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A very cunning linguism, and more

Monday, November 18th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — I can’t claim to be the originator of that title phrase — I found it in a book of literary criticism many years ago — but anyway, this post is about examples of form — content optional ]
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Twinning:

The images are striking, stunning. Under the title, The Double Vision of Alicia Rodriguez Alvisa, Doreen St. Félix‘s opening para on the phorographer’s double portraits is worth quoting in some detail:

Alvisa has olive skin, ringlets of curls, and dark, thick eyebrows. She uses different wardrobes and poses to delineate between the two manifestations of herself. Immediately, we know we are observing a psychological exercise. ..

Which woman is the true Alvisa? Is it the woman lying nude in a tub, her eyes closed, or is it the robed woman kneeling before her, a wrist extended over the water in a way that feels both caring and dangerous? Is it the woman in a baby-doll dress, glancing wistfully out of a window, at the city outside, or is it the woman in underwear, looking, with concern, at her counterpart?

Is the question itself flawed — the idea that one self should vanquish the other?

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A congressman whose name I do not know, addressing the question of whether Democrats should cease using the Latin Quid pro quo and instead say something more readily identifiable such as bribery or extortion, quoted as part of a mash by Chuck Todd on Meet the Press, November 14 2019:

Using Latin, per se, is not something I tend to do, Hallie..

A lovely piece of reflexive self-mockery, eh?

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A parallel observed:

Parallels, like the dyadic photo-pairings above, are always worth noting, and at times revelatory:

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A troubling turnaround, visible in court proceedings at Guantanamo:

they’ve really turned the detainees into martyrs and victims.

As we all know, martyrdom is a potent Islamic concept — letting CIA torture lend undoubted experiential realism to the sense that one has been victimized, almost martyred, is among the black sites’ least appealing features.

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Ooh, and a humorous apocalyptic ref:

As my friend Tim Furnish might say of that word, “apocalyptic”:

The most interesting..

Friday, October 18th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron –a quick round ’em up, rawhide of news and views — read the first one, even if you skip the rest — some of which are frankly hilarious, and darkly sad too — and towards the end, there’s one mind-blower with gospel reference! ]
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Millennial mils debate Syria:

This, from WaPo‘s summary of the Democratic debate of 15 October 2019:

There was a point in the middle of the debate when South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) had an impassioned debate about whether the United States should be in Syria. Gabbard was the most noninterventionist candidate on the stage, while Buttigieg said Syria was perhaps the one place in the Middle East where we continue to need a presence. That disagreement aside, this was two millennial veterans of Middle East wars — the only two combat veterans among the leading candidates — having that debate on a presidential stage. That’s quite the moment.

That’s a debate within the debate, and the criterion for being on that stage is a lot stiffer than for the stage-of-twelve.

BTW, hey matryoshka! —

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Serpents I:

And then this, for a serpent-bites-tail moment, with the middle slytherin’ of the snake passing through time:

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R) offers a lesser time-inflected serpent on Twitter:

Wow. We bombed our own base on purpose, because of the impulsive decision by @realDonaldTrump didn’t leave time to evacuate the right way. Is this the America you grew up believing in?

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Word choices I:

Inside that Giuliani serpent piece, there’s this exquisite word choice by a company pertinent to the investigation:

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Word choices II:

But it gets better, once you look at the Giuliani associate twins, Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas:

Snap!!

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Serpents II:

Here’s a serpent formerly biting its tail attempting to unbite it:

It’s a microcosm of the same Trumpworld shamelessness that has suddenly converted Donald Trump Jr. into an outspoken opponent of nepotism.

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Here’s a report of Bolton‘s grenade attack on Giuliani:

Giuliani’s growing headaches are political as well as legal. Yesterday Trump’s former top adviser on Russia and Europe, Fiona Hill, reportedly told congressional investigators that her boss, former national security adviser John Bolton, labeled Giuliani “a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up” by meddling in Ukraine…

That’s six, just from my first scan — seven would be enough for me to close this and post!

**

Seventh:

Oh well, as you may know, my degree is in Theology from Christ Church, Oxford, and I’ve continued my interest in New Testament scholarship while broadening it to include Gnostic, Buddhist, shamanic and other sources..

Today’s haul [well, a day or two ago, but today at the time of writing!] contains a second matryoshka instance, this one from a piece about “Secret Mark” — the gospel fragment preserved by Clement of Alexandria and disclosed to the world by Morton Smith in 1973:

Since the Swine do not actually appear to have any overlap with the adjacent story of the possessed man, the story of the Swine appears to be another intercalation or at least addition. It seems like “Mark” had a collection of unconnected stories that he pasted together to create a single narrative. His literary techniques with intercalations and framing stories (i.e. putting some of his stores inside other stories instead of pasting them one after another) give us an idea of how freely he worked with his material.

What’s really interesting about the fragment of a letter from Saint Clement containing a previously unknown section of Mark’s gospel is that it suggests that Jesus taught some form of initiation into :

And they came into Bethany, and a certain woman, whose brother had died, was there. And coming, she prostrated herself before Jesus and said to him, ?Son of David, have mercy on me.‘ But the disciples rebuked her. And Jesus, being angered, went off with her into the garden where the tomb was, and straightaway a great cry was heard from the tomb. And going near, Jesus rolled away the stone from the door of the tomb. And straightaway, going in where the youth was, he stretched forth his hand and raised him, seizing his hand. But the youth, looking upon him, loved him and began to beseech him that he might be with him. And going out of the tomb they came into the house of the youth, for he was rich. And after six days Jesus told him what to do and in the evening the youth came to him, wearing a linen cloth over [his] naked [body.] And he remained with him that night, for Jesus taught him the mystery of the kingdom of God. And thence, arising, he returned to the other side of the Jordan.

The mystery of the kingdom of God?

Some second form of baptism? In the spirit? With an entheogen, as (arguably) in other “mysteries” such as that of Eleusis? A sexual, tantric mystery (the young man is instructed to be naked)? Or an initiation into meditation techniques? Who knows. All we can say is that according to this fragment, Jesus seems to have had some deeper teaching that he revealed after seven days to the young man..

More:

  • Shawn Eyer, The Strange Case of the Secret Gospel According to Mark
  • Richard Hooper, The Naked Man in the Garden and The Secret Gospel of Mark
  • There, number seven, and it’s a humdinger! — and every one of them featuring some sort of formal interest!

    **

    Boom! Bonus:

    Hobby Lobby and a Bible fragment controversy

    I ran across this while searching for a link to Morton Smith‘s book — or was it the other way around? Anyway, this is about a different Mark gospel fragment, indeed possibly the earliest New Testament manuscript of all:

    From today’s Guardian:

    An Oxford University professor has been accused of selling ancient Bible fragments to a controversial US company that has been involved in several high-profile scandals related to its aggressive purchases of biblical artefacts.

    Dirk Obbink, one of the world’s most celebrated classics professors, has been named after an investigation by staff associated with Oxford’s Oxyrhynchus Papyri project.

    He is accused of selling without permission a number of ancient fragments to the US arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby. Its owners, the Green family, are prominent Christian evangelicals and, under the guidance of the Hobby Lobby president, Steve Green, were behind the founding of Washington’s $400m Museum of the Bible in 2017. [ .. ]

    The lecturer in papyrology and Greek literature has previously denied some of the allegations, telling the Daily Beast in 2018 that the claim he sold a fragment of the first chapter of the gospel of Mark to Hobby Lobby was not true.

    Previous reports:

  • Gospel Coalition, 2015, How Should We Respond to Reports that a Fragment of Mark Dates to c1 ?

    It was reported yesterday that a three-dozen member team of scientists and scholars—apparently including the well-respected New Testament historian Craig Evans—is working on a papyrus fragment of the Gospel of Mark, discovered as part of an ancient Egyptian funeral mask.

    Due to the expense of securing clean papyri sheets in the ancient world, the papier-mâché of these masks was made from recycled papyri that already contained writing. Evans explains, “We’re recovering ancient documents from the first, second and third centuries. Not just Christian documents, not just biblical documents, but classical Greek texts, business papers, various mundane papers, personal letters.”

    Amazing, eh? Metacognitive reading: think about it, what’s hidden in our masks?

  • Christianity Today 2018, Despite Disappointing Some, New Mark Manuscript Is Earliest Yet

    The Egypt Exploration Society has recently published a Greek papyrus that is likely the earliest fragment of the Gospel of Mark, dating it from between A.D. 150–250. One might expect happiness at such a publication, but this important fragment actually disappointed many observers. The reason stems from the unusual way that this manuscript became famous before it became available.

    I’m afraid that’s the story of its questionable sale..

    Oh dammit, Professor Obbink is a tutor at Christ Church — my own college.

  • I find JustKnecht’s Loom of Form and Meaning truly brilliant

    Friday, September 20th, 2019

    [ reposted from BrownPundits — by Charles Cameron — few things in life are as delightful as finding kinships of mind and heart ]
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    Brilliant, IMO — and hopefully of use to Ali Minai, Mike Sellers and others in the field of artificial intelligence — here the Loom is, as JustKnecht presents 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).
  • **

    Further readings:

  • JustKnecht, The Loom of Form and Meaning
  • JustKnecht, The Loom of Verbal Reasoning
  • JustKnecht, Rattlesnake Games – Introduction and Example
  • JustKnecht, Connecting forms to contexts in Rattlesnake Games
  • **

    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:

  • Derek Robinson, HipBone Games, AI and the rest
  • Scotland, Wales, Ouroboroi and DoubleQuotes

    Thursday, September 12th, 2019

    [ By Charles Cameron — a sprinkling of intriguing pieces ]
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    Wales:

    That’s a comparison, by Chris Roberts — Brexit Party rally [left] vs Welsh independence rally [right].

    A fine DoubleQuote in images, and rich food for thought.

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    Scotland:

    Advisers to the Scottish government recommended canceling protections enjoyed by wandering sand dunes in Aberdeenshire

    Sand dunes as an endangered species? — again, food for thought!

    Indeed:

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    Wordage:

    On the topic of words, these came up in a discussion on Twitter: fict, fact, fuct — the latter from Ali Minai, for a statement claimed to be factual by Trump — and fiction, faction, faketion — the latter from Cynthia, for a fiction Trump claims is true?

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    Strategy:

    “Even Frederick II of Prussia, who was in the enviable position of being strategic thinker, supreme decision maker and commander-in-chief in one, could not implement the Strategy of short, sharp wars that he himself thought most desirable.”

    That’s from Beatrice Heuser, The Evolution of Strategy: Thinking War from Antiquity to the Present, via PR Beckman posts it..

    **

    Now, how about a couple of ouroboroi?

    I hope a school child did this one, not a too-clever adult..

    And:

    That’s from the film Mississippi Grind. The character cries, “It’s a sign, it’s a sign.”

    I told you ouroboroi were significant signifiers.

    To weaponize metaphors.. thoughts as clothes, clothes as thoughts

    Monday, May 13th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — if i may be a bit presumptuous, language is a topic for the wise — in this case, how language can be used as a knife ]
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    I was reading a Vice News piece, Leaked chats show white nationalist group’s plot to infiltrate Turning Point, and was struck by the phrase “weaponize metaphors” in the paragraph:

    Part of Identity Evropa’s strategy now relies on its ability to weaponize metaphors to make their white nationalism seem more acceptable, like referring to “European heritage” — which white nationalist often use as a euphemism to mean “white” — or seizing on mainstream conservative issues like immigration.

    I frankly don’t see”metaphor” and “euphemism” as equivalents, but at least we’re looking at the language used to convey a political stance, albeit an abhorrent one.

    **

    Semioticians won’t be surprised to see that clothes can also be a mode of signalling — of conveying meaning — every bit as much as verbal language. In fact, to paraphrase my title, we can see here that thoughts can be viewed as clothes, clothes as thoughts.. Indeed, in the paragraph immediately before the one I just quoted, we read:

    According to the leaked Slack chats, about 200 members were expected to attend a secret Identity Evropa conference in Kentucky last weekend. Consistent with their brand overall, the event had a fairly strict dress code: Attendees were urged to wear “dress slacks or chinos” — no jeans. Some attendees fretted about whether they had enough time to get their suits dry-cleaned.

    Clothes as thoughts, thoughts as clothes..

    **

    Speaking of semioticians — Charles Sanders Peirce, the father of semiotics, coined the phrase “the play of musement” which I’ve been toying with recently. Here’s a play, a musement of my own:

  • There’s the music of the spheres, around and within us.

  • Then there’s the boundary layer, the troposphere, the ozone layer, the stratosphere, the mesosphere, the thermosphere, the exosphere and so forth, space, deep space, and deep deep space —

  • or if you’ll believe the brilliant jazz comedian Lord Buckley riffing on Albert Einstein — we should also add “the zonesphere, and the vautisphere, and the routesphere, and the hippisphere, and the flippisphere, and the zippisphere, and the gonesphere, and the way-gonesphere” — hey, the “way-gonesphere” has a distinctly Prajnaparamita feel to it, no? —

  • or better yet, there’s the atmosphere, which includes equally both the sphere of weather out the window and the realm of emotional tensions within a room, group or event..

  • and what Dylan Thomas calls “the weather of the heart”..
  • **

    But really, listen to the whole Hip Einie thing, Buckley gets into the 1905 Annalen der Physik and more:

    And consider the profound beauties of the Heart Sutra with its mantra, and Dylan Thomas marvelous poem:

  • Prajñaparamita, Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone utterly beyond, Enlightenment hail!
  • Dylan Thomas, A Process In The Weather Of The Heart

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