Mad Phaedrus Hillman also says that
Meets Mad Ezra
"Plato's Good was a fixed and eternal and unmoving Idea, whereas for the rhetoricians it was not an Idea at all. The Good was not a form of reality. It was reality itself, ever changing, ultimately unknowable in any kind of fixed, rigid way.
" --Phaedrus in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
This apparent conflict between eternity and time, fixity and motion, permanence and change, is resolved by the philosophy of the I Ching
and by the Imagism of Ezra Pound. Consider, for example, the image of The Well
as discussed here on All Saints' Day 2003
and in the previous entry
As background, consider the following remarks of James Hillman in "Egalitarian Typologies Versus the Perception of the Unique," Part III: Persons as Images
|"To conceive images as static is to forget that they are numens that move. Charles Olson, a later poet in this tradition, said: 'One perception must immediately and directly lead to a further perception... always, always one perception must must must move instanter, on another.' 80 Remember Lavater and his insistence on instantaneity for reading the facial image. This is a kind of movement that is not narrational, and the Imagists had no place for narrative. 'Indeed the great poems to come after the Imagist period-- Eliot’s The Waste Land and Four Quartets; Pound’s Cantos; Williams’s Paterson-- contain no defining narrative.' 81 The kind of movement Olson urges is an inward deepening of the image, an in-sighting of the superimposed levels of significance within it. 82 This is the very mode that Jung suggested for grasping dreams-- not as a sequence in time, but as revolving around a nodal complex. If dreams, then why not the dreamers. We too are not only a sequence in time, a process of individuation. We are also each an image of individuality." |
80 The New American Poetry (D. M. Allen, ed.) N.Y.: Evergreen, Grove, 1960, pp. 387-88. from Jones, p. 42.
81 Jones,* p. 40.
82 H. D. later turned narration itself into image by writing a novel in which the stories were "compounded like faces seen one on top of another," or as she says "superimposed on one another like a stack of photographic negatives" (Jones, p. 42). Cf. Berry,** p. 63: "An image is simultaneous. No part precedes or causes another part, although all parts are involved with each other... We might imagine the dream as a series of superimpositions, each event adding texture and thickening to the rest."
* Imagist Poetry (Peter Jones, ed.) London: Penguin, 1972
** The contrast between image simultaneity and narrative succession, and the different psychological effects of the two modes, is developed by Patricia Berry, "An Approach to the Dream," Spring 1974 (N. Y./Zürich: Spring Publ.), pp. 63, 68-71
|"Jung’s 'complex' and Pound's definition of Image and Lavater's 'whole heap of images, thoughts, sensations, all at once' are all remarkably similar. Pound calls an Image, 'that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time'... 'the Image is more than an Idea. It is a vortex or cluster of fused ideas and is endowed with energy'... 'a Vortex, from which and through which, and into which, ideas are constantly rushing.' 79 Thus the movement, the dynamics, are within the complex and not only between complexes, as tensions of opposites told about in narrational sequences, stories that require arbitrary syntactical connectives which are unnecessary for reading an image where all is given at once." |
79 These definitions of Image by Pound come from his various writings and can all be found in Jones, pp. 32-41. Further on complex and image, see J. B. Harmer, Victory in Limbo: Imagism 1908-17, London: Secker & Warburg, 1975, pp. 164-68.
These remarks may help the reader to identify with Ada during her well-viewing in Cold Mountain (previous entry):
"She was dazzled by light and shade, by the confusing duplication of reflections and of frames. All coming from too many directions for the mind to take account of. The various images bounced against each other until she felt a desperate vertigo...." If such complexity can be suggested by Hexagram 48, The Well, alone, consider the effect of the "cluster of fused ideas... endowed with energy" that is the entire 64-hexagram I Ching.
"Well, it changes."
Nicole Kidman at a press conference
for the London premiere of
"The Golden Compass"
on November 27:
A related Log24 link fromthat same date, November 27
See alsoZen and the Art of
Motorcycle Maintenance --
tried to destroy areté. He had encapsulated it; made a permanent, fixed Idea out of it;
had converted it to a rigid, immobile Immortal Truth. He made areté the Good, the highest
form, the highest Idea of all. It was subordinate only to Truth itself, in a synthesis of
all that had gone before.
That was why the Quality that Phaedrus had arrived
at in the classroom had seemed so close to Plato’s Good. Plato’s Good was taken
from the rhetoricians. Phaedrus searched, but could find no previous cosmologists who had
talked about the Good. That was from the Sophists. The difference was that Plato’s
Good was a fixed and eternal and unmoving Idea, whereas for the rhetoricians it was not an
Idea at all. The Good was not a form of reality. It was reality itself, ever changing,
ultimately unknowable in any kind of fixed, rigid way."
-- as well as Cold Mountain --
: "It's claimed that if
you take a mirror and look
backwards into a well, you'll
see your future down in the water."
"So in short order Ada found herself bent backward over the mossy well lip, canted in a pose with little to recommend it in the way of dignity or comfort, back arched, hips forward, legs spraddled for balance. She held a hand mirror above her face, angled to catch the surface of the water below.
Ada had agreed to the well-viewing as a variety of experiment in local custom and as a tonic for her gloom. Her thoughts had been broody and morbid and excessively retrospective for so long that she welcomed the chance to run counter to that flow, to cast forward and think about the future, even though she expected to see nothing but water at the bottom of the well.
She shifted her feet to find better grip on the packed dirt of the yard and then tried to look into the mirror. The white sky above was skimmed over with backlit haze, bright as a pearl or as a silver mirror itself. The dark foliage of oaks all around the edges framed the sky, duplicating the wooden frame of the mirror into which Ada peered, examining its picture of the well depths behind her to see what might lie ahead in her life. The bright round of well water at the end of the black shaft was another mirror. It cast back the shine of sky and was furred around the edges here and there with sprigs of fern growing between stones.
Ada tried to focus her attention on the hand mirror, but the bright sky beyond kept drawing her eye away. She was dazzled by light and shade, by the confusing duplication of reflections and of frames. All coming from too many directions for the mind to take account of. The various images bounced against each other until she felt a desperate vertigo, as if she could at any moment pitch backward and plunge head first down the well shaft and drown there, the sky far above her, her last vision but a bright circle set in the dark, no bigger than a full moon.
Her head spun and she reached with her free hand and held to the stonework of the well. And then just for a moment things steadied, and there indeed seemed to be a picture in the mirror."
-- and Log24 on December 3 --
Well, she was
"Mazur introduced the topic of prime numbers with a story from Don Quixote
in which Quixote asked a poet to write a poem with 17 lines. Because 17
is prime, the poet couldn't find a length for the poem's stanzas and
was thus stymied."
-- Undated American Mathematical Society news item about a Nov. 1, 2007, event
what I mean...
"... a spectacular seventh-century figure of the Hindu goddess Durga,
whose hip-slung pose and voluptuous torso, as plush and taut as ripe
fruit, combine the naturalism and idealism of the very finest Indian
work." --The New York Times
"The Wu Li Masters know that physicists are doing more than
'discovering the endless diversity of nature.' They are dancing with Kali [or Durga], the Divine Mother of Hindu mythology." --Gary Zukav, Harvard '64
Or do you?
"I think transformation becomes the main word in my life, transformation.
Because you don't want to just put a mirror in front of people and say, here, look at yourself. What do you see?
You want to have a skewed mirror. You want a mirror that says,
you didn't know you could see the back of your head. You didn't know
that you could... almost cubistic, see all aspects at the same time.
And what that does for human beings is it allows them to step
out of their lives and to revisit it and maybe find something different
about it." --Julie Taymor
The previous two entries and
readings for the Feast of
the Triumph of the Cross
in 2006 and in 2003.
Found in Translation:
Words and Images
From today's New York Times
"Thomas P. Whitney, a former diplomat and writer on Russian affairs who
was best known for translating the work of the dissident writer
into English, died on [Sunday] Dec. 2 in Manhattan. He
During World War II, he was an analyst in Washington with the Office of Strategic Services, a forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency
In the late 1960s and afterward, he bred thoroughbred horses....
On one occasion, Mr. Whitney took Mr. Solzhenitsyn to Saratoga
-- Margalit Fox
Adam Gopnik on C. S. Lewis
in The New Yorker
dated Nov. 21, 2005:
Prisoner of Narnia
"Lewis began with
a number of haunted images...."
"The best of the books are the ones...
where the allegory is at a minimum
and the images just flow."
"'Everything began with images,'
Yesterday's entry on
Solzhenitsyn and The Golden Compass
and the following illustrations...
from Sunday in the Park with Death,
a Log24 entry commemorating
--and from Log24 on the date
of Whitney's death,
Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007--
Harry Stack Sullivan
The horses may refer to
the Phaedrus of Plato.
See also Art Wars
The Solzhenitsyn Compass
"The Golden Compass
is a $180 million movie that opens this weekend....
In the book, the golden compass is actually called 'the alethiometer.'
As any student of Greek would expect, this instrument has to do with alethia
-- the truth. In the fourth chapter of the book, the Master of Jordan
College tells Lyra, the protagonist of the story, that the alethiometer
'tells you the truth. As for how to read it, you'll have to learn by
-- Sermon by Paul Lundberg
, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary, Tuesday, December 4, 2007.
"Harvard's motto is Veritas
. Many of you have already found out, and
others will find out in the course of their lives, that truth eludes us
as soon as our concentration begins to flag, all the while leaving the
illusion that we are continuing to pursue it. This is the source of
much discord. Also, truth seldom is sweet; it is almost invariably
-- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, commencement address
, Harvard University, June 8