Emily and IsaacMon, January 9, 2006 - 8:39 PM
Tell all the Truth but tell it slant
Success in circuit lies.
Too bright for our infirm delight,
The Truth's great surprise.
Like lightning to the children eased,
With explanation kind,
The Truth must dazzle gradually,
Else every Man be blind.
Notice the similarities between this Emily Dickenson Poem and Isaac Newtons Parallelagram theory, which states:
In Parallelogram ABCD,
The Diagonal vector AC is best described by the sum of the two vectors AB and BC.
I think that the Truth, in this case, the concept underlying both of these statements of phenomenon, has a fractal nature, in that there are many layers to see it on, and on one, Emily and Isaac were attuned to a single truth expressed in both of their concept-languages.
Even the truth expressed here is told circuitously. Once in Mathematics and once in Poetry.
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Strange Loops & an Eternal Golden BraidA brilliant text which explores a similar kind of theoretical inter-relatedness through 3 vastly different paradigms & lexicons is Douglas Hofstadter's "Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid"
Hofstadter examines the idea of "Strange Loops" (a phenomenon which occurs whenever, by moving upwards or downwards through the levels of some hierarchical system, we finds ourselves right back where we started - yes, you should smell fractals here) through:
1) Bach's Canon in D and the notion of a "fugue" both in it's musical sense as well as a psychological state of amnesia aka flight from reality,
2) M.C. Escher's paradoxical illustrations & graphic representations of infinity, and
3) through the self-referential mathematical statement of Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem (and indirectly through the Epimenides paradox, "All Cretans are liars/I am lying/This statement is false" which is self-referential statement of language)
Throughout each strand of this Eternal Golden Braid is woven a counterpoint narrative structured in the form of a (Lewis) Carrollian nonsense dialogue between Achilles & the Tortoise (2 characters through which Carroll illustrated his own paradoxical notions of infinity). Hofstadter also delves deeply into computer logic, Alan Turing, AI, fractals, chaos theory, as well as Zen koans.
It's a phenomenal book. Reading Gödel, Escher, Bach changed my life. I give it my highest recommendations for anyone who enjoys having their heads elegantly/symphonically/critically turned inside out.
In any case, LE-C, I get you.
Thus when you quote:
"Tell all the Truth but tell it slant"
"This statement is false"
or for that matter...
...the flowering koan.
truth unveils in self-process. failing as guides, signals can but inspire to journey. though they cannot will (or wisp) another along their darkest paths, they can occasionally serve as reminders to climb a tree.
Another poemThis T.S. Eliot poem was shown to me by Pete Donaldson, and it's stuck with me. From "Little Gidding":
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the late of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Now known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick, now, here, now, always --
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned know of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
This is more explicitly connected to fractals and self-reference than the concept of indirection explored in "Tell all the truth" or Newton's use of the parallelogram rule as he generalized and corrected Kepler. I believe the patterns we see are as much a reflection of ourselves as anything else, but for me that doesn't detract at all from the beauty. If you're thinking about this too hard, just read the poem again.
exploring, gate, earth, beginning, river, waterfall, apple-tree, waves, the sea, tongues, crowned, fire, rose
elliot does to toric symbology what coltrane does to my favorite things. the poem would feel cliched if it weren't for the masterful styling. much like a well known melody, this familiar imagery serves to lubriciously ease the insertion of his potentially more chaffing undercarriage. spoonful of sugar...
this work is, infact, thematically cohesiant with the thread; as an example of tangential teaching methodology, at the very least.
thank you all for sharing.
ModalityIn mentioning 'my favorite things', dondon, you reference one of my favorite things, the introduction by Coltrane of Modality into jazz music. Coltrane was a dreamer, but he dreamed in math, and in the juxtaposition of the parallell but equally complete modalities of D and G minor Coltrane suggested that, in our current thread, 'truth' or the beauty of a jazz track , a third option exists, that truth is know (beauty is known) relative to other truth.
Thank you all for your thoughts.
celluloid mobius stripand to weave yet another strand into this threaded braid, might I offer up David Lynch's Lost Highway? His film is as near perfect a representation of fractalized narrative as I have ever seen. It has no beginning, middle or end. That endlessly twisting lost highway of dark oil-slicked asphalt is, in fact, a celluloid mobius strip. A warped portrait of an epic fugue which ultimately induces that very same fugue-state in the Observer . . . literalizing it's metaphors for 135 minutes of wild breathless jaw clenching intensity.
And, I might add - one of my all time favorite films.