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A difficulty with DoubleQuotes 2: Benzon

[ by Charles Cameron — following on from the AI dog / ostrich, this ]

No sooner had I posted my piece on the similarities and diffrerences between two humanly similar images — one of them identified as a dog by a neural net, the other as an ostrich — that I came across my friend Bill Benzon‘s piece, also posted today, Visual Resonance, in which he plays with Photoshop filters and a couple of his own images.

Synchronicity? Zeitgeist? GMTA?


Here is one of Bill’s photos, which he claims “no sensible photographer would shoot”..

Benzon 1

As Bill says:

The setting sun is low in the sky and reflecting strongly off a glass encased building, so strongly that the camera really can’t deal with it. Also, I’m shooting through the branches of a small tree or bush nearby and they show up as a mis-shaped dark area in the left half of the shot. I like to take such shots to see what I can pull out of them.

Here’s a second version, this one tweaked with a filter..

Benzon 2


I think there’s a fairly peasily perceptible family resemblance there, no?


But then we come to this one..

Benzon 3

in which a different filter has been applied to the same image..

To my eye. this is very different from the original — almost pure jazz in fact, and yes, Billplays jazz trumpet — though the palette “seems the same”..

And then there’s this..

Benzon 4

.. which seems to me discernibly similar to both the previous and the original images, and in fact consists, if I’m reading Bill right, of an overlay of the two of them.


All this leads me to tentatively revise my formulation that “likeness and unlikeness appear to me to find themselves on a spectrum which approximates closely to identity at one end .. and absolute distinction at the other“, renaming my spectrum “same-same, same-diff, diff-same, diff-diff“.


Sameness and Difference, One and Two, Three in One and One in Three — as the writer I referenced anonymously towards the end of my previous post said:

Even angels and the spirits of men were matter by Greek thinking. In a sense, there are only two substances in the universe. One is God — whatever the substance is that constitutes God — and the other is matter. Athenagoras, a Christian apologist writing in A.D. 168, tells us:

We employ language that makes a distinction between God and matter and the natures of both.

The question being asked at the Council of Nicea was …

  • Is Christ of the substance of God, or
  • is he made of matter like us and the angels?
  • Sameness and Difference, One and Two — we’re back in the heart of the Presocratics, of Pythagorean mathematics, of the Tao — the One and the Many.

    One Another.

    4 Responses to “A difficulty with DoubleQuotes 2: Benzon”

    1. Bill Benzon Says:

      Yep, you read me right, Charles. That last image is a blend. And, yes, I’m playing with sameness and difference and, as always, with reality.

    2. ken cowan Says:

      for your enjoyment, I hope….
      “Simple Math”
      One is the true Name.
      Two are the states of being:
      I’m alive or I’m dead.
      Three, you say, is heaven above
      and hell below and this world
      stuck right smack in the middle,
      and that’s where I get hung up
      since all I can see is this world.
      I know heaven and I know hell:
      their geographies are inside me.
      So, you tell me:
      Am I a trinity? a duality?
      or just an empty zero?
      No, don’t talk to me
      about three or more.
      It’s too much for me.
      I’ll stick to simple math.
      There is nothing more
      I need know than this:
      One is the true Name.

    3. Charles Cameron Says:

      And for yours..

      Years and distances, stars and candles, water and wind and wizardry, the craft in a man’s hand and the wisdom in a tree’s root: they all arise together. My name, and yours, and the true name of the sun, or a spring of water, or an unborn child, all are syllables of the great word that is very slowly spoken by the shining of the stars. There is no other power. No other name.

      Ursula Le Guin, Wizard of Earthsea

    4. ken cowan Says:


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