The black monolith of
Kubrick's 2001 is, in
its way, an example
of religious art.
One artistic shortcoming
(or strength-- it is, after
all, monolithic) of
that artifact is its
resistance to being
analyzed as a whole
consisting of parts, as
in a Joycean epiphany.
One approach to
a major role in
- A biography of
Felix Christian Klein
See 4/28/08 for examples
of such transformations.
Stevens: A World of Transforming Shapes, by Alan D. Perlis,
Bucknell University Press, 1976, pp. 117-118:
"... his point of origin is external nature, the fount to which we come seeking inspiration for our fictions. We come, many of Stevens's poems suggest, as initiates, ritualistically celebrating the place through which we will travel to achieve fictive shape. Stevens's 'real' is a bountiful place, continually giving forth life, continually changing. It is fertile enough to meet any imagination, as florid and as multifaceted as the tropical flora about which the poet often writes. It therefore naturally lends itself to rituals of spring rebirth, summer fruition, and fall harvest. But in Stevens's fictive world, these rituals are symbols: they acknowledge the real and thereby enable the initiate to pass beyond it into the realms of his fictions.
Two counter rituals help to explain the function of celebration as Stevens envisions it. The first occurs in 'The Pediment of Appearance,' a slight narrative poem in Transport to Summer. A group of young men enter some woods 'Hunting for the great ornament, The pediment of appearance.' Though moving through the natural world, the young men seek the artificial, or pure form, believing that in discovering this pediment, this distillation of the real, they will also discover the 'savage transparence,' the rude source of human life. In Stevens's world, such a search is futile, since it is only through observing nature that one reaches beyond it to pure form. As if to demonstrate the degree to which the young men's search is misaligned, Stevens says of them that 'they go crying/The world is myself, life is myself,' believing that what surrounds them is immaterial. Such a proclamation is a cardinal violation of Stevens's principles of the imagination. For in 'Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction' he tells us that
... the first idea was not to shape the cloudsBelieving that they are the life and not the mimics thereof, the world and not its fiction-forming imitators, these young men cannot find the savage transparence for which they are looking. In its place they find the pediment, a scowling rock that, far from being life's source, is symbol of the human delusion that there exists a 'form alone,' apart from 'chains of circumstance.'
A far more productive ritual occurs in 'Sunday Morning.'...."
Saturday, February 14, 2009 9:29 PM
Annals of Religion:
303. Einstein (Albert, theoretical physicist, 1879-1955) Autograph Letter signed to Eric B. Gutkind, in German, 1½pp. & envelope, 4to, Princeton, 3rd January 1954, thanking him for a copy of his book and expressing his view of God and Judaism, [The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish... . For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people...], folds, slightly browned ; and a photograph of Gutkind, v.s., v.d.Here is a close reading of the part of the letter itself that Bloomsbury gives in English, transcribed from the above images.
est. £6000 – £8000
Einstein’s view of God and Judaism.
Eric B. Gutkind (1877-1965), philosopher; author of Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt, 1952.
Albert Einstein - see also lot 497
Sold for £170000
Sale 649, 15th May 2008
Phrases by Stambaugh that do not appear in the German text are highlighted.... Das Wort Gott ist für mich nichts als Ausdruck
und Produkt menschlicher Schwächen, die Bibel eine Sammlung
ehrwürdiger, aber doch reichlich primitiver Legenden. Keine noch
so feinsinnige Auslegung kann (für mich) etwas daran ändern.
Diese verfeinerten Auslegungen sind naturgemäß höchst mannigfaltig
und haben so gut wie nichts mit dem Urtext zu schaffen. Für
mich ist die unverfälschte jüdische Religion, wie alle anderen
Religionen, eine Inkarnation des primitiven Aberglaubens. Und das
jüdische Volk, zu dem ich gern gehöre und mit dessen Mentalität ich
tief verwachsen bin, hat für mich doch keine andersartige
Qualität als alle anderen Völker. So weit meine Erfahrung reicht,
ist es auch um nichts besser als andere menschliche Gruppierungen,
wenn es auch durch Mangel an Macht gegen die schlimmsten
Auswüchse gesichert ist. Ansonsten kann ich nichts "Auserwähltes"
an ihm wahrnehmen.
The Guardian of May 13, 2008 stated that the following was "translated from German by Joan Stambaugh"--
... The word God is for me nothing more than the expression
and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection
of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No
interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.
These subtilised interpretations are highly manifold
according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text. For
me the Jewish religion like all other
religions is an incarnation of the most childish [German: primitiven] superstitions. And the
Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I
have a deep affinity have no different
quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes,
they are also no better than other human groups,
although they are protected from the worst
cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything 'chosen'
Saturday, February 14, 2009 12:00 PM
Annals of Romance:
Friday, February 13, 2009 7:36 PM
The Rest of the Story:
February 13, 2009 -- Toronto
Bombardier confirms a Dash 8 Q400 aircraft was involved in an accident near Buffalo, New York on February 12. We extend our sympathies to the families of those who perished in this accident. Bombardier has dispatched a product safety and technical team to the site to assist the National Transportation Safety Board with their investigation.
Until such time as the investigators release any information or findings, Bombardier cannot comment further or speculate on the cause of this accident.
Bombardier Q400 product information is available on www.q400.com.
Friday, February 13, 2009 9:26 AM
Annals of Religion:
"From the grave, Albert Einstein poured gasoline on the culture wars between science and religion this week.A letter the physicist wrote in 1954 to the philosopher Eric Gutkind, in which he described the Bible as 'pretty childish'...."
|Religious summary by
what's that sound?
what's going down."
Friday, February 13, 2009 12:00 AM
Childish Things, continued:
Thursday, February 12, 2009 11:11 AM
Annals of Philosophy:
"Our secret culture is as frivolous as a willow on a tombstone. It's a wonderful thing-- or it was. It was strong and dreadful, it was majestic and ruthless. It was a stranger to pity. And it's not for sale, ladies and gentlemen."
Wednesday, February 11, 2009 9:48 AM
Church of the Forbidden Planet:
Tuesday, February 10, 2009 11:07 PM
The Drama of...
Tuesday, February 10, 2009 7:11 PM
Annals of Finance:
Monday, February 9, 2009 12:12 PM
Annals of Philosophy:
Sunday, February 8, 2009 11:00 AM
Saturday, February 7, 2009 2:02 PM
Culture Wars continued:
Einstein did not, at least in the place alleged, call the Bible "childish." Proof:
"From the grave, Albert Einstein poured gasoline on the culture wars between science and religion this week.
A letter the physicist wrote in 1954 to the philosopher Eric Gutkind, in which he described the Bible as 'pretty childish' and scoffed at the notion that the Jews could be a 'chosen people,' sold for $404,000 at an auction in London. That was 25 times the presale estimate."
"Space: what you
damn well have to see."
-- James Joyce, Ulysses
Friday, February 6, 2009 4:00 AM
ART WARS continued:
"Death is not earnest in the same way the eternal is.
To the earnestness of death belongs precisely that capacity for
awakening, that resonance of a profound mockery which, detached from
the thought of the eternal, is an empty and often brash jest, but
together with the thought of the eternal is just what it should be,
utterly different from the insipid solemness which least of all
captures and holds a thought with tension like that of death."
-- Soren Kierkegaard, Works of Love, Harper Torchbooks, 1964, p. 324
2, 3, and 4 as well as
February 5 (Raggio's birthday).
Thursday, February 5, 2009 1:00 PM
ART WARS in review--
|9|| For we know in part, and we
prophesy in part.
|10|| But when that which is perfect is
come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
|11|| When I was a child, I spake as a
child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became
a man, I put away childish things.
|12|| For now we see through a glass,
darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I
know even as also I am known.
-- First Corinthians 13
|The central aim of Western religion--
"Each of us has something to offer the Creator...The central aim of Western philosophy--
Dualities of Pythagoras
"Of these dualities, the first is the most important; all the
others may be seen as different aspects of this fundamental dichotomy.
To establish a rational and consistent relationship between the limited
[man, etc.] and the unlimited [the cosmos, etc.] is... the central aim
of all Western philosophy."
-- Jamie James in The Music of the Spheres (1993)
"In the garden of Adding
-- The Midrash Jazz Quartet in City of God, by E. L.
"Space: what you
-- James Joyce, Ulysses
Wednesday, February 4, 2009 1:23 PM
ART WARS continued:
Wednesday, February 4, 2009 5:18 AM
Knock, Knock, Knockin'...
Tuesday, February 3, 2009 7:59 AM
Annals of Philosophy:Everything and Nothing
Monday, February 2, 2009 10:30 AM
ART WARS continued:
|The Candlebrow Conference
in Pynchon's Against the Day:
The conferees had gathered here from all around the world.... Their spirits all one way or another invested in, invested by, the siegecraft of Time and its mysteries.
"Fact is, our system of so-called linear time is based on a circular or, if you like, periodic phenomenon-- the earth's own spin. Everything spins, up to and including, probably, the whole universe. So we can look to the prairie, the darkening sky, the birthing of a funnel-cloud to see in its vortex the fundamental structure of everything--"
... Those in attendance, some at quite high speed, had begun to disperse, the briefest of glances at the sky sufficing to explain why. As if the professor had lectured it into being, there now swung from the swollen and light-pulsing clouds to the west a classic prairie "twister"....
... In the storm cellar, over semiliquid coffee and farmhouse crullers left from the last twister, they got back to the topic of periodic functions....
"Eternal Return, just to begin with. If we may construct such functions in the abstract, then so must it be possible to construct more secular, more physical expressions."
"Build a time machine."
"Not the way I would have put it, but if you like, fine."
Vectorists and Quaternionists in attendance reminded everybody of the function they had recently worked up....
"We thus enter the whirlwind. It becomes the very essence of a refashioned life, providing the axes to which everything will be referred. Time no long 'passes,' with a linear velocity, but 'returns,' with an angular one.... We are returned to ourselves eternally, or, if you like, timelessly."
"Born again!" exclaimed a Christer in the gathering, as if suddenly enlightened.
Above, the devastation had begun.
Sunday, February 1, 2009 9:00 AM
Mathematics and Narrative, continued: