Buddhist logic from the beginning differs from its Aristotelian cousin, featuring the chatushkoti or tetralemma:
India in the fifth century BCE, the age of the historical Buddha, and a rather peculiar principle of reasoning appears to be in general use. This principle is called the catuskoti, meaning ‘four corners’. It insists that there are four possibilities regarding any statement: it might be true (and true only), false (and false only), both true and false, or neither true nor false.
[ reposted from BrownPundits — by Charles Cameron — few things in life are as delightful as finding kinships of mind and heart ]
Brilliant, IMO — and hopefully of use to Ali Minai, Mike Sellers and others in the field of artificial intelligence — here the Loom is, as JustKnechtpresents it on Medium:
9 categories can be used to classify how forms, meanings and the connections between them change, develop and evolve in relation to each other. Put anything at the top left of this table, then:
re-express the idea of it in a different form (horizontal movement towards the right of the loom, e.g. from Mercury the Roman god to Greek Hermes and Egyptian Thoth), or else
reinterpret that particular form with a different idea (vertical movement towards the bottom of the loom, e.g. from Mercury as god to the metal or planet of exactly the same name), or
vary both the form and the meaning (with ideas and forms both contrasting towards the bottom right of the loom, e.g. follow Mercury into the domain of trees, according to standard tables of correspondence in European culture, to the fast-growing hazel — hazel groves often being associated with gateways to the underworld, and Mercury himself being a guide to the underworld).
JustKnecht‘s Loom would be a powerful tool by which to analyze many uses of my DoubleQuotes format.
My own HipBone Games, like JustKnecht‘s Rattlesnake Games, are inspired by Hermann Hesse‘s Glass Bead Game as described in his novel of that name — and there’s enough kinship between them that Derek Robinson‘s comments on my own games and Ai may be of use, mutatis mutandis, in setting a context for Rattlesnake Games, too:
[ by Charles Cameron — logic, the arts, and technology offer an Easter, resurrection corrective, philosophically speaking, to the ruin of the cathedral of Notre Dame ]
For the terrible fire that consumed so much of Notre Dame de Paris this week, grief is great. Here, I wish to recall some of the ways in which the essence of the great cathedral has been saved.
Above, Piero della Francesca‘s Madonna della Misericordia. Our Lady of Mercy, for whom the cathedral was named, continues to shelter us all..
Perhaps the most extraordinary, as well as the most abstract, form of Notre Dame to survive fire, war, and the French Revolutionary idea — to replace Mary with the goddess Reason enthroned in her place — is the logic embedded in the theology that accompanied its building and — lex orandi, lex credendi — the worship within it, for which purpose it was designed and built
The American philosopher CS Peirce was among the first to propose a kinship between Gothic architecture and the logic of the Paris schoolmen:
Art felt the spirit of a new age, and there could hardly be a greater change than from the highly ornate round-arched architecture of the twelfth century to the comparatively simple Gothic of the thirteenth. Indeed, if any one wishes to know what a scholastic commentary is like, and what the tone of thought in it is, he has only to contemplate a Gothic cathedral. The first quality of either is a religious devotion, truly heroic. One feels that the men who did these works did really believe in religion as we believe in nothing. We cannot easily understand how Thomas Aquinas can speculate so much on the nature of angels, and whether ten thousand of them could dance on a needle’s point. But it was simply because he held them for real. If they are real, why are they not more interesting than the bewildering varieties of insects which naturalists study; or why should the orbits of double stars attract more attention than spiritual intelligences?
Erwin Panofsky‘s work, Gothic Architecture and Scholasticism, is the central presentation of the parallels. Pierre Bourdieu, who translated Panofsky into French, characterizes the work:
The parallelism between the development of Gothic art and the development of scholastic thought in the period between about 1130–1140 and about 1270 cannot be brought out unless one “brackets off phenomenal appearances” and seeks the hidden analogies between the principles of logical organization of Scholasticism and the principles of construction of Gothic architecture. This methodological choice is dictated by the intention of establishing more than a vague “parallelism” or discontinuous, fragmentary “influences”. Renouncing the semblances of proof which satisfy intuitionists or the reassuring but reductive circumstantial proofs which delight positivists, Panofsky is led to identify the historical convergence which provides the object of his research with a hidden principle, a habitus or “habit-forming force”.
How could Notre-Dame be burning? How could Notre-Dame, which had survived for eight centuries—survived plague and wars of religion, survived the French Revolution, survived the Nazis—be falling? Notre-Dame, the heart of Paris, not only a Catholic site but the preeminent symbol of European cultural consciousness, the heart of France, the kilometer zero from which all its farthest villages are measured—how could this majestic structure collapse so fast
— Oh, ruin, from the Latin ruere, meaning to fall.. John Milton, Paradise Lost:
Heaven ruining from Heaven, and would have fled
Viollet-le-Duc‘s 19th century spire, in this archaic sense of the word, ruined.
Fortunately, a few years back the entire structure was mapped with ferocious accuracy by Vassar professor Andrew Tallon, using advanced laser photography to capture detail — wear and tear included, to an accuracy of a tenth of an inch:
Now, with the building having sustained untold but very substantial damage, the data that Tallon and Blaer created could be an invaluable aid to whoever is charged with rebuilding the structure. Ochsendorf described the data as “essential for capturing [the structure] as built geometry.” (He added, however, that the cathedral, no matter what happens now, “is irreplaceable, of course.”)
Tallon and Blaer’s laser data consist of 1 billion data points, structured as “point clouds,” which software can render into images of the three-dimensional space. Stitch them together, inside and out, map the photographs onto the precise 3-D models, and you have a full digital re-creation of incredible detail and resolution.
Professor Tallon died less than six months ago, in November 2018, age 49. If you’re looking for another Easter parallel, Tallon may be metaphysically resurrected with the promised rebuilding of the cathedral he so loved and diligently studied.
It appears that the great Rosace Nord (north rose window) survived the fire —
By far the greatest blessing – a miracle – is that the Rosace Nord has survived. The South and West windows were very extensively restored in the 18th and 19th century, but the North Rose Window has stood basically unchanged for 800 years, the glass is the 13th century original.
To close with a blaze..
In January of this year, Olivier Latry, titular organist of Notre Dame, made what is very likely the final recordings of music on the cathedral’s great organ, for a recording which was released in March, just weeks before the terrible fire. The organ, as built by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll in the nineteenth century, houses some 8,000 pipes; it seems the fire has left it largely intact, though with damage to its electrical systems and wind-chest.
Olivier Latry plays Johann Sebastian Bach‘s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 on the Cavaillé-Coll organ of Notre-Dame de Paris::
[ by Charles Cameron — ternary logic is of special import because it upsets binary oppositional thinking ]
In a recent comment, I said that to connect with my various posts on three-player games, there’s this from an episode of Designated Survivor:
transnational three-way spy trade
For the record, that’s a win-win-win strategy.
While we’re on the subject of threeness games, there’s Brett Kavanaugh‘s explanation of Devil’s Triangle as a drinking game in his testimony:
Sen Whitehouse: Devil’s Triangle? Judge Kavanaugh: Drinking game. Sen Whitehouse: How’s it played? Judge Kavanaugh: Three glasses, in a triangle.. Sen Whitehouse: And? Judge Kavanaugh: You ever play Quarters? Sen Whitehouse: No. Judge Kavanaugh: It’s a Quarters game.
A “Devil’s Triangle” is a widely used term for an act of sexual congress between two men and a woman; but during his hearing, Brett Kavanaugh nonsensically insisted that this was some sort of drinking game.
Okay, these matters are interesting not because they deal with threeness as in friend or foe games in which temporary alliances (twos) can overcome single ones while new alliances can switch losers for winners — nor as in Konrad Lorenz‘s goose pecking order example, where a > b > c > a — but simply because threeness is involved — three players, three cups &c.
In recent years, physicists and neuroscientists have developed an armory of tools that can sense certain kinds of thoughts and transmit information about them into other brains. That has made brain-to-brain communication a reality.
These tools include electroencephalograms (EEGs) that record electrical activity in the brain and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which can transmit information into the brain.
That — apart from the brains themselves — is the basic tech involved.
In 2015, Andrea Stocco and his colleagues at the University of Washington in Seattle used this gear to connect two people via a brain-to-brain interface. The people then played a 20 questions–type game.
An obvious next step is to allow several people to join such a conversation, and today Stocco and his colleagues announced they have achieved this using a world-first brain-to-brain network. The network, which they call BrainNet, allows a small group to play a collaborative Tetris-like game.
That’s the gaming.
And here’s the pretty diagram that allows those like myself who have only the haziest of ideas where or what the occipital cortex is to nod sagely, acknowledging that we learn something new every day..
One isn’t, I’ve argued, even a number: one is one and all alone, and ever more shall be so. Two is the first number, standing as it does both for binary systems (duel and duet, competition and collaboration) and for many or all, as in the one and the many, or one and all..
But three — ah, three is the first differentiated number, neither two nor two plus two (aka two multiplied by two, two to its own power, two squared, four).. It stands in its own right: three.
In the number series, it offers us our first hint that there are shades of grey possible between none and one, yes and no, day and night, black and white..
Three is the tie-breaker, the umpire, balance, justice — three is the liminal number par excellence.
And one last scrap of detail:
The proof-of-principle network connects three people: two senders and one person able to receive and transmit, all in separate rooms and unable to communicate conventionally. The group together has to solve a Tetris-like game in which a falling block has to be rotated so that it fits into a space at the bottom of the screen.
The two senders, wearing EEGs, can both see the full screen. The game is designed so the shape of the descending block fits in the bottom row either if it is rotated by 180 degrees or if it is not rotated. The senders have to decide which and broadcast the information to the third member of the group.
This is all a bit primitive thus far, but then it’s also a beginning — a window on vast possibilities.
[ by Charles Cameron — colloquially speakin’, there’s a whole lot of prayin’, partyin’ & paradoxin’ goin’ on]
War on the Rocks brings us a fascinating article by Ramon Pacheco Pardo of the Institute for European Studies of Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Senior Lecturer in International Relations at King’s College London, titled The Korean Summit that Really Matters, and you guessed it, it’s not the one between Trump and Kim, its the one between North and South — and the WOTR piece has more (perhaps not unexpectedly) about the South than the North.
For my purposes, the WOTR piece opened eye-catchingly with a Buddhist and Christian doublet:
On Monday, South Korea’s Catholic Church held an unusual prayer: It prayed for the success of the upcoming inter-Korean summit. The following day, South Korean President Moon Jae-in attended a Buddhist service, also praying for the summit’s success.
That much religion in two short sentences put me on the alert —
— and only from there did the writer move to a comparison between the Moon and Trump summits:
Clearly, the Moon administration is leaving nothing to chance to ensure that next week’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un redefines Korean geopolitics. Both Moon and, to a lesser extent, Kim have been preparing for this moment for years. This is why the upcoming inter-Korean summit, not the much-discussed summit between Kim and U.S President Donald Trump, is the one that really matters for the future of the peninsula.
For a detailed look at the entire Korean situation, look at or critique the whole WOTR piece:
Digging around a bit farther afield from there brought rewards.
We already knew that Junche — “usually left untranslated, or translated as ‘self-reliance'” is ideology of North Korea, and that it is effectively a cult of personality of the revolutionary (dynastic) leader — nothing much new to glean there — but the South Korean leader’s speech led me onwards:
President Moon Jae-in has called on Buddhists to show their support for peace on the Korean Peninsula. “The Hwajaeng theory espoused by Wonhyo (617-686), one of the greatest masters in the history of Korean Buddhism, means a ‘cooperative resolution of conflict,’ and it will hopefully be fulfilled on the peninsula, as we resolve conflicts and division between the two Koreas,” he said.
His remarks came during a Buddhist ceremony on April 17 to pray for security and peace on the peninsula, with chief monks and representatives from major temples across the country, and also some non-Korean Buddhists, in attendance.
Wonhyo seems to have been something of a blithe spirit, as well as a scholar, the author of voluminous works:
[Wonhyo] tried to embody in his own life the ideal of a bodhisattva who works for the well-being of all sentient beings. Transcending the distinction of the sacred and the secular, he married a widower princess, visited villages and towns, and taught people with songs and dances.
— as one of his commentators puts it. You can almost hear Wikipedia laugh or snort (your choice) as it says:
While the Buddha discouraged such behaviors, his [Wonhyo’s] songs and dances were seen as upaya, or skillful means, meant to help save all sentient beings.
Defeating language at its own game by all available means, no wonder Wonhyo taught by dancing and singing!
That’s all very well, and may please the poet-theologian in me, but what about Hwajaeng and conflict resolution?
As a methodological approach, hwajaeng refers to Wonhyo’s relentless pursuit of ostensibly variant or conflicting Buddhist doctrinal positions, investigating them exhaustively until identifying the precise point at which their variance occurs and then showing how differences in fundamental background, motivation, or sectarian bias on the part of the proponent of that particular doctrinal position led to the production of such apparent contradictions. He never judges any proposition to be ultimately correct: it is only determined to be valid or invalid from a given standpoint. Wonhyo then lays out his own argument in contradistinction to the attached views he has previously elaborated.
It will be instructive to see how President Moon develops this approach vis-a-vis South-North dialog, and how the somewhat inscrutable Kim Jong Un receives and adapts to it..
The image in the top panel, above, shows President Park Geun-hye and Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung. President Moon succeeded President Park after her impeachment in the 2017 elections. He is shown praying, second left, in the lower panel, above,
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