Log24

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Knight Moves

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 7:00 PM

Some illustrations:

Springer logo - A chess knight

Chess Knight
(in German, Springer)

See also…

Katherine Neville's 'The Eight,' edition with knight on cover, on her April 4 birthday

More technically (click image for details):

Friday, December 6, 2019

November Seventh Death

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 5:47 PM

See as well some notes from the date of the above death:

Related material: Endgame (November 7, 1986).

Friday, November 8, 2019

Glitch

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 7:12 AM

The terms glitch  and cross-carrier  in the previous post
suggest a review

 

Gerard Manley Hopkins in 1888

Cross-Carrier

For some backstory, see GlitchGerard Manley HopkinsInscape
particularly the post A Balliol Star.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Forgotten Ghosts

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:46 PM

See that tag.

Cross-carrier glitch sent people ancient texts

For Connoisseurs of Insane Fantasy

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:23 AM

From a 1962 young-adult novel —

"There's something phoney in the whole setup, Meg thought.
There is definitely something rotten in the state of Camazotz."

Song adapted from a 1960 musical —

"In short, there's simply not
A more congenial spot
For happy-ever-aftering
Than here in Camazotz!"

Google News 'For you' comic book news item

Jagged Crest

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:01 AM

"The man touched the white bishop, queen and king,
and ran his finger over the jagged crest of the rook.
Then, sitting down before the chess set owner could nod
his head, he made his first move with the white pawn."

The late Stephen Dixon, "The Chess House," in
The Paris Review Winter-Spring 1963 (early in 1963).

I Ching chessboard (original 1989 arrangement)

Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Birdseye Requiem

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:10 AM

From The Boston Globe  yesterday evening —

" Ms. Adams 'had this quiet intelligence that made you feel like
she understood you and she loved you. She was a true friend —
a true generous, generous friend. This is the kind of person
you keep in your life,' Birdseye added.

'And she had such a great sense of humor,' Birdseye said.
“She would always have the last laugh. She wasn’t always
the loudest, but she was always the funniest, and in the
smartest way.' "

"Ms. Adams, who lived in Waltham, was 55 when she died April 9 . . . ."

See as well April 9 in the post Math Death and a post from April 8,
also now tagged "Berlekamp's Game" — Horses of a Dream.

"When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead
And the white knight is talking backwards . . . ."

— Grace Slick in a song from yesterday's post "When the Men"

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Realism

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

From the Los Angeles Times  yesterday

"Chess player Elena Akhmilovskaya Donaldson sits
in deep concentration at the U.S. chess championship
in Seattle in 2002. (Greg Gilbert / Seattle Times / 
January 5, 2002)"

Linda Shaw, Seattle Times :

"Elena Akhmilovskaya Donaldson, who was once the world's
second-ranked women's chess player and eloped in 1988
with the captain of the U.S. chess team when they were both
playing at a tournament in Greece, has died. She was 55.

Donaldson, who earned the title of international women's
grandmaster, died Nov. 18 in her adopted hometown of Seattle…."

more »

From the Log24 post "Sermon" on the date of Donaldson's death,
Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012—

"You must allow us to play every conceivable combination of chess."
— Marie-Louise von Franz in Number and Time

An October 2011 post titled  Realism in Plato's Cave displays
the following image:

Cover illustration: Durer's 'Knight, Death, and the Devil'

Cover illustration: Knight, Death, and the Devil,
by Albrecht Dürer

George Steiner and myself  in Closing the Circle, a Log24 post
of Sept. 4, 2009: 

“Allegoric associations of death with chess are perennial….”

"Yes, they are."

For related remarks on knight moves and the devil, see
today's previous two posts, Knight's Labyrinth and The Rite.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mate in Six

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:29 PM

In memory of Mike Wallace

  1. An April 8 post noting the death of Wallace—
    a NY Times  obituary notice with ad at top— "The North Face"
     
  2. An April 21 post noting the death of Charles Colson,
    reportedly at at 3:12 PM on Saturday, April 21, 2012,
    with ad at top— "Discover New Horizons" 
     
  3. An April 21 post linking to a 3/12 post (this date being
    suggested by the reported time of Colson's death)
    that has a review of the film "The Ninth Configuration"
     
  4. An April 22 post with six lines that some might
    interpret as meeting on a horizon, two lines that might
    be interpreted as meeting at a "depth horizon," and
    a ninth line that emerges from the other eight
     
  5. An April 23 post that combines a passage from
    "The Ninth Configuration" with a detail from
    the North Face ad that appeared above Wallace's
    NY TImes  obituary on April 8 and again above
    Colson's obituary on April 23
     
  6. "The game's…"

See also Knight Moves.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday April 23, 2009

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

 

The Geometry
of Language

(continued from April 16)

Background:

Professor Arielle Saiber with chess set

Click on the image for an
interview with the author of
Giordano Bruno and
the Geometry of Language
.

Related material:

Joyce on language —

The sigla of 'Finnegans Wake'

Bruno, Joyce, and coincidentia oppositorum

Cullinane on geometry —

Geometry of the I Ching (for comparison to Joyce's 'sigla')

Click on images for details.
 

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday April 3, 2009

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

“Lord, I remember”
Bob Seger 


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

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

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

Holbo on Zizek
(pdf, 11 pages)

In this excellent analysis,
Holbo quotes Kierkegaard:

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

(Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling)

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

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


— Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep

Perhaps a game for bishops?

Henry Edward Cardinal Manning

Cardinal Manning

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


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

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thursday April 2, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 12:25 PM

Transformative
Hermeneutics

In memory of
physics historian
Martin J. Klein,
(June 25, 1924-
March 28, 2009)

"… in physics itself, there was what appeared, briefly, to be an ending, which then very quickly gave way to a new beginning: The quest for the ultimate building-blocks of the universe had been taken down to the molecular level in nineteenth-century kinetic theory… and finally to the nuclear level in the second and third decades of the twentieth century. For a moment in the 1920s the quest appeared to have ended…. However… this paradise turned out to be, if not exactly a fool's paradise, then perhaps an Eden lost."

No Truth Except in the Details: Essays in Honor of Martin J. Klein, introduction by A.J. Kox and Daniel Siegel, June 25, 1994

New York Times obituary dated April 1, 2009:

"Martin J. Klein, a historian of modern physics…. died Saturday, [March 28, 2009] in Chapel Hill, N.C. He was 84 and lived in Chapel Hill."

Klein edited, among other things, Paul Ehrenfest: Collected Scientific Papers (publ. by North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1959).

"It seems, as one becomes older,
 That the past has another pattern,
 and ceases to be a mere sequence…."

— T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets

A Walsh function and a corresponding finite-geometry hyperplane

"Note that at first, you can see
 the 'arrow of time.'
 After a long period, however,
 the direction of time
 is no longer evident."

— "The Ehrenfest Chains,"
     by Kyle Siegrist, ex. 16

Related material:

"Almost every famous chess game
is a well-wrought urn
in Cleanth Brooks’ sense."

— John Holbo,
Now We See
Wherein Lies the Pleasure

"The entire sequence of moves in these… chapters reminds one– or should remind one– of a certain type of chess problem where the point is not merely the finding of a mate in so many moves, but what is termed 'retrograde analysis'…."

— Vladimir Nabokov, foreword to The Defense

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday March 10, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 9:26 AM
Language Game

“Music, mathematics, and chess are in vital respects dynamic acts of location. Symbolic counters are arranged in significant rows. Solutions, be they of a discord, of an algebraic equation, or of a positional impasse, are achieved by a regrouping, by a sequential reordering of individual units and unit-clusters (notes, integers, rooks or pawns). The child-master, like his adult counterpart, is able to visualize in an instantaneous yet preternaturally confident way how the thing should look several moves hence. He sees the logical, the necessary harmonic and melodic argument as it arises out of an initial key relation or the preliminary fragments of a theme. He knows the order, the appropriate dimension, of the sum or geometric figure before he has performed the intervening steps. He announces mate in six because the victorious end position, the maximally efficient configuration of his pieces on the board, lies somehow ‘out there’ in graphic, inexplicably clear sight of his mind….”

“… in some autistic enchantment, pure as one of Bach’s inverted canons or Euler’s formula for polyhedra.”

— George Steiner, “A Death of Kings,” in The New Yorker, issue dated Sept. 7, 1968

Related material:

“Classrooms are filled with discussions not of the Bible and Jesus but of 10 ‘core values’– perseverance and curiosity, for instance– that are woven into the curriculum.”

— “Secular Education, Catholic Values,” by Javier C. Hernandez, The New York Times, Sunday, March 8, 2009

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


— Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep

The Chandler quotation appears in “Language Game,” an entry in this journal on April 7, 2008.

Some say the “Language Game” date, April 7, is the true date (fixed, permanent) of the Crucifixion– by analogy, Eliot’s “still point” and Jung’s “centre.” (See yesterday, noon.)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saturday February 23, 2008

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

"An acute study of the links
between word and fact"
Nina daVinci Nichols

 
Thanks to a Virginia reader for a reminder:
 
Virginia /391062427/item.html? 2/22/2008 7:37 PM
 
The link is to a Log24 entry
that begins as follows…

An Exercise

of Power

Johnny Cash:
"And behold,
a white horse."

Springer logo - A chess knight
Chess Knight
(in German, Springer)

This, along with the "jumper" theme in the previous two entries, suggests a search on springer jumper.That search yields a German sports phrase, "Springer kommt!"  A search on that phrase yields the following:
"Liebe Frau vBayern,
mich würde interessieren wie man
mit diesem Hintergrund
(vonbayern.de/german/anna.html)
zu Springer kommt?"

Background of "Frau vBayern" from thePeerage.com:

Anna-Natascha Prinzessin zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg 

F, #64640, b. 15 March 1978Last Edited=20 Oct 2005

     Anna-Natascha Prinzessin zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg was born on 15 March 1978. She is the daughter of Ludwig Ferdinand Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and Countess Yvonne Wachtmeister af Johannishus. She married Manuel Maria Alexander Leopold Jerg Prinz von Bayern, son of Leopold Prinz von Bayern and Ursula Mohlenkamp, on 6 August 2005 at Nykøping, Södermanland, Sweden.

 

The date of the above "Liebe Frau vBayern" inquiry, Feb. 1, 2007, suggests the following:

From Log24 on
St. Bridget's Day, 2007:

The quotation
"Science is a Faustian bargain"
and the following figure–

Change

The 63 yang-containing hexagrams of the I Ching as a Singer 63-cycle

From a short story by
the above Princess:

"'I don't even think she would have wanted to change you. But she for sure did not want to change herself. And her values were simply a part of her.' It was true, too. I would even go so far as to say that they were her basis, if you think about her as a geometrical body. That's what they couldn't understand, because in this age of the full understanding for stretches of values in favor of self-realization of any kind, it was a completely foreign concept."

To make this excellent metaphor mathematically correct,
change "geometrical body" to "space"… as in

"For Princeton's Class of 2007"

Review of a 2004 production of a 1972 Tom Stoppard play, "Jumpers"–

John Lahr on Tom Stoppard's play Jumpers

Related material:

Knight Moves (Log24, Jan. 16),
Kindergarten Theology (St. Bridget's Day, 2008),
and

The image “My space -(the affine space of six dimensions over the two-element field
(Click on image for details.)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Friday February 1, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 5:01 AM
Kindergarten Theology

On the late James Edwin Loder,
a Presbyterian minister and
a professor of Christian education
at Princeton Theological Seminary,
co-author of The Knight’s Move (1992):

“At his memorial service his daughter Tami told the story of ‘little Jimmy,’ whose kindergarten teacher recognized a special quality of mind that set him apart. ‘Every day we read a story, and after the story is over, Jimmy gets up and wants to tell us what the story means.'” — Dana R. Wright

For a related story about
knight moves and kindergarten,
see Knight Moves: The Relativity
Theory of Kindergarten Blocks
,
and Log24, Jan. 16, 17, and 18.

See also Loder’s book
(poorly written, but of some
interest in light of the above):

The Knight's Move, by Loder and Neidhardt

Opening of The Knight’s Move —

“In a game of chess, the knight’s move is unique because it alone goes around corners. In this way, it combines the continuity of a set sequence with the discontinuity of an unpredictable turn in the middle. This meaningful combination of continuity and discontinuity in an otherwise linear set of possibilities has led some to refer to the creative act of discovery in any field of research as a ‘knight’s move’ in intelligence.

The significance of the title of this volume might stop there but for Kierkegaard’s use of the ‘knight’ image. The force of Kierkegaards’s usage might be described in relation to the chess metaphor by saying that not merely does Kierkegaard’s ‘knight of faith’ undertake a unique move within the rules of the human game, but faith transposes the whole idea of a ‘knight’s move’ into the mind of the Chess Master Himself. That is to say, chess is a game of multiple possibilities and interlocking strategies, so a chess master must combine the  continuity represented by the whole complex of the game with the unpredictable decision he must make every time it is his turn. A master chess player, then, does not merely follow the rules; in him the game becomes a construct of consciousness. The better the player the more fully the game comes into its own as a creation of human intelligence. Similarly, for Kierkegaard, the knight of faith is a unique figure in human experience. The knight shows how, by existing in faith as a creative act of Christ’s Spirit, human existence comes into its own as an expression of the mind of Christ. Thus, the ultimate form of a ‘knight’s move’ is a creative act raised to the nth power by Spiritus Creator, but it still partakes fully in the concrete pieces and patterns that comprise the nature of the human game and the game of nature.”

— James E. Loder and W. Jim Neidhardt (Helmers & Howard Publishing, 1992)

For a discussion, see Triplett’s
Thinking Critically as a Christian.”

Many would deny that such
a thing is possible; let them
read the works of T. S. Eliot.

Related material:

The Knight’s Move
discusses (badly) Hofstadter’s
“strange loop” concept; see
Not Mathematics but Theology
(Log24, July 12, 2007).

Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday January 18, 2008

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

Front page top center, online NY Times: Bobby Fischer Dead at 64

Friday January 18, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:00 AM

Nativity

… Todo lo sé por el lucero puro
que brilla en la diadema de la Muerte.

Rubén Darío,
born January 18, 1867

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thursday January 17, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 5:24 PM
Well, she was
   just seventeen…
 
(continued)

"Mazur introduced the topic of prime numbers with a story from Don Quixote in which Quixote asked a poet to write a poem with 17 lines. Because 17 is prime, the poet couldn't find a length for the poem's stanzas and was thus stymied."

— Undated American Mathematical Society news item about a Nov. 1, 2007, event

Related material:

Desconvencida,
Jueves, Enero 17, 2008

Horses of a Dream
(Log24, Sept. 12, 2003)

Knight Moves
(Log24 yesterday–
anniversary of the
Jan. 16 publication
of Don Quixote)

Windmill and Diamond
(St. Cecilia's Day 2006)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wednesday January 16, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 12:25 PM
Knight Moves:
Geometry of the
Eightfold Cube

Actions of PSL(2, 7) on the eightfold cube

Click on the image for a larger version
and an expansion of some remarks
quoted here on Christmas 2005.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Wednesday June 20, 2007

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

Kernel

Mathematical Reviews citation:

MR2163497 (2006g:81002) 81-03 (81P05)
Gieser, Suzanne The innermost kernel. Depth psychology and quantum physics. Wolfgang Pauli's dialogue with C. G. Jung. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 2005. xiv+378 pp. ISBN: 3-540-20856-9

A quote from MR at Amazon.com:

"This revised translation of a Swedish Ph. D. thesis in philosophy offers far more than a discussion of Wolfgang Pauli's encounters with the psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung…. Here the book explains very well how Pauli attempted to extend his understanding beyond superficial esotericism and spiritism…. To understand Pauli one needs books like this one, which… seems to open a path to a fuller understanding of Pauli, who was seeking to solve a quest even deeper than quantum physics." (Arne Schirrmacher, Mathematical Reviews, Issue 2006g)
 

An excerpt:

 

The image “http://www.log24.com/theory/images/PauliSquare.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

I do not yet know what Gieser means by "the innermost kernel." The following is my version of a "kernel" of sorts– a diagram well-known to students of anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss and art theorist Rosalind Krauss:

The four-group is also known as the Vierergruppe or Klein group.  It appears, notably, as the translation subgroup of A, the group of 24 automorphisms of the affine plane over the 2-element field, and therefore as the kernel of the homomorphism taking A to the group of 6 automorphisms of the projective line over the 2-element field. (See Finite Geometry of the Square and Cube.)

Related material:

The "chessboard" of
   Nov. 7, 2006
(as revised Nov. 7, 2012)–

I Ching chessboard. Previous version replaced on Nov. 7, 2012, by original 1989 chessboard arrangement

I Ching chessboard

None of this material really has much to do with the history of physics, except for its relation to the life and thought of physicist Wolfgang Pauli— the "Mephistopheles" of the new book Faust in Copenhagen. (See previous entry.)

"Only gradually did I discover
what the mandala really is:
'Formation, Transformation,
Eternal Mind's eternal recreation'"

(Faust, Part Two, as
quoted by Jung in
Memories, Dreams, Reflections)
 

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Tuesday November 7, 2006

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 AM
A Game of Chess

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06B/061107-McQueen.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

"And these chessmen are men and women as they appear to themselves and to one another in this world. And the silver table is Time. And those who stand and watch are the immortal souls of these same men and women."

— C. S. Lewis,
The Great Divorce

I Ching chessboard

I Ching chessboard

Related material:

"At the still point,
there the dance is
"

and

Number and Time, by Marie-Louise von Franz
 

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sunday September 10, 2006

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 4:00 AM

And the
"
Meet Max Black"
Award goes to…

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060910-Obits.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

"For the Aeron and other designs,
Mr. Stumpf won this year’s
National Design Award
in Product Design
,
which is to be presented
posthumously on Oct. 18
by the Cooper-Hewitt
National Design Museum
in Manhattan."

— Today's New York Times

Stumpf died on August 30,
the date of the Log24 entry
"The Seventh Symbol."

Related material:

From
Geometry of the I Ching,
chessboard:

I Ching chessboard (original 1989 arrangement)

From the
 National Design Museum:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060910-DesignAwards.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

 From Log24 on the
date of Stumpf's death,

The Seventh Symbol:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060910-Box121.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Pictorial version of
Hexagram 20,
Contemplation (View)

See also
Fearful Symmetry
and
Symmetry Framed.

Friday, July 7, 2006

Friday July 7, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 AM
Born (some say)
on this date:
Yul Brynner

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060707-Brynner1.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Mate in 6
(White moves.)

(White: Ke8, Nd7, Be5,
b5, e4, f2. Black: Ke6.
)

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060707-Problem.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Sevitov, 1938

(For solution, click here.)

Log24, July 3, 2006:

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

— Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep, begun in the summer of 1938

Log24, July 2, 2006:

Is a puzzlement!

Log24, July 5, 2006:

“In this way we are offered a formidable lesson for every Christian community.”

— Pope Benedict XVI on Pentecost, June 4, 2006, St. Peter’s Square.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Sunday September 22, 2002

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 8:02 PM

Force Field of Dreams

Metaphysics and chess in today’s New York Times Magazine:

  • From “Must-See Metaphysics,” by Emily Nussbaum:

    Joss Whedon, creator of a new TV series —

    “I’m a very hard-line, angry atheist” and
    “I want to invade people’s dreams.”

  • From “Check This,” by Wm. Ferguson:

    Garry Kasparov on chess

    “When the computer sees forced lines,
    it plays like God.”

Putting these quotations together, one is tempted to imagine God having a little game of chess with Whedon, along the lines suggested by C. S. Lewis:

As Lewis tells it the time had come for his “Adversary [as he was wont to speak of the God he had so earnestly sought to avoid] to make His final moves.” (C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy, Harcourt, Brace, and World, Inc., 1955, p. 216) Lewis called them “moves” because his life seemed like a chess match in which his pieces were spread all over the board in the most disadvantageous positions. The board was set for a checkmate….

For those who would like to imagine such a game (God vs. Whedon), the following may be helpful.

George Steiner has observed that

The common bond between chess, music, and mathematics may, finally, be the absence of language.

This quotation is apparently from

Fields of Force:
Fischer and Spassky at Reykjavik
. by George Steiner, Viking hardcover, June 1974.

George Steiner as quoted in a review of his book Grammars of Creation:

“I put forward the intuition, provisional and qualified, that the ‘language-animal’ we have been since ancient Greece so designated us, is undergoing mutation.”

The phrase “language-animal” is telling.  A Google search reveals that it is by no means a common phrase, and that Steiner may have taken it from Heidegger.  From another review, by Roger Kimball:

In ”Grammars of Creation,” for example, he tells us that ”the classical and Judaic ideal of man as ‘language animal,’ as uniquely defined by the dignity of speech . . . came to an end in the antilanguage of the death camps.”

This use of the Holocaust not only gives the appearance of establishing one’s credentials as a person of great moral gravity; it also stymies criticism. Who wants to risk the charge of insensitivity by objecting that the Holocaust had nothing to do with the ”ideal of man as ‘language animal’ ”?

Steiner has about as clear an idea of the difference between “classical” and “Judaic” ideals of man as did Michael Dukakis. (See my notes of September 9, 2002.)

Clearly what music, mathematics, and chess have in common is that they are activities based on pure form, not on language. Steiner is correct to that extent. The Greeks had, of course, an extremely strong sense of form, and, indeed, the foremost philosopher of the West, Plato, based his teachings on the notion of Forms. Jews, on the other hand, have based their culture mainly on stories… that is, on language rather than on form. The phrase “language-animal” sounds much more Jewish than Greek. Steiner is himself rather adept at the manipulation of language (and of people by means of language), but, while admiring form-based disciplines, is not particularly adept at them.

I would argue that developing a strong sense of form — of the sort required to, as Lewis would have it, play chess with God — does not require any “mutation,” but merely learning two very powerful non-Jewish approaches to thought and life: the Forms of Plato and the “archetypes” of Jung as exemplified by the 64 hexagrams of the 3,000-year-old Chinese classic, the I Ching.

For a picture of how these 64 Forms, or Hexagrams, might function as a chessboard,

click here.

Other relevant links:

“As you read, watch for patterns. Pay special attention to imagery that is geometric…”

and


from Shakhmatnaia goriachka

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