23.11.07

The Eight Intelligences

According to education researcher Howard Gardener and those who have followed his lead, each of us is a collection of eight independent intelligences.

Linguistic : sensitivity to the spoken word
Logical-mathematical : capacity to analyze and determine patterns
Musical : performance, composition and appreciation
Bodily-kinesthetic : problem-solving with the body
Spatial : recognition of patterns of wide-openess and confinement
Interpersonal : understanding of the intentions of others
Intrapersonal : understanding oneself
Natural : utilization of the environment

Man with a Video Camera


A remake side-by-side with the original (Man With a Movie Camera), by Vertov.



Dziga Vertov translates to English, "The Humming Top," a nom de guerre chosen by the filmmaker following his early experiments in recording and editing rhythmic sound collages he called the 'Laboratory of Hearing.'

18.11.07

Eleven Strata

from Outer Atmosphere to Ocean Deep

Magnetosphere -- wisps of magnetic pull
Exosphere -- the air is evanscent, atoms of it almost never bump
Thermosphere -- radiation, ionization, electrification, and a constant humming
Mesosphere -- atmospheric tides and gravity surf
Stratosphere -- calm and cool
Troposphere -- all the winds in all the leaves of all the trees and grasses

+++ Planetary Boundary +++

Epipelagia -- the pellucid upper lappings of the waters
Mesopelagia -- a flickering of light, flickering of shadows
Bathypelagia -- shining, esurient creatures in the eddies of the Void
The Abyss Zone -- the steady falling crumbs from all Life from above
The Hadal Zone -- the innuminous bottom pelf slowly shifting into magma

16.10.07

Platinum skull and the human soul


Here, quoted, Roberta Smith:
...Mr. Hirst’s latest controversial artwork, the diamond-encrusted platinum skull shown in London this summer. It seems like the perfect summation of our wasteful, high-priced, oblivious moment, an implicitly regal 21st-century equivalent of Cellini’s gold saltcellar.

Here, now, Kandinsky:
Art is not a vague production, transitory and isolated, but a power which must be directed to the improvement and refinement of the human soul.

10.9.07

A Religion of the Senses and a Resistance to the Present

From the opening of section 4.3 of Hardt and Negri's Empire, 2000.
(Downloadable 1.3M version: http://www.infoshop.org/texts/empire.pdf)

The great masses need a material religion of the senses [eine sinnliche Religion]. Not only the great masses but also the philosopher needs it. Monotheism of reason and the heart, polytheism of the imagination and art, this is what we need . . . [W]e must have a new mythology, but this mythology must be at the service of ideas. It must be a mythology of reason.
- Das altesteSystemprogrammdes deutschenIdealismus,
by Hegel, Holderlin, or Schelling

We do not lack communication, on the contrary we have too much of it. We lack creation. We lack resistance to the present.
- Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari

13.8.07

cognitive bias and the laughing goldfish

A friend submitted this list of cognitive biases. Following the list is my imperfect retelling of a favorite Chuang Tzu tale.

1. Bandwagon effect - the tendency to do (or believe) things
because many other people do (or believe) the same. Related
to groupthink, herd behaviour, and manias. Carl Jung pioneered
the idea of the collective unconscious which is considered by
Jungian psychologists to be responsible for this cognitive bias.
2. Bias blind spot - the tendency not to compensate for one’s
own cognitive biases.
3. Choice-supportive bias - the tendency to remember one’s
choices as better than they actually were.
4. Confirmation bias - the tendency to search for or interpret
information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions.
5. Congruence bias - the tendency to test hypotheses exclusively
through direct testing.
6. Contrast effect - the enhancement or diminishment of a weight
or other measurement when compared with recently observed
contrasting object.
7. Déformation professionnelle - the tendency to look at things
according to the conventions of one’s own profession, forgetting any
broader point of view.
8. Disconfirmation bias - the tendency for people to extend critical
scrutiny to information which contradicts their prior beliefs and uncritically
accept information that is congruent with their prior beliefs.
9. Endowment effect - the tendency for people to value something more
as soon as they own it.
10. Focusing effect - prediction bias occurring when people place too
much importance on one aspect of an event; causes error in accurately
predicting the utility of a future outcome.
11. Hyperbolic discounting - the tendency for people to have a stronger
preference for more immediate payoffs relative to later payoffs, the closer
to the present both payoffs are.
12. Illusion of control - the tendency for human beings to believe they
can control or at least influence outcomes which they clearly cannot.
13. Impact bias - the tendency for people to overestimate the length or
the intensity of the impact of future feeling states.
14. Information bias - the tendency to seek information even when it
cannot affect action.
15. Loss aversion - the tendency for people to strongly prefer avoiding
losses over acquiring gains (see also sunk cost effects)
16. Neglect of probability - the tendency to completely disregard
probability when making a decision under uncertainty.
17. Mere exposure effect - the tendency for people to express undue
liking for things merely because they are familiar with them.
18. Omission bias - The tendency to judge harmful actions as worse,
or less moral, than equally harmful omissions (inactions).
19. Outcome bias - the tendency to judge a decision by its eventual
outcome instead of based on the quality of the decision at the time it
was made.
20. Planning fallacy - the tendency to underestimate task-completion
times.
21. Post-purchase rationalization - the tendency to persuade oneself
through rational argument that a purchase was a good value.
22. Pseudocertainty effect - the tendency to make risk-averse choices
if the expected outcome is positive, but make risk-seeking choices to
avoid negative outcomes.
23. Selective perception - the tendency for expectations to affect
perception.
24. Status quo bias - the tendency for people to like things to stay
relatively the same.
25. Von Restorff effect - the tendency for an item that “stands out like
a sore thumb” to be more likely to be remembered than other items.
26. Zero-risk bias - preference for reducing a small risk to zero over a
greater reduction in a larger risk.

+

Two old friends were crossing a bridge over a pond. One paused to look down, and noticed a school of goldfish swimming below. "Look, how those goldfish are playing and laughing!" His friend glanced down, nodded, and then replied, "How is it you know these fish are experiencing some form of happiness? Maybe they are simply swimming in the fashion that such fish swim, not happy, but neutral, and that you are imagining their emotion? You can never ask a fish! Does it not seem foolish to you to ascribe human feelings to simple ceatures?"

His friend thought about this for a little while, peered one more time at the fish below, and then, waving his friend forward on their walk mentioned, "I know those fish are happy because I, too, have known happiness."

+

The Chuang Tzu story places hope in the idea that there is a Universality about which we all relate.
The list of biases, on the other hand, proves it ain't always so easy.

9.8.07

Those Departed

We lost Grandmother and old dog Hambone last week.

9.7.07

Tycho and Aralia Hispida




These two things share particular mathematical qualities.

22.6.07

a certain Chinese encyclopedia

animals are divided into:
(a) belonging to the Emporer
(b) embalmed
(c) tame
(d) sucking pigs
(e) sirens
(f) fabulous
(g) stray dogs
(h) included in the present classification
(i) frenzied
(j) innumerable
(k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush
(l) et cetera
(m) having just broken the water pitcher
(n) that from a long way off look like flies.

~ Borges

16.6.07

The Theoretical Fixed Point in the Turbulent Aeviternity

Today we know the heavens are not fixed, but in a state of ongoing motion. Physicists today talk of an infinite, gradient web of vectors, matter under the influence of four or five distinct tendencies, at the entire range of scales. As evidence, our age-old quest to measure and predict the precise movement of our planet, to know the length of a day, is continually confounded by variations in orbit, rotation, precession, nutation, and combinations of smaller, fuzzier movements.

The universe is, by definition, constant, pervasive action. All things in motion at all times, to paraphrase Aristotle. Every speck vibrates. Every galactic cloud is turbulent. You perceive the falling of a book, from table to floor, only as a motion relative to your own; because, remember, that you too, are in always in motion. A fixed point can only be the Eye of God. "Whole simultaneous" and "interminable" says Aquinas.

From the Catholic religion comes the notion of an alternative temporal reality, aeviternity, outside but integral to our plane of existence, lying between the fleet cosmos of human perception and the infinite dimensionlessness of eternity. This is the realm of angels, who neither suffer the passing of time as mortals, nor share in the omnipresence of gods. Aeviternity is distinct from other super-cosmological dwellings of the divine, from Heaven to Hell, Svarga to Naraka, the Happy Hunting Grounds or Mt. Olympus, in that it is identified specifically by its dimensional relationship to the universe of humankind. It is a scholastic solution for understanding what lies between us and the ultimate Divine Eternal, the proposal of which, incidentally, generates more puzzles. A mystery box packed with more mysteries, such is the way of the universe, and therein lies the charm of an Aeviternity, and therefore evaporates some body of conceptual doubt as to whether it contains some inherent analogical truth.

22.5.07

Early Experimental Literature

Two examples of Post-Modernism from very Pre-Modern times:



The Voynich Manuscript
Nobody has ever decyphered the glyphs that fill the pages of the undateable Voynich Manuscript, leading some scholars to conclude its hundreds of pages are just dense gibberish. It could be an encyclopedia from an alternate Earth, with fantastic botanical and astronomical studies and revelations.  The colorful illustrations only make the enigma more complex, with impossible to pin-down imagery.
Look it up in the wikipedia.
See its pages at the Beinecke Library.
There are several published studies of the Voynich Manuscript in book form, also: the Kennedy-Churchill book being the most contemporary, and seemingly least biased towards particular theories.

Hypnerotomachia Poliphili
And, for another book far outside its--or any other-- time, the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, or "Strife of Love in a Dream,"
please refer, again, to your wikipedia.
The pages can be viewed at MIT Press.
This one-of-a-kind proto-novel was written in an embellished, eccentric Latin, framed in Italian-style syntax, told from multiple, embedded frames of reference.  The story follows a hero on his dream-walk tour of fantastic--sometimes erotic--architecture, cataloging ambitious remixes of Classic details, and gardens that describe vast poetic metaphors.  It was published in 1499, only five decades after of the European invention of the printing press.
Translations of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (I learned to say it--so can you!) are published from time-to-time, and there are numerous studies available in book form.

The Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity

The Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity, written by a mysterious band of philosophers in 10th Century Basra in what is now Iraq. It is generally considered the original encyclopedia.

"...to shun no science, scorn any book, or to cling fanatically to no single creed. For [their] own creed encompasses all the others and comprehends all the sciences generally. This creed is the consideration of all existing things, both sensible and intelligible, from beginning to end, whether hidden or overt, manifest or obscure . . . in so far as they all derive from a single principle, a single cause, a single world, and a single Soul."
- from the Ikhwan al-Safa, or Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity; Rasa'il IV

The Brethen divided the sciences into three categories, outlined here, with help from Professor De Callata√Ņ at the Institure of Ismaili Studies in London.

Propaedeutic Science: the sciences of education, which serve the quest of subsistence and for the goodness of the living in this world, including: writing and reading, language and grammar, calculation and operations, poetry and prose, auguries and auspices and the like, magic, talismans, alchemy, tricks and the like, professions, crafts, sale and purchase, trades, cultivation, breeding, biographies and histories.

Religious and Conventional Science: the sciences of the healing of souls and for the quest of the hereafter, including: science of revelation, science of interpretation, narratives, reports, jurisprudence, norms and laws, recollection, exhortations, asceticism and mysticism, interpretation of dreams.

Philosophical Sciences:
Mathematics: arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music
Logic: poetics, rhetorics, topics, analytics, sophistics
Natural Sciences: science of corporal principles, science of the heaven and the world, science of coming-to-be and passing-away, science of atmospheric events, science of minerals, science of plants, science of animals
Metaphysics: knowledge of the Creator, science of spiritual beings, science of psychic beings, science of politics (with 5 subdivisions: prophetic, royal, public, domestic, private), science of the Return

20.5.07

confounding chaos

It is important to keep the distinctions between complexity and chaos clear.

Chaos is the path followed by a rubber ball thrown into a grove of trees.
A simple act yields crazily random results.

Complexity is the state of contemporary fashion
being the grand sum of everybody buying clothing.

22.4.07

Nobody said anything about the blogosphere

The geosphere includes all the lifeless things of the universe. The dust, rocks, fireballs, and icycles.

The biosphere refers to those things in the cosmos that are living. It is said that the geosphere gives rise to the biosphere.

The noosphere is the realm of the human mind. It suggests a topography of human reason and belief, complete with the graceful beaches and rocky coastlines in between.

13.4.07

Six New Categories for Contemporary Art

Hoorah for Roberta Smith, Arts columnist for the NYTimes, for finally redefining and rearranging the boxes into which we divide this culture's post-postmodern, post-medium art! She did so in today's review of goings-on in Chelsea.

I paraphrase:

Messy : food and drink and maybe spray paint allowed
Clean : no food and drink allowed
Full : art comprised of lots of things
Fuller : work that overflows
Empty : it's (mostly) not things
Giant : when Oldenburg's scale is used

So, the next time I'm asked, "What kind of art do you do?," I'm tossing "multimedia installation" aside, and responding "Messy Full"! Brilliant! Thank you Roberta!

9.4.07

Thirteen Galleries

Add to these definitions of the word "gallery" the model name of our Frigidaire front-loading washing machine.

1 . spectators in a tennis match
2 . a long porch or veranda
3 . rooms for art exhibition
4 . covered corridor or hallway
5 . nearly horizontal passageway in a mine
6 . decorative upright molding on the edge of a table or tray
7 . narrow outdoor balcony
8 . passageway over the aisle of a church, opening onto the nave
9 . upper, sloped section of an auditorium or theater--the cheapest seats
10 . a collection or assortment
11 . a burrowing insect or animal's tunnel
12 . a balcony at the stern or quarters of early sailing ships

Frigidaire, incidentally ranks up there in the most unfortunate corporate names.

4.4.07

On the Rich and the Powerful

Both of these quotations are from today's New York Times Opinion pages.
"Not since the Roaring Twenties have the rich been so much richer than everyone else. In 2005, the latest year for which figures are available, the top 1 percent of Americans — whose average income was $1.1 million a year — received 21.8 percent of the nation’s income, their largest share since 1929. Over all, the top 10 percent of Americans — those making more than about $100,000 a year — collected 48.5 percent, also a share last seen before the Great Depression."

...and, from a different column...

"Researchers led by the psychologist Dacher Keltner took groups of three ordinary volunteers and randomly put one of them in charge. Each trio had a half-hour to work through a boring social survey. Then a researcher came in and left a plateful of precisely five cookies. Care to guess which volunteer typically grabbed an extra cookie? The volunteer who had randomly been assigned the power role was also more likely to eat it with his mouth open, spew crumbs on partners and get cookie detritus on his face and on the table."

2.4.07

Emet! & ting-yin

EMET is the Hebrew word for TRUTH.

The utterance activates the Golem.

.................................................................

ting-yin

in which the pulse of the bloodstream in the fingers of the guqin instrumentalist alters the timbre of the note

Peirce's Cenopythagorean Categories

Charles Sanders Peirce, American philosopher, mathematician, scientist, author of such works as "How to Make Your Thoughts Clear," formulator of the Maxim of Pragmaticism, and a lifelong friend of William James, in 1867 presented a paper entitled "On a New List of Categories" to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, published the following year, in which he laid the groundwork for a Theory of Three Categories that pervades much of his work.

The scheme is a trichotomous architectonic, organizing the essentials of the pragmatic philosophy to which Pierce is credited as founder. The paper follows readings of Kant, Aristotle, and Hegel, and it is notedly dense.

FIRSTNESS
Quality of feeling. Ideas, chance, possibility. Vagueness, ephemeral. Reference to a ground, a pure abstraction of a quality. Essentially monadic. The Quale.

SECONDNESS
Reaction. Resistance. Dyadic relation. Brute facts, actuality. Singularity, discreteness. Reference to a correlate by its relate.

THIRDNESS
Representation. Habits, laws, necessity. Generality, continuity. Reference to an interpretation. Essentially triadic: sign, object, content of interpretation.

6.3.07

Six Arts according to Kung Tzu

RITUAL

MUSIC

ARCHERY

CHARIOTEERING

CALLIGRAPHY

ARITHMETIC

28.2.07

22 senses

The notion of five senses is both overly simple and untrue.  The human body actually possesses the ability to sense at least twenty-two distinct impressions.  We can categorize these into five groups according to the nature of that which is being sensed.

electromagentic waves
COLOR
BRIGHTNESS
HEAT or infrared waves
POSITION within electrical/magnetic fields, as birds use for migration, and platypus and cows sense proximity of electric lines

molecular vibrations
SOUND through ears and through body
RAYLEIGH WAVES seismic waves through Pancinian corpuscle

chemical compounds
SMELL
PHEROMONES chemicals emitted by an organism that indicate levels of agressiveness, alarm, and attraction
SWEET taste sugars
SALT taste minerals
SOUR taste acids
BITTER taste danger
UMAMI taste amino acid glutamate

contact
PRESSURE with ability to distinguish between brushing and sustained touch

body awareness
DEPTH when the brain compares data from two eyes
BODY TEMPERATURE is sensed and regulated somatically
PAIN ON SKIN "cutaneous pain"
PAIN AT JOINTS AND BONES "somatic pain"
PAIN IN INNER ORGANS "visceral pain"
BALANCE
BODY AWARENESS or proprioception, that is, you know where your arm is, weaving in the air, out in front of you, even when your eyes are closed and ears muffled

in no category can we place the ability one has, while in the dark, to sense one's lover's lips

25.2.07

personal universals

The Multitudinous Self
: There is an individual, here, a kaleidoscope of personality & identity.

Relativism, Right On
: Like little bumper cars, we are.

We Serve Each Other
: Who I am to you, I pledge, is first a source for Love. I am your neighbor and I want to help alleviate your sadness the way that you alleviate mine.

A Distrust of History, both Past and Future & That Judgement, especially, is False
: What I am to you, second, is a filtering and functioning device for a data set that includes observations, poetry & jokes, as many memes as I can cram in, & relayance of things I've picked up from other people, as I remember them.
Take for granted, whatever you learn from others, that they, too, represent a filtering and functioning device for their individual data sets. You might do well to assume that being a source for Love is not necessarily at the top of any agency's agenda, though everyone deserves some level of trust, right?

Mutual Awe of the Mystery & Acknowledgment of the Absurd
: I'm talkin' on the grand scale of things, and, c'mon, we all have to. Nothing really matters. Relax.

Intentions can plot a Course but cannot determine a Destination
: Know it, and revel in it. Live for the unexpected.

Without Consensus, we have a Development, but not a Solution
: And Logic holds that concensus is most common in smaller groups. Large groups, in fact, don't get Solutions, only the Results of Causality.

Boom boom!