Log24

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fleur de Derrida*

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:08 AM

The above news item seems to exemplify Baudelaire's (and Murdoch's)
notion of contingency —

"La modernité, c’est le transitoire, le fugitif, le contingent, la moitié de l’art, dont l’autre moitié est l’éternel et l’immuable."

— Baudelaire, "Le Peintre de la Vie Moderne," IV (1863)

"By 'modernity' I mean the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable."

— Baudelaire, "The Painter of Modern Life," IV (1863), translated by Jonathan Mayne (in 1964 Phaidon Press book of same title)

Thanks to the late Marshall Berman for pointing out this remark of Baudelaire.
(All That Is Solid Melts Into Air , Penguin edition of 1988, p. 133)

* For this post's title, see Language Game in this journal on 9/11,
   the morning of Berman's reported death.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Derrida at Villanova

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 8:00 PM

"As Derrida said at Villanova,
"We wait for something we would not like to wait for.
That is another name for death."

— Brian D. Ingraffia, "Is the Postmodern Post-Secular?,"
p. 50 in Postmodern Philosophy and Christian Thought ,
ed. by Merold Westphal, Indiana University Press, 1999, pp. 44-68

See also Derrida at Villanova in this journal.

The link to Ingraffia's remarks was suggested by
this evening's New York Times  obituaries—

http://www.log24.com/log/pix12/120114-NYTobits-642PM.jpg

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Seeing the Seing

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

The phrase "experimental metaphysics" appeared in Peter Woit's weblog on June 11.
Google reveals that . . .

" 'experimental metaphysics' is a term coined by Abner Shimony …."

Shimony reportedly died on August 8, 2015.  Also on that date —

Monday, March 25, 2019

Espacement

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , , — m759 @ 1:46 PM

(Continued from the previous post.)

In-Between "Spacing" and the "Chôra "
in Derrida: A Pre-Originary Medium?

By Louise Burchill

(Ch. 2 in Henk Oosterling & Ewa Plonowska Ziarek (Eds.),  Intermedialities: Philosophy, Arts, Politics , Lexington Books, October 14, 2010)

"The term 'spacing' ('espacement ') is absolutely central to Derrida's entire corpus, where it is indissociable from those of différance  (characterized, in the text from 1968 bearing this name, as '[at once] spacing [and] temporizing' 1), writing  (of which 'spacing' is said to be 'the fundamental property' 2) and deconstruction (with one of Derrida's last major texts, Le Toucher: Jean-Luc Nancy , specifying 'spacing ' to be 'the first word of any deconstruction' 3)."

1  Jacques Derrida, “La Différance,” in Marges – de la philosophie  (Paris: Minuit, 1972), p. 14. Henceforth cited as  D  .

2  Jacques Derrida, “Freud and the Scene of Writing,” trans. A. Bass, in Writing and  Difference  (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978), p. 217. Henceforth cited as FSW .

3  Jacques DerridaLe Toucher, Jean-Luc Nancy  (Paris: Galilée, 2000), p. 207.

. . . .

"… a particularly interesting point is made in this respect by the French philosopher, Michel Haar. After remarking that the force Derrida attributes to différance  consists simply of the series of its effects, and is, for this reason, 'an indefinite process of substitutions or permutations,' Haar specifies that, for this process to be something other than a simple 'actualisation' lacking any real power of effectivity, it would need “a soubassement porteur ' – let’s say a 'conducting underlay' or 'conducting medium' which would not, however, be an absolute base, nor an 'origin' or 'cause.' If then, as Haar concludes, différance  and spacing show themselves to belong to 'a pure Apollonism' 'haunted by the groundless ground,' which they lack and deprive themselves of,16 we can better understand both the threat posed by the 'figures' of space and the mother in the Timaeus  and, as a result, Derrida’s insistent attempts to disqualify them. So great, it would seem, is the menace to différance  that Derrida must, in a 'properly' apotropaic  gesture, ward off these 'figures' of an archaic, chthonic, spatial matrix in any and all ways possible…."

16  Michel Haar, “Le jeu de Nietzsche dans Derrida,” Revue philosophique de la France et de l’Etranger  2 (1990): 207-227.

. . . .

… "The conclusion to be drawn from Democritus' conception of rhuthmos , as well as from Plato's conception of the chôra , is not, therefore, as Derrida would have it, that a differential field understood as an originary site of inscription would 'produce' the spatiality of space but, on the contrary, that 'differentiation in general' depends upon a certain 'spatial milieu' – what Haar would name a 'groundless ground' – revealed as such to be an 'in-between' more 'originary' than the play of differences it in-forms. As such, this conclusion obviously extends beyond Derrida's conception of 'spacing,' encompassing contemporary philosophy's continual privileging of temporization in its elaboration of a pre-ontological 'opening' – or, shall we say, 'in-between.'

For permutations and a possible "groundless ground," see
the eightfold cube and group actions both on a set of eight
building blocks arranged in a cube (a "conducting base") and
on the set of seven natural interstices (espacements )  between
the blocks. Such group actions provide an elementary picture of
the isomorphism between the groups PSL(2,7) (acting on the
eight blocks) and GL(3,2) (acting on the seven interstices).

Espacements
 

For the Church of Synchronology

See also, from the reported publication date of the above book
Intermedialities , the Log24 post Synchronicity.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Espacement: Geometry of the Interstice in Literary Theory

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , , — m759 @ 3:28 AM

"You said something about the significance of spaces between
elements being repeated. Not only the element itself being repeated,
but the space between. I'm very interested in the space between.
That is where we come together." — Peter Eisenman, 1982

https://www.parrhesiajournal.org/
parrhesia03/parrhesia03_blackburne.pdf

Parrhesia  No. 3 • 2007 • 22–32

(Up) Against the (In) Between: Interstitial Spatiality
in Genet and Derrida

by Clare Blackburne

Blackburne — www.parrhesiajournal.org 24 —

"The excessive notion of espacement  as the resurgent spatiality of that which is supposedly ‘without space’ (most notably, writing), alerts us to the highly dynamic nature of the interstice – a movement whose discontinuous and ‘aberrant’ nature requires further analysis."

Blackburne — www.parrhesiajournal.org 25 —

"Espacement  also evokes the ambiguous figure of the interstice, and is related to the equally complex derridean notions of chora , différance , the trace and the supplement. Derrida’s reading of the Platonic chora  in Chora L Works  (a series of discussions with the architect Peter Eisenman) as something which defies the logics of non-contradiction and binarity, implies the internal heterogeneity and instability of all structures, neither ‘sensible’ nor ‘intelligible’ but a third genus which escapes conceptual capture.25 Crucially, chora , spacing, dissemination and différance  are highly dynamic concepts, involving hybridity, an ongoing ‘corruption’ of categories, and a ‘bastard reasoning.’26 Derrida identification of différance  in Margins of  Philosophy , as an ‘unappropriable excess’ that operates through spacing as ‘the becoming-space of time or the becoming-time of space,’27 chimes with his description of chora  as an ‘unidentifiable excess’ that is ‘the spacing which is the condition for everything to take place,’ opening up the interval as the plurivocity of writing in defiance of ‘origin’ and ‘essence.’28  In this unfolding of différance , spacing  ‘insinuates  into  presence an  interval,’29 again alerting us to the crucial role of the interstice in deconstruction, and, as Derrida observes  in Positions ,  its  impact  as  ‘a movement,  a  displacement  that  indicates  an  irreducible alterity’: ‘Spacing is the impossibility for an identity to be closed on itself, on the inside of its proper interiority, or on its coincidence with itself. The irreducibility of spacing is the irreducibility of the other.’30"

25. Quoted in Jeffrey Kipnis and Thomas Leeser, eds., 
Chora L Works. Jacques Derrida and Peter Eisenman  
(New York: The Monacelli Press, 1997), 15.

26. Ibid, 25.

27. DerridaMargins of Philosophy.
(Brighton: The Harvester Press, 1982), 6 and 13.

28. DerridaChora L Works , 19 and 10.

29. Ibid, 203.

30. Derrida, Positions , 94.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Necessary Possibility*

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 10:00 AM

"Without the possibility that an origin can be lost, forgotten, or
alienated into what springs forth from it, an origin could not be
an origin. The possibility of inscription is thus a necessary possibility,
one that must always be possible."

— Rodolphe Gasché, The Tain of the Mirror ,
     Harvard University Press, 1986

IMAGE- Harvard University Press, 1986 - A page on Derrida's 'inscription'

An inscription from 2010 —

An inscription from 1984 —

American Mathematical Monthly, June-July 1984, p. 382

MISCELLANEA, 129

Triangles are square

"Every triangle consists of  n congruent copies of itself"
is true if and only if  n is a square. (The proof is trivial.) 
— Steven H. Cullinane

* See also other Log24 posts mentioning this phrase.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Trends

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 2:04 AM

"The philosopher Jerry Fodor was important for the same reason
you’ve probably never heard of him: he was unimpressed,
to put it politely, by the intellectual trends of the day."

—  Stephen Metcalf in The New Yorker , Dec. 12, 2017

See also "The French Invasion," a Dec. 11 Quarterly Conversation
essay about Derrida in Baltimore in 1966, and the Dec. 10 posts
in this  journal tagged Interlacing Derrida. (The deplorable Derrida
trend is apparently still alive in Buffalo.)

According to Metcalf, Fodor's "occasional review-essays in the L.R.B. 
were masterpieces of a plainspoken and withering sarcasm. To Steven
Pinker’s suggestion that we read fiction because ' it supplies us with a
mental catalogue of the fatal conundrums we might face someday,' for
instance, Fodor replied, ' What if it turns out that, having just used the ring
that I got by kidnapping a dwarf to pay off the giants who built me my
new castle, I should discover that it is the very ring that I need in order to
continue to be immortal and rule the world? ' "

In the Fodor-Pinker dispute, my sympathies are with Pinker.

Related material — Google Sutra (the previous Log24 post) and earlier posts
found in a Log24 search for Ring + Bear + Jung —

Four Colours and Waiting for Logos.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Geometry

Google search result for Plato + Statesman + interlacing + interweaving

See also Symplectic in this journal.

From Gotay and Isenberg, “The Symplectization of Science,”
Gazette des Mathématiciens  54, 59-79 (1992):

“… what is the origin of the unusual name ‘symplectic’? ….
Its mathematical usage is due to Hermann Weyl who,
in an effort to avoid a certain semantic confusion, renamed
the then obscure ‘line complex group’ the ‘symplectic group.’
… the adjective ‘symplectic’ means ‘plaited together’ or ‘woven.’
This is wonderfully apt….”

IMAGE- A symplectic structure -- i.e. a structure that is symplectic (meaning plaited or woven)

The above symplectic  figure appears in remarks on
the diamond-theorem correlation in the webpage
Rosenhain and Göpel Tetrads in PG(3,2). See also
related remarks on the notion of  linear  (or line ) complex
in the finite projective space PG(3,2) —

Anticommuting Dirac matrices as spreads of projective lines

Ron Shaw on the 15 lines of the classical generalized quadrangle W(2), a general linear complex in PG(3,2)

Numbers

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:10 PM

See also The Derrida Reader: Writing Performances, edited by
Julian Wolfreys (U. of Nebraska Press, 1998), pages 112-113,
discussed here in the previous two posts, and this  journal on
1/12-1/13. Related material: Polytropos .

Algebra

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:55 PM

Derrida quote from the previous post

See also Black + Algebra + Metaphor.

Interlacing, Interweaving

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:00 PM

The above title should be sung to the following tune

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

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Last Word

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 6:00 AM

Remarks suggested by the previous post

From Jeremy Biles, "Introduction: The Sacred Monster," in
Ecce Monstrum: Georges Bataille and the Sacrifice of Form

(Fordham University Press, 2007, page 3) —

Bataille’s insistent conjunction of the monstrous and the sacred is the subject of this book. Regarded by many as one of the most important thinkers of our time, and acknowledged as an important influence by such intellectuals as Michel Foucault, Julia Kristeva, Maurice Blanchot, and Jacques Derrida, Bataille produced a corpus of wide-ranging writings bearing the monstrous marks of the affective and intellectual contradictions he also sought to produce in his readers. In the following chapters, I will specify some of the ways in which Bataille evokes monstrosity to elicit in himself and his audience an experience of simultaneous anguish and joy—an experience that he calls sacred. In particular, Bataille is fascinated with the ‘‘left-hand’’ sacred. In contradistinction to its lucent and form-conferring ‘‘right-hand’’ counterpart, the left-hand sacred is obscure and formless—not transcendent, pure, and beneficent, but dangerous, filthy, and morbid. This sinister, deadly aspect of the sacred is at once embodied in, and communicated by, the monster. As we will see, it is in beholding the monster that one might experience the combination of ecstasy and horror that characterizes Bataille ’s notion of the sacred.

The dual etymology of ‘‘monster’’ reveals that aspect of the sacred that enticed Bataille. According to one vein of etymological study, the Latin monstrum  derives from monstrare  (to show or display). The monster is that which appears before our eyes as a sign of sorts; it is a demonstration. But another tradition emphasizes a more ominous point. Deriving from monere  (to warn), the monster is a divine omen, a portent; it heralds something that yet remains unexpected, unforeseeable—as a sudden reversal of fortune. In the writings of Bataille, the monster functions as a monstrance, putting on display the sinister aspect of the sacred that Bataille sees as the key to a ‘‘sovereign’’ existence. But in doing so the monster presents us with a portent of something that we cannot precisely foresee, but something that, Bataille claims, can be paradoxically experienced in moments of simultaneous anguish and ecstasy: death.

See as well

(Order of news items transposed for aesthetic effect.)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Singularity

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

Log24 ten years ago today

"Here, in a strategy of simple erasure,
 the Subject masks his singularity . . . ."

— Jacques Derrida

See also the previous post and . . .

— Detail from the ending of Philip Pullman's new
     graphic novel "Mystery of the Ghost Ship"

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

For Westworld’s Man in Black

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

From University of Chicago Press in 1984:

'Erring,' by Mark C. Taylor, U. of Chicago Press, 1984

"Drawing on Hegel, Nietzsche, Derrida,
and others, Mark Taylor extends—and
goes well beyond—pioneering efforts. . . . "
—G. Douglas Atkins, 
Philosophy and Literature

Update at noon on May 16 —

"Follow the Blood Arroyo to the place
where the snake lays its eggs."

— Westworld, Season 1, Episode 2,
air date October 9, 2016

This suggests a review of Derrida + Serpent 
in this journal.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Middle March:

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:02 PM

The Key to All Mythologies  in a Cartoon Graveyard

This is a sequel to yesterday's post Review, which
suggested a look at Lévi-Strauss's The Raw and The Cooked  
in Derrida's “Structure, Sign, and Play," and then a look at the

Financial Times  of February 26, 2010

"The metaphor for metamorphosis no keys unlock."

Steven H. Cullinane, November 7, 1986

Friday, February 3, 2017

Hard Kernel

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:13 AM

Kamuf, 'Remains to be Seen,' Los Angeles Review of Books

Hermeneutics —

The above quote occurs in a search called up by clicking on the image
of Amy Adams in the noon post on Groundhog Day (yesterday).

For a "universal message" see the final post of Groundhog Day.
For an "unintelligible secret," see today's previous post.

See also kernel  in this journal.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Putting the Y in Vanity

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

Amy Adams on the cover of the 
Vanity Fair  Hollywood issue, 2017

Line spoken to Adams's
character in Arrival

You approach language
like a mathematician.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Nine is a Vine

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:50 AM

Backstory:  That phrase in this journal.

““The serpent’s eyes shine
As he wraps around the vine….”
– Don Henley

With Derrida, as usual, playing the role of
the serpent, see a philosophical meditation from
October 9, 2014, by a perceptive and thoughtful Eve
that includes the following passage:

“But, before this and first of all, there is
the resistance posed by the work itself,
the hard kernel formed when the intelligibility
of a universal ‘message’ is joined to the
unintelligible secret of a singularity.”

See as well the word “kernel” here.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Seing

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

From a French dictionary

A. − HIST. Signe de croix, marque ou signature apposé(e)
au bas d'une lettre, d'un document, par celui qui
veut attester la validité, l'authenticité de son contenu.
 

From Glas , by Jacques Derrida

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

For Students of the Forked Tongue

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 8:42 PM

IMAGE- Daily Princetonian- U. acquires personal library of philosopher Jacques Derrida

See also "Derrida + Serpent" in this journal.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Stoicheia*

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:02 PM

See also Derrida + Serpent in this journal.

* See Stoicheia (Elements) in this journal.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Forkèd Tongue

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 5:20 PM

This post was suggested by today's previous posts, Broom Bridge Day
and Taking the Fork, as well as by Alyssa is  Wonderland.

For the meaning of the title, see Serpent + Derrida and Symbology.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Core Curriculum Vocabulary:

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 5:01 PM

Separatrix  and  Mulligan

An image from this journal on September 16, 2013:

Carey Mulligan as a separatrix

IMAGE- Kipnis on Derrida's 'separatrix'

Mulligan:

“A mulligan, in a game, happens when a player gets a second chance
to perform a certain move or action.” — Wikipedia

New York Times  obituary for Richard Mellon Scaife:

“He had the caricatured look of a jovial billionaire promoting ‘family values’
in America: a real-life Citizen Kane with red cheeks, white hair, blue eyes and
a wide smile for the cameras. Friends called him intuitive but not intellectual.
He told Vanity Fair  his favorite TV show was ‘The Simpsons,’ and his favorite
book was John O’Hara’s  Appointment in Samarra , about a rich young
Pennsylvanian bent on self-destruction.” — Robert D. McFadden

Click image below for some nuclear family values in memory of Scaife:

See also the previous post,
Core Curriculum.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

When You Care Enough…

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 3:33 AM

“… near-death experiences have all the
hallmarks of mystical experience…”

— “Bolt from the Blue,” by Oliver Sacks
(See “Annals of Consciousness,” June 20, 2014)

The late Charles Barsotti once “worked for Kansas City-based
Hallmark Cards,” according to an obituary.

IMAGE- Google search for 'Lieven + Bloomsday'

See also Mad Day.

Some related deconstructive criticism:

IMAGE- Kipnis on Derrida's 'separatrix'

IMAGE- Harvard University Press, 1986 - A page on Derrida's 'inscription'

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Lost in Translation

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 1:45 PM

IMAGE- Original French of text from 'The Shining of May 29'

Translation by Barbara Johnson:

"The minimum number of rows— lines or columns—
that contain all the zeros in a matrix is equal to
the maximum number of zeros
located in any individual line or column ."

In the original:

"situés sur des lignes ou des colonnes distinctes "

Update of 11:30 PM ET May 29, 2014:

Derrida in 1972 was quoting Philippe Sollers, Nombres
(Paris: Éditions du Seuil , 1968).  Sollers in turn was
perhaps quoting A. Kaufmann, Méthodes et Modèles
de la Recherche Opérationnelle , Paris, Dunod , 1964,
L'Économie d'Entreprise 10 , vol. 2, page 305:

"Le nombre minimal de rangées
(lignes et/ou colonnes) contenant
tous les zéros d'une matrice, est égal
au nombre maximal de zéros
situés 
sur des lignes et des colonnes distinctes."

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Bullshit Studies

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:12 PM

The essay excerpted in last night's post on structuralism
is of value as part of a sustained attack by the late
Robert de Marrais on the damned nonsense of the late
French literary theorist Jacques Derrida

Catastrophes, Kaleidoscopes, String Quartets:
Deploying the Glass Bead Game

Part I:  Ministrations Concerning Silliness, or:
Is “Interdisciplinary Thought” an Oxymoron?

Part II:  Canonical Collage-oscopes, or:
Claude in Jacques’ Trap?  Not What It Sounds Like!

Part III:  Grooving on the Sly with Klein Groups

Part IV:  Claude’s Kaleidoscope . . . and Carl’s

Part V:  Spelling the Tree, from Aleph to Tav
(While  Not Forgetting to Shin)

The response of de Marrais to Derrida's oeuvre  nicely
exemplifies the maxim of Norman Mailer that

"At times, bullshit can only be countered
with superior bullshit."

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Les Mots

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — m759 @ 9:26 AM

Two links from the above post

Gamalog and Separatrix.

The latter word has a technical meaning in mathematics.
It also has a non-technical meaning, as explained below.

The comparison of Derrida to Holmes is of course ridiculous
(like the rest of the Kipnis essay). For Moriarty, see (for instance)
"We've lost the plot!" (Feb. 27, 2008).

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Lexicon

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 10:00 PM

(Continued)

An antidote to Derrida.

Language Game

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:29 AM

In which Plato continues to thank the Academy.

From the Academy, a lead balloon for 9/11 —
continued from March First, 2002.

A search today for the name Eisenman
(see previous post) yields the following :

"We need a cameo from Plato, a safecracker,
a wrinkle or two to be ironed out, some ice,
some diamonds, and, above all, laughter
for this irony of ironies."

Jeffrey Kipnis, "Twisting the Separatrix,"
Assemblage  No. 14, April 1991, MIT Press

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Broken Tablet

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 3:33 AM

This post was suggested by a search for the
Derridean phrase "necessary possibility"* that
led to web pages on a conference at Harvard
on Friday and Saturday, March 26**-27, 2010,
on Derrida and Religion .

The conference featured a talk titled
"The Poetics of the Broken Tablet."

I prefer the poetics of projective geometry.

An illustration— The restoration of the full
15-point "large" Desargues configuration in
place of the diminished 10-point Desargues
configuration that is usually discussed.

IMAGE- The proof of the converse of Desargues' theorem involves a third triangle.

Click on the image for further details.

* See a discussion of this phrase in
  the context of Brazilian religion.

** See also my own philosophical reflections
   on Friday, March 26, 2010:
   "You Can't Make This Stuff Up." 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Nutshell continued

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 8:00 AM

For the new Jesuit pope (see previous post)

Now among Log24 posts tagged "Khora" is one
from July 15, 2010, dealing with a book called
Deconstruction in a Nutshell: A Conversation with
Jacques Derrida 
, edited and with a commentary by
John D. Caputo (Fordham University Press, 1997).

Related material:

"Khora  is the felix culpa  of a passion for the impossible,
the happy fault of a poetics of the possible, the heartless
heart of an ethical and religious eschatology.
Khora  is the devil that justice demands we give his due."

— John D. Caputo, conclusion of "Abyssus Abyssum Invocat :
A Response to Kearney." Caputo's remarks followed
Richard Kearney's "Khora  or God?," pp. 107-122 in
A Passion for the Impossible: John D. Caputo in Focus ,
edited by Mark Dooley, State University of New York Press,
Albany, 2003. See "Abyssus " on pp. 123-127.

See also other uses here of the phrase "In a Nutshell."

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Gospel According to Cartier

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

Yesterday's 11 AM post Mad Day concluded
with a link to a 2001 American Mathematical Society
article by Pierre Cartier that sums up the religion and
politics of many mathematicians

"Here ends the infancy narrative of the gospel…."

"… while Simone Weil's Catholicism was violently
anti-Semitic (in 1942!), Grothendieck's Buddhism
bears a strong resemblance to the practices of
his Hasidic ancestors."

See also Simone Weil in this journal.

Note esp. a post of April 6, 2004 that provides
a different way of viewing Derrida's notion of
inscription .

Friday, February 1, 2013

Get Quotes

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 4:01 PM

For Tony Kushner fans:

For logic fans:

IMAGE- NY Times market quotes, American Express Gold Card ad, Kevin Spacey in 'House of Cards' ad

John Searle on Derrida:

On necessity, possibility, and 'necessary possibility'

In the box-diamond notation, the axiom Searle quotes is

.

"The euclidean property guarantees the truth of this." — Wikipedia

Linking to Euclid

Clicking on "euclidean" above yields another Wikipedia article

"In mathematics, Euclidean relations are a class of binary relations that satisfy a weakened form of transitivity that formalizes Euclid's 'Common Notion 1' in The Elements : things which equal the same thing also equal one another."

Verification: See, for instance, slides on modal logic at Carnegie Mellon University and modal logic at plato.stanford.edu.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Necessary Possibility

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:05 PM

The inscription  link in the previous post suggests
a review of the rather paradoxical concept of 
"necessary possibility."

See a deconstructionist view , a scholarly view,
and a graphic view.

Scholarship in 1961…

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

Before Derrida's writings on Plato and on inscription

A remark by the late William Harris:

"Scholarship has many dark ages, and they do not all fall
in the safe confines of remote antiquity."

For more about Harris, see the previous post.

Discussing an approach to solving a geometrical problem 
from section 86e of the Meno , Harris wrote that

"… this is a very important element of method and purpose,
one which must be taken with great seriousness and respect.
In fact it is as good an example of the master describing for us
his method as Plato ever gives us. Tricked by the appearance
of brevity and unwilling to follow through Plato's thought on
the road to Euclid, we have garbled or passed over a unique
piece of philosophical information."

Harris, though not a geometer, was an admirable man.
His remark on the Meno  method is itself worthy of respect.

In memory of Harris, Plato, and pre-Derrida scholarship, here
are some pages from 1961 on the problem Harris discussed.

A pair of figures from the 1961 pages indicates how one view of the
section 86e problem (at right below) resembles the better-known 
demonstration earlier in the Meno  of how to construct
a square of area 2 —

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Khora as Synchronicity

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 11:01 AM

A search for khora  + tao  yields a paper on Derrida

http://www.log24.com/log/pix12/120117-IanEdwards-OnKhora.gif

http://www.log24.com/log/pix12/120117-IanEdwards.jpg

A check of the above date— Nov. 18, 2010— yields…

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Frontiers of Speculation

 m759 @ 8:02 AM

Peter Woit has a post on Scientific American 's new Garrett Lisi article, "A Geometric Theory of Everything."

The Scientific American  subtitle is "Deep down, the particles and forces of the universe are a manifestation of exquisite geometry."

See also Rhetoric (Nov. 4, 2010) and Exquisite Geometries (May 19, 2009).

Related material on the temptation of physics
for a pure mathematician—

This morning's post on khora  and Cardinal Manning, and,
from Hawking's birthday this year, Big Apple.

Within this  post, by leading us to the apple,
Derrida as usual plays the role of Serpent.

Manning and Khora

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:26 AM

A weblog post from Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012—

"Today is the 120th anniversary of Cardinal Henry Edward Manning's death."

A Reluctant Sinner  (Thanks to Andrew Cusack for the link.)

If Manning is a saint, then Saturday was his feast day.

Some background— Manning in this journal.

See also Saturday's Derrida at Villanova. The link there to
previous posts on that topic leads to a post on Derrida's promotion
of his neologism différance as a version of Plato's khôra.

I prefer Manning's discussion of a closely related concept,
the scholastic philosophers' materia prima .

See Hugh R. King's 1956 paper sneering at the scholastics'
concept, and Heisenberg's much better-informed remarks
on the related concept of potentia

IMAGE- Excerpt from 'The Metaphysical Thought of Thomas Aquinas' by John F. Wippel

For a related fictional account of a religious quest for "possibilities"
and "excluded middles" between "zeroes and ones," see
Ingraffia on The Crying of Lot 49 .

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Entertainment Break

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:00 AM

http://www.log24.com/log/pix12/120115-ViperRoom.jpg

Related material– Saturday night's Derrida at Villanova and Villanueva.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Thing Itself

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 11:29 AM

Suggested by an Oct. 18 piece in the Book Bench section
of the online New Yorker  magazine—

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11C/111020-Derrida.GIF

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11C/111020-Topia122.GIF

Related material suggested by the "Shouts and Murmurs" piece
in The New Yorker , issue dated Oct. 24, 2011—

"a series of e-mails from a preschool teacher planning to celebrate
the Day of the Dead instead of Halloween…"

A search for Coxeter + Graveyard in this journal yields…

Coxeter exhuming Geometry

Here the tombstone says "GEOMETRY… 600 BC — 1900 AD… R.I.P."

A related search for Plato + Tombstone yields an image from July 6, 2007…

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/061019-Tombstones.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Here Plato's poems to Aster suggested
the "Star and Diamond" tombstone.

The eight-rayed star is an ancient symbol of Venus
and the diamond is from Plato's Meno .

The star and diamond are combined in a figure from
12 AM on September 6th, 2011—

The Diamond Star

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11B/110905-StellaOctangulaView.jpg

See Configurations and Squares.

That webpage explains how Coxeter
united the diamond and the star.

Those who prefer narrative to mathematics may consult
a definition of the Spanish word lucero  from March 28, 2003.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Witch of And/Or

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

AND: Logical conjunction, symbolized as… 

OR:    Logical disjunction, symbolized as…  

AND/OR: Logical confusion, symbolized as…  IMAGE- AND and OR symbols combined as Lacanian AND/OR lozenge
according to a woman Lacanian analyst in this journal.

See also another female disciple of Lacan
writing as co-author with a philosophy professor
in Saturday's online New York Times 's "The Stone"—

"Let Be: An Answer to Hamlet’s Question."

Perhaps they thought the question was…

 

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11B/110711-ANDOR.jpg

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11B/110711-Wikipedia_Portrait_of_Simon_Critchley.jpg

Wikipedia portrait of New School
philosopher Simon Critchley

"To be and/or not to be?"

For a more philosophically respectable approach to
the same shape, see Sunday morning's Wittgenstein's Diamond.

"We're gonna need more holy water." —Hollywood saying

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Dinner

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 2:22 PM

From "Sunday Dinner" in this journal—

"'If Jesus were to visit us, it would have been
the Sunday dinner he would have insisted on
being a part of, not the worship service at the church.'"

Judith Shulevitz at The New York Times
    on Sunday, July 18, 2010

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060410-HotelAdlon2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Some table topics—

Today's midday New York Lottery numbers were 027 and 7002.

The former suggests a Galois cube, the latter a course syllabus—

CSC 7002
Graduate Computer Security (Spring 2011)
University of Colorado at Denver
Department of Computer Science

An item from that syllabus:

Six 22 February 2011   DES History of DES; Encryption process; Decryption; Expander function; S-boxes and their output; Key; the function f  that takes the modified key and part of the text as input; mulitple Rounds of DES; Present-day lack of Security in DES, which led to the new Encryption Standard, namely AES. Warmup for AES: the mathematics of Fields: Galois Fields, particularly the one of order 256 and its relation to the irreducible polynomial x^8 + x^4 + x^3 + x + 1 with coefficients from the field Z_2.

Related material: A novel, PopCo , was required reading for the course.

Discuss a different novel by the same author—

The End of Mr. Y .

Discuss the author herself, Scarlett Thomas.

Background for the discussion—

Derrida in this journal versus Charles Williams in this journal.

Related topics from the above syllabus date—

Metaphor and Gestell and Quadrat.

Some context— Midsummer Eve's Dream.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Brightness at Noon, continued

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

"One wild rhapsody a fake for another."

– Wallace Stevens, "Arrival at the Waldorf," in Parts of a World  (1942)

"Camelot is an illusion.

That doesn't matter, according to Catherine.
Camelot is an artificial construction, a public perception.
The things that matter are closer, deeper, self-generated, unkillable.
You've got to grow up to discover what those things are."

— Dan Zak, Washington Post  movie review on Feb. 27, 2009. See also this journal on that date.

See as well a note on symmetry from Christmas Eve, 1981, and Verbum in this journal.

Some philosophical background— Derrida in the Garden.

Some historical background— A Very Private Woman  and Noland.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Brightness at Noon, continued

Filed under: General,Geometry — 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.

Angels in the Architecture

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 3:12 AM

"Things fall apart;
the centre cannot hold
"

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10A/100715-AugustineCenter.jpg

The above building is home to the Derridean leftists
of the Villanova philosophy department.

center loosens,
forms again elsewhere

"The most obvious problem with Derrida's argument in The Gift of Death is his misconception of Christianity. In his description of Christian mystery, the crucified figure of Jesus is strikingly absent, having been replaced by a mysterious 'infinite other.' In this respect, Derrida's understanding of Christianity is essentially gnostic; the humanity of Jesus is displaced by gnostic mystery. Although Derrida claims to describe historical Christianity, in fact, his argument is based on a serious distortion of Christian practice and theology. Although the title might seem an obvious reference to Christ's atoning death, Derrida's book can only be characterized as an overt and unacknowledged displacement of the Crucifixion and its central place in Christian worship."

 

— Peter Goldman, now at Westminster College in Salt Lake City

See also Highway 1 Revisited (August 1, 2006).

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy Bastille Day…

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:00 AM

To the leftist philosophers of Villanova

From "Make a Différance"
(Women's History Month, 2005)—

Frida Saal's 

Lacan The image 
“http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050322-Diamond.gif” cannot be displayed,
 because it contains errors. Derrida:

"Our proposal includes the lozenge (diamond) in between the names, because in the relationship / non-relationship that is established among them, a tension is created that implies simultaneously a union and a disjunction, in the perspective of a theoretical encounter that is at the same time necessary and impossible. That is the meaning of the lozenge that joins and separates the two proper names….  What prevails between both of them is the différance, the Derridean signifier that will become one of the main issues in this presentation."

Football-mandorla (vesica piscis) with link to 'Heaven Can 
Wait'

“He pointed at the football
  on his desk. ‘There it is.’”
Glory Road
    

Quodlibet* 

Compare and contrast
the diamond in the football
with the jewel in the lotus.

* "A scholastic argumentation upon a subject chosen at will, but almost always theological. These are generally the most elaborate and subtle of the works of the scholastic doctors." —Century Dictionary

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Quest for the Lost Origin…

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:12 PM

Project Management at Villanova

Image-- NY Times review of 'Sorcerer's Apprentice' with ad for Project Management Institute program at Villanova University

Yesterday's noon post, "Lying Forth," linked to a passage by Walter A. Brogan, Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University.

A related Brogan remark for Harrison Ford's birthday—

"The last few pages of the text 'Différance' [an essay by Derrida] are a refutation of the nostalgia and hope involved in Heidegger's ontology, a rejection of the quest for the lost origin and final word."

Walter A. Brogan, "The Original Difference," pp. 31-40 in Derrida and Différance, ed. by David C. Wood and Robert Bernasconi (Northwestern University Press, 1988), p. 32

See, too, "Make a Différance."

Monday, March 15, 2010

But Seriously…

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 4:00 PM

Kugelbild

"You are retracing your steps."
— Jacques Derrida

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10/100315-SphereAngels.jpg

www.yourmuseumstore.com

See also today's update (scroll down)
to Half-Circle Patterns as well as
Angels and Demons and Symbology.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

He Ain’t Heavy

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Serious Men, or
Alarm Bells for the Goys
(A Sequel to Household Name)

The Coen brothers in Toronto, 2009

The Ratzinger brothers in Germany, Sept. 11, 2006

(Also on 11 Sept 2006– Sontag's Sermon)

German Catholic sex abuse scandals draw link to Pope

Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:03pm IST

By Tom Heneghan, Reuters Religion Editor

PARIS (Reuters)–

"… The alarm bells are tolling all the more urgently in Rome, where tenuous links run from Bavarian boarding schools all the way to the German-born Pope Benedict. Critics are asking what he knew and did then and what he will do now.

His brother, Rev. Georg Ratzinger, has admitted to slapping boys in his Regensburg choir repeatedly."

For some background on the brother's admission, see today's Belfast Telegraph.

Related material: "Beware the Jabberwock!" — Joshua

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10/100310-AliceAndJoshua2.jpg

Alice and Joshua in Central Park

"You are retracing your steps."
Jacques Derrida

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Deconstructing Alice

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

Alyssa is  Wonderland

Manohla Dargis in The New York Times  yesterday

"Of course the character of Carroll’s original Alice is evident in each outrageous creation she dreams up in 'Wonderland' and in the sequel, 'Through the Looking-Glass,' which means that she’s a straight man to her own imagination. (She is  Wonderland.)"

Alyssa Milano as a child, with fork

From Inside the White Cube

"The sacramental nature of the space becomes clear, and so does one of the great projective laws of modernism: as modernism gets older, context becomes content. In a peculiar reversal, the object introduced into the gallery 'frames' the gallery and its laws."

From Yogi Berra–

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

Related material:  For Baron Samedi and…

Symbology
Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks) and a corner of Solomon's Cube
Jacques Derrida on the Looking-Glass garden, 'The Time before First,' and Solomon's seal

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mysteries of Faith

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

From today's NY Times

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10/100216-NYTobits.jpg

Obituaries for mystery authors
Ralph McInerny and Dick Francis

From the date (Jan. 29) of McInerny's death–

"…although a work of art 'is formed around something missing,' this 'void is its vanishing point, not its essence.'"

Harvard University Press on Persons and Things (Walpurgisnacht, 2008), by Barbara Johnson

From the date (Feb. 14) of Francis's death–

2x2x2 cube

The EIghtfold Cube

The "something missing" in the above figure is an eighth cube, hidden behind the others pictured.

This eighth cube is not, as Johnson would have it, a void and "vanishing point," but is instead the "still point" of T.S. Eliot. (See the epigraph to the chapter on automorphism groups in Parallelisms of Complete Designs, by Peter J. Cameron. See also related material in this journal.) The automorphism group here is of course the order-168 simple group of Felix Christian Klein.

For a connection to horses, see
a March 31, 2004, post
commemorating the birth of Descartes
  and the death of Coxeter–

Putting Descartes Before Dehors

     Binary coordinates for a 4x2 array  Chess knight formed by a Singer 7-cycle

For a more Protestant meditation,
see The Cross of Descartes

Descartes

Descartes's Cross

"I've been the front end of a horse
and the rear end. The front end is better."
— Old vaudeville joke

For further details, click on
the image below–

Quine and Derrida at Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Symbology

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 9:00 PM

From this journal:

Friday December 5, 2008

m759 @ 1:06 PM
 
Mirror-Play of
the Fourfold

For an excellent commentary
 on this concept of Heidegger,

View selected pages
from the book

Dionysus Reborn:

Play and the Aesthetic Dimension
in Modern Philosophical and
Scientific Discourse

(Mihai I. Spariosu,
Cornell U. Press, 1989)

Related material:
the logo for a
web page

Logo for 'Elements of Finite Geometry'

– and Theme and Variations.

Transition to the
Garden of Forking Paths–

(See For Baron Samedi)–

The Found Symbol
Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks) and a corner of Solomon's Cube

and Dissemination, by Jacques Derrida,
translated by Barbara Johnson,
London, Athlone Press, 1981–

Pages 354-355
On the mirror-play of the fourfold

Pages 356-357
Shaking up a whole culture

Pages 358-359
Cornerstone and crossroads

Pages 360-361
A deep impression embedded in stone

Pages 362-363
A certain Y, a certain V

Pages 364-365
The world is Zeus's play

Page 366
It was necessary to begin again

 

Saturday, January 23, 2010

For Baron Samedi

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

Yesterday's Times —

NY Times banner with Eve and apple

Today's Times —

NY Times ad for Goldstein's '36 Arguments'-- 'Deconstruct the Arguments'

   Annals of Deconstruction —

Click on image for background.

New Yorker cover on Haiti featuring Baron Samedi

Related material
   for Baron Samedi

The Found Symbol
Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks) and a corner of Solomon's Cube
Jacques Derrida on the Looking-Glass garden, 'The Time before First,' and Solomon's seal

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wednesday September 16, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 11:07 AM
The Found Symbol
Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks) and a corner of Solomon's Cube
Jacques Derrida on the Looking-Glass garden, 'The Time before First,' and Solomon's seal

Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday September 7, 2009

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

Magic Boxes

"Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas– only I don't exactly know what they are!…. Let's have a look at the garden first!"

— A passage from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass. The "garden" part– but not the "ideas" part– was quoted by Jacques Derrida in Dissemination in the epigraph to Chapter 7, "The Time before First."

Commentary
 on the passage:

Part I    "The Magic Box,"  shown on Turner Classic Movies earlier tonight

Part II: "Mimsy Were the Borogoves," a classic science fiction story:

"… he lifted a square, transparent crystal block, small enough to cup in his palm– much too small to contain the maze of apparatus within it. In a moment Scott had solved that problem. The crystal was a sort of magnifying glass, vastly enlarging the things inside the block. Strange things they were, too. Miniature people, for example– They moved. Like clockwork automatons, though much more smoothly. It was rather like watching a play."

Part III:  A Crystal Block

Cube, 4x4x4

Four coloring pencils, of four different colors

Image of pencils is by
Diane Robertson Design.

Related material:
"A Four-Color Theorem."

Part IV:

David Carradine displays a yellow book-- the Princeton I Ching.

"Click on the Yellow Book."

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday June 21, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM
Abstraction

From Mitchell Stephens, author of a website mentioned here yesterday:

“This paper is designed to be a conversation….

The ideas are organized loosely around a single theme: the Roman leader Pompey’s forced entry into the most sacred place of the Jewish temple. At issue are the origins and prevalence of doubt, even at the heart of religion….

The paper will be initially presented, with comments and additions, to the working group on ‘Secularism, Religious Authority, and the Mediation of Knowledge’ of the Center for Religion and Media at New York University on December 8, 2006.”

From the paper itself:

“All Pompey’s intrusion into the Holy of Holies will leave behind is one sentence in Tacitus; still, it is not hard to imagine it as a media show. As he enters this hidden room in the Temple of those weird, unGreek, Asian, tribal Jews, this cosmopolitan, sophisticated Roman is not just the insensitive anthropologist. He wants, to continue our imagining, to display the lack of contents of the Holy of Holies in a museum, to take them, like the treasures of Tutankhamen’s tomb, on tour. This all-powerful Roman wields klieg lights; he brings the press. He exposes. His expedition is something of an exposé. The whole scene feels as if it might have been filmed: like Dorothy’s peek behind the curtain at the diminutive Wizard of Oz. It feels as if it might have been televised: like Geraldo Rivera’s opening of Al Capone’s ‘secret vault.’ Pompey has in common with all journalists a desire to shove a microphone in God’s face. He wants to rant about what he has learned on his blog.

In his desecration of the Holy of Holies, Pompey has with him, in other words, what Jacques Derrida, in his essay ‘Faith and Knowledge,’ calls the ‘powers of abstraction’: ‘deracination, delocalization, disincarnation, formalization, universalizing schematization, objectification, telecommunication etc.'”

Related material:

Log24 entries of
 June 9-11, 2009.

Et cetera, et cetera.

Film posters-- 'Solomon and Sheba,' 'Strange Bedfellows'

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thursday February 26, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 AM
Midnight

“Dead time lasts for one hour– from half an hour before midnight to half an hour after midnight. The half-hour before midnight is for doin’ good. The half-hour after midnight is for doin’ evil….”

— Glenna Whitley, “Voodoo Justice

Cover of 'Theory and the Common from Marx to Badiou,' by Patrick McGee (2009)

From the Curriculum Vitae
of Patrick McGee:

Theory and the Common
 from Marx to Badiou

    (Palgrave 2009, scheduled for
   March 31 publication)”

Thanks for the warning.

From the publisher:

Using a method that combines analysis, memoir, and polemic, McGee writes experimentally about a series of thinkers who ruptured linguistic and social hierarchies, from Marx, to Gramsci, to Badiou.

About the Author

Patrick McGee is McElveen Professor of English at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. 

Table of Contents

Related Categories

Found in: Cultural Theory, Literary Theory & Criticism, Ethics

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday January 29, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:23 AM
Dagger Definitions

From 'Ulysses,' 1922 first edition, page 178-- 'dagger definitions'
 
Midrash by a post-bac:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

“Horseness is
the whatness of allhorse”:
Thingism vs. Thisness

By Amy Peterson

Jacques Derrida once asked the surly and self-revealing question, “Why is it the philosopher who is expected to be easier and not some scientist who is even more inaccessible?” As with philosophers generally, literary critics come with their own inaccessible argot, some terms of which are useful, but most of which are not and only add more loops to literary criticism’s spiraling abstraction. Take for example, James Wood’s neologism thisness (h/t: 3 Quarks Daily):

The project of modernity in Wood’s eyes is largely in revealing the contour and shape, the specific ‘feel’ of that essential mystery. He even borrows a concept from the medieval philosopher Duns Scotus, haecceitas or ‘thisness,’ to explain what he means: ‘By thisness, I mean any detail that draws abstraction toward itself and seems to kill that abstraction with a puff of palpability, any detail that centers our attention with its concretion.’ (my emphasis)

Wood is clearly taking his cue here from the new trend in literary criticism of referring to realism by its etymological meaning, thingism. Where thingism is meant to capture the materialism of late nineteenth and early 20th century Realist literature, thisness, it seems, is meant to capture the basic immaterialism of Modern realist literature. In this, it succeeds. Realism is no longer grounded in the thingism, or material aspect, of reality as it was during the Victorian era. In contemporary literature, it is a “puff of palpability” that hints at reality’s contours but does not disturb our essential understanding of existence as an impalpable mystery. So now we have this term that seems to encompass the Modern approach to reality, but is it useful as an accurate conception of reality (i.e. truth, human existence, and the like), and how are we to judge its accuracy?

I think that, as far as literature is concerned, the test of the term’s accuracy lies in the interpretation of the Modernist texts that Wood champions as truthful but largely abstract depictions of human experience:

‘Kafka’s ‘”Metamorphosis” and Hamsun’s “Hunger” and Beckett’s “Endgame” are not representations of likely or typical human activity but are nevertheless harrowingly truthful texts.’

For brevity’s sake, I’ll pick a passage from a different Modernist text that I think exemplifies the issues involved in the question of thingism and thisness’ reality. In James Joyce’s Ulysses, a pub discussionhttp://www.log24.com/images/asterisk8.gif of art’s purpose arises in which the writer Geoffrey Russell asserts that “Art has to reveal to us ideas, formless spiritual essences”; in his thoughts, Stephen Dedalus prepares to counter this:

Unsheathe your dagger definitions. Horseness is the whatness of allhorse. Streams of tendency and eons they worship. God: noise in the street: very peripatetic. Space: what you damn well have to see. Through spaces smaller than red globules of man’s blood they creepy crawl after [William] Blake’s buttocks into eternity of which this vegetable world is but a shadow. Hold to the now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past.

To give my best translation of Stephen-think: The physical being of the horse (“horseness”) grounds the over-arching, abstract idea of the horse (“allhorse”) in reality (“whatness”). God—the ultimate abstraction—is elusive and rarely manifests himself as a material reality (when listening to children playing earlier in the book, Stephen asserts that God is a “shout in the street”). Space—the material world—must be observed to make sense of abstract ideas (like God). Stephen’s opponents who believe that art must depict the abstract and the essential make claims about existence that have very little basis in material reality so that they can grasp at the divine through the work of such famously fantastic artists as William Blake, whose unrealistic poetry and paintings Stephen evidently holds in little esteem here, though he’s kinder to Blake elsewhere. Finally, the present makes concrete the abstract possibilities of the future by turning them into the realities of the past.

Ulysses elucidates the distinction between abstractly based and materially based realism because, while abstract to be sure, Joyce’s writing is deeply rooted in material existence, and it is this material existence which has given it its lasting meaning and influence. The larger point that I’m trying to make here is that material reality gives meaning to the abstract. (As a corollary, the abstract helps us to make sense of material reality.) There can be no truth without meaning, and there can be no meaning without a material form of existence against which to judge abstract ideas. To argue, as Wood does, that the abstract can produce concrete truths with little reference to material reality is to ignore the mutual nature of the relationship between material reality and truth. The more carefully we observe material reality, the more truth we gain from our abstractions of its phenomena, or, to state it in the vocabulary—though not the style—of literary criticism: thisness is a diluted form of thingism, which means that thisness is productive of fewer (and lesser) truths.

http://www.log24.com/images/asterisk8.gif “Space: what you
  damn well
     have to see.”

Amy Peterson
has failed to see
that the unsheathing
of dagger definitions
takes place not in
a pub, but in
The National Library
of Ireland
.

The Russell here is not
Geoffrey but rather
George William Russell,
also known as AE.

Related material:

Yesterday’s Log24 entry
for the Feast of
St. Thomas Aquinas,
Actual Being,”
and the four entries
that preceded it.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday December 21, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:23 PM
Le PLI

An excerpt from Simon Blackburn’s 1999 review of Eco’s Kant and the Platypus:
Prominent literary intellectuals often like to make familiar reference to the technical terminology of mathematical logic or philosophy of language. A friend of mine overheard the following conversation in Cambridge during l’affaire Derrida, when the proposal to grant an honorary degree to that gentleman met serious academic opposition in the university. A journalist covering the fracas asked a Prominent Literary Intellectual what he took to be Derrida’s importance in the scheme of things. ‘Well,’ the PLI confided graciously, unblushingly, ‘Gödel showed that every theory is inconsistent unless it is supported from outside. Derrida showed that there is no outside.’

Now, there are at least three remarkable things about this. First, the thing that Gödel was supposed to show could not possibly be shown, since there are many demonstrably consistent theories. Second, therefore, Gödel indeed did not show it, and neither did he purport to do so. Third, it makes no sense to say that an inconsistent theory could become consistent by being ‘supported from outside’, whatever that might mean (inconsistency sticks; you cannot get rid of it by addition, only by subtraction). So what Derrida is said to have done is just as impossible as what Gödel was said to have done.

These mistakes should fail you in an undergraduate logic or math or philosophy course. But they are minor considerations in the world of the PLI. The point is that the mere mention of Gödel (like the common invocation of ‘hierarchies’ and ‘metalanguages’) gives a specious impression of something thrillingly deep and thrillingly mathematical and scientific (theory! dazzling! Einstein!) And, not coincidentally, it gives the PLI a flattering image of being something of a hand at these things, an impresario of the thrills. I expect the journalist swooned.
An excerpt from Barry Mazur’s “Visions, Dreams, and Mathematics” (apparently a talk presented at Delphi), dated Aug. 1, 2008, but posted on Dec. 19:

“The word explicit is from the Latin explicitus related to the verb explicare meaning to ‘unfold, unravel, explain, explicate’ (plicare means ‘to fold’; think of the English noun ‘ply’).”

Related material: Mark Taylor’s Derridean use of “le pli” (The Picture in Question, pp. 58-60, esp. note 13, p. 60). See also the discussion of Taylor in this journal posted on Dec. 19.

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, December 12, 2008

Friday December 12, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:24 PM
Back to the Garden
of Forking Paths

“Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas– only I don’t exactly know what they are!…. Let’s have a look at the garden first!”

— A passage from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass. The “garden” part– but not the “ideas” part– was quoted by Jacques Derrida in Dissemination in the epigraph to Chapter 7, “The Time before First.”

“‘For you… he… we aren’t meaning…’ She was almost stammering, as if she were trying to say several things at once…. Suddenly she gave a little tortured scream. ‘O!’ she cried, ‘O! I can’t keep up! it keeps dividing! There’s too many things to think of!'”

— A passage from Charles Williams’s The Place of the Lion, Chapter 12.

“He was thinking faster than he had ever done, and questions rose out of nothing and followed each other– what was to will? Will was determination to choose– what was choice? How could there be choice, unless there was preference, and if there was preference there was no choice, for it was not possible to choose against that preferring nature which was his being; yet being consisted in choice, for only by taking and doing this and not that could being know itself, could it indeed be; to be then consisted in making an inevitable choice, and all that was left was to know the choice, yet even then was the chosen thing the same as the nature that chose, and if not… So swiftly the questions followed each other that he seemed to be standing in flashing coils of subtlety, an infinite ring of vivid intellect and more than intellect, for these questions were not of the mind alone but absorbed into themselves physical passion and twined through all his nature on an unceasing and serpentine journey.”

— A passage from The Place of the Lion, Chapter 10.

Do you like apples?

Good Will Hunting

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday June 28, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 PM
The God Factor

NY Lottery June 23, 2008: Mid-day 322, Evening 000


The following poem of Emily Dickinson is quoted here in memory of John Watson Foster Dulles, a scholar of Brazilian history who died at 95 on June 23.  He was the eldest son of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, a nephew of Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles, brother of Roman Catholic Cardinal Avery Dulles, and a grandson of Presbyterian minister Allen Macy Dulles, author of The True Church.

I asked no other thing,   
No other was denied.   
I offered Being for it;   
The mighty merchant smiled.   
 
Brazil? He twirled a button,           
Without a glance my way:   
"But, madam, is there nothing else   
That we can show to-day?"


"He twirled a button…."

Plato's diamond figure from the 'Meno'

The above figure
of Plato
(see 3/22)
was suggested by
Lacan's diamond
Lacan's lozenge - said by some to symbolize Derrida's 'differance'
(losange or poinçon)
as a symbol —
according to Frida Saal
of Derrida's
différance
which is, in turn,
"that which enables and
results from Being itself"
—  according to
Professor John Lye

I prefer Plato and Dulles
to Lacan and Lye.
 

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wednesday October 24, 2007

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 9:26 AM
Adieu:
A Story for Dobbs

Internet Movie Database on screenwriter Lem Dobbs:

"Trivia:
Son of painter R.B. (Ron) Kitaj.

Took his pseudonym from the character Humphrey Bogart played
in 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.'"

Bogart and Robert Blake in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Click for details.

NY Lottery Oct. 21, 2007: Mid-day 512, Evening 430

October 21 was the day
that R. B. Kitaj died.
For what Kitaj called
"midrashic glosses"
on the numbers and
the lucky sums, see
4/30, 5/12, and
Eight is a Gate.

Screenwriter Joan Didion:

"We tell ourselves stories in order to live….

We interpret what we see, select the most workable of multiple choices. We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the 'ideas' with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience.

Or at least we do for a while. I am talking here about a time when I began to doubt the premises of all the stories I had ever told myself, a common condition but one I found troubling."

David Cohen on R. B. Kitaj:

"He has come to be fascinated… by the kabbalah, finding in it parallels to the world of art and ideas. Every morning, after a long walk, he winds up at a Westwood café surrounded by pretty UCLA students where he studies the writings of Emmanuel Levinas, before working for an hour on his memoirs."

Levinas Adieu:

Levinas, and Derrida, on the Adieu

Click for source.

"There is no teacher
but the enemy.
"

— Orson Scott Card,  
Ender's Game

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tuesday June 19, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM
Let Noon Be Fair

— Title of a novel
by Willard Motley

A review of Helene Cixous‘s Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing:

“Cixous explores three distinct ‘schools’ that produce what she envisions as great writing– the Schools of the Dead, of Dreams, and of Roots. Cixous invests much weight in the purposefully ambiguous nature of the word ‘school’; she seems to refer to a motivation, conscious or unconscious, that directs, influences, and shapes writing; at other times she seems to want to speak of actual places from whence we get instruction (again, consciously or unconsciously).”

From Under the Volcano, by Malcolm Lowry, 1947, Chapter I:

Faustus is gone: regard his hellish fall —

“Shaken, M. Laruelle replaced the book on the table… he reached to the floor for a folded sheet of paper that had fluttered out of it. He picked the paper up between two fingers and unfolded it, turning it over. Hotel Bella Vista, he read.”

From The Shining, Chapter 18:
 
“In 1961 four writers, two of them Pulitzer Prize winners, had leased the Overlook and reopened it as a writers’ school. That had lasted one year…. Every big hotel has got a ghost. Why? Hell, people come and go…. (In the room the women come and go)” –Quoted in Shining Forth


The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070619-Cixous.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Photo: jewishbookweek.com

Jacques Derrida and Helene Cixous

Time of this entry:

Noon.

Tuesday June 19, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:49 AM
Let No Man Write
My Epitaph

— Title of a novel
by Willard Motley

“Recall the passage in the Odyssey when he [Ulysses] encounters the Cyclops Polyphemos. Trying to disguise himself, to hide himself, Ulysses calls himself Outis– nobody, no man, personne. Here, in a strategy of simple erasure, the Subject masks his singularity behind no one, das Man (here in a sense that does not depend on the Heidggerian distinction between the authentic Dasein and the inauthentic das Man). In French, Outis is translated as personne, meaning no one, no particular subject.”

— Jacques Derrida, “Summary of Impromptu Remarks,” pp. 39-45 in Anyone, ed. by Cynthia Davidson (New York: Rizzoli International, 1991)

“In A GOOD YEAR, more than one reference is made to the secret of comedy. It’s all in the timing, two characters explain.” —Review at epinions.com

Time of this entry:

11:49:59

Friday, May 4, 2007

Friday May 4, 2007

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 5:01 PM

May '68 Revisited

"At his final Paris campaign rally… Mr. Sarkozy declared himself the candidate of the 'silent majority,' tired of a 'moral crisis in France not seen since the time of Joan of Arc.'

'I want to turn the page on May 1968,' he said of the student protests cum social revolution that rocked France almost four decades ago.

'The heirs of May '68 have imposed the idea that everything has the same worth, that there is no difference between good and evil, no difference between the true and the false, between the beautiful and the ugly and that the victim counts for less than the delinquent.'

Denouncing the eradication of 'values and hierarchy,' Mr. Sarkozy accused the Left of being the true heirs and perpetuators of the ideology of 1968."

— Emma-Kate Symons, Paris, May 1, 2007, in The Australian

Related material:

From the translator's introduction to Dissemination, by Jacques Derrida, translated by Barbara Johnson, University of Chicago Press, 1981, page xxxi —

"Both Numbers and 'Dissemination' are attempts to enact rather than simply state the theoretical upheavals produced in the course of a radical reevaluation of the nature and function of writing undertaken by Derrida, Sollers, Roland Barthes, Julia Kristeva and other contributors to the journal Tel Quel in the late 1960s. Ideological and political as well as literary and critical, the Tel Quel program attempted to push to their utmost limits the theoretical revolutions wrought by Marx, Freud, Nietzsche, Mallarme, Levi-Strauss, Saussure, and Heidegger."

This is the same Barbara Johnson who has served as the Frederic Wertham Professor of Law and Psychiatry in Society at Harvard.

Johnson has attacked "the very essence of Logic"–

"… the logic of binary opposition, the principle of non-contradiction, often thought of as the very essence of Logic as such….

Now, my understanding of what is most radical in deconstruction is precisely that it questions this basic logic of binary opposition….

Instead of a simple 'either/or' structure, deconstruction attempts to elaborate a discourse that says neither 'either/or', nor 'both/and' nor even 'neither/nor', while at the same time not totally abandoning these logics either."

— "Nothing Fails Like Success," SCE Reports 8, 1980

Such contempt for logic has resulted, for instance, in the following passage, quoted approvingly on page 342 of Johnson's  translation of Dissemination, from Philippe Sollers's Nombres (1966):

"The minimum number of rows– lines or columns– that contain all the zeros in a matrix is equal to the maximum number of zeros located in any individual line or column."

For a correction of Sollers's  Johnson's damned nonsense, click here.

Update of May 29, 2014:

The error, as noted above, was not Sollers's, but Johnson's.
See also the post of May 29, 2014 titled 'Lost in Translation.'

Friday, January 5, 2007

Friday January 5, 2007

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 12:00 PM
A Goldberg Variation

Photo op for Gerald Ford

Final page of The New York Times Book Review, issue dated January 7, 2007:

On using speech-recognition software to dictate a book:

"Writing is the act of accepting the huge shortfall between the story in the mind and what hits the page. 'From your lips to God's ears,' goes the old Yiddish wish. The writer, by contrast, tries to read God's lips and pass along the words…. And for that, an interface will never be clean or invisible enough for us to get the passage right….

Everthing we write– through any medium– is lost in translation. But something new is always found again, in their eager years. In Derrida's fears.  Make that: in the reader's ears."

Richard Powers (author of The Gold Bug Variations)
 

Found in translation:

Klein four-group

Click on picture
for details.
 

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wednesday December 13, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:29 AM

 Best Wishes for a
C. S. Lewis
Christmas

 

 C.S. Lewis

Image of Lewis from
Into the Wardrobe

What on earth
  is a concrete
  universal?”

— Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance

For one approach to an answer, click on the picture at left.

Update of 4:23 PM:

The Lewis link above deals with the separation of Heaven from Hell.  The emphasis is on Heaven.  A mysterious visitor to this website, “United States,” seems to be seeking equal time for Hell.  And so…

Storyboard

Based on Xanga footprints of Dec. 13, 2006
from m759’s site-visitor “United States”
(possibly a robot; if so, a robot with strange tastes).

TIME OF     DATE OF             PAGE VISITED   
VISIT         PAGE VISITED 

1217 040520  Parable
1218 060606  The Omen
1220 051205  Don’t Know Much About History
1225 030822  Mr. Holland’s Week (And in Three Days…)
1233 030114  Remarks on Day 14 (What is Truth?)
1238 040818  Train of Thought (Oh, My Lolita)
1244 020929  Angel Night (Ellis Larkins)
1249 040715  Identity Crisis (Bourne and Treadstone)
1252 050322  Make a Differance (Lacan, Derrida, Reba)
1255 050221  Quarter to Three on Night of HST’s death
1256 040408  Triple Crown on Holy Thursday
1258 040714  Welcome to Mr. Motley’s Neighborhood
1258 030221  All About Lilith
0103 040808  Quartet (for Alexander Hammid)
0104 030106  Dead Poet in the City of Angels
0109 030914  Skewed Mirrors (Readings on Aesthetics)
0110 050126  A Theorem in Musical Form
0125 021007  Music for R. D. Laing
0138 020806  Butterflies & Popes (Transfiguration)
0140 060606  The Omen (again)
0156 030313  ART WARS: Perennial Tutti-Frutti
0202 030112  Ask Not (A Bee Gees Requiem)
0202 050527  Drama of the Diagonal, Part Deux
0202 060514  STAR WARS continued (Eclipse and Venus)
0207 030112  Ask Not (again… Victory of the Goddess)
0207 030221  All About Lilith (again… Roll credits.)

“How much story do you want?”
— George Balanchine
 

Monday, October 9, 2006

Monday October 9, 2006

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 9:00 AM
 
ART WARS:
To Apollo
 
The image “http://www.log24.com/theory/images/grid3x3.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

"This is the garden of Apollo,
the field of Reason…."
John Outram, architect

To Apollo (10/09/02)
Art Wars: Apollo and Dionysus
(10/09/02)
Balanchine's Birthday
(01/09/03)

Art Theory for Yom Kippur
(10/05/03)

A Form
(05/22/04)
Ineluctable
(05/27/04)

A Form, continued
(06/05/04)
Parallelisms
(06/06/04)
Ado
(06/25/04)

Deep Game
(06/26/04)
Gameplayers of Zen
(06/27/04)
And So To Bed
(06/29/04)
Translation Plane for Rosh Hashanah
(09/15/04)
Derrida Dead
(10/09/04)
The Nine
(11/09/04)
From Tate to Plato
(11/19/04)
Art History
(05/11/05)
A Miniature Rosetta Stone
(08/06/05)
High Concept
(8/23/05) 
High Concept, Continued
(8/24/05)
Analogical Train of Thought
(8/25/05)
Today's Sermon: Magical Thinking
(10/09/05)
Balance
(10/31/05)
Matrix
(11/01/05)
Seven is Heaven, Eight is a Gate
(11/12/05)
Nine is a Vine
(11/12/05)
Apollo and Christ
(12/02/05)
Hamilton's Whirligig
(01/05/06)
Cross
(01/06/06)
On Beauty
(01/26/06)
Sunday Morning
(01/29/06)
Centre
(01/29/06)
New Haven
(01/29/06) 
Washington Ballet
(02/05/06)
Catholic Schools Sermon
(02/05/06)
The Logic of Apollo
(02/05/06)
Game Boy
(08/06/06)
Art Wars Continued: The Krauss Cross
(09/13/06)
Art Wars Continued: Pandora's Box
(09/16/06)
The Pope in Plato's Cave
(09/16/06)
Today's Birthdays
(09/26/06)
Symbology 101
(09/26/06)

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Tuesday June 6, 2006

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 5:01 AM
D-Day Morning,
62 Years Later

Review: ART WARS
on Sept. 12, 2002:

Und was fur ein Bild des Christentums 
ist dabei herausgekommen?

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060606-FrenchWorkers.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

(Pentecost was Sunday, June 4, 2006.
The following Monday was formerly a
French public holiday.)

This morning's meditation:

Sous Rature

"… words must be written
sous rature, or 'under erasure.'"

Deconstruction:
 Derrida, Theology,
and John of the Cross

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060604-Roots.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The above Bild, based
 on Weyl's Symmetry,
might be titled
Rature sous Rature.
 

Saturday, October 8, 2005

Saturday October 8, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:08 AM

In memory of Jacques Derrida,
who died one year ago today:

A History of Death

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/051008-HistHarris3.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

References:

1. Fire in the Lake, by Frances FitzGerald
2. A History of Violence, a film by
    David Cronenberg
3. The Gift of Death, by Jacques Derrida

Related material:

Derrida on Giving,
Last-Minute Shopping

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Saturday August 13, 2005

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 12:04 PM

Kaleidoscope, continued:

In Derrida’s Defense

The previous entry quoted an attack on Jacques Derrida for ignoring the “kaleidoscope” metaphor of Claude Levi-Strauss.  Here is a quote by Derrida himself:

“The time for reflection is also the chance for turning back on the very conditions of reflection, in all the senses of that word, as if with the help of an optical device one could finally see sight, could not only view the natural landscape, the city, the bridge and the abyss, but could view viewing. (1983:19)

Derrida, J. (1983) ‘The Principle of Reason: The University in the Eyes of its Pupils’, Diacritics 13.3: 3-20.”

The above quotation comes from Simon Wortham,  who thinks the “optical device” of Derrida is a mirror.  The same quotation appears in Desiring Dualisms at thispublicaddress.com, where the “optical device” is interpreted as a kaleidoscope.

Derrida’s “optical device” may (for university pupils desperately seeking an essay topic) be compared with Joyce’s “collideorscape.”  For a different connection with Derrida, see The ‘Collideorscape’ as Différance.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Thursday August 11, 2005

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 8:16 AM

Kaleidoscope, continued

From Clifford Geertz, The Cerebral Savage:

"Savage logic works like a kaleidoscope whose chips can fall into a variety of patterns while remaining unchanged in quantity, form, or color. The number of patterns producible in this way may be large if the chips are numerous and varied enough, but it is not infinite. The patterns consist in the disposition of the chips vis-a-vis one another (that is, they are a function of the relationships among the chips rather than their individual properties considered separately).  And their range of possible transformations is strictly determined by the construction of the kaleidoscope, the inner law which governs its operation. And so it is too with savage thought.  Both anecdotal and geometric, it builds coherent structures out of 'the odds and ends left over from psychological or historical process.'

These odds and ends, the chips of the kaleidoscope, are images drawn from myth, ritual, magic, and empirical lore….  as in a kaleidoscope, one always sees the chips distributed in some pattern, however ill-formed or irregular.   But, as in a kaleidoscope, they are detachable from these structures and arrangeable into different ones of a similar sort….  Levi-Strauss generalizes this permutational view of thinking to savage thought in general.  It is all a matter of shuffling discrete (and concrete) images–totem animals, sacred colors, wind directions, sun deities, or whatever–so as to produce symbolic structures capable of formulating and communicating objective (which is not to say accurate) analyses of the social and physical worlds.

…. And the point is general.  The relationship between a symbolic structure and its referent, the basis of its meaning,  is fundamentally 'logical,' a coincidence of form– not affective, not historical, not functional.  Savage thought is frozen reason and anthropology is, like music and mathematics, 'one of the few true vocations.'

Or like linguistics."

Edward Sapir on Linguistics, Mathematics, and Music:

"… linguistics has also that profoundly serene and satisfying quality which inheres in mathematics and in music and which may be described as the creation out of simple elements of a self-contained universe of forms.  Linguistics has neither the sweep nor the instrumental power of mathematics, nor has it the universal aesthetic appeal of music.  But under its crabbed, technical, appearance there lies hidden the same classical spirit, the same freedom in restraint, which animates mathematics and music at their purest."

— Edward Sapir, "The Grammarian and his Language,"
  American Mercury 1:149-155,1924

From Robert de Marrais, Canonical Collage-oscopes:

"…underwriting the form languages of ever more domains of mathematics is a set of deep patterns which not only offer access to a kind of ideality that Plato claimed to see the universe as created with in the Timaeus; more than this, the realm of Platonic forms is itself subsumed in this new set of design elements– and their most general instances are not the regular solids, but crystallographic reflection groups.  You know, those things the non-professionals call . . . kaleidoscopes! *  (In the next exciting episode, we'll see how Derrida claims mathematics is the key to freeing us from 'logocentrism' **— then ask him why, then, he jettisoned the deepest structures of mathematical patterning just to make his name…)

* H. S. M. Coxeter, Regular Polytopes (New York: Dover, 1973) is the great classic text by a great creative force in this beautiful area of geometry  (A polytope is an n-dimensional analog of a polygon or polyhedron.  Chapter V of this book is entitled 'The Kaleidoscope'….)

** … contemporary with the Johns Hopkins hatchet job that won him American marketshare, Derrida was also being subjected to a series of probing interviews in Paris by the hometown crowd.  He first gained academic notoriety in France for his book-length reading of Husserl's two-dozen-page essay on 'The Origin of Geometry.'  The interviews were collected under the rubric of Positions (Chicago: U. of Chicago Press, 1981…).  On pp. 34-5 he says the following: 'the resistance to logico-mathematical notation has always been the signature of logocentrism and phonologism in the event to which they have dominated metaphysics and the classical semiological and linguistic projects…. A grammatology that would break with this system of presuppositions, then, must in effect liberate the mathematization of language…. The effective progress of mathematical notation thus goes along with the deconstruction of metaphysics, with the profound renewal of mathematics itself, and the concept of science for which mathematics has always been the model.'  Nice campaign speech, Jacques; but as we'll see, you reneged on your promise not just with the kaleidoscope (and we'll investigate, in depth, the many layers of contradiction and cluelessness you put on display in that disingenuous 'playing to the house'); no, we'll see how, at numerous other critical junctures, you instinctively took the wrong fork in the road whenever mathematical issues arose… henceforth, monsieur, as Joe Louis once said, 'You can run, but you just can't hide.'…."

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Saturday July 23, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:28 AM
Go Ask Alice

From the weblog of Alice:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05A/050723-Moonfl2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Click to enlarge

“This is a
Datura Moonflower.”

From Dec. 20, 2002:

See… my Sermon for St. Patrick’s Day

This contains the following metaphysical observation from Mark Helprin’s novel Winter’s Tale:

“Nothing is random.”

For those who, like the protagonist of Joan Didion’s

Play It As It Lays,

feel that they “know what nothing means,” I recommend the following readings:

From Peter Goldman’s essay

“Christian Mystery and Responsibility:
Gnosticism in Derrida’s The Gift of Death” —

Derrida’s description of Christian mystery implies this hidden demonic and violent dimension:

The gift made to me by God as he holds me in his gaze and in his hand while remaining inaccessible to me, the terribly dissymmetrical gift of the mysterium tremendum only allows me to respond and only rouses me to the responsibility it gives me by making a gift of death, giving the secret of death, a new experience of death. (33)”

The above-mentioned sermon is a meditation on randomness and page numbers, focusing on page 265 in particular.

On page 265 of Finnegans Wake, by James Joyce,  we find the following remark:

“Googlaa pluplu.” 

Following Joyce’s instructions, and entering “pluplu” in the Google search engine, we find the following:

“Datura is a delusional drug rather than a hallucinatory one. You don’t see patterns, trails, or any cool visual effects; you just actually believe in things that aren’t there….  I remember holding a glass for a while–but when I raised it to my mouth to take a drink, my fingers closed around nothingness because there was no glass there….

Using datura is the closest I’ve ever come to death…. Of all the drugs I’ve taken, this is the one that I’d be too scared to ever take again.”

PluPlu, August 4, 2000

For those who don’t need AA, perhaps the offer of Ed Harris in the classic study of gangs of New York, “State of Grace,” is an offer of somewhat safer holiday cheer that should not be refused.


© Orion Pictures

Ed Harris in
State of Grace

  
  Xmas Special

Monday, June 6, 2005

Monday June 6, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:00 PM

Order and Disorder

From “Connoisseur of Chaos,”
by Wallace Stevens, in
Parts of a World, 1942:


I

A.  A violent order is a disorder; and
B.  A great disorder is an order.
    These Two things are one. (Pages of illustrations.)               

IV  

A.  Well, an old order is a violent one. This proves nothing.
    Just one more truth, one more
    Element in the immense disorder of truths.

B.  It is April as I write. The wind
    Is blowing after days of constant rain.
    All this, of course, will come to summer soon.
    But suppose the disorder of truths should ever come
    To an order, most Plantagenet, most fixed. . . .
    A great disorder is an order.
    Now, A And B are not like statuary, posed
    For a vista in the Louvre. They are things chalked
    On the sidewalk so that the pensive man may see.

V

    The pensive man . . . He sees that eagle float
    For which the intricate Alps are a single nest.

Related material:
Derrida on Plato on writing says ‘In order for these contrary values (good/evil, true/false, essence/appearance, inside/outside, etc.) to be in opposition, each of the terms must be simply EXTERNAL to the other, which means that one of these oppositions (the opposition between inside and outside) must already be accredited as the matrix of all possible opposition.’ “

Peter J. Leithart

See also

Skewed Mirrors,
Sept. 14, 2003


“Evil did not  have the last word.”
Richard John Neuhaus, April 4, 2005

Lps. The keys to. Given! A way a lone
a last a loved a long the


PARIS,
1922-1939

“There is never any ending to Paris.”
— Ernest Hemingway

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Tuesday April 5, 2005

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 3:17 PM
Art History:
The Pope of Hope

At the Vatican on
Shakespeare's Birthday
(See Log24.net,
Oct. 4, 2002)

See also the iconology
what Dan Brown in
The Da Vinci Code
  calls "symbology" —
of Pandora's Box
at Log24.net,
March 10, 2005:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050310-Nell2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

 

"Man and woman are a pair of locked caskets,
each containing the key to the other."

Baroness Karen Blixen

"Karol Wojtyla had looked into
the heart of darkness–
and at the heart of darkness
discovered reason
for an indomitable hope.

He lived on the far side of
the greatest catastrophe
in human history,
the death of the Son of God,
and knew that evil
did not have the last word.
This is the key…."

Richard John Neuhaus,
April 4, 2005

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050405-JoyceGeometry.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Finnegans Wake, p. 293,
"the lazily eye of his lapis"

 

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050403-StPetersSq3.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

 

Perette Elizabeth Michelli on the Ovato Tondo:

 

"Notice how the Pope turns out to be
at the center of the breaking and
redefining of the Classical system."

"Derrida on Plato on writing says 'In order for these contrary values (good/evil, true/false, essence/appearance, inside/outside, etc.) to be in opposition, each of the terms must be simply EXTERNAL to the other, which means that one of these oppositions (the opposition between inside and outside) must already be accredited as the matrix of all possible opposition.' "

Peter J. Leithart

See also


Skewed Mirrors
,
Sept. 14, 2003

"Evil did not  have the last word."
Richard John Neuhaus, April 4, 2005

Lps. The keys to. Given! A way a lone
a last a loved a long the

PARIS,
1922-1939

"There is never any ending to Paris."
— Ernest Hemingway

For the first word, see Louis Armand on
Lethe, erinnerung, and riverrun.

See also the following passage,
linked to on the Easter Vigil, 2005:

  You will find to the left of the House of Hades
    a spring,
  And by the side thereof standing
    a white cypress.
  To this spring approach not near.
  But you shall find another,
    from the lake of Memory
  Cold water flowing forth, and there are
    guardians before it.
  Say, "I am a child of Earth and starry Heaven;
  But my race is of Heaven alone.
    This you know yourselves.
  But I am parched with thirst and I perish.
    Give me quickly
  The cold water flowing forth
    from the lake of Memory."

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Tuesday March 22, 2005

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , — m759 @ 4:01 PM

Make a Différance

From Frida Saal's
Lacan The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050322-Diamond.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Derrida:

"Our proposal includes the lozenge (diamond) in between the names, because in the relationship / non-relationship that is established among them, a tension is created that implies simultaneously a union and a disjunction, in the perspective of a theoretical encounter that is at the same time necessary and impossible. That is the meaning of the lozenge that joins and separates the two proper names. For that reason their respective works become totally non-superposable and at the same time they were built with an awareness, or at least a partial awareness, of each other. What prevails between both of them is the différance, the Derridean signifier that will become one of the main issues in this presentation."

 


From a Contemporary Literary Theory website:

"Différance is that which all signs have, what constitutes them as signs, as signs are not that to which they refer: i) they differ, and hence open a space from that which they represent, and ii) they defer, and hence open up a temporal chain, or, participate in temporality. As well, following de Sassure's famous argument, signs 'mean' by differing from other signs. The coined word 'différance' refers to at once the differing and the deferring of signs. Taken to the ontological level†, the differing and deferring of signs from what they mean, means that every sign repeats the creation of space and time; and ultimately, that différance is the ultimate phenomenon in the universe, an operation that is not an operation, both active and passive, that which enables and results from Being itself."

From a text purchased on
Make a Difference Day, Oct. 23, 1999:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050322-Fig39.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.22. Without using the Pythagorean Theorem prove that the hypotenuse of  an isosceles right triangle will have the length The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050322-Sqtr2.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.  if the equal legs have the length 1.  Suggestion: Consider the similar triangles in Fig. 39.
23.  The ancient Greeks regarded the Pythagorean Theorem as involving areas, and they proved it by means of areas.  We cannot do so now because we have not yet considered the idea of area.  Assuming for the moment, however, the idea of the area of a square, use this idea instead of similar triangles and proportion in Ex. 22 above to show that x = The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050322-Sqtr2.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. .

 

— Page 98 of Basic Geometry, by George David Birkhoff, Professor of Mathematics at Harvard University, and Ralph Beatley, Associate Professor of Education at Harvard University (Scott, Foresman 1941)



Though it may be true, as the president of Harvard recently surmised, that women are inherently inferior to men at abstract thought — in particular, pure mathematics*  — they may in other respects be quite superior to men:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050322-Reba2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The above is from October 1999.
See also Naturalized Epistemology,
from Women's History Month, 2001.

* See the remarks of Frida Saal above and of Barbara Johnson on mathematics (The Shining of May 29, cited in Readings for St. Patrick's Day).


† For the diamond symbol at "the ontological level," see Modal Theology, Feb. 21, 2005.  See also Socrates on the immortality of the soul in Plato's Meno, source of the above Basic Geometry diamond.

Tuesday March 22, 2005

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:00 PM
The Enemy

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050322-Derrida.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

See Remembering Jacques Derrida.

"There is no teacher but the enemy."

— Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game,
   Tor paperback reprint, 1994, p. 262

"Différance is, for Derrida, the key concept
in order to understand what is here at stake."

Lacan The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050322-Diamond.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Derrida, by Frida Saal

The following entries from October 2004
are related to the death of Jacques Derrida.

 

Saturday, October 9, 2004  6:40 PM

Derrida Dead

"Jacques Derrida, the Algerian-born, French intellectual who became one of the most celebrated and unfathomable philosophers of the late 20th century, died Friday at a Paris hospital, the French president's office announced. He was 74."

— Jonathan Kandell, New York Times

"There is no teacher but the enemy."

— Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game,
   Tor paperback reprint, 1994, p. 262
 


Saturday, October 9, 2004  2:22 AM

Belief

KERRY: "I'm going to be a president who believes in science."

KERRY: "I'm a Catholic – raised a Catholic. I was an altar boy. Religion has been a huge part of my life, helped lead me through a war, leads me today."

BUSH: "Trying to decipher that."
 


Friday, October 8, 2004  5:07 PM

Behush the Bush
 

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/041008-JoyceBush.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
James Joyce statue, Zurich

"There's where. First.
We pass through grass
behush the bush to."
— Final page of
Finnegans Wake

"… we all gain an appreciation of how each of us can provide readings that others are blind to and how each of us is temporarily blind to other feasible readings. Reading the text becomes a communal act of discovery….

No one has much to say, for now, about the grass reference…."

Reading Finnegans Wake (1986)

The phrase "snake in the grass" seems relevant, as does the opening of Finnegans Wake:

riverrun, past Eve and Adam's….

Related material:

Joyce and Tao,

Why Me?,

Serpent's Tail Publishing,

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/041008-Serpent.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

and, for Matt Damon,
whose birthday is today —

The Joyce Identity.
 

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Tuesday October 12, 2004

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:30 PM

The Last Enemy
(See April 30)

  

"I was also impressed… by the intensity of Continental modes of literary-critical thought….

On the Continent, studies of Hölderlin and Rousseau, of Poe, Baudelaire, Mallarmé and Rilke, of Rabelais, Nietzsche, Kafka, and Joyce, challenged not only received ideas on the unity of the work of art but many aspects of western thought itself. Derrida, at the same time, who for nearly a decade found a home in Yale's Comparative Literature Department, expanded the concept of textuality to the point where nothing could be demarcated as 'hors d'œuvre' and escape the literary-critical eye. It was uncanny to feel hierarchic boundaries waver until the commentary entered the text—not literally, of course, but in the sense that the over-objectified work became a reflection on its own status, its stability as an object of cognition. The well-wrought urn contained mortal ashes."

— Geoffrey Hartman, A Life of Learning

In memory of
Jacques Derrida and James Chace,
both of whom died in Paris on
Friday, Oct. 8, 2004… continued…
(See previous three entries.)

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/041010-Welles.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Orson Welles


Mate in 2
V. Nabokov, 1919

"The last enemy
that shall be destroyed is death."
— Saul of Tarsus, 1 Cor. 15:26

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/041012-Welles.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Knight move,
courtesy of V. Nabokov:

Nfe5 mate

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/041012-Kt.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Knight:

Sir John Falstaff
(See Chimes at Midnight.)

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Sunday October 10, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:48 PM

Starflight

In memory of
Jacques Derrida and James Chace,
both of whom died in Paris on
Friday, Oct. 8, 2004, and of
Orson Welles, who died
on this date in 1985

 

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix04A/041010-Welles.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Orson Welles

Mate in 2 

V. Nabokov, 1919

"The black king has three white flight squares, without mates being provided for these flights, which suggests giving him a fourth. 1. Bg2 therefore presents itself, especially when you notice that it prepares mates for all the flights, and for the king remaining on its original square.

1. Bg2

Kxc6 2. Nfe5 mate
Ke6   2. Nd4  mate
Kc4   2. Nd2  mate  
Ke4   2. Nd4  mate  
fxg3  2. Ng5  mate

The five variations together are the theme,  'starflight.'  (With orthogonal squares it is called plus- or cross-flight.)"

Open Chess Diary, 1999,
   by Tim Krabbé, Amsterdam

See also the entries of
Oct. 8, 2002 and
Oct. 8, 2004, and
related remarks on
the "double cross," or
"king's moves" symbol:

For an appropriate bishop, see

Riddle.
 

Saturday, October 9, 2004

Saturday October 9, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:40 PM

Derrida Dead

Jacques Derrida, the Algerian-born, French intellectual who became one of the most celebrated and unfathomable philosophers of the late 20th century, died Friday at a Paris hospital, the French president’s office announced. He was 74.”

— Jonathan Kandell, New York Times

“There is no teacher but the enemy.”

— Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game,
   Tor paperback reprint, 1994, p. 262

Thursday, October 7, 2004

Thursday October 7, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:00 AM

Metaphysics, cont.

Logocentrism is… described by Derrida as a ‘metaphysics of presence.'”

1:00:00 AM:

Hickory dickory dock…

Monday, January 26, 2004

Monday January 26, 2004

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:11 PM

Language Game

More on "selving," a word coined by the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins.  (See Saturday's Taking Lucifer Seriously.)

"… through the calibrated truths of temporal discipline such as timetabling, serialization, and the imposition of clock-time, the subject is accorded a moment to speak in."

Dr. Sally R. Munt,

Framing
Intelligibility, Identity, and Selfhood:
A Reconsideration of
Spatio-Temporal Models
.

The "moment to speak in" of today's previous entry, 11:29 AM, is a reference to the date 11/29 of last year's entry

Command at Mount Sinai.

That entry contains, in turn, a reference to the journal Subaltern Studies.  According to a review of Reading Subaltern Studies,

"… the Subaltern Studies collective drew upon the Althusser who questioned the primacy of the subject…."

Munt also has something to say on "the primacy of the subject" —

"Poststructuralism, following particularly Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida and Jacques Lacan, has ensured that 'the subject' is a cardinal category of contemporary thought; in any number of disciplines, it is one of the first concepts we teach to our undergraduates. But are we best served by continuing to insist on the intellectual primacy of the 'subject,' formulated as it has been within the negative paradigm of subjectivity as subjection?"

How about objectivity as objection?

I, for one, object strongly to "the Althusser who questioned the primacy of the subject."

This Althusser, a French Marxist philosopher by whom the late Michael Sprinker (Taking Lucifer Seriously) was strongly influenced, murdered his wife in 1980 and died ten years later in a lunatic asylum.

For details, see

The Future Lasts a Long Time.

 

For details of Althusser's philosophy, see the oeuvre of Michael Sprinker.

For another notable French tribute to Marxism, click on the picture at left.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Monday August 25, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:24 AM

Words Are Events

August 12 was the date of death of Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Jr., and the date I entered some theological remarks in a new Harvard weblog.  It turns out that August 12 was also the feast day of a new saint… Walter Jackson Ong, of St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri, a Jesuit institution.

Today, August 25, is the feast day of St. Louis himself, for whom the aforementioned city and university are named.

The New York Times states that Ong was "considered an outstanding postmodern theorist, whose ideas spawned college courses…."

There is, of course, no such thing as a postmodern Jesuit, although James Joyce came close.

From The Walter J. Ong Project:

"Ong's work is often presented alongside the postmodern and deconstruction theories of Claude Levi-Strauss, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Hélène Cixous, and others. His own work in orality and literacy shows deconstruction to be unnecessary: if you consider language to be fundamentally spoken, as language originally is, it does not consist of signs, but of events. Sound, including the spoken word, is an event. It takes time. The concept of 'sign,' by contrast, derives primarily not from the world of events, but from the world of vision. A sign can be physically carried around, an event cannot: it simply happens. Words are events."

 

From a commonplace book
on the number 911:

"We keep coming back and coming back
To the real: to the hotel
    instead of the hymns
That fall upon it out of the wind.
    We seek

The poem of pure reality, untouched
By trope or deviation,
    straight to the word,
Straight to the transfixing object,
    to the object

At the exactest point at which
    it is itself,
Transfixing by being purely
    what it is,
A view of New Haven, say,
    through the certain eye,

The eye made clear of uncertainty,
    with the sight
Of simple seeing, without reflection.
    We seek
Nothing beyond reality. Within it,

Everything, the spirit's alchemicana
Included, the spirit that goes
    roundabout
And through included,
    not merely the visible,

The solid, but the movable,
    the moment,
The coming on of feasts
     and the habits of saints,
The pattern of the heavens
     and high, night air."

Wallace Stevens (1879-1955)
An Ordinary Evening in New Haven
IX.1-18, from The Auroras of Autumn,
Knopf, NY (1950)
(Collected Poems, pp. 465-489)
NY Times Obituary (8-3-1955)

 

The web page where I found the Stevens quote also has the following:

 

Case 9 of Hekiganroku:
Joshu's Four Gates

A monk asked Joshu,
"What is Joshu?" (Chinese: Chao Chou)

Joshu said,
"East Gate, West Gate,
 North Gate, South Gate."

Setcho's Verse:

Its intention concealed,
    the question came;
The Diamond King's eye was
    as clear as a jewel.
There stood the gates,
    north, south, east, and west,
But the heaviest hammer blow
    could not open them.

Setcho (980-1052),
Hekiganroku, 9 (Blue Cliff Records)
(translated by Katsuki Sekida,
Two Zen Classics, 1977, p. 172)

 

See also my previous entry for today,
"Gates to the City."

Friday, July 25, 2003

Friday July 25, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 11:59 PM

Realism in Literature:
Under the Volcano

Mexican Volcano Blast
Scares Residents

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Filed at 11:13 p.m. EDT Friday, July 25, 2003

PUEBLA, Mexico (AP) — Mexico’s Popocatepetl volcano shot glowing rock and ash high into the air Friday night, triggering a thunderous explosion that panicked some residents in nearby communities.

Here are 3 webcam views of the volcano.   Nothing to see at the moment.

Literary background:

Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano,

Plato, Pegasus, and the Evening Star,

A Mass for Lucero,

Shining Forth,

and, as background for today’s earlier entry on Platonism and Derrida,

The Shining of May 29.

Vignette

For more on Plato and Christian theology, consult the highly emotional site

Further Into the Depths of Satan:

“…in The Last Battle on page 170 [C. S.] Lewis has Digory saying, ‘It’s all in Plato, all in Plato.’ Now, Lewis calls Plato ‘an overwhelming theological genius’ (Reflections on the Psalms, p. 80)….”

The title “Further Into the Depths of Satan,” along with the volcano readings above, suggests a reading from a related site:

Gollum and the Mystery of Evil:

“Gollum here clearly represents Frodo’s hidden self. It is ‘as if we are witnessing the darkest night of the soul and one side attempting to master the other’ (Jane Chance 102). Then Frodo, whose finger has been bitten off, cries out, and Gollum holds the Ring aloft, shrieking: ‘Precious, precious, precious! My Precious! O my Precious!’ (RK, VI, 249). At this point, stepping too near the edge, he falls into the volcano, taking the Ring with him. With this, the mountain shakes.’ “

In the above two-step vignette, the part of Gollum is played by the author of “Further Into the Depths of Satan,” who called  C. S. Lewis a fool “that was and is extremely useful to his father the devil.”

See Matthew 5:22: “…whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” 

Friday July 25, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:24 PM

For Jung’s 7/26 Birthday:
A Logocentric Meditation

Leftist academics are trying to pull a fast one again.  An essay in the most prominent American mathematical publication tries to disguise a leftist attack on Christian theology as harmless philosophical woolgathering.

In a review of Vladimir Tasic’s Mathematics and the Roots of Postmodern Thought, the reviewer, Michael Harris, is being less than candid when he discusses Derrida’s use of “logocentrism”:

Derrida uses the term ‘logocentrism’… as ‘the metaphysics of phonetic writing’….”

Notices of the American Mathematical Society, August 2003, page 792

We find a rather different version of logocentrism in Tasic’s own Sept. 24, 2001, lecture “Poststructuralism and Deconstruction: A Mathematical History,” which is “an abridged version of some arguments” in Tasic’s book on mathematics and postmodernism:

Derrida apparently also employs certain ideas of formalist mathematics in his critique of idealist metaphysics: for example, he is on record saying that ‘the effective progress of mathematical notation goes along with the deconstruction of metaphysics.’

Derrida’s position is rather subtle. I think it can be interpreted as a valiant sublation of two completely opposed schools in mathematical philosophy. For this reason it is not possible to reduce it to a readily available philosophy of mathematics. One could perhaps say that Derrida continues and critically reworks Heidegger’s attempt to ‘deconstruct’ traditional metaphysics, and that his method is more ‘mathematical’ than Heidegger’s because he has at his disposal the entire pseudo-mathematical tradition of structuralist thought. He has himself implied in an interview given to Julia Kristeva that mathematics could be used to challenge ‘logocentric theology,’ and hence it does not seem unreasonable to try looking for the mathematical roots of his philosophy.”

The unsuspecting reader would not know from Harris’s review that Derrida’s main concern is not mathematics, but theology.  His ‘deconstruction of metaphysics’ is actually an attack on Christian theology.

From “Derrida and Deconstruction,” by David Arneson, a University of Manitoba professor and writer on literary theory:

Logocentrism: ‘In the beginning was the word.’ Logocentrism is the belief that knowledge is rooted in a primeval language (now lost) given by God to humans. God (or some other transcendental signifier: the Idea, the Great Spirit, the Self, etc.) acts a foundation for all our thought, language and action. He is the truth whose manifestation is the world.”

Some further background, putting my July 23 entry on Lévi-Strauss and structuralism in the proper context:

Part I.  The Roots of Structuralism

“Literary science had to have a firm theoretical basis…”

Part II.  Structuralism/Poststructuralism

“Most [structuralists] insist, as Levi-Strauss does, that structures are universal, therefore timeless.”

Part III.  Structuralism and
             Jung’s Archetypes

Jung’s “theories, like those of Cassirer and Lévi-Strauss, command for myth a central cultural position, unassailable by reductive intellectual methods or procedures.”

And so we are back to logocentrism, with the Logos — God in the form of story, myth, or archetype — in the “central cultural position.”

What does all this have to do with mathematics?  See

Plato’s Diamond,

Rosalind Krauss on Art –

“the Klein group (much beloved of Structuralists)”

Another Michael Harris Essay, Note 47 –

“From Krauss’s article I learned that the Klein group is also called the Piaget group.”

and Jung on Quaternity:
      Beyond the Fringe –

“…there is no denying the fact that [analytical] psychology, like an illegitimate child of the spirit, leads an esoteric, special existence beyond the fringe of what is generally acknowledged to be the academic world.”

What attitude should mathematicians have towards all this? 

Towards postmodern French
  atheist literary/art theorists –

Mathematicians should adopt the attitude toward “the demimonde of chic academic theorizing” expressed in Roger Kimball’s essay, Feeling Sorry for Rosalind Krauss.

Towards logocentric German
  Christian literary/art theorists –

Mathematicians should, of course, adopt a posture of humble respect, tugging their forelocks and admitting their ignorance of Christian theology.  They should then, if sincere in their desire to honestly learn something about logocentric philosophy, begin by consulting the website

The Quest for the Fiction of an Absolute.

For a better known, if similarly disrespected, “illegitimate child of the spirit,” see my July 22 entry.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Sunday July 13, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 5:09 PM

ART WARS, 5:09

The Word in the Desert

For Harrison Ford in the desert.
(See previous entry.)

    Words strain,
Crack and sometimes break,
    under the burden,
Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
Will not stay still. Shrieking voices
Scolding, mocking, or merely chattering,
Always assail them.
    The Word in the desert
Is most attacked by voices of temptation,
The crying shadow in the funeral dance,
The loud lament of
    the disconsolate chimera.

— T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets

The link to the word "devilish" in the last entry leads to one of my previous journal entries, "A Mass for Lucero," that deals with the devilishness of postmodern philosophy.  To hammer this point home, here is an attack on college English departments that begins as follows:

"William Faulkner's Snopes trilogy, which recounts the generation-long rise of the drily loathsome Flem Snopes from clerk in a country store to bank president in Jefferson, Mississippi, teems with analogies to what has happened to English departments over the past thirty years."

For more, see

The Word in the Desert,
by Glenn C. Arbery
.

See also the link on the word "contemptible," applied to Jacques Derrida, in my Logos and Logic page.

This leads to an National Review essay on Derrida,

The Philosopher as King,
by Mark Goldblatt

A reader's comment on my previous entry suggests the film "Scotland, PA" as viewing related to the Derrida/Macbeth link there.

I prefer the following notice of a 7-11 death, that of a powerful art museum curator who would have been well cast as Lady Macbeth:

Die Fahne Hoch,
Frank Stella,
1959


Dorothy Miller,
MOMA curator,

died at 99 on
July 11, 2003
.

From the Whitney Museum site:

"Max Anderson: When artist Frank Stella first showed this painting at The Museum of Modern Art in 1959, people were baffled by its austerity. Stella responded, 'What you see is what you see. Painting to me is a brush in a bucket and you put it on a surface. There is no other reality for me than that.' He wanted to create work that was methodical, intellectual, and passionless. To some, it seemed to be nothing more than a repudiation of everything that had come before—a rational system devoid of pleasure and personality. But other viewers saw that the black paintings generated an aura of mystery and solemnity.

The title of this work, Die Fahne Hoch, literally means 'The banner raised.'  It comes from the marching anthem of the Nazi youth organization. Stella pointed out that the proportions of this canvas are much the same as the large flags displayed by the Nazis.

But the content of the work makes no reference to anything outside of the painting itself. The pattern was deduced from the shape of the canvas—the width of the black bands is determined by the width of the stretcher bars. The white lines that separate the broad bands of black are created by the narrow areas of unpainted canvas. Stella's black paintings greatly influenced the development of Minimalism in the 1960s."

From Play It As It Lays:

   She took his hand and held it.  "Why are you here."
   "Because you and I, we know something.  Because we've been out there where nothing is.  Because I wanted—you know why."
   "Lie down here," she said after a while.  "Just go to sleep."
   When he lay down beside her the Seconal capsules rolled on the sheet.  In the bar across the road somebody punched King of the Road on the jukebox again, and there was an argument outside, and the sound of a bottle breaking.  Maria held onto BZ's hand.
   "Listen to that," he said.  "Try to think about having enough left to break a bottle over it."
   "It would be very pretty," Maria said.  "Go to sleep."

I smoke old stogies I have found…    

Cigar Aficionado on artist Frank Stella:

" 'Frank actually makes the moment. He captures it and helps to define it.'

This was certainly true of Stella's 1958 New York debut. Fresh out of Princeton, he came to New York and rented a former jeweler's shop on Eldridge Street on the Lower East Side. He began using ordinary house paint to paint symmetrical black stripes on canvas. Called the Black Paintings, they are credited with paving the way for the minimal art movement of the 1960s. By the fall of 1959, Dorothy Miller of The Museum of Modern Art had chosen four of the austere pictures for inclusion in a show called Sixteen Americans."

For an even more austere picture, see

Geometry for Jews:

For more on art, Derrida, and devilishness, see Deborah Solomon's essay in the New York Times Magazine of Sunday, June 27, 1999:

 How to Succeed in Art.

"Blame Derrida and
his fellow French theorists…."

See, too, my site

Art Wars: Geometry as Conceptual Art

For those who prefer a more traditional meditation, I recommend

Ecce Lignum Crucis

("Behold the Wood of the Cross")

THE WORD IN THE DESERT

For more on the word "road" in the desert, see my "Dead Poet" entry of Epiphany 2003 (Tao means road) as well as the following scholarly bibliography of road-related cultural artifacts (a surprising number of which involve Harrison Ford):

A Bibliography of Road Materials

Sunday, May 25, 2003

Sunday May 25, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 7:11 PM

ART WARS

Mental Health Month, Day 25:

Matrix of the Death God

Having dealt yesterday with the Death Goddess Sarah, we turn today to the Death God Abraham.  (See Jacques Derrida, The Gift of Death, University of Chicago Press, 1996.)  For a lengthy list of pictures of this damned homicidal lunatic about to murder his son, see The Text This Week.

 

See, too, The Matrix of Abraham, illustrated below.  This is taken from a book by R. M. Abraham, Diversions and Pastimes, published by Constable and Company, London, in 1933.

The Matrix of Abraham

A summary of the religious import of the above from Princeton University Press:

“Moslems of the Middle Ages were fascinated by pandiagonal squares with 1 in the center…. The Moslems thought of the central 1 as being symbolic of the unity of Allah.  Indeed, they were so awed by that symbol that they often left blank the central cell on which the 1 should be positioned.”

— Clifford A. Pickover, The Zen of Magic Squares, Circles, and Stars, Princeton U. Press, 2002, pp. 71-72

Other appearances of this religious icon on the Web:

On Linguistic Creation

Picasso’s Birthday

A less religious approach to the icon may be found on page 393 of R. D. Carmichael’s Introduction to the Theory of Groups of Finite Order (Ginn, Boston, 1937, reprinted by Dover, 1956).

This matrix did not originate with Abraham but, unlike Neo, I have not yet found its Architect.

Monday, March 24, 2003

Monday March 24, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:52 PM

Orwell’s question, according to
an admirer of leftist Noam Chomsky:

“When so much of the BS is right out in the open,
why is it that we know so little about it?
Why don’t we see what’s right in front of our eyes?”


Oscar
Deep Chomsky:
Lying, Truth-Telling,
and the Social Order
 
 
 
 
 Michael
 Moore

“First of all, I’d like to thank the Academy….”
— Quotation attributed to Plato

The New Yorker of March 31, 2003, discusses leftist academic Noam Chomsky.  The online edition provides a web page listing pro-Chomsky links.

Chomsky’s influence is based in part on the popularity of his half-baked theories on linguistics, starting in the 1950’s with “deep structure” and “transformational,” or “generative,” grammar.

Chomsky has abandoned many of his previous ideas and currently touts what he calls The Minimalist Program.

For some background on Chomsky’s recent linguistic notions, see the expository essay “Syntactic Theory,” by Elly van Gelderen of the Arizona State University English Department.  Van Gelderen lists her leftist political agenda on her “Other Interests” page.  Her department may serve as an example of how leftists have converted many English departments in American universities to propaganda factories.

Some attacks on Chomsky’s scholarship:

The Emperor’s New Linguistics

The New Grammarians’ Funeral

Beyond Chomsky

Could Chomsky Be Wrong? 

Forty-four Reasons Why the Chomskians Are Mistaken

Call for Papers, Chomsky 2003

Chomsky’s (Mis)Understanding of Human Thinking

Anatomy of a Revolution… Chomsky in 1962

…Linguistic Theory: The Rationality of Noam Chomsky

A Bibliography

Some attacks on Chomsky’s propaganda:

LeftWatch.com Chomsky page

Destructive Generation excerpt

The Sick Mind of Noam Chomsky

Partners in Hate: Noam Chomsky and the Holocaust Deniers

Chomsky and Plato’s Diamond

Like another purveyor of leftist nonsense, Jacques Derrida, Chomsky is fond of citing Plato as a precedent.  In particular, what Chomsky calls “Plato’s problem” is discussed in Plato’s Meno.  For a look at the diamond figure that plays a central role in that dialogue, see Diamond Theory.  For an excellent overview of related material in Plato, see Theory of Forms.

Friday, December 27, 2002

Friday December 27, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:43 PM

Least Popular Christmas Present

 
Derrida

From the University of Chicago Press, Religion and Postmodernism Series:

The Gift of Death,
by Jacques Derrida

Russell Berrie, toy maker, dies on Christmas Day. (AP photo)

See also my note “Last-Minute Shopping
of December 20, 2002, and my note
An Anti-Christmas Present” of June 25, 2002.

On the bright side: Berrie joins comedians
W. C. Fields and Charlie Chaplin,
who also died on Christmas Day. 
“Dying is easy; comedy is hard.”
— Unknown source.
See my note on Santa’s last words.

Friday, December 20, 2002

Friday December 20, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:06 PM

Last-Minute Shopping

In celebration of today’s nationwide opening of Martin Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York” —


© Orion Pictures

Ed Harris in
State of Grace

  
  Xmas Special

See also my Sermon for St. Patrick’s Day

This contains the following metaphysical observation from Mark Helprin’s novel Winter’s Tale:

“Nothing is random.”

For those who, like the protagonist of Joan Didion’s

Play It As It Lays,

feel that they “know what nothing means,” I recommend the following readings:

From Peter Goldman’s essay

Christian Mystery and Responsibility:
Gnosticism in Derrida’s The Gift of Death

Derrida’s description of Christian mystery implies this hidden demonic and violent dimension:

The gift made to me by God as he holds me in his gaze and in his hand while remaining inaccessible to me, the terribly dissymmetrical gift of the mysterium tremendum only allows me to respond and only rouses me to the responsibility it gives me by making a gift of death, giving the secret of death, a new experience of death. (33)”

The above-mentioned sermon is a meditation on randomness and page numbers, focusing on page 265 in particular.

On page 265 of Finnegans Wake, by James Joyce,  we find the following remark:

“Googlaa pluplu.” 

Following Joyce’s instructions, and entering “pluplu” in the Google search engine, we find the following:

“Datura is a delusional drug rather than a hallucinatory one. You don’t see patterns, trails, or any cool visual effects; you just actually believe in things that aren’t there….  I remember holding a glass for a while–but when I raised it to my mouth to take a drink, my fingers closed around nothingness because there was no glass there….

Using datura is the closest I’ve ever come to death…. Of all the drugs I’ve taken, this is the one that I’d be too scared to ever take again.”

PluPlu, August 4, 2000

 
For those who don’t need AA, perhaps the offer of Ed Harris in the classic study of gangs of New York, “State of Grace,” is an offer of somewhat safer holiday cheer that should not be refused.

Friday, November 29, 2002

Friday November 29, 2002

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 1:06 PM

A Logocentric Archetype

Today we examine the relativist, nominalist, leftist, nihilist, despairing, depressing, absurd, and abominable work of Samuel Beckett, darling of the postmodernists.

One lens through which to view Beckett is an essay by Jennifer Martin, "Beckettian Drama as Protest: A Postmodern Examination of the 'Delogocentering' of Language." Martin begins her essay with two quotations: one from the contemptible French twerp Jacques Derrida, and one from Beckett's masterpiece of stupidity, Molloy. For a logocentric deconstruction of Derrida, see my note, "The Shining of May 29," which demonstrates how Derrida attempts to convert a rather important mathematical result to his brand of nauseating and pretentious nonsense, and of course gets it wrong. For a logocentric deconstruction of Molloy, consider the following passage:

"I took advantage of being at the seaside to lay in a store of sucking-stones. They were pebbles but I call them stones…. I distributed them equally among my four pockets, and sucked them turn and turn about. This raised a problem which I first solved in the following way. I had say sixteen stones, four in each of my four pockets these being the two pockets of my trousers and the two pockets of my greatcoat. Taking a stone from the right pocket of my greatcoat, and putting it in my mouth, I replaced it in the right pocket of my greatcoat by a stone from the right pocket of my trousers, which I replaced by a stone from the left pocket of my trousers, which I replaced by a stone from the left pocket of my greatcoat, which I replaced by the stone which was in my mouth, as soon as I had finished sucking it. Thus there were still four stones in each of my four pockets, but not quite the same stones….But this solution did not satisfy me fully. For it did not escape me that, by an extraordinary hazard, the four stones circulating thus might always be the same four."

Beckett is describing, in great detail, how a damned moron might approach the extraordinarily beautiful mathematical discipline known as group theory, founded by the French anticleric and leftist Evariste Galois. Disciples of Derrida may play at mimicking the politics of Galois, but will never come close to imitating his genius. For a worthwhile discussion of permutation groups acting on a set of 16 elements, see R. D. Carmichael's masterly work, Introduction to the Theory of Groups of Finite Order, Ginn, Boston, 1937, reprinted by Dover, New York, 1956.

There are at least two ways of approaching permutations on 16 elements in what Pascal calls "l'esprit géométrique." My website Diamond Theory discusses the action of the affine group in a four-dimensional finite geometry of 16 points. For a four-dimensional euclidean hypercube, or tesseract, with 16 vertices, see the highly logocentric movable illustration by Harry J. Smith. The concept of a tesseract was made famous, though seen through a glass darkly, by the Christian writer Madeleine L'Engle in her novel for children and young adults, A Wrinkle in Tme.

This tesseract may serve as an archetype for what Pascal, Simone Weil (see my earlier notes), Harry J. Smith, and Madeleine L'Engle might, borrowing their enemies' language, call their "logocentric" philosophy.

For a more literary antidote to postmodernist nihilism, see Archetypal Theory and Criticism, by Glen R. Gill.

For a discussion of the full range of meaning of the word "logos," which has rational as well as religious connotations, click here.

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