Log24

Monday, May 2, 2016

Quality

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Quality Revisited

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:14 AM

From earlier this month —

Related material —

1991 Swiss commemorative stamp with painting by Wolf Barth

Monday, August 24, 2015

Quality Report:

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

The Wrench and the Nut

From Schicksalstag  2012

The Quality
with No Name

And what is good, Phaedrus,
and what is not good —
Need we ask anyone
to tell us these things?

— Epigraph to
Zen and the Art of
Motorcyle Maintenance

Related material from Wikipedia today:

See as well a search in this journal for  “Permutation Group” + Wikipedia .

Quality Review

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

 Quality as Cleavage

Cleavage Term

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Quality

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

"William Tell’s weapon of choice has become
the symbol of Switzerland, a sign of sovereignty
and a guarantee of Swiss quality. On the eve of
the Second World War, these values seemed
especially important and necessary to the Swiss.
This five-centime green stamp was issued for
the 1939 national exhibition."

Related material in this journal:  Basel.

See also Jung + Imago.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Star Quality

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:09 AM

(Continued)

IMAGE- NYT obits: Jacob Goldman, Doe Avedon, Don Sharp

"The horror! The horror!"

IMAGE- Alyssa Milano in 'Embrace of the Vampire'

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Star Quality

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 7:00 PM

A search in memory of Gerry Rafferty,
a talented singer-songwriter who died today at 63.

"Here was finality indeed, and cleavage!"
— Malcolm Lowry, Under the Volcano

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Kant as Diamond Cutter

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 4:26 AM

“He wished Kant were alive. Kant would have appreciated it.
That master diamond cutter.”

— Robert M. PirsigZen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance , Part III.

Kant’s  “category theory” —

“In the Transcendental Analytic, Kant deduces the table of twelve categories, or pure concepts of the understanding….

The categories must be ‘schematized’ because their non-empirical origin in pure understanding prevents their having the sort of sensible content that would connect them immediately to the objects of experience; transcendental schemata are mediating representations that are meant to establish the connection between pure concepts and appearances in a rule-governed way. Mathematical concepts are discussed in this context since they are unique in being pure but also sensible concepts: they are pure because they are strictly a priori  in origin, and yet they are sensible since they are constructed in concreto . ”

— Shabel, Lisa, “Kant’s Philosophy of Mathematics”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy  (Spring 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2016/entries/kant-mathematics/>.

See also The Diamond Theorem and Octad.us.

Monday, March 2, 2020

The Alohomora Code

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:02 PM

Entertainment and More  Entertainment

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:33 PM

Eye of the Beholder

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 1:53 PM

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Exploring Schoolgirl Space…

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

Continued .

"Old men ought to be explorers." — T. S. Eliot.

Rose the Hat in her younger days.

See as well Barsotti in this journal.

Friday, October 27, 2017

To Forge a Head

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

The title was suggested by a 2014 Vanity Fair  piece
by James Toback (Harvard '66).

"He squinted at this vision of a Qualityless world for a while,
conjured up more details, thought about it, and then squinted
some more and thought some more and then finally circled
back to where he was before.

Squareness.

That's the look. That sums it. Squareness. When you subtract
quality you get squareness. Absence of Quality is the essence
of squareness."

— Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

And when you add  quality?

A related Zen joke from Final Club (June 19, 2017) —

.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Now and Zen

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

I found today that the following reference to my work —

Steven H. Cullinane.
Geometry of the I Ching. 2006 [text]

— was placed by Anthony Judge in a draft webpage
dated 24 August 2015.

Today's previous Log24 post, Zen and the Art,
suggests some context I prefer to the colorful
remarks of Judge — namely, a Log24 search for

Quality + Pirsig.

See esp. a post from the date of the Judge webpage,
24 August 2015, titled

Quality Report: The Wrench and the Nut.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Wrench

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:24 AM

The New York Times  top online front page story this morning—

   more »

"A version of this article appeared in print 
on November 9, 2012, on page 
B1 of
the 
New York edition with the headline: 
An Innovator vs. a Follower." — The Times

Some related material from this  journal

The Quality of Diamond,
Log24 entries from Feb. 2004:

The Quality
with No Name

And what is good, Phaedrus,
and what is not good…
Need we ask anyone
to tell us these things?

— Epigraph to
Zen and the Art of
Motorcyle Maintenance

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Java Jive

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:00 PM

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10B/100814-JavaLogo.GIF

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10B/100814-ManhattanTransferSm.jpg

(Click to enlarge.)

Intercultural Documentation

From this date four years ago

Cleavage Term

“… a point of common understanding
between the classic and romantic worlds.
Quality, the cleavage term
between hip and square, seemed to be it."

Robert M. Pirsig

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday August 20, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 4:00 PM

Sophists

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.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday July 13, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 12:24 PM
Christ's High Table

C. P. Snow in A Mathematician's Apology :

FOREWORD

"It was a perfectly ordinary night at Christ's high table, except that Hardy was dining as a guest. He had just returned to Cambridge as Sadleirian professor, and I had heard something of him from young Cambridge mathematicians. They were delighted to have him back: he was a real  mathematician, they said, not like those Diracs and Bohrs the physicists were always talking about: he was the purest of the pure. He was also unorthodox, eccentric, radical, ready to talk about anything. This was 1931, and the phrase was not yet in English use, but in later days they would have said that in some indefinable way he had star quality."

Perhaps now also at Christ's high table– Scarlett O'Hara's Younger Sister , Evelyn Keyes, who died on July 4, 2008:

"… the memory of Evelyn Keyes looking at herself on the screen, exclaiming: 'There's star quality! Look at those tits!'"
 

http://www.log24.com/log/pix08/Evelyn_Keyes_in_99_River_Street.jpg

Evelyn Keyes in 99 River Street

 

See also "Supper at Eight" and
Irreconcilable Differences.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday December 14, 2007

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:00 AM
“Well, it changes.”

Nicole Kidman at a press conference
for the London premiere of
“The Golden Compass” on November 27:

Nicole Kidman'-- kittens and tiger

A related Log24 link from
that same date, November 27:

Deep Beauty

See also Zen and the Art of
Motorcycle Maintenance

“Plato hadn’t tried to destroy areté. He had encapsulated it; made a permanent, fixed Idea out of it; had converted it to a rigid, immobile Immortal Truth. He made areté the Good, the highest form, the highest Idea of all. It was subordinate only to Truth itself, in a synthesis of all that had gone before.That was why the Quality that Phaedrus had arrived at in the classroom had seemed so close to Plato’s Good. Plato’s Good was taken from the rhetoricians. Phaedrus searched, but could find no previous cosmologists who had talked about the Good. That was from the Sophists. The difference was that Plato’s Good was a fixed and eternal and unmoving Idea, whereas for the rhetoricians it was not an Idea at all. The Good was not a form of reality. It was reality itself, ever changing, ultimately unknowable in any kind of fixed, rigid way.”

— as well as Cold Mountain 

Page 48: “It’s claimed that if
you take a mirror and look
backwards into a well, you’ll
see your future down in the water.”

“So in short order Ada found herself bent backward over the mossy well lip, canted in a pose with little to recommend it in the way of dignity or comfort, back arched, hips forward, legs spraddled for balance.  She held a hand mirror above her face, angled to catch the surface of the water below.

Ada had agreed to the well-viewing as a variety of experiment in local custom and as a tonic for her gloom. Her thoughts had been broody and morbid and excessively retrospective for so long that she welcomed the chance to run counter to that flow, to cast forward and think about the future, even though she expected to see nothing but water at the bottom of the well.

She shifted her feet to find better grip on the packed dirt of the yard and then tried to look into the mirror.  The white sky above was skimmed over with backlit haze, bright as a pearl or as a silver mirror itself.  The dark foliage of oaks all around the edges framed the sky, duplicating the wooden frame of the mirror into which Ada peered, examining its picture of the well depths behind her to see what might lie ahead in her life. The bright round of well water at the end of the black shaft was another mirror.  It cast back the shine of sky and was furred around the edges here and there with sprigs of fern growing between stones.

Ada tried to focus her attention on the hand mirror, but the bright sky beyond kept drawing her eye away.  She was dazzled by light and shade, by the confusing duplication of reflections and of frames. All coming from too many directions for the mind to take account of. The various images bounced against each other until she felt a desperate vertigo, as if she could at any moment pitch backward and plunge head first down the well shaft and drown there, the sky far above her, her last vision but a bright circle set in the dark, no bigger than a full moon.

Her head spun and she reached with her free hand and held to the stonework of the well.  And then just for a moment things steadied, and there indeed seemed to be a picture in the mirror.”

— and Log24 on December 3 —

I Ching Hexagram 48: The Well
The above Chinese character
stands for Hexagram 48, “The Well.”
For further details, click on the well.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thursday November 29, 2007

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

 
From today's online NY Times:
Obituaries in the News
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

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
demonstrandum.

Star and Diamond: A Tombstone for Plato

For more information,
click on the black monolith.

Related material:

In the Details
and
Deep Beauty.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wednesday November 22, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 PM
Rock of Ages

“Who knows where madness lies?”
— Rhetorical question
in “Man of La Mancha”
(See previous entry.)

Using madness to
seek out madness, let us
  consult today’s numbers…

Pennsylvania Lottery
Nov. 22, 2006:

Mid-day 487
Evening 814

The number 487 leads us to
page 487 in the
May 1977 PMLA,
The Form of Carnival
in Under the Volcano
“:

“The printing presses’ flywheel
marks the whirl of time*
    that will split La Despedida….”

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

Flywheel

From Dana Grove,
A Rhetorical Analysis of
Under the Volcano
,
page 92:

“… In this way, mystical as well as psychological dimensions are established.  Later on, the two pass by a printer’s shop window and curiously stop to inspect, amidst wedding portraits and well in front of the revolving flywheel of the printing machines, ‘a photographic enlargement purporting to show the disintegration of a glacial deposit in the Sierra Madre, of a great rock split by forest fires.’  Significantly the picture is called ‘La Despedida,’ the Parting.  Yvonne cannot help but see the symbolic significance of the photograph and wishes with all of her might ‘to heal the cleft rock’ just as she wishes to heal the divorce….”

Some method in this madness
is revealed by the evening
lottery number, 814, which
leads to an entry of 8/14:

Cleavage Term

“… a point of common understanding
between the classic and romantic worlds.
Quality, the cleavage term between
hip and square, seemed to be it.”
Robert M. Pirsig 

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

Rebecca Goldstein

The 8/14 entry also deals with
Rebecca Goldstein, who
seems to understand
such cleavage
very well.

(See also today’s previous entry.)

* Cf. Shakespeare’s “whirligig of time
linked to in the previous entry.)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sunday October 15, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:00 PM

Cleavage Term

Snow is mainly remembered as the author of The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution (1959).

According to Orrin Judd, we can now see “how profoundly wrong Snow was in everything except for his initial metaphor, of a divide between science and the rest of the culture.”

For more on that metaphor, see the previous entry, “The Line.”

I prefer a lesser-known work of Snow– his long biographical foreword to G. H. Hardy’s A Mathematician’s Apology. The foreword, like the book itself, is an example of what Robert M. Pirsig calls “Quality.”  It begins with these words:

“It was a perfectly ordinary night at Christ’s high table, except that Hardy was dining as a guest.”

Related material:

Wallace Stevens,
“The Sail of Ulysses,”
Canto V

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Saturday October 14, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 PM
The Line
 
Continued
from Aug. 15, 2004:

Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Part III:

“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.”

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/061014-Kant.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

See also the discussion of
subjective and objective
by Robert M. Pirsig in
Zen and the Art of
Motorcycle Maintenance
,
Part III,
followed by this dialogue:

Are We There Yet?

Chris shouts, “When are we
going to get to the top?”

“Probably quite a way yet,”
I reply.

“Will we see a lot?”

“I think so. Look for blue sky
between the trees. As long as we
can’t see sky we know it’s a way yet.
The light will come through the trees
when we round the top.”

Related material:

The Boys from Uruguay,
Lichtung!,
The Shining of May 29,
A Guiding Philosophy,
Ticket Home.

The philosophy of Heidegger
discussed and illustrated
in the above entries may
be regarded as honoring
today’s 100th anniversary
of the birth of Heidegger’s
girlfriend, Hannah Arendt.

See also

 Hannah and Martin
and
Snowblind.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Saturday August 19, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:14 PM
For Jill St. John
On Her Birthday:
 
Cleavage Term
Revisited
 
 

“… a point of common understanding between the classic and romantic worlds. Quality, the cleavage term between hip and square, seemed to be it.”


“During his distinguished 17-year tenure as director of the theatre program at Fordham University, Sacharow was recalled by faculty colleagues as ‘exceedingly collegial, understanding, sympathetic and very, very funny.'”

— Obituary of Lawrence J. Sacharow at Fordham University, a Jesuit institution

See also Log24 on August 14,
the date of Sacharow’s death,
and on April 10, 2004:

“Here was finality indeed,
and cleavage!”

Under the Volcano  

Monday, August 14, 2006

Monday August 14, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:17 AM
Cleavage Term

“… a point of common understanding between the classic and romantic worlds. Quality, the cleavage term between hip and square, seemed to be it. Both worlds used the term. Both knew what it was. It was just that the romantic left it alone and appreciated it for what it was and the classic tried to turn it into a set of intellectual building blocks for other purposes.”

For such building blocks, see

A Trinity for Rebecca

(4/25/06)

and yesterday’s lottery
in Pennsylvania:
mid-day 713, evening 526.
These numbers prompt the
following meditation
on the square and the hip:

In memory of
Kermit Hall,
college president,
who died Sunday,
August 13, 2006:

Square
7/13:
Carpe Diem

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060814-WenzhouHall.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
President Hall
(SUNY Albany)
meets with
Wenzhou University*
delegation, 4/25/06.

In memory of
Duke Jordan,
jazz pianist,
who died Tuesday,
August 8, 2006:

Hip
5/26:
A Living Church

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060814-52ndSt.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Jazz clubs
on 52nd Street
on a summer night
in 1948, pictured in
Log24 on 4/25/06.

  Square and hip may each have a place
in heaven; for a less pleasant destination,
see the previous entry.
__________________________________

* Update of 3 PM 8/14/06:

See Forrest Gump on God
in an Aug. 11 entry and
the related paper

Renegotiating Chinese Identity:
Between Local Group
and National Ideology,

by Kristen Parris:

Center and Locality in China

The Roots of Group Identity in Wenzhou

Wenzhou as a Negative Identity

The Wenzhou Model as a Positive Identity

The New Wenzhou Narrative

Wenzhou Identity and Emergent Class Interests

Conclusion: Local Group Identity and National Transformation.

The paper is found in
The Power of Identity:
Politics in a New Key
,
by Kenneth Hoover et al.,
Chatham House, 1997.

Related material
may be found
by a search on
“the Wenzhou model.”

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Thursday July 13, 2006

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

Today's birthday:
Harrison Ford

"The forest here at the bottom of the canyon is mostly pine, with a few aspen and broad-leafed shrubs. Steep canyon walls rise way above us on both sides. Occasionally the trail opens into a patch of sunlight and grass that edges the canyon stream, but soon it reenters the deep shade of the pines. The earth of the trail is covered with a soft springy duff of pine needles. It is very quiet here.

Mountains like these and travelers in the mountains and events that happen to them here are found not only in Zen literature but in the tales of every major religion."– Robert Pirsig

Related material:
"Canyon Breeze" as played at
myspace.com/montanaskies

"… a point of common understanding between the classic and romantic worlds. Quality, the cleavage term between hip and square, seemed to be it. Both worlds used the term. Both knew what it was. It was just that the romantic left it alone and appreciated it for what it was and the classic tried to turn it into a set of intellectual building blocks for other purposes."– Robert Pirsig

 

For such building blocks, see
myspace.com/affine.

The image “http://www.log24.com/theory/images/MySpace.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
The background music there
is the same, by Montana Skies.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Wednesday May 31, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:00 AM
Clint Eastwood
 is 76.

In honor of his birthday,
a three-part meditation
on quality:

Part I —

From The Quality of Diamond,
Log24 entries from Feb. 2004:

The Quality
with No Name

And what is good, Phaedrus,
and what is not good…
Need we ask anyone
to tell us these things?

— Epigraph to
Zen and the Art of
Motorcyle Maintenance

Part II —

From Log24 on
Dec. 7, 2003:

Eyes on the Prize

Dialogue from “Good Will Hunting” —

Will:   He used to just put a belt,
          a stick, and a wrench
          on the kitchen table
          and say, “Choose.”
Sean:  Gotta go with the belt, there.
Will:    I used to go with the wrench.

 Location, Location, Location

Part III —

From the website of
Noam D. Elkies,
Harvard mathematician:

SLUMMERVILLE

Somerville,
Where the livin’ is sleazy:
Folk are humpin’
And the chillun is high.
Oh yo’ daddy’s rich,
‘Cos yo’ ma is good lookin’
So hush, ugly baby,
Or I’ll make you cry.

[“Parody by Noam D. Elkies;
not the original lyrics,
of course.”]

Related material
from Log24 on
April 10, 2006:

The image �http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060410-Elkies3.jpg� cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Noam D. Elkies

The Magic Schmuck

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Sunday August 15, 2004

Filed under: General — 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.

THEAETETUS – True.

— 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.”

Tuesday, February 3, 2004

Tuesday February 3, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:44 PM

Lila

Robert M. Pirsig, Lila, 1991 Bantam hardcover, p. 111:

“… Quality ‘is’ morality. Make no mistake about it. They’re ‘identical.’  And if Quality is the primary reality of the world then that means morality is also the primary reality of the world.”

— Quoted at
   The Alexander-Pirsig Connection.

“This creative activity of the Divine is called lila, the play of God, and the world is seen as the stage of the divine play.”

— Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics, Third Edition, Updated, 1991, Shambhala paperback, pp. 87-88, quoted here

“All the world’s a stage.”

William Shakespeare

Tuesday February 3, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:11 AM

The Quality with No Name

And what is good, Phædrus,
and what is not good…
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?

— Epigraph to
   Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance

Brad Appleton discusses a phrase of Christopher Alexander:

“The ‘Quality Without A Name‘ (abbreviated as the acronym QWAN) is the quality that imparts incommunicable beauty and immeasurable value to a structure….

Alexander proposes the existence of an objective quality of aesthetic beauty that is universally recognizable. He claims there are certain timeless attributes and properties which are considered beautiful and aesthetically pleasing to all people in all cultures (not just ‘in the eye of the beholder’). It is these fundamental properties which combine to generate the QWAN….”

See, too, The Alexander-Pirsig Connection.

Saturday, April 12, 2003

Saturday April 12, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:23 PM

2:23 PM
Sequel
to the previous two entries

"This world is not conclusion;
A sequel stands beyond…."
— Emily Dickinson

Today's birthday: dancer/actress Ann Miller.

"In 1937, she was discovered by Lucille Ball…."

Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz,
and Ann Miller, cast photo
from Too Many Girls (1940)

"Just goes to show star quality shines through…."
— Website on Too Many Girls 

"It'll shine when it shines."
— Folk saying, epigraph to The Shining

"Shine on, you crazy diamond."
Pink Floyd

"Well we all shine on…"
— John Lennon, "Instant Karma"

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Thursday November 21, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:11 PM

Hope of Heaven

This title is taken from a John O’Hara novel I like very much. It seems appropriate because today is the birthday of three admirable public figures:

“No one can top Eleanor Powell – not even Fred Astaire.” — A fellow professional.  Reportedly, “Astaire himself said she was better than him.” 

That’s as good as it gets.

Let us hope that Powell, Hawkins, and Q are enjoying a place that Q, quoting Plato’s Phaedrus, described as follows:

“a fair resting-place, full of summer sounds and scents!”

This is a rather different, and more pleasant, approach to the Phaedrus than the one most familiar to later generations — that of Pirsig in Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance.  Both approaches, however, display what Pirsig calls “Quality.”

One of my own generation’s closest approaches to Quality is found in the 25th Anniversary Report of the Harvard Class of 1964.  Charles Small remarks,

“A lot of other stuff has gone down the drain since 1964, of course, besides my giving up being a mathematician and settling into my first retirement.  My love-hate relationship with the language has intensified, and my despair with words as instruments of communion is often near total.  I read a little, but not systematically. I’ve always been enthralled by the notion that Time is an illusion, a trick our minds play in an attempt to keep things separate, without any reality of its own. My experience suggests that this is literally true, but not the kind of truth that can be acted upon….

I’m always sad and always happy. As someone says in Diane Keaton’s film ‘Heaven,’ ‘It’s kind of a lost cause, but it’s a great experience.'”

I agree.  Here are two links to some work of what is apparently this same Charles Small:

Powered by WordPress