Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Arcadisme et Romantisme au Portugal (três poemas)

En exergue, pour mieux comprendre, pour plonger dans le contexte, les Mistérios de Lisboa (Raúl Ruiz, 2010):





(***Après, pour en finir avec le romantisme littéraire, lire Eça de Queiros, A Capital!)

INSÓNIA
(Bocage)

Já sobre o coche de ébano estrelado
Deu meio giro a noite escura e feia;
Que profundo silêncio me rodeia
Neste deserto bosque, à luz vedado!

Jaz entre as folhas Zéfiro abafado,
O Tejo adormeceu na lisa areia;
Nem o mavioso rouxinol gorjeia,
Nem pia o mocho, às trevas costumado:

Só eu velo, só eu, pedindo à sorte
Que o fio, com que está minh'alma presa
À vil matéria lânguida, me corte:

Consola-me este horror, esta triteza;
Porque a meus olhos se afigura a morte
No silêncio total da Natureza.


VÍBORA
(Almeida Garrett)

Como a víbora gerado,
No coração se formou
Este amor amaldiçoado
Que à nascença o espedaçou.

Para ele nascer morri;
E em meu cadáver nutrido,
Foi a vida que eu perdi
A vida que tem vivido.


BARCA BELA
(Almeida Garrett)

Pescador da barca bela,
Onde vais pescar com ela,
Que é tão bela,
Oh pescador?

Não vês que a última estrela
No céu nublado se vela?
Colhe a vela,
Oh pescador!

Deita o lanço com cautela,
Que a sereia canta bela...
Mas cautela,
Oh pescador.

Pescador da barca bela,
Inda é tempo, foge dela,
Foge dela,
Oh pescador!


ECO A NARCISO
(trechos de poesia de António Feliciano de Castilho)

Narciso, inda te escrevo: o amor de todo
no meu peito expiou, por teus repúdios,
mas fica em seu lugar ódio e vingança.

[...]

A Náiade gentil, que terno adoras,
és tu mesmo, é teu rosto impresso na água!
Amas a sombra vã do objecto que amo;
és de inútil amor como eu vassalo;
vive em ti mesmo o que ansioso buscas;
não o podes gozar; mas eu, perverso,
se não gozo o que busco, é porque foges,
qual de Fúria infernal, da terna amante.


A NOITE DO CASTELO
(trechos de poesia de António Feliciano de Castilho)

... Silencio,
solidão e terror vão de ora avante
ser da ponte, em vão baixa, e abertas portas
únicas invisíveis sentinelas.
Do cão nocturno o atroador latido
não irá mais nas salas espaçosas
acordar um só eco. Esse relógio,
que inda numera as horas da viagem,
vai deixar livre o tempo, que adormeça
sobre o alto cume das marmóreas pompas,
que o peso estragador lhe irão sentindo.
Da antiga, ilustre, extinta dinastia
a residência inteira se abandona
aos pássaros da noite, às plantas bravas.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .


A COSTUREIRA E O PINTASSILGO MORTO
(Tradução de Alexandre Herculano de um poema de Lamartine)

Tu cujas asas trêmulas
O meu olhar tornava;
Cujo trinado harmônico
Meus dias alegrava,
Ai, já não ouves!—Chamo-te,
E é vão este chamar!
Chegou a estação gélida;
Foi pra te matar.

Nunca me hás-de esquecer! Por bem seis anos,
Companheira leal
Tu me foste, avezinha;
Meiga entre as meigas, desprezando os campos,
Deslembrada da mãe, que, à noite, aninha
No móvel canavial.

A ti, afeita a mim, afiz-me em breve.
Meu único recreio
Era brincar contigo.
Ao veres-me encerrar no pobre alvergue
Gorjeavas, e o tédio o canto amigo
Volvia em brando enleio.

Meu amor te supria a liberdade;
Meus passos traduzias,
Meu gesto, meu falar;
Repetias-me o nome em teus modilhos;
Punhas-te a chilrear
Quando sorrir me vias.

Oh, que par! Que viver sereno e santo!
Estávamos tão bem!
Nosso parco alimento
Com a ponta da agulha eu mourejava,
E dizia cismando:—o meu sustento
É o dele também.—

Sementes várias dava-te co'a alpista,
E, qual ramalhetinho
Feito na orla do prado,
À 'splendida gaiola atar me vias,
Para debique teu, de erva um punhado,
De alface um tenro olhinho...

Se ao menos fosse lícito
Saberes que pranteio!..
Ai, foi em dia idêntico,
Que teu adejar veio
Fazer brilhar o júbilo
Neste triste aposento,
Onde em saudosa mágoa,
Sozinha te lamento!

Friday, April 10, 2015

L'affirmation de l'âne

A criticism of Roberto Mangabeira Unger and Lee Smolin's The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time: A Proposal in Natural Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2015) 


"On aurait pu croire que l'âne, l'animal qui dit I-A, était l'animal 
dionysiaque par excellence. En fait, il n'en est rien; son 
apparence est dionysiaque, mais toute sa réalité chrétienne"
(Deleuze, Nietzsche et la philosophie)

"... as these laws were found to be verified in wider and

wider domains, the idea tended to grow that they have
a universal validity. Laplace, during the eighteenth
century, was one of the first scientists to draw the 
full logical consequences of such an assumption"
(David Bohm, Causality and Chance)

"(...) We doctors know
a hopeless case if—listen: there's a hell
of a good universe next door; let's go"
(e. e. cummings)

"It is happening now, an evolutionary advance that needed only 

the practical mapping of the nervous system onto digital memory. 
It would be the master thrust of cyber-capital, to extend the human 
experience toward infinity as a medium for corporate growth and 
investment, for the accumulation of profits and vigorous reinvestment"
(ironic—DeLillo, Cosmopolis)

"... nous ne sommes plus qu'au bord du monde..."
(Paul Virilio, L'Université du désastre)

"... et ce qu'ils érigent en beauté qui est moins que le vent, et leur
régime estupide des distances et des perspectives..."
(Hervé Guibert)

"... ce vieux réflexe atavique de la tourbe... qui fait de toute
homme de science une sorte d'ennemi-né et inné de tout génie."
(A. Artaud)


1. First, la affirmation de l'author de la critique: these people are all wrong!
But I mean string theorists as well as Smolin and Mangabeira Unger.
The problem lies in a presupposition: "unification of science" (relativity and the standard model of particle physics). Unification of science is l'affirmation de l'âne. It echoes not only in many worlds, but in many books, including the most pedestrian.

2. The book's more central idea that laws and states of affairs can both evolve in cosmology is a very good one. But it leads to the same dead end of string theory, given Unger and Smolin's strict (I mean narrow) understanding of time and mathematics (under the imperative of the unification of science).

2.2 One can find the idea that history is prior to structure in deconstruction, but in deconstruction dichotomies (laws/states of affairs, history/structure, ideal/material) are handle much more consistently, in a way that shows that it is actually impossible simply to cancel out one category for another (and deconstruction demands a profound revision of phenomenology, that is, of occidental conceptions of consciousness, intentionality, and perception—Smolin's qualia, for that matter).

2.3.1 Unger and Smolin’s understanding of time (and becoming) is poor, one-dimensional, and linear (that is, chronological). Even l'âne might not pass. Contrast their view with the views of Bergson or Heidegger. For Bergson, past coexists permanently with the present (the past in its entirety had never really ceased to exist) (see Matière et Memoire). For Heidegger's view, see "Die transzendentale Einbildungskraft und ihr Bezug zur Zeit", section 32 of his Kant und das Problem der Metaphysik.
Unger and Smolin’s conception of history is not compatible with Vico (as Unger sometimes seems to suggest). Vico don't say only that we are able to understand history because history is something we do (it results from our own action). He says that history is the only thing we are able to fully understand. He didn't have any pretention to understanding nature as history.

2.3.2 Unger and Smolin’s understanding of mathematics is also poor. For instance, as much as string theorists, with a slight-of-hand, they merely invert and mask some fundamental issues: the problem is not simply to recognize that mathematics and logic must have limits when applied to temporal phenomena. The problem is rather how can one make sense of the "timeless quality" (p. 16) of mathematics and logic by subsuming them to a one-dimensional and linear (chronological) understanding of time (as change). L'âne crashes or freak out.
It is understandable that the idea of infinite is problematic for them. It is not convincing that they can really make sense of it (kick it out), neither of the idea of a continuum. Smolin at least recognizes that it is going to be difficult to eliminate from physical theory the continuum of complex numbers (in case it were possible to eliminate the continuum of real numbers) (p. 517).
Their understanding of probability is merely epistemological, as for instance when Unger says "no wager sets its own terms" (p. 159). Mallarmé was not a scientist neither a philosopher and had a much better understanding of what is at issue here. (L'âne don't run, but if it were a horse...!)
I wonder if Unger's criticism of marginalism is fair. His understanding of economics, on the other hand, might go along (and not just once) with the conceptions of politicians in Brazil, with whom he associated.

3. Unger and Smolin share with string theorists an obsession: the unification of science, l'affirmation de l'âne. Differently, scientists of the first half of the 20th century (Heisenberg, Bohr, Wolfgang Pauli, but not Einstein) had a much healthier (if stealthy) attitude. They were able to straightforwardly recognize paradoxes and inherent limits in scientific knowledge and practices (in relation to other areas of culture). They all were much more at ease with ideas such as non-local entanglement (Bell inequalities) and indeterminacy. John von Newman is another case that instead of remaining in a defensive attitude, proposed (notwithstanding l'âne) a revision of classical logic in view of the paradoxes in the foundations of both mathematics and quantum physics (people with different agendas all refer positively to von Newman in relation to this point: see Friedman, Dynamics of Reason, p. 122; Heisenberg, Physics and Philosophy, p. 156; Susan Haak, Philosophy of Logic, p. 228). One should add Feyerabend, Ludwik Fleck, and perhaps Martin Gardner to the list of people who were able to truly engage with the most paradoxical aspects of science, freeing l'âne from its spell. 

4. All that was said above should be read as an advise that Unger and Smolin (as much as Brian Greene's) direction (and I don't mean merely their arrow-of-time) is wrong-headed. It goes with mainstream academia, which repeats with l'âne (but that beyond eternity). We are just in the beginning of the century, and the situation has approached again the limit once described by Heisenberg in what matters the whole 19th century: 

"The nineteenth century developed an extremely rigid frame for natural science which formed not only science but also the general outlook of great masses of people. This frame was supported by the fundamental concepts of classical physics, space, time, matter and causality; the concept of reality applied to the things or events that we could perceive by our senses or that could be observed by means of the refined tools that technical science had provided. Matter was the primary reality. The progress of science was pictured as a crusade of conquest into the material world. Utility was the watchword of the time... This frame was so narrow and rigid that it was difficult to find a place in it for many concepts of our language that had always belonged to its very substance, for instance, the concepts of mind, of the human soul... It was specially difficult to find in this framework room to those parts of reality that had been the object of the traditional religion and seemed now more or less only imaginary" (Heisenberg, "The Role of Modern Physics in Human Thinking," Physics and Philosophy. London: George Allen & Unwin LTD, 1959, p. 169).

Heisenberg thought that one of "the most important changes brought about by modern physics [read quantum mechanics] results consists in the dissolution of this rigid frame of concepts of the nineteenth century" (Phisics and Philosophy: 170). But alas, l'âne is tougher. I mean, strengthened with the most advanced techniques in pharmacology and biomedicine, it now stands in the middle of this world, on the verge of social and ecological collapse, and whinnies infuriately against any approaching asteroid. It is indeed better to have it at least all alone (and for a very brief moment) than with infinite others.












Anselm Kiefer
Für Ossip Mandelstam:
Das Rauschen der Zeit (1996)
Image from Daniel Arasse's
Anselm Kiefer






Pierre Laurent Aimard/Karlhein Stockhausen's Klavierstück IX:


***NEW (Nov/2018):
"If this particle really exists, then it is not just outside the standard model but outside it in a way that nobody anticipated. Just as Newtonian gravity gave way to Einstein's general relativity, the standard model will be superseded. But the replacement will not be any of the favoured candidates that has already been proposed to extend standard model: including supersymmetry, extra dimensions and grand unification theories," Roger Barlow, LHC is hitting a tantalising new particle (The Conversation);
=======================================

"For D'Espagnat, it is exactly if we consider seriously and realistically certain results of physics that we have to open the two complementary perspectives. D'Espagnat welcomed these complementary perspectives grounding himself on the many violations of CHSH-Bell inequalities obtained experimentally since the 1980s," Alessandro Zir, Luso-Brazilian Encounters of the Sixteenth-Century: A Styles of Thinking Approach (Fairleigh Dickinson Univ. Press, 2011, p. 66).

On entanglement, see also:
The quest to test quantum entanglement (Symmetry);
- Entangled photons make a picture from paradox (Nature);
- Classical Imaging with Undetected Light (Physical Review A);

Other issues:
- pick a soul (ass you wish);
- The Doors of Perception & the learned foolery of research;
Liste des figures du chaos primordial;
Eduardo Viveiros de Castro: Brazilian Perspectivism?


Friday, April 03, 2015

List of occultist/mystical writers (under construction)


- Agrippa von Nettesheim;
- Aleister Crowley;
- Athanase Kircher;
- Camille Flammarion;
- Claude Bragdon;
- C. W. Leadbeater;
- Edward Carpenter (British);
- Éliphas Lévi;
- Emmanuel Swedenborg;
- Franz Anton Mesmer;
- Giovanni Pico della Mirandola;
- Hildegarde de Bingen;
- Jacob Böhme;
- Jean Scot
- Johann Caspar Lavater;
- John Scottus Eriugena;
- Madame Blavatsky;
- Marcilio Ficino;
- Maurice Bucke (Canadian);
- Maurice Maeterlinck (Belgian);
- Papus (Gérard Encausse);
- Peter Demianovich Ouspensky (Russian);
- Proclus;
- Pseudo-Dionysius;
- Ramon Llull;
- Rudolf Steiner (Austrian, 1861-1925);
- Santo Ignácio de Loyola;
- Sir Oliver Lodge;
- Sir William Crookes;
- Theophratus Bombastus von Hohentheim (Paracelse);


Interesting books connected with the subject (under construction):
- André-Jean Festugière, La Révélation d'Hermes Trimégiste;
- Antoine Faivre, L'Ésotérisme
- Asclepius;
- Daniel Pickering Walker, Spiritual and Demonic Magic from Ficino to Campanella;
- Edgar de Bruyne, Études d'Esthétique Médievale;
- Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism;
- Henri de Lubac, Exégèse Médiévale: les Quatre Sens de l'Écriture;
- Henri Dominique Saffrey, Recherches sur le Néoplatonisme après Plotin;
- Linda Dalrymple Henderson, The Fourth Dimenson and Non-Enclidean Geometry;
- Louis Pauwels et Jacques Bergier, Le Matin des Magiciens;
- Marie-Dominique Chenu, La Théologie au Douzième Siècle;
- Méditations sur les 22 Arcanes majeurs du tarot;
- Mercier, Alain, Les Sources Ésotériques et Occultes de la Poésie Symboliste;
- Michel Foucault, Les Mots et les Choses;
- Moshe Idel, Kabbalah: New Perspectivesi; 
- Picatrix;
- Poïmandrês;
- Richard Noakes, "The 'Bridge which is between Physical and Psychical Research': William Fletcher Barrett, Sensitive Flames, and Spiritualism", History of Science 42, 138 (2004);
- Umberto Eco, Il Pendolo di Foucault;