Log24

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tale

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

“I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul….

— Hamlet’s Father’s Ghost

The results of a search in this journal for “a tale unfold” suggest
a review of the following passage from Donna Tartt’s Secret History

A math weblog discussed this passage on January 24, 2013.
For related alliances, see this  weblog on that same date.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cover Art

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

The Misalignment of Mars and Venus

A death in Sarasota on Sunday leads to a weblog post from Tuesday
that suggests a review of Dan Brown's graphic philosophy—

From The Da Vinci Code :

Langdon pulled a pen from his pocket.  “Sophie are you familiar with the modern icons for male and female?”  He drew the common male symbol ♂ and female symbol ♀.

“Of course,” she said.

“These,” he said quietly, are not the original symbols for male and female.  Many people incorrectly assume the male symbol is derived from a shield and spear, while the female represents a mirror reflecting beauty.  In fact, the symbols originated as ancient astronomical symbols for the planet-god Mars and the planet-goddess Venus.  The original symbols are far simpler.”  Langdon drew another icon on the paper.

 

 

 

“This symbol is the original icon for male ,” he told her.  “A rudimentary phallus.”

“Quite to the point,” Sophie said.

“As it were,” Teabing added.

Langdon went on.  “This icon is formally known as the blade , and it represents aggression and manhood.  In fact, this exact phallus symbol is still used today on modern military uniforms to denote rank.”

“Indeed.”  Teabing grinned.  “The more penises you have, the higher your rank.  Boys will be boys.”

Langdon winced.  “Moving on, the female symbol, as you might imagine, is the exact opposite.”  He drew another symbol on the page.  “This is called the chalice .”

 

 

Sophie glanced up, looking surprised.

Langdon could see she had made the connection.  “The chalice,” he said, “resembles a cup or vessel, and more important, it resembles the shape of a woman’s womb.  This symbol communicates femininity, womanhood, and fertility.”

Langdon's simplified symbols, in disguised form, illustrate
a musical meditation on the misalignment of Mars and Venus—

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11B/110720-Misaligned.jpg

This was adapted from an album cover by "Meyers/Monogram"—

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11B/110720-BladeAndChalice-RomeoAndJuliet-500w.jpg

  See also Secret History and The Story of N.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Wednesday January 24, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:00 AM
The Dead Shepherd
starring E. Howard Hunt
and James Jesus Angleton

From this morning’s
New York Times:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070124-Hunt.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Tim Weiner in today’s New York Times:

“Mr. Hunt was intelligent, erudite, suave and loyal to his friends….

Everette Howard Hunt Jr. was born in Hamburg, N.Y., on Oct. 9, 1918, the son of a lawyer and a classically trained pianist who played church organ. He graduated from Brown University in June 1940 and entered the United States Naval Academy as a midshipman in February 1941.

He worked as a wartime intelligence officer in China, a postwar spokesman for the Marshall Plan in Paris and a screenwriter in Hollywood. Warner Brothers had just bought his fourth novel, ‘Bimini Run,’ a thriller set in the Caribbean, when he joined the fledgling C.I.A. in April 1949.

Mr. Hunt was immediately assigned to train C.I.A. recruits…. He moved to Mexico City, where he became chief of station in 1950. He brought along another rookie C.I.A. officer, William F. Buckley Jr., later a prominent conservative author and publisher, who became godfather and guardian to the four children of Mr. Hunt and his wife, the former Dorothy L. Wetzel.

In 1954, Mr. Hunt helped plan the covert operation that overthrew the elected president of Guatemala….

By the time of the coup, Mr. Hunt had been removed from responsibility. He moved on to uneventful stints in Japan and Uruguay. Not until 1960 was Mr. Hunt involved in an operation that changed history.

The C.I.A. had received orders from both President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his successor, President John F. Kennedy, to alter or abolish the revolutionary government of Fidel in Cuba. Mr. Hunt’s assignment was to create a provisional Cuban government that would be ready to take power once the C.I.A.’s cadre of Cuban shock troops invaded the island…. 

He retired from the C.I.A. in 1970 and secured a job with an agency-connected public relations firm in Washington. Then, a year later, came a call from the White House….

Mr. Hunt’s last book, ‘American Spy: My Secret History in the C.I.A., Watergate and Beyond,’ written with Greg Aunapu, is to be published on March 16 with a foreword by his old friend William F. Buckley Jr.

Late in life, he said he had no regrets, beyond the Bay of Pigs.”

Related Material:

Game Boy,
Philosophy Wars,
and the following:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070124-Solomon.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Andre Furlani, quoted in
Log24 on January 19:

“In his study of The Cantos,
Davenport defines the Poundian
ideogram as ‘a grammar of images,
emblems, and symbols, rather than
a grammar of logical sequence….
An idea unifies, dominates, and
controls the particulars that make
the ideogram’.”

For such an ideogram,
see Bright Star and the
(clickable) symbol from
Philosophy Wars:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070103-DoubleCross.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070124-Pound2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Photo from Miami University site

Friday, November 7, 2003

Friday November 7, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 PM

A Beautiful Fantasy:

The Secret life of
 John Nash

“Dr. Blind (pronounced ‘Blend’) was about ninety years old and had taught, for the past fifty years, a course called ‘Invariant Subspaces’ which was noted for its monotony and virtually absolute unintelligibility, as well as for the fact that the final exam, as long as anyone could remember, had consisted of the same single yes-or-no question. The question was three pages long but the answer was always ‘Yes’. That was all you needed to pass Invariant Subspaces.”

The Secret History, by Donna Tartt

 

“…I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

Trieste-Zurich-Paris
1914-1921″

Ulysses, by James Joyce

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

Wednesday August 6, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:23 AM

Postmodern
Postmortem

“I had a lot of fun with this audacious and exasperating book. … [which] looks more than a little like Greil Marcus’s Lipstick Traces, a ‘secret history’ tracing punk rock through May 1968….”

— Michael Harris, Institut de Mathématiques de Jussieu, Université Paris 7, review of Mathematics and the Roots of Postmodern Thought, by Vladimir Tasic, Notices of the American Mathematical Society, August 2003

For some observations on the transgressive  predecessors of punk rock, see my entry Funeral March of July 26, 2003 (the last conscious day in the life of actress Marie Trintignant — see below), which contains the following:

“Sky is high and so am I,
If you’re a viper — a vi-paah.”
The Day of the Locust,
    by Nathanael West (1939)

As I noted in another another July 26 entry, the disease of postmodernism has, it seems, now infected mathematics.  For some recent outbreaks of infection in physics, see the works referred to below.

Postmodern Fields of Physics: In his book The Dreams of Reason, H. R. Pagels focuses on the science of complexity as the most outstanding new discipline emerging in recent years….”

— “The Semiotics of ‘Postmodern’ Physics,” by Hans J. Pirner, in Symbol and Physical Knowledge: The Conceptual Structure of Physics, ed. by M. Ferrari and I.-O. Stamatescu, Springer Verlag, August 2001 

For a critical look at Pagels’s work, see Midsummer Eve’s Dream.  For a less critical look, see The Marriage of Science and Mysticism.  Pagels’s book on the so-called “science of complexity” was published in June 1988.  For more recent bullshit on complexity, see

The Critical Idiom of Postmodernity and Its Contributions to an Understanding of Complexity, by Matthew Abraham, 2000,

which describes a book on complexity theory that, besides pronouncements about physics, also provides what “could very well be called a ‘postmodern ethic.’ “

The book reviewed is Paul Cilliers’s Complexity and Postmodernism: Understanding Complex Systems.

A search for related material on Cilliers yields the following:

Janis Joplin, Postmodernist

” …’all’ is ‘one,’ … the time is ‘now’ and … ‘tomorrow never happens,’ …. as Janis Joplin says, ‘it’s all the same fucking day.’

It appears that ‘time,’ … the linear, independent notion of ‘time’ that our culture embraces, is an artifact of our abstract thinking …

The problem is that ‘tomorrow never happens’ …. Aboriginal traditionalists are well aware of this topological paradox and so was Janis Joplin. Her use of the expletive in this context is therefore easy to understand … love is never having to say ‘tomorrow.’ “

Web page citing Paul Cilliers

“That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard.”

— Ryan O’Neal in “What’s Up, Doc?”

A more realistic look at postmodernism in action is provided by the following news story:

Brutal Death of an Actress Is France’s Summertime Drama

By JOHN TAGLIABUE

The actress, Marie Trintignant, died Friday [Aug. 1, 2003] in a Paris hospital, with severe head and face injuries. Her rock star companion, Bertrand Cantat, is confined to a prison hospital….

According to news reports, Ms. Trintignant and Mr. Cantat argued violently in their hotel room in Vilnius in the early hours of [Sunday] July 27 at the end of a night spent eating and drinking….

In coming months, two films starring Ms. Trintignant are scheduled to debut, including “Janis and John” by the director Samuel Benchetrit, her estranged husband and the father of two of her four children. In it, Ms. Trintignant plays Janis Joplin.

New York Times of Aug. 5, 2003

” ‘…as a matter of fact, as we discover all the time, tomorrow never happens, man. It’s all the same f…n’ day, man!’ –Janis Joplin, at live performance in Calgary on 4th July 1970 – exactly four months before her death. (apologies for censoring her exact words which can be heard on the ‘Janis Joplin in Concert’ CD)”

Janis Joplin at FamousTexans.com

All of the above fits in rather nicely with the view of science and scientists in the C. S. Lewis classic That Hideous Strength, which I strongly recommend.

For those few who both abhor postmodernism and regard the American Mathematical Society Notices

as a sort of “holy place” of Platonism, I recommend a biblical reading–

Matthew 24:15, CEV:

“Someday you will see that Horrible Thing in the holy place….”

See also Logos and Logic for more sophisticated religious remarks, by Simone Weil, whose brother, mathematician André Weil, died five years ago today.

Sunday, September 8, 2002

Sunday September 8, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:00 AM

In honor of the September 8 birthdays of

From a website on Donna Tartt‘s novel The Secret History… 

“It is like a storyteller looking up suddenly into the eyes of his audience across the embers of a once blazing fire…

…the reader feels privy to the secrets of human experience by their passage down through the ages; the telling and re-telling. A phrase from the ghost in Hamlet comes to mind:

‘I could a tale unfold whose lightest word /
Would harrow up thy soul…..’ “

This work of literature seems especially relevant at the start of a new school year, and in light of my remarks below about ancient Greek religion. One should, when praising Apollo, never forget that Dionysus is also a powerful god.

For those who prefer film to the written word, I recommend “Barton Fink” as especially appropriate viewing for the High Holy Days. Judy Davis (my favorite actress) plays a Faulkner-figure’s “secretary” who actually writes most of his scripts.

Tartt is herself from Faulkner country.  For her next book, see this page from Square Books, 160 Courthouse Square, Oxford, Misssissippi.

Let us pray that Tartt fares better in real life than Davis did in the movie.

As music for the High Holy Days, I recommend Don Henley’s “The Garden of Allah.” For some background on the actual Garden of Allah Hotel at 8080 Sunset Boulevard (where “Barton Fink” might have taken place), see

NAZIMOVA AND THE GARDEN OF ALLA.

Saturday, September 7, 2002

Saturday September 7, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:44 PM

The Boys from Uruguay

If one were to write a “secret history” of the twentieth century, one possible organizing theme might be the religious struggle between worshippers of the Semitic deity (variously known as Yahweh, God, and Allah) and worshippers of the Aryan deities… notably, the Aryan god of music, light, and reason, Apollo.

(See my jounal notes of Monday, Sept. 2, 2002, below.)

In perhaps the best academic website I have ever seen, Karey L. Perkins quotes Walker Percy:

“The truth is that man’s capacity for symbol-mongering in general and language in particular is…intimately part and parcel of his being human, of his perceiving and knowing, of his very consciousness…”

The greatest symbol-monger of the twentieth century was, of course, Adolf Hitler. His use of the Aryan sun-wheel symbol rose to the level of genius. Of course, it ultimately failed to win the approval of the sun god himself, Apollo, who is also the god of reason.

Since symbol-mongering cannot be avoided, let us hope that it can be done in a somewhat more reasonable way than that of the National Socialist movement. Two examples suggest themselves.

  1. From Peggy Noonan’s column of Friday, Sept. 6:

    The cross, the heart, and the flag.

  2. From Karey Perkins’s website:

    A brain, a heart, and courage

On this Rosh Hashanah, the cross as a symbol of intelligence may be offensive to some worshippers of Yahweh. Let them read The Archivist, a novel by Martha Cooley, and then my journal note The Matthias Defense.

They might also contemplate the biblical quotation in the musical “Contact” broadcast from Lincoln Center on September 1, 2002: “Let there be light!”

Three Jews named Paul have been associated with light…

  1. Saul of Tarsus, who later assumed an alias.

  2. Paul Newman, whose performance in “The Verdict” continues, indirectly, to trouble Cardinal Law of Boston.

  3. Paul R. Halmos, a personal hero of mine ever since I saw his Finite Dimensional Vector Spaces and Measure Theory as an ignorant young undergraduate browsing the bookstores of Harvard Square.

In accordance with the “secret history” theme mentioned above, the struggle between Aryan and Semitic religions may also be viewed in the light of the struggle between Christianity and Communism. Hitler exploited this viewpoint very successfully, pretending to be the champion of the Christians against the godless Reds. Peggy Noonan also successfully uses this strategy. Both Hitler and Noonan manage to ignore the fact that Christianity is itself one of the Semitic religions, and that at least two of its three deities are Jewish.

As for me, I rather identify with the young Hitler clone at the end of the film “The Boys from Brazil.” Forced to decide between Gregory Peck and Sir Laurence Olivier, he sides with Olivier. His reason? Peck lied.

In a similar situation, forced to decide between Peggy Noonan and the Jew Halmos, I would probably side with Halmos. Halmos, who should, if not a saint, be at least dubbed a knight, does not, unlike the great majority of the damned human race, lie.

See Halmos’s memoir, I Want to Be a Mathematician. In particular, see the single index entry “communist by allegation” and the 29 entries under “Uruguay.”

Happy birthday to Elia Kazan and Peggy Noonan, and a happy and prosperous New Year to should-be-Sir Paul R. Halmos. 

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