes.

Socrates: Let us draw such a figure: (adding DL, LK, and JK). Would you not say that this is the figure of eight feet?

[Boy] Yes.

Socrates: And are there not these four squares in the figure, each of which is equal to the figure of four feet? (Socrates draws in CM and CN)

[Boy] True.

Socrates: And is not that four times four?

[Boy] Certainly.

Socrates: And four times is not double?

[Boy] No, indeed.

Socrates: But how much?

[Boy] Four times as much.

Socrates: Therefore the double line, boy, has given a space, not twice, but four times as much.

[Boy] True.

Socrates: Four times four are sixteen— are they not?

[Boy] Yes.

As noted in the 2012 post, the diagram of greater interest is
Jowett’s incorrect  version rather than the more correct version
shown above. This is because the 1892 version inadvertently
illustrates a tesseract:

A 4×4 square version, by Coxeter in 1950, of  a tesseract

This square version we may call the Galois  tesseract.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Rotating the Facets

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

Previous post

"… her mind rotated the facts…."

Related material— hypercube rotation,* in the context
of rotational symmetries of the Platonic solids:

IMAGE- Count rotational symmetries by rotating facets. Illustrated with 'Plato's Dice.'

"I've heard of affairs that are strictly Platonic"

Song lyric by Leo Robin

* Footnote added on Dec. 26, 2013 —

 See Arnold Emch, "Triple and Multiple Systems, Their Geometric 
 Configurations and Groups
," Trans. Amer. Math. Soc.  31 (1929),
 No. 1, 25–42. 

 On page 42, Emch describes the above method of rotating a
 hypercube's 8 facets (i.e., three-dimensional cubes) to count
 rotational symmetries —

See also Diamond Theory in 1937.

Also on p. 42, Emch mentions work of Carmichael on a
Steiner system with the Mathieu group M11 as automorphism
group, and poses the problem of finding such systems and
groups that are larger. This may have inspired the 1931
discovery by Carmichael of the Steiner system S(5, 8, 24),
which has as automorphisms the Mathieu group M24 .

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Language Game

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 9:29 AM

In which Plato continues to thank the Academy.

From the Academy, a lead balloon for 9/11 —
continued from March First, 2002.

A search today for the name Eisenman
(see previous post) yields the following :

"We need a cameo from Plato, a safecracker,
a wrinkle or two to be ironed out, some ice,
some diamonds, and, above all, laughter
for this irony of ironies."

Jeffrey Kipnis, "Twisting the Separatrix,"
Assemblage  No. 14, April 1991, MIT Press

Monday, September 9, 2013

Viking Book

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 4:00 PM

For the late Billy Wilder, director of Ace in the Hole  (1951)

IMAGE- Book by Halvor Bodin on the art of Josefine Lyche and others. See halvorbodin.com.

Click image for a larger version.

See, too, this morning's quarter-to-three post, and The Vikings  (1958)—

The art by Josefine Lyche in the Bodin book shown 
above is, as the artist notes, based on my own work.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 11:00 AM

(Simplicity continued)

"Understanding a metaphor is like understanding a geometrical
truth. Features of various geometrical figures or of various contexts
are pulled into revealing alignment with one another by  the
demonstration or the metaphor.

What is 'revealed' is not that the alignment is possible; rather,
that the alignment is possible reveals the presence of already-
existing shapes or correspondences that lay unnoticed. To 'see' a
proof or 'get' a metaphor is to experience the significance of the
correspondence for what the thing, concept, or figure is ."

— Jan Zwicky, Wisdom & Metaphor , page 36 (left)

Zwicky illustrates this with Plato's diamond figure
​from the Meno  on the facing page— her page 36 (right).

A more sophisticated geometrical figure—

Galois-geometry key to
Desargues' theorem:

   D   E   F
 S'  P Q R
 S  P' Q' R'
 O  P1 Q1 R1

For an explanation, see 
Classical Geometry in Light of Galois Geometry.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Vril Chick

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 4:30 AM

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

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

Compare to an image of Vril muse Maria Orsitsch.

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

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

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

(See also the original catalog page.)

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

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

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Friday, February 1, 2013

Get Quotes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 4:01 PM

For Tony Kushner fans:

For logic fans:

IMAGE- NY Times market quotes, American Express Gold Card ad, Kevin Spacey in 'House of Cards' ad

John Searle on Derrida:

In the box-diamond notation, the axiom Searle quotes is


"The euclidean property guarantees the truth of this." —Wikipedia

Linking to Euclid

Clicking on "euclidean" above yields another Wikipedia article

"In mathematics, Euclidean relations are a class of binary relations that satisfy a weakened form of transitivity that formalizes Euclid's 'Common Notion 1' in The Elements : things which equal the same thing also equal one another."

Verification: See, for instance, slides on modal logic at Carnegie Mellon University and modal logic at plato.stanford.edu.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Scholarship in 1961…

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Before Derrida's writings on Plato and on inscription

A remark by the late William Harris:

"Scholarship has many dark ages, and they do not all fall
in the safe confines of remote antiquity."

For more about Harris, see the previous post.

Discussing an approach to solving a geometrical problem 
from section 86e of the Meno , Harris wrote that

"… this is a very important element of method and purpose,
one which must be taken with great seriousness and respect.
In fact it is as good an example of the master describing for us
his method as Plato ever gives us. Tricked by the appearance
of brevity and unwilling to follow through Plato's thought on
the road to Euclid, we have garbled or passed over a unique
piece of philosophical information."

Harris, though not a geometer, was an admirable man.
His remark on the Meno  method is itself worthy of respect.

In memory of Harris, Plato, and pre-Derrida scholarship, here
are some pages from 1961 on the problem Harris discussed.

A pair of figures from the 1961 pages indicates how one view of the
section 86e problem (at right below) resembles the better-known 
demonstration earlier in the Meno  of how to construct
a square of area 2 —

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Abstract Possibility

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 1:01 PM

Today's NY Times  "Stone Links" to philosophy include
a link to a review of a collection of Hilary Putnam's papers.

Related material, from Putnam's "What is Mathematical
" (Historia Mathematica  2 (1975): 529-543)—

"In this paper I argue that mathematics should be interpreted realistically – that is, that mathematics makes assertions that are objectively true or false, independently of the human mind, and that something answers to such mathematical notions as ‘set’ and ‘function’. This is not to say that reality is somehow bifurcated – that there is one reality of material things, and then, over and above it, a second reality of ‘mathematical things’. A set of objects, for example, depends for its existence on those objects: if they are destroyed, then there is no longer such a set. (Of course, we may say that the set exists ‘tenselessly’, but we may also say the objects exist ‘tenselessly’: this is just to say that in pure mathematics we can sometimes ignore the important difference between ‘exists now’ and ‘did exist, exists now, or will exist’.) Not only are the ‘objects’ of pure mathematics conditional upon material objects; they are, in a sense, merely abstract possibilities. Studying how mathematical objects behave might better be described as studying what structures are abstractly possible and what structures are not abstractly possible."

See also Wittgenstein's Diamond and Plato's Diamond.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Treasure Hunt

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 3:17 PM

The Mathematical Association of America (MAA)
newsmagazine Focus  for December 2012/January 2013: 

The Babylonian tablet on the cover illustrates the
"Mathematical Treasures" article.

A search for related material yields a Babylonian tablet
reproduced in a Brazilian weblog on July 4, 2012:

In that weblog on the same day, July 4, 2012,
another post quotes at length my Diamond Theory page,
starting with the following image from that page—

IMAGE- Plato's Diamond

That Brazilian post recommends use of geometry together
with Tarot and astrology. I do not concur with this 
recommendation, but still appreciate the mention.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Defining the Contest…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — m759 @ 5:48 AM

Chomsky vs. Santa

From a New Yorker  weblog yesterday—

"Happy Birthday, Noam Chomsky." by Gary Marcus—

"… two titans facing off, with Chomsky, as ever,
defining the contest"

"Chomsky sees himself, correctly, as continuing
a conversation that goes back to Plato, especially
the Meno dialogue, in which a slave boy is
revealed by Socrates to know truths about
geometry that he hadn’t realized he knew."

See Meno Diamond in this journal. For instance, from 
the Feast of Saint Nicholas (Dec. 6th) this year—

The Meno Embedding


For related truths about geometry, see the diamond theorem.

For a related contest of language theory vs. geometry,
see pattern theory (Sept. 11, 16, and 17, 2012).

See esp. the Sept. 11 post,  on a Royal Society paper from July 2012
claiming that

"With the results presented here, we have taken the first steps
in decoding the uniquely human  fascination with visual patterns,
what Gombrich* termed our ‘sense of order.’ "

The sorts of patterns discussed in the 2012 paper —

IMAGE- Diamond Theory patterns found in a 2012 Royal Society paper

"First steps"?  The mathematics underlying such patterns
was presented 35 years earlier, in Diamond Theory.

* See Gombrich-Douat in this journal.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Formal Pattern

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 4:28 PM

(Continued from In Memoriam (Aug. 22), Chapman's Homer (Aug. 23),
and this morning's Colorful Tale)

An informative, but undated, critique of the late Marvin W. Meyer
by April D. DeConick at the website of the Society of Biblical Literature
appeared in more popular form in an earlier New York Times
op-ed piece, "Gospel Truth," dated Dec. 1, 2007.

A check, in accord with Jungian synchronicity, of this  journal
on that date yields a quotation from Plato's Phaedrus  —

"The soul or animate being has the care of the inanimate."

Related verses from T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets

"The detail of the pattern is movement."

"So we moved, and they, in a formal pattern."

Some background from pure mathematics (what the late
William P. Thurston called "the theory of formal patterns")—

The Animated Diamond Theorem.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Raiders of the Lost Tesseract

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

(Continued from August 13. See also Coxeter Graveyard.)

Coxeter exhuming Geometry

Here the tombstone says
"GEOMETRY… 600 BC — 1900 AD… R.I.P."

In the geometry of Plato illustrated below,
"the figure of eight [square] feet" is not , at this point
in the dialogue, the diamond in Jowett's picture.

An 1892 figure by Jowett illustrating Plato's Meno

Jowett's picture is nonetheless of interest for
its resemblance to a figure drawn some decades later
by the Toronto geometer H. S. M. Coxeter.

A similar 1950 figure by Coxeter illustrating a tesseract

For a less scholarly, but equally confusing, view of the number 8,
see The Eight , a novel by Katherine Neville.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Child’s Play (continued*)

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 7:59 PM

You and I …

we are just like a couple of tots…



Born 1973 in Bergen. Lives and works in Oslo.


2000 – 2004 National Academy of Fine Arts, Oslo
1998 – 2000 Strykejernet Art School, Oslo, NO
1995 – 1998 Philosophy, University of Bergen

University of Bergen—

 It might therefore seem that the idea of digital and analogical systems as rival fundaments to human experience is a new suggestion and, like digital technology, very modern. In fact, however, the idea is as old as philosophy itself (and may be much older). In his Sophist, Plato sets out the following ‘battle’ over the question of ‘true reality’:

What we shall see is something like a battle of gods and giants going on between them over their quarrel about reality [γιγαντομαχία περì της ουσίας] ….One party is trying to drag everything down to earth out of heaven and the unseen, literally grasping rocks and trees in their hands, for they lay hold upon every stock and stone and strenuously affirm that real existence belongs only to that which can be handled and offers resistance to the touch. They define reality as the same thing as body, and as soon as one of the opposite party asserts that anything without a body is real, they are utterly contemptuous and will not listen to another word. (…) Their adversaries are very wary in defending their position somewhere in the heights of the unseen, maintaining with all their force that true reality [την αληθινήν ουσίαν] consists in certain intelligible and bodiless forms. In the clash of argument they shatter and pulverize those bodies which their opponents wield, and what those others allege to be true reality they call, not real being, but a sort of moving process of becoming. On this issue an interminable battle is always going on between the two camps [εν μέσω δε περι ταυτα απλετος αμφοτέρων μάχη τις (…) αει συνέστηκεν]. (…) It seems that only one course is open to the philosopher who values knowledge and truth above all else. He must refuse to accept from the champions of the forms the doctrine that all reality is changeless [and exclusively immaterial], and he must turn a deaf ear to the other party who represent reality as everywhere changing [and as only material]. Like a child begging for 'both', he must declare that reality or the sum of things is both at once [το όν τε και το παν συναμφότερα] (Sophist 246a-249d).

The gods and the giants in Plato’s battle present two varieties of the analog position. Each believes that ‘true reality’ is singular, that "real existence belongs only to" one side or other of competing possibilities. For them, difference and complexity are secondary and, as secondary, deficient in respect to truth, reality and being (την αληθινήν ουσίαν, το όν τε και το παν). Difference and complexity are therefore matters of "interminable battle" whose intended end for each is, and must be (given their shared analogical logic), only to eradicate the other. The philosophical child, by contrast, holds to ‘both’ and therefore represents the digital position where the differentiated two yet belong originally together. Here difference, complexity and systematicity are primary and exemplary.

It is an unfailing mark of the greatest thinkers of the tradition, like Plato, that they recognize the digital possibility and therefore recognize the principal difference of it from analog possibilities.

— Cameron McEwen, "The Digital Wittgenstein,"
    The Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen

* See that phrase in this journal.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Poetry and Thought*

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 10:30 AM

* Title courtesy of George Steiner.
   For the "thought" part, see Plato's diamond
   in last night's Mathematical Imagery.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Thing Itself

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 11:29 AM

Suggested by an Oct. 18 piece in the Book Bench section
of the online New Yorker  magazine—



Related material suggested by the "Shouts and Murmurs" piece
in The New Yorker , issue dated Oct. 24, 2011—

"a series of e-mails from a preschool teacher planning to celebrate
the Day of the Dead instead of Halloween…"

A search for Coxeter + Graveyard in this journal yields…

Coxeter exhuming Geometry

Here the tombstone says "GEOMETRY… 600 BC — 1900 AD… R.I.P."

A related search for Plato + Tombstone yields an image from July 6, 2007…

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/061019-Tombstones.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Here Plato's poems to Aster suggested
the "Star and Diamond" tombstone.

The eight-rayed star is an ancient symbol of Venus
and the diamond is from Plato's Meno .

The star and diamond are combined in a figure from
12 AM on September 6th, 2011—

The Diamond Star


See Configurations and Squares.

That webpage explains how Coxeter
united the diamond and the star.

Those who prefer narrative to mathematics may consult
a definition of the Spanish word lucero  from March 28, 2003.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:25 PM

From math16.com

Quotations on Realism
and the Problem of Universals:

"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. It structures Plato's (realist) reaction to the sophists (nominalists). What is often called 'postmodernism' is really just nominalism, colourfully presented as the doctrine that there is nothing except texts. It is the variety of nominalism represented in many modern humanities, paralysing appeals to reason and truth."
— Simon Blackburn, Think, Oxford University Press, 1999, page 268

"You will all know that in the Middle Ages there were supposed to be various classes of angels…. these hierarchized celsitudes are but the last traces in a less philosophical age of the ideas which Plato taught his disciples existed in the spiritual world."
— Charles Williams, page 31, Chapter Two, "The Eidola and the Angeli," in The Place of the Lion (1933), reprinted in 1991 by Eerdmans Publishing

For Williams's discussion of Divine Universals (i.e., angels), see Chapter Eight of The Place of the Lion.

"People have always longed for truths about the world — not logical truths, for all their utility; or even probable truths, without which daily life would be impossible; but informative, certain truths, the only 'truths' strictly worthy of the name. Such truths I will call 'diamonds'; they are highly desirable but hard to find….The happy metaphor is Morris Kline's in Mathematics in Western Culture (Oxford, 1953), p. 430."
— Richard J. Trudeau, The Non-Euclidean Revolution, Birkhauser Boston, 1987, pages 114 and 117

"A new epistemology is emerging to replace the Diamond Theory of truth. I will call it the 'Story Theory' of truth: There are no diamonds. People make up stories about what they experience. Stories that catch on are called 'true.' The Story Theory of truth is itself a story that is catching on. It is being told and retold, with increasing frequency, by thinkers of many stripes…. My own viewpoint is the Story Theory…. I concluded long ago that each enterprise contains only stories (which the scientists call 'models of reality'). I had started by hunting diamonds; I did find dazzlingly beautiful jewels, but always of human manufacture."
— Richard J. Trudeau, The Non-Euclidean Revolution, Birkhauser Boston, 1987, pages 256 and 259

Trudeau's confusion seems to stem from the nominalism of W. V. Quine, which in turn stems from Quine's appalling ignorance of the nature of geometry. Quine thinks that the geometry of Euclid dealt with "an emphatically empirical subject matter" — "surfaces, curves, and points in real space." Quine says that Euclidean geometry lost "its old status of mathematics with a subject matter" when Einstein established that space itself, as defined by the paths of light, is non-Euclidean. Having totally misunderstood the nature of the subject, Quine concludes that after Einstein, geometry has become "uninterpreted mathematics," which is "devoid not only of empirical content but of all question of truth and falsity." (From Stimulus to Science, Harvard University Press, 1995, page 55)
— S. H. Cullinane, December 12, 2000

The correct statement of the relation between geometry and the physical universe is as follows:

"The contrast between pure and applied mathematics stands out most clearly, perhaps, in geometry. There is the science of pure geometry, in which there are many geometries: projective geometry, Euclidean geometry, non-Euclidean geometry, and so forth. Each of these geometries is a model, a pattern of ideas, and is to be judged by the interest and beauty of its particular pattern. It is a map or picture, the joint product of many hands, a partial and imperfect copy (yet exact so far as it extends) of a section of mathematical reality. But the point which is important to us now is this, that there is one thing at any rate of which pure geometries are not pictures, and that is the spatio-temporal reality of the physical world. It is obvious, surely, that they cannot be, since earthquakes and eclipses are not mathematical concepts."
— G. H. Hardy, section 23, A Mathematician's Apology, Cambridge University Press, 1940

The story of the diamond mine continues
(see Coordinated Steps and Organizing the Mine Workers)— 

From The Search for Invariants (June 20, 2011):

The conclusion of Maja Lovrenov's 
"The Role of Invariance in Cassirer’s Interpretation of the Theory of Relativity"—

"… physical theories prove to be theories of invariants
with regard to certain groups of transformations and
it is exactly the invariance that secures the objectivity
of a physical theory."

— SYNTHESIS PHILOSOPHICA 42 (2/2006), pp. 233–241


Related material from Sunday's New York Times  travel section—

"Exhibit A is certainly Ljubljana…."

Monday, August 8, 2011

Diamond Theory vs. Story Theory (continued)

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 5:01 PM

Some background

Richard J. Trudeau, a mathematics professor and Unitarian minister, published in 1987 a book, The Non-Euclidean Revolution , that opposes what he calls the Story Theory of truth [i.e., Quine, nominalism, postmodernism] to what he calls the traditional Diamond Theory of truth [i.e., Plato, realism, the Roman Catholic Church]. This opposition goes back to the medieval "problem of universals" debated by scholastic philosophers.

(Trudeau may never have heard of, and at any rate did not mention, an earlier 1976 monograph on geometry, "Diamond Theory," whose subject and title are relevant.)

From yesterday's Sunday morning New York Times

"Stories were the primary way our ancestors transmitted knowledge and values. Today we seek movies, novels and 'news stories' that put the events of the day in a form that our brains evolved to find compelling and memorable. Children crave bedtime stories…."

Drew Westen, professor at Emory University

From May 22, 2009

Poster for 'Diamonds' miniseries on ABC starting May 24, 2009

The above ad is by
  Diane Robertson Design—

Credit for 'Diamonds' miniseries poster: Diane Robertson Design, London

Diamond from last night’s
Log24 entry, with
four colored pencils from
Diane Robertson Design:

Diamond-shaped face of Durer's 'Melencolia I' solid, with  four colored pencils from Diane Robertson Design
See also
A Four-Color Theorem.

For further details, see Saturday's correspondences
and a diamond-related story from this afternoon's
online New York Times.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Midnight in Oslo

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 6:00 PM

For Norway's Niels Henrik Abel (1802-1829)
on his birthday, August Fifth

(6 PM Aug. 4, Eastern Time, is 12 AM Aug. 5 in Oslo.)


Plato's Diamond

The above version by Peter Pesic is from Chapter I of his book Abel's Proof , titled "The Scandal of the Irrational." Plato's diamond also occurs in a much later mathematical story that might be called "The Scandal of the Noncontinuous." The story—


"These passages suggest that the Form is a character or set of characters common to a number of things, i.e. the feature in reality which corresponds to a general word. But Plato also uses language which suggests not only that the forms exist separately (χωριστά ) from all the particulars, but also that each form is a peculiarly accurate or good particular of its own kind, i.e. the standard particular of the kind in question or the model (παράδειγμα ) [i.e. paradigm ] to which other particulars approximate….

… Both in the Republic  and in the Sophist  there is a strong suggestion that correct thinking is following out the connexions between Forms. The model is mathematical thinking, e.g. the proof given in the Meno  that the square on the diagonal is double the original square in area."

– William and Martha Kneale, The Development of Logic , Oxford University Press paperback, 1985

Plato's paradigm in the Meno


Changed paradigm in the diamond theorem (2×2 case) —


Aspects of the paradigm change—

Monochrome figures to
   colored figures

Areas to

Continuous transformations to
   non-continuous transformations

Euclidean geometry to
   finite geometry

Euclidean quantities to
   finite fields

The 24 patterns resulting from the paradigm change—


Each pattern has some ordinary or color-interchange symmetry.

This is the 2×2 case of a more general result. The patterns become more interesting in the 4×4 case. For their relationship to finite geometry and finite fields, see the diamond theorem.

Related material: Plato's Diamond by Oslo artist Josefine Lyche.

Plato’s Ghost  evokes Yeats’s lament that any claim to worldly perfection inevitably is proven wrong by the philosopher’s ghost….”

— Princeton University Press on Plato’s Ghost: The Modernist Transformation of Mathematics  (by Jeremy Gray, September 2008)

"Remember me to her."

— Closing words of the Algis Budrys novel Rogue Moon .

Background— Some posts in this journal related to Abel or to random thoughts from his birthday.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Poetry and Physics

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 PM

One approach to the storied philosophers' stone, that of Jim Dodge in Stone Junction , was sketched in yesterday's Easter post. Dodge described a mystical "spherical diamond." The symmetries of the sphere form what is called in mathematics a Lie group . The "spherical" of Dodge therefore suggests a review of the Lie group Ein Garrett Lisi's poetic theory of everything.

A check of the Wikipedia article on Lisi's theory yields…


       Diamond and E8 at Wikipedia

Related material — Eas "a diamond with thousands of facets"—


Also from the New Yorker  article

“There’s a dream that underlying the physical universe is some beautiful mathematical structure, and that the job of physics is to discover that,” Smolin told me later. “The dream is in bad shape,” he added. “And it’s a dream that most of us are like recovering alcoholics from.” Lisi’s talk, he said, “was like being offered a drink.”

A simpler theory of everything was offered by Plato. See, in the Timaeus , the Platonic solids—

Platonic solids' symmetry groups

Figure from this journal on August 19th, 2008.
See also July 19th, 2008.

It’s all in Plato, all in Plato:
bless me, what do  they
teach them at these schools!”
— C. S. Lewis

Friday, April 22, 2011

Romancing the Hyperspace

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 7:59 PM

For the title, see Palm Sunday.

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

From this date (April 22) last year—

Image-- examples from Galois affine geometry

Richard J. Trudeau in The Non-Euclidean Revolution , chapter on "Geometry and the Diamond Theory of Truth"–

"… Plato and Kant, and most of the philosophers and scientists in the 2200-year interval between them, did share the following general presumptions:

(1) Diamonds– informative, certain truths about the world– exist.
(2) The theorems of Euclidean geometry are diamonds.

Presumption (1) is what I referred to earlier as the 'Diamond Theory' of truth. It is far, far older than deductive geometry."

Trudeau's book was published in 1987. The non-Euclidean* figures above illustrate concepts from a 1976 monograph, also called "Diamond Theory."

Although non-Euclidean,* the theorems of the 1976 "Diamond Theory" are also, in Trudeau's terminology, diamonds.

* "Non-Euclidean" here means merely "other than  Euclidean." No violation of Euclid's parallel postulate is implied.

Trudeau comes to reject what he calls the "Diamond Theory" of truth. The trouble with his argument is the phrase "about the world."

Geometry, a part of pure mathematics, is not  about the world. See G. H. Hardy, A Mathematician's Apology .

Friday, March 11, 2011

Now Lens

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 10:00 AM

A Story in Pictures

Errol Morris in The New York Times  on March 9

"If everything is incommensurable, then everything is seen through the lens of the present, the lens of now ."

"Borges concluded by quoting Chesterton, 'there is nothing more frightening than a labyrinth that has no center.' [72]"

Now Lens


Uncertified Copy


Del Toro


Plato's Diamond


Portrait of an Artist


Meanwhile, back at the Times


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Women’s History Month

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

Susanne for Suzanne

From pages 7-8 of William York Tindall’s Literary Symbolism  (Columbia U. Press, 1955)—

                                     ... According to Cassirer's Essay 
on Man, as we have seen, art is a symbolic form, parallel in respect 
of this to religion or science. Each of these forms builds up a universe 
that enables man to interpret and organize his experience; and each 
is a discovery, because a creation, of reality. Although similar in func- 
tion, the forms differ in the kind of reality built. Whereas science
builds it of facts, art builds it of feelings, intuitions of quality, and 
the other distractions of our inner life— and in their degrees so do 
myth and religion. What art, myth, and religion are, Cassirer con- 
fesses, cannot be expressed by a logical definition. 

Nevertheless, let us see what Clive Bell says about art. He calls 
it "significant form," but what that is he is unable to say. Having 
no quarrel with art as form, we may, however, question its signifi- 
cance. By significant he cannot mean important in the sense of 
having import, nor can he mean having the function of a sign; 
for to him art, lacking reference to nature, is insignificant. Since, 
however, he tells us that a work of art "expresses" the emotion of 
its creator and "provokes" an emotion in its contemplator,he seems 
to imply that his significant means expressive and provocative. The 
emotion expressed and provoked is an "aesthetic emotion," contem- 
plative, detached from all concerns of utility and from all reference. 

Attempting to explain Bell's significant form, Roger Fry, equally 
devoted to Whistler and art for art's sake, says that Flaubert's "ex- 
pression of the idea" is as near as he can get to it, but neither Flaubert 
nor Fry tells what is meant by idea. To "evoke" it, however, the artist 
creates an "expressive design" or "symbolic form," by which the 
spirit "communicates its most secret and indefinable impulses." 

Susanne Langer,who occupies a place somewhere between Fry 
and Cassirer, though nearer the latter, once said in a seminar that a 
work of art is an "unassigned syntactical symbol." Since this defini- 

End of page 7 

tion does not appear in her latest book, she may have rejected it, but 
it seems far more precise than Fry's attempt. By unassigned she prob- 
ably intends insignificant in the sense of lacking sign value or fixed 
reference; syntactical implies a form composed of parts in relation- 
ship to one another; and a symbol, according to Feeling and Form, 
is "any device whereby we are enabled to make an abstraction." Too 
austere for my taste, this account of symbol seems to need elaboration, 
which, to be sure, her book provides. For the present, however, taking 
symbol to mean an outward device for presenting an inward state, 
and taking unassigned and syntactical as I think she uses them, let 
us tentatively admire her definition of the work of art.



Oh, the red leaf looks to the hard gray stone
To each other, they know what they mean

— Suzanne Vega, “Song in Red and Gray

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 4:16 PM

"These passages suggest that the Form is a character or set of characters
common to a number of things, i.e. the feature in reality which corresponds
to a general word. But Plato also uses language which suggests not only
that the forms exist separately (χωριστά ) from all the particulars, but also
that each form is a peculiarly accurate or good particular of its own kind,
i.e. the standard particular of the kind in question or the model (παράδειγμα )
[i.e. paradigm ] to which other particulars approximate….

… Both in the Republic  and in the Sophist  there is a strong suggestion
that correct thinking is following out the connexions between Forms.
The model is mathematical thinking, e.g. the proof given in the Meno
that the square on the diagonal is double the original square in area."

— William and Martha Kneale, The Development of Logic,
Oxford University Press paperback, 1985

Plato's paradigm in the Meno


Changed paradigm in the diamond theorem (2×2 case) —


Aspects of the paradigm change* —

Monochrome figures to
colored figures

Areas to

Continuous transformations to
non-continuous transformations

Euclidean geometry to
finite geometry

Euclidean quantities to
finite fields

Some pedagogues may find handling all of these
conceptual changes simultaneously somewhat difficult.

* "Paradigm shift " is a phrase that, as John Baez has rightly pointed out,
should be used with caution. The related phrase here was suggested by Plato's
term παράδειγμα  above, along with the commentators' specific reference to
the Meno  figure that serves as a model. (For "model" in a different sense,
see Burkard Polster.) But note that Baez's own beloved category theory
has been called a paradigm shift.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Simplify (continued)

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

"Plato acknowledges how khora  challenges our normal categories
 of rational understanding. He suggests that we might best approach it
 through a kind of dream  consciousness."
  —Richard Kearney, quoted here yesterday afternoon

"You make me feel like I'm living a teenage dream."
 — Song at last night's Grammy awards

Image-- Richard Kiley with record collection in 'Blackboard Jungle,' 1955

Richard Kiley in "Blackboard Jungle" (1955)
Note the directive on the blackboard.

Quoted here last year on this date

Alexandre Borovik's Mathematics Under the Microscope  (American Mathematical Society, 2010)—

"Once I mentioned to Gelfand that I read his Functions and Graphs ; in response, he rather sceptically asked me what I had learned from the book. He was delighted to hear my answer: 'The general principle of always looking at the simplest possible example.'….

So, let us look at the principle in more detail:

Always test a mathematical theory on the simplest possible example…

This is a banality, of course. Everyone knows it; therefore, almost no one follows it."

Related material— Geometry Simplified and A Simple Reflection Group of Order 168.

"Great indeed is the riddle of the universe.
 Beautiful indeed is the source of truth."

– Shing-Tung Yau, Chairman,
Department of Mathematics, Harvard University

"Always keep a diamond in your mind."

King Solomon at the Paradiso

IMAGE-- Imaginary movie poster- 'The Galois Connection'- from stoneship.org

Image from stoneship.org

Monday, November 29, 2010

Philosopher’s Stone

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 3:30 PM

Happy Ending

Part I —

Star and Diamond: A Tombstone for Plato

Part II
Star and Diamond

IMAGE- The Diamond Star

(See previous post and
a note on design.)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Search for the Basic Picture

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 5:01 PM

(Click to enlarge.)


The above is the result of a (fruitless) image search today for a current version of Giovanni Sambin's "Basic Picture: A Structure for Topology."

That search was suggested by the title of today's New York Times  op-ed essay "Found in Translation" and an occurrence of that phrase in this journal on January 5, 2007.

Further information on one of the images above—


A search in this journal on the publication date of Giaquinto's Visual Thinking in Mathematics  yields the following—

Thursday July 5, 2007

m759 @ 7:11 PM

In defense of Plato’s realism

(vs. sophists’ nominalism– see recent entries.)

Plato cited geometry, notably in the Meno , in defense of his realism.
Consideration of the Meno 's diamond figure leads to the following:

The Eightfold Cube and its Inner Structure

For the Meno 's diamond figure in Giaquinto, see a review—


— Review by Jeremy Avigad (preprint)

Finite geometry supplies a rather different context for Plato's  "basic picture."

In that context, the Klein four-group often cited by art theorist Rosalind Krauss appears as a group of translations in the mathematical sense. (See Kernel of Eternity and Sacerdotal Jargon at Harvard.)

The Times  op-ed essay today notes that linguistic  translation "… is not merely a job assigned to a translator expert in a foreign language, but a long, complex and even profound series of transformations that involve the writer and reader as well."

The list of four-group transformations in the mathematical  sense is neither long nor complex, but is apparently profound enough to enjoy the close attention of thinkers like Krauss.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Beyond the Limits

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 7:29 PM

"Human perception is a saga of created reality. But we were devising entities beyond the agreed-upon limits of recognition or interpretation…."

– Don DeLillo, Point Omega

Capitalized, the letter omega figures in the theology of two Jesuits, Teilhard de Chardin and Gerard Manley Hopkins. For the former, see a review of DeLillo. For the latter, see James Finn Cotter's Inscape  and "Hopkins and Augustine."

The lower-case omega is found in the standard symbolic representation of the Galois field GF(4)—

GF(4) = {0, 1, ω, ω2}

A representation of GF(4) that goes beyond the standard representation—


Here the four diagonally-divided two-color squares represent the four elements of GF(4).

The graphic properties of these design elements are closely related to the algebraic properties of GF(4).

This is demonstrated by a decomposition theorem used in the proof of the diamond theorem.

To what extent these theorems are part of "a saga of created reality" may be debated.

I prefer the Platonist's "discovered, not created" side of the debate.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Darkness at Seven

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 7:00 PM

Hoax and Hype 
Four Years Ago Today—

Image-- Fanfiction-- Harry Potter and Plato's Diamond

There is Plato's diamond—

Image-- Plato's Diamond

and there is diamond theory

Google Search result for 'Diamond Theory'

… but there is no "Plato's Diamond Theory."

See, however, today's noon entry, "Plato's Code."

"You gotta be true to your code…" —Sinatra

Plato’s Code

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 PM

John Allen Paulos yesterday at Twitter

"Plato's code cracked? http://bit.ly/ad6k1S
Fascinating if not a hoax or hype."

The story that Paulos linked to is about a British
academic who claims to have found some
symbolism hidden in Plato's writings by
splitting each into 12 parts and correlating
the 12 parts with semitones of a musical scale.

I prefer a different approach to Plato that is
related to the following hoax and hype—


From Dan Brown's novel Angels & Demons  (2000)

IMAGE- Illuminati Diamond, pp. 359-360 in 'Angels & Demons,' Simon & Schuster Pocket Books 2005, 448 pages, ISBN 0743412397


Image-- From 'Alchemy,' by Holmyard, the diamond of Aristotle's 4 elements and 4 qualities

This  four-elements diamond summarizes the classical
four elements and four qualities neatly, but some scholars
might call the figure "hype" since it deals with an academically
disreputable subject, alchemy, and since its origin is unclear.

For the four elements' role in some literature more respectable
than Dan Brown's, see Poetry's Bones.

Although an author like Brown might spin the remarks
below into a narrative—  The Plato Code — they are
neither  hoax nor hype.


Image-- From the Diamond in Plato's Meno to Modern Finite Geometry



For related non-hoax, non-hype remarks, see
The Rational Enterprise: Logos in Plato's Theaetetus,
by Rosemary Desjardins.

Those who prefer  hoax and hype in their philosophy may consult
the writings of, say, Barbara Johnson, Rosalind Krauss, and—
in yesterday's NY Times's  "The Stone" columnNancy Bauer.

Image-- The Philosophers' Stone according to The New York Times

— The New York Times

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Bright Star (continued)

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 9:00 AM

From Epiphany 2010

The more industrious scholars will derive considerable pleasure from describing how the art-history professors and journalists of the period 1945-75, along with so many students, intellectuals, and art tourists of every sort, actually struggled to see the paintings directly, in the old pre-World War II way, like Plato's cave dwellers watching the shadows, without knowing what had projected them, which was the Word."

– Tom Wolfe, The Painted Word

Pennsylvania Lottery yesterday—

Saturday, June 26, 2010: Midday 846, Evening 106


Yesterday's morning post, Plato's Logos
Yesterday's evening post, Bold and Brilliant Emergence

Poem 846, Oxford Book of English Verse, 1919:
"bird-song at morning and star-shine at night"

Poem 106, Oxford Book of English Verse, 1919:
" All labourers draw home at even"

The number 106 may also be read as 1/06, the date of Epiphany.

Posts on Epiphany 2010—

9:00 AM    Epiphany Revisited
12:00 PM  Brightness at Noon
9:00 PM    The Difference

Related material—


Star and Diamond: A Tombstone for Plato

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Plato’s Logos

Filed under: Uncategorized — 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.)


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

From Plato to Finite Geometry

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:30 PM

A supplement to yesterday's post on variation of an eidos

Image-- Plato's diamond and a modern version from finite geometry


Monday, June 7, 2010

Inspirational Combinatorics

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 9:00 AM

According to the Mathematical Association of America this morning, one purpose of the upcoming June/July issue of the Notices of the American Mathematical Society  is

"…to stress the inspirational role of combinatorics…."

Here is another contribution along those lines—

Eidetic Variation

from page 244 of
From Combinatorics to Philosophy: The Legacy of  G.-C. Rota,
hardcover, published by Springer on August 4, 2009

(Edited by Ernesto Damiani, Ottavio D'Antona, Vincenzo Marra, and Fabrizio Palombi)

"Rota's Philosophical Insights," by Massimo Mugnai—

"… In other words, 'objectivism' is the attitude [that tries] to render a particular aspect absolute and dominant over the others; it is a kind of narrow-mindedness attempting to reduce to only one the multiple layers which constitute what we call 'reality.' According to Rota, this narrow-mindedness limits in an essential way even of [sic ] the most basic facts of our cognitive activity, as, for example, the understanding of a simple declarative sentence: 'So objectivism is the error we [make when we] persist in believing that we can understand what a declarative sentence means without a possible thematization of this declarative sentence in one of [an] endless variety of possible contexts' (Rota, 1991*, p. 155). Rota here implicitly refers to what, amongst phenomenologists is known as eidetic variation, i.e. the change of perspective, imposed by experience or performed voluntarily, from which to look at things, facts or sentences of the world. A typical example, proposed by Heidegger, in Sein und Zeit  (1927) and repeated many times by Rota, is that of the hammer."

* Rota, G.-C. (1991), The End of Objectivity: The Legacy of Phenomenology. Lectures at MIT, Cambridge, MA, MIT Mathematics Department

The example of the hammer appears also on yesterday's online New York Times  front page—


Related material:

From The Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy

Eidetic variation — an alternative expression for eidetic reduction

Eidetic reduction

Husserl's term for an intuitive act toward an essence or universal, in contrast to an empirical intuition or perception. He also called this act an essential intuition, eidetic intuition, or eidetic variation. In Greek, eideo  means “to see” and what is seen is an eidos  (Platonic Form), that is, the common characteristic of a number of entities or regularities in experience. For Plato, eidos  means what is seen by the eye of the soul and is identical with essence. Husserl also called this act “ideation,” for ideo  is synonymous with eideo  and also means “to see” in Greek. Correspondingly, idea  is identical to eidos.

An example of eidos— Plato's diamond (from the Meno )—


For examples of variation of this eidos, see the diamond theorem.
See also Blockheads (8/22/08).

Related poetic remarks— The Trials of Device.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:00 AM

Photo caption in NY Times  today— a pianist "preforming" in 1967. (See today's previous post.)

The pianist's life story seems in part to echo that of Juliette Binoche in the film "Bleu." Binoche appeared in this journal yesterday, before I had seen the pianist in today's Times  obituaries. The Binoche appearance was related to the blue diamond in the film "Duelle " (Tuesday morning's post) and the saying of Heraclitus "immortals mortal, mortals immortal" (Tuesday afternoon's post).

This somewhat uncanny echo brings to mind Nabokov

Life Everlasting—based on a misprint!
I mused as I drove homeward: take the hint,
And stop investigating my abyss?
But all at once it dawned on me that this
Was the real point, the contrapuntal theme;
Just this: not text, but texture; not the dream
But topsy-turvical coincidence,
Not flimsy nonsense, but a web of sense.

Whether sense or nonsense, the following quotation seems relevant—

"Archetypes function as living dispositions, ideas in the Platonic sense, that preform and continually influence our thoughts and feelings and actions." –C.G. Jung in Four Archetypes: Mother, Rebirth, Spirit, Trickster, the section titled "On the Concept of the Archetype."

That section is notable for its likening of Jungian archetypes to Platonic ideas and to axial systems of crystals. See also "Cubist Tune," March 18 —


Blue tesseract cover<br /><br />
art, blue crystals in 'Bleu,' lines from 'Blue Guitar'

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mere Geometry

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 1:00 PM

Image-- semeion estin ou meros outhen

Image-- Euclid's definition of 'point'

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Mereology (from the Greek μερος, ‘part’) is the theory of parthood relations: of the relations of part to whole and the relations of part to part within a whole. Its roots can be traced back to the early days of philosophy, beginning with the Presocratics….”

A non-Euclidean* approach to parts–

Image-- examples from Galois affine geometry

Corresponding non-Euclidean*
projective points —

Image-- The smallest Galois geometries

Richard J. Trudeau in The Non-Euclidean Revolution, chapter on “Geometry and the Diamond Theory of Truth”–

“… Plato and Kant, and most of the philosophers and scientists in the 2200-year interval between them, did share the following general presumptions:

(1) Diamonds– informative, certain truths about the world– exist.
(2) The theorems of Euclidean geometry are diamonds.

Presumption (1) is what I referred to earlier as the ‘Diamond Theory’ of truth. It is far, far older than deductive geometry.”

Trudeau’s book was published in 1987. The non-Euclidean* figures above illustrate concepts from a 1976 monograph, also called “Diamond Theory.”

Although non-Euclidean,* the theorems of the 1976 “Diamond Theory” are also, in Trudeau’s terminology, diamonds.

* “Non-Euclidean” here means merely “other than  Euclidean.” No violation of Euclid’s parallel postulate is implied.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday August 20, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 4:00 PM


From David Lavery’s weblog today

Kierkegaard on Sophists:

“If the natural sciences had been developed in Socrates’ day as they are now, all the sophists would have been scientists. One would have hung a microscope outside his shop in order to attract customers, and then would have had a sign painted saying: Learn and see through a giant microscope how a man thinks (and on reading the advertisement Socrates would have said: that is how men who do not think behave).”

— Søren Kierkegaard, Journals, edited and translated by Alexander Dru

To anyone familiar with Pirsig’s classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, the above remarks of Kierkegaard ring false. Actually, the sophists as described by Pirsig are not at all like scientists, but rather like relativist purveyors of postmodern literary “theory.” According to Pirsig, the scientists are like Plato (and hence Socrates)– defenders of objective truth.

Pirsig on Sophists:

“The pre-Socratic philosophers mentioned so far all sought to establish a universal Immortal Principle in the external world they found around them. Their common effort united them into a group that may be called Cosmologists. They all agreed that such a principle existed but their disagreements as to what it was seemed irresolvable. The followers of Heraclitus insisted the Immortal Principle was change and motion. But Parmenides’ disciple, Zeno, proved through a series of paradoxes that any perception of motion and change is illusory. Reality had to be motionless.

The resolution of the arguments of the Cosmologists came from a new direction entirely, from a group Phædrus seemed to feel were early humanists. They were teachers, but what they sought to teach was not principles, but beliefs of men. Their object was not any single absolute truth, but the improvement of men. All principles, all truths, are relative, they said. ‘Man is the measure of all things.’ These were the famous teachers of ‘wisdom,’ the Sophists of ancient Greece.

To Phaedrus, this backlight from the conflict between the Sophists and the Cosmologists adds an entirely new dimension to the Dialogues of Plato. Socrates is not just expounding noble ideas in a vacuum. He is in the middle of a war between those who think truth is absolute and those who think truth is relative. He is fighting that war with everything he has. The Sophists are the enemy.

Now Plato’s hatred of the Sophists makes sense. He and Socrates are defending the Immortal Principle of the Cosmologists against what they consider to be the decadence of the Sophists. Truth. Knowledge. That which is independent of what anyone thinks about it. The ideal that Socrates died for. The ideal that Greece alone possesses for the first time in the history of the world. It is still a very fragile thing. It can disappear completely. Plato abhors and damns the Sophists without restraint, not because they are low and immoral people… there are obviously much lower and more immoral people in Greece he completely ignores. He damns them because they threaten mankind’s first beginning grasp of the idea of truth. That’s what it is all about.

The results of Socrates’ martyrdom and Plato’s unexcelled prose that followed are nothing less than the whole world of Western man as we know it. If the idea of truth had been allowed to perish unrediscovered by the Renaissance it’s unlikely that we would be much beyond the level of prehistoric man today. The ideas of science and technology and other systematically organized efforts of man are dead-centered on it. It is the nucleus of it all.

And yet, Phaedrus understands, what he is saying about Quality is somehow opposed to all this. It seems to agree much more closely with the Sophists.”

I agree with Plato’s (and Rebecca Goldstein’s) contempt for relativists. Yet Pirsig makes a very important point. It is not the scientists but rather the storytellers (not, mind you, the literary theorists) who sometimes seem to embody Quality.

As for hanging a sign outside the shop, I suggest (particularly to New Zealand’s Cullinane College) that either or both of the following pictures would be more suggestive of Quality than a microscope:

Alfred Bester covers showing 'primordial protomatter' (altered here) from 'Stars' and Rogue Winter from 'Deceivers'

For the “primordial protomatter”
in the picture at left, see
The Diamond Archetype.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wednesday August 5, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 11:30 AM


Word and Image

NYT obituary summaries for Charles Gwathmey and Edward Hall, morning of Aug. 5, 2009

From Hall's obituary

"Edward T. Hall, a cultural anthropologist
who pioneered the study of nonverbal
 communication and interactions between
members of different ethnic groups,
 died July 20 at his home in
 Santa Fe, N.M. He was 95."

NY Times piece quoted here on
 the date of Hall's death:

"July 20, 1969, was the moment NASA needed, more than anything else in this world, the Word. But that was something NASA's engineers had no specifications for. At this moment, that remains the only solution to recovering NASA's true destiny, which is, of course, to build that bridge to the stars."

— Tom Wolfe, author of The Right Stuff, an account of the Mercury Seven astronauts.

The Word according to St. John:

Jill St. John, star of 'Diamonds are Forever'


From Hall's obituary:

"Mr. Hall first became interested in
space and time as forms of cultural
 expression while working on
Navajo and Hopi reservations
 in the 1930s."

Log24, July 29

Changing Woman:

"Kaleidoscope turning…

Juliette Binoche in 'Blue'  The 24 2x2 Cullinane Kaleidoscope animated images

Shifting pattern within   
unalterable structure…"
— Roger Zelazny,  
Eye of Cat  

"We are the key."
Eye of Cat  

Update of about 4:45 PM 8/5:

Paul Newall, "Kieślowski's Three Colours Trilogy"

"Julie recognises the music of the busker outside playing a recorder as that of her husband's. When she asks him where he heard it, he replies that he makes up all sorts of things. This is an instance of a theory of Kieślowski's that 'different people, in different places, are thinking the same thing but for different reasons.' With regard to music in particular, he held what might be characterised as a Platonic view according to which notes pre-exist and are picked out and assembled by people. That these can accord with one another is a sign of what connects people, or so he believed."

The above photo of Juliette Binoche in Blue accompanying the quotations from Zelazny illustrates Kieślowski's concept, with graphic designs instead of musical notes. Some of the same designs are discussed in Abstraction and the Holocaust (Mark Godfrey, Yale University Press, 2007). (See the Log24 entries of June 11, 2009.)

Related material:

"Jeffrey Overstreet, in his book Through a Screen Darkly, comments extensively on Blue. He says these stones 'are like strands of suspended crystalline tears, pieces of sharp-edged grief that Julie has not been able to express.'….

Throughout the film the color blue crops up, highlighting the mood of Julie's grief. A blue light occurs frequently, when Julie is caught by some fleeting memory. Accompanied by strains of an orchestral composition, possibly her husband's, these blue screen shots hold for several seconds while Julie is clearly processing something. The meaning of this blue light is unexplained. For Overstreet, it is the spirit of reunification of broken things."

Martin Baggs at Mosaic Movie Connect Group on Sunday, March 15, 2009. (Cf. Log24 on that date.)

For such a spirit, compare Binoche's blue mobile in Blue with Binoche's gathered shards in Bee Season.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tuesday August 4, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:25 PM
High Noon

Images from Log24 on
December 10, 2006
Nobel Prize Day, and
the day after
  Kirk Douglas’s birthday

Kirk Douglas promoting his film 'Diamonds'

Kirk Douglas ad for
the film “Diamonds”

Motto of Plato's Academy: 'Let no one ignorant of geometry enter'

The 3x3 grid

Images from
Google News
   at noon today —

(Click for details.)

3x3 array of Cameron Douglas images from Google News, August 4, 2009

“The serpent’s eyes shine
    as he wraps around the vine…”

Don Henley on a California hotel

Monday, August 3, 2009

Monday August 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 7:11 AM
For Your Consideration

The Police, 'Synchronicity' album, detail of cover

LA Times yesterday:

Steven Miessner, keeper
of the Academy’s Oscars,
died of a heart attack at 48
on Wednesday, July 29, 2009:

LA Times obit for Steven Miessner, 'Keeper of the Oscars,' who died July 29, 2009

Click the above to enlarge.

Steve Miessner, keeper of the Oscars, on Feb. 21, 2009

Steve Miessner, the keeper of the Oscars,
packages the statues for transport

to Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles
in preparation for the 81st
 Academy Awards ceremony held
on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009
(Chris Carlson/AP).

From the date of
Miessner’s death

Adam and God (Sistine Chapel), with Jungian Self-Symbol and Ojo de Dios (The Diamond Puzzle)

From the following day:

Log24 on Thursday, July 30, 2009

Annals of Aesthetics, continued:

Academy Awards
for Cambridge

“First of all, I’d like
 to thank the Academy.”
Remark attributed to Plato

Arrest of Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., in Cambridge, Mass.

“A poem cannot exhaust reality,
  but it can arrest it.

At War with the Word:
   Literary Theory and
   Liberal Education
   by R. V. Young,
   Chapter One

“Who knows where madness lies?”

— Quoted here July 29, 2009
(the day the keeper of
the Oscars died)

Possible clues:

From Google News at about
7 AM ET Mon., Aug. 3, 2009:

Henry Louis Gates Jr. mulls moving over death threats

Boston Herald – Susan MiltonJessica Van Sack – ‎6 hours ago‎
CHILMARK – Black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. has received numerous death threats since he accused a white officer of

Death threats may make Gates move

The Daily Inquirer – ‎4 hours ago‎
Henry Louis Gates Jr. said yesterday that Harvard University suggested he move after receiving numerous death threats since he accused a white officer of

Gates: I’ve received death threats

NECN – ‎9 hours ago‎
Gates spoke at a book signing on Martha’s Vineyard. He also said that he has received death and bomb threats after the incident at his Cambridge home.

Black scholar says he’s able to joke about arrest

The Associated Press – Denise Lavoie – ‎17 hours ago‎
Gates said he received numerous threats after the incident, including an e-mail that read, “You should die, you’re a racist.” Gates has changed his e-mail

Gates grateful for island haven

Cape Cod Times – Susan Milton – ‎4 hours ago‎
As a result of death threats and bomb threats, he hasn’t returned to his Cambridge home, leased from Harvard University. The university has encouraged him

Gates makes public appearance after race debate

Worcester Telegram – Denise Lavoie – ‎20 hours ago‎
Gates, who spoke at a book signing on Martha’s Vineyard Sunday, says there also have been some serious moments. He says he received death and bomb threats

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thursday May 21, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 8:14 PM


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday March 17, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 11:07 AM
Deep Structures

The traditional 'Square of Opposition'

The Square of Oppositon
at Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy

The Square of Opposition diagram in its earliest known form

The Square of Opposition
in its original form

"The diagram above is from a ninth century manuscript of Apuleius' commentary on Aristotle's Perihermaneias, probably one of the oldest surviving pictures of the square."

Edward Buckner at The Logic Museum

From the webpage "Semiotics for Beginners: Paradigmatic Analysis," by Daniel Chandler:

The Semiotic Square of Greimas

The Semiotic Square

"The structuralist semiotician Algirdas Greimas introduced the semiotic square (which he adapted from the 'logical square' of scholastic philosophy) as a means of analysing paired concepts more fully (Greimas 1987,* xiv, 49). The semiotic square is intended to map the logical conjunctions and disjunctions relating key semantic features in a text. Fredric Jameson notes that 'the entire mechanism… is capable of generating at least ten conceivable positions out of a rudimentary binary opposition' (in Greimas 1987,* xiv). Whilst this suggests that the possibilities for signification in a semiotic system are richer than the either/or of binary logic, but that [sic] they are nevertheless subject to 'semiotic constraints' – 'deep structures' providing basic axes of signification."

* Greimas, Algirdas (1987): On Meaning: Selected Writings in Semiotic Theory (trans. Paul J Perron & Frank H Collins). London: Frances Pinter

Another version of the semiotic square:

Rosalind Krauss's version of the semiotic square, which she calls the Klein group

Krauss says that her figure "is, of course, a Klein Group."

Here is a more explicit figure representing the Klein group:

The Klein Four-Group, illustration by Steven H. Cullinane

There is also the logical
    diamond of opposition

The Diamond of Opposition (figure from Wikipedia)

A semiotic (as opposed to logical)
diamond has been used to illustrate
remarks by Fredric Jameson,
 a Marxist literary theorist:

"Introduction to Algirdas Greimas, Module on the Semiotic Square," by Dino Felluga at Purdue University–

The semiotic square has proven to be an influential concept not only in narrative theory but in the ideological criticism of Fredric Jameson, who uses the square as "a virtual map of conceptual closure, or better still, of the closure of ideology itself" ("Foreword"* xv). (For more on Jameson, see the [Purdue University] Jameson module on ideology.)

Greimas' schema is useful since it illustrates the full complexity of any given semantic term (seme). Greimas points out that any given seme entails its opposite or "contrary." "Life" (s1) for example is understood in relation to its contrary, "death" (s2). Rather than rest at this simple binary opposition (S), however, Greimas points out that the opposition, "life" and "death," suggests what Greimas terms a contradictory pair (-S), i.e., "not-life" (-s1) and "not-death" (-s2). We would therefore be left with the following semiotic square (Fig. 1):

A semiotic 'diamond of opposition'

As Jameson explains in the Foreword to Greimas' On Meaning, "-s1 and -s2"—which in this example are taken up by "not-death" and "not-life"—"are the simple negatives of the two dominant terms, but include far more than either: thus 'nonwhite' includes more than 'black,' 'nonmale' more than 'female'" (xiv); in our example, not-life would include more than merely death and not-death more than life.

* Jameson, Fredric. "Foreword." On Meaning: Selected Writings in Semiotic Theory. By Algirdas Greimas. Trans. Paul J. Perron and Frank H. Collins. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1976.

"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."

The Gameplayers of Zan, by M.A. Foster

"For every kind of vampire,
there is a kind of cross."
— Thomas Pynchon,
 Gravity's Rainbow

Crosses used by semioticians
to baffle their opponents
are illustrated above.

Some other kinds of crosses,
and another kind of opponent:

Monday, July 11, 2005

for St. Benedict's Day

Click on either of the logos below for religious meditations– on the left, a Jewish meditation from the Conference of Catholic Bishops; on the right, an Aryan meditation from Stormfront.org.

Logo of Conference of Catholic Bishops     Logo of Stormfront website

Both logos represent different embodiments of the "story theory" of truth, as opposed to the "diamond theory" of truth.  Both logos claim, in their own ways, to represent the eternal Logos of the Christian religion.  I personally prefer the "diamond theory" of truth, represented by the logo below.

Illustration of the 2x2 case of the diamond theorem

See also the previous entry
(below) and the entries
  of 7/11, 2003.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

and Narrative

Click on the title
for a narrative about

Nikolaos K. Artemiadis

Nikolaos K. Artemiadis,
 (co-) author of

Artemiadis's 'History of Mathematics,' published by the American Mathematical Society

From Artemiadis's website:
1986: Elected Regular Member
of the Academy of Athens
1999: Vice President
of the Academy of Athens
2000: President
of the Academy of Athens
Seal of the American Mathematical Society with picture of Plato's Academy

"First of all, I'd like to
   thank the Academy…"

— Remark attributed to Plato

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday January 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 11:07 AM
Two-Part Invention

This journal on
October 8, 2008,
at noon:

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

— H. S. M. Coxeter, introduction to Richard J. Trudeau’s remarks on the “story theory” of truth as opposed to the “diamond theory” of truth in The Non-Euclidean Revolution

Trudeau’s 1987 book uses the phrase “diamond theory” to denote the philosophical theory, common since Plato and Euclid, that there exist truths (which Trudeau calls “diamonds”) that are certain and eternal– for instance, the truth in Euclidean geometry that the sum of a triangle’s angles is 180 degrees.

Insidehighered.com on
the same day, October 8, 2008,
at 12:45 PM EDT

“Future readers may consider Updike our era’s Mozart; Mozart was once written off as a too-prolific composer of ‘charming nothings,’ and some speak of Updike that way.”

— Comment by BPJ

“Birthday, death-day–
 what day is not both?”
John Updike

Updike died on January 27.
On the same date,
Mozart was born.


Mr. Best entered,
tall, young, mild, light.
He bore in his hand
with grace a notebook,
new, large, clean, bright.

— James Joyce, Ulysses,
Shakespeare and Company,
Paris, 1922, page 178

Related material:

Dec. 5, 2004 and

Inscribed carpenter's square

Jan. 27-29, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday January 11, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 6:24 AM
A Minor Metaphor

                     … we know that we use
Only the eye as faculty, that the mind
Is the eye, and that this landscape of the mind

Is a landscape only of the eye; and that
We are ignorant men incapable
Of the least, minor, vital metaphor….

— Wallace Stevens, “Crude Foyer”

                                               … So, so,
O son of man, the ignorant night, the travail
Of early morning, the mystery of the beginning
Again and again,
                         while History is unforgiven.

— Delmore Schwartz,
  “In the Naked Bed, in Plato’s Cave

For those who prefer
stories to truth,
I recommend the
blue matrices of
Marion Zimmer Bradley’s
Darkover stories.
Bradley also wrote
The Mists of Avalon.

Happy birthday to
David Wolper,
who produced the
TV version of Mists.

Related material:
Diamonds Are Forever

Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday December 29, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:21 PM
The Gift

Plato's Diamond

Robert Stone,
A Flag for Sunrise:

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

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

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

For further details, click on the diamond.


Related narratives:

Today’s online Times on
the Saturday, Dec. 27,
death of an artist:

Robert Graham obituary, NY Times, 12/29/08

“Dale Wasserman… the playwright responsible for two Broadway hits of the 1960s, ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ and ‘Man of La Mancha,’ died on Sunday [December 21, 2008] at his home in Paradise Valley, Ariz., near Phoenix….

Mr. Wasserman wrote more than 75 scripts for television, the stage and the movies, including screenplays for ‘The Vikings’ (1958), a seafaring epic with Tony Curtis and Kirk Douglas, and ‘A Walk With Love and Death’ (1969), a John Huston film set in 14th-century Europe….

He feuded with… John Huston, who gave the lead female role in ‘Walk’ to his teenage daughter, Anjelica, against Mr. Wasserman’s wishes. And he never attended ceremonies to receive the awards he won.”

Accepting for Mr. Wasserman:
Mr. Graham’s widow,
Anjelica Huston

Anjelica Huston and Jack Nicholson


Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday November 10, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 10:31 AM

Frame Tales

From June 30

("Will this be on the test?")

Frame Tale One:

Summer Reading

The King and the Corpse: Tales of the Soul's Conquest of Evil

Tales of the Soul's
Conquest of Evil

Frame Tale Two:

Barry Sharples
on his version of the
  Kaleidoscope Puzzle


"A possible origin of this puzzle is found in a dialogue
 between Socrates and Meno written by the Greek philosopher,
 Plato, where a square is drawn inside
a square such that
the blue square is twice the area  of the yellow square.

Plato's Diamond

Colouring the triangles produces a starting pattern
which is a one-diamond figure made up of four tiles
and there are 24 different possible arrangements."

Twenty-four Variations on a Theme of Plato

The King and the Corpse  —

"The king asked, in compensation for his toils during this strangest
of all the nights he had ever known, that the twenty-four riddle tales
told him by the specter, together with the story of the night itself,
should be made known over the whole earth
and remain eternally famous among men."

Frame Tale Three:

Finnegans Wake

"The quad gospellers may own the targum
but any of the Zingari shoolerim may pick a peck
of kindlings yet from the sack of auld hensyne."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wednesday October 8, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Serious Numbers

A Yom Kippur

"When times are mysterious
Serious numbers
Will always be heard."
— Paul Simon,
"When Numbers Get Serious"

"There is a pleasantly discursive treatment of Pontius Pilate's unanswered question 'What is truth?'"

— H. S. M. Coxeter, introduction to Richard J. Trudeau's remarks on the "story theory" of truth as opposed to the "diamond theory" of truth in The Non-Euclidean Revolution

Trudeau's 1987 book uses the phrase "diamond theory" to denote the philosophical theory, common since Plato and Euclid, that there exist truths (which Trudeau calls "diamonds") that are certain and eternal– for instance, the truth in Euclidean geometry that the sum of a triangle's angles is 180 degrees. As the excerpt below shows, Trudeau prefers what he calls the "story theory" of truth–

"There are no diamonds. People make up stories about what they experience. Stories that catch on are called 'true.'"

(By the way, the phrase "diamond theory" was used earlier, in 1976, as the title of a monograph on geometry of which Coxeter was aware.)

Richard J. Trudeau on the 'Story Theory' of truth

Excerpt from
The Non-Euclidean Revolution

What does this have to do with numbers?

Pilate's skeptical tone suggests he may have shared a certain confusion about geometric truth with thinkers like Trudeau and the slave boy in Plato's Meno. Truth in a different part of mathematics– elementary arithmetic– is perhaps more easily understood, although even there, the existence of what might be called "non-Euclidean number theory"– i.e., arithmetic over finite fields, in which 1+1 can equal zero– might prove baffling to thinkers like Trudeau.

Trudeau's book exhibits, though it does not discuss, a less confusing use of numbers– to mark the location of pages. For some philosophical background on this version of numerical truth that may be of interest to devotees of the Semitic religions on this evening's High Holiday, see Zen and Language Games.

For uses of numbers that are more confusing, see– for instance– the new website The Daily Beast and the old website Story Theory and the Number of the Beast.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesday August 19, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 8:30 AM
Three Times

"Credences of Summer," VII,

by Wallace Stevens, from
Transport to Summer (1947)

"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."

Stevens does not say what object he is discussing.

One possibility —

Bertram Kostant, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at MIT, on an object discussed in a recent New Yorker:

"A word about E(8). In my opinion, and shared by others, E(8) is the most magnificent 'object' in all of mathematics. It is like a diamond with thousands of facets. Each facet offering a different view of its unbelievable intricate internal structure."

Another possibility —

The 4x4 square

  A more modest object —
the 4×4 square.

Update of Aug. 20-21 —

Symmetries and Facets

Kostant's poetic comparison might be applied also to this object.

The natural rearrangements (symmetries) of the 4×4 array might also be described poetically as "thousands of facets, each facet offering a different view of… internal structure."

More precisely, there are 322,560 natural rearrangements– which a poet might call facets*— of the array, each offering a different view of the array's internal structure– encoded as a unique ordered pair of symmetric graphic designs. The symmetry of the array's internal structure is reflected in the symmetry of the graphic designs. For examples, see the Diamond 16 Puzzle.

For an instance of Stevens's "three times" process, see the three parts of the 2004 web page Ideas and Art.

* For the metaphor of rearrangements as facets, note that each symmetry (rearrangement) of a Platonic solid corresponds to a rotated facet: the number of symmetries equals the number of facets times the number of rotations (edges) of each facet–

Platonic solids' symmetry groups

The metaphor of rearrangements as facets breaks down, however, when we try to use it to compute, as above with the Platonic solids, the number of natural rearrangements, or symmetries, of the 4×4 array. Actually, the true analogy is between the 16 unit squares of the 4×4 array, regarded as the 16 points of a finite 4-space (which has finitely many symmetries), and the infinitely many points of Euclidean 4-space (which has infinitely many symmetries).

If Greek geometers had started with a finite space (as in The Eightfold Cube), the history of mathematics might have dramatically illustrated Halmos's saying (Aug. 16) that

"The problem is– the genius is– given an infinite question, to think of the right finite question to ask. Once you thought of the finite answer, then you would know the right answer to the infinite question."

The Greeks, of course, answered the infinite questions first– at least for Euclidean space. Halmos was concerned with more general modern infinite spaces (such as Hilbert space) where the intuition to be gained from finite questions is still of value.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thursday August 14, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 4:19 AM
'Magister Ludi,' or 'The Glass Bead Game,' by Hermann Hesse
Magister Ludi
(The Glass Bead Game)
is now available for
download in pdf or
text format at Scribd.

“How far back the historian wishes to place the origins and antecedents of the Glass Bead Game is, ultimately, a matter of his personal choice. For like every great idea it has no real beginning; rather, it has always been, at least the idea of it. We find it foreshadowed, as a dim anticipation and hope, in a good many earlier ages. There are hints of it in Pythagoras, for example, and then among Hellenistic Gnostic circles in the late period of classical civilization. We find it equally among the ancient Chinese, then again at the several pinnacles of Arabic-Moorish culture; and the path of its prehistory leads on through Scholasticism and Humanism to the academies of mathematicians of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and on to the Romantic philosophies and the runes of Novalis’s hallucinatory visions. This same eternal idea, which for us has been embodied in the Glass Bead Game, has underlain every movement of Mind toward the ideal goal of a universitas litterarum, every Platonic academy, every league of an intellectual elite, every rapprochement between the exact and the more liberal disciplines, every effort toward reconciliation between science and art or science and religion. Men like Abelard, Leibniz, and Hegel unquestionably were familiar with the dream of capturing the universe of the intellect in concentric systems, and pairing the living beauty of thought and art with the magical expressiveness of the exact sciences. In that age in which music and mathematics almost simultaneously attained classical heights, approaches and cross-fertilizations between the two disciplines occurred frequently.”

 — Hermann Hesse

Author’s dedication:

to the Journeyers
to the East

Related material:

The Ring of the Diamond Theorem

Ring Theory

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday June 28, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 PM
The God Factor

NY Lottery June 23, 2008: Mid-day 322, Evening 000

The following poem of Emily Dickinson is quoted here in memory of John Watson Foster Dulles, a scholar of Brazilian history who died at 95 on June 23.  He was the eldest son of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, a nephew of Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles, brother of Roman Catholic Cardinal Avery Dulles, and a grandson of Presbyterian minister Allen Macy Dulles, author of The True Church.

I asked no other thing,   
No other was denied.   
I offered Being for it;   
The mighty merchant smiled.   
Brazil? He twirled a button,           
Without a glance my way:   
"But, madam, is there nothing else   
That we can show to-day?"

"He twirled a button…."

Plato's diamond figure from the 'Meno'

The above figure
of Plato
(see 3/22)
was suggested by
Lacan's diamond
Lacan's lozenge - said by some to symbolize Derrida's 'differance'
(losange or poinçon)
as a symbol —
according to Frida Saal
of Derrida's
which is, in turn,
"that which enables and
results from Being itself"
—  according to
Professor John Lye

I prefer Plato and Dulles
to Lacan and Lye.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wednesday April 30, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 10:30 AM
Lucy in the Sky
with Diamonds
and Sacred Heart

PARIS — Albert Hofmann, the mystical Swiss chemist who gave the world LSD, the most powerful psychotropic substance known, died Tuesday at his hilltop home near Basel, Switzerland. He was 102.

Related material:

Star and Diamond: A Tombstone for Plato

a film by Julie Taymor,
Across the Universe:

Across the Universe DVD

Detail of the
Strawberry Fields Forever
Sacred Heart:

Strawberry Fields Sacred Heart from 'Across the Universe'

A song:

Julie Taymor

Julie Taymor

Shinin’ like a diamond,
she had tombstones
in her eyes.

Album “The Dark,”
by Guy Clark

For related tombstones,
see May 16-19, 2006,
and April 19, 2008.

 Further background:
Art Wars for
Red October.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday April 27, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 8:28 AM
Happy Birthday
to the late
Gian-Carlo Rota,
mathematician and
scholar of philosophy

Rota* on his favorite philosopher:

“I believe Husserl to be the greatest philosopher of all times….

Intellectual honesty is the striking quality of Husserl’s writings. He wrote what he honestly believed to be true, neither more nor less. However, honesty is not clarity; as a matter of fact, honesty and clarity are at opposite ends. Husserl proudly refused to stoop to the demands of showmanship that are indispensable in effective communication.”

B.C. by Hart, April 27, 2008:  Discovery of the Wheel and of the Diamond

Related material:
The Diamond Theorem


* Gian-Carlo Rota, “Ten Remarks on Husserl and Phenomenology,” in O.K. Wiegand et al. (eds.), Phenomenology on Kant, German Idealism, Hermeneutics and Logic, pp. 89-97, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2000

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Sunday March 2, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 11:00 AM
The Well Wrought
Star and Diamond, an image based on Plato's poem to Aster: 'asteras eisathreis, aster emos...

Click on image
for details.

Jonathan D. Culler
in Deconstruction:

Culler on 'repetition and proliferation' vs. 'crystalline closure'
DILBERT, Sunday, March 2, 2008, on styles of refutation in debate

“The alternative to ‘crystalline closure’
is not, then, an endless and chaotic
‘repetition and proliferation,’ but a
*structured relationship of significance.”

The Old New Criticism and Its Critics,
by R. V. Young, Professor of English
at North Carolina State University

Friday, February 8, 2008

Friday February 8, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 8:06 AM

Prizes and Rewards

"… like the victors in the games   
collecting their prizes,
    we receive our reward…."
— Conclusion of
Plato's Republic

From The Harvard Crimson
front page on
Mardi Gras, 2008:

Harvard senior Matthew Di Pasquale
plans a new campus magazine called

New magazine 'Diamond' planned at Harvard
Click to enlarge

Related material:

The Crimson Passion:
 Drama at Mardi Gras

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thursday November 29, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 PM
A Long Story

From today's online NY Times:
Obituaries in the News


Published: [Wednesday]
November 28, 2007
Filed at 11:10 p.m. ET

Gennie DeWeese


BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Gennie DeWeese, an artist known for her landscape paintings and woodblock prints whose works are displayed at museums across the Northwest, died Monday [November 26, 2007]. She was 86.


DeWeese died at her studio south of Bozeman. Dahl Funeral Chapel confirmed her death.


Her first oil painting was of her dog, done when she was 12 years old.


In 1995, DeWeese received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from Montana State University, and she received the Montana Governor's Award for the Arts.

Robert M. Pirsig in
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

(April 1974) —

"The rhetoricians of ancient Greece were the first teachers in the history of the Western world. Plato vilified them in all his works to grind an axe of his own and since what we know about them is almost entirely from Plato they’re unique in that they’ve stood condemned throughout history without ever having their side of the story told. The Church of Reason that I talked about was founded on their graves. It’s supported today by their graves. And when you dig deep into its foundations you come across ghosts."

I look at my watch. It’s after two. "It’s a long story," I say.

"You should write all this down," Gennie says.

Quod erat

Star and Diamond: A Tombstone for Plato

For more information,
click on the black monolith.

Related material:

In the Details
Deep Beauty.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday October 14, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 11:00 AM
The Dipolar God

Steven H. Cullinane, 'The Line'

“Logos and logic, crystal hypothesis,
Incipit and a form to speak the word
And every latent double in the word….”

— Wallace Stevens,
   “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction

Yesterday’s meditation (“Simon’s Shema“) on the interpenetration of opposites continues:

Part I: The Jewel in the Lotus

“The fundamental conception of Tantric Buddhist metaphysics, namely, yuganaddha, signifies the coincidence of opposites.  It is symbolized by the conjugal embrace (maithuna or kama-kala) of a god and goddess or a Buddha and his consort (signifying karuna and sunyata or upaya and prajna, respectively), also commonly depicted in Tantric Buddhist iconography as the union of vajra (diamond sceptre) and padme (lotus flower).  Thus, yuganaddha essentially means the interpenetration of opposites or dipolar fusion, and is a fundamental restatement of Hua-yen theoretic structures.”

— p. 148 in “Part II: A Whiteheadian Process Critique of Hua-yen Buddhism,” in Process Metaphysics and Hua-Yen Buddhism: A Critical Study of Cumulative Penetration vs. Interpenetration (SUNY Series in Systematic Philosophy), by Steve Odin, State University of New York Press, 1982

Part II: The Dipolar God

And on p. 163 of Odin, op. cit., in “Part III: Theology of the Deep Unconscious: A Reconstruction of Process Theology,” in the section titled “Whitehead’s Dipolar God as the Collective Unconscious”–

“An effort is made to transpose Whitehead’s theory of the dipolar God into the terms of the collective unconscious, so that now the dipolar God is to be comprehended not as a transcendent deity, but the deepest dimension and highest potentiality of one’s own psyche.”

Part III: Piled High and Deep

Odin obtained his Ph.D. degree from the Department of Philosophy at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook in 1980. (See curriculum vitae (pdf).)

For an academic review of Odin’s book, see David Applebaum, Philosophy East and West, Vol. 34 (1984), pp. 107-108.

It is perhaps worth noting, in light of the final footnote of Mark D. Brimblecombe’s Ph.D. thesis “Dipolarity and Godquoted yesterday, that “tantra” is said to mean “loom.” For some less-academic background on the Tantric iconography Odin describes, see the webpage “Love and Passion in Tantric Buddhist Art.” For a fiction combining love and passion with the word “loom” in a religious context, see Clive Barker’s Weaveworld.  This fiction– which is, if not “supreme” in the Wallace Stevens sense, at least entertaining– may correspond to some aspects of the deep Jungian psychological reality discussed by Odin.

Happy Birthday,
Hannah Arendt

(Oct. 14, 1906-
Dec. 4, 1975)


Hannah (Arendt) and Martin (Heidegger) as portrayed in a play of that name

Actors portraying
Arendt and Heidegger

Click on image for details.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Saturday August 11, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 10:00 PM
Four Colours

The previous entry dealt with Plato's myth of the ring of Gyges that conferred invisibility. Another legendary ring, from Hermann Hesse, with some background from Carl Jung:

From C. G. Jung, Collected Works (Princeton U. Press), Volume 12– Psychology and Alchemy (1944)– Part II– "Individual Dream Symbolism in Relation to Alchemy"– Chapter 3, "The Symbolism of the Mandala"– as quoted in Jung, Dreams, published by Routledge, 2001– Page 265–

"… the dreamer is wandering about in a dark cave, where a battle is going on between good and evil. But there is also a prince who knows everything. He gives the dreamer a ring set with a diamond….

Visual impression (waking dream):

The dreamer is falling into the abyss. At the bottom there is a bear whose eyes gleam alternately in four colours: red, yellow, green, and blue. Actually it has four eyes that change into four lights. The bear disappears and the dreamer goes through a long dark tunnel. Light is shimmering at the far end. A treasure is there, and on top of it the ring with the diamond. It is said that this ring will lead him on a long journey to the east."

Hermann Hesse, The Journey to the East (1932):

"'… Despair is the result of each earnest attempt to go through life with virtue, justice, and understanding and to fulfil their requirements. Children live on one side of despair, the awakened on the other side. Defendant H. is no longer a child and is not yet fully awakened. He is still in the midst of despair. He will overcome it and thereby go through his second novitiate. We welcome him anew into the League, the meaning of which he no longer claims to understand. We give back to him his lost ring, which the servant Leo has kept for him.'

The Speaker then brought the ring, kissed me on the cheek and placed the ring on my finger. Hardly had I looked at the ring, hardly had I felt its metallic coolness on my fingers, when a thousand things occurred to me, a thousand inconceivable acts of neglect. Above all, it occurred to me that the ring had four stones at equal distances apart, and that it was a rule of the League and part of the vow to turn the ring slowly on the finger at least once a day, and at each of the four stones to bring to mind one of the four basic precepts of the vow. I had not only lost the ring and had not once missed it, but during all those dreadful years I had also no longer repeated the four basic precepts or thought of them. Immediately, I tried to say them again inwardly. I had an idea what they were, they were still within me, they belonged to me as does a name which one will remember in a moment but at that particular moment cannot be recalled. No, it remained silent within me, I could not repeat the rules, I had forgotten the wording. I had forgotten the rules; for many years I had not repeated them, for many years I had not observed them and held them sacred– and yet I had considered myself a loyal League brother.

The Speaker patted my arm kindly when he observed my dismay and deep shame."

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday August 10, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:31 AM

The Ring of Gyges

10:31:32 AM ET

Commentary by Richard Wilhelm
on I Ching Hexagram 32:

"Duration is… not a state of rest, for mere standstill is regression.
Duration is rather the self-contained and therefore self-renewing
movement of an organized, firmly integrated whole, taking place in
accordance with immutable laws and beginning anew at every ending."

Related material

The Ring of the Diamond Theorem

Jung and the Imago Dei

Log24 on June 10, 2007:


WHAT MAKES IAGO EVIL? some people ask. I never ask. —Joan Didion

Iago states that he is not who he is. —Mark F. Frisch

"Not Being There,"
by Christopher Caldwell
from next Sunday's
New York Times Magazine:

"The chance to try on fresh identities was the great boon that life online was supposed to afford us. Multiuser role-playing games and discussion groups would be venues for living out fantasies. Shielded by anonymity, everyone could now pass a 'second life' online as Thor the Motorcycle Sex God or the Sage of Wherever. Some warned, though, that there were other possibilities. The Stanford Internet expert Lawrence Lessig likened online anonymity to the ring of invisibility that surrounds the shepherd Gyges in one of Plato's dialogues. Under such circumstances, Plato feared, no one is 'of such an iron nature that he would stand fast in justice.'Time, along with a string of sock-puppet scandals, has proved Lessig and Plato right."

"The Boy Who Lived,"
by Christopher Hitchens
from next Sunday's
New York Times Book Review:

On the conclusion of the Harry Potter series:"The toys have been put firmly back in the box, the wand has been folded up, and the conjuror is discreetly accepting payment while the children clamor for fresh entertainments. (I recommend that they graduate to Philip Pullman, whose daemon scheme is finer than any patronus.)"

I, on the other hand,
recommend Tolkien…
or, for those who are
already familiar with
Tolkien, Plato– to whom
"The Ring of Gyges" may
serve as an introduction.

"It's all in Plato, all in Plato:
bless me, what do they
teach them at these schools!"
C. S. Lewis

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Saturday July 28, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 6:15 AM
The Third Cross

The Guardian, July 26,
on the late playwright
 George Tabori:

“… he triumphed again with The Goldberg Variations. Mr Jay, assisted by Goldberg, a concentration camp survivor, is rehearsing a montage of biblical scenes in Jerusalem. It is inspired satire, laced with Jewish and Christian polemics, sparkling wit and dazzlingly simple effects. For Golgotha a stagehand brings on three crosses. ‘Just two,’ says Jay. ‘The boy is bringing his own.’ Tabori often claimed that the joke was the most perfect literary form.”

Related material:

Log24 on
the date of
Tabori’s death

Harry Potter and Plato's Diamond
Click on image
for variations
 on the theme.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wednesday July 25, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 9:00 AM
The Comedy of
George Tabori

George Tabori

From AP “Obituaries in the News”–
Filed with The New York Times
at 11:16 p.m. ET July 24, 2007–

George Tabori

“BERLIN (AP) — Hungarian-born playwright and director George Tabori, a legend in Germany’s postwar theater world whose avant-garde works confronted anti-Semitism, died Monday [July 23, 2007]. He was 93.

Tabori, who as recently as three years ago dreamed of returning to stage to play the title role in Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear,’ died in his apartment near the theater, the Berliner Ensemble said Tuesday, noting that friends and family had accompanied him through his final days. No cause of death was given.

Born into a Jewish family in Budapest on May 24, 1914, Tabori fled in 1936 to London, where he started working for the British Broadcasting Corp., and became a British citizen. His father, and other members of his family, were killed at Auschwitz.

Tabori moved to Hollywood in the 1950s, where he worked as a scriptwriter, most notably co-writing the script for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1953 film, ‘I Confess.’

He moved to Germany in the 1970s and launched a theater career that spanned from acting to directing to writing. He used sharp wit and humor in his plays to examine the relationship between Germany and the Jews, as well as attack anti-Semitism.

Among his best-known works are ‘Mein Kampf,’ set in the Viennese hostel where Adolf Hitler lived from 1910-1913, and the ‘Goldberg Variations,’ both dark farces that poke fun at the Nazis.”

From Year of Jewish Culture:

“The year 2006 marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Jewish Museum in Prague.”

From the related page Programme (October-December):

Divadlo v Dlouhé
George Tabori: GOLDBERGOVSKÉ VARIACE / THE GOLDBERG VARIATIONS, 19 October, 7 p.m. A comedy on creation and martyrdom.”

Variations on
Birth and Death

From Log24 on the date of
the Prague production of the
Tabori “Goldberg Variations,”
an illustration in honor of
Sir Thomas Browne, who
was born, and died,
on that date:

Laves tiling

The above is from
Variable Resolution 4–k Meshes:
Concepts and Applications
by Luiz Velho and Jonas Gomes.

See also Symmetry Framed
and The Garden of Cyrus.

Variations on
the Afterlife

 From Log24
on the date of
Tabori’s death:


(Plato, Meno)

Plato's Diamond colored

and Variations:

Diamond Theory cover, 1976

Click on “variations” above
for some material on
the “Goldberg Variations”
of Johann Sebastian Bach.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Monday July 23, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 7:59 AM
Today’s Birthday:
Daniel Radcliffe
(“Harry Potter”)

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone DVD


(Plato, Meno)

Plato's Diamond colored

and Variations:

Diamond Theory cover, 1976
Click on picture for details.

“A diamond jubilance
beyond the fire,
That gives its power
to the wild-ringed eye”

— Wallace Stevens,
“The Owl in the Sarcophagus”

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Thursday July 5, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 7:11 PM

In Defense of
Plato’s Realism

(vs. sophists’ nominalism–
see recent entries.)

Plato cited geometry,
notably in the Meno,
in defense of his realism.
Consideration of the
Meno’s diamond figure
leads to the following:

The Eightfold Cube and its Inner Structure

Click on image for details.

As noted in an entry,
Plato, Pegasus, and
the Evening Star,

linked to
at the end of today’s
previous entry,
the “universals”
of Platonic realism
are exemplified by
the hexagrams of
the I Ching,
which in turn are
based on the seven
trigrams above and
on the eighth trigram,
of all yin lines,
not shown above:

Trigram of K'un, the Receptive

The Receptive


Update of Nov. 30, 2013:

From  a little-known website in Kuala Lumpur:
(Click to enlarge.)

The remarks on Platonic realism are from Wikipedia.
The eightfold cube is apparently from this post.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thursday June 21, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 4:30 PM

Schopenhauer on the Kernel of Eternity

Philos Website

“Ich aber, hier auf dem objektiven Wege, bin jetzt bemüht, das Positive der Sache nachzuweisen, daß nämlich das Ding an sich von der Zeit und Dem, was nur durch sie möglich ist, dem Entstehen und Vergehen, unberührt bleibt, und daß die Erscheinungen in der Zeit sogar jenes rastlos flüchtige, dem Nichts zunächst stehende Dasein nicht haben könnten, wenn nicht in ihnen ein Kern aus der Ewigkeit* wäre. Die Ewigkeit ist freilich ein Begriff, dem keine Anschauung zum Grunde liegt: er ist auch deshalb bloß negativen Inhalts, besagt nämlich ein zeitloses Dasein. Die Zeit ist demnach ein bloßes Bild der Ewigkeit, ho chronos eikôn tou aiônos,** wie es Plotinus*** hat: und ebenso ist unser zeitliches Dasein das bloße Bild unsers Wesens an sich. Dieses muß in der Ewigkeit liegen, eben weil die Zeit nur die Form unsers Erkennens ist: vermöge dieser allein aber erkennen wir unser und aller Dinge Wesen als vergänglich, endlich und der Vernichtung anheimgefallen.”

*    “a kernel of eternity
**  “Time is the image of eternity.”
*** “wie es Plotinus hat”–
       Actually, not Plotinus, but Plato,
       according to Diogenes Laertius.

Related material:

Time Fold,

J. N. Darby,
On the Greek Words for
Eternity and Eternal

(aion and aionios),”

Carl Gustav Jung, Aion,
which contains the following
four-diamond figure,

Jung's four-diamond figure

and Jung and the Imago Dei.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tuesday May 22, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 7:11 AM
Jewel in the Crown

A fanciful Crown of Geometry

The Crown of Geometry
(according to Logothetti
in a 1980 article)

The crown jewels are the
Platonic solids, with the
icosahedron at the top.

Related material:

"[The applet] Syntheme illustrates ways of partitioning the 12 vertices of an icosahedron into 3 sets of 4, so that each set forms the corners of a rectangle in the Golden Ratio. Each such rectangle is known as a duad. The short sides of a duad are opposite edges of the icosahedron, and there are 30 edges, so there are 15 duads.

Each partition of the vertices into duads is known as a syntheme. There are 15 synthemes; 5 consist of duads that are mutually perpendicular, while the other 10 consist of duads that share a common line of intersection."

— Greg Egan, Syntheme

Duads and synthemes
(discovered by Sylvester)
also appear in this note
from May 26, 1986
(click to enlarge):


Duads and Synthemes in finite geometry

The above note shows
duads and synthemes related
to the diamond theorem.

See also John Baez's essay
"Some Thoughts on the Number 6."
That essay was written 15 years
ago today– which happens
to be the birthday of
Sir Laurence Olivier, who,
were he alive today, would
be 100 years old.

Olivier as Dr. Christian Szell

The icosahedron (a source of duads and synthemes)

"Is it safe?"

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sunday April 22, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 8:31 PM
continued from
March 25, 2006

In honor of Scarlett Johansson's recent London films "Match Point" and "Scoop," here is a link to an entry of Women's History Month, 2006, with a discussion of an exhibition of the works of artist Liza Lou at London's White Cube Gallery.  That entry includes the following illustrations:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060325-WhiteCube.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

This work might aptly be
  retitled "Brick Shithouse."

Related material:

The artist's self-portrait

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060325-LizaLouSelfPortrait.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

See also this morning's entry

"She's a brick… house…
The lady's stacked
   and that's a fact,
Ain't holdin' nothin' back."

— and last year's entry
on this date:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060422-Johansson1.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

"Her wallet's filled with pictures,
She gets 'em one by one."

The bricks and "white cube"
above and in this morning's entry
may be contrasted with the
bricks of Diamonds and Whirls
and the cube of On Beauty.

  Poetic allusions such as these
may help provide
entertainment in the afterlife
for Beavis, Butt-Head, and
other inmates of Plato's Cave:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070328-PlatoCave.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

"The Garden of Eden is behind us
and there is no road back to innocence;
we can only go forward."

— Anne Morrow Lindbergh,
Earth Shine, p. xii

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Tuesday January 23, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 PM
Quine vs. Kierkegaard

“The most prominent critic
of the modal notions is Quine.
Throughout his career, he has
argued against the use of notions
like necessity and possibility.”

— Michael J. Loux,
Note 1 of Chapter 5,
“The Necessary and the Possible,”
in Metaphysics:
A Contemporary Introduction

(Routledge, second edition,
January 1, 2002)

Personality is a synthesis of
possibility and necessity.”

— Soren Kierkegaard,
The Sickness Unto Death

Related material:

Plato, Pegasus,
and the Evening Star

Diamonds Are Forever

Dream a Little Dream

Update of 3:45 PM:

From Arts & Letters Daily
this afternoon–

“Existentialism is not all gloom,
even if Heidegger looks pretty sour
in those photos. It’s a philosophy
that America needs now, says
the late Robert Solomon…

See also Jan. 2,
the date of
Solomon’s death
in Switzerland,
and click on the
following symbol
from that date:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070103-DoubleCross.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Tuesday January 9, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 9:00 PM
Logos and Logic
(private, cut from prev. entry)

The diamond is used in modal logic to symbolize possibility.

  The 3×3 grid may also be used
to illustrate “possibility.”  It leads,
as noted at finitegeometry.org, to
the famed “24-cell,” which may be
pictured either as the diamond
figure from Plato’s Meno

The image “http://www.log24.com/theory/images/poly-24cell-sm.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Click for details.

  — or as a figure
with 24 vertices:

The image “http://www.log24.com/theory/images/poly-24cell-02sm.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Click for details.

The “diamond” version of the
24-cell seems unrelated to the
second version that shows all
vertices and edges, yet the
second version is implicit,
or hidden, in the first.
Hence “possibility.”

Neither version of the 24-cell
seems related in any obvious
way to the 3×3 grid, yet both
versions are implicit,
or hidden, in the grid.
Hence “possibility.”

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Saturday December 2, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 1:29 AM

Venus at
St. Anne's

In honor of
the film "Bobby,"
now playing.

("Venus at St. Anne's"
is the title of the final
chapter of
the C. S. Lewis classic
That Hideous Strength.)

Star and Diamond

Symbol of Venus
Symbol of Plato

Related symbols:

Marilyn Monroe

Representation of Plato's Academy

Click on pictures
for details related tp
the Feast of St. Anne
(July 26).

"The best theology today,
in its repudiation of a
rhetorical religious idealism,
finds itself in agreement
with a recurrent note
in contemporary poetry….

We keep coming back
and coming back/
To the real: to the hotel
instead of the hymns/
That fall upon it
out of the wind.  We seek/
… Nothing beyond reality.
Within it/
the spirit’s alchemicana….

(From 'An Ordinary Evening
in New Haven,'
in The Collected Poems
of Wallace Stevens….

… Not grim/
Reality, but reality grimly seen….


— "The Church's
New Concern with the Arts
by Amos N. Wilder,
Hollis Professor
of Divinity, Emeritus,
at Harvard Divinity School,
in Christianity and Crisis,
February 18, 1957.




"All the truth in the world
adds up to one big lie."

— Dylan, "Things Have Changed"

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wednesday November 22, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Windmill and Diamond

From “Today in History,”
by The Associated Press:

On this date:

In 1965, the musical
“Man of La Mancha”
opened in New York.

In 1975, Juan Carlos
was proclaimed
King of Spain.

Today’s birthdays:

… Movie director
Arthur Hiller is 83….

Hiller directed the 1972 film
of “Man of La Mancha.”

A quotation from that film:

“When life itself seems lunatic,
who knows where madness lies?”

Adapted from Log24 entries of
Jan. 5, 2003, and Feb. 1, 2003:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06B/061122-TimeEternity.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

One can approach these symbols in either a mathematical or a literary fashion. For a mathematical discussion of the symbols’ structure, see Theme and Variations. Those who prefer literary discussions may make up their own stories.

“Plato is wary of all forms of rapture other than reason’s. He is most deeply leery of, because himself so susceptible to, the literary imagination. He speaks of it as a kind of holy madness or intoxication and goes on to link it to Eros, another derangement that joins us, but very dangerously, with the gods.”
Rebecca Goldstein in
    The New York Times,
    December 16, 2002 
“It’s all in Plato, all in Plato;
bless me, what do they
teach them at these schools?”
— C. S. Lewis in
The Narnia Chronicles

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Tuesday October 31, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:00 PM
To Announce a Faith

From 7/07, an art review from The New York Times:

Endgame Art?
It's Borrow, Sample and Multiply
in an Exhibition at Bard College

"The show has an endgame, end-time mood….

I would call all these strategies fear of form…. the dismissal of originality is perhaps the oldest ploy in the postmodern playbook. To call yourself an artist at all is by definition to announce a faith, however unacknowledged, in some form of originality, first for yourself, second, perhaps, for the rest of us.

Fear of form above all means fear of compression– of an artistic focus that condenses experiences, ideas and feelings into something whole, committed and visually comprehensible."

— Roberta Smith

It is doubtful that Smith
 would consider the
following "found" art an
example of originality.

It nevertheless does
"announce a faith."

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/061031-PAlottery2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.


"First for yourself"

Today's mid-day
Pennsylvania number:

See Log24 on 7/07
and the above review.

"Second, perhaps,
for the rest of us"

Today's evening
Pennsylvania number:

This number is an
example of what the
reviewer calls "compression"–

"an artistic focus that condenses
 experiences, ideas and feelings
into something
whole, committed
 and visually comprehensible."


See (for instance)

Joan Didion's writings
(1160 pages, 2.35 pounds)

on "the shifting phantasmagoria
which is our actual experience."


See Plato.


See A Wrinkle in Time.


The automorphisms
of the tesseract
form a group
of order 384.


See the discussions of
groups of degree 16 in
R. D. Carmichael's classic
Introduction to the Theory
of Groups of Finite Order

"Visually comprehensible"

See "Diamond Theory in 1937,"
an excerpt from which
is shown below.

The image “http://www.log24.com/theory/images/Carmichael440abbrev.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The "faith" announced by
the above lottery numbers
on All Hallows' Eve is
perhaps that of the artist
Madeleine L'Engle:

"There is such a thing
as a tesseract.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Wednesday July 26, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 7:20 PM

Venus at St. Anne’s
(Title of the closing chapter
of That Hideous Strength)

Star and Diamond

Symbol of Venus
Symbol of Plato

“What do they
teach them
   at these schools?”
— C. S. Lewis

Today is the
feast of St. Anne.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tuesday July 11, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 9:11 PM

Not Crazy Enough?

Some children of the sixties may feel that today’s previous two entries, on Syd Barrett, the Crazy Diamond, are not crazy enough.  Let them consult the times of those entries– 2:11 and 8:15– and interpret those times, crazily, as dates: 2/11 and 8/15.

This brings us to Stephen King territory– apparently the natural habitat of Syd Barrett.

See Log24 on a 2/11, Along Came a Dreamcatcher, and Log24 on an 8/15, The Line.

From 8/15, a remark of Plato:

“There appears to be a sort of war of Giants and Gods going on…”

(Compare with the remarks by Abraham Cowley for Tom Stoppard’s recent birthday.)

From 2/11, two links: Halloween Meditations  and We Are the Key.

From Dreamcatcher (the film and the book):

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060211-Freeman2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060324-Dreamcatcher.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

For Syd Barrett as Duddits,

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060711-Duddits.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

see Terry Kirby on Syd Barrett
(edited– as in Stephen King
and the New Testament
for narrative effect):

“He appeared as the Floyd performed the song ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond.’ It contains the words: ‘Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun. Shine on you crazy diamond. Now there’s a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky.’

At first, they didn’t recognise the man, whose head and eyebrows were shaved….

But this was the ‘crazy diamond’ himself: Syd Barrett, the subject of the song….

When Roger Waters saw his old friend, he broke down….

Rick Wright, the keyboards player, later told an interviewer:

… ‘Roger [Waters] was in tears, I think I was; we were both in tears. It was very shocking… seven years of no contact and then to walk in while we’re actually doing that particular track. I don’t know – coincidence, karma, fate, who knows? But it was very, very, very powerful.'”

Remarks suitable for Duddits’s opponent, Mister Gray, may be found in the 1994 Ph.D. thesis of Noel Gray.

“I refer here to Plato’s utilisation in the Meno of graphic austerity as the tool to bring to the surface, literally and figuratively, the inherent presence of geometry in the mind of the slave.”

Plato’s Diamond

Shine on, gentle Duddits.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Wednesday May 17, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 4:29 AM


From today’s New York Times:


“Jiri Frel, a mercurial and eccentric curator who helped build the J. Paul Getty Museum into a major center for Greek and Roman art but resigned after revelations about unscrupulous acquisition practices, died on April 29. He was 82…. a well-regarded expert in Greek tombstones….”

News story

“ATHENS, May 16 — After four hours of talks here with the Greek culture minister, the director of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles said Tuesday that he would press for the return of some of the Getty’s most prized ancient artifacts to Greece…. Greece is seeking the repatriation of a… tombstone….”

From a photo accompanying the obituary:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060517-Window.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060517-StarAndDiamond.bmp” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

To Aster, from Plato

Asteras eisathreis, Aster emos.
Eithe genoimen ouranos,
‘os pollois ommasin eis se blepo.

You gaze at stars, my Star.
Would that I were born the starry sky,
that I with many eyes might gaze at you.

Related material:

Log24 entries of Dec. 31, 2002

Why Me?

Plato’s Diamond

The Halmos Tombstone

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Tuesday April 25, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 3:09 PM

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

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

A Serious Position

“‘Teitelbaum,’ in German,
is ‘date palm.'”
Generations, Jan. 2003   

“In Hasidism, a mystical brand
of Orthodox Judaism, the grand rabbi
is revered as a kinglike link to God….”

Today’s New York Times obituary
of Rabbi Moses Teitelbaum,
who died on April 24, 2006
(Easter Monday in the
Orthodox Church

From Nextbook.org, “a gateway to Jewish literature, culture, and ideas”:

NEW BOOKS: 02.16.05
Proofs and Paradoxes
Alfred Teitelbaum changed his name to Tarski in the early 20s, the same time he changed religions, but when the Germans invaded his native Poland, the mathematician was in California, where he remained. His “great achievement was his audacious assault on the notion of truth,” says Martin Davis, focusing on the semantics and syntax of scientific language. Alfred Tarski: Life and Logic, co-written by a former student, Solomon Feferman, offers “remarkably intimate information,” such as abusive teaching and “extensive amorous involvements.”

From Wikipedia, an unsigned story:

“In 1923 Alfred Teitelbaum and his brother Wacław changed their surnames to Tarski, a name they invented because it sounded very Polish, was simple to spell and pronounce, and was unused. (Years later, he met another Alfred Tarski in northern California.) The Tarski brothers also converted to Roman Catholicism, the national religion of the Poles. Alfred did so, even though he was an avowed atheist, because he was about to finish his Ph.D. and correctly anticipated that it would be difficult for a Jew to obtain a serious position in the new Polish university system.”

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060425-Tarski.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Alfred Tarski

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060424-Crimson2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

See also
The Crimson Passion.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Monday March 13, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 1:01 PM
Christ at the
Lapin Agile

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060313-WasleyChrist1.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The Christ by Wasley,
on wall under his right arm
the Picasso painting.”

Le Républicain Lorrain du 14 janvier 2001

Le Lapin Agile veille sur la Butte (par Michel Genson)

24 décembre 1900. Dans son atelier glacial du Bateau Lavoir, à  flanc de la colline de Montmartre, Picasso se frotte les yeux. C’est bien Wasley, son ami Wasley, qu’il aperçoit traversant la place Ravignan, courbé sous le poids d’un grand Christ en croix. Le sculpteur titube et s’en va gravissant un à un les escaliers qui mènent au sommet de la Butte, direction la rue des Saules. Car l’œuvre est destinée aux murs du petit estaminet où la bande a trouvé asile, pour y échanger chaque soir des refrains, bocks et vaticinations les plus folles. La bande, c’est à dire Utrillo, Max Jacob, Modigliani et les autres… Un siècle et un souffle de légende plus tard, le même Christ blanc occupe toujours la même place, sous les lumières tamisées du Lapin Agile. À l’abri sous son aisselle droite, l’autoportrait de Picasso en Arlequin a été authentique en son temps. Jusqu’au jour où le grand Frédé, tenancier mythique du lieu, s’est gratté la barbe avant de le céder à un amateur suédois de passage. Depuis l’original a fait le voyage du MAM (Modern Art Museum) de New-York, et la Butte se contente d’une copie.

Pour le reste, rien a changé ou presque pour le doyen des cabarets parisiens. Ni le décor, ni l’esprit. L’incroyable patine noire des murs, posée là par des lustres de tabagies rigolardes ou inspirées, rappelle au générique les voix des habituées de jadis, Apollinaire, Carco, Dullin, Couté, puis Pierre Brasseur, et plus proches de nous encore d’autres débutants, Caussimon, Brassens, François Billetdoux… La liste exhaustive serait impossible à dresser de tous ceux qui ont émargé au livre d’or du Lapin Agile.
« En haut de la rue Saint-Vincent… » La goualante roule sa rime chaotique sur le pavé de la Butte. Au carrefour de la rue des Saules, la façade est avenante, sans apprêts, avec son acacia dans la cour, et cette étrange dénomination, née des amours burlesques entre l’imagination d’un dessinateur et les facéties des usagers. En 1875, André Gill, caricaturiste ami de Rimbaud, croque en effet, pour l’enseigne de l’ancien Cabaret des Assassins, un lapin facétieux sautant d’une marmite. Le temps d’un jeu de mots et le Lapin à Gill gagne son brevet d’agilité. L’épopée commence, que perpétue Yves Mathieu, aujourd’hui propriétaire, mémoire et continuateur d’une histoire somme toute unique. Histoire, qui, pour l’anecdote, faillit se terminer prématurément, sous la pioche des démolisseurs. Vers 1900, les bicoques du maquis montmartrois doivent laisser place à un grand projet immobilier. C’est Aristide Bruant qui sauvera in extremis le cabaret. Il achète l’établissement, laisse Frédé dans les murs qu’il revendra pour « un prix amical » à Paulo, le fils du même Frédé. Lequel Paulo n’est autre que le beau-père de l’actuel patron : « C’est un truc de famille. J’ai commencé à chanter ici en 48, égrène Yves Mathieu. Ensuite j’ai fait de l’opérette à la Gaîté Lyrique, de la revue aux Folies Bergères, je suis parti en Amérique… En revenant j’ai repris le cabaret, ma femme y chante, mes fils sont là, ils apprennent le métier… C’est comme le cirque, c’est le même esprit. »

Malgré les tempêtes et les modes, le Lapin Agile dure et perdure donc. Et sa silhouette pour carte postale inspire toujours les peintres venus de partout. Comme si la halte faisait partie d’un parcours initiatique immuable. Deux pièces pour un minuscule rez-de-chaussée, dans la première, mi-loge, mi-vestiaire, une guitare attend son tour de projecteur. En l’occurrence un faisceau unique clouant le chanteur (l’humoriste ou le diseur) au rideau rouge de la seconde salle. Là où le spectacle se déroule depuis toujours, là où l’on s’accoude sans vergogne à la table d’Apollinaire, sous les lampes toujours drapées de rouge, pour écouter Ferré, Aragon, Mac Orlan ou les rengaines du Folklore populaire montmartrois. Yves Mathieu reste ferme, « ici, pas de sonorisation, pas de haut-parleur. Les gens découvrent la voix humaine. » Un refrain de Piaf glisse jusqu’au « laboratoire », le réduit où les autres artistes du programme dissertent sur l’état du monde. Les meubles de Bruant sont encore là, au hasard d’un coffre breton, un autre de marine, la façade d’un lit clos… « Des trucs d’origine » pour Yves Mathieu, qui malgré les vicissitudes du temps – il s’ingénie toute l’année durant à entretenir un établissement qui ne bénéficie d’aucun classement officiel, ni d’aucun subside – prêche haut et fort sa confiance, « parce qu’on aura plus que jamais besoin de racines, de repères, et qu’ici, c’est tout un pan de patrimoine qu’on défend à travers la chanson française, celle qu’on chante tous ensemble… » Le même secoue sa longue carcasse et se fend d’un sourire entendu : « Quand je descends à Paris, c’est pas pareil. Ici, le jour, c’est comme dans une église. Il y a le silence, et l’impression de ressentir les ondes laissées pare les cerveaux de ces types, là… » Aux murs, dessins ou tableaux laissés par Mac Orlan, Maclet ou Suzanne Valadon jouent avec l’ombre amicale.

Le Lapin Agile, 22 rue des Saules, 75018 Paris. Tel : 01 46 06 85 87


Note the above description
of Christmas Eve 1900,
and the remark that
“Ici, le jour, c’est comme
dans une église.”

A search for more material on
the Wasley Christ leads to
Princeton’s Nassau Church:

The fullness of time. I don’t have to call on the physicists among us to conclude that this fullness was not meant to be the end of the time line. That Paul must not have been talking about time in a linear way. Fullness. Complete. Almost perfect. Overflowing with grace. Just right. Fullness. As in “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” Fullness. As in “I pray that you may have the power to comprehend with all of the saints, what is the breadth, and length, and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Fullness. As in “For in Christ, all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” “When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman.”

I can remember Christmas Eve as a child….

— Christmas Eve, 2004,
    Sermon at Nassau Church by
    The Rev. Dr. David A. Davis

Related material from Log24:

Religious Symbolism at Princeton,
on the Nassau Church,

Counting Crows on
the Feast of St. Luke
(“Fullness… Multitude”),

The Quality of Diamond,
in memory of
Saint Hans-Georg Gadamer,
who died at 102
four years ago on this date,


Diamonds Are Forever.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Friday December 16, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 2:00 PM
Jesus vs. the Goddess:
A Brief Chronology

In 1946, Robert Graves published King Jesus, an historical novel based on the theory and Graves’ own historical conjecture that Jesus was, in fact, the rightful heir to the Israelite throne… written while he was researching and developing his ideas for The White Goddess.”

In 1948, C. S. Lewis finished the first draft of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, a novel in which one of the main characters is “the White Witch.”

In 1948, Robert Graves published The White Goddess.

In 1949, Robert Graves published Seven Days in New Crete [also titled Watch the North Wind Rise], “a novel about a social distopia in which Goddess worship is (once again?) the dominant religion.”

Lewis died on November 22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy was killed.

Related material:
Log24, December 10, 2005

Graves died on December 7 (Pearl Harbor Day), 1985.

Related material:
Log24, December 7, 2005, and
Log24, December 11, 2005

Jesus died, some say, on April 7 in the year 30 A.D.

Related material:

Art Wars, April 7, 2003:
Geometry and Conceptual Art,

Eight is a Gate, and

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/051216-PlatoDiamond.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Plato’s Diamond

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/051216-Motto.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

— Motto of
Plato’s Academy

“Plato is wary of all forms of rapture other than reason’s. He is most deeply leery of, because himself so susceptible to, the literary imagination. He speaks of it as a kind of holy madness or intoxication and goes on to link it to Eros, another derangement that joins us, but very dangerously, with the gods.”
Rebecca Goldstein in
    The New York Times,
    three years ago today
    (December 16, 2002) 
“It’s all in Plato, all in Plato;
 bless me, what do they
teach them at these schools?”
— C. S. Lewis in
the Narnia Chronicles

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

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Thursday May 26, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 4:23 PM
Drama of the Diagonal
“The beautiful in mathematics
resides in contradiction.
Incommensurability, logoi alogoi, was
the first splendor in mathematics.”
— Simone Weil, Oeuvres Choisies,
éd. Quarto
, Gallimard, 1999, p. 100

Logos Alogos
by S. H. Cullinane

“To a mathematician, mathematical entities have their own existence, they habitate spaces created by their intention.  They do things, things happen to them, they relate to one another.  We can imagine on their behalf all sorts of stories, providing they don’t contradict what we know of them.  The drama of the diagonal, of the square…

— Dennis Guedj, abstract of “The Drama of Mathematics,” a talk to be given this July at the Mykonos conference on mathematics and narrative.

For the drama of the diagonal of the square, see

Thursday May 26, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 4:00 AM
The Changing

The previous entry dealt with a transformation
of the diamond figure from Plato’s Meno
into a visual proof of the Pythagorean theorem:

The image “http://www.log24.com/theory/images/DiamondTurning.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Here is a transformation of Plato’s diamond
into the “gyronny” pattern of heraldry:

The image “http://www.log24.com/theory/images/Gyronny.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Viking Heraldry

The image “http://www.log24.com/theory/images/DiamondChanging2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

For the mathematics dealing with
this sort of transformation, see
The Diamond 16 Puzzle and Diamond Theory.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Wednesday May 25, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 2:22 PM

The Turning

Readers who have an Amazon.com account may view book pages relevant to the previous entry.  See page 77 of The Way We Think, by Fauconnier and Turner (Amazon search term = Meno).  This page discusses both the Pythagorean theorem and Plato's diamond figure in the Meno, but fails to "blend" these two topics.  See also page 53 of The History of Mathematics, by Roger Cooke (first edition), where these two topics are in fact blended (Amazon search term = Pythagorean).  The illustration below is drawn from the Cooke book.

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050525-Figs.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Cooke demonstrates how the Pythagorean theorem might have been derived by "blending" Plato's diamond (left) with the idea of moving the diamond's corners (right).

The previous entry dealt with a conference on mathematics and narrative.  Above is an example I like of mathematics…. Here is an example I like of narrative:

Kate felt quite dizzy. She didn't know exactly what it was
that had just happened, but she felt pretty damn  certain  that
it  was  the  sort of experience that her mother would not have
approved of on a first date.
     "Is this all part of what we have to do to go to  Asgard?"
she said. "Or are you just fooling around?"
     "We will go to Asgard...now," he said.
     At that moment he raised his hand as if to pluck an apple,
but instead of plucking he made a tiny, sharp turning movement.
The effect  was as if he had twisted the entire world through a
billionth part of a billionth  part  of  a  degree.  Everything
shifted,  was  for  a  moment  minutely  out of focus, and then
snapped back again as a suddenly different world.

— Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

And here is a blend of the concepts "Asgard" and "conference":

    During the Interuniverse Society conference,
    a bridge was opened to Valhalla…."

     In Norse myth, the rainbow bridge
     that connected Earth to Asgard,
     home of the gods.  It was extended
     to Tellus Tertius during the
     Interuniverse Society conference"

— From A Heinlein Concordance

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050525-Rainbow.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

— Front page picture from a
local morning newspaper published
today, Wednesday, May 25, 2005

As George Balanchine once asked,
"How much story do you want?"

Friday, May 20, 2005

Friday May 20, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 1:20 PM

The Shining of Apollo

“Plato’s most significant passage may be found in Phaedrus 265b: ‘And we made four divisions of the divine madness, ascribing them to four gods, saying that prophecy was inspired by Apollo, the mystic madness by Dionysos, the poetic by the Muses, and the madness of love […] by Aphrodite and Eros’ (trans. by H.N. Fowler, in the Loeb Classical Library).”

Saverio Marchignoli, note on section 20, paragraphs 115-119, of the Discourse on the Dignity of Man (Oratio de hominis dignitate) (1486) by Pico della Mirandola, considered the “Manifesto of the Renaissance.”

Related material:
A Mass for Lucero,
The Shining of May 29,
Shining Forth,
Sermon for St. Patrick’s Day, and the phrase
Diamond Struck by the Sun.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Tuesday March 22, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 4:01 PM

Make a Différance

From Frida Saal's
Lacan The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050322-Diamond.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Derrida:

"Our proposal includes the lozenge (diamond) in between the names, because in the relationship / non-relationship that is established among them, a tension is created that implies simultaneously a union and a disjunction, in the perspective of a theoretical encounter that is at the same time necessary and impossible. That is the meaning of the lozenge that joins and separates the two proper names. For that reason their respective works become totally non-superposable and at the same time they were built with an awareness, or at least a partial awareness, of each other. What prevails between both of them is the différance, the Derridean signifier that will become one of the main issues in this presentation."

From a Contemporary Literary Theory website:

"Différance is that which all signs have, what constitutes them as signs, as signs are not that to which they refer: i) they differ, and hence open a space from that which they represent, and ii) they defer, and hence open up a temporal chain, or, participate in temporality. As well, following de Sassure's famous argument, signs 'mean' by differing from other signs. The coined word 'différance' refers to at once the differing and the deferring of signs. Taken to the ontological level†, the differing and deferring of signs from what they mean, means that every sign repeats the creation of space and time; and ultimately, that différance is the ultimate phenomenon in the universe, an operation that is not an operation, both active and passive, that which enables and results from Being itself."

From a text purchased on
Make a Difference Day, Oct. 23, 1999:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050322-Fig39.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.22. Without using the Pythagorean Theorem prove that the hypotenuse of  an isosceles right triangle will have the length The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050322-Sqtr2.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.  if the equal legs have the length 1.  Suggestion: Consider the similar triangles in Fig. 39.
23.  The ancient Greeks regarded the Pythagorean Theorem as involving areas, and they proved it by means of areas.  We cannot do so now because we have not yet considered the idea of area.  Assuming for the moment, however, the idea of the area of a square, use this idea instead of similar triangles and proportion in Ex. 22 above to show that x = The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050322-Sqtr2.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. .

— Page 98 of Basic Geometry, by George David Birkhoff, Professor of Mathematics at Harvard University, and Ralph Beatley, Associate Professor of Education at Harvard University (Scott, Foresman 1941)

Though it may be true, as the president of Harvard recently surmised, that women are inherently inferior to men at abstract thought — in particular, pure mathematics*  — they may in other respects be quite superior to men:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050322-Reba2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The above is from October 1999.
See also Naturalized Epistemology,
from Women's History Month, 2001.

* See the remarks of Frida Saal above and of Barbara Johnson on mathematics (The Shining of May 29, cited in Readings for St. Patrick's Day).

† For the diamond symbol at "the ontological level," see Modal Theology, Feb. 21, 2005.  See also Socrates on the immortality of the soul in Plato's Meno, source of the above Basic Geometry diamond.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Sunday February 20, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 2:20 PM

Relativity Blues

Today, February 20, is the 19th anniversary of my note The Relativity Problem in Finite Geometry.  Here is some related material.

In 1931, the Christian writer Charles Williams grappled with the theology of time, space, free will, and the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics (anticipating by many years the discussion of this topic by physicists beginning in the 1950's).

(Some pure mathematics — untainted by physics or theology — that is nevertheless related, if only by poetic analogy, to Williams's 1931 novel, Many Dimensions, is discussed in the above-mentioned note and in a generalization, Solomon's Cube.)

On the back cover of Williams's 1931 novel, the current publisher, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company of Grand Rapids, Michigan, makes the following statement:

"Replete with rich religious imagery, Many Dimensions explores the relation between predestination and free will as it depicts different human responses to redemptive transcendence."

One possible response to such statements was recently provided in some detail by a Princeton philosophy professor.  See On Bullshit, by Harry G. Frankfurt, Princeton University Press, 2005.

A more thoughtful response would take into account the following:

1. The arguments presented in favor of philosopher John Calvin, who discussed predestination, in The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought, by Marilynne Robinson

2. The physics underlying Einstein's remarks on free will, God, and dice
3. The physics underlying Rebecca Goldstein's novel Properties of Light and Paul Preuss's novels  Secret Passages and Broken Symmetries

4. The physics underlying the recent so-called "free will theorem" of John Conway and Simon Kochen of Princeton University

5. The recent novel Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson, which deals not with philosophy, but with lives influenced by philosophy — indirectly, by the philosophy of the aforementioned John Calvin.

From a review of Gilead by Jane Vandenburgh:  

"In The Death of Adam, Robinson shows Jean Cauvin to be the foremost prophet of humanism whose Protestant teachings against the hierarchies of the Roman church set in motion the intellectual movements that promoted widespread literacy among the middle and lower classes, led to both the American and French revolutions, and not only freed African slaves in the United States but brought about suffrage for women. It's odd then that through our culture's reverse historicism, the term 'Calvinism' has come to mean 'moralistic repression.'"

For more on what the Calvinist publishing firm Eerdmans calls "redemptive transcendence," see various July 2003 Log24.net entries.  If these entries include a fair amount of what Princeton philosophers call bullshit, let the Princeton philosophers meditate on the summary of Harvard philosophy quoted here on November 5 of last year, as well as the remarks of November 5, 2003,  and those of November 5, 2002.

From Many Dimensions (Eerdmans paperback, 1963, page 53):

"Lord Arglay had a suspicion that the Stone would be purely logical.  Yes, he thought, but what, in that sense, were the rules of its pure logic?"

A recent answer:

Modal Theology

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

Keith Allen Korcz,
(Log24.net, 1/25/05)

And what do we           
   symbolize by  The image “http://www.log24.com/theory/images/Modal-diamondbox.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. ?

"The possibilia that exist,
and out of which
the Universe arose,
are located in
     a necessary being…."

Michael Sudduth,
Notes on
God, Chance, and Necessity
by Keith Ward,
Regius Professor of Divinity
at Christ Church College, Oxford
(the home of Lewis Carroll)

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Thursday January 27, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 2:29 AM
Crystal Night

From artbook.com:

Mies van der Rohe:
Mies in Berlin

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050127-Mies.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Winner of
The Society of Architectural Historians
2002 Philip Johnson Award
for Excellence

Exhibition Catalog

"Published to accompany
a groundbreaking 2001 exhibition at
The Museum of Modern Art, New York."


From Mies and the Mastodon,
by Martin Filler, The New Republic,
issue dated Aug. 6, 2001:

"It would have been wiser for the new MoMA catalog… to have addressed the issue of his politics…. By ignoring such a central subject… the show gives off a mild stench of cover-up…. Only the German-born Rosemarie Haag Bletter (full disclosure: she is my wife) alludes to the verboten topic in her [catalog] essay on Mies's flirtation with crystal imagery, drawing a sharp parallel between the architect's extensive use of Kristallglas (plate glass) and the ensuing devastation of Kristallnacht, which erupted just three months after he left for the States."

Also from Filler's essay:

"Mies's rigorously simplified structures, typified by grids of steel and glass and an absence of applied ornament, represented the Platonic ideal of modernism for many people."

For more on history, politics, and
Mies's disciple Philip Johnson,
who died Tuesday evening, see

"We Cannot Not Know History."

For more on aesthetics, see the
Log24.net entry of Tuesday noon,

Diamonds Are Forever.

For more on a Platonic ideal of sorts,
see the following figure in two versions:
Version A, from Plato's Meno and
Diamond Theory,

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050127-MenoDiamond.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

and Version B,

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050125-Forever.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

from the date of Johnson's death
at his "famous crystalline box."

Was less more?

Friday, September 17, 2004

Friday September 17, 2004

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

God is in…
The Details

From an entry for Aug. 19, 2003 on
conciseness, simplicity, and objectivity:

Above: Dr. Harrison Pope, Harvard professor of psychiatry, demonstrates the use of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale “block design” subtest.

Another Harvard psychiatrist, Armand Nicholi, is in the news lately with his book The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life.





For the meaning of the Old-Testament logos above, see the remarks of Plato on the immortality of the soul at


For the meaning of the New-Testament logos above, see the remarks of R. P. Langlands at

The Institute for Advanced Study.

On Harvard and psychiatry: see

The Crimson Passion:
A Drama at Mardi Gras

(February 24, 2004)

This is a reductio ad absurdum of the Harvard philosophy so eloquently described by Alston Chase in his study of Harvard and the making of the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski.  Kaczynski’s time at Harvard overlapped slightly with mine, so I probably saw him in Cambridge at some point.  Chase writes that at Harvard, the Unabomber “absorbed the message of positivism, which demanded value-neutral reasoning and preached that (as Kaczynski would later express it in his journal) ‘there is no logical justification for morality.'” I was less impressed by Harvard positivism, although I did benefit from a course in symbolic logic from Quine.  At that time– the early 60’s– little remained at Harvard of what Robert Stone has called “our secret culture,” that of the founding Puritans– exemplified by Cotton and Increase Mather.

From Robert Stone, A Flag for Sunrise:

“Our secret culture is as frivolous as a willow on a tombstone.  It’s a wonderful thing– or it was.  It was strong and dreadful, it was majestic and ruthless.  It was a stranger to pity.  And it’s not for sale, ladies and gentlemen.”

Some traces of that culture:

A web page
in Australia:

A contemporary
Boston author:

Click on pictures for details.

A more appealing view of faith was offered by PBS on Wednesday night, the beginning of this year’s High Holy Days:

Armand Nicholi: But how can you believe something that you don’t think is true, I mean, certainly, an intelligent person can’t embrace something that they don’t think is true — that there’s something about us that would object to that.

Jeremy Fraiberg: Well, the answer is, they probably do believe it’s true.

Armand Nicholi: But how do they get there? See, that’s why both Freud and Lewis was very interested in that one basic question. Is there an intelligence beyond the universe? And how do we answer that question? And how do we arrive at the answer of that question?

Michael Shermer: Well, in a way this is an empirical question, right? Either there is or there isn’t.

Armand Nicholi: Exactly.

Michael Shermer: And either we can figure it out or we can’t, and therefore, you just take the leap of faith or you don’t.

Armand Nicholi: Yeah, now how can we figure it out?

Winifred Gallagher: I think something that was perhaps not as common in their day as is common now — this idea that we’re acting as if belief and unbelief were two really radically black and white different things, and I think for most people, there’s a very — it’s a very fuzzy line, so that —

Margaret Klenck: It’s always a struggle.

Winifred Gallagher: Rather than — I think there’s some days I believe, and some days I don’t believe so much, or maybe some days I don’t believe at all.

Doug Holladay: Some hours.

Winifred Gallagher: It’s a, it’s a process. And I think for me the big developmental step in my spiritual life was that — in some way that I can’t understand or explain that God is right here right now all the time, everywhere.

Armand Nicholi: How do you experience that?

Winifred Gallagher: I experience it through a glass darkly, I experience it in little bursts. I think my understanding of it is that it’s, it’s always true, and sometimes I can see it and sometimes I can’t. Or sometimes I remember that it’s true, and then everything is in Technicolor. And then most of the time it’s not, and I have to go on faith until the next time I can perhaps see it again. I think of a divine reality, an ultimate reality, uh, would be my definition of God.



Gallagher seemed to be the only participant in the PBS discussion that came close to the Montessori ideals of conciseness, simplicity, and objectivity.  Dr. Montessori intended these as ideals for teachers, but they seem also to be excellent religious values.  Just as the willow-tombstone seems suited to Geoffrey Hill‘s style, the Pythagorean sangaku pictured above seems appropriate to the admirable Gallagher.

Sunday, September 5, 2004

Sunday September 5, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 4:00 PM

Symmetry and Change
in the Dreamtime

Notes from the Journal
of Steven H. Cullinane


Aug 31 2004 
07:31:01 PM
Early Evening,
Shining Star 
Sep 01 2004
09:00:35 AM
and Images
Sep 01 2004
12:07:28 PM
Whale Rider
Sep 02 2004
11:11:42 AM
and Earth

Sep 02 2004
07:00:23 PM
Whale Road

Sep 03 2004
12:00:54 AM

Sep 03 2004
10:01:56 AM
September Morn


Sep 03 2004
12:00:25 PM


Sep 03 2004
01:13:49 PM

De Nada

Sep 03 2004

Ite, Missa Est 

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Symmetry and Change, Part 1…

Early Evening,
Shining Star

7:31:01 PM ET

Hexagram 01
The Creative:


The Image



The movement of heaven
is full of power.

Click on picture
for details.

The Clare Lawler Prize
for Literature goes to…

Under the Volcano,
Chapter VI:

“What have I got out of my life? Contacts with famous men… The occasion Einstein asked me the time, for instance. That summer evening…. smiles when I say I don’t know. And yet asked me. Yes: the great Jew, who has upset the whole world’s notions of time and space, once leaned down… to ask me… ragged freshman… at the first approach of the evening star, the time. And smiled again when I pointed out the clock neither of us had noticed.”

For the thoughts on time
of another famous man,
from Mexico, see the
Nobel Prize acceptance speech
of Octavio Paz,
In Search of the Present.”

Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Symmetry and Change, Part 2…

Words and Images

9:00:35 AM ET

Hexagram 35

The Image



The sun rises over the earth.

From Aug. 18, 2004:

“Oh, my Lolita. I have only words
to play with!” (Nabokov, Lolita)

“This is the best toy train set
a boy ever had!”
(Orson Welles, after first touring
RKO Studios, quoted in Halliwell)

“As the quotes above by Nabokov and Welles suggest, we need to be able to account for the specific functions available to narrative in each medium, for the specific elements that empirical creators will ‘play with’ in crafting their narratives.”

Donald F. Larsson

James Whale
William French Anderson —

In the Spirit of
Dave Barry’s Book of Bad Songs:

Stay for just a while…
Stay, and let me look at you.
It’s been so long, I hardly knew you.
Standing in the door…
Stay with me a while.
I only want to talk to you.
We’ve traveled halfway ’round the world
To find ourselves again.

September morn…
We danced until the night
      became a brand new day,
Two lovers playing scenes
      from some romantic play.
September morning still can
      make me feel this way.

Look at what you’ve done…
Why, you’ve become a grown-up girl…

— Neil Diamond

In the Spirit of
September Morn:

The Last Day of Summer:
Photographs by Jock Sturges

In 1990, the FBI entered Sturges’s studio and seized his work, claiming violation of child pornography laws.”

Related material:

Bill’s Diamond Theory


Log24 entries of
Aug. 15, 2004

Those interested in the political implications of Diamond’s songs may enjoy Neil Performs at Kerry Fundraiser.

I personally enjoyed this site’s description of Billy Crystal’s remarks, which included “a joke about former President Clinton’s forthcoming children’s book — ‘It’s called The Little Engine That Could Because It Could.'”

“Puff, puff, woo, woo, off we go!” 



Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Symmetry and Change, Part 3…

Whale Rider

12:07:28 PM

Hexagram 28
Preponderance of
the Great:

The Image



The lake rises
the trees.


Cullinane College News:

“Congratulations to Clare Lawler, who participated very successfully in the recently held Secondary Schools Judo Championships in Wellington.”

For an explanation of this entry’s title, see the previous two entries and

Oxford Word
(Log24, July 10, 2004) 

Thursday, September 2, 2004

Symmetry and Change, Part 4…

Heaven and Earth

11:11:42 AM ET

Hexagram 42

The Image



Wind and thunder:
the image of Increase.

“This time resembles that of
the marriage of heaven and earth”



Well if you want to ride
you gotta ride it like you find it.
Get your ticket at the station
of the Rock Island Line.
Lonnie Donegan (d. Nov. 3)
and others
The Rock Island Line’s namesake depot 
in Rock Island, Illinois

“What it all boiled down to really was everybody giving everybody else a hard time for no good reason whatever… You just couldn’t march to your own music. Nowadays, you couldn’t even hear it… It was lost, the music which each person had inside himself, and which put him in step with things as they should be.”

The Grifters, Ch. 10, 1963, by
James Myers Thompson

“The Old Man’s still an artist
with a Thompson.”
— Terry in “Miller’s Crossing

For some of “the music which
each person had inside,”
click on the picture
with the Thompson.

It may be that Kylie is,
in her own way, an artist…
with a 357:

(Hits counter at
The Quality of Diamond
as of 11:05 AM Sept. 2, 2004)

For more on
“the marriage of heaven and earth,”
Plato, Pegasus, and the Evening Star

Thursday, September 2, 2004

Symmetry and Change, Part 5…

Whale Road

7:00:23 PM

Hexagram 23
Splitting Apart:

The Image



The mountain rests
on the earth

“… the plot is different but the monsters, names, and manner of speaking will ring a bell.”

— Frank Pinto, Jr., review of Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf 

Other recommended reading, found during a search for the implications of today’s previous entry, “Hexagram 42”:

Water Wings.

This excellent meditation
on symmetry and change
comes from a site whose
home page
has the following image:

Friday, September 3, 2004

 Symmetry and Change, Part 6…

Cinderella’s Slipper

12:00:54 AM ET

Hexagram 54
The Marrying Maiden:


The Image


The hundredletter
thunderwords of
Finnegans Wake

“… a Thoreau-like retreat
by a nearby lake….
Both men have
a ‘touch of the poet’….
The symmetry is perfect.”

Friday, September 3, 2004  

Symmetry and Change, Part 7…

Another September Morn

10:01:56 AM ET

Hexagram 56:
The Wanderer


The Image



Fire on the mountain,
Run boys run…
Devil’s in the House of
The Rising Sun!

Friday, September 3, 2004

Symmetry and Change, Part 8…


12:00:25 PM ET

Hexagram 25

The Image



Under heaven
thunder rolls.

Friday, September 3, 2004

Symmetry and Change, Part 9…

De Nada

Helen Lane

1:13:49 PM ET

Hexagram 49

The Image


 Fire in the lake:
the image of Revolution

“I sit now in a little room off the bar at four-thirty in the morning drinking ochas and then mescal and writing this on some Bella Vista notepaper I filched the other night…. But this is worst of all, to feel your soul dying. I wonder if it is because to-night my soul has really died that I feel at the moment something like peace. Or is it because right through hell there is a path, as Blake well knew, and though I may not take it, sometimes lately in dreams I have been able to see it? …And this is how I sometimes think of myself, as a great explorer who has discovered some extraordinary land from which he can never return to give his knowledge to the world: but the name of this land is hell. It is not Mexico of course but in the heart.”

— Malcolm Lowry, Under the Volcano 

Friday, September 3, 2004

Symmetry and Change, conclusion…

Ite, Missa Est

3:17:13 PM ET

Hexagram 13
Fellowship With Men:

The Image



Heaven together with fire.

“A pretty girl —
is like a melody —- !”

 For details, see
A Mass for Lucero

Thursday, September 2, 2004

Thursday September 2, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 11:11 AM

Symmetry and Change, Part 4…

Heaven and Earth

11:11:42 AM ET

Hexagram 42

The Image



Wind and thunder:
the image of Increase.

“This time resembles that of
the marriage of heaven and earth”



Well if you want to ride
you gotta ride it like you find it.
Get your ticket at the station
of the Rock Island Line.
Lonnie Donegan (d. Nov. 3)
and others
The Rock Island Line’s namesake depot 
in Rock Island, Illinois

“What it all boiled down to really was everybody giving everybody else a hard time for no good reason whatever… You just couldn’t march to your own music. Nowadays, you couldn’t even hear it… It was lost, the music which each person had inside himself, and which put him in step with things as they should be.”

The Grifters, Ch. 10, 1963, by
James Myers Thompson

“The Old Man’s still an artist
with a Thompson.”
— Terry in “Miller’s Crossing

For some of “the music which
each person had inside,”
click on the picture
with the Thompson.

It may be that Kylie is,
in her own way, an artist…
with a 357:

(Hits counter at
The Quality of Diamond
as of 11:05 AM Sept. 2, 2004)

For more on
“the marriage of heaven and earth,”
Plato, Pegasus, and the Evening Star.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Sunday August 15, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 3:17 PM

The Line

Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Ch. 6 (italics are mine):

“A classical understanding sees the world primarily as underlying form itself. A romantic understanding sees it primarily in terms of immediate appearance.”

The Sophist, by Plato:

STRANGER – We are far from having exhausted the more exact thinkers who treat of being and not-being. But let us be content to leave them, and proceed to view those who speak less precisely; and we shall find as the result of all, that the nature of being is quite as difficult to comprehend as that of not-being.

THEAETETUS – Then now we will go to the others.

STRANGER – There appears to be a sort of war of Giants and Gods going on amongst them; they are fighting with one another about the nature of essence.

THEAETETUS – How is that?

STRANGER – Some of them are dragging down all things from heaven and from the unseen to earth, and they literally grasp in their hands rocks and oaks; of these they lay hold, and obstinately maintain, that the things only which can be touched or handled have being or essence, because they define being and body as one, and if any one else says that what is not a body exists they altogether despise him, and will hear of nothing but body.

THEAETETUS – I have often met with such men, and terrible fellows they are.

STRANGER – And that is the reason why their opponents cautiously defend themselves from above, out of an unseen world, mightily contending that true essence consists of certain intelligible and incorporeal ideas; the bodies of the materialists, which by them are maintained to be the very truth, they break up into little bits by their arguments, and affirm them to be, not essence, but generation and motion. Between the two armies, Theaetetus, there is always an endless conflict raging concerning these matters.


— Translated by Benjamin Jowett

Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Ch. 18:

“The wave of crystallization rolled ahead. He was seeing two worlds, simultaneously. On the intellectual side, the square side, he saw now that Quality was a cleavage term. What every intellectual analyst looks for. You take your analytic knife, put the point directly on the term Quality and just tap, not hard, gently, and the whole world splits, cleaves, right in two…

The Line,
by S. H. Cullinane

hip and square, classic and romantic, technological and humanistic…and the split is clean. There’s no mess. No slop. No little items that could be one way or the other. Not just a skilled break but a very lucky break. Sometimes the best analysts, working with the most obvious lines of cleavage, can tap and get nothing but a pile of trash. And yet here was Quality; a tiny, almost unnoticeable fault line; a line of illogic in our concept of the universe; and you tapped it, and the whole universe came apart, so neatly it was almost unbelievable. He wished Kant were alive. Kant would have appreciated it. That master diamond cutter. He would see. Hold Quality undefined. That was the secret.”

What Pirsig means by “quality” is close to what Yagoda means, in the previous entry, by “style.”

Monday, April 5, 2004

Monday April 5, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 4:03 AM

Ideas and Art

Motto of
Plato's Academy


From Minimalist Fantasies,
by Roger Kimball, May 2003:

All I want anyone to get out of my paintings, and all I ever get out of them, is the fact that you can see the whole idea without any confusion. … What you see is what you see.
—Frank Stella, 1966

Minimal Art remains too much a feat of ideation, and not enough anything else. Its idea remains an idea, something deduced instead of felt and discovered.
— Clement Greenberg, 1967

The artists even questioned whether art needed to be a tangible object. Minimalism … Conceptualism — suddenly art could be nothing more than an idea, a thought on a piece of paper….
— Michael Kimmelman, 2003

There was a period, a decade or two ago, when you could hardly open an art journal without encountering the quotation from Frank Stella I used as an epigraph. The bit about “what you see is what you see” was reproduced ad nauseam. It was thought by some to be very deep. In fact, Stella’s remarks—from a joint interview with him and Donald Judd—serve chiefly to underscore the artistic emptiness of the whole project of minimalism. No one can argue with the proposition that “what you see is what you see,” but there’s a lot to argue with in what he calls “the fact that you can see the whole idea without any confusion.” We do not, of course, see ideas. Stella’s assertion to the contrary might be an instance of verbal carelessness, but it is not merely verbal carelessness. At the center of minimalism, as Clement Greenberg noted, is the triumph of ideation over feeling and perception, over aesthetics.
— Roger Kimball, 2003



From How Not Much Is a Whole World,
by Michael Kimmelman, April 2, 2004

Decades on, it's curious how much Minimalism, the last great high modern movement, still troubles people who just can't see why … a plain white canvas with a line painted across it

"William Clark,"
by Patricia Johanson, 1967

should be considered art. That line might as well be in the sand: on this side is art, it implies. Go ahead. Cross it.


The tug of an art that unapologetically sees itself as on a par with science and religion is not to be underestimated, either. Philosophical ambition and formal modesty still constitute Minimalism's bottom line.

If what results can sometimes be more fodder for the brain than exciting to look at, it can also have a serene and exalted eloquence….

That line in the sand doesn't separate good art from bad, or art from nonart, but a wide world from an even wider one.


I maintain that of course
we can see ideas.

Example: the idea of
invariant structure.

"What modern painters
are trying to do,
if they only knew it,
is paint invariants."

— James J. Gibson, Leonardo,
    Vol. 11, pp. 227-235.
    Pergamon Press Ltd., 1978

For a discussion
of how this works, see
Block Designs,
4×4 Geometry, and
Diamond Theory.

Incidentally, structures like the one shown above are invariant under an important subgroup of the affine group AGL(4,2)…  That is to say, they are not lost in translation.  (See previous entry.)

Sunday, March 7, 2004

Sunday March 7, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 6:00 PM


From Wallace Stevens,
Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction“:

It is the celestial ennui of apartments
That sends us back to the first idea, the quick
Of this invention; and yet so poisonous

Are the ravishments of truth, so fatal to
The truth itself, the first idea becomes
The hermit in a poet’s metaphors,

Who comes and goes and comes and goes all day.
May there be an ennui of the first idea?
What else, prodigious scholar, should there be?….

From Guyan Robertson,
Groups Acting on Affine Buildings
and their Boundaries

From Plato’s Meno:

They will get it straight one day at the Sorbonne.
We shall return at twilight from the lecture         
Pleased that the irrational is rational….              

See Logos and Logic
and the previous entry.

Sunday, February 8, 2004

Sunday February 8, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 2:00 PM

The Quality of Diamond

On February 3, 2004, archivist and abstract painter Ward Jackson died at 75.  From today’s New York Times:

“Inspired by painters like Piet Mondrian and Josef Albers, Mr. Jackson made austere, hard-edged geometric compositions, typically on diamond-shaped canvases.”

On a 2003 exhibit by Pablo Helguera that included Mr. Jackson:

Parallel Lives

Parallel Lives recounts and recontextualizes real episodes from the lives of five disparate individuals including Florence Foster Jenkins, arguably the world’s worst opera singer; Giulio Camillo, a Renaissance mystic who aimed to build a memory container for all things; Friedrich Froebel, the inventor of the kindergarten education system, the members of the last existing Shaker community, and Ward Jackson, the lifelong archivist of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Parallel Lives pays homage to Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900-2002) and his system of philosophical hermeneutics built through an exploration of historicity, language, and art. This exhibition, which draws its title from the classic work by Plutarch, is a project that explores biography as a medium, drawing from the earlier innovation of the biographical practice in works like Marcel Schwob’s “Imaginary Lives” (1896) and John Aubrey’s “Brief Lives” (1681). Through display means, the project blends the lives of these individuals into one basic story, visually stating the relationship between individualism and society as best summarized by Gadamer’s famous phrase: “we all are others, and we all are a self.”

On February 3, the day that Jackson died, there were five different log24.net entries:

  1. The Quality with No Name 
  2. Speaking Globally
  3. Lila
  4. Theory of Design
  5. Retiring Faculty.

Parallels with the Helguera exhibit:

Florence Foster Jenkins: Janet Jackson in (2) above.

Giulio Camillo: Myself as compiler of the synchronistic excerpts in (5).

Friedrich Froebel: David Wade in (4).

The last Shakers: Christopher Alexander and his acolytes in (1).

Ward Jackson: On Feb. 3, Jackson became a permanent part of Quality — i.e., Reality — itself, as described in (3).

Some thoughts of Hans-Georg Gadamer
relevant to Jackson’s death:

Gadamer, Art, and Play

by G.T. Karnezis

The pleasure it [art] elicits “is the joy of knowledge.” It does not operate as an enchantment but “a transformation into the true.” Art, then, would seem to be an essentializing agent insofar as it reveals what is essential. Gadamer asks us to see reality as a horizon of “still undecided possibilities,” of unfulfilled expectations, of contingency. If, in a particular case, however, “a meaningful whole completes and fulfills itself in reality,” it is like a drama. If someone sees the whole of reality as a closed circle of meaning” he will be able to speak “of the comedy and tragedy of life” (genres becoming ways of conceiving reality). In such cases where reality “is understood as a play, there emerges the reality of what play is, which we call the play of art.” As such, art is a realization: “By means of it everyone recognizes that that is how things are.” Reality, in this viewpoint, is what has not been transformed. Art is defined as “the raising up of this reality to its truth.”

As noted in entry (3) above
on the day that Jackson died,

“All the world’s a stage.”

William Shakespeare

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Tuesday August 19, 2003

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 5:23 PM

Intelligence Test

From my August 31, 2002, entry quoting Dr. Maria Montessori on conciseness, simplicity, and objectivity:

Above: Dr. Harrison Pope, Harvard professor of psychiatry, demonstrates the use of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale "block design" subtest.

Another Harvard psychiatrist, Armand Nicholi, is in the news lately with his book The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life






For the meaning of the Old-Testament logos above, see the remarks of Plato on the immortality of the soul at


For the meaning of the New-Testament logos above, see the remarks of R. P. Langlands at

The Institute for Advanced Study.

For the meaning of life, see

The Gospel According to Jill St. John,

whose birthday is today.

"Some sources credit her with an I.Q. of 162."

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Sunday August 17, 2003

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 6:21 PM

Diamond theory is the theory of affine groups over GF(2) acting on small square and cubic arrays. In the simplest case, the symmetric group of degree 4 acts on a two-colored diamond figure like that in Plato's Meno dialogue, yielding 24 distinct patterns, each of which has some ordinary or color-interchange symmetry .

This symmetry invariance can be generalized to (at least) a group of order approximately 1.3 trillion acting on a 4x4x4 array of cubes.

The theory has applications to finite geometry and to the construction of the large Witt design underlying the Mathieu group of degree 24.

Further Reading:

Friday, July 25, 2003

Friday July 25, 2003

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 5:24 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part I.  The Roots of Structuralism

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

Part II.  Structuralism/Poststructuralism

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

Part III.  Structuralism and
             Jung’s Archetypes

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

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

What does all this have to do with mathematics?  See

Plato’s Diamond,

Rosalind Krauss on Art –

“the Klein group (much beloved of Structuralists)”

Another Michael Harris Essay, Note 47 –

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

and Jung on Quaternity:
      Beyond the Fringe –

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

What attitude should mathematicians have towards all this? 

Towards postmodern French
  atheist literary/art theorists –

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

Towards logocentric German
  Christian literary/art theorists –

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

The Quest for the Fiction of an Absolute.

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

Saturday, July 5, 2003

Saturday July 5, 2003

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 7:21 PM

My Dear Gropius

“What is space, how can it be understood and given a form?”
— Walter Gropius


Stoicheia,” Elements, is the title of
Euclid’s treatise on geometry.

Stoicheia is apparently also related to a Greek verb meaning “march” or “walk.”

According to a website on St. Paul’s phrase ta stoicheia tou kosmou,” which might be translated

The Elements of the Cosmos,

“… the verbal form of the root stoicheo was used to mean, ‘to be in a line,’ ‘to march in rank and file.’ … The general meaning of the noun form (stoicheion) was ‘what belongs to a series.’ “

As noted in my previous entry, St. Paul used a form of stoicheo to say “let us also walk (stoichomen) by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25) The lunatic ravings* of Saul of Tarsus aside, the concepts of walking, of a spirit, and of elements may be combined if we imagine the ghost of Gropius strolling with the ghosts of Plato, Aristotle, and Euclid, and posing his question about space.  Their reply might be along the following lines:

Combining stoicheia with a peripatetic peripateia (i.e., Aristotelian plot twist), we have the following diagram of Aristotle’s four stoicheia (elements),

which in turn is related, by the “Plato’s diamond” figure in the monograph Diamond Theory, to the Stoicheia, or Elements, of Euclid.

Quod erat demonstrandum.

* A phrase in memory of the Paulist Norman J. O’Connor, the “jazz priest” who died on St. Peter’s day, Sunday, June 29, 2003.  Paulists are not, of course, entirely mad; the classic The Other Side of Silence: A Guide to Christian Meditation, by the Episcopal priest Morton Kelsey, was published by the Paulist Press.

Its cover (above), a different version of the four-elements theme, emphasizes the important Jungian concept of quaternity.  Jung is perhaps the best guide to the bizarre world of Christian symbolism.  It is perhaps ironic, although just, that the Paulist Fathers should distribute a picture of “ta stoicheia tou kosmou,” the concept that St. Paul himself railed against.

The above book by Kelsey should not be confused with another The Other Side of Silence, a work on gay history, although confusion would be understandable in light of recent ecclesiastical revelations.

Let us pray that if there is a heaven, Father O’Connor encounters there his fellow music enthusiast Cole Porter rather than the obnoxious Saul of Tarsus.

Friday, April 25, 2003

Friday April 25, 2003

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


Today is the feast of Saint Mark.  It seems an appropriate day to thank Dr. Gerald McDaniel for his online cultural calendar, which is invaluable for suggesting blog topics.

Yesterday's entry "Cross-Referenced" referred to a bizarre meditation of mine titled "The Matthias Defense," which combines some thoughts of Nabokov on lunacy with some of my own thoughts on the Judeo-Christian tradition (i.e., also on lunacy).  In this connection, the following is of interest:

From a site titled Meaning of the Twentieth Century —

"Freeman Dyson has expressed some thoughts on craziness. In a Scientific American article called 'Innovation in Physics,' he began by quoting Niels Bohr. Bohr had been in attendance at a lecture in which Wolfgang Pauli proposed a new theory of elementary particles. Pauli came under heavy criticism, which Bohr summed up for him: 'We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. My own feeling is that is not crazy enough.' To that Freeman added: 'When a great innovation appears, it will almost certainly be in a muddled, incomplete and confusing form. To the discoverer, himself, it will be only half understood; to everyone else, it will be a mystery. For any speculation which does not at first glance look crazy, there is no hope!' "

Kenneth Brower, The Starship and the Canoe, 1979, pp. 146, 147

It is my hope that the speculation, implied in The Matthias Defense, that the number 162 has astonishing mystical properties (as a page number, article number, etc.) is sufficiently crazy to satisfy Pauli and his friend Jung as well as the more conventional thinkers Bohr and Dyson.  It is no less crazy than Christianity, and has a certain mad simplicity that perhaps improves on some of that religion's lunatic doctrines. 

Some fruits of the "162 theory" —

Searching on Google for muses 162, we find the following Orphic Hymn to Apollo and a footnote of interest:

27 Tis thine all Nature's music to inspire,
28 With various-sounding, harmonising lyre;
29 Now the last string thou tun'ft to sweet accord,
30 Divinely warbling now the highest chord….

"Page 162 Verse 29…. Now the last string…. Gesner well observes, in his notes to this Hymn, that the comparison and conjunction of the musical and astronomical elements are most ancient; being derived from Orpheus and Pythagoras, to Plato. Now, according to the Orphic and Pythagoric doctrine, the lyre of Apollo is an image of the celestial harmony…."

For the "highest chord" in a metaphorical sense, see selection 162 of the 1919 edition of The Oxford Book of English Verse (whose editor apparently had a strong religious belief in the Muses (led by Apollo)).  This selection contains the phrase "an ever-fixèd mark" — appropriately enough for this saint's day.  The word "mark," in turn, suggests a Google search for the phrase "runes to grave" Hardy, after a poem quoted in G. H. Hardy's A Mathematician's Apology.

Such a search yields a website that quotes Housman as the source of the "runes" phrase, and a further search yields what is apparently the entire poem:

Smooth Between Sea and Land

by A. E. Housman

Smooth between sea and land
Is laid the yellow sand,
And here through summer days
The seed of Adam plays.

Here the child comes to found
His unremaining mound,
And the grown lad to score
Two names upon the shore.

Here, on the level sand,
Between the sea and land,
What shall I build or write
Against the fall of night?

Tell me of runes to grave
That hold the bursting wave,
Or bastions to design
For longer date than mine.

Shall it be Troy or Rome
I fence against the foam
Or my own name, to stay
When I depart for aye?

Nothing: too near at hand
Planing the figured sand,
Effacing clean and fast
Cities not built to last
And charms devised in vain,
Pours the confounding main.

(Said to be from More Poems (Knopf, 1936), p. 64)

Housman asks the reader to tell him of runes to grave or bastions to design.  Here, as examples, are one rune and one bastion.


The rune known as

the balance point or "still point."

The Nike Bastion

 Dagaz: (Pronounced thaw-gauze, but with the "th" voiced as in "the," not unvoiced as in "thick") (Day or dawn.)

From Rune Meanings:

 Dagaz means "breakthrough, awakening, awareness. Daylight clarity as opposed to nighttime uncertainty. A time to plan or embark upon an enterprise. The power of change directed by your own will, transformation. Hope/happiness, the ideal. Security and certainty. Growth and release. Balance point, the place where opposites meet."

Also known as "the rune of transformation."

For the Dagaz rune in another context, see Geometry of the I Ching.  The geometry discussed there does, in a sense, "hold the bursting wave," through its connection with Walsh functions, hence with harmonic analysis.

 Temple of Athena Nike on the Nike Bastion, the Acropolis, Athens.  Here is a relevant passage from Paul Valéry's Eupalinos ou L'Architecte about another temple of four columns:

Et puis… Écoute, Phèdre (me disait-il encore), ce petit temple que j'ai bâti pour Hermès, à quelques pas d'ici, si tu savais ce qu'il est pour moi ! — Où le passant ne voit qu'une élégante chapelle, — c'est peu de chose: quatre colonnes, un style très simple, — j'ai mis le souvenir d'un clair jour de ma vie. Ô douce métamorphose ! Ce temple délicat, nul ne le sait, est l'image mathématique d'une fille de Corinthe que j'ai heureusement aimée. Il en reproduit fidèlement les proportions particulières. Il vit pour moi !

Four columns, in a sense more suited to Hardy's interests, are also a recurrent theme in The Diamond 16 Puzzle and Diamond Theory.

Apart from the word "mark" in The Oxford Book of English Verse, as noted above, neither the rune nor the bastion discussed has any apparent connection with the number 162… but seek and ye shall find.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Thursday March 27, 2003

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 2:35 PM


war protesters, handcuffed together, blocked traffic near 47th Street and 5th Avenue in New York City Wednesday.  They chanted “Occupation is a Crime, Free Iraq and Palestine!”

Newsday, March 26, 2003

Forty-seventh Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues is known as the diamond district (or, in Buddhist parlance, “Diamond Way”).

“Is it safe?”
Sir Laurence Olivier, 1976

Monday, March 24, 2003

Monday March 24, 2003

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:52 PM

Orwell’s question, according to
an admirer of leftist Noam Chomsky:

“When so much of the BS is right out in the open,
why is it that we know so little about it?
Why don’t we see what’s right in front of our eyes?”

Deep Chomsky:
Lying, Truth-Telling,
and the Social Order

“First of all, I’d like to thank the Academy….”
— Quotation attributed to Plato

The New Yorker of March 31, 2003, discusses leftist academic Noam Chomsky.  The online edition provides a web page listing pro-Chomsky links.

Chomsky’s influence is based in part on the popularity of his half-baked theories on linguistics, starting in the 1950’s with “deep structure” and “transformational,” or “generative,” grammar.

Chomsky has abandoned many of his previous ideas and currently touts what he calls The Minimalist Program.

For some background on Chomsky’s recent linguistic notions, see the expository essay “Syntactic Theory,” by Elly van Gelderen of the Arizona State University English Department.  Van Gelderen lists her leftist political agenda on her “Other Interests” page.  Her department may serve as an example of how leftists have converted many English departments in American universities to propaganda factories.

Some attacks on Chomsky’s scholarship:

The Emperor’s New Linguistics

The New Grammarians’ Funeral

Beyond Chomsky

Could Chomsky Be Wrong? 

Forty-four Reasons Why the Chomskians Are Mistaken

Call for Papers, Chomsky 2003

Chomsky’s (Mis)Understanding of Human Thinking

Anatomy of a Revolution… Chomsky in 1962

…Linguistic Theory: The Rationality of Noam Chomsky

A Bibliography

Some attacks on Chomsky’s propaganda:

LeftWatch.com Chomsky page

Destructive Generation excerpt

The Sick Mind of Noam Chomsky

Partners in Hate: Noam Chomsky and the Holocaust Deniers

Chomsky and Plato’s Diamond

Like another purveyor of leftist nonsense, Jacques Derrida, Chomsky is fond of citing Plato as a precedent.  In particular, what Chomsky calls “Plato’s problem” is discussed in Plato’s Meno.  For a look at the diamond figure that plays a central role in that dialogue, see Diamond Theory.  For an excellent overview of related material in Plato, see Theory of Forms.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Thursday March 13, 2003

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 4:44 PM


From The New Yorker, issue of March 17, 2003, Clive James on Aldous Huxley:

The Perennial Philosophy, his 1945 book compounding all the positive thoughts of West and East into a tutti-frutti of moral uplift, was the equivalent, in its day, of It Takes a Village: there was nothing in it to object to, and that, of course, was the objection.”

For a cultural artifact that is less questionably perennial, see Huxley’s story “Young Archimedes.”

Plato, Pythagoras, and
the diamond figure

Plato’s Diamond in the Meno
Plato as a precursor of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s “immortal diamond.” An illustration shows the ur-diamond figure.

Plato’s Diamond Revisited
Ivars Peterson’s Nov. 27, 2000 column “Square of the Hypotenuse” which discusses the diamond figure as used by Pythagoras (perhaps) and Plato. Other references to the use of Plato’s diamond in the proof of the Pythagorean theorem:


“… and he proceeded to prove the theorem of Pythagoras — not in Euclid’s way, but by the simpler and more satisfying method which was, in all probability, employed by Pythagoras himself….
‘You see,’ he said, ‘it seemed to me so beautiful….’
I nodded. ‘Yes, it’s very beautiful,’ I said — ‘it’s very beautiful indeed.'”
— Aldous Huxley, “Young Archimedes,” in Collected Short Stories, Harper, 1957, pp. 246 – 247


Sir Thomas L. Heath, in his commentary on Euclid I.47, asks how Pythagoreans discovered the Pythagorean theorem and the irrationality of the diagonal of a unit square. His answer? Plato’s diamond.
(See Heath, Sir Thomas Little (1861-1940),
The thirteen books of Euclid’s Elements translated from the text of Heiberg with introduction and commentary. Three volumes. University Press, Cambridge, 1908. Second edition: University Press, Cambridge, 1925. Reprint: Dover Publications, New York, 1956.

Other sites on the alleged
“diamond” proof of Pythagoras

Colorful diagrams at Cut-the-Knot

Illustrated legend of the diamond proof

Babylonian version of the diamond proof

For further details of Huxley’s story, see

The Practice of Mathematics,

Part I, by Robert P. Langlands, from a lecture series at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.

From the New Yorker Contributors page for St. Patrick’s Day, 2003:

Clive James (Books, p. 143) has a new collection, As of This Writing: The Essential Essays, 1968-2002, which will be published in June.”

See also my entry “The Boys from Uruguay” and the later entry “Lichtung!” on the Deutsche Schule Montevideo in Uruguay.

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