Sunday, July 16, 2017

Snow Mann

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 10:00 PM

A Log24 search suggested by a webpage*
of the World Economic Forum (the Davos group) —

Snow Mann.


Friday, December 9, 2016

Snow Dance

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

See Ballet Blanc  in this journal.

For a darker perspective, click on the image below.

IMAGE- Detail of large 'Search for the Lost Tesseract' image with Amy Adams, Richard Zanuck, 'snowflake' structure, and white gloves

See also Cartier in The Hexagon of Opposition.

Happy birthday to Kirk Douglas.

Kirk Douglas in 'Diamonds'

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 2:01 AM

"Hans Castorp is a searcher after the Holy Grail.
You would never have thought it when you read
his story—if I did myself, it was both more and
less than thinking. Perhaps you will read the
book again from this point of view. And perhaps
you will find out what the Grail is: the knowledge
and the wisdom, the consecration, the highest
reward, for which not only the foolish hero but
the book itself is seeking. You will find it in the
chapter called 'Snow'…."

— Thomas Mann, "The Making of
     The Magic Mountain "

In related entertainment news…

Click image for some backstory.

Mann's tale is set in Davos, Switzerland.
See also Mayer  at Davos.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Still Point or Hole in the Data?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 12:21 PM

Sacred Space (continued)

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

See Plan 9 in this journal.

 The 3x3 square 


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 11:29 AM

As opposed to —

A Nov. 9 panel from the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Space News

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 4:56 PM

"Bad news on the doorstep…." — American Pie

Update of 5:24 PM ET — A requiem chord

Tom Stoppard, Jumpers —

“Heaven, how can I believe in Heaven?” 
she sings at the finale.

“Just a lying rhyme for seven!”


Friday, February 26, 2016


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


"The study of social memory allows scholars to
understand how different memories form within
a collective group, thus exploring the societal
and ideological elements of disparate groups
that form the over-arching memory of Melkisedeq."

The Melkisedeq Memoirs , by Cale Staley,
2015 master's thesis at the University of Iowa

Elements of groups that I prefer —

"Right through hell
 there is a path…."
 — Malcolm Lowry,
Under the Volcano

Literacy Test

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 3:13 PM

Being Interpreted:

9 + 4 = 13.


Line at Infinity .

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Mixed Emojis

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

For the New York Post 's Kyle Smith

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Unbaked, the Baked, and the Half-Baked

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 5:07 PM

Consider the trichotomy of the title as applied to the paragraph
by Adam Gopnik in the previous post (The Raw, the Cooked,
and the Spoiled

The following quotation seems to place Gopnik's words
among the half -baked.

"L'axe qui relie le cru et le cuit est caractéristique du passage
à la culture; celui qui relie le cru et le pourri, du retour à la nature,
puisque la cuisson accomplit la transformation culturelle du cru
comme la putréfaction en achève la transformation naturelle."

— Claude Lévi-Strauss, Paroles données, p.54, Plon, 1984,
     as quoted in a weblog

See also Lévi-Strauss's bizarre triangle culinaire  (French Wikipedia) —

The source of this structuralist nonsense —
Lévi-Strauss, Claude. 1969. “Le triangle culinaire.”
L’Arc  no. 26: 19-29.

The Raw, the Cooked, and the Spoiled

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

On the late French philosopher André Glucksmann,
a paragraph from The New Yorker

The style could be overwhelming at times, and was
often a more effective instrument of intellectual
pleasure than political persuasion. But, in return,
it produced a thousand small epiphanies—
for instance, his lovely mordant point, made at length
in one of his books, that between the “raw” and the
“cooked”—the simple binary beloved of structuralism—
there was always the “pourri,” the rotting, the rotten.
Our refusal to take in the rotting as a category of its own
was, he suggested, with a delighted literary grimace,
a kind of moral blindness, part of a fake dialectic that
blinded us to the muddled, rotting truth of the world.
The real world was not composed of oscillating
dialectical forces; it was composed of actual suffering
people crushed between those forces. — Adam Gopnik

See also

Click the above image for some backstory.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Egg Tales

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

"And not all the king's men nor his horses
 Will resurrect his corpus."

Finnegans Wake

See as well Andy Weir's "The Egg" and Working Backward.

Plan 9 Continues…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 11:32 AM

A version of the song in the previous post that I prefer:

A related meditation —

IMAGE- Joseph Campbell, 'The Inner Reaches of Outer Space,' meditation on the number nine, the Goddess, and the Angelus

For a more abstract version of the
"matrix of the cosmic process,"
see "3×3 Grid" in this journal.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Ending Credits

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 1:44 PM

From a search for "snowflake" in this journal —

Thomas Mann on the deathly precision of snowflakes

See also the January 13  death of a mathematician,
graph theorist Ralph Faudree of the University of Memphis.

Two hymns that may or may not be relevant:

Walking in Memphis and Come Falda di Neve,
the song that plays over the ending credits of
Exorcist III —

YouTube ending credits for 'Exorcist III'

Those who prefer more-secular music may consult
Princeton Requiem, a post from the day of Faudree's death.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

View from the Bottom

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

Reality's Mirror: Exploring the Mathematics of Symmetry —

"Here is a book that explains in laymen language
what symmetry is all about, from the lowliest snowflake
and flounder to the lofty group structures whose
astonishing applications to the Old One are winning
Nobel prizes. Bunch's book is a marvel of clear, witty
science writing, as delightful to read as it is informative
and up-to-date. The author is to be congratulated on
a job well done." — Martin Gardner

"But, sweet Satan, I beg of you, a less blazing eye!"

— Rimbaud,  A Season in Hell

"… the lowliest snowflake and flounder…." 
      — Martin Gardner

Thomas Mann on the deathly precision of snowflakes

Britannica article, 'Flounder'


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

From "A Piece of the Storm," by the late poet Mark Strand —

A snowflake, a blizzard of one….

From notes to Malcolm Lowry's "La Mordida" —

he had invested, in the Valley of the Shadow of Death….

See also Weyl's Symmetry  in this journal.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Riddle for Davos

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

Hexagonale Unwesen

Einstein and Thomas Mann, Princeton, 1938

IMAGE- Redefining the cube's symmetry planes: 13 planes, not 9.

See also the life of Diogenes Allen, a professor at Princeton
Theological Seminary, a life that reportedly ended on the date—
January 13, 2013— of the above Log24 post.

January 13 was also the dies natalis  of St. James Joyce.

Some related reflections —

"Praeterit figura huius mundi  " — I Corinthians 7:31 —

Conclusion of of "The Dead," by James Joyce—

The air of the room chilled his shoulders. He stretched himself cautiously along under the sheets and lay down beside his wife. One by one, they were all becoming shades. Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age. He thought of how she who lay beside him had locked in her heart for so many years that image of her lover's eyes when he had told her that he did not wish to live.

Generous tears filled Gabriel's eyes. He had never felt like that himself towards any woman, but he knew that such a feeling must be love. The tears gathered more thickly in his eyes and in the partial darkness he imagined he saw the form of a young man standing under a dripping tree. Other forms were near. His soul had approached that region where dwell the vast hosts of the dead. He was conscious of, but could not apprehend, their wayward and flickering existence. His own identity was fading out into a grey impalpable world: the solid world itself, which these dead had one time reared and lived in, was dissolving and dwindling.

A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lines of Symbols

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 3:00 PM

C. P. Snow on G. H. Hardy, in Snow's foreword to A Mathematician's Apology

"One morning early in 1913, he found, among the letters on his breakfast table, a large untidy envelope decorated with Indian stamps. When he opened it, he found sheets of paper by no means fresh, on which, in a non-English holograph, were line after line of symbols. Hardy glanced at them without enthusiasm. He was by this time, at the age of thirty-six, a world famous mathematician: and world famous mathematicians, he had already discovered, are unusually exposed to cranks. He was accustomed to receiving manuscripts from strangers, proving the prophetic wisdom of the Great Pyramid, the revelations of the Elders of Zion, or the cryptograms that Bacon has inserted in the plays of the so-called Shakespeare."

Some related material (click to enlarge)—

The author links to, but does not name, the source of the above
"line after line of symbols." It is "Visualizing GL(2,p)." See that webpage
for some less esoteric background.

See also the two Wikipedia articles Finite geometry and Hesse configuration
and an image they share—

IMAGE- Image from Wikipedia articles 'Finite geometry' and 'Hesse configuration.'

The Hesse here is not Hermann, but Otto.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saturday September 19, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 2:22 AM

Towards Kristen

Kristen Wiig as Michele Bachmann, SNL Thursday update, Sept. 17, 2009

Jerusalem Post Interview
with Charles Krauthammer

by Hilary Leilea Krieger, JPost Correspondent, Washington

Krauthammer, a columnist for The Washington Post, is a winner of the Irving Kristol award.

Jerusalem Post, June 10, 2009:

Can you talk a little bit about your own Jewish upbringing and sense of Jewishness, and how that influences you? I assume it’s a factor in this particular project.

I grew up in a Modern Orthodox home [in Montreal]. I went to Jewish day school right through high school, so half of my day was spent speaking Hebrew from age six to 16. I studied thousands of hours of Talmud. My father thought I didn’t get enough Talmud at school, so I took the extra Talmud class at school and he had a rabbi come to the house three nights a week. One of those nights was Saturday night, so in synagogue Saturday morning my brother and I would pray very hard for snow so he wouldn’t be able to come on Saturday night and we could watch hockey night in Canada. That’s where I learned about prayer.

That didn’t seem to you to be a prayer that was likely to go unanswered?

Yeah, I was giving it a shot to see what side God was on.

And what did you determine?

It rarely snowed.


More on Krauthammer’s Canadian childhood:

“His parents were Orthodox and sent him to
 Hebrew day school. He also took
 private Gomorrah lessons twice a week.”

— “Charles Krauthammer: Prize Writer,”
     by Mitchell Bard


Also in the Jerusalem Post interview:

…. What, then, did you mean by a Jewish sensibility?

“…. In literature it’s an interesting question, what’s a Jewish novel?”

My Prayer:

Private Gomorrah lessons
with Kristen.


“Heaven Can Wait”
at Haaretz.com

Happy Rosh Hashanah
(and Gemara).

Update, 5:01 AM Sept. 19

Before becoming a writer,
Krauthammer was, his
Washington Post biography says,
a resident and then chief resident
in psychiatry at
Massachusetts General Hospital.

Related Metaphors

This morning’s New York Times:

NY Times obituary for Irving Kristol, with squirrel-and-nuts ad

MicheleBachmann.com this morning:

Squirrel with acorns at Michele Bachmann home page, Sept. 19, 2009

See also:

James Hillman’s “acorn theory
of personality development
(yesterday’s entry).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday July 15, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 4:01 AM
of obituaries page,
New York Times,
Monday morning:

Detail, obits page, NY Times Monday morning, July 13, 2009

Detail of arts page,
New York Times, Wednesday morning:

(Click ad for more on the Monday night death of Dash Snow.)

Arts page detail, morning of Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Headlines collage by Dash Snow

Hurt yet?

Update of 5:01 AM:

Lavery Hits
Literary Jackpot

From the top right of
this morning's online
New York Times front page:

Christoph Niemann on witchcraft and snow

Click on voodoo doll
for further details.

See also…

1. Monday's link to a
Wallace Stevens poem,
"Snow and Stars"

2. The conclusion of this
morning's Times obituary
for artist Dash Snow, which
gives his daughter's name…

3. David Lavery's excellent
of the classic
 Conrad Aiken story
"Silent Snow, Secret Snow."

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday May 25, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 9:00 AM
Wechsler Cubes

 "Confusion is nothing new."
— Song lyric, Cyndi Lauper  

Part I:
Magister Ludi

Hermann Hesse's 1943 The Glass Bead Game (Picador paperback, Dec. 6, 2002, pp. 139-140)–

"For the present, the Master showed him a bulky memorandum, a proposal he had received from an organist– one of the innumerable proposals which the directorate of the Game regularly had to examine. Usually these were suggestions for the admission of new material to the Archives. One man, for example, had made a meticulous study of the history of the madrigal and discovered in the development of the style a curved that he had expressed both musically and mathematically, so that it could be included in the vocabulary of the Game. Another had examined the rhythmic structure of Julius Caesar's Latin and discovered the most striking congruences with the results of well-known studies of the intervals in Byzantine hymns. Or again some fanatic had once more unearthed some new cabala hidden in the musical notation of the fifteenth century. Then there were the tempestuous letters from abstruse experimenters who could arrive at the most astounding conclusions from, say, a comparison of the horoscopes of Goethe and Spinoza; such letters often included pretty and seemingly enlightening geometric drawings in several colors."

Part II:
A Bulky Memorandum

From Siri Hustvedt, author of Mysteries of the Rectangle: Essays on Painting (Princeton Architectural Press, 2005)– What I Loved: A Novel (Picador paperback, March 1, 2004, page 168)–

A description of the work of Bill Wechsler, a fictional artist:

"Bill worked long hours on a series of autonomous pieces about numbers. Like O's Journey, the works took place inside glass cubes, but these were twice as large– about two feet square. He drew his inspiration from sources as varied as the Cabbala, physics, baseball box scores, and stock market reports. He painted, cut, sculpted, distorted, and broke the numerical signs in each work until they became unrecognizable. He included figures, objects, books, windows, and always the written word for the number. It was rambunctious art, thick with allusion– to voids, blanks, holes, to monotheism and the individual, the the dialectic and yin-yang, to the Trinity, the three fates, and three wishes, to the golden rectangle, to seven heavens, the seven lower orders of the sephiroth, the nine Muses, the nine circles of Hell, the nine worlds of Norse mythology, but also to popular references like A Better Marriage in Five Easy Lessons and Thinner Thighs in Seven Days. Twelve-step programs were referred to in both cube one and cube two. A miniature copy of a book called The Six Mistakes Parents Make Most Often lay at the bottom of cube six. Puns appeared, usually well disguised– one, won; two, too, and Tuesday; four, for, forth; ate, eight. Bill was partial to rhymes as well, both in images and words. In cube nine, the geometric figure for a line had been painted on one glass wall. In cube three, a tiny man wearing the black-and-white prison garb of cartoons and dragging a leg iron has

— End of page 168 —

opened the door to his cell. The hidden rhyme is "free." Looking closely through the walls of the cube, one can see the parallel rhyme in another language: the German word drei is scratched into one glass wall. Lying at the bottom of the same box is a tiny black-and-white photograph cut from a book that shows the entrance to Auschwitz: ARBEIT MACHT FREI. With every number, the arbitrary dance of associations worked togethere to create a tiny mental landscape that ranged in tone from wish-fulfillment dream to nightmare. Although dense, the effect of the cubes wasn't visually disorienting. Each object, painting, drawing, bit of text, or sculpted figure found its rightful place under the glass according to the necessary, if mad, logic of numerical, pictorial, and verbal connection– and the colors of each were startling. Every number had been given a thematic hue. Bill had been interested in Goethe's color wheel and in Alfred Jensen's use of it in his thick, hallucinatory paintings of numbers. He had assigned each number a color. Like Goethe, he included black and white, although he didn't bother with the poet's meanings. Zero and one were white. Two was blue. Three was red, four was yellow, and he mixed colors: pale blue for five, purples in six, oranges in seven, greens in eight, and blacks and grays in nine. Although other colors and omnipresent newsprint always intruded on the basic scheme, the myriad shades of a single color dominated each cube.

The number pieces were the work of a man at the top of his form. An organic extension of everything Bill had done before, these knots of symbols had an explosive effect. The longer I looked at them, the more the miniature constructions seemed on the brink of bursting from internal pressure. They were tightly orchestrated semantic bombs through which Bill laid bare the arbitrary roots of meaning itself– that peculiar social contract generated by little squiggles, dashes, lines, and loops on a page."

Part III:
Wechsler Cubes

(named not for
Bill Wechsler, the
fictional artist above,
but for the non-fictional
   David Wechsler) —

From 2002:

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

Part IV:
A Magic Gallery
Log24, March 4, 2004


Figures from the
Kaleidoscope Puzzle
of Steven H. Cullinane:

Poem by Eugen Jost:
Zahlen und Zeichen,
Wörter und Worte

Mit Zeichen und Zahlen
vermessen wir Himmel und Erde
auf weiss
schaffen wir neue Welten
oder gar Universen

 Numbers and Names,
Wording and Words

With numbers and names
we measure heaven and earth
on white
we create new worlds
and universes

English translation
by Catherine Schelbert

A related poem:

by Hermann Hesse

From time to time
we take our pen in hand
and scribble symbols
on a blank white sheet
Their meaning is
at everyone's command;
it is a game whose rules
are nice and neat.

But if a savage
or a moon-man came
and found a page,
a furrowed runic field,
and curiously studied
lines and frame:
How strange would be
the world that they revealed.
a magic gallery of oddities.
He would see A and B
as man and beast,
as moving tongues or
arms or legs or eyes,
now slow, now rushing,
all constraint released,
like prints of ravens'
feet upon the snow.
He'd hop about with them,
fly to and fro,
and see a thousand worlds
of might-have-been
hidden within the black
and frozen symbols,
beneath the ornate strokes,
the thick and thin.
He'd see the way love burns
and anguish trembles,
He'd wonder, laugh,
shake with fear and weep
because beyond this cipher's
cross-barred keep
he'd see the world
in all its aimless passion,
diminished, dwarfed, and
spellbound in the symbols,
and rigorously marching
He'd think: each sign
all others so resembles
that love of life and death,
or lust and anguish,
are simply twins whom
no one can distinguish…
until at last the savage
with a sound
of mortal terror
lights and stirs a fire,
chants and beats his brow
against the ground
and consecrates the writing
to his pyre.
Perhaps before his
consciousness is drowned
in slumber there will come
to him some sense
of how this world
of magic fraudulence,
this horror utterly
behind endurance,
has vanished as if
it had never been.
He'll sigh, and smile,
and feel all right again.

Hermann Hesse (1943),
"Buchstaben," from
Das Glasperlenspiel,
translated by
Richard and Clara Winston

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunday July 29, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 7:59 AM
Nordic Truth: Jewish Fiction:
Snowball In Hell
From The New York Times in 2005:

Portrait of conductor
Arild Remmereit:

Arild Remmereit

April 24, 2005
Have Baton,
Will Travel

by James R. Oestreich


“HE’S the hottest conductor you’ve never heard of….

In music, as in most other pursuits, one person’s misfortune can be another’s opportunity. Many a podium career has been built on successful substitutions…. typically, the process is cumulative and measured.

In Mr. Remmereit’s case, it seems a sort of spontaneous combustion…. he seems destined for big things, and soon.

Regarding his sudden change in stature, he spoke as if from afar. ‘The snowball has reached such a size that it has started to roll,’ he said matter-of-factly….

‘It’s terrifying when it happens,’ he said, ‘but I can’t tell you how naively happy I am when it goes well. These are such major steps that I wasn’t even hoping for a few weeks ago.’

ARILD REMMEREIT (pronounced AHR-eeld REMM-uh-right, with the r’s heavily rolled) was born in a village in Norway, between Bergen and Trondheim, and has lived in Vienna since 1987. Slim and fresh-faced at 43, he has had a busy but low-level career in Europe….

So here he was, on April 15, conducting the Pittsburgh Symphony… in a vintage… Germanic program…. Wagner’s ‘Siegfried Idyll,’ Schumann’s Fourth Symphony and Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto….”


Württemberg Philharmonic February 2004
Nielsen, Sibelius, Grieg.

Reutlinger Nachrichten.
“Distant closeness, close distance.

Arild Remmereit as a guest conductor: ‘As when the sun rises in the North.’ The Philharmonics and their brilliant guest conductor fetched the mind-blowing, tempting and exciting Scandinavia.

It was like a lucky strike to see the Norwegian conductor on stage with the Philharmonic. When he conducts the Dane Nielsen, the Finn Sibelius and the Norwegian Grieg, one can really feel that this man has the locally marked music floating in his blood.”

From The New York Times today:

Discussion of
a new novel:
Variations on the Beast

Variations on
the Beast
by psychoanalyst
Henry Grinberg

An interview with Henry Grinberg conducted by James R. Oestreich:

“For those who find inspiration and edification in great art, it is always painful to be reminded that artists are not necessarily admirable as people and that art is powerless in the face of great evil. That truth was baldly evident in Nazi Germany and in the way the regime used and abused music and musicians, to say nothing of the way it used and abused human beings of all kinds.

[A new novel touches on] these issues…. In Variations on the Beast (Dragon Press), Henry Grinberg, a psychoanalyst, posits Hermann Kapp-Dortmunder, a powerful maestro, as a fictional rival of Wilhelm Furtwängler (whose qualms about working under the regime he does not share) and Herbert von Karajan (whose vaulting ambition he does).”


“And it soon occurred to me… that, my God, a lot of the famous, the notable, the moving, the magnificent composers in the 18th and 19th centuries and earlier were Germans. And I tried to understand, how did such a nation turn out to be so bestial and cruel, so indifferent to the suffering of others? And I have no explanation for it.

As a practicing psychoanalyst, I can see individual expressions of rage and their causes and their so-called justifications. But for a whole nation to be consumed, to be seduced by an overwhelming idea– well, there are rationalizations, I guess, but not explanations. There’s no forgiveness for this. And I tried to put together a story of a person who was a participant and a causer of these kinds of things….

So I sort of poured my feelings of contempt and rage into the character I was devising. And I have to admit, after having been psychoanalyzed myself in preparation for the training, that something of Hermann Kapp-Dortmunder exists in me. I shudder to think that this may be so, but I have to accept the possibility. Murderous thoughts may have occurred to me, but, thank God, I’ve never killed anyone.”

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Sunday December 24, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 7:00 AM
 The Edge of Eternity

(in memory of George Latshaw,
who died on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2006)

Log24 on October 25, 2005:

Brightness Doubled

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/051025-Sun3.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Seven is Heaven

“Love is the shadow
   that ripens the vine.
Set the controls for
   the heart of the Sun.

Witness the man who
   raves at the wall
Making the shape of his
   questions to Heaven.
Knowing the sun will fall
   in the evening,
Will he remember the
   lessons of giving?
Set the controls for
   the heart of the Sun.
Set the controls for
   the heart of the Sun.”

— Roger Waters, quoted in
    Allusions to Classical
    Chinese Poetry in Pink Floyd

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06B/061224-NYT-Latshaw.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Click on picture for details.

Related material:

Part I —

Adapted from
Brenda Garrett’s

At Home in Landscape:
Mannheim’s Chiliastic Mentality
in ‘Tintern Abbey’

Garrett comments on Wordsworth’s approach to landscape, citing Karl Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia, translated by Louis Wirth and Edward Shils (page numbers below refer to the 1998 Routledge edition):

“… ‘the present becomes the breach through which what was previously inward, bursts out suddenly, takes hold of the outer world and transforms it’ [p. 193]. This breaking through into ecstasy can only be brought about through ‘Kairos‘ or ‘fulfilled time'”….

See translators’ note, p. 198: “In Greek mythology Kairos is the God of Opportunity– the genius of the decisive moment.  The Christianized notion of this is given thus in Paul Tillich‘s The Religious Situation [1925, translation by H. Richard Niebuhr, New York, Holt, 1932, pp. 138-139]: ‘Kairos is fulfilled time, the moment of time which is invaded by eternity.  But Kairos is not perfection or completion in time.'”

Garrett quotes Wordsworth’s 1850 Prelude:

There are in our existence spots of time,
That with distinct pre-eminence retain
A renovating virtue … (12.208-210)

“And in book 14 Wordsworth…. symbolizes how man can find transcendent unity with the universe through the image of himself leading his group to the peak of Mt. Snowdon. Climbing at night in thick fog, he almost steps off a cliff, but at the last instant, he steps out of the mist, the moon appears, and his location on the brink is revealed. Walking in the darkness of reason, his imagination illumed the night, revealed the invisible world, and spared him his life.”

See also Charles Frazier on the edge of eternity:

“They climbed to a bend and from there they walked on great slabs of rock. It seemed to Inman that they were at the lip of a cliff, for the smell of the thin air spoke of considerable height, though the fog closed off all visual check of loftiness…. Then he looked back down and felt a rush of vertigo as the lower world was suddenly revealed between his boot toes. He was indeed at the lip of a cliff, and he took one step back….”

Cold Mountain

Part II — 7/15

From Log24 on 7/15, 2005:

Christopher Fry’s obituary
in The New York Times

“His plays radiated
an optimistic faith in God
and humanity, evoking,
in his words, ‘a world
in which we are poised
on the edge of eternity,
a world which has
deeps and shadows
of mystery,
and God is anything but
a sleeping partner.'”

Accompanying illustration:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05A/050703-Cold.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Adapted from cover of
German edition of Cold Mountain

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Tuesday May 23, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 10:18 AM

Exhibit A:
A science vulgarizer in today’s New York Times–

“Somewhere out there, more elusive than a snow leopard, more vaunted in its imagined cultural oomph than an Oprah book blurb, is the Science Movie.

You know, the film that finally does for science and scientists what ‘The Godfather’ did for crime and what ‘The West Wing’ did for politics, accurately reproducing the grandeur and grit of science while ushering its practitioners into the ranks of coolness.”

Dennis Overbye

Exhibit B:
John Updike’s review in the May 22 New Yorker of a new novel by Michel Houellebecq, The Possibility of an Island

“Nor is Houellebecq…. entirely without literary virtue.  His four novels– Whatever (1994), The Elementary Particles (1998), and Platform (2001) are the three others– display a grasp of science and mathematics beyond that of all but a few non-genre novelists.”

A character in the new novel– “a lengthy exercise in futuristic science fiction”– writes that

“The dream of all men is to meet little sluts who are innocent but ready for all forms of depravity– which is what, more or less, all teenage girls are.”

Exhibit C:
A mathematician hopes for more exciting vulgarizations of his subject–

“I would hope that clever writers might point out how mathematics is altering our lifestyles and do it in a manner that would not lead Garfield the Cat to say ‘ho hum.'”

— Philip J. Davis, “The Media and Mathematics Look at Each Other” (pdf), Notices of the American Mathematical Society, March 2006

Exhibit D:
Today’s Garfield

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060523-Garfield2.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Exhibit E:
Log24 entry of May 18, a parody of “Contact,” a 1997 film that vulgarized science–

Space Cadet

“They should have
sent a poet.”

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060518-SpaceCadet2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Exhibit F:
Gilbert and Sullivan, “The Mikado“–

“(With great effort) How de do, little girls, how de do? (Aside) Oh, my protoplasmal ancestor!”


“It might be asking too much
to make us cool.”
— Science vulgarizer   
Dennis Overbye

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060523-Godfather2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Robert De Niro as the
young Vito Corleone

Thursday, March 4, 2004

Thursday March 4, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 1:44 PM


Mit Zeichen und Zahlen
vermessen wir Himmel und Erde
auf weiss
schaffen wir neue Welten
oder gar Universen
With numbers and names
we measure heaven and earth
on white
we create new worlds
and universes
— from “Zahlen und Zeichen,
  Wörter und Worte”

“Numbers and Names,
Wording and Words”

by Eugen Jost

English translation by Catherine Schelbert


From time to time we take our pen in hand
And scribble symbols on a blank white sheet
Their meaning is at everyone’s command;
It is a game whose rules are nice and neat.

But if a savage or a moon-man came
And found a page, a furrowed runic field,
And curiously studied lines and frame:
How strange would be the world that they revealed.
A magic gallery of oddities.
He would see A and B as man and beast,
As moving tongues or arms or legs or eyes,
Now slow, now rushing, all constraint released,
Like prints of ravens’ feet upon the snow.
He’d hop about with them, fly to and fro,
And see a thousand worlds of might-have-been
Hidden within the black and frozen symbols,
Beneath the ornate strokes, the thick and thin.
He’d see the way love burns and anguish trembles,
He’d wonder, laugh, shake with fear and weep
Because beyond this cipher’s cross-barred keep
He’d see the world in all its aimless passion,
Diminished, dwarfed, and spellbound in the symbols,
And rigorously marching prisoner-fashion.
He’d think: each sign all others so resembles
That love of life and death, or lust and anguish,
Are simply twins whom no one can distinguish …
Until at last the savage with a sound
Of mortal terror lights and stirs a fire,
Chants and beats his brow against the ground
And consecrates the writing to his pyre.
Perhaps before his consciousness is drowned
In slumber there will come to him some sense
Of how this world of magic fraudulence,
This horror utterly behind endurance,
Has vanished as if it had never been.
He’ll sigh, and smile, and feel all right again.

Hermann Hesse (1943),
Buchstaben” from Das Glasperlenspiel,
translated by Richard and Clara Winston

See also the previous entry,
on the dream
of El Pato-lógico.

Saturday, August 9, 2003

Saturday August 9, 2003

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 6:29 PM


Today is the feast day of St. Hermann Hesse.  A quotation from a work by Hesse that is to some a sort of Bible:

“You treat world history as a mathematician does mathematics, in which nothing but laws and formulae exist, no reality, no good and evil, no time, no yesterday, no tomorrow, nothing but an eternal, shallow, mathematical present.”

Father Jacobus, Benedictine priest, in The Glass Bead Game, ch. 4 (1943, translated 1960), by Hermann Hesse

A Benedictine Archbishop’s Apology:

“Archbishop Weakland described his feelings ‘at this moment’ as ‘remorse, contrition, shame and emptiness,’ also noting that ‘much self-pity and pride remain.’ He contended he ‘must leave that pride behind.’ “

A Mathematician’s Apology:

C.P. Snow in his introduction to A Mathematician’s Apology (also a Bible, or at least a book of a Bible, to some) quotes G. H. Hardy on hearing the chimes of Vespers:

“It’s rather unfortunate that some of the happiest hours of my life should have been spent within sound of a Roman Catholic church.”

A Bible for Benedictines:

The Encyclopedic Dictionary of Mathematics,
by the Mathematical Society of Japan,

is suitable reading for those Benedictines in Purgatory who have too lightly used words like “no reality” and “shallow” to describe mathematics.

For other remedial reading in the afterlife, see Midsummer Eve’s Dream and Quine in Purgatory.

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