Sunday, November 19, 2017

Nightmare for Midsummer

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:36 PM

In memory of a Brooklyn art figure who reportedly killed himself
on November 9, 2017 —

From an obituary linked to here  in a post, "Information from the Middle 
of the Night
," at 2:02 AM ET on June 23, 2017 —

"In 1976, Ms. DeAk, with Mr. Robinson, Sol LeWitt and
Lucy Lippard, helped found Printed Matter, a publisher
and distributor of artists’ books."

"A version of this article appears in print on June 23, 2017,
on Page B15 of the New York edition with the headline:
Edit DeAk, a Champion of Artists Outside the Mainstream,
Dies at 68."

Related material —

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Midsummer Nightmare

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:11 PM

A Passage to India… With Slides and Chanting

"Why art thou here, 
Come from the farthest Steppe of India?"

Midsummer Night's Dream 

"After graduating, Mr. Franken headed for Harvard,
while Mr. Davis chose the University of the Pacific
in Stockton, Calif., because, he said, he had heard
that it had a foreign study program in India, where
he hoped to smoke opium. (They did, and he did.)"

— Obituary of Saturday Night Live  writer Tom Davis
by Douglas Martin in this evening's online New York Times

"Frances Alenikoff, a dancer, choreographer and visual artist
whose performances often interwove movement with slides,
film, speaking, tape recordings and chant, died on June 23
in Southampton, N.Y. She was 91."

— Margalit Fox, online NY Times of July 8, 2012

Click for up-to-date context from the Times.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Midsummer Night Comedy

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 AM

This evening's New York Lottery number was 776.
From this journal's post number 776


Lindsay Lohan was back in court today.

"The judge… ordered Lindsay may have no more than one friend
over at a time for the remainder of her house arrest" —Star Magazine

"Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call"

— Eustace Tilley

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Midsummer Noon

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

Geometry Simplified

Image-- The Three-Point Line: A Finite Projective Space
(a projective space)

The above finite projective space
is the simplest nontrivial example
of a Galois geometry (i.e., a finite
geometry with coordinates in a
finite (that is, Galois) field.)

The vertical (Euclidean) line represents a
 (Galois) point, as does the horizontal line
and also the vertical-and-horizontal
cross that represents the first two points'
binary sum (i.e., symmetric difference,
if the lines are regarded as sets).

Homogeneous coordinates for the
points of this line —

(1,0), (0,1), (1,1).

Here 0 and 1 stand for the elements
of the two-element Galois field GF(2).

The 3-point line is the projective space
corresponding to the affine space
(a plane, not a line) with four points —

(an affine space)

The (Galois) points of this affine plane are
  not the single and combined (Euclidean)
line segments that play the role of
  points in the 3-point projective line,
but rather the four subsquares
that the line segments separate.

For further details, see Galois Geometry.

There are, of course, also the trivial
two-point affine space and the corresponding
trivial one-point projective space —


Here again, the points of the affine space are
represented by squares, and the point of the
projective space is represented by a line segment
separating the affine-space squares.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Devotional Space

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:16 PM

Quotations by and for an artist who reportedly died
on Sunday, January 15, 2017 —

"What drives my vision is a need to locate
a 'genetically felt' devotional space
in which a simultaneous multiplicity
of disparate realities coexists."

— The late Ciel Bergman, in her webpage
     "Artist's Statement"

"Once a registered nurse who worked in a hospital
psychiatric ward, Ms. Bergman was a struggling
single mom of two when she couldn’t resist the pull
of her art. In 1969, she entered a painting in the
Jack London Invitational, an art contest in Oakland,
and won first prize. This compelled her to enroll at
the San Francisco Art Institute, where she earned
her master of fine arts with honors in painting."

Sam Whiting in the San Francisco Chronicle

See also Oakland in this journal and
"Only a peculiar can enter a time loop."

"The peculiar kind of 'identity' that is attributed to
apparently altogether heterogeneous figures
in virtue of their being transformable into one another
by means of certain operations defining a group,
is thus seen to exist also in the domain of perception."

— Ernst Cassirer, quoted here on
     Midsummer Eve (St. John's Eve), 2010

Friday, January 10, 2014

Department of Corrections

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

The reference to David Justice at the beginning of
yesterday afternoon's post does not imply an
endorsement of all his writings. For instance, a
Justice post from yesterday contains the following—


The above author name and page number are wrong.

Related to the above "fundamental theme" — 

Midsummer Geometry.

Monday, June 24, 2013

What Dreams

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

“For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.” — Hamlet

Sleep well, Mr. Matheson.

Friday, November 30, 2012


Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:26 AM

The title of yesterday's 11:22 PM post was "The Place of the Lion."

This is also the title of a novel by Charles Williams.

See, too, Midsummer Eve's Dream and Midsummer Night 2007.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Simple Skill

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:18 AM

But with good Will
To show our simple skill…

( Continued from Midsummer Eve, 1993 )

The "Black Diamond" search from Holy Cross Day 
leads to Talk Amongst Yourselves, which in turn
leads to PyrE in the Book, with Alfred Bester's
version of "Will and Idea."

This phrase may be regarded as a version of 
Schopenhauer's "Will and Representation."

Related material—

"Schopenhauer's notion of the will comes from the Kantian thing-in-itself, which Kant believed to be the fundamental reality behind the representation that provided the matter of perception, but lacked form. Kant believed that space, time, causation, and many other similar phenomena belonged properly to the form imposed on the world by the human mind in order to create the representation, and these factors were absent from the thing-in-itself. Schopenhauer pointed out that anything outside of time and space could not be differentiated, so the thing-in-itself must be one and all things that exist, including human beings, must be part of this fundamental unity. Our inner-experience must be a manifestation of the noumenal realm and the will is the inner kernel* of every being. All knowledge gained of objects is seen as self-referential, as we recognize the same will in other things as is inside us." —Wikipedia

* "Die Schrecken des Todes beruhen großentheils auf dem falschen Schein, daß jetzt das Ich verschwinde, und die Welt bleibe, Vielmehr aber ist das Gegentheil wahr: die Welt verschwindet; hingegen der innerste Kern des Ich, der Träger und Hervorbringer jenes Subjekts, in dessen Vorstellung allein die Welt ihr Daseyn hatte, beharrt." 

— Schopenhauer, Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung , Kapitel 41

Added Nov. 16, 2012, a translation by E. F. J. Payne—

"The terrors of death rest for the most part on the false illusion that then the I or ego vanishes, and the world remains. But rather is the opposite true, namely that the world vanishes; on the other hand, the innermost kernel of the ego endures, the bearer and producer of that subject in whose representation alone the world had its existence."


by Arthur Schopenhauer
Translated from the German by E. F. J. Payne
In two volumes
© 1969 Dover Publications, Inc.
© 1958 by The Falcon's Wing Press

Volume Two: Supplements to the Fourth Book, 
XLI. On Death and Its Relation to the Indestructibility of Our Inner Nature

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:48 AM

(Continued from Midsummer Eve)

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

— Norman Mailer, March 3, 1992, PBS transcript

"Just because it is a transition between incommensurables, the transition between competing paradigms cannot be made a step at a time, forced by logic and neutral experience. Like the gestalt switch, it must occur all at once (though not necessarily in an instant) or not at all."

Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions , 1962, as quoted in The Enneagram of Paradigm Shifting

"In the spiritual traditions from which Jung borrowed the term, it is not the SYMMETRY of mandalas that is all-important, as Jung later led us to believe. It is their capacity to reveal the asymmetry that resides at the very heart of symmetry." 

The Enneagram as Mandala

I have little respect for Enneagram enthusiasts, but they do at times illustrate Mailer's maxim.

My own interests are in the purely mathematical properties of the number nine, as well as those of the next square, sixteen.

Those who prefer bullshit may investigate non-mathematical properties of sixteen by doing a Google image search on MBTI.

For bullshit involving nine, see (for instance) Einsatz  in this journal.

For non-bullshit involving nine, sixteen, and "asymmetry that resides at the very heart of symmetry," see Monday's Mapping Problem continued. (The nine occurs there as the symmetric  figures in the lower right nine-sixteenths of the triangular analogs  diagram.)

For non-bullshit involving psychological and philosophical terminology, see James Hillman's Re-Visioning Psychology .

In particular, see Hillman's "An Excursion on Differences Between Soul and Spirit."

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:01 AM

A tribute to Richard D. Zanuck in the style of Tim Burton—

Part I

IMAGE- G. H. Hardy around 1900, strongly resembling Paul McCartney

Part II

IMAGE- Beatles lyric 'There's a shadow hanging over me'

Part III

IMAGE- Richard D. Zanuck interview on 'Dark Shadows' film of director Tim Burton

The above Zanuck interview on Dark Shadows
was published on Midsummer Eve, June 23, 2012.

Also from June 23, 2012

IMAGE- 'Double Cross' symbol by Rudolf Koch from Midsummer Eve, 2012

Related material— Russell on Hardy.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Spelling Brougham*

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 AM

Midsummer Night in the Garden of Good and Evil, starring Nina Simone

Click for details.

Related material—

Midnight in the Garden on the Ides of March and New Day Nina.

* For the title, see an historical note on October the 16th.
   For a related novel, see Groundhog Day 2009.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Gleaming the Cube (continued)

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

The New York Times  has a skateboarder obit with a URL date of July 9.

Here is an earlier version from the LA Times

July 4, 2011

By Keith Thursby, Los Angeles Times

Chris Cahill, one of the original Dogtown Z-Boys
who brought seismic changes to skateboarding
with their style and attitude, has died. He was 54.

Cahill was found June 24 at his Los Angeles home,
said Larry Dietz of the Los Angeles County
coroner's office. A cause of death has not been
determined and tests are ongoing, Dietz said.


Related material from Midsummer Day, June 24, the day Cahill was found dead—

The Gleaming and The Cube.

    An illustration from the latter—

IMAGE- 'The Stars My Destination' (with cover slightly changed)

    The above was adapted from a 1996 cover

IMAGE- PyrE on the 1996 Vintage Books cover of 'The Stars My Destination'

 Vintage Books, July 1996. Cover: Evan Gaffney.

For the significance of the flames,
see PyrE in the book. For the significance
of the cube in the altered cover, see
The 2×2×2 Cube and The Diamond Archetype.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Dinner

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

From "Sunday Dinner" in this journal—

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

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

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

Some table topics—

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

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

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

An item from that syllabus:

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

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

Discuss a different novel by the same author—

The End of Mr. Y .

Discuss the author herself, Scarlett Thomas.

Background for the discussion—

Derrida in this journal versus Charles Williams in this journal.

Related topics from the above syllabus date—

Metaphor and Gestell and Quadrat.

Some context— Midsummer Eve's Dream.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Just One More Thing…

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:59 PM


Moonshine and Lion
are left to bury the dead.


Ay, and Wall too.


[Starting up] No assure you;
the wall is down
that parted their fathers.


Click image for details.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Aguila de Oro

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

IMAGE- Hotel Bella Vista as 'Portal del Aguila de Oro'

See also Harvard's Memorial Church in "Ready when you are, C. B."—

IMAGE- Sharon Stone in the Gold Eagle pulpit of Harvard's Memorial Church

Sharon Stone lectures at
Harvard's Memorial Church

on March 14, 2005…

"Ready when you are, C. B."

Monday, December 20, 2010

Enter a Messenger

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

The title is from the Leap Day, 2004, post for Academy Awards day.

Two items from December 16, 2007 —

From a photographer's journal — Kofel, Oberammergau, 12/16/07

From this  journal — Mad Phaedrus Meets Mad Ezra, 12/16/07

See also yesterday's Rosetta and the Stone and Ross Douthat in today's New York Times

"Thanks in part to this bunker mentality, American Christianity has become what Hunter calls a 'weak culture'— one that mobilizes but doesn’t convert, alienates rather than seduces, and looks backward toward a lost past instead of forward to a vibrant future. In spite of their numerical strength and reserves of social capital, he argues, the Christian churches are mainly influential only in the 'peripheral areas' of our common life. In the commanding heights of culture, Christianity punches way below its weight."

"Ready when you are, C.B."

Friday, October 8, 2010

Starting Out in the Evening

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

… and Finishing Up at Noon

This post was suggested by last evening’s post on mathematics and narrative
and by Michiko Kakutani on Vargas Llosa in this morning’s New York Times.


Above: Frank Langella in
Starting Out in the Evening

Right: Johnny Depp in
The Ninth Gate


“One must proceed cautiously, for this road— of truth and falsehood in the realm of fiction— is riddled with traps and any enticing oasis is usually a mirage.”

— “Is Fiction the Art of Lying?”* by Mario Vargas Llosa, New York Times  essay of October 7, 1984

My own adventures in that realm— as reader, not author— may illustrate Llosa’s remark.

A nearby stack of paperbacks I haven’t touched for some months (in order from bottom to top)—

  1. Pale Rider by Alan Dean Foster
  2. Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
  3. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
  4. Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry
  5. Literary Reflections by James A. Michener
  6. The Ninth Configuration by William Peter Blatty
  7. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
  8. Nine Stories by J. D. Salinger
  9. A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
  10. The Tempest by William Shakespeare
  11. Being There by Jerzy Kosinski
  12. What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson
  13. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
  14. A Gathering of Spies by John Altman
  15. Selected Poems by Robinson Jeffers
  16. Hook— Tinkerbell’s Challenge by Tristar Pictures
  17. Rising Sun by Michael Crichton
  18. Changewar by Fritz Leiber
  19. The Painted Word by Tom Wolfe
  20. The Hustler by Walter Tevis
  21. The Natural by Bernard Malamud
  22. Truly Tasteless Jokes by Blanche Knott
  23. The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton
  24. Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry

What moral Vargas Llosa might draw from the above stack I do not know.

Generally, I prefer the sorts of books in a different nearby stack. See Sisteen, from May 25. That post the fanciful reader may view as related to number 16 in the above list. The reader may also relate numbers 24 and 22 above (an odd couple) to By Chance, from Thursday, July 22.

* The Web version’s title has a misprint— “living” instead of “lying.”

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Corpse Express

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 2:02 AM

See Malcolm Lowry's "A corpse will be transported by express!" in this journal.

From June 23

"When Plato regards geometry as the prerequisite to
philosophical knowledge, it is because geometry alone
renders accessible the realm of things eternal;
tou gar aei ontos he geometrike gnosis estin."

— Ernst Cassirer, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research,
   Volume V, Number 1, September, 1944.


June 23, Midsummer Eve, was the date of death for Colonel Michael Cobb.

Cobb, who died aged 93, was "a regular Army officer who in retirement produced
the definitive historical atlas of the railways of Great Britain." — Telegraph.co.uk, July 19

As for geometry, railways, and things eternal, see parallel lines converging
in Tequila Mockingbird and Bedlam Songs.

Station of the Rock Island Line

The Rock Island Line’s namesake depot 
in Rock Island, Illinois

See also Wallace Stevens on "the giant of nothingness"
in "A Primitive Like an Orb" and in Midsummer Eve's Dream

At the center on the horizon, concentrum, grave
And prodigious person, patron of origins.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Group Theory and Philosophy

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

Excerpts from "The Concept of Group and the Theory of Perception,"
by Ernst Cassirer, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research,
Volume V, Number 1, September, 1944.
(Published in French in the Journal de Psychologie, 1938, pp. 368-414.)

The group-theoretical interpretation of the fundaments of geometry is,
from the standpoint of pure logic, of great importance, since it enables us to
state the problem of the "universality" of mathematical concepts in simple
and precise form and thus to disentangle it from the difficulties and ambigui-
ties with which it is beset in its usual formulation. Since the times of the
great controversies about the status of universals in the Middle Ages, logic
and psychology have always been troubled with these ambiguities….

Our foregoing reflections on the concept of group  permit us to define more
precisely what is involved in, and meant by, that "rule" which renders both
geometrical and perceptual concepts universal. The rule may, in simple
and exact terms, be defined as that group of transformations  with regard to
which the variation of the particular image is considered. We have seen
above that this conception operates as the constitutive principle in the con-
struction of the universe of mathematical concepts….

                                                              …Within Euclidean geometry,
a "triangle" is conceived of as a pure geometrical "essence," and this
essence is regarded as invariant with respect to that "principal group" of
spatial transformations to which Euclidean geometry refers, viz., displace-
ments, transformations by similarity. But it must always be possible to
exhibit any particular figure, chosen from this infinite class, as a concrete
and intuitively representable object. Greek mathematics could not
dispense with this requirement which is rooted in a fundamental principle
of Greek philosophy, the principle of the correlatedness of "logos" and
"eidos." It is, however, characteristic of the modern development of
mathematics, that this bond between "logos" and "eidos," which was indis-
soluble for Greek thought, has been loosened more and more, to be, in the
end, completely broken….

                                                            …This process has come to its logical
conclusion and systematic completion in the development of modern group-
theory. Geometrical figures  are no longer regarded as fundamental, as
date of perception or immediate intuition. The "nature" or "essence" of a
figure is defined in terms of the operations  which may be said to
generate the figure.
The operations in question are, in turn, subject to
certain group conditions….

                                                                                                    …What we
find in both cases are invariances with respect to variations undergone by
the primitive elements out of which a form is constructed. The peculiar
kind of "identity" that is attributed to apparently altogether heterogen-
eous figures in virtue of their being transformable into one another by means
of certain operations defining a group, is thus seen to exist also in the
domain of perception. This identity permits us not only to single out ele-
ments but also to grasp "structures" in perception. To the mathematical
concept of "transformability" there corresponds, in the domain of per-
ception, the concept of "transposability." The theory  of the latter con-
cept has been worked out step by step and its development has gone through
various stages….
                                                                                 …By the acceptance of
"form" as a primitive concept, psychological theory has freed it from the
character of contingency  which it possessed for its first founders. The inter-
pretation of perception as a mere mosaic of sensations, a "bundle" of simple
sense-impressions has proved untenable…. 

                             …In the domain of mathematics this state of affairs mani-
fests itself in the impossibility of searching for invariant properties of a
figure except with reference to a group. As long as there existed but one
form of geometry, i.e., as long as Euclidean geometry was considered as the
geometry kat' exochen  this fact was somehow concealed. It was possible
to assume implicitly  the principal group of spatial transformations that lies
at the basis of Euclidean geometry. With the advent of non-Euclidean
geometries, however, it became indispensable to have a complete and sys-
tematic survey of the different "geometries," i.e., the different theories of
invariancy that result from the choice of certain groups of transformation.
This is the task which F. Klein set to himself and which he brought to a
certain logical fulfillment in his Vergleichende Untersuchungen ueber neuere
geometrische Forschungen

                                                          …Without discrimination between the
accidental and the substantial, the transitory and the permanent, there
would be no constitution of an objective reality.

This process, unceasingly operative in perception and, so to speak, ex-
pressing the inner dynamics of the latter, seems to have come to final per-
fection, when we go beyond perception to enter into the domain of pure
thought. For the logical advantage and peculiar privilege of the pure con –
cept seems to consist in the replacement of fluctuating perception by some-
thing precise and exactly determined. The pure concept does not lose
itself in the flux of appearances; it tends from "becoming" toward "being,"
from dynamics toward statics. In this achievement philosophers have
ever seen the genuine meaning and value of geometry. When Plato re-
gards geometry as the prerequisite to philosophical knowledge, it is because
geometry alone renders accessible the realm of things eternal; tou gar aei
ontos he geometrike gnosis estin
. Can there be degrees or levels of objec-
tive knowledge in this realm of eternal being, or does not rather knowledge
attain here an absolute maximum? Ancient geometry cannot but answer
in the affirmative to this question. For ancient geometry, in the classical
form it received from Euclid, there was such a maximum, a non plus ultra.
But modern group theory thinking has brought about a remarkable change
In this matter. Group theory is far from challenging the truth of Euclidean
metrical geometry, but it does challenge its claim to definitiveness. Each
geometry is considered as a theory of invariants of a certain group; the
groups themselves may be classified in the order of increasing generality.
The "principal group" of transformations which underlies Euclidean geome-
try permits us to establish a number of properties that are invariant with
respect to the transformations in question. But when we pass from this
"principal group" to another, by including, for example, affinitive and pro-
jective transformations, all that we had established thus far and which,
from the point of view of Euclidean geometry, looked like a definitive result
and a consolidated achievement, becomes fluctuating again. With every
extension of the principal group, some of the properties that we had taken
for invariant are lost. We come to other properties that may be hierar-
chically arranged. Many differences that are considered as essential
within ordinary metrical geometry, may now prove "accidental." With
reference to the new group-principle they appear as "unessential" modifica-

                 … From the point of view of modern geometrical systematization,
geometrical judgments, however "true" in themselves, are nevertheless not
all of them equally "essential" and necessary. Modern geometry
endeavors to attain progressively to more and more fundamental strata of
spatial determination. The depth of these strata depends upon the com-
prehensiveness of the concept of group; it is proportional to the strictness of
the conditions that must be satisfied by the invariance that is a universal
postulate with respect to geometrical entities. Thus the objective truth
and structure of space cannot be apprehended at a single glance, but have to
be progressively  discovered and established. If geometrical thought is to
achieve this discovery, the conceptual means that it employs must become
more and more universal….

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Annals of Art History

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:00 AM

On Misplaced Concreteness

An excerpt from China and Vietnam: The Politics of Asymmetry, by Brantly Womack (Cambridge U. Press, 2006)—

The book is intended to be a contribution to the general theory of international relations as well as to the understanding of China and Vietnam, but I give greater priority to “the case” rather than to the theory. This is a deliberate methodological decision. As John Gerring has argued, case studies are especially appropriate when exploring new causal mechanisms.2  I would argue more broadly that the “case” is the reality to which the theory is secondary. In international relations theory, “realism” is often contrasted to “idealism,” but surely a more basic and appropriate meaning of “realism” is to give priority to reality rather than to theory. The philosopher Alfred North Whitehead defined the Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness as “neglecting the degree of abstraction involved when an actual entity is considered merely so far as it exemplifies certain categories of thought.”3 In effect, the concept is taken as the concrete reality, and actual reality is reduced to a mere appendage of data. Misplaced Concreteness may well be the cardinal sin of modern social science. It is certainly pandemic in international relations theory, where a serious consideration of the complexities of real political situations is often dismissed as mere “area studies.” Like the Greek god Anteus who was sustained by touching his Mother Earth, theory is challenged and rejuvenated by planting its feet in thick reality.

2 John Gerring, "What Is a Case Study and What Is It Good For?"
   American Political Science Review  98:2 (May 2004), pp. 341-54
3 Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality
   (New York: Harper, 1929), p. 11


"Whitehead defined the Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness…."

The phrase "misplaced concreteness" occurs in the title of a part of an exhibition, "Theme and Variations," by artist Josefine Lyche (Oslo, 2009). I do not know what Lyche had in mind when she used the phrase. A search for possible meanings yielded the above passage.

"In international relations theory, “realism” is often contrasted to “idealism….”

For a more poetic look at "realism" and "idealism" and international relations theory, see Midsummer Eve's Dream.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thursday September 17, 2009

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 8:00 PM
Jennifer's Body

The following remark this evening by Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post serves as an instant review of today's previous cinematic Log24 offering starring the late Patrick Swayze:

"Watch it, forget it, move on."

A perhaps more enduring tribute:

Patrick Swayze in 'King Solomon's Mines'


Related material:

Solomon's Cube,
Solomon and Sheba,
Raiders of the Lost Stone.

"Ready when you are, C.B."


Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday September 11, 2009

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:00 PM
For 9/11

Cover of 'Underworld,' by Don DeLillo, First Edition, Advance Reader's Copy, 1997


Cover of Underworld,
 by Don DeLillo, First Edition,
 Advance Reader's Copy, 1997

"Time and chance
happeneth to them all."
Ecclesiastes 9:11  

Related material:

1. The previous entry, on
  Copenhagen physicist
Aage Bohr, and      
2. Notes from this journal
 from Bohr's birthday,
 June 19th, through  
        Midsummer Night, 2007…
 including notes on   
  Faust in Copenhagen
   3. Walpurgisnacht 2008 and
 Walpurgisnacht 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday June 19, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:59 PM
Midnight in
the Garden



 Juneteenth through
Midsummer Night


 Juneteenth Revisited.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday March 22, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 PM
Funeral Services Held
for Natasha Richardson

E! Online today, 1 PM PDT:

“Family and friends of Natasha Richardson said their final farewells to the late actress Sunday afternoon during a small, private funeral held near her Millbrook home in upstate New York….

Richardson died on Wednesday [March 18, 2009] at the age of 45 from a head injury she suffered [on Monday, March 16, 2009] while skiing in Canada.

The funeral began after the family arrived in a police-escorted motorcade at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Lithgow, where Neeson and her sons are members….”

For what it’s worth…

Background image
for the E! story:

Eight-pointed star, background image for the E! Online logo

Related images —
Midsummer Night
in the Garden of
Good and Evil

See also:

God as Trauma,”
by a former vicar
of the Lithgow church,
and Drunkard’s Walk.

Sunday March 22, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:30 AM
The Craft

“Pope tells clergy in Angola
to work against
 belief in witchcraft”

— Headline in tonight’s
online New York Times

“Do you think I am trying to weave a spell? Perhaps I am; but remember your fairy tales. Spells are used for breaking enchantments as well as for inducing them.”

— C. S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory

Related material:

Fantasy and Fugue
and the same words
as rendered by
Bach and Schweitzer

See also
Yesterday’s entries
Midsummer Night
in the Garden
of Good and Evil

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thursday February 26, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 AM

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

— Glenna Whitley, “Voodoo Justice

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

From the Curriculum Vitae
of Patrick McGee:

Theory and the Common
 from Marx to Badiou

    (Palgrave 2009, scheduled for
   March 31 publication)”

Thanks for the warning.

From the publisher:

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

About the Author

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

Table of Contents

Related Categories

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

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wednesday February 25, 2009

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:30 PM

in the Garden
of Good and Evil

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

— Glenna Whitley, “Voodoo Justice,” The New York Times, March 20, 1994

'Variety' with 1935 headline 'STICKS NIX HICK PIX'

Click for details.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tuesday December 2, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:09 AM

A Penny for My Thoughts?
by Maureen Dowd

“If an online newspaper in Pasadena, Calif., can outsource coverage to India, I wonder how long can it be before some guy in Bangalore is writing my column….”

New York Times teaser for a column of Sunday, November 30, 2008 (St. Andrew’s Day)

DH News Service, Bangalore, Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008:

“Monday evening had a pleasant surprise in store for sky-watchers as the night sky sported a smiley, in the form of a crescent moon flanked by two bright planets Jupiter and Venus…”

Meanwhile, at National Geographic:

Jupiter, Venus, Moon Make “Frown”

A Midrash for Maureen:

The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth,
    from earth to heaven;

And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown,
    the poet’s pen

Turns them to shapes
    and gives to airy nothing

A local habitation and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination,
That if it would but
    apprehend some joy,

It comprehends some
    bringer of that joy….”

Related material on Pasadena:
Happy birthday, R. P. Dilworth.

Related material on India:
The Shining of May 29 (2002) and
A Well-Known Theorem (2005).

“Sometimes a line of mathematical research extending through decades can be thought of as one long conversation in which many mathematicians take part. This is fortunately true at present….”

— Barry Mazur in 2000 as quoted today at the University of St. Andrews

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday October 25, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:01 AM
Actual Being

The New York Times Book Review online today has a review by Sam Tanenhaus of a new John Updike book.

The title of the review (not the book) is "Mr. Wizard."

"John Updike is the great genial sorcerer of American letters. His output alone (60 books, almost 40 of them novels or story collections) has been supernatural. More wizardly still is the ingenuity of his prose. He has now written tens of thousands of sentences, many of them tiny miracles of transubstantiation whereby some hitherto overlooked datum of the human or natural world– from the anatomical to the zoological, the socio-economic to the spiritual– emerges, as if for the first time, in the complete­ness of its actual being."

Rolling Stone interview with Sting, February 7, 1991:

"'I was brought up in a very strong Catholic community,' Sting says. 'My parents were Catholic, and in the Fifties and Sixties, Catholicism was very strong. You know, they say, "Once a Catholic, always a Catholic." In a way I'm grateful for that background. There's a very rich imagery in Catholicism: blood, guilt, death, all that stuff.' He laughs."


RS 597, Feb. 7, 1991

Last night's 12:00 AM
Log24 entry:

Midnight Bingo

From this date six years ago:

It All Adds Up.

From this morning's newspaper,
a religious meditation I had not
seen last night:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix08A/081025-WizardOfIdSm.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Related material:

Juneteenth through
Midsummer Night, 2007


Church of the Forbidden Planet

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday October 20, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:06 AM
Me and My Shadow

Thoughts suggested by Saturday's entry–

"… with primitives the beginnings of art, science, and religion coalesce in the undifferentiated chaos of the magical mentality…."

— Carl G. Jung, "On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry," Collected Works, Vol. 15, The Spirit in Man, Art, and Literature, Princeton University Press, 1966, excerpted in Twentieth Century Theories of Art, edited by James M. Thompson.

For a video of such undifferentiated chaos, see the Four Tops' "Loco in Acapulco."

"Yes, you'll be goin' loco
  down in Acapulco,

  the magic down there
  is so strong."

This song is from the 1988 film "Buster."

(For a related religious use of that name– "Look, Buster, do you want to live?"– see Fritz Leiber's "Damnation Morning," quoted here on Sept. 28.)

Art, science, and religion are not apparent within the undifferentiated chaos of the Four Tops' Acapulco video, which appears to incorporate time travel in its cross-cutting of scenes that seem to be from the Mexican revolution with contemporary pool-party scenes. Art, science, and religion do, however, appear within my own memories of Acapulco. While staying at a small thatched-roof hostel on a beach at Acapulco in the early 1960's, I read a paperback edition of Three Philosophical Poets, a book by George Santayana on Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe. Here we may regard art as represented by Goethe, science by Lucretius, and religion by Dante. For a more recent and personal combination of these topics, see Juneteenth through Midsummer Night, 2007, which also has references to the "primitives" and "magical mentality" discussed by Jung.

"The major structures of the psyche for Jung include the ego, which is comprised of the persona and the shadow. The persona is the 'mask' which the person presents [to] the world, while the shadow holds the parts of the self which the person feels ashamed and guilty about."

— Brent Dean Robbins, Jung page at Mythos & Logos

As for shame and guilt, see Malcolm Lowry's classic Under the Volcano, a novel dealing not with Acapulco but with a part of Mexico where in my youth I spent much more time– Cuernavaca.

Lest Lowry's reflections prove too depressing, I recommend as background music the jazz piano of the late Dave McKenna… in particular, "Me and My Shadow."

McKenna died on Saturday, the date of the entry that included "Loco in Acapulco." Saturday was also the Feast of Saint Luke.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thursday October 9, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:26 AM

First Draft
of History

(Click to enlarge)
NY Times online 2:18 AM Thursday, Oct. 9, 2008

Deep Background:

From the Terrace
of the Hotel Bella Vista
in Cuernavaca

From the Terrace (of the Hotel Bella Vista, Cuernavaca)

Related Material:

Midsummer Night
in the Garden
of Good and Evil

Right through hell
there is a path…

(Voice-over by
Richard Burton,
“Volcano,” 1976)

The Peacock Throne

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday October 3, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:30 PM
The Prize

Paul Newman and Elke Sommer in 'The Prize'

“The secret to life, and
to love, is getting started,
keeping going, and then
getting started again.”

Nobel Laureate
Seamus Heaney
at Sanders Theatre,
Harvard College,
September 30, 2008

On Elke Sommer:

“…Young Elke… studied
in the prestigious
Gymnasium School
in Erlangen….”

Film Fatales

Erlangen Prize Lecture:

Variations on a Theme of
Plato, Goethe, and Klein

Christmas Knot, Sept. 26,
and Hard Core, July 17-18.)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Wednesday July 2, 2008

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

“The serpent’s eyes shine
As he wraps around the vine”

Scene from 'A Good Year'

A Good Year

Last summer’s journal

Related material:

'The Power Of The Center: A Study of Composition in the Visual Arts,' by Rudolf Arnheim

Cover illustration:

'Spies returning from the land of Canaan with a cluster of grapes,' Biblia Sacra Germanica

Spies returning from the land of
Canaan with a cluster of grapes.

 Colored woodcut from
Biblia Sacra Germanica,
Nuremberg, Anton Koberger, 1483.
Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesday June 24, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 1:00 PM
Random Walk with
X's and O's

Part I: Random Walk

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

Part II: X's


Actor contemplating the Chi-rho Page of the Book of Kells

"Shakespeare, Rilke, Joyce,
Beckett and Levi-Strauss are
instances of authors for whom
chiasmus and chiastic thinking
are of central importance,
for whom chiasmus is a
generator of meaning,
tool of discovery and
  philosophical template."
— Chiasmus in the
Drama of Life

Part III: O's —

A Cartoon Graveyard
in honor of the late
Gene Persson

Today's Garfield

Garfield cartoon of June 24, 2008

See also
Midsummer Eve's Dream:

"The meeting is closed
with the lord's prayer
and refreshments are served."

Producer of plays and musicals
including Album and
The Ruling Class

Lower case in honor of
Peter O'Toole, star of
the film version of
The Ruling Class.

(This film, together with
O'Toole's My Favorite Year,
may be regarded as epitomizing
Hollywood's Jesus for Jews.)

Those who prefer
less randomness
in their religion
 may consult O'Toole's
more famous film work
involving Islam,
as well as
the following structure
discussed here on
the date of Persson's death:

5x5 ultra super magic square

"The Moslems thought of the
central 1 as being symbolic
of the unity of Allah.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday May 24, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:48 AM
Time After Time

From the five entries ending
on St. Bridget's Day, 2008:

Dana R. Wright on James Edwin Loder, Jr.

"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.'"

"I confess I do not believe in time."
Nabokov, Speak, Memory

From May 20:
"Welcome to the
Garden Club, Pilgrim."

Related material:
Primitive Roots
and a video from
Perth, Australia:

Video remix of Alice in Wonderland from Perth, Australia

"The drum beats out of time"
— Song lyric, Cyndi Lauper  

Monday, April 7, 2008

Monday April 7, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 2:20 AM

“Lord Arglay had a suspicion that the Stone would be purely logical.  Yes, he thought, but what, in that sense, were the rules of its pure logic?”

— Charles Williams, Many Dimensions

Friday, November 23, 2007

Friday November 23, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:24 AM
Another Pattern

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

— T. S. Eliot, Harvard ’10

Quoted in Log24 on
November 11, 2003

A search at the New York Times
for the subject of the previous entry
reveals another aspect of that date:

What Happened Before the Big Bang?

“…trying to imagine how the universe made its ‘quantum leap from eternity into time,’ as the physicist Dr. Sidney Coleman of Harvard once put it. Some physicists speculate that on the other side of the looking glass of Time Zero is another…”

November 11, 2003

– Technology – 819 words

Related material:

Peter Woit in his weblog
on Nov. 12, 2007:

“Is it a good idea for physicists to appear on a radio show discussing what happened before the big bang, or does the lack of any evidence about this or of a convincing model mean that this is just inherently too speculative a topic to be sold as serious science to a wide audience? Should one perhaps leave this topic to the Bogdanovs?”

Or to T.S. Eliot,
Annie Dillard, and
William Shakespeare?
For more on the date
11/11, see
Plato, Pegasus, and
the Evening Star.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thursday October 11, 2007

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 PM
The Nobel Prize
in Literature

this year goes to the author
of The Golden Notebook
and The Cleft.

Related material:
The Golden Obituary
and Cleavage —
Log24, Oct. 9, 2007

Art History, 1955: Scenes from Bad Day at Black Rock

Background from 1947:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07A/071011-Cleavage.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Further details:

WheelThe image “http://www.log24.com/log/images/asterisk8.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Quoted by physics writer
Heinz Pagels at the end of
The Cosmic Code

“For the essence and the end
Of his labor is beauty… one beauty,
the rhythm of that Wheel….”

— Robinson Jeffers

From Holy Saturday, 2004:

The Ferris wheel came into view again, just the top, silently burning high on the hill, almost directly in front of him, then the trees rose up over it.  The road, which was terrible and full of potholes, went steeply downhill here; he was approaching the little bridge over the barranca, the deep ravine.  Halfway across the bridge he stopped; he lit a new cigarette from the one he’d been smoking, and leaned over the parapet, looking down.  It was too dark to see the bottom, but: here was finality indeed, and cleavage!  Quauhnahuac was like the times in this respect, wherever you turned the abyss was waiting for you round the corner. Dormitory for vultures and city of Moloch! When Christ was being crucified, so ran the sea-borne, hieratic legend, the earth had opened all through this country…”

— Malcolm Lowry, Under the Volcano, 1947. (Harper & Row reissue, 1984, p. 15)

Comment by Stephen Spender:

“There is a suggestion of Christ descending into the abyss for the harrowing of Hell.  But it is the Consul whom we think of here, rather than of Christ.  The Consul is hurled into this abyss at the end of the novel.”

— Introduction to Under the Volcano

 Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter XXI

Gibbon, discussing the theology of the Trinity, defines perichoresis as

“… the internal connection and spiritual penetration which indissolubly unites the divine persons59 ….

59 … The perichoresis  or ‘circumincessio,’ is perhaps the deepest and darkest corner of the whole theological abyss.”

 “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.  And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.”

— Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, section 146, translated by Walter Kaufmann

William Golding:

 “Simon’s head was tilted slightly up.  His eyes could not break away and the Lord of the Flies hung in space before him. 

‘What are you doing out here all alone?  Aren’t you afraid of me?’

Simon shook.

‘There isn’t anyone to help you.  Only me.  And I’m the Beast.’

Simon’s mouth labored, brought forth audible words.

‘Pig’s head on a stick.’

‘Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!’ said the head.  For a moment or two the forest and all the other dimly appreciated places echoed with the parody of laughter.  ‘You knew, didn’t you?  I’m part of you?  Close, close, close!’ “

“Thought of the day:
You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar… if you’re into catchin’ flies.”

Alice Woodrome, Good Friday, 2004

Anne Francis,
also known as
Honey West:

“Here was finality indeed,
and cleavage!”

Under the Volcano

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/images/asterisk8.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. For further details of
the wheel metaphor, see

Rock of Ages

(St. Cecilia’s Day, 2006).

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tuesday July 24, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:11 AM
The Church of St. Frank

See yesterday’s entries for
some relevant quotations
from Wallace Stevens.

Further quotations for what
Marjorie Garber, replying to
a book review by
Frank Kermode, has called
the Church of St. Frank“–

Frank Kermode on

Harold Bloom:

“He has… a great, almost
selfish passion for poetry,
and he interprets difficult
texts as if there were no
more important activity
in the world, which may
be right.”

Page 348 of Wallace Stevens:
The Poems of Our Climate
by Harold Bloom
(1977, Cornell U. Press):

“The fiction of the leaves is now Stevens’ fiction…. Spring, summer, and autumn adorn the rock of reality even as a woman is adorned, the principle being the Platonic one of copying the sun as source of all images….

… They are more than leaves
              that cover the barren rock….

They bear their fruit    
             so that the year is known….

If they are more than leaves, then they are no longer language, and the leaves have ceased to be tropes or poems and have become magic or mysticism, a Will-to-Power over nature rather than over the anteriority of poetic imagery.”

For more on magic, mysticism, and the Platonic “source of all images,” see Scott McLaren on “Hermeticism and the Metaphysics of Goodness in the Novels of Charles Williams.” McLaren quotes Evelyn Underhill on magic vs. mysticism:

The fundamental difference between the two is this: magic wants to get, mysticism wants to give […] In mysticism the will is united with the emotions in an impassioned desire to transcend the sense-world in order that the self may be joined by love to the one eternal and ultimate Object of love […] In magic, the will unites with the intellect in an impassioned desire for supersensible knowledge. This is the intellectual, aggressive, and scientific temperament trying to extend its field of consciousness […] (Underhill 84; see also 178ff.)

— Underhill, Evelyn. Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Man’s Spiritual Consciousness. New York: Dutton, 1911.

For more on what Bloom calls the “Will-to-Power over nature,” see Faust in Copenhagen and the recent (20th- and 21st-century) history of Harvard University. These matters are also discussed in “Log24 – Juneteenth through Midsummer Night.”

For more on what Underhill calls “the intellectual, aggressive, and scientific temperament trying to extend its field of consciousness,” see the review, in the August 2007 Notices of the American Mathematical Society, of a book by Douglas Hofstadter– a writer on the nature of consciousness— by magician Martin Gardner.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Monday July 23, 2007

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , , , — m759 @ 8:00 AM
Daniel Radcliffe
is 18 today.
Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter


“The greatest sorcerer (writes Novalis memorably)
would be the one who bewitched himself to the point of
taking his own phantasmagorias for autonomous apparitions.
Would not this be true of us?”

Jorge Luis Borges, “Avatars of the Tortoise”

El mayor hechicero (escribe memorablemente Novalis)
sería el que se hechizara hasta el punto de
tomar sus propias fantasmagorías por apariciones autónomas.
¿No sería este nuestro caso?”

Jorge Luis Borges, “Los Avatares de la Tortuga

Autonomous Apparition

At Midsummer Noon:

“In Many Dimensions (1931)
Williams sets before his reader the
mysterious Stone of King Solomon,
an image he probably drew from
a brief description in Waite’s
The Holy Kabbalah (1929) of
a supernatural cubic stone
on which was inscribed
‘the Divine Name.’”
The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix07/070624-Waite.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Related material:
It is not enough to cover the rock with leaves.
We must be cured of it by a cure of the ground
Or a cure of ourselves, that is equal to a cure


Of the ground, a cure beyond forgetfulness.
And yet the leaves, if they broke into bud,
If they broke into bloom, if they bore fruit

And if we ate the incipient colorings
Of their fresh culls might be a cure of the ground.

– Wallace Stevens, “The Rock”

See also
as well as
Hofstadter on
his magnum opus:
“… I realized that to me,
Gödel and Escher and Bach
were only shadows
cast in different directions by
some central solid essence.
I tried to reconstruct
the central object, and
came up with this book.”
Goedel Escher Bach cover

Hofstadter’s cover.

Here are three patterns,
“shadows” of a sort,
derived from a different
“central object”:
Faces of Solomon's Cube, related to Escher's 'Verbum'

Click on image for details.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Friday July 6, 2007

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 12:26 AM
Midnight in the Garden
of Good and Evil

continued from
Midsummer Night

“The voodoo priestess looked across the table at her wealthy client, a man on trial for murder: ‘Now, you know how dead time works. Dead time lasts for one hour– from half an hour before midnight to half an hour after midnight. The half-hour before midnight is for doin’ good. The half-hour after midnight is for doin’ evil….'”

— Glenna Whitley, “Voodoo Justice,”
The New York Times, March 20, 1994

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

In Other Game News:

“In June, bloggers speculated that the Xbox 360 return problem was getting so severe that the company was running out of ‘coffins,’ or special return-shipping boxes Microsoft provides to gamers with dead consoles. ‘We’ll make sure we have plenty of boxes to go back and forth,’ Bach said in an interview.”

The picture of
“Coxeter Exhuming Geometry”
suggests the following
illustration, based
in part on
 Plato’s poem to Aster:

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

Related material:

Thursday’s last entry


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

Sex and Art
in a
Chinese Poem

The proportions of
the above rectangle
may suggest to some
a coffin; they are
meant to suggest
a monolith.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wednesday June 27, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:33 PM
Juneteenth Revisited:
A Long and Strange Day

Time and chance

Pennsylvania Lottery
  June 26, 2007–
Mid-day 040
Evening 810


A discussion of the work of Ralph Ellison:

"… why do you think he did not finish these novels? He wrote on them for many, many years– 40 years, I think."

"Yes, he worked for 40 years."

See Ellison's novel Juneteenth (New York Times review, 1999)


August 10 (8/10), 2004

"But all things then were oracle and secret.
Remember the night when,
    lost, returning, we turned back
Confused, and our headlights
    singled out the fox?
Our thoughts went with it then,
    turning and turning back
   With the same terror,
                into the deep thicket
   Beside the highway,
                at home in the dark thicket.

I say the wood within is the dark wood…."

Donald Justice, "Sadness"

John Baez, Diary, entry of June 22, 2007:

"On Tuesday the 19th….

I hiked down the completely dark but perfectly familiar gravel road with my suitcase in hand, listening to the forest creatures. But then, I couldn't find my parents' driveway! It was embarrassing: I could see their house perfectly well, off in the distance, but it was so darn dark I couldn't spot the driveway. It felt like a dream: after a long flight with many delays, one winds up walking to ones parents house, lost in a spooky forest….

… I sort of enjoy this kind of thing, as long as there's no real danger. It's also sort of scary. The well-lit grid of civilization slowly falls away, and you're out there alone in the night…

Anyway: I considered hiking straight through the woods to my parents' house, but I decided things were already interesting enough, so instead I called my mom and ask her to drive down the driveway a bit, just so I could see where it was. And so she did, and then it was obvious.

So, I got home shortly before midnight. A long and strange day. My dad was already in bed, but I said hi to him anyway."

Related material:

Juneteenth through
Midsummer Night

Monday, June 25, 2007

Monday June 25, 2007

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 3:00 PM
Object Lesson
“… the best definition
 I have for Satan
is that it is a real
  spirit of unreality.”

M. Scott Peck,
People of the Lie

“Far in the woods they sang
     their unreal songs,
Secure.  It was difficult
     to sing in face
Of the object.  The singers
     had to avert themselves
Or else avert the object.”

— Wallace Stevens,
   “Credences of Summer”

Today is June 25,
anniversary of the
birth in 1908 of
Willard Van Orman Quine.

Quine died on
Christmas Day, 2000.
Today, Quine’s birthday, is,
as has been noted by
Quine’s son, the point of the
calendar opposite Christmas–
i.e., “Anti-Christmas.”
If the Anti-Christ is,
as M. Scott Peck claims,
a spirit of unreality, it seems
fitting today to invoke
Quine, a student of reality,
  and to borrow the title of
 Quine’s Word and Object


An excerpt from
“Credences of Summer”
by Wallace Stevens:

“Three times the concentred
     self takes hold, three times
The thrice concentred self,
     having possessed

The object, grips it
     in savage scrutiny,
Once to make captive,
     once to subjugate
Or yield to subjugation,
     once to proclaim
The meaning of the capture,
     this hard prize,
Fully made, fully apparent,
     fully found.”

— “Credences of Summer,” VII,
    by Wallace Stevens, from
    Transport to Summer (1947)


From Friedrich Froebel,
who invented kindergarten:

Froebel's Third Gift

From Christmas 2005:

The Eightfold Cube

Click on the images
for further details.

For a larger and
more sophisticaled
relative of this object,
see yesterday’s entry
At Midsummer Noon.

The object is real,
not as a particular
physical object, but
in the way that a
mathematical object
is real — as a
pure Platonic form.

“It’s all in Plato….”
— C. S. Lewis

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sunday June 24, 2007

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 12:07 AM
Midsummer Night
in the Garden
of Good and Evil

Midsummer Night in the Garden of Good and Evil

"I Put a Spell on You"
— Nina Simone,
title of autobiograpy

"The voodoo priestess looked across the table at her wealthy client, a man on trial for murder: 'Now, you know how dead time works. Dead time lasts for one hour– from half an hour before midnight to half an hour after midnight. The half-hour before midnight is for doin' good. The half-hour after midnight is for doin' evil….'"

— Glenna Whitley, "Voodoo Justice," The New York Times, March 20, 1994

Last year on this date:

Zen and the Art:

Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, 1974:

"But what's happening is that each year our old flat earth of conventional reason becomes less and less adequate to handle the experiences we have and this is creating widespread feelings of topsy-turviness. As a result we're getting more and more people in irrational areas of thought… occultism, mysticism, drug changes and the like… because they feel the inadequacy of classical reason to handle what they know are real experiences."

"I'm not sure what you mean by classical reason."

"Analytic reason, dialectic reason. Reason which at the University is sometimes considered to be the whole of understanding. You've never had to understand it really. It's always been completely bankrupt with regard to abstract art. Nonrepresentative art is one of the root experiences I'm talking about. Some people still condemn it because it doesn’t make 'sense.' But what's really wrong is not the art but the 'sense,' the classical reason, which can't grasp it. People keep looking for branch extensions of reason that will cover art's more recent occurrences, but the answers aren't in the branches, they're at the roots."

Primitive roots modulo 17

Related material:

D-Day Morning,
Figures of Speech,
Ursprache Revisited.

See also
the midnight entry
of June 23-24, 2006:

"Let the midnight special
shine her light on me."

Nina Simone and eight-point star

Nina Simone

Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday September 29, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:00 AM
for the High Holy Days

(Rosh Hashanah began at sundown September 22; Yom Kippur begins at sundown October 1.  —holidays.net)

Mark Finkelstein today:

"Today comes more evidence of the left's painful struggle to deal with its diminished standing and repeated rejection at the polls. In the subscription-required Why Voters Like Values, [New York] Times columnist Judith Warner claims that "the Christian right's ability to stir voter passions is based not on values, but on psychology." Warner describes having bravely gone inside the belly of the conservative beast, recently attending a Values Voters Summit in DC, and declaring it "imbued with so much intolerance and hate." This is presumably in contrast with liberal love-ins, where Bush & Co. are regularly depicted as liars, murderers, Hitlers, etc.

She later describes a schadenfreude-provoking scene of the day after Kerry's 2004 defeat, picking through the rubble with Harvard psychology professor emeritus, Jerome Kagan, who tried to console Warner and presumably himself. As she describes it:

"Our conversation drifted to the Republicans' 'values' [note scare quotes] agenda, and Kagan's belief that values sell because they're an antidote to the endemic mental health problem of our time: depression.

"'Humans demand that there be a clear right and wrong,' he said. 'You've got to believe that the track you've taken is the right track. You get depressed if you're not certain as to what it is you're supposed to be doing or what's right and wrong in the world."

"People need to divide the world into good and evil, us and them, Kagan continued. To do otherwise– to entertain the possibility that life is not black and white, but variously shaded in gray– is perhaps more honest, rational and decent. But it's also, psychically, a recipe for disaster."

Got it? Liberalism is "more honest, rational and decent" than conservativism, but that's just not what the benighted public wants. They're looking for political Prozac, a Manichean worldview they can cling to, and that's what conservatism cunningly offers.

Less controversial values are provided by yesterday evening's Pennsylvania lottery— namely, the values 4, 5, and 6.

For a discussion of these values under the guise of musical intervals, see Professor Kagan again, in a paper (pdf) he wrote with Marcel R. Zentner, "Infants' Perception of Consonance and Dissonance in Music" (Infant Behavior & Development, Vol. 21, No. 3, 1998):

Adults judge as most consonant either the octave (difference of 12 semitones) [or the unison, difference of 0 semitones], the fifth (7 semitones), or the major third (4 semitones).

Illustration (see also yesterday evening):

The image “http://www.log24.com/music/images/Keys-Values.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Notes and frequency ratios

The paper discusses consonant intervals
as an example of alleged
"perceptual universals."

Related material on universals
suitable for today, the Feast of
St. Michael and All Angels:

Shining Forth and
Midsummer Eve's Dream.

The material in Shining Forth
is also related, tangentially, to the
following presentation of the
Warner "values" essay
in today's online New York Times:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060929-NYT.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The above three Times items,
taken together, suggest that
those in search of "values"
should consult Betty Suarez:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060929-BettyPoncho.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Click on picture for further details.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Tuesday July 18, 2006

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

Sacred Order

In memory of Philip Rieff, who died on July 1, 2006:

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

Related material:

The image ?http://www.log24.com/theory/images/GF64-63cycleA495.gif? cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.


The image ?http://www.log24.com/theory/images/MySpace.jpg? cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

For details, see the
five Log24 entries ending
on the morning of
Midsummer Day, 2006.

Thanks to University Diaries for pointing out the essay on Rieff.
That essay says Rieff had "a dense, knotty, ironic style designed to warn off impatient readers. You had to unpack his aphorisms carefully. And this took a while. As a result, his thinking had a time-release effect." Good for him.  For a related essay (time-release effect unknown), see Hitler's Still Point: A Hate Speech for Harvard.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Wednesday June 28, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM
Today’s birthdays:

John Cusack is 40,
Mel Brooks is 80.

(See midnight on
Midsummer’s Eve

“Like Gone with the Wind
on mescaline”
a description of Savannah

in the Garden of
Good and Evil:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06A/060628-Gump1.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Related material
from December 2005:


Prequel on St. Cecilia’s Day,


Monday, June 26, 2006

Monday June 26, 2006

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

A Little Extra Reading

In memory of
Mary Martin McLaughlin,
a scholar of Heloise and Abelard.
McLaughlin died on June 8, 2006.

"Following the parade, a speech is given by Charles Williams, based on his book The Place of the Lion. Williams explains the true meaning of the word 'realism' in both philosophy and theology. His guard of honor, bayonets gleaming, is led by William of Ockham."

Midsummer Eve's Dream

A review by John D. Burlinson of Charles Williams's novel The Place of the Lion:

"… a little extra reading regarding Abelard's take on 'universals' might add a little extra spice– since Abelard is the subject of the heroine's … doctoral dissertation. I'd suggest the article 'The Medieval Problem of Universals' in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy."

Michael L. Czapkay, a student of philosophical theology at Oxford:

"The development of logic in the schools and universities of western Europe between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries constituted a significant contribution to the history of philosophy. But no less significant was the influence of this development of logic on medieval theology. It provided the necessary conceptual apparatus for the systematization of theology. Abelard, Ockham, and Thomas Aquinas are paradigm cases of the extent to which logic played an active role in the systematic formulation of Christian theology. In fact, at certain points, for instance in modal logic, logical concepts were intimately related to theological problems, such as God's knowledge of future contingent truths."

The Medieval Problem of Universals, by Fordham's Gyula Klima, 2004:

"… for Abelard, a status is an object of the divine mind, whereby God preconceives the state of his creation from eternity."

Status Symbol

(based on Weyl's Symmetry):

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

"… for then we would know

the mind of God"
Stephen Hawking, 1988

For further details,
click on the picture.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sunday June 25, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 PM

Language Games:

Chess and Bingo

Chess: See Log24, Midsummer Day, 2003. Happy mate change, Nicole.

Bingo: See a journal entry from seven years ago, On Linguistic Creation. Happy birthday, Willard Van Orman Quine.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Saturday June 24, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:17 PM

In memory of
Hunter S. Thompson

On Midsummer Day:

Big Time
Parts I, II, III

Part I:
April 17, 2003: Holiday Affair

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Thursday January 19, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:23 AM
Plato and Shakespeare
at Breakfast


"Plato has told you a truth; but Plato is dead. Shakespeare has startled you with an image; but Shakespeare will not startle you with any more. But imagine what it would be to live with such men still living, to know that Plato might break out with an original lecture to-morrow, or that at any moment Shakespeare might shatter everything with a single song. The man who lives in contact with what he believes to be a living Church is a man always expecting to meet Plato and Shakespeare to-morrow at breakfast. He is always expecting to see some truth that he has never seen before."

G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

For Plato:

For Shakespeare:
Hopkins on Inscape.

For both:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix06/060119-SummerKnow.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Click on the picture
for related remarks.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Sunday June 26, 2005

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 7:26 PM

Thanks for the Memory

As I write, Susannah McCorkle is singing "Thanks for the Memory."

Below are some photos from the website of Paul Winchell, ventriloquist, inventor, theologian.  Winchell died in his sleep at 82 early on Friday, June 24, 2005.

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05A/050626-LucyAndHope.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Paul Winchell seems to have
posted a topic for discussion:
"God is a mathematical equation
   beyond our understanding."

Related material:

From Friday's entry
Cross by Sol LeWitt
(Fifteen Etchings, 1973):

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05A/050626-Cross.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

"No bridge reaches God, except one…
God's Bridge: The Cross."
— Billy Graham Evangelistic Association,
quoted in Friday's entry.

This cross may, of course, also
be interpreted as panes of a window
  — see Lucy photo above —
or as a plus sign — see "a mathematical
equation beyond our understanding"
in, for instance, Algebraic Geometry,
by Robin Hartshorne. For a theological
citation of Hartshorne's work, see
Midsummer Eve's Dream
(June 23, 1995).

Friday, May 27, 2005

Friday May 27, 2005

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 12:25 PM
Drama of the Diagonal,
Part Deux

Wednesday’s entry The Turning discussed a work by Roger Cooke.  Cooke presents a

“fanciful story (based on Plato’s dialogue Meno).”

The History of Mathematics is the title of the Cooke book.

Associated Press thought for today:

“History is not, of course, a cookbook offering pretested recipes. It teaches by analogy, not by maxims. It can illuminate the consequences of actions in comparable situations, yet each generation must discover for itself what situations are in fact comparable.”
 — Henry Kissinger (whose birthday is today)

For Henry Kissinger on his birthday:
a link to Geometry for Jews.

This link suggests a search for material
on the art of Sol LeWitt, which leads to
an article by Barry Cipra,
The “Sol LeWitt” Puzzle:
A Problem in 16 Squares
a discussion of a 4×4 array
of square linear designs.
  Cipra says that

“If you like, there are three symmetry groups lurking within the LeWitt puzzle:  the rotation/reflection group of order 8, a toroidal group of order 16, and an ‘existential’* group of order 16.  The first group is the most obvious.  The third, once you see it, is also obvious.”

* Jean-Paul Sartre,
  Being and Nothingness,
  Philosophical Library, 1956
  [reference by Cipra]

For another famous group lurking near, if not within, a 4×4 array, click on Kissinger’s birthday link above.

Kissinger’s remark (above) on analogy suggests the following analogy to the previous entry’s (Drama of the Diagonal) figure:

  The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/021126-diagonH2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Logos Alogos II:

This figure in turn, together with Cipra’s reference to Sartre, suggests the following excerpts (via Amazon.com)–

From Sartre’s Being and Nothingness, translated by Hazel E. Barnes, 1993 Washington Square Press reprint edition:

1. on Page 51:
“He makes himself known to himself from the other side of the world and he looks from the horizon toward himself to recover his inner being.  Man is ‘a being of distances.'”
2. on Page 154:
“… impossible, for the for-itself attained by the realization of the Possible will make itself be as for-itself–that is, with another horizon of possibilities.  Hence the constant disappointment which accompanies repletion, the famous: ‘Is it only this?’….”
3. on Page 155:
“… end of the desires.  But the possible repletion appears as a non-positional correlate of the non-thetic self-consciousness on the horizon of the  glass-in-the-midst-of-the-world.”
4. on Page 158:
“…  it is in time that my possibilities appear on the horizon of the world which they make mine.  If, then, human reality is itself apprehended as temporal….”
5. on Page 180:
“… else time is an illusion and chronology disguises a strictly logical order of  deducibility.  If the future is pre-outlined on the horizon of the world, this can be only by a being which is its own future; that is, which is to come….”
6. on Page 186:
“…  It appears on the horizon to announce to me what I am from the standpoint of what I shall be.”
7. on Page 332:
“… the boat or the yacht to be overtaken, and the entire world (spectators, performance, etc.) which is profiled on the horizon.  It is on the common ground of this co-existence that the abrupt revelation of my ‘being-unto-death’….”
8. on Page 359:
“… eyes as objects which manifest the look.  The Other can not even be the object aimed at emptily at the horizon of my being for the Other.”
9. on Page 392:
“… defending and against which he was leaning as against a wail, suddenly opens fan-wise and becomes the foreground, the welcoming horizon toward which he is fleeing for refuge.”
10.  on Page 502:
“… desires her in so far as this sleep appears on the ground of consciousness. Consciousness therefore remains always at the horizon of the desired body; it makes the meaning and the unity of the body.”
11.  on Page 506:
“… itself body in order to appropriate the Other’s body apprehended as an organic totality in situation with consciousness on the horizon— what then is the meaning of desire?”
12.  on Page 661:
“I was already outlining an interpretation of his reply; I transported myself already to the four corners of the horizon, ready to return from there to Pierre in order to understand him.”
13.  on Page 754:
“Thus to the extent that I appear to myself as creating objects by the sole relation of appropriation, these objects are myself.  The pen and the pipe, the clothing, the desk, the house– are myself.  The totality of my possessions reflects the totality of my being.  I am what I have.  It is I myself which I touch in this cup, in this trinket.  This mountain which I climb is myself to the extent that I conquer it; and when I am at its summit, which I have ‘achieved’ at the cost of this same effort, when I attain this magnificent view of the valley and the surrounding peaks, then I am the view; the panorama is myself dilated to the horizon, for it exists only through me, only for me.”

Illustration of the
last horizon remark:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050527-CipraLogo.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050527-CIPRAview.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
From CIPRA – Slovenia,
the Institute for the
Protection of the Alps

For more on the horizon, being, and nothingness, see

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Wednesday April 6, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:45 AM
Final Arrangements, continued:
“A corpse will be transported by express!”
Under the Volcano, by Malcolm Lowry (1947)

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050406-Confession.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

“Then he began to narrate in his original style…. After this came disclosure, confession.  Then he accused, fulminated, stammered, blazed, cried out.  He crossed the universe like light….

He had no old friends, only ex-friends.  He could become terrible, going into reverse without warning.  When this happened, it was like being caught in a tunnel by the Express.  You could only cling to the walls, or lie between the rails, praying.”

— Saul Bellow, Humboldt’s Gift,

page 162

See also

Sunday, December 12, 2004  7:59 PM

Monday, April 4, 2005  4:04 AM

Friday, April 1, 2005

Friday April 1, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

April 1 at Noon

“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, C12, N.Y. Times, 5/20/96

From Nov. 24, 2002:

Searched the web for “Joyce and Aquinas” “William T. Noon“.  Results 1-5 of about 15:

Dogma, theological” — entry in the index (paper, not marble) to Joyce and Aquinas, by William T. Noon, SJ, Yale U. Press 1957, 2nd printing 1963, page 162.
m759.freeservers.com/2001-03-20-dogma.html – 9k 

The Matthias Defense
Contemplatio: aesthetic joy of, 54-5″ — index to Joyce and Aquinas, by William T. Noon, SJ, Yale University Press, second printing, 1963, page 162.
m759.freeservers.com/2001-03-22-matthias.html – 6k 

Wag the Dogma
One economy would be to teach the trivium using only one book — Joyce and Aquinas, by William T. Noon (Yale, 1957), which ties together philology, logic, and
m759.freeservers.com/2001-04-06-wag.html – 6k 

Shining Forth
Please go away, Paz begged silently…. “De veras! It’s so romantic!”. — Let Noon Be Fair William T. Noon, SJ, Chapter 4 of Joyce and Aquinas, Yale University
m759.freeservers.com/2001-03-15-shining.html – 10k 

Midsummer Eve’s Dream
notions… The quidditas or essence of an angel is the same as its form. (See William T. Noon, SJ, Joyce and Aquinas, Yale, 1957).
m759.freeservers.com/1995-06-23-midsummer.html – 12k

See also Monday’s entry.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Sunday November 16, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 7:59 PM

Russell Crowe as Santa's Helper

From The Age, Nov. 17, 2003:

"Russell Crowe's period naval epic has been relegated to second place at the US box office by an elf raised by Santa's helpers at the North Pole."

From A Midsummer Night's Dream:

"The lunatic,¹ the lover,² and the poet³
  Are of imagination all compact."




In acceping a British Film Award for his work in A Beautiful Mind, Crowe said that

"Richard Harris, one of the finest of this profession, recently brought to my attention the verse of Patrick Kavanagh:

'To be a poet and not know the trade,
To be a lover and repel all women,
Twin ironies by which
    great saints are made,
The agonising
    pincer jaws of heaven.' "

A theological image both more pleasant and more in keeping with the mathematical background of A Beautiful Mind is the following:

This picture, from a site titled Strange and Complex, illustrates a one-to-one correspondence between the points of the complex plane and all the points of the sphere except for the North Pole.

To complete the correspondence (to, in Shakespeare's words, make the sphere's image "all compact"), we may adjoin a "point at infinity" to the plane — the image, under the revised correspondence, of the North Pole.

For related poetry, see Stevens's "A Primitive Like an Orb."

For more on the point at infinity, see the conclusion of Midsummer Eve's Dream.

For Crowe's role as Santa's helper, consider how he has helped make known the poetry of Patrick Kavanagh, and see Kavanagh's "Advent":

O after Christmas we'll have
    no need to go searching….

… Christ comes with a January flower.

i.e. Christ Mass… as, for instance, performed by the six Jesuits who were murdered in El Salvador on this date in 1989.

Saturday, August 9, 2003

Saturday August 9, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:29 PM


Today is the feast day of St. Hermann Hesse.  A quotation from a work by Hesse that is to some a sort of Bible:

“You treat world history as a mathematician does mathematics, in which nothing but laws and formulae exist, no reality, no good and evil, no time, no yesterday, no tomorrow, nothing but an eternal, shallow, mathematical present.”

Father Jacobus, Benedictine priest, in The Glass Bead Game, ch. 4 (1943, translated 1960), by Hermann Hesse

A Benedictine Archbishop’s Apology:

“Archbishop Weakland described his feelings ‘at this moment’ as ‘remorse, contrition, shame and emptiness,’ also noting that ‘much self-pity and pride remain.’ He contended he ‘must leave that pride behind.’ “

A Mathematician’s Apology:

C.P. Snow in his introduction to A Mathematician’s Apology (also a Bible, or at least a book of a Bible, to some) quotes G. H. Hardy on hearing the chimes of Vespers:

“It’s rather unfortunate that some of the happiest hours of my life should have been spent within sound of a Roman Catholic church.”

A Bible for Benedictines:

The Encyclopedic Dictionary of Mathematics,
by the Mathematical Society of Japan,

is suitable reading for those Benedictines in Purgatory who have too lightly used words like “no reality” and “shallow” to describe mathematics.

For other remedial reading in the afterlife, see Midsummer Eve’s Dream and Quine in Purgatory.

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

Wednesday August 6, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:23 AM


“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


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.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Thursday June 26, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: , — m759 @ 5:00 AM

Art at the Vanishing Point

From the web page Art Wars:

"For more on the 'vanishing point,'
or 'point at infinity,' see
Midsummer Eve's Dream."

On Midsummer Eve, June 23, 2003, minimalist artist Fred Sandback killed himself.

Sandback is discussed in The Dia Generation, an April 6, 2003, New York Times Magazine article that is itself discussed at the Art Wars page.

Sandback, who majored in philosophy at Yale, once said that

"Fact and illusion are equivalents."

Two other references that may be relevant:

The Medium is
the Rear View Mirror

which deals with McLuhan's book Through the Vanishing Point, and a work I cited on Midsummer Eve  …

Chapter 5 of Through the Looking Glass:

" 'What is it you want to buy?' the Sheep said at last, looking up for a moment from her knitting.

'I don't quite know yet,' Alice said very gently.  'I should like to look all round me first, if I might.'

'You may look in front of you, and on both sides, if you like,' said the Sheep; 'but you ca'n't look all round you — unless you've got eyes at the back of your head.'

But these, as it happened, Alice had not got: so she contented herself with turning round, looking at the shelves as she came to them.

The shop seemed to be full of all manner of curious things — but the oddest part of it all was that, whenever she looked hard at any shelf, to make out exactly what it had on it, that particular shelf was always quite, empty, though the others round it were crowded as full as they could hold.

'Things flow about so here!' she said at last in a plaintive tone…."

 "When Alice went
     through the vanishing point

Monday, June 23, 2003

Monday June 23, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:45 PM

Harry Potter
and the Fairy Queen

Lest the incautious reader gain the impression from yesterday’s entry “The Real Hogwarts” that Christianity is anything other than a pack of damned lies, or that the phrase “oasis of civilisation” I used yesterday was meant otherwise than with tongue in cheek, I would like to nominate a well-known professional Christian liar as Queen of the Fairies this Midsummer Eve.

The reader is referred to

The Good Book:
Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart

by the Rev. Peter Gomes, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard and pastor of that institution’s Memorial Church.

The Rev. Gomes, an acknowledged homosexual, gave a commencement address recently wearing a gorgeously red academic gown.  This comported well with his contention that the real heroine of “Through the Looking Glass” was not Alice, but the Red Queen.  The reason?  The Red Queen, Gomes says, could believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast.  Apparently this is a virtue in Christian Morals, at least at Harvard.

For a RealOne video of Gomes’s address, click on the link below:

The Red Queen

(Actually, the queen who discusses “six impossible things” in Chapter 5 of Through the Looking Glass is the White Queen, but clergymen never let a little detail like truth stand in their way.)

Monday, June 16, 2003

Monday June 16, 2003

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


See Bloom and Midsummer Eve's Dream.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Wednesday April 16, 2003

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:36 PM

Keeping Time

The title of this entry comes from T. S. Eliot (see below).  The subject, and the relevance of the Kipling passage, are from Eleanor Cameron's Green and Burning Tree, itself the subject of an April 15 entry.

Part I

From Puck of Pook's Hill, by Rudyard Kipling

The Theatre lay in a meadow….  a large old Fairy Ring of darkened grass, which was the stage….  Shakespeare himself could not have imagined a more suitable setting for his play….

Their play went beautifully….  They were both so pleased that they acted it three times over from beginning to end before they sat down in the unthistly centre of the Ring to eat…, This was when they heard a whistle among the alders on the bank, and they jumped.

The bushes parted. In the very spot where Dan had stood as Puck they saw a small, brown, broad-shouldered, pointy-eared person….

He stopped, hollowed one hand round his ear, and, with a wicked twinkle in his eye, went on:

'What, a play toward? I'll be an auditor;
An actor, too, perhaps, if I see cause.'

The children looked and gasped. The small thing – he was no taller than Dan's shoulder – stepped quietly into the Ring. 

"I'm rather out of practice," said he; "but that's the way my part ought to be played."

Still the children stared at him — from his dark blue cap, like a big columbine flower, to his bare, hairy feet. At last he laughed.

"Please don't look at me like that. It isn't my fault. What else could you expect?" he said.

"We didn't expect anyone," Dan answered slowly. "This is our field."

"Is it?" said their visitor, sitting down. "Then what on Human Earth made you act Midsummer Night's Dream three times over, on Midsummer Eve, in the middle of a Ring, and under — right under one of my oldest hills in Old England? Pook's Hill — Puck's Hill — Puck's Hill — Pook's Hill! It's as plain as the nose on my face."

"…. You've done something that Kings and Knights and Scholars in old days would have given their crowns and spurs and books to find out. If Merlin himself had helped you, you couldn't have managed better!"

Part II

From "East Coker," by T. S. Eliot

In that open field
If you do not come too close,
    if you do not come too close,
On a summer midnight,
    you can hear the music
Of the weak pipe and the little drum….
… Round and round the fire
Leaping through the flames,
    or joined in circles….
… Keeping time,
Keeping the rhythm in their dancing….

Part III

From The Real World, by Anonymous:

Tonight is the night of the Paschal full moon, which is used to calculate the date of Easter.

On this date in 1871, playwright John Millington Synge was born.  He wrote of "the wonderfully tender and searching light that is seen only in Kerry."

On this date in 1991, director David Lean died.  He showed us the tender and searching light of Kerry in "Ryan's Daughter."

The summer harvest festival of County Kerry is known as "Puck Fair."

The song "The Kerry Dance" includes the following lyrics:

O the days of the Kerry dancing….
When the boys began to gather,
    in the glen of a summer's night.
And the Kerry piper's tuning 
    made us long with wild delight.

Tonight's site music is "The Kerry Dance" arranged in a form appropriate to the spirit of "East Coker" and the spirit of Puck Fair.

Eliot and Eleanor Cameron were both concerned with "keeping time" in a very deep sense.  For more on this subject, see my previous entries for April 2003, Poetry Month.

See, too, Midsummer Eve's Dream.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Monday March 10, 2003

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 5:45 AM


Art at the Vanishing Point

Two readings from The New York Times Book Review of Sunday,

March 9,

2003 are relevant to our recurring "art wars" theme.  The essay on Dante by Judith Shulevitz on page 31 recalls his "point at which all times are present."  (See my March 7 entry.)  On page 12 there is a review of a novel about the alleged "high culture" of the New York art world.  The novel is centered on Leo Hertzberg, a fictional Columbia University art historian.  From Janet Burroway's review of What I Loved, by Siri Hustvedt:

"…the 'zeros' who inhabit the book… dramatize its speculations about the self…. the spectator who is 'the true vanishing point, the pinprick in the canvas.'''

Here is a canvas by Richard McGuire for April Fools' Day 1995, illustrating such a spectator.

For more on the "vanishing point," or "point at infinity," see

"Midsummer Eve's Dream."

Connoisseurs of ArtSpeak may appreciate Burroway's summary of Hustvedt's prose: "…her real canvas is philosophical, and here she explores the nature of identity in a structure of crystalline complexity."

For another "structure of crystalline
complexity," see my March 6 entry,

"Geometry for Jews."

For a more honest account of the
New York art scene, see Tom Wolfe's
The Painted Word.

Friday, March 7, 2003

Friday March 7, 2003

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

Lovely, Dark and Deep

On this date in 1923, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," by Robert Frost, was published.  On this date in 1999, director Stanley Kubrick died.  On this date in 1872, Piet Mondrian was born.

"….mirando il punto
a cui tutti li tempi son presenti"

— Dante, Paradiso, XVII, 17-18 

Chez Mondrian
Kertész, Paris, 1926 

6:23 PM Friday, March 7:

From Measure Theory, by Paul R. Halmos, Van Nostrand, 1950:

"The symbol is used throughout the entire book in place of such phrases as 'Q.E.D.' or 'This completes the proof of the theorem' to signal the end of a proof."

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Sunday November 24, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:47 PM

In honor of
William F. Buckley’s birthday

Results of a Google search –

Searched the web for “Joyce and Aquinas” “William T. Noon“.  Results 1-5 of about 15:

Dogma, theological” — entry in the index (paper, not marble) to Joyce and Aquinas,
by William T. Noon, SJ, Yale U. Press 1957, 2nd printing 1963, page 162.
m759.freeservers.com/2001-03-20-dogma.html – 9k – Nov. 23, 2002 – CachedSimilar pages

The Matthias Defense
Contemplatio: aesthetic joy of, 54-5″ — index to Joyce and Aquinas, by William
T. Noon, SJ, Yale University Press, second printing, 1963, page 162.
m759.freeservers.com/2001-03-22-matthias.html – 6k – Nov. 23, 2002 – CachedSimilar pages

Wag the Dogma
One economy would be to teach the trivium using only one book — Joyce and Aquinas,
by William T. Noon (Yale, 1957), which ties together philology, logic, and
m759.freeservers.com/2001-04-06-wag.html – 6k – Nov. 23, 2002 – CachedSimilar pages

Shining Forth
Please go away, Paz begged silently…. “De veras! It’s so romantic!”. — Let Noon
Be Fair William T. Noon, SJ, Chapter 4 of Joyce and Aquinas, Yale University
m759.freeservers.com/2001-03-15-shining.html – 10k – Nov. 23, 2002 – CachedSimilar pages

Midsummer Eve’s Dream
notions… The quidditas or essence of an angel is the same as its
form. (See William T. Noon, SJ, Joyce and Aquinas, Yale, 1957).
m759.freeservers.com/1995-06-23-midsummer.html – 12k – Nov. 23, 2002 – CachedSimilar pages

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Wednesday October 23, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:00 PM

Bright Star

From the website of Karey Lea Perkins:

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

Walker Percy, The Message in the Bottle, Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 1975

Today’s New York Times story on Richard Helms, together with my reminiscences in the entry that follows it below, suggest the following possibility for symbol-mongering:

Compare the 16-point star of the C.I.A.

with the classic 8-point star of Venus:

This comparison is suggested by the Spanish word “Lucero” (the name, which means “Bright Star,” of the girl in Cuernavaca mentioned two entries down) and by the following passage from Robert A. Heinlein‘s classic novel, Glory Road:

    “I have many names. What would you like to call me?”

    “Is one of them ‘Helen’?”

    She smiled like sunshine and I learned that she had dimples. She looked sixteen and in her first party dress. “You are very gracious. No, she’s not even a relative. That was many, many years ago.” Her face turned thoughtful. “Would you like to call me ‘Ettarre’?”

    “Is that one of your names?”

    “It is much like one of them, allowing for different spelling and accent. Or it could be ‘Esther’ just as closely. Or ‘Aster.’ Or even ‘Estrellita.’ ”

    ” ‘Aster,’ ” I repeated. “Star. Lucky Star!”

The C.I.A. star above is from that organization’s own site.  The star of Venus (alias Aster, alias Ishtar) is from Symbols.com, an excellent site that has the following variations on the Bright Star theme:

Ideogram for light Alchemical sign
Greek “Aster” Babylonian Ishtar
Phoenician Astarte Octagram of Venus
Phaistos Symbol Fortress Octagram

See also my notes The Still Point and the Wheel and Midsummer Eve’s Dream.  Both notes quote Robinson Jeffers:

“For the essence and the end
Of his labor is beauty…
one beauty, the rhythm of that Wheel,
and who can behold it is happy
and will praise it to the people.”

— Robinson Jeffers, “Point Pinos and Point Lobos,”
quoted at the end of The Cosmic Code,
by Heinz Pagels, Simon & Schuster, 1982

Place the eightfold star in a circle, and you have the Buddhist Wheel of Life:

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