Friday, December 27, 2013

ガールズ&パンツァー Gāruzu ando Pantsā

 


Girls und Panzer:  High school girls participate in "tankery" (戦車道 sensha-dō: "the way of the tank").

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Editing Tasso's Creation of the World

As I announced last month, International Authors is to publish a new translation of Torquato Tasso's Il Mondo Creato. This new edition is being translated by Dario Rivarossa, author of Dante Was a Fantasy Writer, and Salwa Khoddam, author of Mythopoeic Narnia: Memory, Metaphor, and Metamorphoses in The Chronicle of Narnia.  It is my role to edit the translation.  Dario has now provided me with the first canto (or rather "Day") and I am happy to report that the outlook is very promising.  When first embarking upon this project, one of our concerns was the fact that the work had been translated thirty years ago, and hence why the need for a new translation? Moreover, could International Authors produce a volume that was up to the mark?

Joseph Tusiani's 1982 translation of Il mondo creato is superb.  But so is the Rivarossa/Khoddam version. The new translation is, in places, closer to Tasso. The Tusiani version occasionally leaves a line or three out, or omits small bits in order to adhere to a ten-syllable line. That said, it is beautiful, full of wonders, and delightful in the most sensual and lyrical sense of the word. The Rivarossa/Khoddam translation is in blank verse--and, yes, it is also wonderfully beautiful and effusive.  As I work though the initial edit, it is fascinating when I come across passages where either of the translations stumbles over something. It is possible to compare the passages and determine--through a sort of "triangulation"--what should (or what could) be the proper English formulation.  I am happy to report that our translation is going to be very accurate--as well as vividly poetic.  As I negotiate my way through the editorial process with both translations open before me, it is gratifying to see how the English language can achieve precise representations of ideas or create effects that in Italian remain figurative and poetic.

Tasso's influence upon Milton is well-documented, and in Creation of the World I am delighted to discover foreshadows of  Miltron's project to derive modernism from reform Christianity--this activity finds a clear antecedent in Tasso. Indeed, Tasso demonstrates that the early-modern project is not entirely protestant in nature, but is a child of the counter-reformation as well. This is an important phenomenon to study in our current age of religious agitation.

Tasso's exotic poem is an apt addition to what International Authors is evolving into. Creation of the World is avant-garde--a dazzling work of philosophical art for the sake of philosophical art. Tasso's poem amply underscores the distinction between myth and philosophy, which I believe to be one of the highest aims of the poetic art. Moreover, the book will add much to International Authors' growing list, which is advancing a new modernism in the context of a world-wide open society.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Wicker Man

International Authors editorial adviser and Emanations contributor Mike Chivers has posted an informative essay on the 1973 cult film The Wicker Man at his blog, Necronomania, which can be viewed by clicking here.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Announcement from Norman Spinrad













Norman Spinrad has asked me to pass along the following:
I’ve put my theatrical play adaptation of my novel Greenhouse Summer on Amazon for $2.99, the lowest possible price, and would have done a freebie if possible.  The play was commissioned, might be produced in another rewritten version, and the live theatrical rights are not mine.  But all film/television rights to both my play script version and the underlying novel are retained by me.
I could easily and quickly adapt the stage play script into a film/tv script, indeed it would be much easier than adapting my novel to a stage play, believe me!  At the moment I am trying to produce the film myself, and am looking for some kind of deal to get the film made.  A straight option and pick-up deal with me writing the screenplay?  A development deal of some kind?  Financing to do it myself?  I’m open to all suggestions.
Greenhouse Summer is available through Amazon.
Norman Spinrad
normanspinrad@hotmail.com
212-777-7537, cell:646-346-9385aa
In Europe: 06-61-97-53-43 
WEBSITE
NORMAN SPINRAD AT LARGE 
LA CUISINE HUMAINE

Out of the Hermeneutic Captivity

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

1/16 scale Kim Jong Un that you assemble

Just "un" time for the holidays, the most powerful young man "un" the planet is now a 1/16 scale resin figure, available from HobbyEasy for $24.25.  Hmm. Maybe just the thing for that hard-to-shop-for bachelor uncle with an interest in today's heroes of ideology...



Monday, December 16, 2013

Four Centimeter Annulus

Slow the moon falls back
From the earth in one focus
Of her wide ellipse

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Requiem for Uncle Jang

Jeffery Hodges has posted an account of the proceedings of the PRK government against Jang Song Thaek, former number two power figure and uncle of dictator Kim Jong Un. The language of the report, taken from a North Korean news service, is fascinating:
"Report on Enlarged Meeting of Political Bureau of Central Committee of WPK (Workers Party of Korea)," Korea Central News Agency (KCNA), translated from Korean by Korea Open Source Project, Volume VI, Issue 238, December 10, 2013

In this historic period for carrying forward the revolutionary cause of Juche[,] the chance elements and alien elements who had made their ways into the party committed such anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts as expanding their forces through factional moves and daring [to] challenge the party, while attempting to undermine the unitary leadership of the party . . . . [T]he Political Bureau of the C.C. (Central Committee), the WPK, convened its enlarged meeting and discussed the issue related to the anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts committed by [Uncle] Jang Song Thaek . . . . [F]ully laid bare [were] the anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts of [Uncle] Jang Song Thaek and their harmfulness and reactionary nature . . . . The entire party, whole army and all people are dynamically advancing toward the final victory in the drive for the building of a thriving nation, meeting all challenges of history and resolutely foiling the desperate moves of the enemies of the revolution under the leadership of Kim Jong Un [nephew of Jang Song Thaek] . . . . The [Uncle] Jang Song Thaek group, however, committed such anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts as gnawing at the unity and cohesion of the party . . . . [Uncle] Jang pretended to uphold the party and leader but was engrossed in such factional acts as dreaming different dreams and . . . . behaving against the elementary sense of moral obligation and conscience as a human being . . . . [for Uncle] Jang desperately worked to form a faction within the party . . . . [and] tried to increase his force and build his base . . . . [Uncle] Jang and his followers did not sincerely accept the line and policies of the party . . . . The [Uncle] Jang group weakened the party's guidance . . . . Such acts are nothing but counter-revolutionary, unpopular criminal acts of giving up the class struggle and paralyzing the function of [the] popular democratic dictatorship [of Uncle Jang's nephew, Kim Jong Un], yielding to the offensive of the hostile forces to stifle the DPRK . . . . [Uncle] Jang seriously obstructed the nation's economic affairs and the improvement of the standard of people's living . . . . The [Uncle] Jang group put under its control the fields and units which play an important role in the nation's economic development and the improvement of people's living in a crafty manner, making . . . impossible for the economic guidance organs including the Cabinet to perform their roles[,] . . . . [thereby] throwing the state financial management system into confusion and committing such [an] act of treachery as selling off precious resources of the country at cheap prices, the [Uncle Jang] group made it impossible to carry out the behests of [his father-in-law] Kim Il Sung and [his brother-in-law] Kim Jong Il on developing the industries of Juche iron, Juche fertilizer and Juche vinalon . . . . [Uncle] Jang committed irregularities and corruption and led a dissolute and depraved life . . . . abusing his power, . . . [and having] improper relations with several women . . . . [Uncle] Jang and his followers committed criminal acts baffling imagination . . . [acts] perpetrated by the group of [Uncle] Jang Song Thaek . . . . Speakers bitterly criticized in unison the anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts committed by the [Uncle] Jang group and expressed their firm resolution to remain true to the idea and leadership of Kim Jong Un[, pure nephew of the corrupt Uncle Jang Song Thaek] . . . . The meeting adopted a decision of the Political Bureau of the Party Central Committee on relieving [Uncle] Jang of all posts, depriving him of all titles and expelling him and removing his name from the WPK [and his image from official photographs, of course] . . . . The party served warning[s] to [Uncle] Jang several times and dealt blows at him, watching his group's anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts[,] as it has been aware of them from long ago[, but try not to dwell on this point too much, as that might lead to groundless doubts about the party's superior wisdom]. But [anyway,] . . . [the Uncle Jang Song Thaek group] did not pay heed to [the party] . . . but went beyond [the] tolerance limit. That was why the party eliminated [Uncle] Jang and purged his group, unable to remain an onlooker to its acts any longer [-- but again, don't think about this point too deeply --] dealing telling blows at sectarian acts manifested within the party . . . . The discovery and purge of the [Uncle] Jang group, a modern day faction[,] . . . [has] made our party and revolutionary ranks purer . . . . No force on earth can deter our party, army[,] and people from dynamically advancing toward a final victory, single-mindedly united around [the pure] Kim Jong Un[, nephew of the corrupt Uncle Jang Song Thaek].
And now Uncle Jang is pushing up daises...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Highbrow fine arts criticism in action: a review of Amy B. Trosino's Drawn Closer

I have posted an Amazon review of Amy B. Trosino's collection of pen and ink drawings, Drawn Closer. For the edification and amusement of the Highbrow community, here is that review:
In her introduction to this intriguing collection of pen and ink drawings, artist Amy B. Trosino describes the eclectic sources from which she draws her inspiration, including "children's book illustration . . . biology and histology." Histology, as I learned after a quick google search, is the microscopic study of the anatomy of animal and plant cells. In this process tissues are selected, sectioned, placed on a slide, stained, and preserved. Playing off this concept, Trosino offers twenty-one groups of drawings, each group consisting of three "histological" sections leading up to the main "tissue" image from which the three sections are taken.

The drawings themselves do bear some resemblance to cell tissues but they are of course more than that. Each is a rich and complex fantasy that in terms of style and subject suggests dreams of evolving personalities, vaguely "complex" social situations, and ambiguous emotional or psychological states. However, whatever allegorical interpretation the viewer seeks to impose on these drawings is intangible. These drawings cleverly elude--quite properly and quite effectively--any precise sense of understanding or definition. It is a testament to Trosino's considerable talent that she can so simply (and apparently effortlessly) create these profound yet ineffable images. Nor in this scheme do the "sections" help the viewer to establish what exactly these images mean. While turning the pages and viewing the three sections that lead to the complete drawing, progressive "revelations" are exposed leading to the final image; but the final underlying meaning remains unresolved.

Whether or not this is Trosino's point, turning through these pages makes for a rewarding and lively experience. At another level, too, the book is delightful--examining the sections in each group and identifying the sections in the final drawing of which they form a part is as aesthetically stimulating and rewarding as it is fun. Drawn Closer is therefore a refreshing adventure in art--an adventure in the practice and the wonder of discovery.


















Click here to view the Amazon sales page for Drawn Closer.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Arthur C. Clarke as Point of Departure for Comprehending the World Around Us

Arthur C. Clarke
In his essay on "Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination," Arthur C. Clarke makes a shrewd anthropological observation when he points out that "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." 

Clarke's anthropology is spot-on. In these words he underscores a principle that can be applied to the analyses of any number of challenging phenomena.  Consider, for example, our difficulties understanding what politicians are doing--what they say, their actions, their motives, their goals, and so on. Rather than respond with frustration, we should keep in mind that our leaders exist at an intellectual level far above our own, and that, notwithstanding their excellence, we can uncover something approaching a full explanation through a simple application of Clarke's principle:

"Any sufficiently advanced decision made by a professional politician is indistinguishable from magic."


Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Highbrow Glance at Elkie Riches' Reclamation

I recently posted an Amazon review of Elkie Riches' novel Reclamation:
Elkie Riches' debut novel is an amazing tour de force bringing together rich story-telling and startling ideas, but it is also a work of sophisticated literary art. That is, hold-on! This book is not what you might think it is.

Sharply drawn in a brisk and vivid style, RECLAMATION begins as a science fiction novel with familiar (though fresh) New Age and Eco-feminist themes. The world has slipped into a historical phase called the "Turning" in which Nature has revolted against the human race--not so much because of the abuse of the environment as for humanity's lack of sympathy with the interweaving streams of reflexive consciousness that nature collectively represents. The conflict manifests as a struggle between human beings and animated shrubbery, strangely sentient animals, and less tangible shape-shifting entities that manifest themselves in whirlwinds of twigs, dust, blowing leaves, and (apparently) in the corpses of dead human beings. Civilization has crumbled, and what's left of the human race builds fortresses atop the ruins of the world's great capitals, and a strict military order is maintained to defend what's left of humanity from the flora and fauna that run wild. Specially trained (and thoroughly despised) intelligence gatherers of the Shaman Division are used to monitor the confusing intentions of the (un)natural order which effusively possess the shaman's minds. Meanwhile, faceless corporations orbit the earth in satellites directing the "reclamation" of earth from the enemy nature. But this is where the novel itself "turns" into something that is quite unexpected--and quite frightening. Riches' strangely vivid and energetic prose turns against the story itself, producing the effect of something that the present reader was at odds to come to terms with. At the risk of diminishing Riches' profound mythological performance that is better "felt" than described, RECLAMATION could be characterized as a prose poem about the interweaving boundaries between consciousness and reality. Readers of Philip K. Dick and Jorge Luis Borges will find themselves in familiar (and disturbing) territory. Imbedded in the conflict between humanity and nature is a deeper and more profound struggle that possess reality like the shape shifters that possess whirlwinds or the minds of the shamans--that is, the beliefs of living matter itself are struggling to shape themselves and identify what they are and what they--in some fleeting shamanic glimpse--mean to themselves. Yes, Love does survive the conflict, but does the human race, at least as we know it?
Reclamation can be purchased through Amazon HERE.  Kindle version HERE.

Elkie Riches



Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tally-Ho, Cornelius! reviews on Amazon

My novel Tally-Ho, Cornelius! has received a number of favorable Amazon reviews.  I discovered this review today:
The Multiverse Finds Its Hero
by Samuel Sanders on November 9, 2013
Kids, this is not your average garden variety Jerry Cornelius story. In fact, I would go as far as to postulate that Carter Kaplan has penned the definitive Jerry Cornelius Origin Story.

The entire story revolves around the vainglorious Reverend Dr. Jeremiah Cornelius and his, at first glance, perfect life. All the supporting actors are here: Catherine, Francis, Oona. A revolutionary minister known for conciliating science and religion, the postmodern divine enjoys a celebrity status. He meets a strange and eloquent little boy claiming to be from Brazil.

Little does the postmodern divine know that Capricorn is in fact an immortal Lost Corsair in a last ditch attempt to save his corsairs from the singularity at the beginning of Time! The Lost Corsairs wait for their captain in their unfamiliar identities and struggle to cope in the laws of physics defying universe.

The majority of the book is like a gentle stream. You follow the postmodern divine on his daily doings. The longest chapter is a step by step tour guide from St John's to the Museum of Natural History, then another detailed guide of the reverend and the boy's wanderings inside the museum. Satirical, philosophical, nonsensical, this novel springs forth some heady subjects, including a scientific definition of Moorcock's Second Ether and what it really is.

Meanwhile, it all comes to head in a most interesting way. You end up not liking the pompous postmodern divine very much while you can't help but be impressed by him, but at the end of it all, you start feeling very sorry for him because the perfection he finds in himself and hopes to find reflected in others fails him. And you go away from it unsure about how you feel about it all, but want to brush up with another roundabout.

Kaplan pens his first novel with an unique and addictive style which keeps one enthralled despite the majority of it being composed of primarily mundane activities. If you are looking for something not run of the mill, or are just a big Jerry Cornelius fan like myself, this book is for you.

Read on!
More reviews HERE.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Michel Ciment on Stanley Kubrick

First, an interview. It is a minor thing, but I was immediately struck by Kubrick's voice, and my realization that in Dr. Strangelove Peter Sellers mimics Kubrick's voice when he portrays President Merkin Muffley.



Next, a short film in which Ciment explores Kubrick's interest in power elites. Two points I want to make:  Point 1) In one of the scenes at home, the daughter in Eyes Wide Shut is shown dressed in a white outfit with fairy wings--then at the end of the film in the toy store the daughter chooses a doll dressed in a white outfit with fairy wings.  Point 2) In addition to the theme of power elites and the byzantine process of figuring out their motives, Eyes Wide Shut highlights how women are socialized and explores the sociology (and the "deep" politics) of their various roles in our civilization.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Horace Jeffery Hodges Reads from The Bottomless Bottle of Beer

Professor Hodges recently read from his novella The Bottomless Bottle of Beer before an audience at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea.  A brief description of the reading as well as a neatly-produced video of Professor Hodges' understated (and quite charming) performance can be viewed on his blog Gypsy Scholar.

The Bottomless Bottle of Beer is available in a Kindle version by clicking HERE.  The story originally appeared in Emanations: Second Sight, which can be viewed HERE.

Professor Hodges, Master of Coquettish Understatement

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

New Project Announcement

As Dario Rivarossa says in his blog today, International Authors is embarking on a new book project, perhaps our most ambitious to date: a contemporary translation of Torquato Tasso's Il Mondo Creato. The translation will be handled by Dante and C. S. Lewis scholar Salwa Khoddam, and Dario Rivarossa, whose English-language edition of Dante was a Fantasy Writer was published by International Authors.

In his announcement, Mr. Rivarossa describes the unusual characteristics of Tasso's poem:
Though based on Genesis 1, the poem in fact has no plot, no protagonists, no dialogues, no structure, sort of a stream of consciousness, or a movie made with scattered footage from documentaries. A surprising mix of descriptions and theories, theology and doubts, Renaissance culture/history (the Discovery of America) and biology, translations and autobiography, imagination and despair, and whatnot.
Watch this space for news as this exciting project develops.

A depiction of Tasso from a German encyclopedia, 1905.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday Morning Affirmation















Eating fruits and vegetables and drinking lots of water are happy ways to say, "I LIKE MYSELF!"

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Underlying Secret of Highbrow Wisdom Revealed





Tomorrow is another day, but today is today...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Further Discussion with the Gypsy Scholar

Considering yesterday's Highbrow post, an interesting parallel thread of comments has emerged on Professor Hodges' blog.  Please click HERE.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Theological Origins of Modernism?

My friend and International Authors colleague Horace Jeffery Hodges is currently writing about Christian antecedents to modern notions of liberty. As the Highbrow community as well as the readers of my books know, this is a subject that I have explored in my work in analytic philosophy, in my Afterword to the International Authors edition of The Scarlet Letter, and in my novel, Tally-Ho, Cornelius!  Actually, in the final scene of my Aristophanic comedy Diogenes, you will find it there, too.

Professor Hodges is appropriately skeptical of Christianity's record in the matter of modern liberty, as he reports in his recent blog entry,  Christianity and Liberty?   He concludes, "Christianity's record on freedom is . . . spotty in deed and spotty indeed . . ."   Very properly, Professor Hodges would like to see  "what brought about an interpretation of scripture conducive to liberty, democracy, and equality."  My initial response to him is that an answer to his question is offered as "a point of departure in the opening to Locke's Letter on Toleration, which is not only an instructive and fascinating essay, but is also a vehicle for enjoying Locke's engaging and pleasant personality."  I should add that the Letter is the classic formulation of what I understand to be the the foundation of modernism: the separation of church and state.

Let's hope Professor Hodges continues to reflect on this question, evokes his command of the history of religion and his knowledge of the Bible, and points us towards a bigger and more capable analysis.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Support the WAH Center: Raising Funds for Building Maintenance

In the New York area?  Please consider the following invitation from Williamsburg Art and Historical Center director Terrance Lindall:

Updated Hours:
Saturday November 23, 2013 thru December 24, 2013
Sunday thru Friday: 12:00-6:00 p.m.
RAISING FUNDS FOR BUILDING MAINTENANCE

SALE INCLUDES FINE ART, Vintage Clothes, & Collectibles.

Featured items:  Pool table,  books, records, vintage band and other uniforms, African art, comic books, lamps, vintage clothing,  and bric-à-brac

Have tea in the new period room created by the HBO TV series Boardwalk Empire!

Plus for the readers, scholars and fine art collectors some special holiday gifts: postcards, books, giclee prints by the foremost living Paradise Lost illustrator Terrance Lindall, whose work is in the greatest Milton collections in the USA and abroad. 

Postcards and books and the Gold Scroll Giclee prints (paper version) can be purchased at the Art Center.
Giclee prints of the New Eden Series are by order only. Order New Eden Series by November 30 to arrive before December 24th:
"How can I live without thee, how forgoe
Thy sweet Converse and Love so dearly joyn'd,
To live again in these wilde Woods forlorn?
Should God create another Eve, and I
Another Rib afford, yet loss of thee
Would never from my heart; no no, I feel
The Link of Nature draw me: Flesh of Flesh,
Bone of my Bone thou art, and from thy State
Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe." 
Book 9, Paradise Lost

Comet ISON: 4D Viewer

Click HERE to enjoy a remarkable tool for observing ISON's path.

Comet ISON on November 21, 2013



















Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What is a Lie?

1.0 The essence of an object is the unchanging element distinct through its series of appearances.

1.1 Alternatively, one could say the essence of an object is a changing element, varying and contingent upon each distinct appearance in a series. Essence varies with time, context, and perception. Ergo, essential truth is proved against the criteria of the context and time frame in which the utterance is perceived (as being true).

2.0 But remove the concept of "essence" and the formulation is upended. The truth of 2+2=4 is not contingent upon essence (or appearance).

2.1 2+2=4 is true because it is.

2.2 If you could somehow remove a thing's "essence," would that thing cease to exist?

2.21  "Look," I could say, holding up a pair of galoshes,  "Although these galoshes will fit over my shoes and will repel water, I have removed their essence, and therefore they are no longer galoshes."

2.22 Alternatively, I could hold up a pair of galoshes without mentioning their essence at all, and say, "These galoshes fit over my shoes and repel water."

2.23 Would adding the word "essence" or the concept of essence to this statement (or a statement like it) in any way change the fact that the galoshes fit over my shoes and repel water?

2.231  An important philosopher could say, "But fitting over your shoes and repelling water is the essence of your  galoshes!"  Rather isn't that simply what they do?

2.3  2+2=5 is false.

2.31 And if 2+2=5 is true, then it is a proposition of a political nature...

2.312 or a proposition of theoretical mathematics. 


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

This Afternoon: Ancient of Days

This afternoon I will be speaking with Tessa Dick on her program Ancient of Days. The show starts at 3 p.m. Pacific time (6 p.m. Eastern, 11 p.m. Greenwich).  Our subject will be International Authors.

To listen by phone or to call in with questions, dial (347) 324-3704.

Tessa Dick

Are Persons Brains? The Challenge of Crypto-Cartesianism - P. M. S. Hacker and Raymond Tallis

Raymond Tallis begins at  28:22.
Peter Hacker begins at 1:01:30.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Memo from Michael Butterworth

Last month, Michael Butterworth sent me his initial impressions of Emanations: Third Eye.  Here they are:

Sent: Tue, Oct 8, 2013 4:28 pm
Subject: Re: Emanations
Hi Carter,

Have now received E3 (bought 5 copies from amazon.com).

I find myself thrilled with it in all senses of the words. It is by far the best-looking of the three volumes, and another fat tome to boot stuffed with new and interesting work that probably excels the first two. It's no mean feat to achieve this level of excellence three times in a row.

Very impressed with the latest Bronson serial! I think your fiction writing gets better and better.. . I thought the latest installment of this zany and original serial had a highly inventive and enjoyable narrative, fresh to the senses and teasing to the intellect. 

Turning to the other pieces, Philip Murrary-Lawson's story has a fine way of subverting itself with humour that raised a smile more than once, Elkie Riches' story has the power of Moorcock's 'Dancers' series, Hrodevert Conall's strange piece I liked, Jeffrey Falla's I liked but could not understand (and must come back to!), Li Li's 'Summer Breeze' I thought was excellent for a new young writer, Leslie McMurtry's 'The Guest' well done though more conventional.

I very much enjoyed Gareth Jackson's two new pieces, which I hadn't read before. In terms of quality and ambition they could have come straight from the pages of New Worlds circa 1967-70. They read like collaborations between Sladek and Dr Christopher Evans, yet they speak with an entirely original voice. I thought the use of pseudonyms exactly right. I also thought your addition of the graphic, of a clay tablet inscribed with primitive writing, an inspired addition to 'An Abridge History'. It fit so well I thought initially that it must be Gareth's own choice of illustration, and I wondered how you had come by it. 

Your other 'found' illustrations scattered throughout the book all fit extremely well with their parent texts. I thought there were many good illustrations again, particular Kai Robb's and Dario's. We are so lucky to have them!

I enjoyed my first reading of the poems, though I need to come back to them to fully appreciate the many individual voices. It was a lot to take in. I loved the visual poetry, and Richard Kostelanetz's amusing 'Lovings'. I very much liked the inclusion of prose-poems, an undervalued art. 

I'm now excitedly looking forward to making my way through 'Themes'. So far I have read Marielle Risse's absorbing piece.

All in all, it is a great read that pushes the boundaries of imagination. We should all be very proud. 

Best wishes,
Michael
Well, it is most gratifying to receive an email like this.  Read the Phllip Murray-Lawson interview with Michael Butterworth here:  Part I  Part II

Also, please see the Call for Submissions for the next volume of Emanations by clicking HERE.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

New Potato Shoots: Time May be an Illusion

An editorial by Jacob Aron in New Scientist reports on new research (that is, new experimental modeling) in which an "Entangled Toy Universe Shows Time may be an Illusion."

Researchers sent "a pair of entangled photons along two separate paths. The photons start out polarised, or orientated, either horizontally or vertically, and the polarisation rotates as both photons pass though a quartz plate and on to a series of detectors." Somehow, and this is not clearly explained, the researchers established themselves (or something) as a "'super observer' that exists outside of the universe, and so measure[d] the quantum state of the system as a whole. From that vantage point, the state of both photons taken together is always the same, giving the appearance of a static universe."

At the conclusion of the editorial, Aron quotes one of the scientists:
"It's a visualisation of the phenomenon, it's not a proof," Genovese says of the experiment. "You should look to the universe itself for that."
Now, consider the following from the on-line Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Mathematics
...apparent propositions are pseudo-propositions of various types and . . . all other uses of ‘true’ and ‘truth’ deviate markedly from the truth-by-correspondence (or agreement) that contingent propositions have in relation to reality. Thus, from the Tractatus to at least 1944, Wittgenstein maintains that “mathematical propositions” are not real propositions and that “mathematical truth” is essentially non-referential and purely syntactical in nature. On Wittgenstein's view, we invent mathematical calculi and we expand mathematics by calculation and proof, and though we learn from a proof that a theorem can be derived from axioms by means of certain rules in a particular way, it is not the case that this proof-path pre-exists our construction of it.
Highlight this:

"... 'mathematical propositions' are not real propositions and . . . 'mathematical truth' is essentially non-referential and purely syntactical in nature..."

Next, substitute the phrase/notion "theoretical physics" for "mathematical" and you get this:

"... the propositions of theoretical physics are not real propositions and theoretical 'truth' in physics is essentially non-referential and purely syntactical in nature..."
 

If you read through the Stanford  article you can trace Wittgenstein's thinking over the years as he drills down into this issue, which concludes with some remarks from Wittgenstein's Philosophical Grammar. The second aphorism is especially amusing, and moreover possesses relevance for creative artists who like to toy with their emanations :
What will distinguish the mathematicians of the future from those of today will really be a greater sensitivity, and that will—as it were—prune mathematics; since people will then be more intent on absolute clarity than on the discovery of new games.
Philosophical clarity will have the same effect on the growth of mathematics as sunlight has on the growth of potato shoots. (In a dark cellar they grow yards long.)
 
A mathematician is bound to be horrified by my mathematical comments, since he has always been trained to avoid indulging in thoughts and doubts of the kind I develop. He has learned to regard them as something contemptible and… he has acquired a revulsion from them as infantile. That is to say, I trot out all the problems that a child learning arithmetic, etc., finds difficult, the problems that education represses without solving. I say to those repressed doubts: you are quite correct, go on asking, demand clarification! (PG 381, 1932)