Log24

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Origin of Change . . .

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:00 PM

According to Wallace Stevens:

From Savage Logic

Sunday, March 15, 2009  5:24 PM

The Origin of Change

A note on the figure
from this morning's sermon:

Diamond Theory version of 'The Square Inch Space' with yin-yang symbol for comparison

"Two things of opposite natures seem to depend
On one another, as a man depends 
On a woman, day on night, the imagined 
On the real. This is the origin of change. 
Winter and spring, cold copulars, embrace 
And forth the particulars of rapture come."

— Wallace Stevens,   
"Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction,"
Canto IV of "It Must Change"

This  post was suggested by the following passage —

" the Fano plane ,
a set of seven points
grouped into seven lines
that has been called
'the combinatorialist’s coat of arms.' "

— Blake Stacey in a post with tomorrow's date:

and by Stacey at another weblog, in a post dated Jan. 29, 2019, 

"(Yes, Bohr was the kind of guy who would choose
the yin-yang symbol as his coat of arms.)"

Yes, Stacey is the kind of guy who would casually dismiss
Bohr's coat of arms. 

Related material — 

(See also Faust in Copenhagen in this  journal)—

» more

Monday, September 5, 2016

Stevens at the Sorbonne

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 PM

The previous post suggests a Log24 search for
Stevens + Sorbonne.  This yields

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.

"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?”

— Stevens, “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction" (1942)

Par exemple , the previous post's title:  "Space Case."

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Logos and Logic

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:11 PM

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

— Wallace Stevens,
    "Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction,"
     Section I, Canto VIII

    

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Raiders of the Lost Symbol

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 5:00 PM

A print copy of next Sunday’s New York Times Book Review
arrived in today’s mail. From the front-page review:

Marcel Theroux on The Book of Strange New Things ,
a novel by Michel Faber —

“… taking a standard science fiction premise and
unfolding it with the patience and focus of a
tai chi master, until it reveals unexpected
connections, ironies and emotions.”

What is a tai chi master, and what is it that he unfolds?

Perhaps the taijitu  symbol and related material will help.

The Origin of Change

Diamond Theory version of 'The Square Inch Space' with yin-yang symbol for comparison

“Two things of opposite natures seem to depend
On one another, as a man depends
On a woman, day on night, the imagined

On the real. This is the origin of change.
Winter and spring, cold copulars, embrace
And forth the particulars of rapture come.”

Wallace Stevens,
“Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction,”
Canto IV of “It Must Change”

Friday, August 23, 2013

Ten Years of Nothing

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

For insatiable actor Patrick Bateman (protagonist of
American Psycho) and anti-theologian Kirk Varnedoe
Pictures of Nothing, this journal ten years ago today )

Philip Rieff, The Crisis of the Officer Class,
University of Virginia Press, 2007

From page 73:

The third culture's life-style, its way, is no way: it is abandonment, 
an ethos of empty seriousness best expressed, I think, by the 
greatest of American poets in the tradition that began with 
Emerson. Wallace Stevens was the greatest American maker of 
that "fictive music" of the "unreal" by which poets "give back to us 
what you [God] gave," Creation itself, now understood, in the third
culture, as the "imagination that we spurned and crave." Stevens
understood the fictive music of faith, that intensity which

proclaims
The near, the clear …
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
… an image that is sure,
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Yet not too like, yet not so like to be
Too near, too clear, saving a little to endow
Our feigning with the strange unlike…. [12]

This is masterly anti-theology. This is what no "mickey mockers" of 
the spirit can ever become: the "American sublime," the mar-

[12] Wallace Stevens, "To the One of Fictive Music," in Collected 
Poems
 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1954), 87-88; all citations of 
Stevens are to this edition.

From page 74:

velous panic and emptiness of belief by which the "sublime comes 
down/To the spirit itself" and terrifies the American self:

The spirit and space,
The empty spirit 
In vacant space.
What wine does one drink?
What bread does one eat? [13]

This poet is no great character, nor temple priest. He is a virtuoso 
chef, preparing the food for the American feast of unbeliefs. This 
supreme fictionist invents bread and wine, anything that will act as 
that "act of the mind." [14] Stevens had a shrewd Emersonian idea 
of myth, or Freudian, the "sexual myth" or any other "images of 
metaphors." [15] He knew that it was in "this invented world" that "the 
death of one god is the death of all." This is the most supreme of all 
fictions, by which "He imposes orders as he thinks of them." [16]

[13] Stevens, "The American Sublime," 130-31
[14] Stevens, "Of Modern Poetry," 239-40; modern poetry, which is 
"the finding of a satisfaction," or a script for a theater– whatever 
"will suffice" for the "insatiable actor" of the third culture, even the 
script of "cuisine bourgeoise," where we may "feast on human 
heads" (240, 227).
[15] Stevens, "Men Made out of Words," 355; and "Thinking of a 
Relation between the Images of Metaphors," 356-57.
[16] Stevens, "Notes toward a Supreme Fiction," 380-81, 403.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Particulars of Rapture

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

"And forth the particulars of rapture come."

— Wallace Stevens, "Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction,"
     Canto IV of "It Must Change," quoted here yesterday.

A death yesterday: Sir Philip Ledger.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sermon

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 11:00 AM

Happy birthday to

IMAGE- Margaret Atwood, Kim Wilde, Peta Wilson

Today's sermon, by Marie-Louise von Franz

Number and Time, by Marie-Louise von Franz

For more on the modern physicist analyzed by von Franz,
see The Innermost Kernel , by Suzanne Gieser.

Another modern physicist, Niels Bohr, died
on this date in 1962

Diamond Theory version of 'The Square Inch Space' with yin-yang symbol for comparison

The circle above is marked with a version
of the classic Chinese symbol
adopted as a personal emblem
by Danish physicist Niels Bohr,
leader of the Copenhagen School.

For the square, see the diamond theorem.

"Two things of opposite natures seem to depend
On one another, as a man depends
On a woman, day on night, the imagined
On the real. This is the origin of change.
Winter and spring, cold copulars, embrace
And forth the particulars of rapture come."

— Wallace Stevens,
  "Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction,"
  Canto IV of "It Must Change"

Monday, June 25, 2012

Repetition

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:23 PM

Remarks on Wallace Stevens's poem "Notes toward a Supreme Fiction"
from Michael Bryson

        The question of the eighth canto, "What am I to believe?", leads the way back from the heightened mysticism of the previous cantos toward a renewed consideration of the particular, the immanent, the local. Men and birds are considered in their activities, in their "Mere repetitions," and these repetitions (as well the repeating figures, the men and birds themselves) are each considered as "A thing final in itself and, therefore, good: / One of the vast repetitions final in / Themselves and, therefore, good". The poem comes to a Nietzschean affirmation of recurrence with its "merely going round is a final good," and its suggestion that the "man-hero" is "he that of repetition is most master".

Or the woman-hero…

IMAGE- Google search on 'repeating a repetition...'

From a Log24 post on June 1, 2004

“A tongue-in-cheek comment by programmers is worth thinking about: ‘Sometimes you have a programming problem and it seems like the best solution is to use regular expressions; now you have two problems.’  Regular expressions are amazingly powerful and deeply expressive. That is the very reason writing them is just as error-prone as writing any other complex programming code.”

– David Mertz, Learning to Use Regular Expressions

Happy birthday to the late Willard Van Orman Quine.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Flight from Ennui

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

Post 2310 in yesterday evening's Short Story links to two posts
from 2006 inspired by Oxford mathematician Marcus du Sautoy—

Thursday, May 25, 2006

  Ennui

May there be an ennui
   of the first idea?
What else, prodigious scholar,
   should there be?

— Wallace Stevens,
   "Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction"

Related material: The Line.

7:13 PM

 

Order and Ennui

Meanwhile, back at the Institute
for Advanced Study:

May 25, 4:40 PM —
Research Seminar
(Simonyi Hall Seminar Room) —
Pirita Paajanen,
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem:
Zeta functions of
finitely generated infinite groups

Some background cited by Paajanen:

M.P.F. du Sautoy,
"Zeta functions of groups:
The quest for order
versus the flight from ennui,"
Groups St Andrews 2001 in Oxford ,
Volume 1, CUP 2003.

Those who prefer the showbiz
approach to mathematics
(the flight from ennui?) may
enjoy a website giving
further background from du Sautoy.

4:40 PM

The first paragraph of
"Zeta Functions of Groups: The Quest for Order
Versus the Flight from Ennui
," by Marcus du Sautoy,
Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford—

"Mathematics is about the search for patterns,
to see order where others see chaos. We are very lucky
to find ourselves studying a subject which is neither so rigid
that the patterns are easy, yet not too complicated
lest our brains fail to master its complexities.
John Cawelti sums up this interplay perfectly in a book*
not about mathematics but about mystery and romance:
'if we seek order and security, the result is likely to be
boredom and sameness. But rejecting order for the sake
of change and novelty brings danger and uncertainty…
the history of culture can be interpreted as a dynamic
tension between these two basic impulses…
between the quest for order and the flight from ennui.'''

* John G. Cawelti, Adventure, Mystery, and Romance:
  Formula Stories as Art and Popular Culture 
,
  University of Chicago Press, 1976.

[Cawelti cites as his souce on interpreting "the history
of culture" Harry Berger, Jr., "Naive Consciousness and
Culture Change: An Essay in Historical Structuralism
,"
Bulletin of the Midwest Modern Language Association ,
Vol. 6, No. 1 (Spring 1973): page 35.]

Here du Sautoy paints mathematicians as seekers of order,
apparently not realizing that the author he approvingly quotes
states that seekers of order face the danger of boredom.

Another danger to seekers
of order is, of course, seeing
order where there is none.

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11C/111129-AdventureMysteryAndRomance.jpg

"Are you the butterfly?"

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Savage Detectives

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

IMAGE- Rubeus Hagrid and Jorn Barger


IMAGE- Cover of 'The Savage and Beautiful Country'

   Alan McGlashan

From Savage Logic

Sunday, March 15, 2009  5:24 PM

The Origin of Change

A note on the figure
from this morning's sermon:

Diamond Theory version of 'The Square Inch Space' with yin-yang symbol for comparison

"Two things of opposite natures seem to depend
On one another, as a man depends
On a woman, day on night, the imagined
On the real. This is the origin of change.
Winter and spring, cold copulars, embrace
And forth the particulars of rapture come."

Wallace Stevens,  
"Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction,"
Canto IV of "It Must Change"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Savage Logic…

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

and the New York Lottery

IMAGE-- NY Lottery Oct. 18, 2010-- Midday 069, Evening 359

A search in this journal for yesterday's evening number in the New York Lottery, 359, leads to…

The Cerebral Savage: 
On the Work of Claude Lévi-Strauss

by Clifford Geertz

Shown below is 359, the final page of Chapter 13 in
The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays by Clifford Geertz,
New York, 1973: Basic Books, pp. 345-359 —

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10B/101019-Geertz359.gif

This page number 359 also appears in this journal in an excerpt from Dan Brown's novel Angels & Demons

See this journal's entries for March 1-15, 2009, especially…

Sunday, March 15, 2009  5:24 PM

Philosophy and Poetry:

The Origin of Change

A note on the figure
from this morning's sermon:

Diamond Theory version of 'The Square Inch Space' with yin-yang symbol for comparison

"Two things of opposite natures seem to depend
On one another, as a man depends
On a woman, day on night, the imagined

On the real. This is the origin of change.
Winter and spring, cold copulars, embrace
And forth the particulars of rapture come."

-- Wallace Stevens,
  "Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction,"
   Canto IV of "It Must Change"

Sunday, March 15, 2009  11:00 AM

Ides of March Sermon:

Angels, Demons,
"Symbology"

"On Monday morning, 9 March, after visiting the Mayor of Rome and the Municipal Council on the Capitoline Hill, the Holy Father spoke to the Romans who gathered in the square outside the Senatorial Palace…

'… a verse by Ovid, the great Latin poet, springs to mind. In one of his elegies he encouraged the Romans of his time with these words:

"Perfer et obdura: multo graviora tulisti."

 "Hold out and persist:
  you have got through
  far more difficult situations."

 (Tristia, Liber  V, Elegia  XI, verse 7).'"
 

This journal
on 9 March:

Diamond Theory version of 'The Square Inch Space' with yin-yang symbol for comparison

Note the color-interchange
symmetry
of each symbol
under 180-degree rotation.

Related material:
The Illuminati Diamond:

IMAGE- Illuminati Diamond, pp. 359-360 in 'Angels & Demons,' Simon & Schuster Pocket Books 2005, 448 pages, ISBN 0743412397

The symmetry of the yin-yang symbol, of the diamond-theorem symbol, and of Brown's Illuminati Diamond is also apparent in yesterday's midday New York lottery number (see above).

"Savage logic works like a kaleidoscope…." — Clifford Geertz on Lévi-Strauss

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Note

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:24 AM

“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

(Quoted here four years ago on October 2, 2006.)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday March 28, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 11:07 PM

The Rest
of the Story

Today's previous entry discussed the hermeneutics of the midday NY and PA lottery numbers.

The rest of the story:
 

The Revelation Game
(continued from 7/26, 2008)

 
Lotteries
on Reba's
birthday,
2009
Pennsylvania
(No revelation)
New York
(Revelation)
Mid-day
(No belief)
No belief,
no revelation

726
Revelation
without belief

378
Evening
(Belief)
Belief without
revelation

006
Belief and
revelation

091

Interpretations of the evening numbers–

The PA evening number, 006, may be viewed as a followup to the PA midday 726 (or 7/26, the birthday of Kate Beckinsale and Carl Jung). Here 006 is the prestigious "00" number assigned to Beckinsale.
 

Will: Do you like apples?     
Clark: Yeah.                       
Will: Well, I got her number.
 How do you like them apples?

— "Good Will Hunting

Kate Beckinsale in 'Underworld: Evolution'

The NY evening number, 091, may be viewed as a followup to the NY midday 378 (the number of pages in The Innermost Kernel by Suzanne Gieser, published by Springer, 2005)–

Page 91: The entire page is devoted to the title of the book's Part 3– "The Copenhagen School and Psychology"–
 

Page 91 of 'The Innermost Kernel' by Suzanne Gieser, Springer 2005

The next page begins: "With the crisis of physics, interest in epistemological and psychological questions grew among many theoretical physicists. This interest was particularly marked in the circle around Niels Bohr."
 

A particularly
marked circle
 from March 15:

Diamond Theory version of 'The Square Inch Space' with yin-yang symbol for comparison

The circle above is
marked with a version of
the classic Chinese symbol
adopted as a personal emblem
by Danish physicist Niels Bohr,
leader of the Copenhagen School.

"Two things of opposite natures seem to depend
On one another, as a man depends
On a woman, day on night, the imagined

On the real. This is the origin of change.
Winter and spring, cold copulars, embrace
And forth the particulars of rapture come."

-- Wallace Stevens,
  "Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction,"
   Canto IV of "It Must Change"

The square above is marked
with a graphic design
related to the four-diamond
figure of Jung's Aion.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday March 15, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 5:24 PM

The Origin of Change

A note on the figure
from this morning's sermon:

Diamond Theory version of 'The Square Inch Space' with yin-yang symbol for comparison

"Two things of opposite natures seem to depend
On one another, as a man depends
On a woman, day on night, the imagined

On the real. This is the origin of change.
Winter and spring, cold copulars, embrace
And forth the particulars of rapture come."

-- Wallace Stevens,
  "Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction,"
   Canto IV of "It Must Change"

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday February 15, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 11:00 AM
From April 28, 2008:

Religious Art

The black monolith of
Kubrick's 2001 is, in
its way, an example
of religious art.

Black monolith, proportions 4x9

One artistic shortcoming
(or strength– it is, after
all, monolithic) of
that artifact is its
resistance to being
analyzed as a whole
consisting of parts, as
in a Joycean epiphany.

The following
figure does
allow such
  an epiphany.

A 2x4 array of squares

One approach to
 the epiphany:

"Transformations play
  a major role in
  modern mathematics."
– A biography of
Felix Christian Klein

See 4/28/08 for examples
of such transformations.

 
Related material:

From Wallace Stevens: A World of Transforming Shapes, by Alan D. Perlis, Bucknell University Press, 1976, pp. 117-118:

"… his point of origin is external nature, the fount to which we come seeking inspiration for our fictions. We come, many of Stevens's poems suggest, as initiates, ritualistically celebrating the place through which we will travel to achieve fictive shape. Stevens's 'real' is a bountiful place, continually giving forth life, continually changing. It is fertile enough to meet any imagination, as florid and as multifaceted as the tropical flora about which the poet often writes. It therefore naturally lends itself to rituals of spring rebirth, summer fruition, and fall harvest. But in Stevens's fictive world, these rituals are symbols: they acknowledge the real and thereby enable the initiate to pass beyond it into the realms of his fictions.

Two counter rituals help to explain the function of celebration as Stevens envisions it. The first occurs in 'The Pediment of Appearance,' a slight narrative poem in Transport to Summer. A group of young men enter some woods 'Hunting for the great ornament, The pediment of appearance.' Though moving through the natural world, the young men seek the artificial, or pure form, believing that in discovering this pediment, this distillation of the real, they will also discover the 'savage transparence,' the rude source of human life. In Stevens's world, such a search is futile, since it is only through observing nature that one reaches beyond it to pure form. As if to demonstrate the degree to which the young men's search is misaligned, Stevens says of them that 'they go crying/The world is myself, life is myself,' believing that what surrounds them is immaterial. Such a proclamation is a cardinal violation of Stevens's principles of the imagination. For in 'Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction' he tells us that

... the first idea was not to shape the clouds
In imitation. The clouds preceded us.      

There was a muddy centre before we breathed.
There was a myth before the myth began,
Venerable and articulate and complete.      

From this the poem springs: that we live in a place
That is not our own and, much more, not ourselves
And hard it is in spite of blazoned days.      

We are the mimics.

                                (Collected Poems, 383-84)

Believing that they are the life and not the mimics thereof, the world and not its fiction-forming imitators, these young men cannot find the savage transparence for which they are looking. In its place they find the pediment, a scowling rock that, far from being life's source, is symbol of the human delusion that there exists a 'form alone,' apart from 'chains of circumstance.'

A far more productive ritual occurs in 'Sunday Morning.'…."

For transformations of a more
specifically religious nature,
see the remarks on
Richard Strauss,
"Death and Transfiguration,"
(Tod und Verklärung, Opus 24)

in Mathematics and Metaphor
on July 31, 2008, and the entries
of August 3, 2008, related to the
 death of Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
 

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday October 14, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:00 AM
The Dipolar God

Steven H. Cullinane, 'The Line'

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

— Wallace Stevens,
   “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction

Yesterday’s meditation (“Simon’s Shema“) on the interpenetration of opposites continues:

Part I: The Jewel in the Lotus

“The fundamental conception of Tantric Buddhist metaphysics, namely, yuganaddha, signifies the coincidence of opposites.  It is symbolized by the conjugal embrace (maithuna or kama-kala) of a god and goddess or a Buddha and his consort (signifying karuna and sunyata or upaya and prajna, respectively), also commonly depicted in Tantric Buddhist iconography as the union of vajra (diamond sceptre) and padme (lotus flower).  Thus, yuganaddha essentially means the interpenetration of opposites or dipolar fusion, and is a fundamental restatement of Hua-yen theoretic structures.”

— p. 148 in “Part II: A Whiteheadian Process Critique of Hua-yen Buddhism,” in Process Metaphysics and Hua-Yen Buddhism: A Critical Study of Cumulative Penetration vs. Interpenetration (SUNY Series in Systematic Philosophy), by Steve Odin, State University of New York Press, 1982

Part II: The Dipolar God

And on p. 163 of Odin, op. cit., in “Part III: Theology of the Deep Unconscious: A Reconstruction of Process Theology,” in the section titled “Whitehead’s Dipolar God as the Collective Unconscious”–

“An effort is made to transpose Whitehead’s theory of the dipolar God into the terms of the collective unconscious, so that now the dipolar God is to be comprehended not as a transcendent deity, but the deepest dimension and highest potentiality of one’s own psyche.”

Part III: Piled High and Deep

Odin obtained his Ph.D. degree from the Department of Philosophy at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook in 1980. (See curriculum vitae (pdf).)

For an academic review of Odin’s book, see David Applebaum, Philosophy East and West, Vol. 34 (1984), pp. 107-108.

It is perhaps worth noting, in light of the final footnote of Mark D. Brimblecombe’s Ph.D. thesis “Dipolarity and Godquoted yesterday, that “tantra” is said to mean “loom.” For some less-academic background on the Tantric iconography Odin describes, see the webpage “Love and Passion in Tantric Buddhist Art.” For a fiction combining love and passion with the word “loom” in a religious context, see Clive Barker’s Weaveworld.  This fiction– which is, if not “supreme” in the Wallace Stevens sense, at least entertaining– may correspond to some aspects of the deep Jungian psychological reality discussed by Odin.

Happy Birthday,
Hannah Arendt

(Oct. 14, 1906-
Dec. 4, 1975)

OPPOSITES:

Hannah (Arendt) and Martin (Heidegger) as portrayed in a play of that name

Actors portraying
Arendt and Heidegger

Click on image for details.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday May 25, 2007

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 7:11 AM
Dance and the Soul

From Log24 on
this date last year:

"May there be an ennui
of the first idea?
What else,
prodigious scholar,
should there be?"

— Wallace Stevens,
"Notes Toward a
Supreme Fiction"

The Associated Press,
May 25, 2007–

Thought for Today:
"I hate quotations.
 Tell me what you know."
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

[Journals, on May 3, 1849]

The First Idea:

The Line, by S. H. Cullinane

Four Elements:
 

Four Elements (Diamond)

Square Dance:

Square Dance (Diamond Theorem)

This "telling of what
I know" will of course
mean little to those
who, like Emerson,
have refused to learn
through quotations.

For those less obdurate
than Emerson —Harold Bloom
on Wallace Stevens

and Paul Valery's
   "Dance and the Soul"–

"Stevens may be playful, yet seriously so, in describing desire, at winter's end, observing not only the emergence of the blue woman of early spring, but seeing also the myosotis, whose other name is 'forget-me-not.' Desire, hearing the calendar hymn, repudiates the negativity of the mind of winter, unable to bear what Valery's Eryximachus had called 'this cold, exact, reasonable, and moderate consideration of human life as it is.' The final form of this realization in Stevens comes in 1950, in The Course of a Particular, in the great monosyllabic line 'One feels the life of that which gives life as it is.' But even Stevens cannot bear that feeling for long. As Eryximachus goes on to say in Dance and the Soul:

A cold and perfect clarity is a poison impossible to combat. The real, in its pure state, stops the heart instantaneously….[…] To a handful of ashes is the past reduced, and the future to a tiny icicle. The soul appears to itself as an empty and measurable form. –Here, then, things as they are come together, limit one another, and are thus chained together in the most rigorous and mortal* fashion…. O Socrates, the universe cannot for one instant endure to be only what it is.

Valery's formula for reimagining the First Idea is, 'The idea introduces into what is, the leaven of what is not.' This 'murderous lucidity' can be cured only by what Valery's Socrates calls 'the intoxication due to act,' particularly Nietzschean or Dionysiac dance, for this will rescue us from the state of the Snow Man, 'the motionless and lucid observer.'" —Wallace Stevens: The Poems of Our Climate

* "la sorte… la plus mortelle":
    mortal in the sense
   "deadly, lethal"

Other quotations

(from March 28,
the birthday of
Reba McEntire):

Logical Songs

Reba McEntire, Saturday Evening Post, Mar/Apr 1995

Logical Song I
(Supertramp)

"When I was young, it seemed that
Life was so wonderful, a miracle,
Oh it was beautiful, magical
And all the birds in the trees,
Well they'd be singing so happily,
Joyfully, playfully watching me"

Logical Song II
(Sinatra)

"You make me feel so young,
You make me feel like
Spring has sprung
And every time I see you grin
I'm such a happy in-
dividual….

You and I are
Just like a couple of tots
Running across the meadow
Picking up lots
Of forget-me-nots"

Friday, October 6, 2006

Friday October 6, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:00 PM
Incipit

For the Amish Schoolchildren

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

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

From Log24
on Monday, Oct. 2, 2006:

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

— Wallace Stevens,
   “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction

Pennsylvania lottery,
mid-day on Friday, Oct. 6, 2006:

“331”

Related material: Log24, 3/31, 2006.

Monday, October 2, 2006

Monday October 2, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:00 AM

From Wallace Stevens
On His Birthday

“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

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Thursday May 25, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:13 PM

Ennui

May there be an ennui
   of the first idea?
What else, prodigious scholar,
   should there be?

— Wallace Stevens,
   “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction

Related material: The Line.

Saturday, April 8, 2006

Saturday April 8, 2006

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:06 PM

April 6 two years ago:

Ideas and Art

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

— Wallace Stevens, from
   Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Thursday January 19, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:48 AM
The Man Who Was Thursday:
An Introduction

“Wallace Stevens’s remarkable oeuvre is a quasi-spiritual quest for the supreme fiction, for a poetry that ‘must take the place / Of empty heaven and its hymns’ and thus help modern man find meaning in a godless world. The poet’s role, for Stevens, is that of high priest of the imagination: it is the poet who ‘gives to life the supreme fictions without which we are unable to conceive of it.’ ….
… Stevens’s hallmark ‘imagination-reality’ complex… is pursued almost obsessively in his poetry and prose of the 1940s. Parts of a World, published in 1942, and the poem-sequence of the same year, ‘Notes toward a Supreme Fiction’ (‘Notes’ was subsequently collected in Transport to Summer in 1947), comprise a prolonged meditation in a time of war on poetry and the poet’s role, in the face of what Stevens, in his essay ‘The Noble Rider and the Sound of Words,’ terms ‘the pressure of reality.’ Parts of a World is riven by its competing vocabularies. A discourse of desire, of process, of the poet’s contemplation of the mind in the act of finding what will suffice, is elaborated in ‘the never-resting mind’ of ‘The Poems of Our Climate’ and in ‘The Well Dressed Man with a Beard,’ in which ‘It can never be satisfied, the mind, never’ [occurs]. A very different idiom, that of the ‘hero’ or ‘major man,’ the figure of capable imagination, dominates and directs such poems as ‘Mrs Alfred Uruguay,’ ‘Asides on the Oboe’ and ‘Examination of the Hero in a Time of War,’ where

    Summer, jangling
         the savagest diamonds and
    Dressed in its
         azure-doubled crimsons,
    May truly bear
         its heroic fortunes
    For the large,
         the solitary figure.”

Lee M. Jenkins,
    University College Cork,
   “Wallace Stevens,”
    The Literary Encyclopedia,
    9 Dec., 2004.

For some related serious, but less solemn, remarks, click on the above date.

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Wednesday December 8, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

24 Years Later

In memory of John Lennon
and Diamond Darrell Abbott

This time slot was reserved at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 8, but this entry was made at about 4:35 PM on Thursday, Dec. 9.

“A dead shepherd brought
tremendous chords from hell
And bade the sheep carouse.”

— Wallace Stevens,
“Notes toward a Supreme Fiction,”
quoted in an entry of April 29, 2004

Friday, April 30, 2004

Friday April 30, 2004

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 5:24 PM

Notes

  

On “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction,” by Wallace Stevens:

“This third section continues its play of opposing forces, introducing in the second canto a ‘blue woman,’ arguably a goddess- or muse-figure, who stands apart from images of fecundity and sexuality….”

Michael Bryson 

From a Beethoven’s Birthday entry:

Moulin Bleu

  

Kaleidoscope turning…
Shifting pattern
within unalterable structure…
— Roger Zelazny, Eye of Cat   

See, too, Blue Matrices, and
a link for Beethoven’s birthday:

Song for the
Unification of Europe
(Blue 1)

From today’s news:

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AP) – Ushering in a bold new era, hundreds of thousands of people packed streets and city squares across Europe on Friday for festivals and fireworks marking the European Union’s historic enlargement to 25 countries from 15.

The expanded EU, which takes in a broad swath of the former Soviet bloc – a region separated for decades from the West by barbed wire and Cold War ideology – was widening to 450 million citizens at midnight (6 p.m.EDT) to create a collective superpower rivalling the United States.

“All these worlds are yours
except Europa.
Attempt no landing there.”

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.

 

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Wednesday March 10, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:01 PM

Split

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

— Wallace Stevens,
Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction

A very interesting web site at
Middle Tennessee State University
relates the Stevens quote
to two others:

“The sundering we sense, between nature and culture, lies not like a canyon outside us but splits our being at its most intimate depths the way mind breaks off from body. It is still another version of that bitter bifurcation long ago decreed: our expulsion from Eden. It differs from the apparently similar Cartesian crease across things in the fact that the two halves of us once were one; that we did not always stand askance like molasses and madness–logically at odds–but grew apart over the years like those husbands and wives who draw themselves into different corners of contemplation.”

— William Gass,
“The Polemical Philosopher”

“The experiment [to make rationality primary] reached the reductio ad absurdum following the attempt by Descartes to solve problems of human knowledge by giving ontological status to the dichotomy of thinking substance and extended substance, that is subject and object. Not only were God and man, sacred and secular, being and becoming, play and seriousness severed, but now also the subject which wished to unite these fragmented dichotomies was itself severed from that which it would attempt to reconcile.”

— David Miller, God and Games

“Which is it then? For Gass, the Cartesian schism is a post- lapsarian divorce-in progress, only apparently similar to the expulsion from paradise. For Stevens the fault is primordial and Descartes only its latter-day avatar. For Miller, Descartes is the historical culprit, the patriarch of the split.”

The Evil Genius Notebook,
by
David Lavery

Wednesday March 10, 2004

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 4:07 AM

Ennui of the First Idea

The ennui of apartments described by Stevens in “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction” (see previous entry) did not, of course, refer to the “apartments” of incidence geometry.  A more likely connection is with the apartments — the “ever fancier apartments and furnishings” — of Stéphane Mallarmé, described by John Simon as the setting for what might plausibly be called, in Stevens’s words, “an ennui of the first idea”:

“Language was no more than a collection of meaningless conventional signs, and life could absurdly end at any moment. He [Mallarmé] became aware, in Millan’s* words, ‘of the extremely fine line

separating absence and presence, being and nothingness, life and death, which later … he could place at the very centre of his work and make the cornerstone of his personal philosophy and his mature poetics.’ “

— John Simon, Squaring the Circle

* A Throw of the Dice: The Life of Stéphane Mallarmé, by Gordon Millan

The illustration of the “fine line” is not by Mallarmé but by myself.  (See Songs for Shakespeare, March 5, where the line separates being from nothingness, and Ridgepole, March 7, where the line represents the “great primal beginning” of Chinese philosophy (or, equivalently, Stevens’s “first idea” or Mallarmé’s line “separating absence and presence, being and nothingness, life and death.”)

Sunday, March 7, 2004

Sunday March 7, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:00 PM

Apartments

From Wallace Stevens,
Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction“:

It is the celestial ennui of apartments
That sends us back to the first idea, the quick
Of this invention; and yet so poisonous

Are the ravishments of truth, so fatal to
The truth itself, the first idea becomes
The hermit in a poet’s metaphors,

Who comes and goes and comes and goes all day.
May there be an ennui of the first idea?
What else, prodigious scholar, should there be?….

From Guyan Robertson,
Groups Acting on Affine Buildings
and their Boundaries
:

From Plato’s Meno:

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

See Logos and Logic
and the previous entry.

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.

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