Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Sein Feld

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:25 PM

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday August 18, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Prima Materia

(Background: Art Humor: Sein Feld (March 11, 2009) and Ides of March Sermon, 2009)

From Cardinal Manning’s review of Kirkman’s Philosophy Without Assumptions

“And here I must confess… that between something and nothing I can find no intermediate except potentia, which does not mean force but possibility.”

— Contemporary Review, Vol. 28 (June-November, 1876), page 1017


Cardinal Manning, Contemporary Review, Vol. 28, pages 1026-1027:

The following will be, I believe, a correct statement of the Scholastic teaching:–

1. By strict process of reason we demonstrate a First Existence, a First Cause, a First Mover; and that this Existence, Cause, and Mover is Intelligence and Power.

2. This Power is eternal, and from all eternity has been in its fullest amplitude; nothing in it is latent, dormant, or in germ: but its whole existence is in actu, that is, in actual perfection, and in complete expansion or actuality. In other words God is Actus Purus, in whose being nothing is potential, in potentia, but in Him all things potentially exist.

3. In the power of God, therefore, exists the original matter (prima materia) of all things; but that prima materia is pura potentia, a nihilo distincta, a mere potentiality or possibility; nevertheless, it is not a nothing, but a possible existence. When it is said that the prima materia of all things exists in the power of God, it does not mean that it is of the existence of God, which would involve Pantheism, but that its actual existence is possible.

4. Of things possible by the power of God, some come into actual existence, and their existence is determined by the impression of a form upon this materia prima. The form is the first act which determines the existence and the species of each, and this act is wrought by the will and power of God. By this union of form with the materia prima, the materia secunda or the materia signata is constituted.

5. This form is called forma substantialis because it determines the being of each existence, and is the root of all its properties and the cause of all its operations.

6. And yet the materia prima has no actual existence before the form is impressed. They come into existence simultaneously;

[p. 1027 begins]

as the voice and articulation, to use St. Augustine’s illustration, are simultaneous in speech.

7. In all existing things there are, therefore, two principles; the one active, which is the form– the other passive, which is the matter; but when united, they have a unity which determines the existence of the species. The form is that by which each is what it is.

8. It is the form that gives to each its unity of cohesion, its law, and its specific nature.*

When, therefore, we are asked whether matter exists or no, we answer, It is as certain that matter exists as that form exists; but all the phenomena which fall under sense prove the existence of the unity, cohesion, species, that is, of the form of each, and this is a proof that what was once in mere possibility is now in actual existence. It is, and that is both form and matter.

When we are further asked what is matter, we answer readily, It is not God, nor the substance of God; nor the presence of God arrayed in phenomena; nor the uncreated will of God veiled in a world of illusions, deluding us with shadows into the belief of substance: much less is it catter [pejorative term in the book under review], and still less is it nothing. It is a reality, the physical kind or nature of which is as unknown in its quiddity or quality as its existence is certainly known to the reason of man.

* “… its specific nature”
        (Click to enlarge) —

Footnote by Cardinal Manning on Aquinas
The Catholic physics expounded by Cardinal Manning above is the physics of Aristotle.

For a more modern treatment of these topics, see Werner Heisenberg’s Physics and Philosophy. For instance:

“The probability wave of Bohr, Kramers, Slater, however, meant… a tendency for something. It was a quantitative version of the old concept of ‘potentia’ in Aristotelian philosophy. It introduced something standing in the middle between the idea of an event and the actual event, a strange kind of physical reality just in the middle between possibility and reality.”

Compare to Cardinal Manning’s statement above:

“… between something and nothing I can find no intermediate except potentia…”

To the mathematician, the cardinal’s statement suggests the set of real numbers between 1 and 0, inclusive, by which probabilities are measured. Mappings of purely physical events to this set of numbers are perhaps better described by applied mathematicians and physicists than by philosophers, theologians, or storytellers. (Cf. Voltaire’s mockery of possible-worlds philosophy and, more recently, The Onion‘s mockery of the fictional storyteller Fournier’s quantum flux. See also Mathematics and Narrative.)

Regarding events that are not purely physical– those that have meaning for mankind, and perhaps for God– events affecting conception, birth, life, and death– the remarks of applied mathematicians and physicists are often ignorant and obnoxious, and very often do more harm than good. For such meaningful events, the philosophers, theologians, and storytellers are better guides. See, for instance, the works of Jung and those of his school. Meaningful events sometimes (perhaps, to God, always) exhibit striking correspondences. For the study of such correspondences, the compact topological space [0, 1] discussed above is perhaps less helpful than the finite Galois field GF(64)– in its guise as the I Ching. Those who insist on dragging God into the picture may consult St. Augustine’s Day, 2006, and Hitler’s Still Point.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday April 3, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 5:24 AM
Knight Moves

“Lord, I remember”
Bob Seger 

“Philosophers ponder the idea of identity: what it is to give something a name on Monday and have it respond to that name on Friday….”

Bernard Holland in The New York Times of Monday, May 20, 1996

Yesterday’s afternoon entry cited philosopher John Holbo on chess. This, together with Holland’s remark above and Monday’s entries on Zizek, suggests…

Holbo on Zizek
(pdf, 11 pages)

In this excellent analysis,
Holbo quotes Kierkegaard:

“… the knight of faith
‘has the pain of being unable to
make himself intelligible to others'”

(Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling)

For some material that may serve to illustrate Kierkegaard’s remark, see Log24 on Twelfth Night and Epiphany this year.

“… There was a problem laid out on the board, a six-mover. I couldn’t solve it, like a lot of my problems. I reached down and moved a knight…. I looked down at the chessboard. The move with the knight was wrong. I put it back where I had moved it from. Knights had no meaning in this game. It wasn’t a game for knights.”

— Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep

Perhaps a game for bishops?

Henry Edward Cardinal Manning

Cardinal Manning

Click on the cardinal
for a link to some remarks
related to the upcoming film
 “Angels & Demons” and to
a Paris “Sein Feld.”

Context: the five entries
ending at 9:26 AM
on March 10, 2009…
and, for Kierkegaard,
Diamonds Are Forever.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday March 11, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 9:00 AM
Sein Feld
in Translation
(continued from
May 15, 1998)

The New York Times March 10–
 "Paris | A Show About Nothing"–

'Voids, a Retrospective,' at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Photo from NY Times.

The Times describes one of the empty rooms on exhibit as…

"… Yves Klein’s 'La spécialisation de la sensibilité à l’état matière première en sensibilité picturale stabilisée, Le Vide' ('The Specialization of Sensibility in the Raw Material State Into Stabilized Pictorial Sensibility, the Void')"

This is a mistranslation. See "An Aesthetics of Matter" (pdf), by Kiyohiko Kitamura and Tomoyuki Kitamura, pp. 85-101 in International Yearbook of Aesthetics, Volume 6, 2002

"The exhibition «La spécialisation de la sensibilité à l’état matière-première en sensibilité picturale stabilisée», better known as «Le Vide» (The Void) was held at the Gallery Iris Clert in Paris from April 28th till May 5th, 1955." –p. 94

"… «Sensibility in the state of prime matter»… filled the emptiness." –p. 95

Kitamura and Kitamura translate matière première correctly as "prime matter" (the prima materia of the scholastic philosophers) rather than "raw material." (The phrase in French can mean either.)

Related material:
The Diamond Archetype and
The Illuminati Diamond.

The link above to
prima materia
is to an 1876 review
by Cardinal Manning of
a work on philosophy
by T. P. Kirkman, whose
"schoolgirl problem" is
closely related to the
finite space of the
 diamond theorem.

Wednesday, April 2, 2003

Wednesday April 2, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 2:30 PM

Symmetries…. May 15, 1998

The following journal note, from the day after Sinatra died, was written before I heard of his death.  Note particularly the quote from Rilke.  Other material was suggested, in part, by Alasdair Gray’s Glasgow novel 1982 Janine.  The “Sein Feld” heading is a reference to the Seinfeld final episode, which aired May 14, 1998.  The first column contains a reference to angels — apparently Hell’s Angels — and the second column provides a somewhat more serious look at this theological topic.

Sein Feld


1984 Janine

“But Angels love their own
And they’re reaching out
    for you
Janine… Oh Janine
— Kim Wilde lyric,
    Teases & Dares album,
    1984, apparently about
    a British biker girl


Logos means above all relation.”
— Simone Weil,
    Gateway to God,
    Glasgow, 1982

Gesang ist Dasein….
 Ein Hauch um nichts.
 Ein Wehn im Gott.
 Ein Wind
— Not Heidegger but Rilke:
Sonnets to Orpheus, I, 3

Geometry and Theology

PA lottery May 14, 1998:
S8  The group of all projectivities and correlations of PG(3,2).

The above isomorphism implies the geometry of the Mathieu group M24.

“The Leech lattice is a blown-up version of
— W. Feit

“We have strong evidence that the creator of the universe loves symmetry.”
— Freeman Dyson

“Mackey presents eight axioms from which he deduces the [quantum] theory.”
— M. Schechter

“Theology is about words; science is about things.
— Freeman Dyson, New York Review of Books, 5/28/98

What is “256” about?

Tape purchased 12/23/97:


      Gypsy Jazz

“In the middle of 1982 Janine there are pages in which Jock McLeish is fighting with drugs and alcohol, attempting to either die or come through and get free of his fantasies. In his delirium, he hears the voice of God, which enters in small print, pushing against the larger type of his ravings.  Something God says is repeated on the first and last pages of Unlikely Stories, Mostly, complete with illustration and the words ‘Scotland 1984’ beside it. God’s statement is ‘Work as if you were in the early days of a better nation.’  It is the inherent optimism in that statement that perhaps best captures the strength of Aladair Gray’s fiction, its straightforwardness and exuberance.”
— Toby Olson, “Eros in Glasgow,” in Book World, The Washington Post, December 16, 1984

 For another look at angels, see “Winging It,” by Christopher R. Miller, The New York Times Book Review Bookend page for Sunday, May 24, 1998. May 24 is the feast day of Sara (also known by the Hindu name Kali), patron saint of Gypsies.

For another, later (July 16, 1998) reply to Dyson, from a source better known than myself, see Why Religion Matters, by Huston Smith, Harper Collins, 2001, page 66.

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