dinsdag 22 september 2009

Tale of the tribe

I joined my dissident friends of the Maybe Logic Academy in a new forum, courtesy of Bobby Campbell .
It's called Tale of the tribe and it feels just like the MLA used to 4 years ago when I first joined. I probably will refrain from posting here in a while as I'm trying out the blog module over there. And, well, the interface seems better than Blogger's.
PS I just started courses to make me a webmaster for the end of the year, and hopefully and expert for the end of April. So maybe Drupal (and its better siblings, ModX and ExpressionEngine) will offer me even newer tools for blogging. I especially put a lot of expectancy in Google Wave which should appear at the end of September.
PS2 This is my 23rd post this year… of course.

maandag 31 augustus 2009

l'Ymagier du père borsky

Pound, Fuller, Korzybski… and Fenollosa

I read the French translation of Pound's interpretation of Fenolosa's text, "Le charactère écrit Chinois, matériau poétique"
Here's a brief and biased summary:
At first Fenollosa examines the absence of a true grammar (which he defines as the differenciation in a language of verbs, substantives etc.) in Chinese. He claims that basically, all words are born in verbs; more, he claims that in Sanscrit all words were verbs!
For example, the English statement "he who reads learns how to write"becomes in Chinese "Reading provokes writing". Here I see a connection with Buckminster Fuller's famous statement "I seem to be a verb".
Secondly F. feels the Chinese poetry to be closer to reality than ours, as it states actions, no abstract qualities. In fact according to him most verbs in Chinese are transitive and thus appear somehow a modulation of the verb 'to have' as opposed to the verb 'to be'. It seems that great British poetry, like Shakespeare's, seldom use the verb 'to be' (with the exception of the obvious Hamlet soliloquoy) , prefer transitive verbs, and as such appears closer to reality. F. claims the use of 'to be' brings forth abstraction in a language and should be kept to a minimum. Here of course there's an obvious connection with Kellog's (hence Korzybski in the title) e-prime, and maybe c-prime has a tautologic quality.
"The study of Shakespearian verbs should be at the base of every style exercize" - E. Fenolllosa

maandag 3 augustus 2009

Hoo Fhasa

I was flyering in the neighborhood
about a week after that my cat had disappeared, thinking there was little point but what the heck
after half an hour went looking for a place to hang a flyer where there was no chance he could show up
and almost pasted a flyer on him jumping from a windowsill.

(I had to lie down on the pavement for a few minutes before he trusted me enough to jump in my arms)

No idea whatsoever if there is a god (and frankly I never cared)
but I thank him. Today life is really, really good.

zaterdag 1 augustus 2009

Dove Sta Memoria

aka 'Krapuul In Actie'
1995 or 6 - 2009
Disappeared without a trace a week ago

God on the left, Kia on the right
The Yang out of the Tao, the Podge out of the Chao

Wherever you are I'm sure you're partaking in the great infinite cat

Your little friend God is looking for you everywhere (and so am I)
I've known many cats but you were the fifth angel (God isn't even close but trying), and the wisest

I'll allways miss you tiger - shitR I'll spend my days saying goodbye and godspeed as I couldn't . You were the closest to what I would call "my best friend."

Hexagram 16 'Balanced motion'
The wise man will not lose himself in short-lived pleasures.
When he notices that notion is jammed (and here my youngest cat Butsu drops the Yi King on the floor), his explosion will bring the multitude.

Changing lines

The blind man is entangled in short-lived gratification.

Events from the past have not yet been digested.

A favor is requested while self-delusion prevails.

Remain firm as a rock.

a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will

maandag 27 juli 2009

Law of fives, Hindu Cosmology, cyclic time and Kozmik Kow.

The Hindu cosmology considers time as endless and cyclic of nature, and divided into 5 ages:
Satya Yuga, The Golden Age of perfect Bliss (4800 divine years): Satya means "Truth"; also called Krta or "action".
Treta Yuga, The Silver Age of lesser Virtue (3600 divine years): Treta means "Three", the age in which the feelings and forces of good are as three parts, and those of evil as one.
Dwapara Yuga, The Bronze Age of Virtue and Vice (2400 divine years): Dwapara means "Two-sided", or the eon of doubt.
and the present Kali Yuga, the Iron Age of increasing Evil (1200 divine years).
Each and every divine year lasts for 360 earthly years, hence the present eon should last for 432.000 years. It shall be followed by total annihilation; and the, the primordial timeless ocean for a period equal to the whole length of the 4 previous ages. And of course, Kali is the Indian version of Eris, meaning "Discord". "As the teachings tell, Kali, the creator-destroyer Goddess, will appear at the end of Kali Yuga to sweep away the wasted detritus of a spirit-dead humanity".
And then it all starts again.
From Wikipedia:
"The life span of Lord Brahma, the creator, is 100 'Brahma-Years'. One day in the life of Brahma is called a Kalpa or 4.32 billion years (the approximate life span of the earth).(...)Every Kalpa (one day in the life of Brahma), Brahma creates 14 Manus one after the other, who in turn manifest and regulate this world.
Each Manu’s life (Manvantara) consists of 71 Chaturyugas (quartets of Yugas or eras).Each Chaturyuga is composed of four eras or Yugas: Satya, Treta, Dwapara and Kali. The cycle goes on for 100 'divine years' at the end of which Brahma perishes and is regenerated. Bramha's entire life equals 311 trillion, 40 billion years. Once Bramha dies there is an equal period of unmanifestation for 311 trillion, 40 billion years, until the next Bramha is created."
Oh and according to Hindu tradition, the current demiurge or Manu is said to be the seventh Manu and his name is Vaivasvat. The current Kali Yuga is only 5111 years old and started with the disappearance of Krishna (Lord Vishnu's last avatar).
We are currently believed to be in the 51st year of the present Brahmas life.
The cycle goes on forever.
Some scholars consider Brahma as the galactic center, starting from René Guénon to Yukteswar.

Lord Brahma is considered the creator, but as in kaballah the term 'god' is just a human way of dealing with the ineffable. Above any god there is the supreme transcendence called Brahman.

Alan Watts:
"To the philosophers of India, however, Relativity is no new discovery, just as the concept of light years is no matter for astonishment to people used to thinking of time in millions of kalpas, ( A kalpa is about 4,320,000 years). The fact that the wise men of India have not been concerned with technological applications of this knowledge arises from the circumstance that technology is but one of innumerable ways of applying it."
From Hindu Wisdom:
"One of the oldest writings in Vedic literature comes from a pseudo-historical god-man called Manu. René Guénon pointed out that Manu belongs to a family of related archetypal figures, which include Melchezidek, Metatron, St Michael, Gabriel, and Enoch. (...) his laws were recorded in the extremely ancient Vedic text called the Laws of Manu. (...) there is a section that deals with the ancient Vedic doctrine of World Ages - the Yugas. Manu indicates that a period of 24,000 years — clearly a reference to precession — consists of a series of four yugas or ages, each shorter and spiritually darker than the last. In one story this process of increasing limitation is envisioned as a cosmic cow standing with each leg in one quarter of the world; with each age that passes a leg is lost, resulting in the absurd and unstable world we live in today—a cow balancing on one leg."

I haven't been able to find an image yet depicting this bizarre allegory.

zaterdag 25 juli 2009


Reading the seminal Hero with a thousand faces by Joseph Campbell in the last part of the chapter 'The ultimate boon' following biased transcription seemed quite enlightening to me:
The infantile fantasies which we all cherish in the unconscious appear continually into myth. This is helpful, for the mind feels at home with the images and seems to be remembering something already known. But the circumstance is obstructive too, for the feelings come to rest in the symbols and resist passionately every effort to go beyond. The gulf between the multitudes who fill the world with piety and the truly free breaks down at the line where the symbols give way and are transcended. The ineffable teaching of the beatitude beyond imagination comes to us clothed necessarily in figures reminiscent of the imagined beatitudes of infancy, hence the deceptive childishness of the tales. Hence, too, the inadequacy of any merely psychological reading.

I'd link these ideas to the three stages of sentience according to my kabbalah teacher, Joris De Brandt:
exoteric, meaning the part of knowledge we are able to understand, using the power of our thinking;
mesoteric, the vague no-man'sland between two worlds where thoughts are grasped but in ways beyond our true understanding;
and esoteric, that which is beyond all worlds (this term is usually abused for talking of exoteric and mesoteric insights).
I see the world of myths, allegories and symbols in the mesoteric realm; similarily, but in a simplifying manner of course, the four 'lower' circuits of consciousness seem exoteric to me, the next three mesoteric and the eighth esoteric.

As a 'pataphysician I feel compelled to translate the world into symbolism. But only after the images get shattered one is able to see through the mirror and accept the true reflection.

woensdag 15 juli 2009

Big Brother and the Codex Alimentarius

I usually don't rant on social nor political subjects, but this one appears to me the European counterpart of what they're doing promoting genetically engineered vegetables and forbidding biofood in the states.
I'm talking of the insidious 'Codex Alimentarius' which should become effective in the European Union at the end of 2009. Some people in high places have decided for example that ayurvedic medicines should not be sold anymore because they haven't been tested - actually the sole reason is that they do not pay to the pharmaceutical racket, and the assholes who voted such a silly law are mere puppets in the hands of the industry.
I didn't vote for this insanity.
I and hundreds of thousands of people, maybe millions, prefer to use natural products instead of allopathic medicine which often comes with by-effects, and in reality often proves to be at best useless, at worst simply hazardous to use. I chose to trust medicinal systems that proved their value through 6000 years of Strange. use. Simply put I have Chrohn's disease and was supposed to keep on taking allopathic shit for the rest of my life. I got hooked on ayurvedic herbs and not only did I stop taking classic medicine for almost 8 months now, but I also was able to stop taking pills for my thyroid gland (half of which was removed a few years ago) which I normally would need to stay alive .
Some people in high places decided that I should not be able to survive without the use of pills.
Fuck them. I consider them criminals.

I signed the (Dutch) petition at Eliant, an antroposophical association which tried to promote the use of natural medicines even before this law was voted. Whoever feels this situation is not right might well do the same, one million signatures will probably get some news coverage and it might help things change for the better.

Strange. I intended to start reading "The Man in the High Castle" by Philip K. Dick in a Maybe Logic Academy group study. In that book, Japan and Germany have won the war and the world is in the hands of Nazis. Luckily, that's just science-fiction.

Blogroll on this subject:
Snippits and slappits: Nutricide
NWO Observer: How The Global Elite Will Control Your Food Supply
Global Healing Center: a serious treat to your health
De Volkskrant: de kruidenkiller

dinsdag 14 juli 2009

Attempts to evaluate an entropic eschatology

This post was written in April 2007.  Ideas which deserve to be cont'd…

I realized several books I have been reading after one another seem to hint towards a similar concept. Amazing how Robert Anton Wilson's influence evolves; one of his great abilities was always to me how he managed to synchronize different ideas into new frameworks.

The Toth of coincidance
I'm talking about Korzybski's idea of time-binding, in which information builds itself upon previous information, creating an ever increasing maze throughout history.
  • In Right where you are sitting nowRobert Anton Wilson elaborates on George Anderla's statistics for the OECD from 1973, examining how much time is needed for the doubling of information in mankind. Wilson created the measure of 'One Jesus' for the total amount of information available at 1 AD. The increase of information seems to happen logarithmically. According to this theory, in december 2012 the information will double every single moment, creating a straight line in the graphic, meaning somehow the 'end of the world as we know it'.
  • In The Archaic Revival, Terence McKenna starts from Alfred N. Whiteheads theories of  novelty, as  well as from the  King  Wen sequence of the I Ching, to  provide a  complex theory arriving at similar conclusions: in this theory of 'temporal resonance' the universe runs towards a singularity, a degree of connectedness or novelty instead of entropy. By placing the 'zero point' on dec 12, 2012, the timewaves seem to concur the best. The same date on which according to the (time-obsessed) Maya calender, the great cycle ends.
  • I'd connect the idea of increasing interconnection and information with Rupert Sheldrake's morphogenetic fields, as in the experiments where stupid rats breeding with stupid rats not only became more and more intelligent when put in a maze, but their offspring performed even better; one would expect such a phenomenon when breeding smart rats.
  • In a booklet about the sky The sky - order and chaos   by J-P Verdet, a small chapter deals with the order provided by sun and moon cycles interconnecting, and how eclipses were seen as signs of entropy, for which the folk rituals of 'pandemonium' were created to provide a way to escape the chaos; similarly folk rituals called 'hullabaloos' were created for the village people to exorcize a marriage with a big difference in age. Both rituals aimed at trying to catch the cosmological or sociological monsters responsible for chaos.
  • A Dutch book called Media-archief by the collective authors Billwet, deals with media theories. Two essays particularly seemed relevant here: the first about Marshall McLuhan, the second about Jean Baudrillard.
  • Finally I'd link the whole paradox of entropy increase - decrease through time with the metaphor of Jacob's ladder in kaballah.

The self needs to dig deep into the earth before being able to elevate. This could mean that first a movement towards individuality and order is needed before going back towards a spiritual interconnected self and entropy. Or in other interpretations, first a logaritmic evolution towards entropy (viz the chaotic thought in a neural internet) and earthgroup spirit, followed by increasing order and spiritual individuality… Or maybe the hodge and the podge evolve both at the same pace, faster and faster towards a point zero - and the zero point could very well take place in 2012 - where similarly to the dichotomy in kaballah between good and evil, cause and effect, one would suddenly realize entropy and ectropy are just two aspects of the same beast. La bête imprévue Clinamen?

More 'pataphysics online

I stumbled upon several blogs of 'pataphysical interest.

Zombie 'Pataphysics
The first and best is Zombie 'Pataphysics, and it is no surprise it is hosted by a prominent (les membres du Collège de 'Pataphysique sont des hélianthes) member of the collège, namely the Régent of the chair of Catachemistry and Computational Metallurgy , Brian Reffin Smith.

clipped from www.drunkenboat.com

Zombie Art: As movements such as OuLiPo in literature and OuPeinPo and Systems Art in the visual arts have demonstrated, it can be immensely liberating to have to follow rules or be bound by constraints. But these processes have not been taken far enough. The ultimate constraint is that one manifests no qualities at all, one accepts that one is, or tries to become at least has a sort of Taoist faith in the possibility of imagining being a Zombie. At a stroke, problems of content are swept aside or put on hold, as pure form and beyond that, the intention to have no intention, are made manifest. And how does one manifest pure form and an absence of content ? It's simple Zombies do it all the time.

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I liked the description of zombie 'pataphysics on the excellent Migrating Reality blog.

Whilst not wishing to reduce the importance and stresses of geographical migration, there is another, internal migration which consists in the human consciousness - until this latter is (let us say theoretically, potentially a thought experiment destroyed by accident or design, and one becomes one of the living dead, simultaneously alive and dead, not in-between: both 1 AND 0, true AND false. Jacques Derrida argued that in-between life and death, true and false, were the living dead. It is perhaps preferable to imagine something more like a cat-like state not only BOTH asleep and awake, but also in a box with a weapon of cat destruction a la Schrödinger. Quantum physics rears its head, ugly AND beautiful.

It is argued that the Zombie state is potentially rich and creative, and is indeed the undeclared basis of creative activity in groups such as OuLiPo and OuPeinPo, sheltering under the umbrella of the College de 'Pataphysique, Paris.

The p-Zombie is a philosophical construct mainly attributed to David Chalmers, and used by times in debates about consciousness studies, to which your blogger has occasionally contributed. Briefly, the argument I think goes like this:
Imagine an entity indistinguishably different from a human being. It looks like one, walks and talks like one, reacts like one - there is no way of telling it's not a human. But it's not, it's a Zombie, without "qualia" or real human consciousness. The argument, to simplify, says that if you can imagine such a being, then you accept that the essence of human consciousness, perhaps the mind or "soul", is NOT a product of the biological machine, but something else.
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OuPeinPo, of which I am a member, exists to offer ways of using constraints in art to other artists and the general public. We don't, as a group, make art per se, but rather illustrate the methods, constraints and systems we discover, invent or celebrate.
The question then arises, where can you find or how can you make neutral, value-free images etc., to be the raw material for these processes? The answer is to assert, as we do, that all the images we use were originally the result of Zombie endeavour, and hence have no real qualities inherent in them. You can read into them what you yourself like, but that's just your choice - the actual work had none.
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Apart from a strange obsession with the works of Kim Jong-Il as the apotheosis of Zombie art, this blog also features lots of Fortean imagery in the form of simulacra (from Shakespeare's face revealed in badly stained knife to Pope's face in a used condom) and very Maybe Logician ouvertures into the field of combined quantum 'pataphysics.

Expecting the Unexpected, and Occam's Razor

The brain habituates itself to the expected, it is the dangerous unexpected towards which much of its cognitive apparatus is geared.

One hears the clock stop ticking.

Did Joan expect Maxwell's silver hammer? Well, we know that she was quizzical/studied pataphysical science in the home" so it is extremely probable.

Let us simply assert, with Derrida, that it is possible for an object (or, more generally, an event) to be both expected and unexpected; the waveform collapses down to - incredibly! - a paradox when examined.

The problem here is of course encapsulated by Goedel's theorem, which (vulgarly) states that there will always be a surprise.
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Either following Urbain Le Hennuyeux as Regent of this particuliar field of study or acting as the zombie counterpart of the same after his apparent (hence, only physical) demise. You can read more on the past regents of the Collège on Fatrazie, and more on the structure of the Collège at its own website (yours truly being catalogued into the Sous-Commission des Onomonymes).

The Pataphysics of shit
A deep study into the brownian morpho-scatological fields of the cloaca maxima. Excellent text by Kane X. Faucher on the rhizomic Azimuté blog.

I hope to illustrate how certain robust theoretical considerations have allowed artists such as Manzoni to address the relationship between excreta, class, utility, value, and production. Following this, I hope to ground a prolegomena to a more comprehensive and global view of a theory of abjection in both art and contemporary theory.

Our first consideration ought to be this: How does 'fecal art' and shit in general relate to pataphysics? How can one construct a pataphysics of shit? In the 'scategories' of metaphysics, wherein the specie appear as anomalous excesses deposited there by the exceptionality of emergences, and the forma is merely an intestinal tube pushing forth what is sought to be shaped, pataphysics shares a borderline with 'scat art'.

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This text appears to me as one of the more elaborate theoretical studies I've read on the meeting point between 'Pataphysics and Situationism, especially in connection with the works of George Bataille and Gilles Deleuze. Really, clipping it digests the body of text, one should smell the real deal.

Paul Avion's site features his invention, the pataphor (see my previous post as well).

clipped from www.paulavion.com
Jenny is eleven years old. She lives on a farm in Luxembourg, West Virginia. Today Jenny is collecting eggs from the henhouse. It is 10 a.m. She walks slowly down the rows of cages, feeling around carefully for eggs tucked beneath clucking hens. She finds the first egg in number 6. When she holds it to the light she sees it is the deep tan of boot leather, an old oil-rubbed cowboy boot, creased with microscopic branching lines, catching the light at the swelling above the scarred dusty heel, curled at the cuff, bending and creaking as the foot of the cowboy squirms to rediscover its fit, a leathery thumb and index prying at the scruff, the heel stomping the floor. Victor the hotel manager swings open the door and gives Cowboy a faint smile.
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Academie Philostatique
This wonderful site in French features a kind of meta-collège, collecting different imaginary colleges like the

Navigation Lyricopathologie Astropétique, (Chef de Travaux Pratiques), Pompagogie, Pomponiérisme et Zozologie Philostatique des Sciences Inexactes, Sidérodromanie, Catachimie Infra-nucléaire Photosophistique, Hémérographie & Hémérodromie, Philostatique Générale & Clinique de Rhétoriconose, Sciences Sociales & Culinaires, Anodin & Cathodique Tropes & Figures (Travaux pratiques de décervelage), Histoire, Historiographie, Historiophotographie Jarryques, Psyllagorologie, Éristique Militaire & Stratégique Littéraire & Figurée (Travaux pratiques de Belge à Brazzaville), Plasmactopratie Objective & Comparée, Pornosophie Médiate & Immédiate de Zozologie Shakespearienne
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and hundreds more. It appears like a paralel universe Collège de 'Pataphysique which makes it even more appealing to me. Reminds me a bit of the Discordian effect of becoming a Pope and the thrill of starting ones own cabal. I won't quote more of it - if you digg French this site will entice you into starting your own college.
Features a study in images on the healthyness of alcohol.

This month's word: Pataphor

Assumptions based on assumptions
The Pataphor seems to me a meeting point between Maybe Logics, Forteana, quantum physics and 'Pataphysics. It's a term coined by writer / musician Pablo Lopez for a second degree of separation beyond the metaphor.

clipped from en.wikipedia.org

As Jarry claimed that 'pataphysics existed "as far from metaphysics as metaphysics extends from regular reality," a pataphor attempts to create a figure of speech that exists as far from metaphor as metaphor exists from non-figurative language. Whereas a metaphor is the comparison of a real object or event with a seemingly unrelated subject in order to emphasize the similarities between the two, the pataphor uses the newly created metaphorical similarity as a reality with which to base itself. In going beyond mere ornamentation of the original idea, the pataphor seeks to describe a new and separate world, in which an idea or aspect has taken on a life of its own

The pataphor may also be said to function as a critical tool, describing the world of "assumptions based on assumptions," such as belief systems or rhetoric run amok.

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clipped from en.wikipedia.org


Tom and Alice stood side by side in the lunch line.


Tom and Alice stood side by side in the lunch line, two pieces on a chessboard.


Tom took a step closer to Alice and made a date for Friday night, checkmating. Rudy was furious at losing to Margaret so easily and dumped the board on the rose-colored quilt, stomping downstairs.

Thus, the pataphor has created a world where the chessboard exists, including the characters who live in that world, entirely abandoning the original context

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More on pataphors:

"So what should I believe in?"

"How much more appropriate to see our universe not as something governed by laws but as a place where anything at all can happen.
Everything that occurs on our world is exceptional, a freak accident -- gravity, matter and energy, consciousness -- only some exceptions are more common than others, a fact that doesn't speak much for them, since, at base, they aren't even exceptional exceptions! In this version of the world the trapeze artist always misses -- plans on missing, is expected to miss. Every time he falls into the net is presence is recognized on earth by showers of oohs and ahhs. Every apple that drops is another blown stunt. We see a lot of our man Gravity, and no wonder: he is a lousy flyer. He's so bad, in fact, we've mistaken his clumsiness for skill."

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The phenomena we never see are the most skillful. The ones that make lettuce grow hair, bowling bowls lose holes and turn suitcases green. They pass peacefully over our heads, falling to earth once every million years, perhaps even more rarely.

if my life until now has been maintained by accident -- it could take a long time for that accident to be reinstated.

But how are we supposed to study these exceptions? And what about these imaginary solutions?

"For physical problems we shall employ physical solutions. Pataphysicians always come equipped. And it just so happens that I have remembered to bring -- by means of our Science of 'Pataphysics --" he took something from a back pocket: "a hairpin! Now watch as I demonstrate how this instrument greatly facilitates the opening of doors."

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maandag 15 juni 2009

Treasure hunt in an island of books

I went to Damme last Sunday. The town organises a book fair every second Sunday. Not much to find on the market, all mass products and residues of an obsessive-compulsive society (and it's a pity for all those trees). But I ended up in a little bookshop I hadn't noticed before, a bit remote from the main road.

The first book I discovered was "Encyclopédie des farces et attrapes et des mystifications" by two highly respected pataphysians, François Caradec (recently deceased) and Noël Arnaud. I didn't buy it yet a it's quite rare, hence it has a rather high pricetag. But I intend to go back. This thick book is a magnificent collection of hoaxes through the history by two erudite writers.

What I did buy though, is a French translation of Ezra Pound's "The Chinese written character as a medium for poetry" based on Ernest Fenollosa's writings. These were Pound's starting point for his ideogrammatic or ideogrammic method.

Oh, and I was happy to get my hands on a Cahier du Collège de 'Pataphysique from 1955 (from clinamen 82 E.P.) almost for a giveaway price. With a text by the founder Vice-curator Dr. Irénée-Louis Sandomir. And Raymond Queneau drawing the french language like digestive systems, and one theatre piece of Ionesco I hadn't heard of, "l'Avenir est dans les Oeufs". Yummy.

woensdag 20 mei 2009

Wheels within wheels

Wronski's prognometer - a mathematical oracle


I read about Jozef Hoëné Wronski in the first issue of Les Cahiers de l'Institut (2008), a French magazine dedicated to my favourite subject, the Fous littéraires or litterary insanity - sometimes called kooks. It strikes me how in the drawing by Felix Valotton below he looks like Baudelaire!


It seems Wronski (born Hoëné, 1778-1853) was and still is considered not only a respected metaphysician in Poland, but a respected mathematician, lawyer, physicist and inventor as well. Outside of Poland however generally he is considered completely bonkers. He joined general Kosciuszko in his fight for Polish independance in 1794. They were taken prisoner by the Russians who committed a massacre amongst the population of Warsaw. At age 22, after an early succesful but forced career in the Russian army he started to conceive the idea of a global philosophy. At 32 he moved to Paris and remained there until his death, writing exclusively in French, publishing over 100 books sometimes as Hoëné, sometimes under his nom de plume Wronski but usually as Hoëné Wronski (without a first name) and left even more manuscripts. He studied Kant but Jacob Boehme as well and was familiar with Gnostic and caballistic teachings. He took upon him to reform not only philosophy, but economics, law, psychology and music - in short, he wanted to offer a complete paradigm shift to human knowledge.

After joining the team of the astronomic observatory in Marseille in 1803 he developped a complex theory concerning the structure of the universe. He started to send letters to reputed scientists of his day, many of whom replied. The main base of his theory was of Pythagorean nature, seeing numbers as the essence of life, the universe and everything. He published his results, which were generally dismissed as total rubbish, yet some honorable scientists gave him favorable reviews. More and more he developped an arrogant, paranoid personality. From then on he wanted to apply philosophy to mathematics. In 1809 he made plans to develop a device to determine longitude at sea, but his address "'On the Longitude" to England's Board of Longitude was deemed too philosophical. The Board was unconvinced. Later on he tried to appeal to the Royal Society concerning the value his theories on hydrodynamics to no effect. Both attempts ended in vigorous arguments, one of his hallmarks. In 1812 he wrote "'Résolution générale des équations de tous degrés" claiming to show that every equation had an algebraic solution hereby contradicting Paolo Ruffini's proof (the latter is nowadays accepted). In 1818 Wronski started giving metaphysical lessons to Pierre Arson, a rather naive banker who wanted to learn "'the Absolute" which Wronski claimed to have discovered, as the "knowledge of truth reached through the human reason". At the end of the course, Wronski asked for a tantalous 200.000 francs. The banker refused to pay, Wronski went to the courts and lost. He was ruined but unimpressed. Strangely during the trials Arson was approached by a secret society. He never could make sense of their relationship with Wronski, but later on some thought they were either French Martinists or members of a Polish Saturnian lodge. In 1821 he developed the "Universal Hoëné-Wronski series" in mathematics. Actually after he brought forth his "highest law", giving a general rule to calculate a series of coefficients, these were officially renamed "Wronskians" in mathematics. Starting from 1822 he lost his remaining marbles, with attempts to build a perpetual motion machine, to square the circle and especially he started the construction of a machine to determine the future, which he named the Prognometer. In 1827 he published his "Canons de logarithmes", offering in six compact pages all the common logarithms structured in tables. This might be considered the first attempt at an universal calculator. From 1830 on he had started to imagine several steam-driven vehicles dubbed 'dromads' to compete with the railways which he hated. His Dynamogenic System allowed the engine to dispense with the use of rails. None of these engines were manufactured although at one point he could have become rich had he kept the rights on his railed prototype for the Messageries Générales de France. Somehow he considered it his duty to publish all technical specifications to the engine so the company had no need for him anymore. At the same time he started to consider himself an apostle of Messianism and wrote several books on the subject. In 1837 he introduced mysticism in politics, with his book "the secret politics of Napoleon as the starting point for a world morality". The last three years of Wronski's life were spent in total misery, putting all his remaining energy into initiating a young man named Alphonse-Louis Constant whom he introduced to the world of mathematics and the occult philosophy. Soon the young man would take the alias Eliphas Levi and would become one of the most famous caballists of the 19th century.

Wronski maintained that the goal of man was to become god-like and veiled his ideas under occult layers of mathematics. Because of the complexity of his writings, using mathematical expressions to develop metaphysical ideas, his thoughts often are very hard to understand. But as excentric as he might have been, Wronski never gave up searching and a few of his mathematical ideas are considered nowadays quite valuable. Another important theory of Wronski was that "man could create reality from the total of the impressions of his senses", which seems a very sane statement to this Maybe Logician. The following words are written on his grave (in French): The search of truth is a testimony to the possibility of finding it.

The Prognometer, an infinity probability drive?

Only one prognometer or prognoscope was built. Wronski trusted his secret only to Marquis Sarrazin de Momferrier, whose son-in-law claimed to be the last grandmaster of the Templars. It was bought long after Wronski's death in 1873 in a junk shop by his pupil Eliphas Lévi, who wrote that Wronski "dared to involve himself with inventions, he constructed mathematical machines, revolving axes which were put together in an admirable fashion. But his machines would not work because the copper and bronze of his devices won't acknowledge the truth of his philosophies... His most fevered and most kept investigation was the invention of a divinating machine, also called prognoscope, that calculated all probabilities and drafted equations of all occurrences that had happened in the past, happened now and would happen in the future, in order to establish all possible values." At the base of the prognometer was the desire to find a way to calculate all probabilties and as such, predict certain trends in the history of mankind. Levi: "Nobody saw the design of his machine, but he let the workmen construct the machine in bits and pieces, and being a bit of a mechanic, put the parts together himself". Actually Levi had believed the inventor had dismantled all his machines to sell their copper, and was extremely excited by his discovery. According to his description, it consisted of two metallic globes revolving around a cercle in which small boxes contained, hand-written by Wronski, the principles of all sciences. Structured according to their analogy, the mathematical representation of the same sciences is drawn on a larger, central sphere that can turn around on two axes. It looks a bit like a representation of a planet with two moons circling around it. On one of the smaller globes there's a pyramid (the divine knowledge), on the other a pyramid topped by a hexagram (the human knowledge), turning together but always opposed. Levi: "Man might tour the totality of sciences, he'll never meet god who is always hidden by the central globe, the thickness of all knowledge. At the same time god provides man with balance even in his largest errors".
The god-sphere could be opened and inside was written "All that must be has been, is and will be". Surrounding this globe were four letters in copper, A, B, X and Z, according to Levi equivalent of Yod, He, Vau and He, and two animated metallic arms showing "the proportion of what is above compared to what is below".


The sphere of human knowledge showed the sign of Salomon on top of the pyramid. Towards the central sphere a pentagram is pointed "as a symbol of human autonomy".


When Levi touched the large central globe, "the globe made out of bismuth opened itself and revealed on the inside another globe that was also covered with mathematical equations". Both could revolve both around the horizontal and the vertical axe. The central wheel showed all the astrological signs and was divided into 32 little boxes. On the outside of every little door was written the name of three sciences and inside the boxes were written the fundamental axiomas for each and every one them. A looking glass was needed to be able to read those. Still according to Levi, two sentences were written on the side of the circle: "All sciences are the degrees of a circle revolving on the same axe" and "The future is in the past, but not entirely into the present". The following drawing is by Levi:


Levi died two years after his discovery. The above etching is the only original image of the Prognometer. No one knows what happened to the device.

In 1906 hermeticist Alexandre de Saint-Yves d'Alveydre (1842-1909), famous for being the first westerner to write about the realm of Agartha and to become the teacher of Papus, constructed his own version based on Wronski's design, the Archeometer. This one was even patented.


In 1903 he had written a 500-page book " L'Archéometre, Clef De Toutes Les Religions et De Toutes Les Sciences De L'Antiquité" describing its functioning. On this disk were shown correspondences between numbers, letters, colors and musical notes, the signs of the zodiac and of the planets. Also included was the author's own metric system comparable to J.W. Keely's musical charts below, destined to reform sonometry.




Piotr Pragacz, Notes on the life and work of Jozef Maria Hoene-Wronski

Le prognomètre de Wronski

Theos talk archives

Jean Prieur: "L'Europe des médiums et des initiés"

Hoëné Wronski: "Pétition aux deux chambres législatives de France sur la barbarie des chemins de fer et sur la réforme scientifique de la locomotion"

Three complete books by Wronski (in French) on the Internet Archive:

Hoëné Wronski: "Secret politique de Napoléon, comme base de l'avenir moral du monde"

Hoëné Wronski: "Philosophie absolue de l'histoire; ou, Genèse de l'humanité" Hoëné Wronski: "Nouveaux systèmes de machines à vapeur fondés sur la découverte des vraies lois des forces"

Arkologie fondamentale #19 (1999), pp 6-10

Paul Chacornac: "Eliphas Levi, Renovateur De L'Occultisme en France", 1926

Francesco Lamendola: "Wronski e il Messianismo"

Desiderio Valacco: "From Zarathustra to Ken Wilber. Lives and works of prominent mystical philosophers"