Log24

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Misery Continues.

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:40 AM

Part I: Sharp Objects

Part II: Out of Blue

Part III: Misery

Misery according to Simone Weil

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Pivot

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:00 AM

A Web search for "diamond pivot bright" yields . . .

Page 103 of 'Conceptions of Reality in Modern American Poetry,' by L. S. Dembo


An "irrational image" from Log24 (Nov. 26, 2002) —
 

"The beautiful in mathematics resides in contradiction.  
Incommensurability, logoi alogoi , was the first splendor
in mathematics."

Simone WeilOeuvres Choisies , 
éd. Quarto, Gallimard, 1999, p. 100

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Attention

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:09 AM

"Simone Weil said that morality
was a matter of attention not of will.
We need a new vocabulary of attention."

— Iris Murdoch, "Against Dryness"

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Small Model Composition…

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:29 PM

…  A Scottish Play  suggested by  …

  • A passage quoted here Friday night

    "The Hegel action is applied to understand creative processes
    in two classical compositions — Beethoven’s Hammerklavier
    Sonata op. 106, and Liszt’s Mephisto Walzer — but also to
    the creation of a small model composition."

— From the abstract of  "Hegel’s Conceptual 
Group Action on Creative Dynamics in Music
," by 
Guerino Mazzola and Maria Mannone

  • A news story from today about a death yesterday —

  • An informative weblog post from Shakespeare's Birthday
    (today's date, April 23) three years ago 

http://toomuchhorrorfiction.blogspot.com/
2014/04/go-waltzing-mephisto-with-me.html

Illustration —

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Requiem for a Herald

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:48 PM

In memory of Peter Drummond-Murray, two readings:

The Beauty that Saves and The Trials of Device.

Drummond-Murray reportedly died at 84 on April 13,
Palm Sunday.  The Telegraph  describes him:

“A big, grim-faced man with a dour wit,
Drummond-Murray resembled some rugged
Jacobite from a novel by Sir Walter Scott.”

Or Sydney Greenstreet.

“The stuff that dreams are made of.” — The Maltese Falcon

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 .

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Hallowed Crucible

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:30 PM

(Continued)

A meditation suggested by the April 20 post Complex Reflection
and by the life and April 20 death of a scientist who worked
at Los Alamos (home of the Monte Carlo method) and at
the Santa Fe Institute (home of complexity theory).

IMAGE- The NY lottery results for midday April 20, 2012, were 0286 and 823.

A search for 286 in this journal yields "Yet Another Cartoon Graveyard."

That June 1, 2008, post linked to poem  286 in a 1919 anthology.

Here is that poem, together with poem 823.

Together, these poems may be regarded as a meditation on
Simone Weil and her brother André Weil or, 
more abstractly, on Love and Death.

Happy birthday to Al Pacino.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday May 17, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 7:59 AM
Design Theory

Laura A. Smit, Calvin College, “Towards an Aesthetic Teleology: Romantic Love, Imagination and the Beautiful in the Thought of Simone Weil and Charles Williams“–

“My work is motivated by a hope that there may be a way to recapture the ancient and medieval vision of both Beauty and purpose in a way which is relevant to our own century. I even dare to hope that the two ideas may be related, that Beauty is actually part of the meaning and purpose of life.”

Hans Ludwig de Vries, “On Orthogonal Resolutions of the Classical Steiner Quadruple System SQS(16),” Designs, Codes and Cryptography Vol. 48, No. 3 (Sept. 2008) 287-292 (DOI 10.1007/s10623-008-9207-5)–

“The Reverend T. P. Kirkman knew in 1862 that there exists a group of degree 16 and order 322560 with a normal, elementary abelian, subgroup of order 16 [1, p. 108]. Frobenius identified this group in 1904 as a subgroup of the Mathieu group M24 [4, p. 570]….”

1. Biggs N.L., “T. P. Kirkman, Mathematician,” Bulletin of the London Mathematical Society 13, 97–120 (1981).

4. Frobenius G., “Über die Charaktere der mehrfach transitiven Gruppen,” Sitzungsber. Königl. Preuss. Akad. Wiss. zu Berlin, 558–571 (1904). Reprinted in Frobenius, Gesammelte Abhandlungen III (J.-P. Serre, editor), pp. 335–348. Springer, Berlin (1968).

Olli Pottonen, “Classification of Steiner Quadruple Systems” (Master’s thesis, Helsinki, 2005)–

“The concept of group actions is very useful in the study of isomorphisms of combinatorial structures.”

Olli Pottonen,  'Classification of Steiner Quadruple Systems'

“Simplify, simplify.”
Thoreau

Beauty is bound up
with symmetry.”
Weyl

Sixteen points in a 4x4 array

Pottonen’s thesis is
 dated Nov. 16, 2005.

For some remarks on
images and theology,
see Log24 on that date.

Click on the above image
 for some further details.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sunday June 1, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 2:14 PM
Yet Another
Cartoon Graveyard

The conclusion of yesterday’s commentary on the May 30-31 Pennsylvania Lottery numbers:

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow:

“The fear balloons again inside his brain. It will not be kept down with a simple Fuck You…. A smell, a forbidden room, at the bottom edge of his memory. He can’t see it, can’t make it out. Doesn’t want to. It is allied with the Worst Thing.

He knows what the smell has to be: though according to these papers it would have been too early for it, though he has never come across any of the stuff among the daytime coordinates of his life, still, down here, back here in the warm dark, among early shapes where the clocks and calendars don’t mean too much, he knows that’s what haunting him now will prove to be the smell of Imipolex G.

Then there’s this recent dream he is afraid of having again. He was in his old room, back home. A summer afternoon of lilacs and bees and

286”

What are we to make of this enigmatic 286? (No fair peeking at page 287.)

One possible meaning, given The Archivists claim that “existence is infinitely cross-referenced”–

Page 286 of Ernest G. Schachtel, Metamorphosis: On the Conflict of Human Development and the Psychology of Creativity (first published in 1959), Hillsdale NJ and London, The Analytic Press, 2001 (chapter– “On Memory and Childhood Amnesia”):

“Both Freud and Proust speak of the autobiographical [my italics] memory, and it is only with regard to this memory that the striking phenomenon of childhood amnesia and the less obvious difficulty of recovering any past experience may be observed.”

The concluding “summer afternoon of lilacs and bees” suggests that 286 may also be a chance allusion to the golden afternoon of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. (Cf. St. Sarah’s Day, 2008)

Some may find the Disney afternoon charming; others may see it as yet another of Paul Simon’s dreaded cartoon graveyards.

More tastefully, there is poem 286 in the 1919 Oxford Book of English Verse– “Love.”

For a midrash on this poem, see Simone Weil, who became acquainted with the poem by chance:

“I always prefer saying chance rather than Providence.”

Simone Weil, letter of about May 15, 1942

Weil’s brother André might prefer Providence (source of the Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society.)

Andre Weil and his sister Simone, summer of 1922(Photo from Providence)

 

Related material:


Log24, December 20, 2003–
White, Geometric, and Eternal

A description in Gravity’s Rainbow of prewar Berlin as “white and geometric”  suggested, in combination with a reference elsewhere to “the eternal,” a citation of the following illustration of the concept “white, geometric, and eternal”–

For more on the mathematical significance of this figure, see (for instance) Happy Birthday, Hassler Whitney, and Combinatorics of Coxeter Groups, by Anders Björner and Francesco Brenti, Graduate Texts in Mathematics, vol. 231, Springer, New York, 2005.

This book is reviewed in the current issue (July 2008) of the above-mentioned Providence Bulletin.

The review in the Bulletin discusses reflection groups in continuous spaces.

For a more elementary approach, see Reflection Groups in Finite Geometry and Knight Moves: The Relativity Theory of Kindergarten Blocks.

See also a commentary on
the phrase “as a little child.”

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thursday October 25, 2007

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 9:19 AM

Something Anonymous

From this date–
Picasso's birthday–
five years ago:
 
"A work of art has an author
and yet,
when it is perfect,
it has something
which is
essentially anonymous about it."

Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace   

 
Michelangelo's birthday, 2003

4x4 square grid

Yesterday:

The color-analogy figures of Descartes

Nineteenth-century quilt design:

Tents of Armageddon quilt design

Related material:

Battlefield Geometry
 

Friday, May 12, 2006

Friday May 12, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:00 PM
The Carlin Code

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060512-Carlin1.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Happy birthday, George:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060512-Harvard.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Sources:

Tom Hanks’s birthday, 2005

Salute to Anthony Hopkins,
May 3, May 4, May 5

Today’s Wizard of Id

Judeo-Christian Heritage:
The Wiener Kreis

André Weil As I Knew Him,
by Goro Shimura (pdf)

Simone Weil
on George Herbert

Related material:

The Prime Cut Gospel

Harvard Symbology

God Is Red

Quine’s Shema

The Big Red One

Saturday, May 6, 2006

Saturday May 6, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:02 PM

Born on this date
100 years ago:
 
André Weil

“… just as God defeats the devil:
     this bridge exists….”
     — André Weil

“… I always prefer saying chance
     rather than Providence….”
     — Simone Weil

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Wednesday November 16, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:04 PM
Images

Adam Gopnik on C. S. Lewis in this week’s New Yorker:

“Lewis began with a number of haunted images….”

“The best of the books are the ones… where the allegory is at a minimum and the images just flow.”

“‘Everything began with images,’ Lewis wrote….”

“We go to the writing of the marvellous, and to children’s books, for stories, certainly, and for the epic possibilities of good and evil in confrontation, not yet so mixed as they are in life. But we go, above all, for imagery: it is the force of imagery that carries us forward. We have a longing for inexplicable sublime imagery….”

“The religious believer finds consolation, and relief, too, in the world of magic exactly because it is at odds with the necessarily straitened and punitive morality of organized worship, even if the believer is, like Lewis, reluctant to admit it. The irrational images– the street lamp in the snow and the silver chair and the speaking horse– are as much an escape for the Christian imagination as for the rationalist, and we sense a deeper joy in Lewis’s prose as it escapes from the demands of Christian belief into the darker realm of magic. As for faith, well, a handful of images is as good as an armful of arguments, as the old apostles always knew.”

Related material:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05B/051116-Time.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Click on pictures for details.

See also Windmills and
Verbum sat sapienti?
as well as

an essay

 at Calvin College
on Simone Weil,
Charles Williams,
Dante, and
the way of images.”

Friday, June 24, 2005

Friday June 24, 2005

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 4:07 PM
Geometry for Jews
continued:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05A/050624-Cross.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

People have tried in many ways
to bridge the gap
between themselves and God….
No bridge reaches God, except one…
God’s Bridge: The Cross

— Billy Graham Evangelistic Association,
according to messiahpage.com

“… just as God defeats the devil:
this bridge exists;
it is the theory of the field
of algebraic functions over
a finite field of constants
(that is to say, a finite number
of elements: also said to be a Galois
field, or earlier ‘Galois imaginaries’
because Galois first defined them
and studied them….)”

André Weil, 1940 letter to his sister,
Simone Weil, alias Simone Galois
(see previous entry)

Related material:

Billy Graham and the City:
A Later Look at His Words

— New York Times, June 24, 2005

Geometry for Jews
and other art notes

Galois Geometry

Mathematics and Narrative

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Thursday May 26, 2005

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 4:23 PM
Drama of the Diagonal
“The beautiful in mathematics
resides in contradiction.
Incommensurability, logoi alogoi, was
the first splendor in mathematics.”
Simone Weil, Oeuvres Choisies,
éd. Quarto
, Gallimard, 1999, p. 100

Logos Alogos
by S. H. Cullinane

“To a mathematician, mathematical entities have their own existence, they habitate spaces created by their intention.  They do things, things happen to them, they relate to one another.  We can imagine on their behalf all sorts of stories, providing they don’t contradict what we know of them.  The drama of the diagonal, of the square…

— Dennis Guedj, abstract of “The Drama of Mathematics,” a talk to be given this July at the Mykonos conference on mathematics and narrative.

For the drama of the diagonal of the square, see

Tuesday, April 6, 2004

Tuesday April 6, 2004

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

Ideas and Art, Part III

The first idea was not our own.  Adam
In Eden was the father of Descartes…

— Wallace Stevens, from
Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction

“Quaedam ex his tanquam rerum imagines sunt, quibus solis proprie convenit ideae nomen: ut cùm hominem, vel Chimaeram, vel Coelum, vel Angelum, vel Deum cogito.”

Descartes, Meditationes III, 5

“Of my thoughts some are, as it were, images of things, and to these alone properly belongs the name idea; as when I think [represent to my mind] a man, a chimera, the sky, an angel or God.”

Descartes, Meditations III, 5

Begin, ephebe, by perceiving the idea
Of this invention, this invented world,
The inconceivable idea of the sun.

You must become an ignorant man again
And see the sun again with an ignorant eye
And see it clearly in the idea of it.

— Wallace Stevens, from
Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction

“… Quinimo in multis saepe magnum discrimen videor deprehendisse: ut, exempli causâ, duas diversas solis ideas apud me invenio, unam tanquam a sensibus haustam, & quae maxime inter illas quas adventitias existimo est recensenda, per quam mihi valde parvus apparet, aliam verò ex rationibus Astronomiae desumptam, hoc est ex notionibus quibusdam mihi innatis elicitam, vel quocumque alio modo a me factam, per quam aliquoties major quàm terra exhibetur; utraque profecto similis eidem soli extra me existenti esse non potest, & ratio persuadet illam ei maxime esse dissimilem, quae quàm proxime ab ipso videtur emanasse.”

Descartes, Meditationes III, 11

“… I have observed, in a number of instances, that there was a great difference between the object and its idea. Thus, for example, I find in my mind two wholly diverse ideas of the sun; the one, by which it appears to me extremely small draws its origin from the senses, and should be placed in the class of adventitious ideas; the other, by which it seems to be many times larger than the whole earth, is taken up on astronomical grounds, that is, elicited from certain notions born with me, or is framed by myself in some other manner. These two ideas cannot certainly both resemble the same sun; and reason teaches me that the one which seems to have immediately emanated from it is the most unlike.”

Descartes, Meditations III, 11

“Et quamvis forte una idea ex aliâ nasci possit, non tamen hîc datur progressus in infinitum, sed tandem ad aliquam primam debet deveniri, cujus causa sit in star archetypi, in quo omnis realitas formaliter contineatur, quae est in ideâ tantùm objective.”

Descartes, Meditationes III, 15

“And although an idea may give rise to another idea, this regress cannot, nevertheless, be infinite; we must in the end reach a first idea, the cause of which is, as it were, the archetype in which all the reality [or perfection] that is found objectively [or by representation] in these ideas is contained formally [and in act].”

Descartes, Meditations III, 15

Michael Bryson in an essay on Stevens’s “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction,”

The Quest for the Fiction of the Absolute:

“Canto nine considers the movement of the poem between the particular and the general, the immanent and the transcendent: “The poem goes from the poet’s gibberish to / The gibberish of the vulgate and back again. / Does it move to and fro or is it of both / At once?” The poet, the creator-figure, the shadowy god-figure, is elided, evading us, “as in a senseless element.”  The poet seeks to find the transcendent in the immanent, the general in the particular, trying “by a peculiar speech to speak / The peculiar potency of the general.” In playing on the senses of “peculiar” as particular and strange or uncanny, these lines play on the mystical relation of one and many, of concrete and abstract.”

Brian Cronin in Foundations of Philosophy:

“The insight is constituted precisely by ‘seeing’ the idea in the image, the intelligible in the sensible, the universal in the particular, the abstract in the concrete. We pivot back and forth between images and ideas as we search for the correct insight.”

— From Ch. 2, Identifying Direct Insights

Michael Bryson in an essay on Stevens’s “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction“:

“The fourth canto returns to the theme of opposites. ‘Two things of opposite natures seem to depend / On one another . . . . / This is the origin of change.’  Change resulting from a meeting of opposities is at the root of Taoism: ‘Tao produced the One. / The One produced the two. / The two produced the three. / And the three produced the ten thousand things’ (Tao Te Ching 42) ….”

From an entry of March 7, 2004

From the web page

Introduction to the I Ching–
By Richard Wilhelm
:

“He who has perceived the meaning of change fixes his attention no longer on transitory individual things but on the immutable, eternal law at work in all change. This law is the tao of Lao-tse, the course of things, the principle of the one in the many. That it may become manifest, a decision, a postulate, is necessary. This fundamental postulate is the ‘great primal beginning’ of all that exists, t’ai chi — in its original meaning, the ‘ridgepole.’ Later Chinese philosophers devoted much thought to this idea of a primal beginning. A still earlier beginning, wu chi, was represented by the symbol of a circle. Under this conception, t’ai chi was represented by the circle divided into the light and the dark, yang and yin,

.

This symbol has also played a significant part in India and Europe. However, speculations of a gnostic-dualistic character are foreign to the original thought of the I Ching; what it posits is simply the ridgepole, the line. With this line, which in itself represents oneness, duality comes into the world, for the line at the same time posits an above and a below, a right and left, front and back-in a word, the world of the opposites.”

The t’ai chi symbol is also illustrated on the web page Cognitive Iconology, which says that

“W.J.T. Mitchell calls ‘iconology’
a study of the ‘logos’
(the words, ideas, discourse, or ‘science’)
of ‘icons’ (images, pictures, or likenesses).
It is thus a ‘rhetoric of images’
(Iconology: Image, Text, Ideology, p. 1).”

A variation on the t’ai chi symbol appears in a log24.net entry for March 5:

The Line,
by S. H. Cullinane

See too my web page Logos and Logic, which has the following:

“The beautiful in mathematics resides in contradiction. Incommensurability, logoi alogoi, was the first splendor in mathematics.”

Simone Weil, Oeuvres Choisies, ed. Quarto, Gallimard, 1999, p. 100

 Logos Alogos,
by S. H. Cullinane 

In the conclusion of Section 3, Canto X, of “Notes,” Stevens says

“They will get it straight one day
at the Sorbonne.
We shall return at twilight
from the lecture
Pleased that
the irrational is rational….”

This is the logoi alogoi of Simone Weil.

In “Notes toward a Supreme Fiction,”
Wallace Stevens lists three criteria
for a work of the imagination:

It Must Be Abstract

The Line,
by S.H. Cullinane 

It Must Change

 The 24,
by S. H. Cullinane

It Must Give Pleasure

Puzzle,
by S. H. Cullinane

Related material:

Logos and Logic.

 

Sunday, March 7, 2004

Sunday March 7, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Ridgepole

CBS News Sunday Morning today had a ridgepole ceremony for a house that was moved from China to Salem, Massachusetts.

From the web page

Introduction to the I Ching–
By Richard Wilhelm
:

“He who has perceived the meaning of change fixes his attention no longer on transitory individual things but on the immutable, eternal law at work in all change. This law is the tao of Lao-tse, the course of things, the principle of the one in the many. That it may become manifest, a decision, a postulate, is necessary. This fundamental postulate is the ‘great primal beginning’ of all that exists, t’ai chi — in its original meaning, the ‘ridgepole.’ Later Chinese philosophers devoted much thought to this idea of a primal beginning. A still earlier beginning, wu chi, was represented by the symbol of a circle. Under this conception, t’ai chi was represented by the circle divided into the light and the dark, yang and yin, .

This symbol has also played a significant part in India and Europe. However, speculations of a gnostic-dualistic character are foreign to the original thought of the I Ching; what it posits is simply the ridgepole, the line. With this line, which in itself represents oneness, duality comes into the world, for the line at the same time posits an above and a below, a right and left, front and back-in a word, the world of the opposites.”

The t’ai chi symbol is also illustrated on the web page Cognitive Iconology, which says that 

“W.J.T. Mitchell calls ‘iconology’ a study of the ‘logos’ (the words, ideas, discourse, or ‘science’) of ‘icons’ (images, pictures, or likenesses). It is thus a ‘rhetoric of images’ (Iconology: Image, Text, Ideology, p. 1).”

A variation on the t’ai chi symbol appears in a log24.net entry for March 5:

The Line,
by S. H. Cullinane

See too my web page Logos and Logic, which has the following:

“The beautiful in mathematics resides in contradiction. Incommensurability, logoi alogoi, was the first splendor in mathematics.”

Simone Weil, Oeuvres Choisies, éd. Quarto, Gallimard, 1999, p. 100

Logos Alogos,
 by S. H. Cullinane 

In the conclusion of Section 3, Canto X, of “Notes,” Stevens says

“They will get it straight one day
     at the Sorbonne.
 We shall return at twilight
     from the lecture
 Pleased that
     the irrational is rational….”

This is the logoi alogoi of Simone Weil.

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.

Wednesday, April 2, 2003

Wednesday April 2, 2003

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

Symmetries…. May 15, 1998

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

Sein Feld

                        

1984 Janine

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

 

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

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

Geometry and Theology

PA lottery May 14, 1998:
256
   
S8  The group of all projectivities and correlations of PG(3,2).

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

“The Leech lattice is a blown-up version of
S(5,8,24).”
— W. Feit

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

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

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

What is “256” about?

Tape purchased 12/23/97:
 

Django
Reinhardt

      Gypsy Jazz

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

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

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

Monday, December 30, 2002

Monday December 30, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:30 PM

Homer

“No matter how it’s done, you won’t like it.”
— Robert Redford to Robert M. Pirsig in Lila

The evening before Harriet injures Roy,
she asks him, in a restaurant car,
whether he has read Homer.”
Oxford website on the film of The Natural

“Brush Up Your Shakespeare”
— Cole Porter lyric for a show that opened
on December 30, 1948

Judy Davis as Harriet Bird

                                        

Thine eyes I love…
Shakespeare, Sonnet 132

“Roy’s Guenevere-like lover is named Memo Paris,
presumably the face that launched a thousand strikes.”
Oxford website on the film of The Natural 

Nicole Kidman
as Memo Paris

“Iris is someone to watch over Roy.”
Oxford website on the film of The Natural 

Kate Winslet as young Iris Murdoch

From the second-draft screenplay
for The Sting,
with Robert Redford as Hooker:

HOOKER
(shuffling a little)
I, ah…thought you might wanna come out for a while.  Maybe have a drink or somethin’.

LORETTA
You move right along, don’t ya.

HOOKER
(with more innocence than confidence)
I don’t mean nothin’ by it.  I just don’t know many regular girls, that’s all.

LORETTA
And you expect me to come over, just like that.

HOOKER
If I expected somethin’, I wouldn’t be still standin’ out here in the hall.

Loretta looks at him carefully.  She knows it’s not a line.

LORETTA
(with less resistance now)
I don’t even know you.

HOOKER
(slowly)
You know me.  I’m just like you…
It’s two in the morning and I don’t know nobody.

The two just stand there in silence a second.  There’s nothing more to say.  She stands back and lets him in.

Iris Murdoch on Plato’s Form of the Good,
by Joseph Malikail:

For Murdoch as for Plato, the Good belongs to Plato’s Realm of Being not the Realm of Becoming…. However, Murdoch does not read Plato as declaring his faith in a divine being when he says that the Good is

the universal author of all things beautiful and right, parent of light and the lord of light in the visible world, and the immediate source of reason and truth in the intellectual; and that this is the power upon which [one who] would act rationally either in public or private life must have his eyes fixed (Republic…).

Though she acknowledges the influence of Simone Weil in her reading of Plato, her understanding of Plato on Good and God is not Weil’s (1952, ch.7)*. For Murdoch,

Plato never identified his Form of the Good with God (the use of theos in the Republic… is a façon de parler), and this separation is for him an essential one. Religion is above the level of the ‘gods.’ There are no gods and no God either. Neo-Platonic thinkers made the identification (of God with good) possible; and the Judaeo-Christian tradition has made it easy and natural for us to gather together the aesthetic and consoling impression of Good as a person (1992, 38)**.

As she understands Plato:

The Form of the Good as creative power is not a Book of Genesis creator ex nihilo … Plato does not set up the Form of the Good as God, this would be absolutely un-Platonic, nor does he anywhere give the sign of missing or needing a real God to assist his explanations. On the contrary, Good is above the level of the gods or God (ibid., 475)**.

Mary Warnock, her friend and fellow-philosopher, sums up Murdoch’s metaphysical view of the Vision of the Good:

She [Murdoch] holds that goodness has a real though abstract existence in the world. The actual existence of goodness is, in her view, the way it is now possible to understand the idea of God.

Or as Murdoch herself puts it, ‘Good represents the reality of which God is the dream.’ (1992, 496)**”

*Weil, Simone. 1952. Intimations of Christianity Among The Ancient Greeks. Ark Paperbacks, 1987/1952.

**Murdoch, Iris. 1992. Metaphysics As A Guide To Morals. London: Chatto and Windus. 

From the conclusion of Lila,
by Robert M. Pirsig:

“Good is a noun. That was it. That was what Phaedrus had been looking for. That was the homer over the fence that ended the ballgame.”

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.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Wednesday November 27, 2002

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

Waiting for Logos

Searching for background on the phrase "logos and logic" in yesterday's "Notes toward a Supreme Fact," I found this passage:

"…a theory of psychology based on the idea of the soul as the dialectical, self-contradictory syzygy of a) soul as anima and b) soul as animus. Jungian and archetypal psychology appear to have taken heed more or less of only one half of the whole syzygy, predominantly serving an anima cut loose from her own Other, the animus as logos and logic (whose first and most extreme phenomenological image is the killer of the anima, Bluebeard). Thus psychology tends to defend the virginal innocence of the anima and her imagination…"

— Wolfgang Giegerich, "Once More the Reality/Irreality Issue: A Reply to Hillman's Reply," website 

The anima and other Jungian concepts are used to analyze Wallace Stevens in an excellent essay by Michael Bryson, "The Quest for the Fiction of an Absolute." Part of Bryson's motivation in this essay is the conflict between the trendy leftist nominalism of postmodern critics and the conservative realism of more traditional critics:

"David Jarraway, in his Stevens and the Question of Belief, writes about a Stevens figured as a proto-deconstructionist, insisting on 'Steven's insistence on dismantling the logocentric models of belief' (311) in 'An Ordinary Evening in New Haven.' In opposition to these readings comes a work like Janet McCann's Wallace Stevens Revisited: 'The Celestial Possible', in which the claim is made (speaking of the post-1940 period of Stevens' life) that 'God preoccupied him for the rest of his career.'"

Here "logocentric" is a buzz word for "Christian." Stevens, unlike the postmodernists, was not anti-Christian. He did, however, see that the old structures of belief could not be maintained indefinitely, and pondered what could be found to replace them. "Notes toward a Supreme Fiction" deals with this problem. In his essay on Stevens' "Notes," Bryson emphasizes the "negative capability" of Keats as a contemplative technique:

"The willingness to exist in a state of negative capability, to accept that sometimes what we are seeking is not that which reason can impose…."

For some related material, see Simone Weil's remarks on Electra waiting for her brother Orestes. Simone Weil's brother was one of the greatest mathematicians of the past century, André Weil.

"Electra did not seek Orestes, she waited for him…"

Simone Weil

"…at the end, she pulls it all together brilliantly in the story of Electra and Orestes, where the importance of waiting on God rather than seeking is brought home forcefully."

— Tom Hinkle, review of Waiting for God

Compare her remarks on waiting for Orestes with the following passage from Waiting for God:

"We do not obtain the most precious gifts by going in search of them but by waiting for them. Man cannot discover them by his own powers, and if he sets out to seek for them he will find in their place counterfeits of which he will be unable to discern falsity.

The solution of a geometry problem does not in itself constitute a precious gift, but the same law applies to it because it is the image of something precious. Being a little fragment of particular truth, it is a pure image of the unique, eternal, and living Truth, the very Truth that once in a human voice declared: "I am the Truth."

Every school exercise, thought of in this way, is like a sacrament.

In every school exercise there is a special way of waiting upon truth, setting our hearts upon it, yet not allowing ourselves to go out in search of it. There is a way of giving our attention to the data of a problem in geometry without trying to find the solution…."

Simone Weil, "Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of  God"

Weil concludes the preceding essay with the following passage:

"Academic work is one of those fields containing a pearl so precious that it is worth while to sell all of our possessions, keeping nothing for ourselves, in order to be able to acquire it."

This biblical metaphor is also echoed in the work of Pascal, who combined in one person the theological talent of Simone Weil and the mathematical talent of her brother. After discussing how proofs should be written, Pascal says

"The method of not erring is sought by all the world. The logicians profess to guide to it, the geometricians alone attain it, and apart from their science, and the imitations of it, there are no true demonstrations. The whole art is included in the simple precepts that we have given; they alone are sufficient, they alone afford proofs; all other rules are useless or injurious. This I know by long experience of all kinds of books and persons.

And on this point I pass the same judgment as those who say that geometricians give them nothing new by these rules, because they possessed them in reality, but confounded with a multitude of others, either useless or false, from which they could not discriminate them, as those who, seeking a diamond of great price amidst a number of false ones, but from which they know not how to distinguish it, should boast, in holding them all together, of possessing the true one equally with him who without pausing at this mass of rubbish lays his hand upon the costly stone which they are seeking and for which they do not throw away the rest."

— Blaise Pascal, The Art of Persuasion

 

For more diamond metaphors and Jungian analysis, see

The Diamond Archetype.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Tuesday November 26, 2002

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

Notes toward a Supreme Fact

In "Notes toward a Supreme Fiction," Wallace Stevens lists criteria for a work of the imagination:

  • It Must Be Abstract
  • It Must Change
  • It Must Give Pleasure.

For a work that seems to satisfy these criteria, see the movable images at my diamond theory website. Central to these images is the interplay of rational sides and irrational diagonals in square subimages.

"Logos and logic, crystal hypothesis,
 Incipit and a form to speak the word
 And every latent double in the word…."

— "Notes toward a Supreme Fiction," Section 1, Canto VIII

Recall that "logos" in Greek means "ratio," as well as (human or divine) "word." Thus when I read the following words of Simone Weil today, I thought of Stevens.

"The beautiful in mathematics resides in contradiction.   Incommensurability, logoi alogoi , was the first splendor in mathematics."

Simone Weil, Oeuvres Choisies , éd. Quarto, Gallimard, 1999, p. 100

 

 

In the conclusion of Section 3, Canto X, of "Notes," Stevens says

"They will get it straight one day at the Sorbonne.
 We shall return at twilight from the lecture
 Pleased that the irrational is rational…."

This is the logoi alogoi  of Simone Weil.

Tuesday November 26, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:23 AM

Dancing about Architecture

The title’s origin is obscure, but its immediate source is a weblog entry and ensuing comments: “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.”

A related quote:

“At the still point, there the dance is.”

— T. S. Eliot, “Burnt Norton” in Four Quartets

“Eliot by his own admission took ‘the still point of the turning world’ in ‘Burnt Norton’ from the Fool in Williams’s The Greater Trumps.”

— Humphrey Carpenter, The Inklings (1978), Ballantine Books, 1981, page 106. Carpenter cites an “unpublished journal of Mary Trevelyan (in possession of the author).”

The following was written this morning as a comment on a weblog entry, but may stand on its own as a partial description of Eliot’s and Williams’s “dance.”

Three sermons on the Fool card, each related to Charles Williams’s novel The Greater Trumps:

To Play the Fool,
Games “Not Unlike Chesse,” and
Charles Williams and Inklings Links.

“Here is the Church,
Here is the steeple,
Open the door and see all the People.”

For some architecture that may or may not be worth dancing about, see the illustrations to Simone Weil’s remarks in my note of November 25, 2002, “The Artist’s Signature.”

Monday, November 25, 2002

Monday November 25, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:32 AM

The Artist’s Signature

This title is taken from the final chapter of Carl Sagan’s novel Contact.

“There might be a game in which paper figures were put together to form a story, or at any rate were somehow assembled. The materials might be collected and stored in a scrap-book, full of pictures and anecdotes. The child might then take various bits from the scrap-book to put into the construction; and he might take a considerable picture because it had something in it which he wanted and he might just include the rest because it was there.”

— Ludwig Wittgenstein, Lectures and Conversations on Aesthetics, Psychology and Religious Belief

“Not games. Puzzles. Big difference. That’s a whole other matter. All art — symphonies, architecture, novels — it’s all puzzles. The fitting together of notes, the fitting together of words have by their very nature a puzzle aspect. It’s the creation of form out of chaos. And I believe in form.”

— Stephen Sondheim, in Stephen Schiff, Deconstructing Sondheim,” The New Yorker, March 8, 1993, p. 76

Architectural
Vesica Piscis

Arch at
Glastonbury Tor

“All goods in this world, all beauties, all truths, are diverse and partial aspects of one unique good. Therefore they are goods which need to be ranged in order. Puzzle games are an image of this operation. Taken all together, viewed from the right point and rightly related, they make an architecture. Through this architecture the unique good, which cannot be grasped, becomes apprehensible. All architecture is a symbol of this, an image of this. The entire universe is nothing but a great metaphor.”

Simone Weil, sister of Princeton mathematician André Weil, First and Last Notebooks, p. 98

This passage from Weil is quoted in
Gateway to God,
p. 42, paperback, fourth impression,
printed in Glasgow in 1982 by
Fontana Books

“He would leave enigmatic messages on blackboards,
signed Ya Ya Fontana.”

Brian Hayes on John Nash,
The Sciences magazine, Sept.-Oct., 1998

“I have a friend who is a Chief of the Aniunkwia (Cherokee) people and I asked him the name of the Creator in which
he replied… Ya Ho Wah. This is also how it is spoken in Hebrew. In my native language it is spoken
Ya Ya*,
which is also what Moses was told
at the ‘Burning Bush’ incident.”

“Tank” (of Taino ancestry), Bronx, NY, Wednesday, April 17, 2002

From a website reviewing books published by
 Fontana:

Master and Commander (Patrick O’Brian)”

1/17/02: NEW YORK (Variety) – Russell Crowe is negotiating to star in 20th Century Fox’s “Master and Commander,” the Peter Weir-directed adaptation of the Patrick O’Brian book series.

Hmmm.

*For another religious interpretation of this phrase, see my note of October 4, 2002, “The Agony and the Ya-Ya.”

Friday, October 25, 2002

Friday October 25, 2002

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

ART WARS:
Picasso's Birthday

From an art quotes website:

Dore Ashton's Picasso on Art —

"We all know that Art is not truth.
Art is a lie that makes us realize truth,
at least the truth that is given us
to understand." — Pablo Picasso

From "Xanadu" —

"You have to believe we are magic."
— Olivia Newton-John

The Muse
Picasso

 

Soul Kiss
Olivia
Newton-John

 

 

 

A is for Art
Cullinane

 
"A work of art has an author and yet,
when it is perfect, it has something
which is essentially anonymous about it."
Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace 

 

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/images/021025-AddsUp.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Powered by WordPress