From a post on St. Andrew's Day, 2017 —
See also "ENumbers" and "EGirls."
See a Quanta Magazine article published today and
https://www.chapman.edu/ourfaculty/mattleifer.
From the article —
Leifer, for his part, is holding out for something new. “I think the correct interpretation of quantum mechanics is none of the above,” he said. He likens the current situation with quantum mechanics to the time before Einstein came up with his special theory of relativity. Experimentalists had found no sign of the “luminiferous ether” — the medium through which light waves were thought to propagate in a Newtonian universe. Einstein argued that there is no ether. Instead he showed that space and time are malleable. “PreEinstein I couldn’t have told you that it was the structure of space and time that was going to change,” Leifer said. Quantum mechanics is in a similar situation now, he thinks. “It’s likely that we are making some implicit assumption about the way the world has to be that just isn’t true,” he said. “Once we change that, once we modify that assumption, everything would suddenly fall into place. That’s kind of the hope. Anybody who is skeptical of all interpretations of quantum mechanics must be thinking something like this. Can I tell you what’s a plausible candidate for such an assumption? Well, if I could, I would just be working on that theory.” 
See as well this journal on the Feast of the Assumption, 2018.
Scholia on the title — See Quantum + Mystic in this journal.
"In Vol. I of Structural Anthropology , p. 209, I have shown that
this analysis alone can account for the double aspect of time
representation in all mythical systems: the narrative is both
'in time' (it consists of a succession of events) and 'beyond'
(its value is permanent)." — Claude LéviStrauss, 1976
I prefer the earlier, betterknown, remarks on time by T. S. Eliot
in Four Quartets , and the following four quartets (from
The Matrix Meets the Grid) —
From a Log24 post of June 2627, 2017:
A work of Eddington cited in 1974 by von Franz —
See also Dirac and Geometry and Kummer in this journal.
Ron Shaw on Eddington's triads "associated in conjugate pairs" —
For more about hyperbolic and isotropic lines in PG(3,2),
see posts tagged Diamond Theorem Correlation.
For Shaw, in memoriam — See Contrapuntal Interweaving and The Fugue.
"An awful lot of important dualities in four and fewer dimensions
follow from this sixdimensional theory and its properties."
— Edward Witten, interviewed by Natalie Wolchover,
in Quanta Magazine on November 28, 2017
See also Six Dimensions in this journal.
Remarks related to a recent film and a notsorecent film.
For some historical background, see Dirac and Geometry in this journal.
Also (as Thas mentions) after Saniga and Planat —
The SanigaPlanat paper was submitted on December 21, 2006.
Excerpts from this journal on that date —
"Open the pod bay doors, HAL."
This post supplies some background for earlier posts tagged
Quantum Tesseract Theorem.
American Songwriters (the Petrusich versions)
The New Yorker Culture Desk online yesterday —
The New Yorker Culture Desk onine July 16 —
Related aesthetic meditation from this journal on July 16 —
(From the post "Schoolgirl Space for Quantum Mystics")
See also Clifford in this journal, in particular
The Matrix for Quantum Mystics
(Log24, St. Andrew's Day, 2017).
Some context for what Heidegger called
das SpiegelSpiel des Gevierts
From Helen Lane's translation of El Mono Gramático ,
a book by Nobel winner Octavio Paz first published
in Barcelona by Seix Barral in 1974 —
Simultaneous perspective does not look upon language as a path because it is not the search for meaning that orients it. Poetry does not attempt to discover what there is at the end of the road; it conceives of the text as a series of transparent strata within which the various parts—the different verbal and semantic currents—produce momentary configurations as they intertwine or break apart, as they reflect each other or efface each other. Poetry contemplates itself, fuses with itself, and obliterates itself in the crystallizations of language. Apparitions, metamorphoses, volatilizations, precipitations of presences. These configurations are crystallized time: although they are perpetually in motion, they always point to the same hour—the hour of change. Each one of them contains all the others, each one is inside the others: change is only the oftrepeated and everdifferent metaphor of identity.
— Paz, Octavio. The Monkey Grammarian 
A related 1960 meditation from Claude LéviStrauss taken from a
Log24 post of St. Andrew's Day 2017, "The Matrix for Quantum Mystics":
"In Vol. I of Structural Anthropology , p. 209, I have shown that
this analysis alone can account for the double aspect of time
representation in all mythical systems: the narrative is both
'in time' (it consists of a succession of events) and 'beyond'
(its value is permanent)." — Claude LéviStrauss
I prefer the earlier, betterknown, remarks on time by T. S. Eliot
in Four Quartets , and the following four quartets
(from The Matrix Meets the Grid) —
In memory of Yale art historian Vincent Scully, who reportedly
died at 97 last night at his home in Lynchburg, Va., some remarks
from the firm of architect John Outram and from Scully —
Update from the morning of December 2 —
The above 3×3 figure is of course not unrelated to
the 4×4 figure in The Matrix for Quantum Mystics:
.
See as well Tsimtsum in this journal.
The title of the previous post, "For Quantum Mystics,"
suggests a search in this journal for Quantum + Mystic.
That search in turn suggests, in particular, a review of
a post of October 16, 2007 — a discussion of the
P.T. Barnumlike phrase "deep beauty" used to describe
a topic under discussion at Princeton by physicists.
Princeton, by the way, serves to illustrate the "gutter"
mentioned by Sir Laurence Olivier in a memorable
classroom scene from 1962.
As a corrective to the previous parodies here, the following material on the mathematician HarishChandra may help to establish that there is, in fact, such a thing as “deep beauty”– if not in physics, religion, or philosophy, at least in pure mathematics.
MacTutor History of Mathematics:
“HarishChandra worked at the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton from 1963. He was appointed IBMvon Neumann Professor in 1968.”
R. P. Langlands (pdf, undated, apparently from a 1983 memorial talk):
“Almost immediately upon his arrival in Princeton he began working at a ferocious pace, setting standards that the rest of us may emulate but never achieve. For us there is a welter of semisimple groups: orthogonal groups, symplectic groups, unitary groups, exceptional groups; and in our frailty we are often forced to treat them separately. For him, or so it appeared because his methods were always completely general, there was a single group. This was one of the sources of beauty of the subject in his hands, and I once asked him how he achieved it. He replied, honestly I believe, that he could think no other way. It is certainly true that he was driven back upon the simplifying properties of special examples only in desperate need and always temporarily.”
“It is difficult to communicate the grandeur of HarishChandra’s achievements and I have not tried to do so. The theory he created still stands– if I may be excused a clumsy simile– like a Gothic cathedral, heavily buttressed below but, in spite of its great weight, light and soaring in its upper reaches, coming as close to heaven as mathematics can. Harish, who was of a spiritual, even religious, cast and who liked to express himself in metaphors, vivid and compelling, did see, I believe, mathematics as mediating between man and what one can only call God. Occasionally, on a stroll after a seminar, usually towards evening, he would express his feelings, his fine hands slightly upraised, his eyes intent on the distant sky; but he saw as his task not to bring men closer to God but God closer to men. For those who can understand his work and who accept that God has a mathematical side, he accomplished it.”
For deeper views of his work, see
From the Vanderbilt University obituary of Vaughan F. R. Jones —
“During the mid1980s, while Jones was working on a problem in von Neumann algebra theory, which is related to the foundations of quantum mechanics, he discovered an unexpected link between that theory and knot theory, a mathematical field dating back to the 19th century. Specifically, he found a new mathematical expression—now known as the Jones polynomial—for distinguishing between different types of knots as well as links in threedimensional space. Jones’ discovery had been missed by topologists during the previous 60 years, and his finding contributed to his selection as a Fields Medalist. ‘Now there is an area of mathematics called said Dietmar Bisch, professor of mathematics.” [Link added.] 
Related to Jones’s work —
“Topological Quantum Information Theory” at
the website of Louis H. Kauffman —
http://homepages.math.uic.edu/~kauffman/Quanta.pdf.
Kauffman —
The title is of course from an old joke about mystic philosophies.
Related remarks by John Archibald Wheeler —
“Remarkable issues connected with the puzzle of existence
confront us today in Hermann Weyl’s domain of thought.
Four among them I bring before you here as especially interesting:
(1) What is the machinery of existence?
(2) What is deeper foundation of the quantum principle?
(3) What is the proper position to take about the existence of
the “continuum” of the natural numbers? And
(4) What can we do to understand time as an entity, not precise and
supplied free of charge from outside physics, but approximate and
yet to be derived from within a new and deeper timefree physics?
In brief, how come time?
What about the continuum?
How come the quantum?
What is existence?”
— John A. Wheeler, “Hermann Weyl and the Unity of Knowledge,”
American Scientist 74, no. 4 (1986): 366–75. Reprinted in
John A. Wheeler, At Home in the Universe
(American Institute of Physics, December 1, 1995).
The above bibliographic data is from . . .
Schrank, Jeffrey. Inventing Reality: Stories We Create To Explain Everything .
Gatekeeper Press. Kindle Edition, March 14, 2020.
For further scholarly details, see a version at JSTOR:
“…the article is adapted from the concluding address given at
the Hermann Weyl Centenary Congress, University of Kiel, 3 July 1985.”
— https://www.jstor.org/stable/27854250.
I prefer Charles Williams on “the Unity of Knowledge.”
See the 15 instances of the phrase “the Unity” in his 1931 novel Many Dimensions .
Related entertainment —
Detail:
George Steiner —
"Perhaps an insane conceit."
Perhaps.
See Quantum Tesseract Theorem .
Perhaps Not.
See Dirac and Geometry .
Note that in the pictures below of the 15 twosubsets of a sixset,
the symbols 1 through 6 in Hudson's square array of 1905 occupy the
same positions as the anticommuting Dirac matrices in Arfken's 1985
square array. Similarly occupying these positions are the skew lines
within a generalized quadrangle (a line complex) inside PG(3,2).
Related narrative — The "Quantum Tesseract Theorem."
"… Max Black, the Cornell philosopher, and others have pointed out
how 'perhaps every science must start with metaphor and end with
algebra, and perhaps without the metaphor there would never have
been any algebra' …."
— Max Black, Models and Metaphors, Cornell U. Press, 1962,
page 242, as quoted in Dramas, Fields, and Metaphors, by
Victor Witter Turner, Cornell U. Press, paperback, 1975, page 25
Metaphor —
Algebra —
The 16 Dirac matrices form six anticommuting sets of five matrices each (Arfken 1985, p. 214): 1. , , , , , 2. , , , , , 3. , , , , , 4. , , , , , 5. , , , , , 6. , , , , . SEE ALSO: Pauli Matrices REFERENCES: Arfken, G. Mathematical Methods for Physicists, 3rd ed. Orlando, FL: Academic Press, pp. 211217, 1985. Berestetskii, V. B.; Lifshitz, E. M.; and Pitaevskii, L. P. "Algebra of Dirac Matrices." §22 in Quantum Electrodynamics, 2nd ed. Oxford, England: Pergamon Press, pp. 8084, 1982. Bethe, H. A. and Salpeter, E. Quantum Mechanics of One and TwoElectron Atoms. New York: Plenum, pp. 4748, 1977. Bjorken, J. D. and Drell, S. D. Relativistic Quantum Mechanics. New York: McGrawHill, 1964. Dirac, P. A. M. Principles of Quantum Mechanics, 4th ed. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1982. Goldstein, H. Classical Mechanics, 2nd ed. Reading, MA: AddisonWesley, p. 580, 1980. Good, R. H. Jr. "Properties of Dirac Matrices." Rev. Mod. Phys. 27, 187211, 1955. Referenced on WolframAlpha: Dirac Matrices CITE THIS AS: Weisstein, Eric W. "Dirac Matrices."
From MathWorld— A Wolfram Web Resource. 
Desiring the exhilarations of changes:
The motive for metaphor, shrinking from
The weight of primary noon,
The A B C of being,
The ruddy temper, the hammer
Of red and blue, the hard sound—
Steel against intimation—the sharp flash,
The vital, arrogant, fatal, dominant X.
A revision of the above diagram showing
the Galoisadditiontable structure —
Related tables from August 10 —
See "Schoolgirl Space Revisited."
The Square "Inscape" Model of
the Generalized Quadrangle W(2)
Click image to enlarge.
* The title refers to the role of PG (3,2) in Kirkman's schoolgirl problem.
For some backstory, see my post Anticommuting Dirac Matrices as Skew Lines
and, more generally, posts tagged Dirac and Geometry.
The Quantum Tesseract Theorem Revisited
"The secret is that the supermathematician expresses by the anticommutation
of his operators the property which the geometer conceives as perpendicularity
of displacements. That is why on p. 269 we singled out a pentad of anticommuting
operators, foreseeing that they would have an immediate application in describing
the property of perpendicular directions without using the traditional picture of space.
They express the property of perpendicularity without the picture of perpendicularity.
Thus far we have touched only the fringe of the structure of our set of sixteen Eoperators.
Only by entering deeply into the theory of electrons could I show the whole structure
coming into evidence."
A related illustration, from posts tagged Dirac and Geometry —
Compare and contrast Eddington's use of the word "perpendicular"
with a later use of the word by Saniga and Planat.
The following are some notes on the history of Clifford algebras
and finite geometry suggested by the "Clifford Modules" link in a
Log24 post of March 12, 2005 —
A more recent appearance of the configuration —
Some images, and a definition, suggested by my remarks here last night
on Apollo and Ross Douthat's remarks today on "The Return of Paganism" —
In finite geometry and combinatorics,
an inscape is a 4×4 array of square figures,
each figure picturing a subset of the overall 4×4 array:
Related material — the phrase
"Quantum Tesseract Theorem" and …
A. An image from the recent
film "A Wrinkle in Time" —
B. A quote from the 1962 book —
"There's something phoney
in the whole setup, Meg thought.
There is definitely something rotten
in the state of Camazotz."
(Continued from this morning)
"The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation."
— T. S. Eliot in Four Quartets
See also other Log24 posts tagged Kummerhenge.
From the 1955 film "Blackboard Jungle" —
From a trailer for the recent film version of A Wrinkle in Time —
Detail of the phrase "quantum tesseract theorem":
From the 1962 book —
"There's something phoney
in the whole setup, Meg thought.
There is definitely something rotten
in the state of Camazotz."
Related mathematics from Koen Thas that some might call a
"quantum tesseract theorem" —
Some background —
See also posts tagged Dirac and Geometry. For more
background on finite geometry, see a web page
at Thas's institution, Ghent University.
From The New York Times on June 20, 2018 —
" In a widely read article published early this year on arXiv.org,
a site for scientific papers, Gary Marcus, a professor at
New York University, posed the question:
'Is deep learning approaching a wall?'
He wrote, 'As is so often the case, the patterns extracted
by deep learning are more superficial than they initially appear.' "
See as well an image from posts tagged Quantum Suffering . . .
The time above, 10:06:48 PM July 16, is when I saw …
"What you mean 'we,' Milbank?"
"Just fancy a scale model of Being
made out of string and cardboard."
— Nanavira Thera, 1 October 1957,
on a model of Kummer's Quartic Surface
mentioned by Eddington
"… a treatise on Kummer's quartic surface."
The "supermathematician" Eddington did not see fit to mention
the title or the author of the treatise he discussed.
See Hudson + Kummer in this journal.
See also posts tagged Dirac and Geometry.
A New, Improved Version of Quantum Suffering !
Background for group actions on the eightfold cube —
See also other posts now tagged Quantum Suffering
as well as — related to the image above of the Great Wall —
The Quantum Tesseract Theorem —
Raiders —
A Wrinkle in Time
starring Storm Reid,
Reese Witherspoon,
Oprah Winfrey &
Mindy Kaling
Time Magazine December 25, 2017 – January 1, 2018
A figure related to the general connecting theorem of Koen Thas —
See also posts tagged Dirac and Geometry in this journal.
Those who prefer narrative to mathematics may, if they so fancy, call
the above Thas connecting theorem a "quantum tesseract theorem ."
TIME magazine, issue of December 25th, 2017 —
" In 2003, Hand worked with Disney to produce a madeforTV movie.
Thanks to budget constraints, among other issues, the adaptation
turned out bland and uninspiring. It disappointed audiences,
L’Engle and Hand. 'This is not the dream,' Hand recalls telling herself.
'I’m sure there were people at Disney that wished I would go away.' "
Not the dream? It was, however, the nightmare, presenting very well
the encounter in Camazotz of Charles Wallace with the Tempter.
From a trailer for the latest version —
Detail:
From the 1962 book —
"There's something phoney in the whole setup, Meg thought.
There is definitely something rotten in the state of Camazotz."
Song adapted from a 1960 musical —
"In short, there's simply not
A more congenial spot
For happyeveraftering
Than here in Camazotz!"
See also Symplectic in this journal.
From Gotay and Isenberg, “The Symplectization of Science,”
Gazette des Mathématiciens 54, 5979 (1992):
“… what is the origin of the unusual name ‘symplectic’? ….
Its mathematical usage is due to Hermann Weyl who,
in an effort to avoid a certain semantic confusion, renamed
the then obscure ‘line complex group’ the ‘symplectic group.’
… the adjective ‘symplectic’ means ‘plaited together’ or ‘woven.’
This is wonderfully apt….”
The above symplectic figure appears in remarks on
the diamondtheorem correlation in the webpage
Rosenhain and Göpel Tetrads in PG(3,2). See also
related remarks on the notion of linear (or line ) complex
in the finite projective space PG(3,2) —
The title refers to today's earlier post "The 35Year Wait."
A check of my activities 35 years ago this fall, in the autumn
of 1982, yields a formula I prefer to the nonsensical, but famous,
"canonical formula" of Claude LéviStrauss.
My "inscape" formula, from a note of Sept. 22, 1982 —
S = f ( f ( X ) ) .
Some mathematics from last year related to the 1982 formula —
See also Inscape in this journal and posts tagged Dirac and Geometry.
See "sacerdotal jargon" in this journal.
For those who prefer scientific jargon —
"… open its reading to
combinational possibilities
outside its larger narrative flow.
The particulars of attention,
whether subjective or objective,
are unshackled through form,
and offered as a relational matrix …."
— Kent Johnson in a 1993 essay
For some science that is not just jargon, see …
and, also from posts tagged Dirac and Geometry …
The above line complex also illustrates an outer automorphism
of the symmetric group S_{6}. See last Thursday's post "Rotman and
the Outer Automorphism."
A review of some recent posts on Dirac and geometry,
each of which mentions the late physicist Hendrik van Dam:
The first of these posts mentions the work of E. M. Bruins.
Some earlier posts that cite Bruins:
From "Projective Geometry and PTSymmetric Dirac Hamiltonian,"
Y. Jack Ng and H. van Dam,
Physics Letters B , Volume 673, Issue 3,
23 March 2009, Pages 237–239
(http://arxiv.org/abs/0901.2579v2, last revised Feb. 20, 2009)
" Studies of spin½ theories in the framework of projective geometry
have been undertaken before. See, e.g., Ref. [4]. ^{1 }"
" ^{1} These papers are rather mathematical and technical.
The authors of the first two papers discuss the Dirac equation
in terms of the PluckerKlein correspondence between lines of
a threedimensional projective space and points of a quadric
in a fivedimensional projective space. The last paper shows
that the Dirac equation bears a certain relation to Kummer’s
surface, viz., the structure of the Dirac ring of matrices is
related to that of Kummer’s 16_{6} configuration . . . ."
[4]
O. Veblen
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA , 19 (1933), p. 503
Full Text via CrossRef
E.M. Bruins
Proc. Nederl. Akad. Wetensch. , 52 (1949), p. 1135
F.C. Taylor Jr., Master thesis, University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill (1968), unpublished
A remark of my own on the structure of Kummer’s 16_{6} configuration . . . .
See as well yesterday morning's post.
The authors Taormina and Wendland in the previous post
discussed some mathematics they apparently did not know was
related to a classic 1905 book by R. W. H. T. Hudson, Kummer's
Quartic Surface .
"This famous book is a prototype for the possibility
of explaining and exploring a manyfaceted topic of
research, without focussing on general definitions,
formal techniques, or even fancy machinery. In this
regard, the book still stands as a highly recommendable,
unparalleled introduction to Kummer surfaces, as a
permanent source of inspiration and, last but not least,
as an everlasting symbol of mathematical culture."
— Werner Kleinert, Mathematical Reviews ,
as quoted at Amazon.com
Some 4×4 diagrams from that book are highly relevant to the
discussion by Taormina and Wendland of the 4×4 squares within
the 1974 Miracle Octad Generator of R. T. Curtis that were later,
in 1987, described by Curtis as pictures of the vector 4space over
the twoelement Galois field GF(2).
Hudson did not think of his 4×4 diagrams as illustrating a vector space,
but he did use them to picture certain subsets of the 16 cells in each
diagram that he called Rosenhain and Göpel tetrads .
Some related work of my own (click images for related posts)—
Rosenhain tetrads as 20 of the 35 projective lines in PG(3,2)
Göpel tetrads as 15 of the 35 projective lines in PG(3,2)
Related terminology describing the Göpel tetrads above
Related material — Posts tagged Dirac and Geometry.
For an example of what Eddington calls "an open mind,"
see the 1958 letters of Nanavira Thera.
(Among the "Early Letters" in Seeking the Path ).
Some background for my post of Nov. 20,
"Anticommuting Dirac Matrices as Skew Lines" —
His earlier paper that Bruins refers to, "Line Geometry
and Quantum Mechanics," is available in a free PDF.
For a biography of Bruins translated by Google, click here.
For some additional historical background going back to
Eddington, see Gary W. Gibbons, "The Kummer
Configuration and the Geometry of Majorana Spinors,"
pages 3952 in Oziewicz et al., eds., Spinors, Twistors,
Clifford Algebras, and Quantum Deformations:
Proceedings of the Second Max Born Symposium held
near Wrocław, Poland, September 1992 . (Springer, 2012,
originally published by Kluwer in 1993.)
For morerecent remarks on quantum geometry, see a
paper by Saniga cited in today's update to my Nov. 20 post.
(Continued from November 13)
The work of Ron Shaw in this area, ca. 19941995, does not
display explicitly the correspondence between anticommutativity
in the set of Dirac matrices and skewness in a line complex of
PG(3,2), the projective 3space over the 2element Galois field.
Here is an explicit picture —
References:
Arfken, George B., Mathematical Methods for Physicists , Third Edition,
Academic Press, 1985, pages 213214
Cullinane, Steven H., Notes on Groups and Geometry, 19781986
Shaw, Ron, "Finite Geometry, Dirac Groups, and the Table of
Real Clifford Algebras," undated article at ResearchGate.net
Update of November 23:
See my post of Nov. 23 on publications by E. M. Bruins
in 1949 and 1959 on Dirac matrices and line geometry,
and on another author who gives some historical background
going back to Eddington.
Some morerecent related material from the Slovak school of
finite geometry and quantum theory —
The matrices underlying the Saniga paper are those of Pauli, not
those of Dirac, but these two sorts of matrices are closely related.
Note that the six anticommuting sets of Dirac matrices listed by Arfken
correspond exactly to the six spreads in the above complex of 15 projective
lines of PG(3,2) fixed under a symplectic polarity (the diamond theorem
correlation ). As I noted in 1986, this correlation underlies the Miracle
Octad Generator of R. T. Curtis, hence also the large Mathieu group.
References:
Arfken, George B., Mathematical Methods for Physicists , Third Edition,
Academic Press, 1985, pages 213214
Cullinane, Steven H., Notes on Groups and Geometry, 19781986
Related material:
The 6set in my 1986 note above also appears in a 1996 paper on
the sixteen Dirac matrices by David M. Goodmanson —
Background reading:
Ron Shaw on finite geometry, Clifford algebras, and Dirac groups
(undated compilation of publications from roughly 19941995)—
"Perhaps an insane conceit …." Perhaps.
Related remarks on algebra and space —
"The Quality Without a Name" (Log24, August 26, 2015).
The title is that of a talk (see video) given by
George Dyson at a Princeton land preservation trust,
reportedly on March 21, 2013. The talk's subtitle was
"Oswald Veblen and the Sixhundredacre Woods."
Meanwhile…
Thursday, March 21, 2013

Related material for those who prefer narrative
to mathematics:
Log24 on June 6, 2006:
The Omen :

Related material for those who prefer mathematics
to narrative:
What the Omen narrative above and the mathematics of Veblen
have in common is the number 6. Veblen, who came to
Princeton in 1905 and later helped establish the Institute,
wrote extensively on projective geometry. As the British
geometer H. F. Baker pointed out, 6 is a rather important number
in that discipline. For the connection of 6 to the Göpel tetrads
figure above from March 21, see a note from May 1986.
See also last night's Veblen and Young in Light of Galois.
"There is such a thing as a tesseract." — Madeleine L'Engle
The following picture provides a new visual approach to
the order8 quaternion group's automorphisms.
Click the above image for some context.
Here the cube is called "eightfold" because the eight vertices,
like the eight subcubes of a 2×2×2 cube,* are thought of as
independently movable. See The Eightfold Cube.
See also…
Related material: Robin Chapman and Karen E. Smith
on the quaternion group's automorphisms.
* See Margaret Wertheim's Christmas Eve remarks on mathematics
and the following eightfold cube from an institute she cofounded—
Photo by Norman Brosterman
fom the Inventing Kindergarten
exhibit at The Institute for Figuring
(cofounded by Margaret Wertheim)
The Principle of Sufficient Reason
from "Three Public Lectures on Scientific Subjects,"
delivered at the Rice Institute, March 6, 7, and 8, 1940
EXCERPT 1—
My primary purpose will be to show how a properly formulated
Principle of Sufficient Reason plays a fundamental
role in scientific thought and, furthermore, is to be regarded
as of the greatest suggestiveness from the philosophic point
of view.^{2}
In the preceding lecture I pointed out that three branches
of philosophy, namely Logic, Aesthetics, and Ethics, fall
more and more under the sway of mathematical methods.
Today I would make a similar claim that the other great
branch of philosophy, Metaphysics, in so far as it possesses
a substantial core, is likely to undergo a similar fate. My
basis for this claim will be that metaphysical reasoning always
relies on the Principle of Sufficient Reason, and that
the true meaning of this Principle is to be found in the
“Theory of Ambiguity” and in the associated mathematical
“Theory of Groups.”
If I were a Leibnizian mystic, believing in his “preestablished
harmony,” and the “best possible world” so
satirized by Voltaire in “Candide,” I would say that the
metaphysical importance of the Principle of Sufficient Reason
and the cognate Theory of Groups arises from the fact that
God thinks multidimensionally^{3} whereas men can only
think in linear syllogistic series, and the Theory of Groups is
^{2} As far as I am aware, only Scholastic Philosophy has fully recognized and ex
ploited this principle as one of basic importance for philosophic thought
^{3} That is, uses multidimensional symbols beyond our grasp.
______________________________________________________________________
the appropriate instrument of thought to remedy our deficiency
in this respect.
The founder of the Theory of Groups was the mathematician
Evariste Galois. At the end of a long letter written in
1832 on the eve of a fatal duel, to his friend Auguste
Chevalier, the youthful Galois said in summarizing his
mathematical work,^{4} “You know, my dear Auguste, that
these subjects are not the only ones which I have explored.
My chief meditations for a considerable time have been
directed towards the application to transcendental Analysis
of the theory of ambiguity. . . . But I have not the time, and
my ideas are not yet well developed in this field, which is
immense.” This passage shows how in Galois’s mind the
Theory of Groups and the Theory of Ambiguity were
interrelated.^{5}
Unfortunately later students of the Theory of Groups
have all too frequently forgotten that, philosophically
speaking, the subject remains neither more nor less than the
Theory of Ambiguity. In the limits of this lecture it is only
possible to elucidate by an elementary example the idea of a
group and of the associated ambiguity.
Consider a uniform square tile which is placed over a
marked equal square on a table. Evidently it is then impossible
to determine without further inspection which one
of four positions the tile occupies. In fact, if we designate
its vertices in order by A, B, C, D, and mark the corresponding
positions on the table, the four possibilities are for the
corners A, B, C, D of the tile to appear respectively in the
positions A, B, C, D; B, C, D, A; C, D, A, B; and D, A, B, C.
These are obtained respectively from the first position by a
^{4} My translation.
^{5} It is of interest to recall that Leibniz was interested in ambiguity to the extent
of using a special notation v (Latin, vel ) for “or.” Thus the ambiguously defined
roots 1, 5 of x^{2}6x+5=0 would be written x = l v 5 by him.
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null rotation ( I ), by a rotation through 90° (R), by a rotation
through 180° (S), and by a rotation through 270° (T).
Furthermore the combination of any two of these rotations
in succession gives another such rotation. Thus a rotation R
through 90° followed by a rotation S through 180° is equivalent
to a single rotation T through 270°, Le., RS = T. Consequently,
the "group" of four operations I, R, S, T has
the "multiplication table" shown here:
This table fully characterizes the group, and shows the exact
nature of the underlying ambiguity of position.
More generally, any collection of operations such that
the resultant of any two performed in succession is one of
them, while there is always some operation which undoes
what any operation does, forms a "group."
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EXCERPT 2—
Up to the present point my aim has been to consider a
variety of applications of the Principle of Sufficient Reason,
without attempting any precise formulation of the Principle
itself. With these applications in mind I will venture to
formulate the Principle and a related Heuristic Conjecture
in quasimathematical form as follows:
PRINCIPLE OF SUFFICIENT REASON. If there appears
in any theory T a set of ambiguously determined ( i e .
symmetrically entering) variables, then these variables can themselves
be determined only to the extent allowed by the corresponding
group G. Consequently any problem concerning these variables
which has a uniquely determined solution, must itself be
formulated so as to be unchanged by the operations of the group
G ( i e . must involve the variables symmetrically).
HEURISTIC CONJECTURE. The final form of any
scientific theory T is: (1) based on a few simple postulates; and
(2) contains an extensive ambiguity, associated symmetry, and
underlying group G, in such wise that, if the language and laws
of the theory of groups be taken for granted, the whole theory T
appears as nearly selfevident in virtue of the above Principle.
The Principle of Sufficient Reason and the Heuristic Conjecture,
as just formulated, have the advantage of not involving
excessively subjective ideas, while at the same time
retaining the essential kernel of the matter.
In my opinion it is essentially this principle and this
conjecture which are destined always to operate as the basic
criteria for the scientist in extending our knowledge and
understanding of the world.
It is also my belief that, in so far as there is anything
definite in the realm of Metaphysics, it will consist in further
applications of the same general type. This general conclu
sion may be given the following suggestive symbolic form:
While the skillful metaphysical use of the Principle must
always be regarded as of dubious logical status, nevertheless
I believe it will remain the most important weapon of the
philosopher.
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A more recent lecture on the same subject —
by JeanPierre Ramis (Johann Bernoulli Lecture at U. of Groningen, March 2005)
Sacerdotal Jargon
From the website
Abstracts and Preprints in Clifford Algebra [1996, Oct 8]:
Paper: clfalg/good9601
From: David M. Goodmanson
Address: 2725 68th Avenue S.E., Mercer Island, Washington 98040
Title: A graphical representation of the Dirac Algebra
Abstract: The elements of the Dirac algebra are represented by sixteen 4×4 gamma matrices, each pair of which either commute or anticommute. This paper demonstrates a correspondence between the gamma matrices and the complete graph on six points, a correspondence that provides a visual picture of the structure of the Dirac algebra. The graph shows all commutation and anticommutation relations, and can be used to illustrate the structure of subalgebras and equivalence classes and the effect of similarity transformations….
Published: Am. J. Phys. 64, 870880 (1996)
The following is a picture of K_{6}, the complete graph on six points. It may be used to illustrate various concepts in finite geometry as well as the properties of Dirac matrices described above.
From
"The Relations between Poetry and Painting,"
by Wallace Stevens:
"The theory of poetry, that is to say, the total of the theories of poetry, often seems to become in time a mystical theology or, more simply, a mystique. The reason for this must by now be clear. The reason is the same reason why the pictures in a museum of modern art often seem to become in time a mystical aesthetic, a prodigious search of appearance, as if to find a way of saying and of establishing that all things, whether below or above appearance, are one and that it is only through reality, in which they are reflected or, it may be, joined together, that we can reach them. Under such stress, reality changes from substance to subtlety, a subtlety in which it was natural for Cézanne to say: 'I see planes bestriding each other and sometimes straight lines seem to me to fall' or 'Planes in color. . . . The colored area where shimmer the souls of the planes, in the blaze of the kindled prism, the meeting of planes in the sunlight.' The conversion of our Lumpenwelt went far beyond this. It was from the point of view of another subtlety that Klee could write: 'But he is one chosen that today comes near to the secret places where original law fosters all evolution. And what artist would not establish himself there where the organic center of all movement in time and space—which he calls the mind or heart of creation— determines every function.' Conceding that this sounds a bit like sacerdotal jargon, that is not too much to allow to those that have helped to create a new reality, a modern reality, since what has been created is nothing less."
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