Log24

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Ornaments for Valéry*

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 12:27 AM

* See Valéry Ornament in this journal.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Valery on Ornament

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:33 PM

The following passage is suggested by last night's "Eve's Menorah"
and by today's "Review of Leonardo  Article" —

IMAGE- Valéry on ornament in 'Method of Leonardo,' with Valéry's serpent-and-key emblem

Click image to enlarge.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Permutahedron Dream

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 3:21 PM

The geometric object of the title appears in a post mentioning Bourgain 
in this journal.  Bourgain appears also in today's online New York Times —

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/16/
obituaries/jean-bourgain-dead.html
 .

Bourgain reportedly died on December 22.

An image from this journal on that date

Related poetic meditations —

IMAGE- Herbert John Ryser, 'Combinatorial Mathematics' (1963), page 1

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Gold Bug Variations (Continued)

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 1:32 PM


See as well a search for "Gold Bug"  in this  journal.

From that search —

Richard Powers, The Gold Bug Variations , first published in 1991—

Botkin, whatever her gifts as a conversationist, is almost as old
as the rediscovery of Mendel. The other extreme in age, 
Joe Lovering, beat a time-honored path out of pure math 
into muddy population statistics. Ressler has seen the guy 
potting about in the lab, although exactly what the excitable kid 
does is anybody's guess. He looks decidedly gumfooted holding
any equipment more corporeal than a chi-square. Stuart takes
him to the Y for lunch, part of a court-your-resources campaign.
He has the sub, Lovering the congealed mac and cheese. 
Hardly are they seated when Joe whips out a napkin and begins
sketching proofs. He argues that the genetic code, as an 
algorithmic formal system, is subject to Gödel's Incompleteness
Theorem. "That would mean the symbolic language of the code 
can't be both consistent and complete. Wouldn't that be a kick 
in the head?"

Kid talk, competitive showing off, intellectual fantasy. 
But Ressler knows what Joe is driving at. He's toyed with similar 
ideas, cast in less abstruse terms. We are the by-product of the 
mechanism in there. So it must be more ingenious than us. 
Anything complex enough to create consciousness may be too 
complex for consciousness to understand. Yet the ultimate paradox
is Lovering, crouched over his table napkin, using proofs to 
demonstrate proof's limits. Lovering laughs off recursion and takes
up another tack: the key is to find some formal symmetry folded
in this four-base chaos
. Stuart distrusts this approach even more.
He picks up the tab for their two untouched lunches, thanking 
Lovering politely for the insight.

"The key is to find some formal symmetry…."

IMAGE- Valéry on ornament in 'Method of Leonardo,' with Valéry's serpent-and-key emblem

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mise-en-Scène

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:00 PM

IMAGE- 'Lexicon,' a novel by Max Barry published June 18, 2013

This journal on May 14, 2013:

IMAGE- Valéry on ornament in 'Method of Leonardo,' with Valéry's serpent-and-key emblem

"And let us finally, then, observe the
parallel progress of the formations of thought
across the species of psychical onomatopoeia
of the primitives, and elementary symmetries
and contrasts, to the ideas of substances,
to metaphors, the faltering beginnings of logic,
formalisms, entities, metaphysical existences."

— Paul Valéry, Introduction to the Method of
    Leonardo da Vinci

But first, a word from our sponsor

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Commercial

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 7:00 AM

(Continued from December 30, 2012)

IMAGE- Valéry on ornament in 'Method of Leonardo,' with Valéry's serpent-and-key emblem

"And let us finally, then, observe the
parallel progress of the formations of thought
across the species of psychical onomatopoeia
of the primitives, and elementary symmetries
and contrasts, to the ideas of substances,
to metaphors, the faltering beginnings of logic,
formalisms, entities, metaphysical existences."

— Paul Valéry, Introduction to the Method of
    Leonardo da Vinci

But first, a word from our sponsor

Brought to you by two uploads, each from Sept. 11, 2012—

Symmetry and Hierarchy and the above VINCI Genius commercial.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Kick

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 9:00 AM

George Steiner, Real Presences , first published in 1989—

The inception of critical thought, of a philosophic anthropology,
is contained in the archaic Greek definition of man as a
'language-animal'….

Richard Powers, The Gold Bug Variations , first published in 1991—

Botkin, whatever her gifts as a conversationist, is almost as old
as the rediscovery of Mendel. The other extreme in age,
Joe Lovering, beat a time-honored path out of pure math
into muddy population statistics. Ressler has seen the guy
potting about in the lab, although exactly what the excitable kid
does is anybody's guess. He looks decidedly gumfooted holding
any equipment more corporeal than a chi-square. Stuart takes
him to the Y for lunch, part of a court-your-resources campaign.
He has the sub, Levering the congealed mac and cheese.
Hardly are they seated when Joe whips out a napkin and begins
sketching proofs. He argues that the genetic code, as an
algorithmic formal system, is subject to Gödel's Incompleteness
Theorem. "That would mean the symbolic language of the code
can't be both consistent and complete. Wouldn't that be a kick
in the head?"

Kid talk, competitive showing off, intellectual fantasy.
But Ressler knows what Joe is driving at. He's toyed with similar
ideas, cast in less abstruse terms. We are the by-product of the
mechanism in there. So it must be more ingenious than us.
Anything complex enough to create consciousness may be too
complex for consciousness to understand. Yet the ultimate paradox
is Lovering, crouched over his table napkin, using proofs to
demonstrate proof's limits. Lovering laughs off recursion and takes
up another tack: the key is to find some formal symmetry folded
in this four-base chaos
. Stuart distrusts this approach even more.
He picks up the tab for their two untouched lunches, thanking
Lovering politely for the insight.

Edith Piaf—

Non, rien de rien

See last midnight's post and Theme and Variations.

"The key is to find some formal symmetry…."

IMAGE- Valéry on ornament in 'Method of Leonardo,' with Valéry's serpent-and-key emblem

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Space Speech

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:30 AM

"Here space itself truly spoke…."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Carroll Thanks the Academy

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:30 AM

Gary Gutting, "Arguing About Language," in "The Stone,"
The New York Times  philosophy column, yesterday—

There's a sense in which we speak language
and a sense in which, in Mallarmé's famous phrase,
“language itself speaks.”

Famous? A Google Book Search for

"language itself speaks" Mallarmé

yields 2 results, neither helpful.

But a Google Book Search for

"language itself speaks" Heidegger

yields "about 312 results."

A related search yields the following

Paul Valéry, encountering Un Coup de Dés  in Mallarmé’s worksheets in 1897, described the text as tracing the pattern of thought itself:

It seemed to me that I was looking at the form and pattern of a thought, placed for the first time in finite space. Here space itself truly spoke, dreamed, and gave birth to temporal forms….

… there in the same void with them, like some new form of matter arranged in systems or masses or trailing lines, coexisted the Word! (Leonardo  309*)

* The page number is apparently a reference to The Collected Works of Paul Valéry: Leonardo, Poe, Mallarmé , translated by Malcolm Cowley and James R. Lawler, Princeton University Press, 1972. (As a temporal  form, "309" might be interpreted as a reference to 3/09, March 9, the date of a webpage on the Void.)

For example—

Symbologist Robert Langdon views a corner of Solomon's Cube

Background:
Deconstructing Alice
and Symbology.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rhetorical Answer

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:30 AM

NOW ENJOY BRILLIANT COLLEGE COURSES
IN YOUR HOME OR CAR!

The sun was burning down….

There was a trembling in the air as the unnamed colors
and landforms took on definition, a clarity of outline and extent….

This is where we sat through his hushed hour, a torchlit sky,
the closeness of hills barely visible at high white noon.

— DeLillo, Don, Point Omega 

Midi là-haut, Midi sans mouvement 
En soi se pense et convient à soi-même… 
Tête complète et parfait diadème, 
Je suis en toi le secret changement.

— Valéry, Paul,  "Le Cimetière Marin"

… Todo lo sé por el lucero puro
que brilla en la diadema de la Muerte.

— Darío, Rubén, "Los Tres Reyes Magos"

Rhetorical Question

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

IMAGE- NY Times Sunday Review- 'The Great Courses' ad and 'Who's King Of Pop Now?'

Click for more.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Imago Creationis

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , , — m759 @ 6:00 PM

Image-- The Four-Diamond Tesseract

In the above view, four of the tesseract's 16
vertices are overlaid by other vertices.
For views that are more complete and
moveable, see Smith's tesseract page.

Four-Part Tesseract Divisions

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10A/100619-TesseractAnd4x4.gif

The above figure shows how four-part partitions
of the 16 vertices  of a tesseract in an infinite
Euclidean  space are related to four-part partitions
of the 16 points  in a finite Galois  space

Euclidean spaces versus Galois spaces
in a larger context—

 

 


Infinite versus Finite

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)

Another picture related to philosophy and religion—

Jung's Four-Diamond Figure from Aion

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10A/100615-JungImago.gif

This figure was devised by Jung
to represent the Self. Compare the
remarks of Paul Valéry on the Self—

Flight from Eden: The Origins of Modern Literary Criticism and Theory, by Steven Cassedy, U. of California Press, 1990, pages 156-157—

 

 

Valéry saw the mind as essentially a relational system whose operation he attempted to describe in the language of group mathematics. "Every act of understanding is based on a group," he says (C, 1:331). "My specialty— reducing everything to the study of a system closed on itself and finite" (C, 19: 645). The transformation model came into play, too. At each moment of mental life the mind is like a group, or relational system, but since mental life is continuous over time, one "group" undergoes a "transformation" and becomes a different group in the next moment. If the mind is constantly being transformed, how do we account for the continuity of the self? Simple; by invoking the notion of the invariant. And so we find passages like this one: "The S[elf] is invariant, origin, locus or field, it's a functional property of consciousness" (C, 15:170 [2:315]). Just as in transformational geometry, something remains fixed in all the projective transformations of the mind's momentary systems, and that something is the Self (le Moi, or just M, as Valéry notates it so that it will look like an algebraic variable). Transformation theory is all over the place. "Mathematical science…  reduced to algebra, that is, to the analysis of the transformations of a purely differential being made up of homogeneous elements, is the most faithful document of the properties of grouping, disjunction, and variation in the mind" (O, 1:36). "Psychology is a theory of transformations, we just need to isolate the invariants and the groups" (C, 1:915). "Man is a system that transforms itself" (C, 2:896).

Notes:

  Paul Valéry, Oeuvres  (Paris: Pléiade, 1957-60)

C   Valéry, Cahiers, 29 vols. (Paris: Centre National de le Recherche Scientifique, 1957-61)

Note also the remarks of George David Birkhoff at Rice University
in 1940 (pdf) on Galois's theory of groups and the related
"theory of ambiguity" in Galois's testamentary letter—

… metaphysical reasoning always relies on the Principle of Sufficient Reason, and… 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 multi-dimensionally* whereas men can only think in linear syllogistic series, and the Theory of Groups is the appropriate instrument of thought to remedy our deficiency in this respect.

* That is, uses multi-dimensional symbols beyond our grasp.

Related material:

Imago Creationis

A medal designed by Leibniz to show how
binary arithmetic mirrors the creation by God
of something (1) from nothing (0).

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10A/100618-LeibnizMedaille.jpg

Another array of 16 strings of 0's and 1's, this time
regarded as coordinates rather than binary numbers—

Frame of Reference

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10A/100619-ReferenceFrame.gif

The Diamond Theorem

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10A/100619-Dtheorem.gif

Some context by a British mathematician —

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10A/100619-Cameron.gif

Imago

by Wallace Stevens

Who can pick up the weight of Britain, 
Who can move the German load 
Or say to the French here is France again? 
Imago. Imago. Imago. 

It is nothing, no great thing, nor man 
Of ten brilliancies of battered gold 
And fortunate stone. It moves its parade 
Of motions in the mind and heart, 

A gorgeous fortitude. Medium man 
In February hears the imagination's hymns 
And sees its images, its motions 
And multitudes of motions 

And feels the imagination's mercies, 
In a season more than sun and south wind, 
Something returning from a deeper quarter, 
A glacier running through delirium, 

Making this heavy rock a place, 
Which is not of our lives composed . . . 
Lightly and lightly, O my land, 
Move lightly through the air again.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Imago, Imago, Imago

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 11:07 AM

Recommended— an online book—

Flight from Eden: The Origins of Modern Literary Criticism and Theory,
by Steven Cassedy, U. of California Press, 1990.

See in particular

Valéry and the Discourse On His Method.

Pages 156-157—

Valéry saw the mind as essentially a relational system whose operation he attempted to describe in the language of group mathematics. “Every act of understanding is based on a group,” he says (C, 1:331). “My specialty—reducing everything to the study of a system closed on itself and finite” (C, 19: 645). The transformation model came into play, too. At each moment of mental life the mind is like a group, or relational system, but since mental life is continuous over time, one “group” undergoes a “transformation” and becomes a different group in the next moment. If the mind is constantly being transformed, how do we account for the continuity of the self? Simple; by invoking the notion of the invariant. And so we find passages like this one: “The S[elf] is invariant, origin, locus or field, it’s a functional property of consciousness” (C, 15:170 [2: 315]). Just as in transformational geometry, something remains fixed in all the projective transformations of the mind’s momentary systems, and that something is the Self (le Moi, or just M, as Valéry notates it so that it will look like an algebraic variable). Transformation theory is all over the place. “Mathematical science . . . reduced to algebra, that is, to the analysis of the transformations of a purely differential being made up of homogeneous elements, is the most faithful document of the properties of grouping, disjunction, and variation in the mind” (O, 1:36). “Psychology is a theory of transformations, we just need to isolate the invariants and the groups” (C, 1:915). “Man is a system that transforms itself” (C, 2:896).

Notes:

  Paul Valéry, Oeuvres (Paris: Pléiade, 1957-60)

C   Valéry, Cahiers, 29 vols. (Paris: Centre National de le Recherche Scientifique, 1957-61)

Compare Jung’s image in Aion  of the Self as a four-diamond figure:

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10A/100615-JungImago.gif

and Cullinane’s purely geometric four-diamond figure:

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10A/100615-FourD.gif

For a natural group of 322,560 transformations acting on the latter figure, see the diamond theorem.

What remains fixed (globally, not pointwise) under these transformations is the system  of points and hyperplanes from the diamond theorem. This system was depicted by artist Josefine Lyche in her installation “Theme and Variations” in Oslo in 2009.  Lyche titled this part of her installation “The Smallest Perfect Universe,” a phrase used earlier by Burkard Polster to describe the projective 3-space PG(3,2) that contains these points (at right below) and hyperplanes (at left below).

Image-- Josefine Lyche's combination of Polster's phrase with<br /> Cullinane's images in her gallery show, Oslo, 2009-- 'The Smallest<br /> Perfect Universe -- Points and Hyperplanes'

Although the system of points (at right above) and hyperplanes (at left above) exemplifies Valéry’s notion of invariant, it seems unlikely to be the sort of thing he had in mind as an image of the Self.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday December 19, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 1:06 PM
Inside the
White Cube

Part I: The White Cube

The Eightfold Cube

Part II: Inside
 
The Paradise of Childhood'-- Froebel's Third Gift

Part III: Outside

Mark Tansey, 'The Key' (1984)

Click to enlarge.

Mark Tansey, The Key (1984)

For remarks on religion
related to the above, see
Log24 on the Garden of Eden
and also Mark C. Taylor,
"What Derrida Really Meant"
(New York Times, Oct. 14, 2004).

For some background on Taylor,
see Wikipedia. Taylor, Chairman
of the Department of Religion
at
Columbia University, has a
1973 doctorate in religion from
Harvard University. His opinion
of Derrida indicates that his
sympathies lie more with
the serpent than with the angel
in the Tansey picture above.

For some remarks by Taylor on
the art of Tansey relevant to the
structure of the white cube
(Part I above), see Taylor's
The Picture in Question:
Mark Tansey and the
Ends of Representation

(U. of Chicago Press, 1999):

From Chapter 3,
"Sutures* of Structures," p. 58:

"What, then, is a frame, and what is frame work?

This question is deceptive in its simplicity. A frame is, of course, 'a basic skeletal structure designed to give shape or support' (American Heritage Dictionary)…. when the frame is in question, it is difficult to determine what is inside and what is outside. Rather than being on one side or the other, the frame is neither inside nor outside. Where, then, Derrida queries, 'does the frame take place….'"

* P. 61:
"… the frame forms the suture of structure. A suture is 'a seamless [sic**] joint or line of articulation,' which, while joining two surfaces, leaves the trace of their separation."

 ** A dictionary says "a seamlike joint or line of articulation," with no mention of "trace," a term from Derrida's jargon.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Friday June 6, 2008

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

Robin Williams observes the Keystone State lottery of June 5, 2008: Mid-day 025, Evening 761
Midrash:
The Dance of Chance

Associated Press
"Today in History"
 Thought for Today:

"Two dangers constantly threaten
the world: order and disorder."
— Paul Valery, French poet
(1871-1945).
[La Crise de l'Esprit]

Also from Valéry:

«Notre esprit est fait d'un désordre,
plus un besoin de mettre en ordre
.»
(Mauvaises Pensées et Autres)

«L’ordre pèse toujours à l’individu. Le désordre lui fait désirer la police ou la mort. Ce sont deux circonstances extrêmes où la nature humaine n’est pas à l’aise. L’individu recherche une époque tout agréable, où il soit le plus libre et le plus aidé. Il la trouve vers le commencement de la fin d’un système social. Alors, entre l’ordre et le désordre, règne un moment délicieux. Tout le bien possible que procure l’arrangement des pouvoirs et des devoirs étant acquis, c’est maintenant que l’on peut jouir des premiers relâchements de ce système. Les institutions tiennent encore. Elles sont grandes et imposantes. Mais sans que rien de visible soit altéré en elles, elles n’ont guère plus que cette belle présence; leurs vertus se sont toutes produites; leur avenir est secrètement épuisé; leur caractère n’est plus sacré, ou bien il n’est plus que sacré; la critique et le mépris les exténuent et les vident de toute valeur prochaine. Le corps social perd doucement son lendemain. C’est l’heure de la jouissance et de la consommation générale.»

Paul Valéry, Préface aux Lettres Persanes (1926), recueillie dans Variété, II, 1930

Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday September 21, 2007

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 8:28 AM
Word and Object

"We may recall the ideal of 'dryness' which we associate with the symbolist movement, with writers such as T. E. Hulme and T. S. Eliot, with Paul Valery, with Wittgenstein. This 'dryness' (smallness, clearness, self-containedness) is a nemesis of Romanticism…. The temptation of art… is to console. The modern writer… attempts to console us by myths or by stories."

— Iris Murdoch  

"The consolations of form,
the clean crystalline work"

— Iris Murdoch, 
"Against Dryness"

"As a teacher Quine
was carefully organized,
precise, and conscientious,
but somewhat dry
in his classroom style."

Harvard Gazette 

Word:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07A/070921-Connectives.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Object:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07A/070921-Lindenbaum-Tarski.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Myth and Story:

The five entries ending
on Jan. 27, 2007

"There is such a thing
as a tesseract."
Madeleine L'Engle  
 

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday May 25, 2007

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 7:11 AM
Dance and the Soul

From Log24 on
this date last year:

"May there be an ennui
of the first idea?
What else,
prodigious scholar,
should there be?"

— Wallace Stevens,
"Notes Toward a
Supreme Fiction"

The Associated Press,
May 25, 2007–

Thought for Today:
"I hate quotations.
 Tell me what you know."
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

[Journals, on May 3, 1849]

The First Idea:

The Line, by S. H. Cullinane

Four Elements:
 

Four Elements (Diamond)

Square Dance:

Square Dance (Diamond Theorem)

This "telling of what
I know" will of course
mean little to those
who, like Emerson,
have refused to learn
through quotations.

For those less obdurate
than Emerson —Harold Bloom
on Wallace Stevens

and Paul Valery's
   "Dance and the Soul"–

"Stevens may be playful, yet seriously so, in describing desire, at winter's end, observing not only the emergence of the blue woman of early spring, but seeing also the myosotis, whose other name is 'forget-me-not.' Desire, hearing the calendar hymn, repudiates the negativity of the mind of winter, unable to bear what Valery's Eryximachus had called 'this cold, exact, reasonable, and moderate consideration of human life as it is.' The final form of this realization in Stevens comes in 1950, in The Course of a Particular, in the great monosyllabic line 'One feels the life of that which gives life as it is.' But even Stevens cannot bear that feeling for long. As Eryximachus goes on to say in Dance and the Soul:

A cold and perfect clarity is a poison impossible to combat. The real, in its pure state, stops the heart instantaneously….[…] To a handful of ashes is the past reduced, and the future to a tiny icicle. The soul appears to itself as an empty and measurable form. –Here, then, things as they are come together, limit one another, and are thus chained together in the most rigorous and mortal* fashion…. O Socrates, the universe cannot for one instant endure to be only what it is.

Valery's formula for reimagining the First Idea is, 'The idea introduces into what is, the leaven of what is not.' This 'murderous lucidity' can be cured only by what Valery's Socrates calls 'the intoxication due to act,' particularly Nietzschean or Dionysiac dance, for this will rescue us from the state of the Snow Man, 'the motionless and lucid observer.'" —Wallace Stevens: The Poems of Our Climate

* "la sorte… la plus mortelle":
    mortal in the sense
   "deadly, lethal"

Other quotations

(from March 28,
the birthday of
Reba McEntire):

Logical Songs

Reba McEntire, Saturday Evening Post, Mar/Apr 1995

Logical Song I
(Supertramp)

"When I was young, it seemed that
Life was so wonderful, a miracle,
Oh it was beautiful, magical
And all the birds in the trees,
Well they'd be singing so happily,
Joyfully, playfully watching me"

Logical Song II
(Sinatra)

"You make me feel so young,
You make me feel like
Spring has sprung
And every time I see you grin
I'm such a happy in-
dividual….

You and I are
Just like a couple of tots
Running across the meadow
Picking up lots
Of forget-me-nots"

Friday, April 25, 2003

Friday April 25, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 7:59 PM

Mark

Today is the feast of Saint Mark.  It seems an appropriate day to thank Dr. Gerald McDaniel for his online cultural calendar, which is invaluable for suggesting blog topics.

Yesterday's entry "Cross-Referenced" referred to a bizarre meditation of mine titled "The Matthias Defense," which combines some thoughts of Nabokov on lunacy with some of my own thoughts on the Judeo-Christian tradition (i.e., also on lunacy).  In this connection, the following is of interest:

From a site titled Meaning of the Twentieth Century —

"Freeman Dyson has expressed some thoughts on craziness. In a Scientific American article called 'Innovation in Physics,' he began by quoting Niels Bohr. Bohr had been in attendance at a lecture in which Wolfgang Pauli proposed a new theory of elementary particles. Pauli came under heavy criticism, which Bohr summed up for him: 'We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. My own feeling is that is not crazy enough.' To that Freeman added: 'When a great innovation appears, it will almost certainly be in a muddled, incomplete and confusing form. To the discoverer, himself, it will be only half understood; to everyone else, it will be a mystery. For any speculation which does not at first glance look crazy, there is no hope!' "

Kenneth Brower, The Starship and the Canoe, 1979, pp. 146, 147

It is my hope that the speculation, implied in The Matthias Defense, that the number 162 has astonishing mystical properties (as a page number, article number, etc.) is sufficiently crazy to satisfy Pauli and his friend Jung as well as the more conventional thinkers Bohr and Dyson.  It is no less crazy than Christianity, and has a certain mad simplicity that perhaps improves on some of that religion's lunatic doctrines. 

Some fruits of the "162 theory" —

Searching on Google for muses 162, we find the following Orphic Hymn to Apollo and a footnote of interest:

27 Tis thine all Nature's music to inspire,
28 With various-sounding, harmonising lyre;
29 Now the last string thou tun'ft to sweet accord,
30 Divinely warbling now the highest chord….

"Page 162 Verse 29…. Now the last string…. Gesner well observes, in his notes to this Hymn, that the comparison and conjunction of the musical and astronomical elements are most ancient; being derived from Orpheus and Pythagoras, to Plato. Now, according to the Orphic and Pythagoric doctrine, the lyre of Apollo is an image of the celestial harmony…."

For the "highest chord" in a metaphorical sense, see selection 162 of the 1919 edition of The Oxford Book of English Verse (whose editor apparently had a strong religious belief in the Muses (led by Apollo)).  This selection contains the phrase "an ever-fixèd mark" — appropriately enough for this saint's day.  The word "mark," in turn, suggests a Google search for the phrase "runes to grave" Hardy, after a poem quoted in G. H. Hardy's A Mathematician's Apology.

Such a search yields a website that quotes Housman as the source of the "runes" phrase, and a further search yields what is apparently the entire poem:

Smooth Between Sea and Land

by A. E. Housman

Smooth between sea and land
Is laid the yellow sand,
And here through summer days
The seed of Adam plays.

Here the child comes to found
His unremaining mound,
And the grown lad to score
Two names upon the shore.

Here, on the level sand,
Between the sea and land,
What shall I build or write
Against the fall of night?

Tell me of runes to grave
That hold the bursting wave,
Or bastions to design
For longer date than mine.

Shall it be Troy or Rome
I fence against the foam
Or my own name, to stay
When I depart for aye?

Nothing: too near at hand
Planing the figured sand,
Effacing clean and fast
Cities not built to last
And charms devised in vain,
Pours the confounding main.

(Said to be from More Poems (Knopf, 1936), p. 64)

Housman asks the reader to tell him of runes to grave or bastions to design.  Here, as examples, are one rune and one bastion.

 


The rune known as
"Dagaz"

Represents
the balance point or "still point."


The Nike Bastion

 Dagaz: (Pronounced thaw-gauze, but with the "th" voiced as in "the," not unvoiced as in "thick") (Day or dawn.)

From Rune Meanings:

 Dagaz means "breakthrough, awakening, awareness. Daylight clarity as opposed to nighttime uncertainty. A time to plan or embark upon an enterprise. The power of change directed by your own will, transformation. Hope/happiness, the ideal. Security and certainty. Growth and release. Balance point, the place where opposites meet."

Also known as "the rune of transformation."

For the Dagaz rune in another context, see Geometry of the I Ching.  The geometry discussed there does, in a sense, "hold the bursting wave," through its connection with Walsh functions, hence with harmonic analysis.

 Temple of Athena Nike on the Nike Bastion, the Acropolis, Athens.  Here is a relevant passage from Paul Valéry's Eupalinos ou L'Architecte about another temple of four columns:

Et puis… Écoute, Phèdre (me disait-il encore), ce petit temple que j'ai bâti pour Hermès, à quelques pas d'ici, si tu savais ce qu'il est pour moi ! — Où le passant ne voit qu'une élégante chapelle, — c'est peu de chose: quatre colonnes, un style très simple, — j'ai mis le souvenir d'un clair jour de ma vie. Ô douce métamorphose ! Ce temple délicat, nul ne le sait, est l'image mathématique d'une fille de Corinthe que j'ai heureusement aimée. Il en reproduit fidèlement les proportions particulières. Il vit pour moi !

Four columns, in a sense more suited to Hardy's interests, are also a recurrent theme in The Diamond 16 Puzzle and Diamond Theory.

Apart from the word "mark" in The Oxford Book of English Verse, as noted above, neither the rune nor the bastion discussed has any apparent connection with the number 162… but seek and ye shall find.
 

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