Thursday, July 15, 2010

Brightness at Noon, continued

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

"What exactly was Point Omega?"

This is Robert Wright in Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny.

Wright is discussing not the novel Point Omega  by Don DeLillo,
but rather a (related) concept of  the Jesuit philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

My own idiosyncratic version of a personal "point omega"—

Image- Josefine Lyche work (with 1986 figures by Cullinane) in a 2009 exhibition in Oslo

Click for further details.

The circular sculpture in the foreground
is called by the artist "The Omega Point."
This has been described as
"a portal that leads in or out of time and space."

For some other sorts of points, see the drawings
on the wall and Geometry Simplified

Image-- The trivial two-point affine space and the trivial one-point projective space, visualized

The two points of the trivial affine space are represented by squares,
and the one point of the trivial projective space is represented by
a line segment separating the affine-space squares.

For related darkness  at noon, see Derrida on différance
as a version of Plato's khôra

(Click to enlarge.)

Image-- Fordham University Press on Derrida, differance, and khora

The above excerpts are from a work on and by Derrida
published in 1997 by Fordham University,
a Jesuit institutionDeconstruction in a Nutshell

Image-- A Catholic view of Derrida

For an alternative to the Villanova view of Derrida,
see Angels in the Architecture.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Husserl for Beginners

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 10:31 PM


See also Trivial + Affine and Eidetic Reduction.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Midsummer Noon

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

Geometry Simplified

Image-- The Three-Point Line: A Finite Projective Space
(a projective space)

The above finite projective space
is the simplest nontrivial example
of a Galois geometry (i.e., a finite
geometry with coordinates in a
finite (that is, Galois) field.)

The vertical (Euclidean) line represents a
 (Galois) point, as does the horizontal line
and also the vertical-and-horizontal
cross that represents the first two points'
binary sum (i.e., symmetric difference,
if the lines are regarded as sets).

Homogeneous coordinates for the
points of this line —

(1,0), (0,1), (1,1).

Here 0 and 1 stand for the elements
of the two-element Galois field GF(2).

The 3-point line is the projective space
corresponding to the affine space
(a plane, not a line) with four points —

(an affine space)

The (Galois) points of this affine plane are
  not the single and combined (Euclidean)
line segments that play the role of
  points in the 3-point projective line,
but rather the four subsquares
that the line segments separate.

For further details, see Galois Geometry.

There are, of course, also the trivial
two-point affine space and the corresponding
trivial one-point projective space —


Here again, the points of the affine space are
represented by squares, and the point of the
projective space is represented by a line segment
separating the affine-space squares.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesday February 24, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 1:00 PM
Hollywood Nihilism
Pantheistic Solipsism

Tina Fey to Steve Martin
at the Oscars:
"Oh, Steve, no one wants
 to hear about our religion
… that we made up."

Tina Fey and Steve Martin at the 2009 Oscars

From Wallace Stevens: A World of Transforming Shapes, by Alan D. Perlis, Bucknell University Press, 1976, p. 117:

… in 'The Pediment of Appearance,' a slight narrative poem in Transport to Summer

 A group of young men enter some woods 'Hunting for the great ornament, The pediment of appearance.' Though moving through the natural world, the young men seek the artificial, or pure form, believing that in discovering this pediment, this distillation of the real, they will also discover the 'savage transparence,' the rude source of human life. In Stevens's world, such a search is futile, since it is only through observing nature that one reaches beyond it to pure form. As if to demonstrate the degree to which the young men's search is misaligned, Stevens says of them that 'they go crying/The world is myself, life is myself,' believing that what surrounds them is immaterial. Such a proclamation is a cardinal violation of Stevens's principles of the imagination.

Superficially the young men's philosophy seems to resemble what Wikipedia calls "pantheistic solipsism"– noting, however, that "This article has multiple issues."

As, indeed, does pantheistic solipsism– a philosophy (properly called "eschatological pantheistic multiple-ego solipsism") devised, with tongue in cheek, by science-fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein.

Despite their preoccupation with solipsism, Heinlein and Stevens point, each in his own poetic way, to a highly non-solipsistic topic from pure mathematics that is, unlike the religion of Martin and Fey, not made up– namely, the properties of space.


"Sharpie, we have condensed six dimensions into four, then we either work by analogy into six, or we have to use math that apparently nobody but Jake and my cousin Ed understands. Unless you can think of some way to project six dimensions into three– you seem to be smart at such projections."
    I closed my eyes and thought hard. "Zebbie, I don't think it can be done. Maybe Escher could have done it."


A discussion of Stevens's late poem "The Rock" (1954) in Wallace Stevens: A World of Transforming Shapes, by Alan D. Perlis, Bucknell University Press, 1976, p. 120:

For Stevens, the poem "makes meanings of the rock." In the mind, "its barrenness becomes a thousand things/And so exists no more." In fact, in a peculiar irony that only a poet with Stevens's particular notion of the imagination's function could develop, the rock becomes the mind itself, shattered into such diamond-faceted brilliance that it encompasses all possibilities for human thought:

The rock is the gray particular of man's life,
The stone from which he rises, up—and—ho,
The step to the bleaker depths of his descents ...

The rock is the stern particular of the air,
The mirror of the planets, one by one,
But through man's eye, their silent rhapsodist,

Turquoise the rock, at odious evening bright
With redness that sticks fast to evil dreams;
The difficult rightness of half-risen day.

The rock is the habitation of the whole,
Its strength and measure, that which is near,
     point A
In a perspective that begins again

At B: the origin of the mango's rind.

                    (Collected Poems, 528)

Stevens's rock is associated with empty space, a concept that suggests "nothingness" to one literary critic:

B. J. Leggett, "Stevens's Late Poetry" in The Cambridge Companion to Wallace Stevens— On the poem "The Rock":

"… the barren rock of the title is Stevens's symbol for the nothingness that underlies all existence, 'That in which space itself is contained'….  Its subject is its speaker's sense of nothingness and his need to be cured of it."

This interpretation might appeal to Joan Didion, who, as author of the classic novel Play It As It Lays, is perhaps the world's leading expert on Hollywood nihilism.

More positively…

Space is, of course, also a topic
in pure mathematics…
For instance, the 6-dimensional
affine space
(or the corresponding
5-dimensional projective space)

The 4x4x4 cube

over the two-element Galois field
can be viewed as an illustration of
Stevens's metaphor in "The Rock."

Heinlein should perhaps have had in mind the Klein correspondence when he discussed "some way to project six dimensions into three." While such a projection is of course trivial for anyone who has taken an undergraduate course in linear algebra, the following remarks by Philippe Cara present a much more meaningful mapping, using the Klein correspondence, of structures in six (affine) dimensions to structures in three.


Philippe Cara on the Klein correspondence
Here the 6-dimensional affine
space contains the 63 points
of PG(5, 2), plus the origin, and
the 3-dimensional affine
space contains as its 8 points
Conwell's eight "heptads," as in
Generating the Octad Generator.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thursday February 5, 2009

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

Through the
Looking Glass:

A Sort of Eternity

From the new president's inaugural address:

"… in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things."

The words of Scripture:

9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.


First Corinthians 13

"through a glass"

[di’ esoptrou].
By means of
a mirror [esoptron]

Childish things:

Froebel's third gift, the eightfold cube
© 2005 The Institute for Figuring


Photo by Norman Brosterman
fom the Inventing Kindergarten
exhibit at The Institute for Figuring
(co-founded by Margaret Wertheim)



Three planes through
the center of a cube
that split it into
eight subcubes:
Cube subdivided into 8 subcubes by planes through the center
Through a glass, darkly:

A group of 8 transformations is
generated by affine reflections
in the above three planes.
Shown below is a pattern on
the faces of the 2x2x2 cube
 that is symmetric under one of
these 8 transformations–
a 180-degree rotation:

Design Cube 2x2x2 for demonstrating Galois geometry

(Click on image
for further details.)

But then face to face:

A larger group of 1344,
rather than 8, transformations
of the 2x2x2 cube
is generated by a different
sort of affine reflections– not
in the infinite Euclidean 3-space
over the field of real numbers,
but rather in the finite Galois
3-space over the 2-element field.

Galois age fifteen, drawn by a classmate.

Galois age fifteen,
drawn by a classmate.

These transformations
in the Galois space with
finitely many points
produce a set of 168 patterns
like the one above.
For each such pattern,
at least one nontrivial
transformation in the group of 8
described above is a symmetry
in the Euclidean space with
infinitely many points.

For some generalizations,
see Galois Geometry.

Related material:

The central aim of Western religion–



"Each of us has something to offer the Creator...
the bridging of
 masculine and feminine,
 life and death.
It's redemption.... nothing else matters."
-- Martha Cooley in The Archivist (1998)

The central aim of Western philosophy–

 Dualities of Pythagoras
 as reconstructed by Aristotle:
  Limited Unlimited
  Odd Even
  Male Female
  Light Dark
  Straight Curved
  ... and so on ....

"Of these dualities, the first is the most important; all the others may be seen as different aspects of this fundamental dichotomy. To establish a rational and consistent relationship between the limited [man, etc.] and the unlimited [the cosmos, etc.] is… the central aim of all Western philosophy."

— Jamie James in The Music of the Spheres (1993)

"In the garden of Adding
live Even and Odd…
And the song of love's recision
is the music of the spheres."

— The Midrash Jazz Quartet in City of God, by E. L. Doctorow (2000)

A quotation today at art critic Carol Kino's website, slightly expanded:

"Art inherited from the old religion
the power of consecrating things
and endowing them with
a sort of eternity;
museums are our temples,
and the objects displayed in them
are beyond history."

— Octavio Paz,"Seeing and Using: Art and Craftsmanship," in Convergences: Essays on Art and Literature (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1987), 52 

From Brian O'Doherty's 1976 Artforum essays– not on museums, but rather on gallery space:

"Inside the White Cube"

"We have now reached
a point where we see
not the art but the space first….
An image comes to mind
of a white, ideal space
that, more than any single picture,
may be the archetypal image
of 20th-century art."


"Space: what you
damn well have to see."

— James Joyce, Ulysses  

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Saturday August 16, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 8:00 AM

Seeing the Finite Structure

The following supplies some context for remarks of Halmos on combinatorics.

From Paul Halmos: Celebrating 50 years of Mathematics, by John H. Ewing, Paul Richard Halmos, Frederick W. Gehring, published by Springer, 1991–

Interviews with Halmos, “Paul Halmos by Parts,” by Donald J. Albers–

“Part II: In Touch with God*“– on pp. 27-28:

The Root of All Deep Mathematics

Albers. In the conclusion of ‘Fifty Years of Linear Algebra,’ you wrote: ‘I am inclined to believe that at the root of all deep mathematics there is a combinatorial insight… I think that in this subject (in every subject?) the really original, really deep insights are always combinatorial, and I think for the new discoveries that we need– the pendulum needs– to swing back, and will swing back in the combinatorial direction.’ I always thought of you as an analyst.

Halmos: People call me an analyst, but I think I’m a born algebraist, and I mean the same thing, analytic versus combinatorial-algebraic. I think the finite case illustrates and guides and simplifies the infinite.

Some people called me full of baloney when I asserted that the deep problems of operator theory could all be solved if we knew the answer to every finite dimensional matrix question. I still have this religion that if you knew the answer to every matrix question, somehow you could answer every operator question. But the ‘somehow’ would require genius. The problem is not, given an operator question, to ask the same question in finite dimensions– that’s silly. The problem is– the genius is– given an infinite question, to think of the right finite question to ask. Once you thought of the finite answer, then you would know the right answer to the infinite question.

Combinatorics, the finite case, is where the genuine, deep insight is. Generalizing, making it infinite, is sometimes intricate and sometimes difficult, and I might even be willing to say that it’s sometimes deep, but it is nowhere near as fundamental as seeing the finite structure.”

Finite Structure
 on a Book Cover:

Walsh Series: An Introduction to Dyadic Harmonic Analysis, by F. Schipp et. al.

Walsh Series: An Introduction
to Dyadic Harmonic Analysis
by F. Schipp et al.,
Taylor & Francis, 1990

Halmos’s above remarks on combinatorics as a source of “deep mathematics” were in the context of operator theory. For connections between operator theory and harmonic analysis, see (for instance) H.S. Shapiro, “Operator Theory and Harmonic Analysis,” pp. 31-56 in Twentieth Century Harmonic Analysis– A Celebration, ed. by J.S. Byrnes, published by Springer, 2001.

Walsh Series
states that Walsh functions provide “the simplest non-trivial model for harmonic analysis.”

The patterns on the faces of the cube on the cover of Walsh Series above illustrate both the Walsh functions of order 3 and the same structure in a different guise, subspaces of the affine 3-space over the binary field. For a note on the relationship of Walsh functions to finite geometry, see Symmetry of Walsh Functions.

Whether the above sketch of the passage from operator theory to harmonic analysis to Walsh functions to finite geometry can ever help find “the right finite question to ask,” I do not know. It at least suggests that finite geometry (and my own work on models in finite geometry) may not be completely irrelevant to mathematics generally regarded as more deep.

* See the Log24 entries following Halmos’s death.

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