Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Contemplating this World


"The sea-shore is a
sort of neutral ground,
a most advantageous point from
which to contemplate this world."

Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)

Friday, June 23, 2023

Omnitensional Integrity

"The word tensegrity is an invention: it is a contraction of tensional integrity. Tensegrity describes a structural-relationship principle in which structural shape is guaranteed by the finitely closed, comprehensively continuous, tensional behaviors of the system and not by the discontinuous and exclusively local compressional member behaviors.
The integrity of the whole structure is invested in the finitely closed, tensional-embracement network, and the compressions are local islands. Elongated compression tends to deflect and fail. Compressions are disintegrable because they are not atomically solid and can permit energy penetration between their invisibly amassed separate energy entities.
Tension structures arranged by man depend upon his purest initial volition of interpretation of pure principle. Tension is omnidirectionally coherent. Tensegrity is an inherently nonredundant confluence of optimum structural-effort effectiveness factors.
All structures, properly understood,
from the solar system to the atom,
are tensegrity structures.
Universe is omnitensional integrity."

- Buckminster Fuller (1895 - 1983)
Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Twilight of the Soul

"It was in dreams that first I stole
With gentle mastery o'er her mind—
In that rich twilight of the soul,
When reason's beam, half hid behind
The clouds of sleep, obscurely gilds
Each shadowy shape that Fancy builds—
'Twas then by that soft light I brought
Vague, glimmering visions to her view,—
Catches of radiance lost when caught,
Bright labyrinths that led to naught,
And vistas with no pathway thro';—
Dwellings of bliss that opening shone,
Then closed, dissolved, and left no trace—
All that, in short, could tempt Hope on,
But give her wing no resting-place;
Myself the while with brow as yet
Pure as the young moon's coronet,
Thro' every dream still in her sight.
The enchanter of each mocking scene,
Who gave the hope, then brought the blight,
Who said, "Behold yon world of light,"
Then sudden dropt a veil between!"

- Thomas Moore (1478 - 1535)
The Loves of The Angels

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

de Chirico's Dreams

"To become truly immortal,
a work of art must escape all human limits:
logic and common sense will only interfere.
But once these barriers are broken,
it will enter the realms of
childhood visions and dreams.
There are more puzzles in the
shadow of a man walking under
the sun than in all past,
present, and future religions."

Giorgio de Chirico (1888 - 1978)

Note. This was a "quick grab" I took with my iPhone a few months ago when my wife and I were wandering around underground at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.; specifically, the S. Dillon Ripley Center, the entrance to which is easy to miss (at least for folks that don't live near D.C.), since it's topside view is remarkably unobtrusive and does not present itself as "anything special." After you enter the domed structure and go down a few levels, you may be amazed to find a massive space that contains conference centers, art studios, offices, and galleries. (The only reason I know of its existence is that I was invited to give a presentation in one of underground spaces about 20 years ago.) The football-field-sized room on the bottom level also provides an underground pathway to both the African Art Museum and the Sackler Gallery of the National Museum of Asian Art. The iPhone picture shows a part of the south side of the central staircase/elevator column that we took to descend (and looking up from where the escalator ends on the lower level). The geometry and lighting reminded me of de Chirico's works. The picture can also serve as a reminder to photographers (young/old, beginner/seasoned,...) that interesting images can be discovered literally everywhere.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Time is a Sea

"Time is all-embracing. Everything is in time. When is four o'clock? In time. When did Socrates live? In time. When will you keep still? In time. How can time hold so much? Time is very big. The fishes are in the water. The ships are in the sea. The stars are in the sky. The birds are in the air. And all things, fishes and water, and birds and air, and stars and sky are in time. Time is immense. Without water fish cannot swim. Without air birds cannot fly. Without sky the stars cannot shine. The water carries the fish, the air carries the birds. The sky carries the stars. Water, air, and sky are buoyant. And water and air and sky are themselves buoyant, buoyed, in buoyantest time. Time is all-embracing, all-embuoyant. And if, now, everything is in time, is time also in all things? Are not all things time-embracing? Mutual love! It is so. Time permeates all things. Lift the tiny scales of little fishes, time is there. Examine the entrails of birds, time is there. Tiresias knew. And in the hottest regions of the stars, time is there. In the drop of water, in the breath of air, in a patch of sky, time is there. Time permeates all things. And now we can also understand the words: 'on which we and all the universe swim.' For as fish swim in the water and birds swim in the air and the stars swim in the sky, so all swimming in the water and all swimming in the air and all swimming in the sky are swimmings in time, the sea, air, sky, of time. Time is a sea, an air, a sky. "

-  O. K. Bouwsma (1898 - 1978)
The Mystery of Time

Friday, June 16, 2023

Fading Afterglow of Creation

"Nearly a hundred thousand million stars are turning in the circle of the Milky Way, and long ago other races on the worlds of other suns must have scaled and passed the heights that we have reached. Think of such civilizations, far back in time against the fading afterglow of Creation, masters of a universe so young that life as yet had come only to a handful of worlds. Theirs would have been a loneliness we cannot imagine, the loneliness of gods looking out across infinity and finding none to share their thoughts.
Here, in the distant future,
would be intelligence.
So they left a sentinel,
one of millions they have
scattered throughout the Universe,
watching over all worlds with
the promise of life. It was
a beacon that down the ages
has been patiently signaling the
fact that no one had discovered it."

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

The Essential Doesn't Change

"We should turn resolutely towards Nature.
By all means, nothing simpler.
It’s the natural order.
Let us do something, while we have the chance!
It is not every day that we are needed...
To all mankind they were addressed,
those cries for help still ringing in our ears!
But at this place, at this moment of time,
all mankind is us, whether we like it or not.
Let us make the most of it,
before it is too late!
We always find something, eh,
to give us the impression we exist.
There’s no lack of void.
The essential doesn't change."

- Samuel Beckett (1906 - 1989)
Waiting for Godot

Sunday, June 11, 2023

A Personal Universe

"Poetry remakes and prolongs language;
every poetic language begins
by being a secret language, that is,
the creation of a personal universe,
 of a completely closed world.
The purest poetic act seems to
re-create language from an
inner experience that …
reveals the essence of things."

- Mircea Eliade (1907 - 1986)
Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Sparks of Ephemeral Unrealities

"Gaze upon the triptych, a
cryptic labyrinth from Point Lobos,
Where the past is the future
in a dance never-ceasing.
Waves shatter against stoic stone,
immortalizing the ephemeral.
It's not a mirror of the world as is,
But a mirror of the world
as it can be imagined to be.

Three panels like the infinite
rooms of Babel's library,
Each a moment, a universe,
within and outside of time.
The eternal tide, a metaphysical echo,
a Zahir in the mind. A testament
to reality's nonlinear discourse,
Each snapshot, a universe, an
aleph of unending possibilities.

A dance of ideas, where
the sea isn't merely sea. 
A reality refracted, multiplied,
eternally forking paths.
In the serene mirror of the
triptych, we are the dreamt.
Drawing the depths of existence,
asking, "Who dreams the dreamer?"
Behold, we are all, the other, in this
world as it can be imagined to be."

- ChatGPT (30 Nov 2022 - )
Sparks of Artificial General Intelligence

Prompt = "You are a photographer, poet and philosopher, with a penchant for metaphysics and stories by Jorge Luis Borges. You have stitched together a triptych of long exposure images taken at sunset at Point Lobos, California. Write a prose poem in the style of Borges that describes the mystery this triptych is meant to evoke in a viewers mind's eye. Limit the number of stanzas to three, with 5 lines each. Be creative."

Sunday, June 04, 2023

Cosmic Observer

"In quantum mechanics...
an observation here and now changes in
 general the ‘state’ of the observed system...
I consider the unpredictable change
 of the state by a single observation...
to be an abandonment of the idea of
 the isolation of the observer from the
 course of physical events outside himself."

Niels Bohr (1885 - 1962)

"The cosmos is within us.
We are made of star-stuff.
We are a way for the
universe to know itself."

Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996)

Saturday, June 03, 2023

Coastal Forms

"Then in my thoughts these shores, so different in their nature and in the inhabitants they support, are made one by the unifying touch of the sea. For the differences I sense in this particular instant of time that is mine are but the differences of a moment, determined by our place in the stream of time and in the long rhythms of the sea. Once this rocky coast beneath me was a plain of sand; then the sea rose and found a new shore line. And again in some shadowy future the surf will have ground these rocks to sand and will have returned the coast to its earlier state. And so in my mind’s eye these coastal forms merge and blend in a shifting, kaleidoscopic pattern in which there is no finality, no ultimate and fixed reality — earth becoming fluid as the sea itself."

Rachel Carson (1907 - 1964)

Friday, June 02, 2023

Neither Time nor Space

"The scene of action of reality is not a three-dimensional Euclidean space but rather a four-dimensional world, in which space and time are linked together indissolubly. However deep the chasm may be that separates the intuitive nature of space from that of time in our experience, nothing of this qualitative difference enters into the objective world which physics endeavors to crystallize out of direct experience. It is a four-dimensional continuum, which is neither "time" nor "space". Only the consciousness that passes on in one portion of this world experiences the detached piece which comes to meet it and passes behind it as history, that is, as a process that is going forward in time and takes place in space."

- Hermann Weyl (1885 - 1955)

Thursday, June 01, 2023

Looking at Things

"If we are always arriving and departing, it
is also true that we are eternally anchored.
One's destination is never a place but
rather a new way of looking at things.
You will then be ready to undergo initiation: an ordeal imposed by the Brotherhood of Fools and Simpletons. Three questions will be put to you. Just three. The first: 'How would you order the world if you were given the powers of the creator?' the second: 'What is it you desire that you do not already possess?' The third: 'Say something that will truly astonish us!' If you answer these satisfactorily you are then to return to your birthplace, sit quietly with hands folded, and meditate on the needs of all God's creatures... When you know what it is they need... you are to report back to the Brotherhood and dissolve the order.
Whoever uses the spirit that
is in him creatively is an artist.
To make living itself an art,
that is the goal."

- Henry Miller (1891 - 1980)
Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch