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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: January 15, 2020 09:33AM

While getting out of LDSinc, I went into a deep dive through Western History, from Sumner on up, in chronological order as much as possible, and got stuck around Quattrocento Florence (neo-Platonism has always bedevilled me). One impression that has stuck with me three decades later is that the life and achievement of Roger Bacon gets short shifted, egregiously so by writers pimping for The Enlightenment.

I was cheered this morning by reading this:

“The frescos in Assisi heralded a revolution both in representation and in metaphysical leaning whose consequences for Western art, philosophy, and science can hardly be underestimated. It is here, too, that we may locate the seed of the video gaming industry. Bacon was giving voice to an emerging view that the God of Judeo-Christianity had created the world according to geometric laws and that Truth was thus to be found in geometrical representation. This Christian mathematicism would culminate in the scientific achievements of Galileo and Newton four centuries later and continues to resonate in contemporary physicists’ quest for a hyper-dimensional “Theory of Everything.” In The Heritage of Giotto’s Geometry, Edgerton argues that the idea that the world exists as a geometric void—which is the foundation on which Galileo and Newton built the new physics and cosmology—was patterned into Western consciousness by three centuries of perspectival representation beginning with [Roger] Bacon’s missive to Clement. Thus the scientific revolution was birthed in the visual revolution of geometric figuring.”

http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/26/wertheim.php

There are many ways to leaving LDSinc, and all ways are good ways.

Human, enduring forty below zero with a windchill of -60F

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Posted by: looking in ( )
Date: January 15, 2020 11:31AM

That was interesting to read. I confess to not having much of a mathematical mind, but I do appreciate the idea of geometrical laws.

On a side note, where I live the temperature has risen to a comparatively balmy -36C!

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: January 16, 2020 09:16AM

> On a side note, where I live the temperature has
> risen to a comparatively balmy -36C!

Australia? Oh my heart goes out to you!


Math was my natural inclination in school, so naturally I ignored it and didn’t pursue it.

On perceiving: I like how the article used experts on the psychology of perception rather than straight up art historians to make a few points about how the “leaving the body” effect is produced.

There’s perception, and then there’s this:

[Bacon’s treaties sent to Clement IV is] at once a theological cri de coeur, a defense of natural philosophy, and a techno-utopian rant, Bacon heralded a coming age of flying machines and automotive carriages. He foresaw ever-burning lamps, explosive powders, and machines for lifting heavy weights. As a pioneer in the study of optics, he imagined glasses for concentrating sunlight to burn enemy camps and magnifying lenses that would enable men to read small script at a distance. But it was in geometry that Bacon placed his greatest hope. “Oh, how the ineffable beauty of divine wisdom would shine and infinite benefit would overflow, if these matters relating to geometry which are contained in Scripture, should be placed before our eyes in corporeal figurations!”

That is well before the much heralded da Vinci! And with what scant sources to go on. Surely Bacon’s “vanishing point” went into infinity...

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: January 16, 2020 09:26AM

That devil in the details, I’m afraid, is us, our will and inclinations. Amazes me how long ‘we’re born bad and must be corrected into good’ was presupposed before Rousseau put up his gentle finger and said, in effect, ‘no, our correcting is making a born good thing bad.’

Many would like to see Humankind reduced to that “special kind of beauty“, but not me. There’s beauty in our wildness. (And terror, yes...)

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: January 16, 2020 09:27AM

Meant as reply to babyloncansuckit.

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Posted by: looking in ( )
Date: January 16, 2020 11:15AM

"Australia? Oh my heart goes out to you!"

Sadly, not Australia, actually Alberta. Minus 36 yesterday, slowly creeping up. Should hit 0 celsius or above by Saturday. Yay!

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: January 16, 2020 11:29AM

Oh geez, I missed the minus sign!

Yes, yesterday early morning was abominable. I’m a bit north of Calgary. Fiddling with the extension cord to the block heater a little too long and a moment came when I felt like my soul left my body. Went back inside for a bit and then went back out less casually, more focused.

Today, much better. Still -40 below counting the wind, but better (or we’re just getting use to it). Chinook on the way, though. A balmy shorts-wearing zero (32F) by Wednesday. Even so, we’re on a plane out of here for a few weeks. Kona will be 26C!

Stay warm, and safe. And don’t forget the toque, eh?

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Posted by: looking in ( )
Date: January 16, 2020 11:35AM

I envy you your trip! However, 0 degrees is going to feel like the tropics after this week!

Thanks for the reminder, toque firmly in place! ;-)

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Posted by: babyloncansuckit ( )
Date: January 15, 2020 03:23PM

Plato is still very much with us. Unlike Mormonism (besides debunking it), you can prove geometry. There’s no dogma in mathematics. The truth is just there, which is a special kind of beauty to those who think that way. An intrinsic order to nature is very meaningful regardless of religious beliefs. Of course, the devil is in the details. Nature is rarely easy to quantify.

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: January 16, 2020 04:01PM

Plato is still very much with us. Unlike Mormonism (besides debunking it), you can prove geometry. There’s no dogma in mathematics.

COMMENT: No so! You need to read, Morris Kline's 1980 book, "Mathematics: The Loss of Certainty."

And you cannot "prove geometry", whether it be Euclid's parallel postulate or the several forms of non-Euclidian geometry. What you *can* prove in mathematics and geometry are theorems that logically follow from assumed axioms. Mathematics itself (including geometry) is notoriously NOT provable! As such, it is hard to find a secure place for it in a Platonic world.

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: January 16, 2020 04:15PM

"What Bacon was advocating was a kind of medieval virtual reality, a visual legerdemain that could be put into the service of the Church as a tool both for rekindling Christian faith and for converting heathens."

COMMENT: A bit of a reach, but interesting! Does this mean that we can look forward to a day when Christian parishioners are handed a VR headset as they enter the chapel, and experience "firsthand" the death and resurrection of Jesus? Now *that* should rekindle Christian faith and convert heathens! Even I would have to check it out.
______________________________________

Human, enduring forty below zero with a windchill of -60F

COMMENT: Plus 60 in SoCal. What time does your plane arrive?

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: January 17, 2020 02:01PM

Hey, man with the warm sun on his face:

A “reach ” in the sense that the author over-determines Roger Bacon’s actual ambition, intention? Or in the sense that Bacon himself is reaching?

In the 2nd sense, stop and consider the life of a medieval peasant. You’ve been to Europe, right?

When I imagine a peasant’s life, circumscribed by about forty miles at the most, no light but the sun and fire, illiterate but rich with communal, physical labour, I think about that one moment in that life, the one time when the peasant goes past the boundary they are born into: the once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage.

Imagine walking god knows how many days, into newness every day, and arriving upon the Cathedral. What a wonder it had to have been! The stained-glass refracting unearthly colour as the perpetual choir sings polyphony forms, not in your own tongue but in Gods. The sheer height and scale of the building itself. Etc. My goodness!

To extend a three dimensional pictorial space into this already over-whelming experience, of scenes of the birth, life, teaching, crucifixion and resurrection, in bright other-worldly colours, and to play the trick of perspectivism on the eyes that the article elucidates, to possibly induce an out of body feeling, oh my my...

...that had to have been the equivalent of an acid trip!

Then again, maybe that’s reaching on my part. Me mum always warned that my imagination would make a fool of me every time.

Cheers, Henry!

Human

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: January 17, 2020 03:14PM

A “reach ” in the sense that the author over-determines Roger Bacon’s actual ambition, intention? Or in the sense that Bacon himself is reaching?

COMMENT: I suspect both; but admittedly I am not a Bacon scholar, or a bacon lover.
_____________________________________________

In the 2nd sense, stop and consider the life of a medieval peasant. You’ve been to Europe, right?

When I imagine a peasant’s life, circumscribed by about forty miles at the most, no light but the sun and fire, illiterate but rich with communal, physical labour, I think about that one moment in that life, the one time when the peasant goes past the boundary they are born into: the once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage.

Imagine walking god knows how many days, into newness every day, and arriving upon the Cathedral. What a wonder it had to have been! The stained-glass refracting unearthly colour as the perpetual choir sings polyphony forms, not in your own tongue but in Gods. The sheer height and scale of the building itself. Etc. My goodness!

To extend a three dimensional pictorial space into this already over-whelming experience, of scenes of the birth, life, teaching, crucifixion and resurrection, in bright other-worldly colours, and to play the trick of perspectivism on the eyes that the article elucidates, to possibly induce an out of body feeling, oh my my...

...that had to have been the equivalent of an acid trip!

Then again, maybe that’s reaching on my part. Me mum always warned that my imagination would make a fool of me every time.

COMMENT: Well done! I don't doubt the wonder of it all. After all, many moderns are impressed, and, I dare say, inspired by such a scene. However, how much of this is due to the "life-like" 3-dimensional quality of the painting, and how much is the building itself, and the colors, etc. I am just not sure this meets the cost-benefit analysis as a missionary tool.

Oh, and I have had a few acid trips in my day that were very impressive, thought provoking and inspiring. But they did not convert me! But who knows; Maybe the VR-in-the-Church experience will do the trick.

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