John Dee's hieroglyph

Dee's glyph, whose meaning he explained in Monas Hieroglyphica.

Words and rituals (M. Mauss 1972)

Every ritual action has a corresponding phrase, since there is always a minimal representation through which the nature and object of the ritual is expressed, even if this is achieved only through an interior language. It is for this reason that there is no such a thing as a wordless ritual; an apparent silence does not mean that inaudible incantation expressing the magician's will are not being made. From this point of view, the mechanical rite is but a translation of the unspoken incantation: a gesture is a sign, and also a language. Words and actions become absolutely equivalent and that is why we find descriptions of the non-verbal rites presented to us as spells.

Deliberation and decision (W. Heisenberg 1958)

But remembering our experience in modern physics it is easy to see that there must be a fundamental complementarity between deliberation and decision. In the practical decisions of life it will scarcely ever be possible to go through all the arguments in favor of or against one possible decision, and one will therefore always have to act on insufficient evidence. The decision finally takes place by pushing away all the arguments - both those that have been understood and others that might come up through further deliberation - and by cutting off all further pondering. The decision may be the result of deliberation, but it is at the same time complementary to deliberation; it excludes deliberation. Even the most important decision in life must always contain this inevitable element of irrationality.

Publication at Universidade Federal da Bahia

10 October 2010

Ictus - Periódico do PPGMUS/UFBA is a publication of academic texts of the Postgraduate Music Program at Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brazil. The Oracle Machine was invited in 2009 to publish an essay on the platform. The text is now included in Ictus Vol. 10, No 2.

The language of Otherness

If we cannot separate our brain from language, and we cannot separate language from symbolic systems, then symbols appear to be intrinsically connected to our capability of thinking. Whereas the question whether computers can think is still under discussion - although surpassed by the reality of simulation, neural networks and gigantic databases - the idea of automated systems able to produce and generate thought is an ancestral dream of humanity.

Everything was known about the Universe (A. Turing 1932)

It used to be supposed in science that if everything was known about the Universe at any particular moment then we can predict what it will be through all the future. This idea was really due to the great success of astronomical prediction. More modern science however has to come to the conclusion that when we are dealing with atoms and electrons we are quite unable to know the exact state of them; our instruments being made of atoms and electrons themselves. The conception then of being able to know the exact state of the universe then really must break down on the small scale...

This strange interior of the world (R. Wilhelm 1979)

Life, however, is the exact opposite of death, and the energy of life is neither visible nor within matter; life's energy differs essentially from all other forces. The secret of existence may very well be that in addition to forces active in matter, there is the mystery that these energies are forever redirected so as to bring about something new. Causality conditions their flow and ebb, and strict necessity conditions development. By understanding these energies, one can predict today what is to happen ten thousand years hence. But the unfolding, the folding asunder in time, is only one of the forms of appearance. It is not real, for each effect, each consequence, is contained in the cause.

The corrosion of character (R. Sennett 1998)

Time is the only resource available to those at the bottom of society. ... It is the time dimension of the new capitalism, rather than high-tech data transmission, global stock markets, or free trade, which most directly affects people's emotional lives outside the workplace. Transpose to the family realm, "No long term" means keep moving, don't commit yourself, and don't sacrifice. ...

Possible (M. Duchamp 1966)

The figuration of a possible.
(not as the opposite of impossible
nor as related to probable
nor as subordinated to likely)

the possible is only
a physical "caustic" [vitriol type]
burning up all aesthetics or callistics

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