Simon Magus and the Six Roots of Boundless Power

September 9, 2017

Through the darkness of future’s past,
The magician longs to see.
One chants out between two worlds…
“Fire… walk with me.”

— Mike from Twin Peaks

As we had a taste of Christian Eschatology last time we now nibble on Christian Gnosticism. Simon was mentioned in the bible and in apocryphal works was purported to be a sorcerer of some renown. He developed a philosophically idealistic system wherein six roots of mental aspects issue from a fundamental principle of “Fire”:

  • Mind (Heaven)
  • Voice (Sun)
  • Reason (Air)
  • Reflection (Water)
  • Name (Moon)
  • Thought (Earth)

These six roots form three pairs:

  • Mind [Nous] – Thought [Epinoia]
  • Voice [Phone] – Name [Onoma]
  • Reason [Logismos] – Reflection [Enthumesis]

Above is a representation of these six roots forming their three pairs or syzygies. Most of Simon’s teachings have been either been lost or perhaps even degraded from their original meaning. Do I waste both my time as well as yours to perpetuate this esoteric nonsense? Or is there some merit in it, if only for idle amusement?

Further Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Magus

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simonians

https://hermetic.com/sabazius/simon

http://gnosis.org/library/grs-mead/grsm_simon_magus.htm

http://www.katinkahesselink.net/his/Simon-Magnus.html

http://www.sacred-texts.com/gno/fff/fff21.htm

G. R. S. (George Robert Stow) Mead / Simon Magus: His Philosophy and Teachings

Notes:

Sometimes Mind is called Reason, and then Reason is called Judgment.

Greek philosopher Heraclitus also thought that fire was the fundamental element.

http://www.heraclitusfragments.com/categories/fire.html

Simon was thought to have written the book “The Four Quarters of the World”, now lost to us. Perhaps it was in the Library of Alexandria?

Perhaps Mike’s spell from “Twin Peaks” is inspired by Simon Magus? See

https://equivalentexchange.wordpress.com/2017/09/04/twins-peaks/

Compare the six roots to de Bono’s six thinking hats:

https://equivalentexchange.wordpress.com/2017/02/20/the-six-thinking-hats-of-edward-de-bono/

[*9.222, *9.223]

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The Four Last Things

September 6, 2017

Over the years, there has been much religious consideration of the four last things in Christian Eschatology. They are

  • Death
  • Judgment
  • Heaven
  • Hell

Many books have been written and many paintings have been painted. In my project to present every fourth thing, I imagine I’ll come to them eventually, but why wait until then? Or maybe I’m thinking of the “Last Four Things”.

Actually, I’d much rather play the video game on my Mac, because it looks like a lot more fun. Plus it uses classical music for a background soundtrack and images from Hieronymus Bosch’s paintings, such as the Garden of Earthly Delights. When will the Mac version be available? Anyone?

Further Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_last_things

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_eschatology

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Last_Things_(video_game)

http://joemcrichardson.com/fourlastthings/presskit.html

Robert Southwell / A Four-fold Meditation of the Four Last Things

[*10.32]

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I Dare You!

September 6, 2017

In 1931, William H. Danforth published the book “I Dare You! Four fold development: stand tall, think tall, smile tall, and live tall.” Perhaps he is better remembered as the founder of the Ralston Purina Company, maker of many fine products and particularly of Chex Cereals. Indeed, Danforth saw life as a type of checkerboard, such that four key components (or “squares”) – the mental, the physical, the social, and the religious – needed to be in balance in order to achieve fulfillment and success in life.

His book was the expression of his personal philosophy of “Four-square” personal development, and was a early example of the “self-help” style of book that has become so popular. Success! Fulfillment! So much can become yours if you take chances and work hard. If only life was that simple! His four aspects of personal development are

  • Physical: Stand Tall!
  • Mental: Think Tall!
  • Social: Smile Tall!
  • Spiritual: Live Tall!

Further Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_H._Danforth

William H. Danforth / I Dare You! Only $1 in Kindle format from Amazon! Worth every penny! Don’t delay, buy today!

[*10.31]

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Twin Peaks

September 4, 2017

Through the darkness of future’s past,
The magician longs to see.
One chants out between two worlds…
“Fire… walk with me.”

— Mike from Twin Peaks

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A Solar Eclipse

August 21, 2017

Further Reading:

https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/science

https://www.google.com/webhp?hl=en&ictx=2&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj7j5SKi-jVAhUKJCYKHU-aAs4QPQgD

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Four Philosophies, V2

August 9, 2017

Thinking some more on Popper’s Three Worlds, here is a set of philosophical disciplines that seem to resonate with the themes of this blog.

  • Phenomenology: the philosophical study or theory of phenomena as distinct from that of the nature of being
  • Epistemology: the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope
  • Ontology: the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being
  • Axiology: the philosophical study of the nature of value and valuation, and of the kinds of things that are valuable

I believe that one could also make a case for associations with phenomenology to the subjective, epistemology to the objective, ontology to the substantive, and axiology to the normative.

Further reading:

https://www.quora.com/What-does-ontology-epistemology-and-axiology-mean

http://cognitive-edge.com/blog/phenomenology-epistemology-ontology/

(Note that the author of the article above, David Snowden, is the creator of the Cynefin Framework.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenomenology_(philosophy)

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/phenomenology/

http://www.iep.utm.edu/phenom/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemology

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/epistemology/

http://www.iep.utm.edu/epistemo/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontology

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logic-ontology/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axiology

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/value-theory/

https://equivalentexchange.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/four-philosophies/

[*10.20]

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A Digital Universe, V2

August 9, 2017

A digital universe – whether 5 kilobytes or the entire Internet – consists of two species of bits: differences in space, and differences in time. Digital computers translate between these two forms of information – structure and sequence – according to definite rules. Bits that are embodied as structure (varying in space, invariant across time) we perceive as memory, and bits that are embodied as sequence (varying in time, invariant across space) we perceive as code. Gates are the intersections where bits span both worlds at the moments of transition from one instant to the next.

— George Dyson, from Turing’s Cathedral

Further Reading:

George Dyson / Turing’s Cathedral: the origins of the digital universe

Notes:

Embodied as Structure, Perceived as Memory

Invariant across Time: ¬ΔT
Varying in Space: ΔS

Embodied as Sequence, Perceived as Code

Varying in Time: ΔT
Invariant across Space: ¬ΔS

https://equivalentexchange.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/a-digital-universe/

[*7.82, *7.83, *7.153, *10.14]

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The Prisoner’s Dilemma

August 3, 2017

A simple example from game theory shows how two rational individuals might not chose to cooperate if the result for not doing so might be in their favor.

Two prisoners are asked for more information about their common crime. They can each remain silent and thus collude with each other. Or they can confess their participation and thereby incriminate the other prisoner.

Unfortunately there is already enough evidence against them for a sentence, so if they both remain silent they will still serve some time (say 1 year each). However if they both confess they will both serve more time (say 2 years each). And if one confesses but the other remains silent the confessor will serve no time but the betrayed one will serve an even longer sentence (say 3 years)!

The thing to notice is that each prisoner will serve less time if they defect and betray the other prisoner than if they cooperate with them. You might even think the sentences are calculated to promote betrayal!

Further Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoner%27s_dilemma

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/prisoner-dilemma/

William Poundstone / Prisoner’s Dilemma: John Von Neumann, game theory, and the Puzzle of the bomb

Note passage from SEP:

The new story suggests that the Prisoner’s Dilemma also occupies a place at the heart of our economic system. It would seem that any market designed to facilitate mutually beneficial exchanges will need to overcome the dilemma or avoid it.

[*10.23]

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A Study in Synthesis

July 13, 2017

An early work (1934) in the study of fourfolds is James H. Cousins’ “A Study in Synthesis”, which is available for downloading at the link below.

Cousins’ key fourfold is

  • Intuition
  • Cognition
  • Emotion
  • Action

which is similar to Jung’s psychological types except Action replaces Sensation.

Each fourth also has two movements as follows:

  • Intuition: Illumination / Inspiration
  • Cognition: Contemplation / Observation
  • Emotion: Aspiration / Creation
  • Action: Organization / Execution

Cousins was an influence to Patrick Geddes, renowned as a town planner, who had several fourfolds of his own.

Further Reading:

James H. Cousins / A Study in Synthesis

https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.501469

https://www.transcend.org/tms/2015/07/james-cousins-22-jul-1873-20-feb-1956-an-effort-of-synthesis/

http://hodgers.com/mike/patrickgeddes/feature.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Cousins

[*9.12]

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Human Stupidity

July 9, 2017

I’ve crossed enough paths to know that one in four people are rock stupid.

— Shadow Moon, from television’s American Gods

Here’s a rather pessimistic take on humankind.

An economist at UC Berkeley sorted people into four groups based upon their proclivities for gain or loss, for themselves and for others. This leads to four groups:

  • Intelligent: Gain for themselves and gain for others
  • Bandits: Gain for themselves and loss for others
  • Helpless: Loss for themselves and gain for others
  • Stupid: Loss for themselves and loss for others

In fact, Professor Cipolla thought the greatest threat to humanity was stupidity, and developed five laws for the foolish.

At first, I considered gain and loss in purely economic terms, but then realized gain and loss should also include the creation and improvement of information and knowledge.

Further Reading:

The five universal laws of human stupidity

http://harmful.cat-v.org/people/basic-laws-of-human-stupidity/

[*10.2]

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