Wednesday, April 10, 2013
when i call out for You to burn away everything not of You,
let me not shrink before Your sword which divides me against myself,
suspension in dry air before a crowd of consequences,
scalpel of excision. Code reaches perfection slowly,
one slice at a time. Does the code fear losing a bug?
Yet i fear, in shame. This, too, slice away.
A == A.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Slinging code, coffee-stained khakis,
gazing on the other's confused syntax
forces careless curses from my lips --
and minutes later, i sigh,
knowing i've forgotten
the human in the other,
their work, their care,
their devotion to You,
Whose gaze only understands.
Hell harrowed itself and Cerberus sidled up to Your hand
begging for a scratch behind his charred ears
after you passed over that darkly glittering span
to bring the cast-out forgiveness.
Teach me to forgive the confused and incomplete,
to see my own work as yet confused and incomplete,
to illuminate the whole without separating the contributions,
to honor the intention, love the process, and adore the Endpoint.
We ask this in You, O Communication.
A == A.
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Sunday, November 11, 2012
i was thinking about this when the image of Crowley's rendition of Atu XIV came to mind. Unlike the traditional angel image, his deck shows a being with two sides, two faces, even two genders, but one current mixing and flowing down from its heart into the vessel below. To me, this is a natural interpretation of the motto behind the figure. The most "interior" of the "interior of the earth" to visit is the interior of the self, the first place one must "rectify" before attempting to rectify any other place. Rectifying the self literally means "to make oneself straight," to remove impediments to singleness of heart. However, in the image of Atu XIV, i see a being acknowledging and even working with its multifarious nature. It's comforting to see that this is possible. i certainly use my education in two different fields (mathematics and computer science) in my daily mundane work, and i find being a big sack of opposites as useful (and perhaps entertaining) as it is frustrating sometimes.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Soror PhoenixAngel's recent post pleasantly reminded me about the real analysis and mathematical logic courses i took a number of years ago, and about Paul Halmos' lovely little textbook "Naive Set Theory." (It's "naive" not because it's easy, but because Prof. Halmos didn't focus too much on avoiding the minefield of potential paradoxes when discussing the infinite. Take a look at the cover for a hint at the easiest of the paradoxes.) These topics share in common with other branches of mathematics the intention to find the minimal set of axioms needed to construct everything -- or at least, as much of mathematics as possible. The Peano Axioms are a good example; from them comes all the real numbers. It didn't occur to me at the time that they also define a concrete representation of the integers, from which one can construct a machine to do arithmetic. The resulting "unary" arithmetic is slow compared with other number systems, like the binary numbers found in modern computers, but it's still perfectly functional. When I took a one-semester course tracing the development ofGoedel's Incompleteness Theorem, it became more clear to me how a set of axioms or even the process of deducing theorems can be a computational process. Goedel proved the theorem by translating mathematical statements into numbers, and operating on those numbers. Without realizing it, he had defined a computer for mathematical logic: a terribly slow and space-inefficient computer, but plenty capable. That was a hard semester for me, but i saw computer science in an entirely different way afterwards.
Essays like the respected Soror's remind me of the central role of computation in understanding the universe, whether that be mathematical understanding, as in Goedel's theorem, or metaphysical understanding. Abstracting metaphysical processes as symbols and transformations on symbols has a long history in esoteric thought. Furthermore, both practicing mathematicians and practicing metaphysicians realize that symbols aren't detached from that which they symbolize. This is because we pick symbols as tools to model reality. A hammer has the shape it has because it's useful for pounding nails, and it lacks that which would interfere with that task. Similarly, good mathematical definitions (or good source code) are good because they point back to the concrete examples they model, without including details that would interfere with their utility in making deductions. It's good mental exercise to make and refine definitions, to refactor source code, and to draw analogies and pare away unnecessary details. It's always fun for me to read articles like Soror PhoenixAngel's and watch that process of drawing analogies in action.