Greg Linch's Commonplace Book

Oh, hello there. Welcome, interweb traveler. Here's where I share interesting and inspiring links. I hope you enjoy!

Mallarmé would argue that this phenomenon is natural: that the language is there, ready to serve, and that ‘things exist, we do not need to create them; we only need to seize the relationships between them’ (‘Les choses existent, nous n’avons pas à les créer, nous n’avons qu’à saisir les rapports’). This is perhaps the most marked Mallarmean claim, uttered in an interview with Jules Huret at the ‘mature’ stages of his career in 1891. By this point, Mallarmé had, tortuously, achieved his dream. He was living and writing in Paris, surrounded by a horde of young disciples who would gather in his home at 89 rue de Rome every Tuesday: avid ‘mardistes’ hungry for their master’s parole. And what he did tell them was literary sacrilege: ‘To name an object is to remove three-quarters of a poem’s joy… to suggest it, that is the dream’ (‘Nommer un objet, c’est supprimer les trois quarts de la jouissance du poème… le suggérer, voilà le rêve’). Indeed, what Mallarmé is suggesting here is that we use the relationships between things to work out the things themselves. To do this, we need to avoid talking about the thing itself. We must not name it, define it nor describe it; instead, we must allude to it by its absence– only the evocative absence of the word can make up for the inadequacy, even redundancy, of language. This complex image could be likened to a spider’s web, from which the spider itself is absent. Even though the spider is not there, the web implies some anterior and inherent presence of a spider and therefore automatically conjures up the image of the spider in our minds. In fact, the spider metaphor is one of Mallarmé’s favourites, and appears throughout his work and correspondence.

Creating a New Language: The Poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé

"use the relationship between things to work out the things themselves" reminds me of Benjamin’s literary montage and "__ by ___" [what’s the phrase?] method of commenting

Alos: not naming objects and, essentially meaning, no self-reference; spider’s web; implicit

What was it that rendered his oeuvre so enigmatically incomplete? Let us come back to the first of his idea(l)s. In his words, ‘The pure work implies the disappearance of the poet as a speaker; he gives way to the words’ (‘L’oeuvre pure implique la disparition élocutoire du poète, qui cède initiative aux mots’). By letting go of the words and erasing all trace of his existence, the poet necessarily creates an impersonal poetry, devoid of narrative interference; a poetry that can write and re-write itself without ever reaching a conclusive form, perpetually incomplete

Creating a New Language: The Poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé

Makes me think of attempts by Russell, Hillbert et almto establish a “pure” and “complete” mathematics

Mallarmé would argue that this phenomenon is natural: that the language is there, ready to serve, and that ‘things exist, we do not need to create them; we only need to seize the relationships between them’ (‘Les choses existent, nous n’avons pas à les créer, nous n’avons qu’à saisir les rapports’).

I think data journalism is a positive innovation. But any innovation can outpace our existing infrastructure and cause harm. We can minimize that possibility by understanding data’s limitations and how to use it responsibly. I propose we keep data analysis simple, clean, and transparent. And even then we should exercise humility and not take our results too literally.

What should be laudable in a news organization is not a simple capacity to collect facts, but a skill–honed by intelligent analysis–at teasing out their relevance

Too much news — Whither news? — Medium

Alain de Botton quote from “The News”

Her reengagement with math, she claimed to her mother, spurred her creativity and led to an “immense development of imagination, so much so that I feel no doubt if I continue my studies I shall in due time be a Poet.”

Ada’s great strength was her ability to appreciate the beauty of mathematics, something that eludes many people, including some who fancy themselves intellectual. She realized that math was a lovely langauge, one that describes the harmonies of the universe, and it could be poetic at times. This ability to apply imagination to science characterized the Industrial Revolution as well as the computer revolution, for which she was to become a patron saint. She was able, as she told Babbage, to understand the connection between poetry and analysis in ways that transcended her father’s talents. “I do not believe that my father was (or ever could have been) such a Poet as I shall be an Analyst (& Metaphysician); for with me the two go together indissolubly,” she wrote.[xvi]

she was able to secure a first-rate math tutor instead: Augustus De Morgan, a patient gentleman and superb mathematician who was a pioneer in the field of symbolic logic. He had propounded a concept in algebra that Ada would one day employ with great significance, which was that an algebraic equation could apply to things other than just numbers.