And by a prudent flight and cunning save A life which valour could not, from the grave. A better buckler I can soon regain, But who can get another life again? Archilochus

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Christmas!

...to all my Christian friends!

...and for all my Pagan ones, may Dionysus and Apollo BOTH be with you throughout the New Year!

h/t - Geeez for the wonderful graphic that so aptly expresses both sentiments.

and for those of a more "secular/philosophical vein"...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

It's Not My G_d Damned Planet, Manque Boy!

The falseness of a judgment is for us not necessarily an objection to a judgment; in this respect our new language may sound strangest. The question is to what extent it is life-promoting, life serving, species-preserving, perhaps even species-cultivating. And we are fundamentally inclined to claim that the falsest judgments (which include the synthetic judgments a priori) are the most indispensable for us; that without accepting the fictions of logic, without measuring reality against the purely invented world of the unconditional and self-identical, without a constant falsification of the world by means of numbers, man could not live - that renouncing false judgments would mean renouncing life and a denial of life. To recognize untruth as a condition of life - that certainly means resisting accustomed value feelings in a dangerous, way; and a philosophy that risks this would by that token alone place itself beyond good and evil.
- Nietzsche, "Beyond Good and Evil"

I've Got Nothing to Add...

Friday, December 21, 2012

Why the Unit One in Ancient Greece was NOT Considered a Part of the Set of Number

We now understand the integers as abstract objects, but the ancient Greeks understood them as counts of units (the unit, one, was not a number, two was their first) and represented them with lengths of line segments (multiples of some unit line segment). Where we talk of divisibility, Euclid wrote of "measuring," seeing one number (length) a as measuring (dividing) another length b if some integer numbers of segments of length a makes a total length equal to b.

The ancient Greeks also did not have our modern notion of infinity. School children now easily understand lines as infinite, but the ancients were again more concrete (in this regard). For example, they viewed lines as segments that could be extended indefinitely (not something infinite that we view just part of). For this reason Euclid could not have written "there are infinitely many primes," rather he wrote "prime numbers are more than any assigned multitude of prime numbers."

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

We Retreat from Society

"I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we're reading doesn't wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good Lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us. That is my belief."
- from a letter by Franz Kafka to his schoolmate Oskar Pollak, 27 January 1904 (translated by Richard and Clara Winston)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

American Politics 2012 - Selling Ice Cream to Children

As with thee,
With me 'tis likewise. Light am I and young,
And will essay the dancing and the song.

-Euripides, "The Bacchae"

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Love's Labours Lost?

From women's eyes this doctrine I derive:
They are the ground, the books, the academes,
From whence doth spring the true Promethean fire.


But love, first learned in a lady's eyes,
Lives not alone immured in the brain,
But, with the motion of all elements,
Courses as swift as thought in every power,
And gives to every power a double power,
Above their functions and their offices.

--- ---

When daisies pied and violets blue,
And lady-smocks all silver-white,
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue
Do paint the meadows with delight,
The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men.

-Shakespeare, "Loves Labour's Lost"

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dioscouri Obscouri

Romulus/Remus Arete Barely Knew Ye!
Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his nice new rattle.

Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
As black as a tar-barrel;
Which frightened both the heroes so,
They quite forgot their quarrel.
- Lewis Carroll
...the square roots of Dionysian legitimacy

Saturday, December 1, 2012


“Astutuli” are the cheeky super-bright people who get taken all too easily by a clever con-man. Nobody wants to be the dumb one; thus, the audience first lose a healthy sense of truth, then they lose their clothes and their purses and eventually all their dignity. “Everything is make-believe!” shouts the entertainer before disappearing with his accomplice and the loot. It’s a rascal’s tale, a story of deception, which is both fascinating and amusing. But behind all that – and unnoticeable until the very end – we find deceit, spoon-feeding and theft. All this is presented in Carl Orff’s “rootsy” and powerful Bavarian style – both linguistically and musically.

Moving from Melancholia to Mourning

...and then Morning again in America!