Monday, September 30, 2019

Multiplicity on Michaelmas

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 5:54 AM

"We need a multiplicity of viewpoints."

— Philip Pullman in a New Yorker  interview
     published yesterday 

See as well Pullman's "Golden Compass"
in posts tagged

Nothing New.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Phase Space

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 3:33 AM

"Open the pod bay doors, Bernard."

Tuesday, October 30, 2018


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

From the Hulu series 'The Path,' the Eye logo

A better term than “phase space” might be “story space.”

Monday, October 22, 2018

Story Space

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:48 PM

A better term than "phase space" might be "story space."

See as well Expanding the Spielraum.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Hume, Parfit. Parfit, Hume.

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:11 PM

 "And were all my perceptions removed by death,
and could I neither think, nor feel, nor see, nor love,
nor hate, after the dissolution of my body, I should
be entirely annihilated, nor do I conceive what is
further requisite to make me a perfect nonentity."

— Book I, Part IV, Section vi  of  
    A Treatise of Human Nature

— Detail from the ending of Philip Pullman's
     graphic novel "Mystery of the Ghost Ship"

Monday, June 19, 2017


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

Log24 ten years ago today

"Here, in a strategy of simple erasure,
 the Subject masks his singularity . . . ."

— Jacques Derrida

See also the previous post and . . .

— Detail from the ending of Philip Pullman's new
     graphic novel "Mystery of the Ghost Ship"

Friday, August 12, 2016

Dustbucket Physics

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

Peter Galison, a Harvard professor, is a defender of
the Vienna Circle and the religion of Scientism.

From Galison's “Structure of Crystal, Bucket of Dust,” in
Circles Disturbed: The Interplay of Mathematics and Narrative ,
edited by Apostolos Doxiadis and Barry Mazur, pp. 52-78 
(Princeton: Princeton U. Press, 2012) 

Galison's final paragraph —

"Perhaps, then, it should not surprise us too much if,
as Wheeler approaches the beginning-end of all things,
there is a bucket of Borelian dust. Out of this filth,
through the proposition machine of quantum mechanics
comes pregeometry; pregeometry makes geometry;
geometry gives rise to matter and the physical laws
and constants of the universe. At once close to and far
from the crystalline story that Bourbaki invoked,
Wheeler’s genesis puts one in mind of Genesis 3:19:
'In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou
return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken:
for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.' "

For fans of Scientism who prefer more colorful narratives —

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Logic of the Dust

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

"Dust is a fictional elementary particle that is of
fundamental importance within the story." 

— Wikipedia on Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials  trilogy

A review of posts tagged Kabbalah yields —

  "If all that 'matters' are fundamentally mathematical relationships, then there ceases to be any important difference between the actual and the possible. (Even if you aren't a mathematical Platonist, you can always find some collection of particles of dust to fit any required pattern. In Permutation City  this is called the 'logic of the dust' theory.)….
    Paul Durham is convinced by the 'logic of the dust' theory mentioned above, and plans to run, just for a few minutes, a complex cellular automaton (Permutation City) started in a 'Garden of Eden' configuration — one which isn't reachable from any other, and which therefore must have been the starting point of a simulation….  I didn't understand the need for this elaborate set-up, but I guess it makes for a better story than 'well, all possible worlds exist, and I'm going to tell you about one of them.' "

— Danny Yee, review of Permutation City
     a novel by Greg Egan

See also in this journal a search for Dark Matter.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Writing Desk

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

Why is  a raven like a writing desk?

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:00 AM

Ay que bonito es volar…


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday August 16, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 12:00 PM
Return to Paradise

(Title of a New Yorker
essay dated June 2, 2008)

Kenneth Bacon, an advocate for refugees, died yesterday at 64 on the Feast of the Assumption.

In his honor, we may perhaps be justified in temporarily ignoring the wise saying “never assume.”

From a defense of the dogma of the Assumption:

“On another level, the Assumption epitomizes the reconciliation of the material and spiritual world, as the human Mary enters ‘body and soul to heavenly glory.’ Carl Jung, the transpersonal psychologist, concluded that the doctrine of the Assumption reflected an acceptance of the physical world.”

For other such reconciliations, see

  • The New Yorker on Milton meeting Galileo: “Though Milton was the much younger man, in some ways his world system seems curiously older than the astronomer’s empirical universe.”
  • This journal on Milton’s world system: the four qualities “hot, cold, moist, and dry” and the four elements “Sea, Shore, Air, and Fire.”

    But all these in thir pregnant causes mixt
    Confus’dly, and which thus must ever fight,
    Unless th’ Almighty Maker them ordain
    His dark materials to create more Worlds….

  • This journal’s “For Galois on Bastille Day” reconciles, if only in a literary way, physical and non-physical worlds. The work of Evariste Galois allows us to depict an analogue of Milton’s (and Philip Pullman’s) physical world of dark materials within the purely mathematical world of finite groups. (For a less literary connection between physical and mathematical worlds, see this journal on Bastille Eve.)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday June 28, 2009

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

Raven Steals the Light

Raven from the home page of 'Dark Materials' author Philip Pullman

Home page of 'Dark Materials' author Philip Pullman

Thanks for a reference
to this story go to
Robert Bringhurst,
in his own way a
Cleric of the Grammaton.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday June 26, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:48 PM

Apocatastasis Now

I give you the end of a golden string,
Only wind it into a ball:
It will lead you in at Heavens gate,
Built in Jerusalems wall.

“In ‘Apocatastasis Now: A Very Condensed Reading of William Blake’s Jerusalem‘ (JBSSJ [Journal of the Blake Society at St James‘s] 6 [2001] 18–25), Susanne Sklar argues that Blake is not apocalyptic but apocatastatic, that is (following a doctrine of Origen and Gregory of Nyssa) he believes that all free creatures will be redeemed by God’s universal love.”

The Year’s Work in English Studies, 2003: Vol. 82, No. 1, pp. 493-547

Related material:


From the website of Philip Pullman, president of The Blake Society:

“I must create a System…”

The Blake Society, 25 October 2005: St James’s Church, Piccadilly

I see that the title of this lecture is given as BLAKE’S DARK MATERIALS. Now in the lecturer’s handbook, the second rule says “You need take no obsessive notice of the title that has been announced in advance.” Whether Blake’s materials are dark or not I couldn’t really say, but I am going to talk about Blake, partly, and partly about religion. Appropriate, perhaps, in a place like this, but you might think not appropriate from someone whose reputation is that of a scoffer or mocker or critic of religion; but I haven’t come here to scoff or mock. Nor have I come here to recant, as a matter of fact. I’m profoundly interested in religion, and I think it’s extremely important to understand it. I’ve been trying to understand it all my life, and every so often it’s useful to put one’s thoughts in order; but I shall never like God.

Download the full lecture
(pdf format, 155.62 KB)

For more dark materials
from the Halloween season
of 2005 — in fact, from the
  very date of Pullman’s lecture–
see Darkness Doubled.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Friday December 21, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:00 PM
My books are about
Killing God
Philip Pullman  

God was apparently not
available this week;
record producer Joel Dorn,
who died on Monday,
will have to do.


"… when you get the feel of it, and the record actually transports you back to that time, then it's a real explanation of what's going on… of what went on. And here I think you can– it's one thing to get the music, it's another thing to get the place and the people and the interaction. When it's really right, the audience is the fifth member of a quartet." —Joel Dorn


In the garden of Adding,
Live Even and Odd….
The Midrash Jazz Quartet

"Philosophers ponder the idea
of identity: what it is to
give something a name
on Monday and have it
respond to that name
on Friday."
Bernard Holland in
The New York Times
Monday, May 20, 1996

"Daddy's like
an old knight."

–Allison in "Meet Joe Black"

For Joe Black himself,
see the previous entry.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday August 10, 2007

Filed under: General,Geometry — 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

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Wednesday January 15, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:55 PM

Conversations in Hell

Part I: Locating Hell

“Noi siam venuti al loco ov’ i’ t’ho detto
           che tu vedrai le genti dolorose
        c’hanno perduto il ben de l’intelletto

Dante, Inferno, Canto 3, 16-18

“We have come to where I warned you
       we would find
Those wretched souls who no longer have 
The intellectual benefits of the mind.”

Dante, Hell, Canto 3, 16-18

From a Harvard student’s weblog:

Heard in Mather  I hope you get gingivitis You want me to get oral cancer?! Goodnight fartface Turd. Turd. Turd. Turd. Turd. Make your own waffles!! Blah blah blah starcraft blah blah starcraft blah starcraft. It’s da email da email. And some blue hair! Oohoohoo Izod! 10 gigs! Yeah it smells really bad. Only in the stairs though. Starcraft blah blah Starcraft fartface. Yeah it’s hard. You have to get a bunch of battle cruisers. 40 kills! So good! Oh ho ho grunt grunt squeal.  I’m getting sick again. You have a final tomorrow? In What?! Um I don’t even know. Next year we’re draggin him there and sticking the needle in ourselves. 

” … one more line / unravelling from the dark design / spun by God and Cotton Mather”

— Robert Lowell

Part II: The Call of Stories

From a website on college fund-raising

• “The people who come to us bring their stories. They hope they tell them well enough so that we understand the truth of their lives.”—Robert Coles, Harvard professor, The Call of Stories: Teaching and the Moral Imagination

• “If there’s anything worth calling theology, it is listening to people’s stories, listening to them and cherishing them.”—Mary Pellauer, quoted in Kathleen Norris’ Dakota: A Spiritual Geography

From a website on “The West Wing”:

9pm 2003-01-15    


In a special episode guest written by playwright Jon Robin Baitz, C.J. (Allison Janney) reluctantly returns to Dayton, Ohio, to speak at her 20th high school class reunion…”

From a website illustrating language in Catholic religious stories:

“Headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, the Sisters of the Precious Blood is a Catholic religious congregation…”

From a Catholic religious story by J. R. R. Tolkien:

“It shone now as if verily it was
 wrought of living fire.
‘Precious, precious, precious!’ Gollum cried.
‘My Precious! O my Precious!'”

From a website on Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials

“‘Stories are the most important thing in the world.  Without stories, we wouldn’t be human beings at all.”

From the same website, a short story:

Philip Pullman was born in Norwich on

19th October 1946.”

Part III: My Story

For a different story, see my weblog of

19th October 2002:

Saturday, October 19, 2002

What is Truth?

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