Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Reflection principle & Borges's Aleph

Leibniz wrote, in section 56 of the Monadology: “Each simple substance has relations that express all the others, and is in consequence a perpetual living mirror of the universe”.

Borges's Aleph is a small spot only viewable from a certain angle when lying on the floor of a rodent infested Buenos Aires cellar. In it, everything in the Universe is simultaneously viewable. Yet, Borges comes to the conclusion that it is a false Aleph. Why?

Well, for the purposes of the higher criticism- i.e. writing tendentious shite about modish Modernist texts we haven't re-read since we were ourselves equally psilosophical College Sophomores- one approach is to argue that, by any Reflection Principlewhich itself has enough structural features; or a, Tarski type, suitably dense Relation Algebra (the two not being homologous for any Semantic or Sen-tentious end!)  to fully specify the pre-image/pratibimba or Universal Set (V) for any given empirically observed Aleph, it must be the case that there is no way of distinguishing if that Aleph is merely partial or actually complete. Indeed, the probability is overwhelming that it must simply be false.

Since you and me aint edumicated, however, this road is closed to us and so we have to go back and read Borges's text coz, truth be told, tho we woz too Sophomores sho nuff, it was High School Sophomores and not in a good School District either. Indeed, far from it.

But, wait
Hang on a fookin hanging fart. Aint u & me red blooded Sarah Palin types? Surely, our Christian Faith- or Swahili Witch-doctor- will save us from having to actually read wot some fookin W.O.P wrote?

I mean, what would J.C do?

The answer, of course, as so often happens on this blog, turns out to involve making a distinction between cataphatic and apophatic theology. Whitman's method was cataphatic- i.e. listing sonorous shite. Borges, notoriously, was a heteroclite Whitman- his lists undermine themselves. He gives us a credible Aleph by means of a vetiginously veridical cataphasis- 'On the back part of the step, toward the right, I saw a small iridescent sphere of almost unbearable brilliance. At first I thought it was revolving; then I realised that this movement was an illusion created by the dizzying world it bounded. The Aleph’s diameter was probably little more than an inch, but all space was there, actual and undiminished. Each thing (a mirror’s face, let us say) was infinite things, since I distinctly saw it from every angle of the universe. I saw the teeming sea; I saw daybreak and nightfall; I saw the multitudes of America; I saw a silvery cobweb in the center of a black pyramid; I saw a splintered labyrinth (it was London); I saw, close up, unending eyes watching themselves in me as in a mirror; I saw all the mirrors on earth and none of them reflected me; I saw in a backyard of Soler Street the same tiles that thirty years before I’d seen in the entrance of a house in Fray Bentos; I saw bunches of grapes, snow, tobacco, lodes of metal, steam; I saw convex equatorial deserts and each one of their grains of sand; I saw a woman in Inverness whom I shall never forget; I saw her tangled hair, her tall figure, I saw the cancer in her breast; I saw a ring of baked mud in a sidewalk, where before there had been a tree; I saw a summer house in AdroguĂ© and a copy of the first English translation of Pliny — Philemon Holland’s — and all at the same time saw each letter on each page (as a boy, I used to marvel that the letters in a closed book did not get scrambled and lost overnight); I saw a sunset in QuerĂ©taro that seemed to reflect the colour of a rose in Bengal; I saw my empty bedroom; I saw in a closet in Alkmaar a terrestrial globe between two mirrors that multiplied it endlessly; I saw horses with flowing manes on a shore of the Caspian Sea at dawn; I saw the delicate bone structure of a hand; I saw the survivors of a battle sending out picture postcards; I saw in a showcase in Mirzapur a pack of Spanish playing cards; I saw the slanting shadows of ferns on a greenhouse floor; I saw tigers, pistons, bison, tides, and armies; I saw all the ants on the planet; I saw a Persian astrolabe; I saw in the drawer of a writing table (and the handwriting made me tremble) unbelievable, obscene, detailed letters, which Beatriz had written to Carlos Argentino; I saw a monument I worshipped in the Chacarita cemetery; I saw the rotted dust and bones that had once deliciously been Beatriz Viterbo; I saw the circulation of my own dark blood; I saw the coupling of love and the modification of death; I saw the Aleph from every point and angle, and in the Aleph I saw the earth and in the earth the Aleph and in the Aleph the earth; I saw my own face and my own bowels; I saw your face; and I felt dizzy and wept, for my eyes had seen that secret and conjectured object whose name is common to all men but which no man has looked upon — the unimaginable universe.'

Rabindranath Tagore said- 'Kadombini moriya proman korilo she more nai' (Kadambari dies only to prove she was still alive) and though he was referencing the baroque Sanskrit novel, not his beloved  sister-in-law's suicide, there is a univocity to this epigram which redeems that too hirsute and prolix Sage.

By contrast, Borges's various Kadambaris- whose V precludes Victoria Ocampo, for whom Rabi had a lech- whether called Beatrice Viterbo or Teodolino Villar, did not die merely to prove they were alive but, like the risen Christ at the end of the Gospel of John, in order to become the protagonist of such Epic Agons as, were each written down in a book, not the World- nay, not the Library of Babel!- could contain them all. 
Which is why their Alephs are false and Zahirs forgettable. 
If only because 'Borges & I' represents a Red Queen's race.

In this respect, Borges ever trembles on that threshold boldly crossed by both true Mannerists (e.g Riti kavya a la Jagganath Pundit) & proto-Marxists (as in the subaltern Shlok of Nund Reshi) videlicet; Love is a Second Creation. Its God Grief.

What of Cantor's Aleph & the too Christian Godel?

'Hao Wang records  Godel’s argument in item 8.7.14 of his Logical Journey
 Consider a property P(V, x), which involves V. If, as

we believe, V is extremely large, then x must appear in an early

segment of V and cannot have any relation to much later segments

of V. Hence, within P(V, x), V can be replaced by some set in every

context. In short, if P does not involve V, there is no problem; if it

does, then closeness to each x helps to eliminate V, provided chaos

does not prevail.”

“There is also a theological approach, according to which V

corresponds to the whole physical world, and the closeness aspect to

what lies within the monad and in between the monads. According

to the principles of rationality, sufficient reason, and preestablished

harmony, the property P(V, x) of a monad x is equivalent to some

intrinsic property of x, in which the world does not occur. In other

words, when we move from monads to sets, there is some set y to

which x bears intrinsically the same relation as it does to V. Hence,

there is a property Q(x), not involving V, which is equivalent to

P(V, x). According to medieval ideas, properties containing V or

the world would not be in the essence of any set or monad”.
Such ignorance!
It's Modern-all-too-Modern.
So Modern, Petrarch is still the last Western tourist, & Barlaam of Calabria, the East's least venal Guru.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Eyeless in Gaza

Since Chetan Bhagat- all round nice guy and deservedly successful Indglish novelist- has tweeted on the bombing of Gaza, it falls to me- all round shithead and least successful Indglish novelist ever- to add my tuppence.
But, what can I say as Indglishly egregious or flatulently facile?
Recursively this- or so it might fractally appear.
'The Palestinians are bloody marvellous. As a people, again and again, they have demonstrated incredible resilience arising purely out of shared Human- not Ideological, not Eschatological- Commitments and Values.
'People kept saying- not the level, per se, but the fiendishly ironic type of injustice meted out to the Palestinian will turn them into a nation of psychopaths.
'As a case in point, take 'Black September' when (in an extraordinary display of Pan Islamic solidarity) Pakistani pilots flew Saudi jets to bomb Palestinian women and children, on behalf of the Hashemite King of Jordan (whose granddaddy had been chased off the throne of Mecca by the Wahabbis whose refusal to let Pakistani Hanafis recite Fatiha at the Prophet's grave remains a bone of contention).
'After so colossal a betrayal, nobody could blame the Palestinians if they'd simply gone nuts.
Some had already- Sirhan Sirhan's assassination of Robert Kennedy wasn't a real smart move- but Sirhan was Christian and his Dad had taken U.S citizenship- i.e felt obliged to talk hate mongering shite at the dinner table. Similarly, it was the Christian George Habash, but also Nayef Hawatmeh (both Leftist nutjobs) - who paved the way for the Black September 'Nakhbah'- not Arafat, who as Grand Mufti Husseini's nephew, wasn't interested in taking down the descendant of the hereditary Sharif of Mecca.
'Thankfully the 'Christian' Lefty fuckwits were not representative of anything. Palestinian Christians, though educationally ahead even before the Mandate, were just as loving and Human and Decent as their Muslim brothers and sisters and the evidence is this will always be the case.
'Yet how gainsay, the fact this same brilliant-too-brilliant Community produced the fuckwit retard, soixante huitard, Lefty gobshites who posed the worst existential threat to the Palestinians as an Ethical People.
'I know, I know. Arafat was far from perfect. He was, perhaps, more lachrymose than Lefty- but tears can heal even when shed by venal eyes- coz the Ethos of every genuine Ethne works in just such fashion and Barrister Gandhi, for in every other way disbarred, yet is not miscalled Ind's Mahatma.

'This is the true miracle of the ever-renewed Palestinian 'nakbah'- the rainbow at the end of the last Sixty years' Secular Flood of injustice- surviving every setback, this Deme ever demonstrates 'spontaneous order', 'euvoluntary', bottom-up, cohesion, organisational skill, tolerance, pluralism, etc.- and it's all just an expression of their Humanity and unproblematic day-to-day Social Being, nothing premeditated or 'Managerial' or  Ideological or intermediated by 'Poli Sci'- these guys are not and never will be 'Muselmann'- and that by itself is why, sooner or later, the 2 Chief Rabbis will decree that they are too, Jews.

'Till then, eyeless in Gaza, Samson brings down his own Temple not because- Borges' reading of Donne's Biothanatos- he prefigures the One who said 'Ye are as Gods' but rather because he was a Judge and none must save as All.'

Friday, 18 July 2014

John 21-22

 'And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.'
Be it Godel's Aleph or Ghalib's Arif or what Wine wastes yet of me
'If I will that he tarry till I come- what is that to thee?'
In sum,the Continuum is as chary of its own Inspection
As is Jamshed's cup of the Saqi's reflection

Only Unitittyarianism could have prevented Partition

Abstract- The Brahmo Samaj's Unitarianism did not just polarise the Hindu bhadralok into 'idolators' and 'True Brahmins'- it broke a previous cultural compact with the Muslims which granted the latter higher normative status- thus making the former's material success a mere 'majazi' (illusory) illustration of the futility of materialism because only the impoverished Muslim toiler, or Sufi Pirzada, enjoyed true (haqiqi) felicity, both now and ever-after.  Furthermore, since militant iconoclasm would have involved smashing up Granny's Puja-room and she'd slap you silly if you tried, both Brahmo Unitarianism and neo-Sanatan Univocity needed to go flex their muscles elsewhere- hence 'Tiger' Jatin & Jugantar, 'Baby' Aurobindo & Anushilan, not to mention the bespectacled 'Bose Bros' & Forward Block- which earned them the enmity of the British overlords whose avaricious Rule had permitted the Hindu resurgence in the first place. The result was that the Hindus became fragmented and subject to pogrom where they were in a minority- so much so, that they ultimately needed Nehru to protect them and permit them to continue to play-act a type of populist politics whose reduction ad absurdum would be either Pir Gholam Sarwar Husseini's 'creed equals class' ethnic cleansing in Noakhali or, amongst tribes too primitive for Islam to have even taken root, the revival of head-hunting a la Charu Mazumdar.

Was there any way for all this to be avoided? Yes. Raja Ram Mohan Roy should have rejected Unitarianism (silliest sect of Xtianity ever) & embraced Unitittyarianism-  i.e. the belief that 'though nipples are many, titty is one'.  This is the one mahavakya of true Upanishad. Mind it kindly. Aiyayo.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Peter Singer's drowns in his own shallow pond.

Peter Unger summarises the essential features of Singer's shallow pond gedanken thus-

'The path from the library at your university to the humanities lecture hall passes a shallow ornamental pond. On your way to give a lecture, you notice that a small child has fallen in and is in danger of drowning. If you wade in and pull the child out, it will mean getting your clothes muddy and either cancelling your lecture or delaying it until you can find something clean and dry to wear. If you pass by the child, then, while you'll give your lecture on time, the child will die straightaway. You pass by and, as expected, the child dies.'

Suppose the lecture you are about to give is not shite. Suppose, furthermore, that someone attending that lecture isn't just a Credential-seeking swine but someone with power to do some good in the world. If you are a Utilitarian, you should go give your lecture and after ensuring that you have convinced the one guy in the audience who isn't a Credential-seeking swine you should make an emotional confession of your crime and hand yourself over to the police. Suppose no Police or Judiciary exists. Then, if you believe yourself to be bound by some implicit or unstated Social Contract, you should administer to yourself the extreme penalty for culpa levis in concreto.
Alternatively, just fucking get your shoes dirty, save the kid and take him along with you to deliver your lecture. It will go over big. 
Singer in devising his gedanken, and Unger in quoting it, don't get that their lectures are shite. Not wearing dirty shoes while giving your lecture might matter to Credential-seeking swine and the sort of Rent-extracting Institutions that cater to them. But both are shite. So are you.

More generally getting paid to be a great big fucking gobshite aint Ethical, it aint part and parcel of 'Philosophy' or 'Public Justification Discourse' or any such thing.  The way Singer sets up his gedanken and the manner in which Unger comments on it shows that doing Ethics in the Academy turns your brains to shit and makes you a deeply unpleasant person.

Should we get our shoes dirty wading in to prevent Singer or Unger or whoever else has succumbed to this witless academic availability cascade from drowning in the ornamental pool of their own infrahuman stupidity?
Purvapaksha- Yes, but only to kick them in the teeth coz, heck, the pool is shallow, they're gonna drown anyway, so like the least bad person to kick in the teeth is a Singer or Unger and, anyway it will give your pleasure, but them gobshites will scarcely even notice coz of the massive amounts of faeces protecting their dentures.
Uttarapaksha- What's really important is starving babies. Clearly, kicking Singer or Unger in the teeth has an opportunity cost coz while you are doing so some one or other of the women you have kidnapped and forcibly impregnated could get loose and go get an abortion. But, at the margin, the loss of a single starving child might trigger the tipping point of your own salience in the Rent-seeking Charity racket which arises out of everybody else's obligation to send money to starving children. Look at what's happening in Kerala, a State which Unger mentions lovingly. 
You simply can't afford to take time off raping women and kidnapping kids to go kick Unger and Singer in the teeth.  If you aint holding a sufficiently large number of starving kids hostage, the Utilitarian calculus suggests that it is worthwhile to beat you and throw you in prison rather than carry on adding to the number of starving children and thus creating a corresponding fiduciary obligation on the part of those who haven't been raping and kidnapping like crazy and thus have no starving kids of their own.

Siddhanta Mahatma Gandhi said 'Health is the only Wealth- not Silver...or Goooooooold'.

For bandage, let the World yet rage

Burn the Battlefield's Cross of Blood
Un-weave the Rainbow's Universal Flood
For bandage, let the World yet rage
Poets dream o'er an empty page

Impossibility of cats

At the Student Union pub, the evening after our first Social Choice theory lecture with Amartya Sen, the Teaching Assistant lowered his voice to a whisper and told us the terrible story of 'He who must not be named'- a brilliant Bengali whose fundamental research extended Arrow's impossibility result to prove the non existence of cats. Like Godel's proof of God, it relied on the theory of ultrafilters which we ought not to mess with lest we meet a similar fate.
Just recently, the neighbor's cat has been jumping through the window and making disparaging meowing noises- possibly of a racist or sexist nature- and this has got we wondering. Is there a simple way to derive the same result as the too brilliant Bengali?
 How about this?
Suppose there's a cat whose meows are always decodable as equivalent to the results of a perfect Social Choice rule. If the rule is impossible so is the cat. However any cat responding to the right incentives- tummy rubs and treats- can produce a string of mewing noises decodable in the desired manner. Therefore all cats are impossible. Q.E.D.