Monday, October 01, 2007

Philosophy and other idle chatter.

Pop on over to "Dial M for Musicology" and check out the little Alan Watts cartoons.
There is a link there to more of 'em.
Then read Michael Shermer's article in the Oct issue of Scientific American. His column is titled "Sceptic". It's on page 44.
Then go to Soho the dog and read "Quote of the day" and the ensuing comments.
Then write a 1500 word essay as to "What it's all about" and have it on my desk by next Thursday.
This will count for half your grade for the semester.
Friday's show presented by non-sequiter in the Chapel at Good Shepard was outstanding. It was all about Latin American music. That is Modern music by Latin American composers. Not the stereotyped salsas, tangos, mambos, sambas, meringues or trumpets flashing in the sun.
Nowhere in the whole evening did any one bay "Babaloo (cy)"
I would be more informative here, but I've lost the program. I do remember that one of the composers presenting was from Mexico and the other was Cuban from Vancouver. The usual combination of acoustics and my hearing kept me from hearing much of what they said but, being that they are the "competition", I was just indulging myself in my usual petty infantile jealousy anyway.
The music was terrific.
I did manage to meet and greet several people, comrades in the Seattle music scene.
Got a lead on violinists.
The rest of the weekend was domestic. With some kind of feeble viral invasion that caused sleepiness and a bloody nose.
Next week we will bundle the family into the old jalopy and head out to the coast for a deserved rest (Meredith deserves it anyway, all I do anymore is take it easy.
We will spend the majority of the week in a funky cabin on the north shore of Lake Quinault then the next weekend at the Sou'wester in Seaview where we will be dining as often as possible at The Depot where the food is magnificent.
Reading books, eating cookies and sleeping.

Remember, today is the day that balances precariously between the first and the last of your life.
According to the Einstein's concept of "relativity", you are perfectly free to consider yourself the center of the universe, believe the world is flat or that the earth is fixed and the Sun revolves around it.

It's obvious about the Sun's path. I mean, just look at it.
The flat earth thing doesn't speak to me. I look out the window and I see tiger mountain. I see Mount baker. I see Mount Rainier. I see no flat. So maybe Einstein was wrong.
As to the center of the whatchacallit, You are the center of my whachacallit.



Blogger butch said...

As to "Dial M for Musicology", like your sterling site, the blog master has already moved on to a fresh slate, a new day, October 1, and so there were NO Alan Watts cartoons. I suppose I could have looked in his archives, but that was not in your instructions.

Michael Shermer; Skeptic
Over the past three decades I have noted two disturbing tendencies in both science and society: first, to rank the sciences from “hard” (physical sciences) to “medium” (biological sciences) to “soft” (social sciences); second, to divide science writing into two forms, technical and popular. And, as such rankings and divisions are wont to do, they include an assessment of worth, with the hard sciences and technical writing respected the most, and the soft sciences and popular writing esteemed the least. Both these prejudices are so far off the mark that they are not even wrong.

I have always thought that if there must be a rank order (which there mustn’t), the current one is precisely reversed. The physical sciences are hard, in the sense that calculating differential equations is difficult, for example. The variables within the causal net of the subject matter, however, are comparatively simple to constrain and test when contrasted with, say, computing the actions of organisms in an ecosystem or predicting the consequences of global climate change. Even the difficulty of constructing comprehensive models in the biological sciences pales in comparison to that of modeling the workings of human brains and societies. By these measures, the social sciences are the hard disciplines, because the subject matter is orders of magnitude more complex and multifaceted

Between technical and popular science writing is what I call “integrative science,” a process that blends data, theory and narrative. Without all three of these metaphorical legs, the seat on which the enterprise of science rests would collapse. Attempts to determine which of the three legs has the greatest value is on par with debating whether π or r2 is the most important factor in computing the area of a circle.

Consider data and theory first. I began this column in April 2001 with what I called “Darwin’s dictum,” which came from a quote from the sage of Down in response to a critique that On the Origin of Species was too theoretical and that he should have just “put his facts before us and let them rest.” Darwin responded by explaining the proper relation between data and theory: “About thirty years ago there was much talk that geologists ought only to observe and not theorize, and I well remember someone saying that at this rate a man might as well go into a gravel-pit and count the pebbles and describe the colours. How odd it is that anyone should not see that all observation must be for or against some view if it is to be of any service!”

Charles Darwin’s dictum holds that if observations are to be of any use they must be tested against some view—a thesis, model, hypothesis, theory or paradigm. The facts that we measure or perceive never just speak for themselves but must be interpreted through the colored lenses of ideas. Percepts need concepts, and vice versa. We can no more separate our theories and concepts from our data and percepts than we can find a true Archimedean point—a god’s-eye view—of ourselves and our world.

Data and theory are not enough. As primates, humans seek patterns and establish concepts to understand the world around us, and then we describe it. We are storytellers. If you cannot tell a good story about your data and theory—that is, if you cannot explain your observations, what view they are for or against and what service your efforts provide—then your science is incomplete. The view of science as primary research published in the peer-reviewed sections of journals only, with everything else relegated to “mere popularization,” is breathtakingly narrow and naive. Were this restricted view of science true, it would obviate many of the greatest works in the history of science, from Darwin’s On the Origin of Species to Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel, the evolutionary biologist’s environmental theory about the differential rates of development of civilizations around the world for the past 13,000 years

Quote of the Day

I don't believe people when they say "I don't understand this music, will you explain it to me?". It means they don't understand themselves and the place they occupy in the world, and that it doesn't occur to them that music is also a product of collective life. Sometimes I have a strange feeling that musical processes can be more intelligent than the people who produce and listen to them; that the cells of those processes, like the chromosomes of a genetic code, can be more intelligent than the perceptive organs that should be making sense of them. It's as if the music were miming one of the most incredible of natural processes: the passage from inanimate to animate life, from molecular to organic forms, from an abstract and immobile dimension to a vital and expressive one.
—Luciano Berio, in Rosanna Dalmonte and Bálint Andás Varga,
Luciano Berio: Two Interviews, translated and
edited by David Osmond-Smith (1985)

Lane Savant said...
Yeah, except that science only deals in dead things disassembled and trimmed to fit into simple categories.
Music contains science.
Both are functions of brain chemistry
Science is a stupid attempt to control, to get outside life.
The fact that "science" has named certain concepts "genetic code" and "chromosomes"
does not invalidate their usefulness as metaphor.
Try this; "The four bases are the chromosomes of the genetic code"
Just try it buster.


The Music is math, and math is the basis for everything, including art, and I suck at math, and Lane Savant and Doug Palmer are whizzes at math, at looking at our world with the eyes of a mathematician; seeing the logic and the soundness of structure --and yet Palmer goes further and used to be he did not ever buy a part for anything if he could "make it himself". Why buy a pre-made suspension system for one of his vehicles that he created, when he could design and construct all the parts himself? That science knows no holy ground on which it fears to tred; that I never could dig the Hard Sciences, and I felt that the Soft Sciences were more philosophy and memorization than anything else, that it pissed me off that Philosophy 450 is really math again, formulas and not concepts and narrative --that Darwin was on track, but like those putzes that created the Bohr Atom, he was hung up on a linear perception of man's history, and would have crapped his britches if he had ever found out that Cro Magnon existed at approximately the same period as more modern man. Darwin knew more about the lower forms of animals, like turtles and shit, than he did apes and early man --that we were seeds of some kind planted on this plane of existance, and some vastly superior intellects keep messing with us, and teaching us about tools, and physics, and the power of atomic and nuclear destruction; that actually Kubrick's 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY was science fact and not science fiction. That our Space Shuttle program is wearing out, the equipment, the training, the reality, and I wonder what the hell is next? And that I lost count on how many damned words this narrative essay has been or become. That the truth is out there, and Fox Muldar knew it; that there are stranger things in heaven and on earth, Horatio, and let's hope Bush allows us to survive long enough to discover them, and harness them, and utilize them for the betterment or destuction of mankind. Bush going into Iran for sure. I can feel it.

The Travel Channel keeps referring to South America, which I guess is Latin America, as the greatest place to travel in the world. The American Buck goes further. There are tons of museums, art, cathedrals, and "music" to keep us amused, to tickle our fancy, to challenge our intellects. It is really a shame that you cannot fully hear the spoken word in that Chapel, but at least you can hear the music. Do not malign the stereotype of Ricky Ricardo as the Latin lover and bandleader extraordinare. Because as he said to Lucy, "then jew will havv some splaining to do!" Are there no Cubans from Seattle. Why the hell has Vancouver checkmated us in every respect? Their theater is better than ours, and 50% of every movie made these days is done there, or somewhere in British Columbia. I think there were some Cubans doing some "latin music" at the Public Market last year. I didn't hear them, but I heard about them.

Thbere is a viralent strain of virus going around these days. Melva had it a week ago. Nose bleeds indeed? Blow softer, sir.

You make a reference to "the family". Does include Keth then? Your jalopy, that wunderbar Volvo with over 300,000 miles on it is a wonder. It really is. Those Swedes know something we don't.

Does this mean that next week, and both weekends, you will be on holiday, and the FFTL will lay fallow? God help us. Somehow we must find a way to survive.


1:29 PM  
Blogger Lane Savant said...

The cartoons are on "Dial M".
the post is titled "Zen Friday".
Two "push to play" panels.
Push 'em, play 'em they're cute as philosophy.
And impossible as advice.
Keth works for a living and doesn't go on our escapes

9:21 AM  
Blogger butch said...

Thanks for the guidance in viewing the Alan Watts cartoons, which actually are animated mini-lectures, on DIAL M FOR MUSICOLOGY.

Watts sounds like a very Zen kind of a teacher, with a heightened sense of humor. I loved the first lesson on striving for success, both fallacy and folly, and that we should remember to dance and sing along the way since, point in fact, life is music, not some other thing.

The second lesson had to do with understanding the two separate points of view on art, music, and literature, the prickly acadamicians,and the gooey spiritual touchy feely Zen types, and that the best way to approach Art and Music is with a perfect blend of both, that we should know our subject and our heart.

Great stuff Savant --Thanks


10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're "hard of hearing" as I am, then get hearing aids, as I did. The best source is Jeff Williamson at Puget Sound Hearing Aid and Audiology (or vice-versa) on Roosevelt north of 65th.
If Butch is right and you prefer to make rather than buy, then make your own hearing aids, but don't complain about hearing difficulty and then doing nothing about it.

Any way, have a nice, restful vacation on the peninsula with a minimum of rain (they get multi times as much there as on the Rainier Beach hill).

The LL wishes you the same and Keth a chance to have some fun while "making a living"; one works to live, not lives to work.


2:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those missing FFTL while its creator is on a well-deserved vacation and it is even more well-deserved for Creator's Spouse (she, like most women, has two jobs, one unpaid), I suggest visiting

2:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Continuation of the above comment, as the computer was uncooperative when I wanted to write further -- maybe because the blog name intended to be in German was misspelled in that language but accurately spelled when one wants to access it. The corect spelling should be "schmaltzüberalles" or for non-German keyboards "schmaltzueberalles".
Anyway, its entries for 25 Sept. ("XES") and 18 Sept. ("Academia Nuts" about music education at the university level) are WELL-worth reading!!


2:37 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Web Counter
My worth as a human being