2018.04.28 13:00 - Questing Isomorphism through Microscopy, Myth, and Mystic Poetry

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Bruce Mowbray. The comments are by Bruce Mowbray.




    Bruce Mowbray: Hi, Storm.

    Storm Nordwind: Greetings Bruce!

    Bruce Mowbray: amazing how this Blue Jay stays perched on my hand when I wave

    Storm Nordwind: You have it well trained

    Bruce Mowbray: apparently.

    Storm Nordwind: And their call is as raucous in SL as RL

    Bruce Mowbray: I've just finished listening to a biography of James Hillman . . .

    Storm Nordwind: Oh

    Bruce Mowbray: and I'm about to start listening to James Comey's "A Higher Loyalty"

    Bruce Mowbray: I must confess that I am having some trouble separating Jung's ideas and "Conference of the Birds" mysticism

    Storm Nordwind: Ah. I have not read the former. The latter's book has lately arrived in the Nordwind household

    Bruce Mowbray: I've been fascinated with James Hillman literally for decades . . . so when a biography came out, I grabbed it up

    Storm Nordwind: I usually prefer continuity and try not to read too many things concurrently - or else my brain explodes, and Mrs. Nordwind tells me off for creating a mess.

    Bruce Mowbray: yes, I can relate to that.  As a hermit, though, no one minds my mess... not even me.

    Bruce Mowbray: I do use visits from friends as motivators to clean up the place, though.

    Storm Nordwind: I am very good at creating messes, mostly when I cook. I am very bad at clearing them up. Fortunately the reverse is true for Mrs. Nordwind because she doesn't like to cook but is fine with clearing my mess.

    Bruce Mowbray: I tend to read several things at once . . . not only books but online essays, etc..

    Bruce Mowbray: and they tend to meld together . . . sort of like a crockpot pot roast.

    Bruce Mowbray: with the mysticism stuff, I am very holistic . . . not so dual, as Conference seems to be.

    Bruce Mowbray: (nor so judgmental)

    Storm Nordwind: As well as "Birds" I am reading Homo Ludens - at last.

    Bruce Mowbray: but I understand where the poem is coming from.

    Bruce Mowbray: OH, I've heard about that

    Bruce Mowbray: I think our friend Zen read it and recommended it.

    Bruce Mowbray: I think that's the one....

    Bruce Mowbray: man the player of games?

    Storm Nordwind: It's OK. Conference of the Birds is something I brushed by in the 70s when I was researching Abrahamic religions. I would never have chosen to read it again myself. It has no personal appeal, so I have to be careful not to appear as too negatively critical to those who are enjoying it.

    Bruce Mowbray: Ha ha. Me too!

    Bruce Mowbray: I'm also enjoying it, however.

    Bruce Mowbray: I enjoy mystical tradition and literature in whatever forms it appears....

    Bruce Mowbray: especially in art. . . and the illustrations of Conference are really remarkable

    Storm Nordwind: Poetically it is fine. As a construction I can see it as a well-crafted thing. And I see why it was written and understand its context. But I share no sympathy for its motives.

    Bruce Mowbray: did you know that Islamic art inspired M. C. Escher?

    Storm Nordwind: Makes sense

    Bruce Mowbray: Dragon is acting up today, sorry.

    Storm Nordwind smiles

    Bruce Mowbray: :)

    Bruce Mowbray: yes, he visited the Alhambra . . . and it motivated him to do his drawings.

    Bruce Mowbray: and he became world-famous for them.

    Bruce Mowbray: I have a fine autobiographical book by Escher.... or at least I think it's autobiographical, in which he explains his trip to Spain and how that changed his life.

    Storm Nordwind: There was a fine selection of Islamic art in my favorite Glasgow museum. Must be 10 years since I was there and I will never return of course.

    Bruce Mowbray: Oh wow!

    Bruce Mowbray: I have been to the museum in Glasgow with the equestrian statue in front of it. . . is that the same museum?

    Storm Nordwind: I have lived and worked in so many countries, plus vacationed in a whole bunch more

    Bruce Mowbray nods.

    Bruce Mowbray: I have lived in only one country, but I have lived in several states.

    Bruce Mowbray: and traveled to most of the countries in Europe, as well as to Panama and Canada.

    Storm Nordwind: I know the one you mean. I have visited there too. It wasn't my favorite (which was the Burrell Collection) but good nevertheless, as were the others unnamed in Glasgow. Great place for the Arts.

    Bruce Mowbray: ahhh!




    Bruce Mowbray: speaking of bluejays, I spent several hours today studying a bluejay feather... under the microscope

    Bruce Mowbray: it is the last series of images on this page: http://hermitdog.com/microscope/images.htm

    Storm Nordwind: There are whole new worlds revealed thereby

    Bruce Mowbray: oh yes.

    Bruce Mowbray: I picked a cherry blossom from my front yard on my way back from the mailbox today, and I want to study its stamens and pollen when this session is over.

    Bruce Mowbray: the pollen actually forms on a part of the statement called the "anther"

    Storm Nordwind: Your "bracketing" reminds me of books I had when young that zoomed in and out from atomic level to the intergalactic

    Bruce Mowbray: stamen* not statement!

    Storm Nordwind chuckles

    Bruce Mowbray slaps the Dragon.

    Storm Nordwind: At least you didn't say another instead of anther ;)

    Bruce Mowbray: ahhhh! "Bracketing" is a term from phenomenology, right?

    Storm Nordwind: Yes. I never could get on with that particular term as it means other things to me. But in the case of your images, you define a zoom area with a box - you bracket it - and the next image shows what is there.

    Bruce Mowbray: oh yes, that little box. . . . I had reservations about cluttering up the images with that, but finally decided to go ahead with it.

    Storm Nordwind: Meh. It works :)

    Bruce Mowbray: otherwise, one doesn't get a full perspective of the zooming.

    Bruce Mowbray: thank you.

    Bruce Mowbray: the 20X and 40X images are very, very much magnified from the original picture of the feather.

    Storm Nordwind nods

    Bruce Mowbray: but I think the feather is so fractal, in a way, that it's hard to see that. . . if you get my meaning.

    Storm Nordwind: Yes. So many things are. And even if they're not, further mag reveals new worlds, and there's no matter if it's not fractal

    Bruce Mowbray: I love to watch nature repeat itself - isographs, or is it isograms? - on various levels.

    Bruce Mowbray: I had a sort of epiphany once in Berkeley...

    Bruce Mowbray: a professor and I were walking through Grizzly Peak -

    Bruce Mowbray: the ridge of the hill above Berkeley,

    Bruce Mowbray: and she pointed out the contours of a leaf,

    Bruce Mowbray: and then the contours of a rock similar to the leaf,

    Bruce Mowbray: and then the contours of a cloud similar to the rock,

    Bruce Mowbray: and then the contours of her arm similar to the cloud,

    Bruce Mowbray: an epiphany for me - a raw kid in his early 20s.

    Bruce Mowbray: discovering the world.

    Bruce Mowbray: I will never forget her or that afternoon.

    Bruce Mowbray: her name was Flossie, by the way.

    Bruce Mowbray: :)

    Storm Nordwind: :)

    Bruce Mowbray: an unusual name. I've never met another Flossie.

    Storm Nordwind: Quite an impact, I should imagine

    Bruce Mowbray: Yes.

    Storm Nordwind: No other Flossies... unless they're a sheep of course.

    Bruce Mowbray: I've shared it many times with folks... and encourage them also to see the iso-graphs for themselves.

    Bruce Mowbray: I'm not sure if iso-graph is the right word . . .

    Bruce Mowbray: can you help me out with that?

    Bruce Mowbray: Maybe it's iso-log >>> Or something like that....

    Storm Nordwind: I think that's related to words rather than images

    Bruce Mowbray: will want I'm thinking of is a repetition of form...

    Bruce Mowbray: ahhh!     ISOMORPH!

    Bruce Mowbray: that's it!

    Storm Nordwind: That would make sense

    Storm Nordwind: "An isomorph is an organism that does not change in shape during growth."

    Storm Nordwind: But perhaps "Isomorphism" works

    Bruce Mowbray: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isomorphism




    Bruce Mowbray: that's going into the mathematics . . . I'm just talking about the generalized comparison of things that are similar in their forms.

    Storm Nordwind: But perhaps this is getting Biblical - in particular Ecclesiastes - as "There's nothing new under the sun"

    Bruce Mowbray: beautiful, and nature repeats herself . . . just as human behavior does.

    Bruce Mowbray: which is probably why we can relate across cultures, languages, and various literary and art forms....

    Bruce Mowbray: perhaps archetypal forms are working.

    Storm Nordwind notes however that whoever wrote Ecclesiastes was evidently an Existentialist and therefore can't have been all that bad! ;-)

    Bruce Mowbray: yes Ecclesiastes is one of the most matter-of-fact and realistic books in the Bible . . . right up there with Job.

    Bruce Mowbray: ;-)

    Bruce Mowbray: BAAAAD - not!

    Bruce Mowbray: existentialists lay the responsibility in the right place -- with the individual who chooses and acts, and is thereby responsible.

    Bruce Mowbray: no blaming it all on God, or human nature, or fate.

    Storm Nordwind: Indeed

    Bruce Mowbray: one might even say that existentialists accept and own their Shadows, or am I being too Jungian now?

    Storm Nordwind: I had an animated discussion once with a psychologist who seemed fixated on people's Shadow Side

    Bruce Mowbray: when I read Sartre's "Existentialism as a Humanism" (sometimes called "Existentialism Is a Humanism") it was an epiphany of sorts, for me.

    Bruce Mowbray: I've read it a few times since college days.

    Storm Nordwind: Right!

    Bruce Mowbray: a brilliant and simple outline of existentialist thought.

    Bruce Mowbray:  I think the Shadow side is very important, as I'm sure your psychologist would agree.

    Storm Nordwind: I would lean towards Camus's Absurdism rather than Sartre's Existentialism, but I would also strongly lead to Humanism. :)

    Bruce Mowbray: yes, both existentialists.

    Bruce Mowbray: or at least I've always felt that Camus was one of those.

    Storm Nordwind: At least Sartre has Simone to keep him right ;)

    Bruce Mowbray: ha ha!

    Bruce Mowbray: Simone de Beauvoir.

    Bruce Mowbray: if things are truly as absurd as Camus would have us think, then the responsibility for meanings comes back to us. . . so that would make it sort of existential, I think.

    Storm Nordwind: Camus criticized the "straight" existentialist for elusion, i.e. avoiding the Absurd by creating a myth, either of theory or religion, in the same way many others do. I appreciate Camus's wish to avoid that and face the Absurd Squarely

    Bruce Mowbray: yes, as do I.

    Bruce Mowbray: I'm getting into a phase of life, now in my old age, in which I want to re-mythologize things....

    Bruce Mowbray: I think this is Hillman's influence on me....

    Storm Nordwind: In my view, meaning does indeed come right back to us. But I wouldn't wish to be dictatorial about it, partly out of empathy and partly because it would be self-contradictory!

    Bruce Mowbray: well, I wouldn't want to be dictatorial about anything.

    Storm Nordwind: Indeed :)

    Bruce Mowbray: especially about existentialist thought . . . that would be oxymoronic, wouldn't it?

    Bruce Mowbray: you are responsible for thinking exactly how I dictate that you will think . . . ( What?)

    Storm Nordwind: hehe!

    Bruce Mowbray: myths embrace a sort of holism . . . and in my old age I like the illusion of wholeness (if it is an illusion, after all).

    Bruce Mowbray: it's not a static holism . . . it's a dynamic holism . . . like Greek gods interacting with each other. . . that sort of dynamic activity, I mean.

    Storm Nordwind: What is there, is there. We differentiate it for our convenience, but also at our peril.

    Bruce Mowbray: yes, analysis.... taking things apart, simplification and differentiation.... is but partway toward larger meaning.

    Bruce Mowbray: what I am calling holism brings it back together.... even though a myth may be required.




    Storm Nordwind: Could you perhaps start at the end... and see it all already brought back together, without all that mucking about in the process of bringing it back together? ;-)

    Bruce Mowbray: as for the Conference of the Birds, I am quite willing to suspend my disbelief.... in order to understand the dualism that Sufi mysticism seems to need.

    Bruce Mowbray: starting at the end is a wonderful exercise!

    Storm Nordwind nods and smiles

    Bruce Mowbray: maybe that's what I've been doing, after all. . .

    Bruce Mowbray: at this point in my life it would be pretty difficult to start at the beginning.

    Storm Nordwind: haha!

    Bruce Mowbray: " What am I not seeing?" " What else could be true?" Valuable slogans to remember....

    Bruce Mowbray: gets one out of oneself. . . ec - static. . . .

    Storm Nordwind: At the beginnings of the Kira Institute, they said, "Starting from a scientific worldview, what else is true?"

    Bruce Mowbray: I would imagine that you have experienced a lot of that as you have lived in different cultures. . . . getting out of previous ways of thinking, I mean.

    Bruce Mowbray: yes, I guess one has to begin somewhere . . . but what else is true?

    Storm Nordwind: Yes. Even living and vacationing in Europe helps that, but I have journeyed and worked far afield.

    Bruce Mowbray: Yes, I admire you for that.

    Bruce Mowbray: broadens one's perspective, for sure.

    Storm Nordwind: One is forced to put away assumptions, assumptions that are sometimes revealed for the first time and that you didn't know you had.

    Bruce Mowbray nods.

    Bruce Mowbray: have you ever been in a Third World country?

    Bruce Mowbray: The closest I ever came to that was in Panama . . . when I intentionally got lost on a long walk.

    Bruce Mowbray: I ran into some of the indigenous people....

    Storm Nordwind resists the urge to make an unpatriotic joke... ;)

    Storm Nordwind: Many second world countries. But probably not third world. I'd have to check the lists!

    Bruce Mowbray: I did the same thing in Venice. . . walked and walked and walked until I almost could not find my way back to the hotel or the Grand Canal..

    Bruce Mowbray: yes I suppose Panama would be considered second world, although some of the slum like areas in the city (Panama City) seemed very Third World to me.

    Storm Nordwind: Ah... in those situations you learn the first safeguard of a regular traveler... you take a sheaf of the hotel's business cards with you and you dish them out to taxi drivers every time you get lost like that!

    Bruce Mowbray: I came to an rather impoverished area of Venice, also, and was surprised to see a headquarters for the Communist Party there.

    Bruce Mowbray: taxi drivers in Venice?

    Storm Nordwind: Anywhere

    Bruce Mowbray: Anyway, I'd never seen a Communist Party headquarters before, so I inquired about it....

    Storm Nordwind: Water. Road. Rickshaws. Whatever you need

    Bruce Mowbray: and it turns out that communism was/is more popular with impoverished people.... of course.

    Bruce Mowbray: Hey, Storm, I need to be moving on . . .

    Storm Nordwind: np

    Bruce Mowbray: I have a cherry blossom to study....

    Storm Nordwind: Good to talk :)

    Bruce Mowbray: have a beautiful weekend!

    Storm Nordwind: Thank you for hosting :)

    Bruce Mowbray waves his bluejay.

    Storm Nordwind: You too. See you tomorrow at the GM?

    Bruce Mowbray: Yes, i will be there.

    Storm Nordwind waves

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