1. Background

2. Other related web pages

3. Related philosophical remarks

Background:

For non-mathematicians...

See some selected quotations on Hesse's Glass Bead Game, and the way it combines music and mathematics. Then see the combination of music and mathematics in Timothy A. Smith's Shockwave movie (or his pdf essay) combining patterns like those above with an analysis of a Bach fugue.

For mathematicians...

Kaleidoscopes are, of course, intimately related to reflection groups. For the connection to the geometry of the above patterns, see The Diamond Theorem. Switching two rows, columns, or quadrants in the "kaleidoscope" above is equivalent to performing an affine reflection (an automorphism of an affine space fixing a hyperplane pointwise) in a 16-point finite geometry.

Other related web pagesPoetry's Bones, and

Related Philosophical RemarksClifford Geertz on Levi-Strauss, from The Cerebral Savage: "Savage logic works like a kaleidoscope whose chips can fall into a variety of patterns.... The patterns consist in the disposition of the chips vis-a-vis one another (that is, they are a function of the relationships among the chips rather than their individual properties considered separately). And their range of possible transformations is strictly determined by the construction of the kaleidoscope, the inner law which governs its operation.... ... Levi-Strauss generalizes this permutational view of thinking to savage thought in general. It is all a matter of shuffling discrete (and concrete) images... ... And the point is general. The relationship between a symbolic structure and its referent, the basis of its Or like linguistics." Edward Sapir on Linguistics, Mathematics, and Music: "... linguistics has also that profoundly serene and satisfying quality which inheres in mathematics and in music and which may be described as the creation out of simple elements of a self-contained universe of forms. Linguistics has neither the sweep nor the instrumental power of mathematics, nor has it the universal aesthetic appeal of music. But under its crabbed, technical, appearance there lies hidden the same classical spirit, the same freedom in restraint, which animates mathematics and music at their purest." -Edward Sapir, "The Grammarian and his Language," Robert de Marrais on Levi-Strauss and Derrida, from "Catastrophes, Kaleidoscopes, String Quartets: Deploying the Glass Bead Game," Part II: "...underwriting the form languages of ever more domains of mathematics is a set of deep patterns which not only offer access to a kind of ideality that Plato claimed to see the universe as created with in the De Marrais attacks Derrida for ignoring the "kaleidoscope" metaphor of Levi-Strauss. Here is a quotation from Derrida himself: "The time for reflection is also the chance for turning back on the very conditions of reflection, in all the senses of that word, as if with the help of an optical device one could finally see sight, could not only view the natural landscape, the city, the bridge and the abyss, but could view viewing. (1983:19) -- Derrida, J. (1983) 'The Principle of Reason: The University in the Eyes of its Pupils,' Diacritics 13.3: 3-20." The above quotation comes from Simon Wortham, who thinks the "optical device" of Derrida is a mirror. The same quotation appears in Desiring Dualisms at thispublicaddress.com, where the "optical device" is interpreted as a kaleidoscope. Derrida's "optical device" may be compared with Joyce's "collideorscape." For a different connection with Derrida, see The 'Collideorscape' as Differance. From Noel Gray, The Kaleidoscope: Shake, Rattle, and Roll: "... what we will be considering is how the ongoing production of meaning can generate a tremor in the stability of the initial theoretical frame of this instrument; a frame informed by geometry's long tradition of privileging the conceptual ground over and above its visual manifestation. And to consider also how the possibility of a seemingly unproblematic correspondence between the ground and its extrapolation, between geometric theory and its applied images, is intimately dependent upon the control of the truth status ascribed to the image by the generative theory. This status in traditional geometry has been consistently understood as that of the graphic ancilla-- a maieutic force, in the Socratic sense of that term-- an ancilla to lawful principles; principles that have, traditionally speaking, their primary expression in the purity of geometric idealities.* It follows that the possibility of installing a tremor in this tradition by understanding the kaleidoscope's images as announcing more than the mere subordination to geometry's theory-- yet an announcement that is still in a sense able to leave in place this self-same tradition-- such a possibility must duly excite our attention and interest. * I refer here to Plato's utilisation in the Meno of graphic austerity as the tool to bring to the surface, literally and figuratively, the inherent presence of geometry in the mind of the slave." See also Noel Gray, Ph.D. thesis, U. of Sydney, Dept. of Art History and Theory, 1994: "The Image of Geometry: Persistence qua Austerity-- Cacography and The Truth to Space." |

Page created August 9, 2005.