Monday, February 6, 2017


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:10 PM

Some notes related to recent posts

"Rilke's insistent quest for a purity associated with primitive origins
took a Russian turning, but could also be seen as an extension of
traditions developed in Europe in the modern era. When Balzac
takes a metaphysical look at modern life, he exclaims: 'There is a
primitive principle! . . . .' "

— The late Dore Ashton,
     "Art Critic Who Embraced and Inhabited Modernism"

Sixteenth-century alchemist in a novel by Balzac —

"If we eliminate God from this world, sire,
what remains? Man! Let us examine our domain.
The material world is made up of elements;
thos elements are resolved into a single one
which is endowed with motion.
The number THREE is the formula of creation:
matter, motion, product!" *
. . . .

"There is a primitive principle!
Let us grasp it at the point where it acts upon itself,
where it is a unit, where it is really a principle,
not a creature, a cause, not an effect —
we shall see it by itself, formless, ready to assume
all the forms which we see it assume in life.  
When we are face to face with this atom, 
when we have surprised motion at its
starting-point, we shall know its laws . . . ."

* "… la Matière, le Mouvement, le Produit!"

Twenty-first century writer on physics —

"Besides the concept of Newtonian force,
the concept of momentum, as defined by
the multiplication of mass m and velocity v,
i.e., mv, is also one of the key concepts in
Newtonian mechanics. Historically, the
concept of momentum can be regarded as
an outgrowth of the impetus concept of the
Middle Ages. But momentum is in fact quite
different from impetus which has no
quantitative definition. In comparison,
momentum is a quantitatively precise and
well-defined mechanical concept."

—  http://www.thecatalyst.org/physics/chapter-two.html.
      No author is named, but a "curriculum vitae" link at
      the bottom of the webpage leads to Kai X. Miao.

"C’était la création elle-même,
qui se servait de la forme de Balzac
pour faire son apparition . . . ."

Auguste Rodin , by Rainer Maria Rilke,
translated from the German by Catherine Caron,
Editions La Part Commune , 2001

See also a version in English, and Rilke's original German

 Aber langsam wuchs Rodin's Vision von Form zu Form. Und endlich sah er ihn. Er sah eine breite, ausschreitende Gestalt, die an des Mantels Fall alle ihre Schwere verlor. Auf den starken Nacken stemmte sich das Haar, und in das Haar zurückgelehnt lag ein Gesicht, schauend, im Rausche des Schauens, schäumend von Schaffen: das Gesicht eines Elementes. Das war Balzac in der Fruchtbarkeit seines Überflusses, der Gründer von Generationen, der Verschwender von Schicksalen. Das war der Mann, dessen Augen keiner Dinge bedurften; wäre die Welt leer gewesen: seine Blicke hätten sie eingerichtet. Das war der, der durch sagenhafte Silberminen reich werden wollte und glücklich durch eine Fremde. Das war das Schaffen selbst, das sich der Form Balzac's bediente, um zu erscheinen; des Schaffens Überhebung, Hochmut, Taumel und Trunkenheit. Der Kopf, der zurückgeworfen war, lebte auf dem Gipfel dieser Gestalt wie jene Kugeln, die auf den Strahlen von Fontänen tanzen. Alle Schwere war leicht geworden, stieg und fiel.

 So hatte Rodin in einem Augenblick ungeheuerer Zusammenfassung und tragischer Übertreibung seinen Balzac gesehen, und so machte er ihn. Die Vision verging nicht; sie verwandelte sich. . . . .

Related material:  Momentum  in this journal.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Primitive Principle

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — m759 @ 12:20 PM

"Rilke's insistent quest for a purity associated with primitive origins
took a Russian turning, but could also be seen as an extension of
traditions developed in Europe in the modern era. When Balzac
takes a metaphysical look at modern life, he exclaims: 'There is a
primitive principle! . . . .' "

— The late Dore Ashton,
     "Art Critic Who Embraced and Inhabited Modernism"

Putting aside the wild inaccuracy of Ashton's remarks,
the words "modernism" and "turning" suggest a review of

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Houston Problem

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 3:33 PM

"A noted Rice University professor died Friday morning
when a Metro light rail train hit her near Hermann Park.

Marjorie Corcoran was bicycling toward the campus
about 8:30 a.m. when she was struck on the southbound
tracks at 6300 Fannin near Sunset, according to Metro officials."

The Houston Chronicle  yesterday

Houston is on Central Standard Time; 8:30 a.m. there
is 9:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (the time used here).

Log24 at that time yesterday

Corcoran's Rice University page
has some brief remarks 
on fundamental symmetries.

Character in a novel by Balzac

" la Matière, le Mouvement, le Produit!"

♫ Are You Going to Vanity Fair?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:00 PM
"In those days, the occult sciences were 
cultivated with ardor well calculated to surprise the 
incredulous minds of our own sovereignly analytical 
age; perhaps they may detect in this historical 
sketch the germ of the positive sciences, widely 
studied in the nineteenth century, but without the 
poetic grandeur which was ascribed to them by the 
audacious investigators of the sixteenth century; 
who, instead of devoting their energy to industry, 
magnified art and made thought fruitful. The 
patronage universally accorded to art by the sov- 
ereigns of that time was justified, too, by the mar- 
vellous creations of inventors who started in quest 
of the philosopher's stone and reached amazing re- 
sults." — Balzac, Catherine de' Medici 

Honoré de Balzac, Sur Catherine de Médicis :

— Hé! bien, sire, en ôtant Dieu de ce monde, que reste-t-il?
L’homme! Examinons alors notre domaine?
Le monde matériel est composé d’éléments, ces éléments
ont eux-mêmes des principes. Ces principes se résolvent 
en un seul qui est doué de mouvement. Le nombre TROIS est
la formule de la création: la Matière, le Mouvement, le Produit!

— La preuve? Halte-là, s’écria le roi.

Illustration by Frederick Alfred Rhead of Vanity Fair,
page 96 in the John Bunyan classic Pilgrim's Progress 
(New York, The Century Co., 1912)

Friday, February 3, 2017

A Fable of Art Criticism

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 6:42 PM

Part I —

Part II —

Part III —

"Let us examine our domain." — Character in a Balzac novel

Ashton reportedly died on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017.
See some more-scholarly remarks by Ernst Cassirer
on "the domain of perception" quoted here on that date.

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