Log24

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Autistic Enchantments

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 7:42 PM

(Continued)

Log24  on January 31, 2015 — 

Spellbound (continued)

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 3:33 AM 

The New York Times  this morning, in an
obituary for a maker of crossword puzzles :

"… the first known crossword puzzle appeared in
an American newspaper. (Called a 'word-cross'
and shaped like a diamond, it was published in
The New York World  on Sunday, Dec. 21, 1913.)"

See St. Nicholas  magazine, November 1874, p. 59 :

For the answer, see this  journal on Aug. 29, 2002
(with a scene from Spellbound ) and on July 15, 2004.

The 1913 puzzle from above, claiming priority —

A more sophisticated puzzle related to the previous post

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Autistic Enchantment Continues

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 8:08 PM

See also Autistic Enchantment in this journal.

Dem Bones

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 12:15 PM

A note at the end of an article on architecture historian
Christopher Gray in the current online New Yorker  —

This article appears in other versions
of the April 10, 2017, issue, with
the headline “Dem Bones.”

"Defeated, you will rise to your feet as is said of Dry Bones .
These bones will rise again." — Agnes Martin, 1973

Accounting for Taste —

Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty at the Oscars:

Ben Affleck, star of "The Accountant," at the Oscars:

See also Prisoner + Bones in this  journal.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Against Logic

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 11:16 PM

The title is that of an essay by Rebecca Goldstein
in Tikkun  (Nov.-Dec. 1997).  An excerpt:

"… And so it was that I became an analytic philosopher.
If my story ended there, it would make sense.
But against logic, I also became a writer of fiction.
My hopeless passion for fiction had seemed to me,
in the days when I hung exclusively with philosophers,
a rather shameful little aberration. Plato had planned to
rid his utopia of the epic poets, who were the novelists
of his day. Fiction writers are enchanters, those who
spread their dreams abroad; and Plato— whom I still revere—
thoroughly disapproved of enchantment."

See also the previous post.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Bee Season Continued

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 11:55 PM

"Spells are used for breaking enchantments as well as for inducing them."

— C. S. Lewis, quoted here during November 2005.

A review of that month was suggested by the following search

A search result for 'Sefer Yetzirah'+ Cube + Chelsea + Hotel

which itself was suggested by an obituary in tonight's online
New York Times  and by this morning's post "Rhyme."

Friday, July 15, 2016

Autistic Enchantment*

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 10:29 AM

Robert Nye, author of the novel Falstaffreportedly died
at 77 on July 2, 2016.

Harvey D. Heinz, expert on magic squares, cubes,
tesseracts, etc., reportedly died at 82 on July 6, 2013.

In memoriam —

From the date of Nye's death:

From Nye's book:

From the date of Heinz's death:

* See also a search for the title in this journal.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Joker

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 11:28 PM

A check on the source of the Wittgenstein quotations
in the previous post yields

   Sounds like Verhexung  to me. See also Plotnitsky in this journal.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Autistic Enchantments

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:45 PM

Continued )

Log24  on January 31, 2015 —
 

Spellbound (continued)

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 3:33 AM 

The New York Times  this morning, in an
obituary for a maker of crossword puzzles :

"… the first known crossword puzzle appeared in
an American newspaper. (Called a 'word-cross'
and shaped like a diamond, it was published in
The New York World  on Sunday, Dec. 21, 1913.)"

See St. Nicholas  magazine, November 1874, p. 59 :

For the answer, see this  journal on Aug. 29, 2002
(with a scene from Spellbound ) and on July 15, 2004.

On that same date 

The Seattle Times , Feb. 8, 2015, updated Feb. 12—

How to solve the puzzle:

"… you begin by filling in the missing words 
for the limericks. 

Dice, yAhtzee, woN, yahTzee, twicE; 
Wall, dRawl, geOrgia’s, staTe, minnEsota; 
Truck, rEd, fiReman’s, blaZe, hydrAnt; 
Bob, sLob, prAy, saiNt, thanK. 

The capital letters help to show what comes next, 
as clued by the 1,2,3,4,5 in the title. 

You take the first letter of the first inserted word, 
the second of the second and so on. The resulting 
message is ‘Dante wrote terza blank.’ The blank 
is RIMA, as terza rima was the rhyme scheme 
Dante used in the Divine Comedy."

See also two other dates, June 3, 2015, and June 10, 2015,
in this  journal and in the life of the puzzle author.

The date of the puzzle's answer, Feb. 8, 2015, is also
not without interest.

IMAGE- Art Jeffries (Bruce Willis) and Simon Lynch (Miko Hughes), 'Mercury Rising' (1998)

“Click on fanciful .”

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Princeton Flashback

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 1:00 PM

From The Daily Princetonian  on May 29, 2015:

"… well, isn’t that what Reunions is all about?
  Making memories?"

"Try to remember the kind of September ."

From this  journal on May 29, 2015:

Openings

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 7:29 AM 

The film "Pawn Sacrificereportedly opened in Toronto 
on September 11, 2014. 

See as well Log24 posts of that day and Autistic Enchantment.

 

The Dark Horse Rises

Friday, May 29, 2015

Openings

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 7:29 AM

The film "Pawn Sacrifice" reportedly opened in Toronto on September 11, 2014. 

See as well Log24 posts of that day and Autistic Enchantment.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Autistic Enchantment

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 11:00 AM

(Continued from Sept. 3, 2009)

George Steiner on chess:

“At the sight of a set, even the tawdriest of plastic pocket sets,
one’s fingers arch and a coldness as in a light sleep steals over
one’s spine. Not for gain, not for knowledge or reknown, but
in some autistic enchantment, pure as one of Bach’s inverted
canons or Euler’s formula for polyhedra.”

— George Steiner in “A Death of Kings,” The New Yorker,
issue dated September 7, 1968, page 133

A related remark from Dudeney:

See also a different context for 16 squares and 322,560 arrangements.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Triumph of the Will

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 4:00 PM

"… the human will cannot be simultaneously
triumphant and imaginary."

— Ross Douthat, Defender of the Faith,
     in this afternoon's New York Times  at 3:25* PM ET

Some— even some Catholics— might say the will
cannot be triumphant unless  imaginary.

Related material The Galois Quaternion: A Story.

See also C. S. Lewis on enchantment

* Cf.,  in this  journal,  the most recent 3/25 , 
  and a bareword —

Click image for some context.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Poetry and Truth

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

From today's noon post

"In all his poems with all their enchantments
for the poet himself, there is the final enchantment
that they are true. The significance of the poetic act
then is that it is evidence. It is instance and illustration.
It is an illumination of a surface,
the movement of a self in the rock.
Above all it is a new engagement with life.
It is that miracle to which the true faith of the poet
attaches itself."

— Wallace Stevens at Bard College, March 30, 1951

Stevens also said at Bard that

"When Joan of Arc said: 

Have no fear: what I do, I do by command.
My brothers of Paradise tell me what I have to do.

these words were the words of an hallucination.
No matter what her brothers of Paradise drove her to do,
what she did was never a poetic act of faith in reality
because it could not be."

There are those who would dispute this.

Some related material:

"Ageometretos me eisito."—
"Let no one ignorant of geometry enter."—
Said to be a saying of Plato, part of the
seal of the American Mathematical Society—

A poetic approach to geometry—

"A surface" and "the rock," from All Saints' Day, 2012

Spaces as Hypercubes

— and from 1981—

http://www.log24.com/log/pix09/090217-SolidSymmetry.jpg

Some mathematical background for poets in Purgatory—

"… the Klein correspondence underlies Conwell's discussion 
of eight heptads. These play an important role in another
correspondence, illustrated in the Miracle Octad Generator
of R. T. Curtis, that may be used to picture actions
of the large Mathieu group M24."

Speech

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

Speech by Wallace Stevens upon accepting
an honorary degree from Bard College in 1951

(Click to enlarge.)

Transcription of conclusion:

"In all his poems with all their enchantments
for the poet himself, there is the final enchantment
that they are true. The significance of the poetic act
then is that it is evidence. It is instance and illustration.
It is an illumination of a surface,
the movement of a self in the rock.
Above all it is a new engagement with life.
It is that miracle to which the true faith of the poet
attaches itself."

— Wallace Stevens at Bard College, March 30, 1951

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Steiner System

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 PM

For Autism Awareness Month

See George Steiner on Autistic Enchantment, as well as…

(Click images for further details.)

IMAGE- Brower plugins 'puzzle piece' logo

IMAGE- 'Puzzle Piece' symbol on 'Queen to Play' page

This year, Autism Awareness Day  was April 2.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fish Story

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 10:12 AM

Stanley Fish reviewed a new book, Steven Smith's The Disenchantment of Secular Discourse, in yesterday's online NY Times

…the self-impoverished discourse of secular reason does in fact produce judgments, formulate and defend agendas, and speak in a normative vocabulary. How is this managed? By “smuggling,” Smith answers.

. . . the secular vocabulary within which public discourse is constrained today is insufficient to convey our full set of normative convictions and commitments. We manage to debate normative matters anyway— but only by smuggling in notions that are formally inadmissible, and hence that cannot be openly acknowledged or adverted to.

The notions we must smuggle in, according to Smith, include “notions about a purposive cosmos, or a teleological nature stocked with Aristotelian ‘final causes’ or a providential design,” all banished from secular discourse because they stipulate truth and value in advance rather than waiting for them to be revealed by the outcomes of rational calculation. But if secular discourse needs notions like these to have a direction— to even get started— “we have little choice except to smuggle [them] into the conversations— to introduce them incognito under some sort of secular disguise.”

And how do we do that?

A Jewish Answer

By the Coen brothers in "A Serious Man"–

http://www.log24.com/log/pix10/100223-Rabbi.jpg

"When the truth is found to be lies
And all the joy within you dies….
"

A Christian answer

“Like all dreamers I confuse
disenchantment with truth.”
– Jean-Paul Sartre

http://www.log24.com/log/pix09A/091103-Cartoon.jpg

Disenchantment author Steven Smith is a a professor at the University of San Diego. This suggests a look at the feast day of San Diego himself… Here are Log24 posts that mention that day, November 12 (which is also Grace Kelly's birthday).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Levi-Strauss Died…

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 3:09 PM

… on Friday, October 30, 2009 ………
(known to some as “Devil’s Night”)………
according to The New York Timeshttp://www.log24.com/images/asterisk8.gif

http://www.log24.com/log/pix09A/091103-NYT-LeviStrauss.jpg

A search in this journal for “Levi-Strauss” yields various entries, the most recent being “Autistic Enchantment” (Sept. 3, 2009).

Related material:

Today’s New York Times on autism
(A Powerful Identity, a Vanishing Diagnosis)
and Log24 on enchantment.

An instance of the latter (from Feb. 15, 2008):

Door

Black monolith, 1x4x9

Step:

“Many dreams have been
brought to your doorstep.
They just lie there
and they die there.”

Lyricist Ray Evans,
who died at 92
one year ago today

Associated Press –
Feb. 15, 2008
Today in History
Thought for Today:

“Like all dreamers I confuse
disenchantment with truth.”
— Jean-Paul Sartre

http://www.log24.com/log/pix09A/091103-Cartoon.jpg

Postscript of Nov. 3, 2009:
For more confusion, see
the works of Claude Levi-Strauss.

http://www.log24.com/images/asterisk8.gif But according to The Telegraph, Levi-Strauss
died on Saturday, Oct. 31, All Hallows’ Eve.
According to Le Monde, he may have died
even later, on Sunday, Nov. 1, All Saints’ Day.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thursday September 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 11:07 AM
Autistic Enchantment

“Music and mathematics are among the pre-eminent wonders of the race. Levi-Strauss sees in the invention of melody ‘a key to the supreme mystery’ of man– a clue, could we but follow it, to the singular structure and genius of the species. The power of mathematics to devise actions for reasons as subtle, witty, manifold as any offered by sensory experience and to move forward in an endless unfolding of self-creating life is one of the strange, deep marks man leaves on the world. Chess, on the other hand, is a game in which thirty-two bits of ivory, horn, wood, metal, or (in stalags) sawdust stuck together with shoe polish, are pushed around on sixty-four alternately coloured squares. To the addict, such a description is blasphemy. The origins of chess are shrouded in mists of controversy, but unquestionably this very ancient, trivial pastime has seemed to many exceptionally intelligent human beings of many races and centuries to constitute a reality, a focus for the emotions, as substantial as, often more substantial than, reality itself. Cards can come to mean the same absolute. But their magnetism is impure. A mania for whist or poker hooks into the obvious, universal magic of money. The financial element in chess, where it exists at all, has always been small or accidental.

To a true chess player, the pushing about of thirty-two counters on 8×8 squares is an end in itself, a whole world next to which that of a mere biological or political or social life seems messy, stale, and contingent. Even the patzer, the wretched amateur who charges out with his knight pawn when the opponent’s bishop decamps to R4, feels this daemonic spell. There are siren moments when quite normal creatures otherwise engaged, men such as Lenin and myself, feel like giving up everything– marriage, mortgages, careers, the Russian Revolution– in order to spend their days and nights moving little carved objects up and down a quadrate board. At the sight of a set, even the tawdriest of plastic pocket sets, one’s fingers arch and a coldness as in a light sleep steals over one’s spine. Not for gain, not for knowledge or reknown, but in some autistic enchantment, pure as one of Bach’s inverted canons or Euler’s formula for polyhedra.”

— George Steiner in “A Death of Kings,” The New Yorker, issue dated September 7, 1968, page 133

“Examples are the stained-glass windows of knowledge.” —Nabokov

Quaternion rotations in a finite geometry
Click above images for some context.

See also:

Log24 entries of May 30, 2006, as well as “For John Cramer’s daughter Kathryn”– August 27, 2009— and related material at Wikipedia (where Kathryn is known as “Pleasantville”).

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Saturday April 4, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 7:01 PM
Steiner Systems

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

"… in some autistic enchantment,http://www.log24.com/images/asterisk8.gif pure as one of Bach's inverted canons or Euler's formula for polyhedra."

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

Related material:

A correspondence underlying
the Steiner system S(5,8,24)–

http://www.log24.com/log/pix09/090404-MOGCurtis.gif

The Steiner here is
 Jakob, not George.

http://www.log24.com/images/asterisk8.gif See "Pope to Pray on
   Autism Sunday 2009."
    See also Log24 on that
  Sunday– February 8:

Memorial sermon for John von Neumann, who died on Feb. 8,  1957

 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday March 22, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — 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
and
Midsummer Night
in the Garden
of Good and Evil
.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday March 10, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 9:26 AM
Language Game

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

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

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

Related material:

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

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

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


— Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep

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

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

Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday February 15, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 10:10 AM
Door

Black monolith, 1x4x9
 
Step:

“Many dreams have been
brought to your doorstep.
They just lie there
 and they die there.”

Lyricist Ray Evans,
who died at 92
   one year ago today

Associated Press –
Today in History
Thought for Today:

“Like all dreamers I confuse
 disenchantment with truth.”
–Jean-Paul Sartre

The Return of the Author, by Eugen Simion:

On Sartre’s Les Mots

“Writing helps him find his own place within this vast comedy. He does not take to writing seriously yet, but he is eager to write books in order to escape the comedy he has been compelled to take part in.

The craft of writing appeared to me as an adult activity, so ponderously serious, so trifling, and, at bottom, so lacking in interest that I didn’t doubt for a moment that it was in store for me. I said to myself both ‘that’s all it is’ and ‘I am gifted.’ Like all dreamers, I confused disenchantment with truth.”

This is given in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (1999) as

Like all dreamers, I mistook disenchantment for truth.

Also from the AP’s
Today in History

Today’s Birthdays:
Actor Kevin McCarthy is 94.

Related material:

Hopkins at Heaven’s Gate
  (In context: October 2007)–

Anthony Hopkins at Dolly's Little Diner in Slipstream

“Dolly’s Little Diner–
Home from Home”

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sunday February 25, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 10:31 AM

Between Two Worlds

Nicolas Cage as Ghost Rider

Nicolas Cage as Ghost Rider

"I'm the only one who can
walk in both worlds.
I'm T. S. Eliot."
 
Four Quartets:

I caught the sudden look of some dead master
Whom I had known, forgotten, half recalled
     Both one and many; in the brown baked features
     The eyes of a familiar compound ghost
Both intimate and unidentifiable.
     So I assumed a double part, and cried
     And heard another's voice cry: 'What! are you here?'
Although we were not. I was still the same,
     Knowing myself yet being someone other—
     And he a face still forming; yet the words sufficed
To compel the recognition they preceded.
     And so, compliant to the common wind,
     Too strange to each other for misunderstanding,
In concord at this intersection time
     Of meeting nowhere, no before and after,
     We trod the pavement in a dead patrol.
I said: 'The wonder that I feel is easy,
     Yet ease is cause of wonder. Therefore speak:
     I may not comprehend, may not remember.'
And he: 'I am not eager to rehearse
     My thoughts and theory which you have forgotten.
     These things have served their purpose: let them be.
So with your own, and pray they be forgiven
     By others, as I pray you to forgive
     Both bad and good. Last season's fruit is eaten
And the fullfed beast shall kick the empty pail.
     For last year's words belong to last year's language
     And next year's words await another voice.
But, as the passage now presents no hindrance
     To the spirit unappeased and peregrine
     Between two worlds become much like each other,
So I find words I never thought to speak
     In streets I never thought I should revisit
     When I left my body on a distant shore.
Since our concern was speech, and speech impelled us
     To purify the dialect of the tribe
     And urge the mind to aftersight and foresight,
Let me disclose the gifts reserved for age
     To set a crown upon your lifetime's effort.
     First, the cold friction of expiring sense
Without enchantment, offering no promise
     But bitter tastelessness of shadow fruit
     As body and soul begin to fall asunder.
Second, the conscious impotence of rage
     At human folly, and the laceration
     Of laughter at what ceases to amuse.
And last, the rending pain of re-enactment
     Of all that you have done, and been; the shame
     Of motives late revealed, and the awareness
Of things ill done and done to others' harm
     Which once you took for exercise of virtue.
     Then fools' approval stings, and honour stains.
From wrong to wrong the exasperated spirit
     Proceeds, unless restored by that refining fire
     Where you must move in measure, like a dancer.'

Friday, November 18, 2005

Friday November 18, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 2:56 AM
It’s still the same old story,
a fight for love and…

Glory

Wikipedia on the tesseract:

Glory Road (1963) included the foldbox, a hyperdimensional packing case that was bigger inside than outside.”

Robert A. Heinlein in Glory Road:

    “Rufo’s baggage turned out to be a little black box about the size and shape of a portable typewriter. He opened it.
    And opened it again.
    And kept on opening it– And kept right on unfolding its sides and letting them down until the durn thing was the size of a small moving van and even more packed….
    … Anyone who has studied math knows that the inside does not have to be smaller than the outside, in theory….  Rufo’s baggage just carried the principle further.”

Johnny Cash: “And behold, a white horse.”

On The Last Battle
, a book in the Narnia series by C. S. Lewis:

“… there is much glory in this wonderfully written apocalypse.  Tirian, looking into the stable through the hole in the door, says, ‘The stable seen from within and the stable seen from without are two different places.’ Digory answers, ‘Its inside is bigger than its outside.’  It is the perceptive Lucy who voices the hope that is in us, ‘In our world, too, a stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.'”


Lewis said in “The Weight of Glory”

 

“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.”

On enchantments that need to be broken:

See the description of the Eater of Souls in Glory Road and of Scientism in

Monday, April 19, 2004

Monday April 19, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 7:59 PM

Cartesian Theatre

From aldaily.com today:

"If my mind is a tiny theatre I watch in my brain, then there is a tinier mind and theatre inside that mind to see it, and so on forever… more»"

This leads to the dream (or nightmare) of the Cartesian theatre, as pictured by Daniel Dennett.

From websurfing yesterday and today…

The tiny theatre of Ivor Grattan-Guinness:

"… mathematicians often treat history with contempt (unsullied by any practice or even knowledge of it, of course)."

The Rainbow of Mathematics

The contempt for history of the Harvard mathematics department (see previous entry) suggests a phrase….

A search on "Harvard sneer" yields, as the first page found, a memorial to an expert practitioner of the Harvard sneer… Robert Harris Chapman, Professor of English Literature, playwright, theatrical consultant, and founding Director of the Loeb Drama Center from 1960 to 1980.

Continuing the Grattan-Guinness rainbow theme in a tinier theatre, we may picture Chapman's reaction to the current Irish Repertory Theatre production of Finian's Rainbow.  Let us hope it is not a Harvard sneer.

In a yet tinier theatre, we may envision a mathematical version of Finian's Rainbow, with Og the leprechaun played by Andrew P. Ogg.  Ogg would, of course, perform a musical version of his remarks on the Jugendtraum:

"Follow the fellow who follows a dream."

Melissa Errico
in Finian's Rainbow

"Give her a song like…. 'Look to the Rainbow,' and her gleaming soprano effortlessly flies it into the stratosphere where such numbers belong. This is the voice of enchantment…."

Ben Brantley, today's NY Times

For related philosophical remarks on rainbows, infinite regress, and redheads, see

Loretta's Rainbow and

The Leonardo Code.

Monday, February 9, 2004

Monday February 9, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 6:36 PM

Hermes and Folded Time

Yesterday’s entry on painter Ward Jackson and the philosopher Gadamer involved what is called hermeneutics, or the art of interpretation.  Gadamer was a leader in this field.  The following passage perhaps belabors the obvious, but it puts hermeneutics clearly in context.

From Daniel Chandler’s Semiotics for Beginners:

“The ‘tightness’ of semiotic codes themselves varies from the rule-bound closure of logical codes (such as computer codes) to the interpretative looseness of poetic codes. Pierre Guiraud notes that ‘signification is more or less codified,‘ and that some systems are so ‘open’ that they ‘scarcely merit the designation ‘code’ but are merely systems of “hermeneutic” interpretation’ (*Guiraud 1975, 24). Guiraud makes the distinction that a code is ‘a system of explicit social conventions’ whilst ‘a hermeneutics’ is ‘a system of implicit, latent and purely contingent signs,’ adding that ‘it is not that the latter are neither conventional nor social, but they are so in a looser, more obscure and often unconscious way’ (*ibid., 41). His claim that (formal) codes are ‘explicit’ seems untenable since few codes would be likely to be widely regarded as wholly explicit. He refers to two ‘levels of signification,’ but it may be more productive to refer to a descriptive spectrum based on relative explicitness, with technical codes veering towards one pole and interpretative practices veering towards the other. At one end of the spectrum are what Guiraud refers to as ‘explicit, socialized codes in which the meaning is a datum of the message as a result of a formal convention between participants’ (*ibid., 43-4). In such cases, he argues, ‘the code of a message is explicitly given by the sender’ (*ibid., 65). At the other end of the spectrum are ‘the individual and more or less implicit hermeneutics in which meaning is the result of an interpretation on the part of the receiver’ (*ibid., 43-4). Guiraud refers to interpretative practices as more ‘poetic,’ being ‘engendered by the receiver using a system or systems of implicit interpretation which, by virtue of usage, are more or less socialized and conventionalized’ (*ibid., 41). Later he adds that ‘a hermeneutics is a grid supplied by the receiver; a philosophical, aesthetic, or cultural grid which he applies to the text’ (*ibid., 65).”

* Pierre Guiraud, Semiology (trans. George Gross), London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1975

Related material:

From Michalinos Zembylas on Michel Serres:

“Serres’ use of Hermes is reminiscent of hermeneutics. The word derives from Hermes and implies that the idea of hermeneutics as a theory of interpretation (and consequently of communication) is necessary when there is a possibility for misunderstanding. Hermes translated the ‘word of Gods’; an interpreter translates the written text, and a teacher ‘translates’ the literature….  Understanding then is aided by the mediation of a hermeneut…. According to Gadamer (1975), the pleasure such understanding elicits is the joy of knowledge (which does not operate as an enchantment but as a kind of transformation). It is worth exploring this idea a bit more since there are interesting connections with Serres’ work.”

There is also an interesting connection with Guiraud’s work.  As quoted above, Guiraud wrote that

“…a hermeneutics is a grid supplied by the receiver; a philosophical, aesthetic, or cultural grid which he applies to the text.”

Serres describes Hermes as passing through “folded time.”  Precisely how time can be folded into a grid is the subject of my note The Grid of Time, which gives the context for the Serres phrase “folded time.”

For more on hermeneutics and Gadamer’s “joy of knowledge,” see Ian Lee in The Third Word War on “understanding the J.O.K.E.” (the Joy of Knowledge Encyclopedia).

Sunday, February 8, 2004

Sunday February 8, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 2:00 PM

The Quality of Diamond

On February 3, 2004, archivist and abstract painter Ward Jackson died at 75.  From today’s New York Times:

“Inspired by painters like Piet Mondrian and Josef Albers, Mr. Jackson made austere, hard-edged geometric compositions, typically on diamond-shaped canvases.”

On a 2003 exhibit by Pablo Helguera that included Mr. Jackson:

Parallel Lives

Parallel Lives recounts and recontextualizes real episodes from the lives of five disparate individuals including Florence Foster Jenkins, arguably the world’s worst opera singer; Giulio Camillo, a Renaissance mystic who aimed to build a memory container for all things; Friedrich Froebel, the inventor of the kindergarten education system, the members of the last existing Shaker community, and Ward Jackson, the lifelong archivist of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Parallel Lives pays homage to Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900-2002) and his system of philosophical hermeneutics built through an exploration of historicity, language, and art. This exhibition, which draws its title from the classic work by Plutarch, is a project that explores biography as a medium, drawing from the earlier innovation of the biographical practice in works like Marcel Schwob’s “Imaginary Lives” (1896) and John Aubrey’s “Brief Lives” (1681). Through display means, the project blends the lives of these individuals into one basic story, visually stating the relationship between individualism and society as best summarized by Gadamer’s famous phrase: “we all are others, and we all are a self.”

On February 3, the day that Jackson died, there were five different log24.net entries:

  1. The Quality with No Name 
  2. Speaking Globally
  3. Lila
  4. Theory of Design
  5. Retiring Faculty.

Parallels with the Helguera exhibit:

Florence Foster Jenkins: Janet Jackson in (2) above.

Giulio Camillo: Myself as compiler of the synchronistic excerpts in (5).

Friedrich Froebel: David Wade in (4).

The last Shakers: Christopher Alexander and his acolytes in (1).

Ward Jackson: On Feb. 3, Jackson became a permanent part of Quality — i.e., Reality — itself, as described in (3).

Some thoughts of Hans-Georg Gadamer
relevant to Jackson’s death:

Gadamer, Art, and Play

by G.T. Karnezis

The pleasure it [art] elicits “is the joy of knowledge.” It does not operate as an enchantment but “a transformation into the true.” Art, then, would seem to be an essentializing agent insofar as it reveals what is essential. Gadamer asks us to see reality as a horizon of “still undecided possibilities,” of unfulfilled expectations, of contingency. If, in a particular case, however, “a meaningful whole completes and fulfills itself in reality,” it is like a drama. If someone sees the whole of reality as a closed circle of meaning” he will be able to speak “of the comedy and tragedy of life” (genres becoming ways of conceiving reality). In such cases where reality “is understood as a play, there emerges the reality of what play is, which we call the play of art.” As such, art is a realization: “By means of it everyone recognizes that that is how things are.” Reality, in this viewpoint, is what has not been transformed. Art is defined as “the raising up of this reality to its truth.”

As noted in entry (3) above
on the day that Jackson died,

“All the world’s a stage.”

William Shakespeare

Powered by WordPress