The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

September 26, 2016

Social notes from all over my brain and the word of philosophy

Freud's dreamwork operations - condensation and displacement -
map in an interesting way in the generation of n-dimensional
simplices and measure polytopes. Consider an equilateral
triangle 'condensed' and drawn to an external (non-planar) point
(whose edges are equal in length to the triangle's) - a
tetrahedron is formed. Consider a tetrahedron 'condensed' and
drawn similarly to an external (non-3-spaced point) and a
4-simplex is created. Similarly, displace a square in a
non-planar direction, and a six-sided volume is formed; displace
that in a non-3-space dimension and a 4-volume is formed. "Even"
displacement tends towards rectilinear volumes (however one can
displace at any angle); condensation tends towards focus on the
drawing-out point. Of course this is an outmoded poetics, but of
interest here.

I read as much as possible in current cosmology and particle
physics; I'm also aware I'm somewhat nearing death. So I turn
towards the thought of knowledge itself; what good does it do me
to understand, say, the Higgs boson or a current dark matter
theory? What difference does it make if I comprehend or not? And
I wonder if, when some grow older, they deaccession knowledge,
just as one might begin deaccessioning books or musical
instruments or life itself? The closure at the end is always,
momentarily, muddied, of no interest or concern to oneself and

Meanwhile I continue exploring the 'word of philosophy' -
material at the url above - to almost no readership; this is
again the problem of operating, working, writing, as if online
were a viable forum (in relation, say, to seminars, classrooms,
conferences, books, journals, colloquia, etc.). Most of the time
I have between two and five readers; my theory becomes
increasingly a situation of talking to oneself, hoping I catch
my errors, and that, somewhere down the line, the material will
be collected for a more permanent form of publication, perhaps
even discussion. (It's frustrating because I'm working in fairly
innovative ways, in terms of music/sound, codework, theory,
virtual worlds. Yet the materials die in the rush of newsfeeds
and email.)

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