[NetBehaviour] Mathesis in Pain

Max Herman maxnmherman at hotmail.com
Sat Aug 21 19:45:52 CEST 2021


I had to look up Mathesis and found it not in the dictionary, but then found Leibniz's Mathesis Universalis, with its universal synthesis, art of combination, art of invention, and so on.

In some ways, the pre-Socratics foresaw the future better than many post-Socratics.  Archimedes almost invented calculus twenty centuries before Newton and Leibniz, but only almost.  Thus going forward can go backwards and vice versa.

Leonardo produced the best working model of the Mathesis Universalis he could, albeit a model for the insufficiency of which in helping humanity he apologized in his last breath, by synthesizing all he could.  But his finest insight may have been to include each human person, in its irreducible interwoven individuality, as a spatiotemporal center within his cosmological map.  The computerized machine path is literally a dead end, unfortunately for us and for all planetary life, if we attempt to have it do for us what we can only do for ourselves (like go for a walk or have a coffee -- a robot going for a walk for you is not you going for a walk).

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Yet after being buried in so much very simply incorrect code, for so many generations, how could humanity and the planet possibly retain any capacity to subsist outside of tin cans?  Only by converting enough human individuals into a mode more conducive to life.  If it's even still possible, such a conversion would need to be of sufficient yet survivable amplitude to carry the appropriate signal as it were, and since such adaptation is not inevitable it will also depend on both sufficient conditions and choice.

Assume the conditions suffice, for a given window of time, say August for the sake of argument -- a mere ten days.  Assume the choice will occur, for without both of these the change is not possible.  What remains?  Just the mechanism or action, i.e. an Ovidian metamorphosis of matter and energy in space and time, one which by definition no machine can do for us.

What might such a mechanism be like, if it existed?  Of course, it might not and probably doesn't exist (since if it did it would already have been done and the planet would not be in our current situation).

It would have to be something like a "key song" that once performed changes its environment and people just like an adaptive cellular mutation might in an amoeba.  The Mona Lisa was Leonardo's attempt: visual poetry for analysis and synthesis, plus what Leibniz called the ars inveniendi.  It's like a wind-up doll that taps its finger, presents the instrument, reposes among that which is to be sung of (rivers, mountains, sky, garments, bridges), and silently shapes the lyrics, but doesn't sing and leaves that act exclusively to the apprehendant.  This makes it, by indirection, us, or, our us-ness, just as an inhale shapes and forms the exhale and makes it inevitable or almost that, or as a greeting elicits a greeting.

Yet this is not how we generally interact with the Mona Lisa (Esperienza).  How do we?  Often, not at all.  Sometimes, as an unperceived entity to be passed in front of like a shrine.

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Or, as the poignantly absurd 1960 "Pocket Library of Great Art," A39, on Leonardo da Vinci, which I carry as a totem of absurdity and hope, received as recompense for helping a friend's elderly relative move house along with many souvenir postcards of similar vintage, says with bizarre and heart-wrenchingly impaired awkwardness on its back cover to me as I glance at it, sitting by a lake, during an "extreme" drought, harassed by combative loud red squirrels:

"The genius of Leonardo da Vinci has been the wonder of mankind for nearly five centuries.  In a dozen major fields of sciences and art (sic), his flaming curiosity, penetrating observation, and deep, widely ranging thought produced stupendous advances, bringing his distant world to the threshold of modern times.  His investigations included anatomy, geometry, geology, cloud formation, the principles of flight, the laws of linear and aerial perspective, ballistics, military engineering, physics, and mechanics.  To him, vision was the most important means for describing nature and revealing nature's harmony and order.  Through his visual genius he freed Italian painting from hardness and dry precision, creating ideally beautiful forms that seemed to move and live in a world of air, light, and shadow."

Of course I find such boilerplate at least as noxious and noisome as anyone does.  It's like the droning of an instructional drone whose real purpose is to analyze your facial expressions for psychological vulnerabilities and sort you for cognitive and behavioral harvest.  It has a nullifying quality that is very predictable if understandable.

Yet its expressions are so outrageously simplified that they can point maybe to something better.  By painting Leonardo as a staid and avid 1960 Modernist we can "see" better what it omits, like what was formerly thought to be noise in brain scans but now is known to carry very important signal.

The blurb omits, which I must list only with extreme brevity, Leonardo's truest contributions and forays which were in poetry, fiction, prose, philosophy, politics, ethics, psychology, history, economy, theory, sociology, environmentalism, and their admixtures, and the principles by which these all must be reunderstood in order to literally mesh with his overtly expressed, palatably expert, and sufficiently financed production of technically and decoratively admired deliverables as listed in the blurb.

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After all, the US and Italy in the early decades of the Cold War were about as suspicious, paranoid, superficial, and tightly doctrinaire in their intellectual aesthetics as the embroiled principalities and city-states Leonardo lived in and by whom he was employed (that is, until he astutely fled with his corpus to France for safekeeping).  Some of that intense paranoia may even be returning to society today, with its attendant extremes, myopia, shedding of ideals, and risk of miscalculation.

Yet we need not in observing such matters get overly wound up or despondent.  The visuals in the aforementioned booklet, printed in Italy, range from ok to maniacally enhanced.  The ML in particular has been translated into a cartoonishly airbrushed advertising style.  And with a touching, almost desperate longing for optimism, the inside cover promises or tries to promise us:

"The Pocket Library of Great Art will ultimately constitute the most remarkable collection of art-in-reproduction ever published.  Each new volume, as it presents the life-enriching values that art can give, will bring you closer to that comprehensive knowledge of the great masters which all cultured people would like to have."

To such a cry for hope and sales all I can think to myself by this lakeside estuary of amphibian migrations today is "Ah Bartleby!  Ah humanity!"

In this manner I keep the little book with me as a reminder of something I obviously can't articulate.  Maybe it's just a loud or muted cry of "Ouch!" or "Darn it!" (which I suppose could be a charming euphemism derived from the days and terminology of sewing when it was done by human hands as a means of necessary repair to indispensable articles of clothing).

Or, it could be a part of the same cloud formations as the mechanism of organic, cellular, or immunoresponsive gesture postulated previously, a first response to a first utterance, both of which may become as ordinary as apple pie, perhaps even soon, or votive myrtle, or fade into the forgotten or never-expressed expanse of unrealized meaning: "My name is experience, and experiment."

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathesis_universalis


________________________________
From: NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces at lists.netbehaviour.org> on behalf of Alan Sondheim <sondheim at panix.com>
Sent: Wednesday, August 18, 2021 1:33 AM
To: NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
Subject: [NetBehaviour] Mathesis in Pain



Mathesis in Pain

http://www.alansondheim.org/count.jpg

you can count on me you can't count on me i can count on you i
can't count on you we can count on you we can't count on you
they can't count on me they can count on me they can't count
on them they can't count on them

trying to sleep i encounter polytopes again and again trying
to remain sane by elucidation, enumeration, counting on them
to give me a space to breathe for one more night. i will no
longer be eligble for certain medical tests in a few more
years because of age in other words i will be past the point
of no return.

with open mouths they await food and booster shots

                1 File(s)         78,344 bytes
                1 File(s)          1,470 bytes
ttypb 3:11am 1 2 /net/u/10/d
Testing 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 testing 1 2 3 4 5 6 8 4 5 6 7 8 9
                    1 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 1 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 1 1 2 3 4
Testing 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 testing 1 2 3 4 5 6 8 4 5 6 7 8 9
                    1 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 1 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 1 1 2 3 4
Testing 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 testing 1 2 3 4 5 6 8 4 5 6 7 8 9
     1 2 3 4 5 6
     1 2 3 4 5 6 (the day I left Maria)
     1 2 3 4 5 6
     1 2 3 4 5 6 (the day I left Maria)
               1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 3 4 5
Testing 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 testing 1 2 3 4 5 6 8 4 5 6 7 8 9
123456789*987654321=121932631112635269
simply by offering it the password 1234567890 and other hackers have been
xgnokc1234567892n1234567892m ttest<123123mjawe spell are you
1234567890 0987654321 k18% 7**#$)(*^%:telecome 8656 pts/1 1:11
simply by offering it the password 1234567890 and other hackers have been
1234567890: 2 3 3 5 3607 3803
0123456789 0123456788 0123456689 0123456669 0123456666 0123446789
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0123456789+/ C@`jLY
123456789*987654321=121932631112635269
0987654321: 3 3 17 17 379721
Other Info: 98765432
1234567890 0987654321 k18% 7**#$)(*^%:telecome 8656 pts/1 1:11
|           |   |           j2kCache_00000000-0000-1111-9999-000000000012
000.mp3 000.mp4 0000.jpg 00000000.dcm 00000000.jpg 00000001.dcm
05/06/2016  09:48 PM            56,974 00000000-0000-1111-9999-000000000010
05/06/2016  09:48 PM            55,424 00000000-0000-1111-9999-000000000011

2       grep -h " 1 " texts/*.txt | head -500 | tail -2 > zz
5       grep -h " 1 2 " texts/*.txt | head -100 | tail -2 >> zz
7       grep -h " 1 2 3 " texts/*.txt | head -320 | tail -2 >> zz
9       grep -h " 1 2 3 4 " texts/*.txt | head -800 | tail -2 >> zz
11      grep -h " 1 2 3 4 5 " texts/*.txt | tail -500 | head -2 >> zz
15      grep -h "1 2 3 4 5 6" texts/*.txt | tail -800 | head -2 >> zz
17      grep -h "1 2 3 4 5 6 7" | head -1000 | tail -2 >> zz
20      grep -h 12345678 texts/*.txt | tail -2000 | head -2 >> zz
23      grep -h 123456789 texts/*.txt | head -500 | tail -2 >> zz
26      grep -h 1234567890 texts/*.txt | head -2 >> zz
29      grep -h 0123456789 texts/*.txt | head -2 >> zz
30      grep -h 9876543210 texts/*.txt | head -500 | tail -2 >> zz
34      grep -h 987654321 texts/*.txt | head -2 >> zz
37      grep -h 98765 texts/*.txt | tail -2 >> zz
40      grep -h 00000000 texts/*.txt | tail -2 >> zz
41      grep -h 00000000 texts/*.txt | head -2 >> zz

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