Saturday, January 31, 2004 12:00 PM
Blame it on Toby
-- Defense Secretary
THE WEST WING
Thursday, January 29, 2004 2:30 PM
in the Theory of Design
"Whether or not we can follow the theorist in his demonstrations, there is one misunderstanding we must avoid at all cost. We must not confuse the analyses of geometrical symmetries with the mathematics of combination and permutation....
The earliest (and perhaps the rarest) treatise on the theory of design drives home this insight with marvellous precision."
-- E. H. Gombrich, 1979, in
The Sense of Order
This is perhaps the stupidest remark I have ever read. The "treatise on the theory of design" that Gombrich refers to is
For some background, see
Truchet & Types:
Tiling Systems and Ornaments, and
Certain of the Truchet/Douat patterns have rather intriguing mathematical properties, sketched in my website Diamond Theory. These properties become clear if and only if we we do what Gombrich declares that we must not do: "confuse the analyses of geometrical symmetries with the mathematics of combination and permutation." (The verb "confuse" should, of course, be replaced by the verb "combine.")
Thursday, January 29, 2004 1:11 PM
Axis of Flim-Flam
Recommended reading from Axis of Logic --
On outgoing weapons-of-mass-destruction hunter David Kay:
"... instead of drawing the logical conclusion that he's been duped and played for a fool, he chose instead to launch the latest salvo in the Bush administration's undeclared war on the rank and file US intelligence community."
Wednesday, January 28, 2004 11:00 AM
Sequel to previous entry:
Monday, January 26, 2004 7:00 PM
The Subject Par Excellence
The previous entry connected the mad Marxist Althusser with Mount Sinai; this connection is not as whimsical as it may seem.
From Althusser's "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses" (La Pensée, 1970):
" 'And the Lord spoke to Moses and said to him, "I am that I am".'
God thus defines himself as the Subject par excellence, he who is through himself and for himself ('I am that I am'), and he who interpellates [Althusser's jargon for "hails"] his subject, the individual subjected to him by his very interpellation, i.e. the individual named Moses."
This is from page 179 of Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays.
The connection of the Althusser disciple Sprinker with the Trinity in Taking Lucifer Seriously is also not as whimsical as it may seem.
See Althusser's note (p. 180, op. cit.) stating that
"The dogma of the Trinity is precisely the theory of the duplication of the Subject (the Father) into a subject (the Son) and of their mirror-connexion (the Holy Spirit)."
Monday, January 26, 2004 1:11 PM
More on "selving," a word coined by the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins. (See Saturday's Taking Lucifer Seriously.)
"... through the calibrated truths of temporal discipline such as timetabling, serialization, and the imposition of clock-time, the subject is accorded a moment to speak in."
-- Dr. Sally R. Munt,
Intelligibility, Identity, and Selfhood:
A Reconsideration of
The "moment to speak in" of today's previous entry, 11:29 AM, is a reference to the date 11/29 of last year's entry
Command at Mount Sinai.
That entry contains, in turn, a reference to the journal Subaltern Studies. According to a review of Reading Subaltern Studies,
"... the Subaltern Studies collective drew upon the Althusser who questioned the primacy of the subject...."
Munt also has something to say on "the primacy of the subject" --
"Poststructuralism, following particularly Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida and Jacques Lacan, has ensured that 'the subject' is a cardinal category of contemporary thought; in any number of disciplines, it is one of the first concepts we teach to our undergraduates. But are we best served by continuing to insist on the intellectual primacy of the 'subject,' formulated as it has been within the negative paradigm of subjectivity as subjection?"
How about objectivity as objection?
I, for one, object strongly to "the Althusser who questioned the primacy of the subject."
This Althusser, a French Marxist philosopher by whom the late Michael Sprinker (Taking Lucifer Seriously) was strongly influenced, murdered his wife in 1980 and died ten years later in a lunatic asylum.
For details, see
The Future Lasts a Long Time.
For details of Althusser's philosophy, see the oeuvre of Michael Sprinker.
For another notable French tribute to Marxism, click on the picture at left.
Monday, January 26, 2004 11:29 AM
An Introduction to the Society of Jesus.
Saturday, January 24, 2004 9:09 AM
Taking Lucifer Seriously:
The Society of Jesus
As the previous entry indicates, I do not take Christian poetry too seriously. The Prince of Darkness is another matter. I encountered him this morning in a book on the Christian poet Hopkins by the late Michael Sprinker.
"You were never on the debating team when you were in high school, were you, ace? When you're in a debate, you don't try to convince the other side; they're never going to agree with you. You try to convince the judges and the audience."
-- Michael Sprinker, quoted in The Minnesota Review, 2003
"For Hopkins, poetry was the act of producing the self, one version of that selving which he associated not only with Christ but with Lucifer."
-- Michael Sprinker, "A Counterpoint of Dissonance" -- The Aesthetics and Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980, p. 95
A counterbalance to Sprinker on Hopkins and Lucifer is Hopkins, the Self, and God, by Walter J. Ong, S. J. (University of Toronto Press, 1986). From p. 119:
"The interior dynamism of the Three Persons in One God was not for Hopkins some sort of formula for theological juggling acts but was rather the centre of his personal devotional life and thus of his own 'selving.' .... He writes to Bridges 24 October 1883...
'For if the Trinity... is to be explained by grammar and by tropes... where wd. be the mystery? the true mystery, the incomprehensible one.' "
For the dynamics of the Trinity, see the Jan. 22 entry, Perichoresis, or Coinherence. Another word for coinherence is "indwelling," as expressed in what might be called the
Song of Lucifer:
Me into you,
You into me,
Me into you...
-- Atlanta Rhythm Section
For a Christian version of this "indwelling," see
See also last year's entries of 9/09.
Saturday, January 24, 2004 2:45 AM
Thursday, January 22, 2004 8:19 AM
Perichoresis, or Coinherence
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 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."
Perichoresis does NOT mean "dancing around" ....
From a mailing list message:
If [a correspondent] will but open a lexicon, she will see that perichoresis (with a long o, omega) has nothing to do with "the Greek word for dance," which is spelt with a short o (omicron). As a technical term in trinitarian theology, perichoresis means "interpenetration."
Perichoresis in Theology
Interpenetration in Arthur Machen
Interpenetration in T. S. Eliot:
"Between two worlds
become much like each other...."
On the Novels of Charles Williams
Coinherence in Charles Williams
Readings on Perichoresis
Per Speculum in Aenigmate
The Per Speculum link is to a discussion of coinherence and the four last films of Kieslowski--
La Double Vie de Veronique (1991),
Trois Couleurs: Bleu (1993),
Trois Couleurs: Blanc (1993), and
Trois Couleurs: Rouge (1994).
See, too, previous log24 entries related to Kieslowski's work and to coinherence:
Moulin Bleu (12/16/03),
Quarter to Three (12/20/03), and
White, Geometric, and Eternal (12/20/03).
Wednesday, January 21, 2004 8:28 AM
This is the first anniversary of the death of Irene Diamond, patron of the arts, for whom the New York City Ballet's Diamond Project is named. (See last year's entries for January 20-23.)
Since tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of the birth of George Balanchine (according to the Gregorian, or "new style," calendar), it seems appropriate to recall his ballet Diamonds, though it has no apparent connection with Irene.
Diamonds is the conclusion of a three-part work titled Jewels. (The first two parts are Emeralds, with music by Fauré, and Rubies, with music by Stravinsky.)
" 'And then for the finale, Diamonds, I move to Tchaikovsky-always Tchaikovsky for dancing.'
Balanchine chose to use Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 3 in D major, gracefully cutting the first movement of the piece (by some accounts because it was too long, and by others because he felt it just wasn't suitable for dancing)."
-- Jeannine Potter, notes on Jewels
In other words, Balanchine "cut" Diamonds. For another use of this metaphor, see The Diamond Project. The following remark on the first movement seems appropriate on this, the anniversary of Irene Diamond's death.
"The introduction to the first movement of the symphony is marked Moderato assai, Tempo di marcia funebre, the funeral march proceeding with increased pace...."
-- Symphony No. 3 in D Major
The following link to a part of Irene's year-long funeral march seems appropriate:
Longtime Juilliard Benefactor Dies.
Whether her good deeds made her, like Christ and Gerard Manley Hopkins, an immortal Diamond, I do not know. Let us hope so.
Tuesday, January 20, 2004 5:00 PM
Time and Chance,
"Gimme a T for Texas,
T for Tennessee."
(See previous entry.)
Tuesday, January 20, 2004 1:00 PM
The death of Max D. Barnes (previous entry) and the opening of the first Tennessee lottery suggested the following meditations.
Wikipedia on Jimmie Rodgers, known as the father of country music:
"Fundamentally, Rodgers was a white blues singer...."
A song by the father of country music:
T for Texas, T for Tennessee,
T for Texas, T for Tennessee,
T for Thelma, that gal
made a wreck out of me.
Gonna buy me a shotgun,
long as I am tall,
Buy me a shotgun,
long as I am tall,
Gonna shoot po' Thelma,
just to see her jump and fall.
"In modern Western popular music, call and response is most commonly found in the blues and in blues-derived music like jazz and rock'n'roll."
If Rodgers's song is the call, what, one wonders, would be the appropriate response?
Tuesday, January 20, 2004 5:28 AM
In Memory of Max D. Barnes:
Time and Chance
Barnes, a songwriter,
died on 1/11/04.
Fearful Meditation (8/1/03),
Time is a Weapon (9/26/03), and
In Summary (1/11/04).
Tuesday, January 20, 2004 4:00 AM
A search on "vult decipi" at about
3:40 AM today yielded the following, from
The ad for "Geometry of Latin Squares,"
my own. is in direct competition with
"Jesus Loves You."
Good luck, Latin squares.
Sunday, January 18, 2004 10:12 AM
A Living Church
"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
C. P. Snow on G. H. Hardy in the foreword to A Mathematician's Apology:
"... he had another favourite entertainment. 'Mark that man we met last night,' he said, and someone had to be marked out of 100 in each of the categories Hardy had long since invented and defined. STARK, BLEAK ('a stark man is not necessarily bleak: but all bleak men without exception want to be considered stark')...."
S. H. Cullinane on religion and Hollywood:
"If the incomparable Max Bialystock were to remake 'Up Close and Personal,' he might retitle it 'Distant and Impersonal.' A Google search on this phrase suggests
a plot outline for Mel Brooks & Co."
In memory of
producer Ray Stark,
an excerpt from that plot outline:
The Oxford University Press summary of
Myths of the Male Divine,
by David Leeming and Jake Page
"They [Leeming and Page] describe the rise of a male sky God as 'the equal to, the true mate, of Goddess, who was still associated with Earth.' In the Iron Age, the sky God became more aggressive, separating from the Goddess and taking his place as the King God, as Zeus, Odin, and Horus. Ultimately he emerged as the creator, a more distant and impersonal force. Here Leeming and Page also illuminate an important trend--a sense that the divine is beyond gender, that it permeates all things (as seen in the Chinese Tao and En Sof of the Kabbalah). They see a movement in the biography of God toward a reunion with the Goddess."
As for the Goddess, see
Art Wars: Just Seventeen
(December 17, 2002).
Stark, a saint among Hollywood producers, died yesterday, January 17. If, as Chesterton might surmise, he then met Plato and Shakespeare in Heaven, the former might discuss with him the eternal Platonic form of the number 17, while the latter might offer the following links on Stark's new heavenly laptop:
Cartoon Graveyard and
Art Wars: At the Still Point.
This concludes the tribute to Stark. For a tribute to Bleak, click here.
Sunday, January 18, 2004 7:00 AM
Yesterday's entry may be viewed as honoring Saint Leonard Eugene Dickson, who died on January 17, 1954. Dickson was the author of the three-volume classic
History of the Theory of Numbers.
Yesterday's entry was also prompted by a property of the number 17, and therefore may serve to illustrate a recurring theme... "The eternal in the temporal," an apt phrase uttered by Father Egan on page 373 of Robert Stone's religious classic,
A Flag for Sunrise.
Click on the above link for an appreciation of the Stone novel by Reynolds Price, one of the few Christians whose opinion I respect.
See also some remarks by Price from the feast day, Nov. 6, of the official Saint Leonard.
For a different Saint Leonard, see the entry of Oct. 14, 2003, which contains remarks by Leonard Bernstein on Mahler.
For a musical event that may be regarded as the fruition of Bernstein's remarks, see
Pope in peace concert
Vatican invites rabbis, Muslim clerics
for concert featuring
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
By Dennis B. Roddy,
Sunday, January 18, 2004
Saturday, January 17, 2004 12:00 PM
This morning's web notes:
From Lemniscate to Langlands.
Friday, January 16, 2004 9:23 AM
The annual World Social Forum started Jan. 16 in Bombay ("Mumbai"), India.
From the right,
The Fifth International?
From the left,
Towards a New International?
From the right,
Marxist, Socialist, & Communist
Hate of America.
From the left,
Tools for Change.