## Re: [delany-list] Re: modular calculus

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• A few remarks from the ignorant camp... I ll start by saying that, although I ve had to take a LOT of math for my computer science degree, and I did pretty
Message 1 of 17 , Jul 1, 2004
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A few remarks from the ignorant camp...
I'll start by saying that, although I've had to take a LOT of math for my computer science degree, and I did pretty well in all of those, I know I must have missed the big idea behind mathematics in general and calculus in particular because for me it's simply the compilation of mental tricks to differentiate this or integrate that or simplify this or calculate that, and a mental equivalent of hard labor. At least that's all I've learned in school. Maybe when my brain recovers from the deluge of all that information (useless to me as a programmer by the way), I'll investigate further into the theories behind all that stuff (oh, if anyone can recommend some books I can start with, preferably written in layman-accessible terms, I'd greatly appreciate it!). It might be nice to know what everyone here is talking about -- I haven't heard any of these names you guys are mentioning (well, except Quine, whose 6 virtues of hypotheses I'd picked up in my philosophy class, have written out, and
consult often ;) ). BUT, when I tried to figure out whether modular calculus really existed and was referred to the definition of modular algebra by some fellow students, somehow the premise of the fictional "modular calculus" as defined in SRD's remarks made sense. Not in any way I can articulate, but that's true for most of the more conceptually advanced SRD stuff -- it kind of sort of makes sense, but there's no way I can explain it to someone coherently. Oh, well, maybe some day :)

However, when I thought about it in purely fictional terms, regarding Triton as a prequel to the Neveryona series fell into place when I decided that Vlet (did I spell that right? I don't have my books on hand right now -- the game Laurence always played with Bron. ) was the model of Neveryon, and the calculus used to play it was the modular calculus described in the remarks. Then it also sort of made sense in a way why Bron has such difficulty negotiating his life and relationships -- he doesn't get modular calculus, unlike quite a few people around him, who beat him consistently.

So am I just totally off the wall to think there's a connection there? Just wanted to bounce the idea off some smart folks... :)

Anna

Doug <tennlt62000@...> wrote:
Well, no discussion is EVER closed, unless no-one ever re-opens it!
(I did leave a foot in the door by saying MOSTLY, I hope :).

Apologies for mispelling DELANY, even the NAME of this list is
WRONG!!! GREAT heavens!!!

And I just flamed a reviewer of Delany who gave one of the Neveryon
books on Amazon only FOUR STARS instead of FIVE stars for
misspelling his name!! (well, it ain't a holy relic, but it is a
simple matter of RESPECT!) (and not understanding his work).

glad to have been of "service" to a fellow list member in providing
a fairly complete reference list, though I didn't get Quine's name
in full.

Dunno much 'bout Ludwig Wittgenstein, except his full name, sorry!
well, maybe a little.

the reference to Quine is in my original post if you read carefully,
where Delany defines the Modular Calculus.

(just a pointer).

----doug

--- In delany-list@yahoogroups.com, Ralph Dumain <rdumain@i...>
wrote:
> The discussion was never "closed"; it simply got left by the way
side. I'm
> very interested, and I find your bibliographical compilation quite
useful,
> as I've forgotten all the references myself.
>
> I thought one of the fictional thinkers--Steiner, Slade?--was a
parodic
> version of Wittgenstein, but that's only a vague impression.
>
> Quine: Delany makes a reference to Quine somewhere, perhaps an
essay: he
> imputes some significance to Quine's refusal to quantify across
variables
> but never spells it out.
>
> I don't know if there is any substance to Delaney's indulgence in
this
> stuff or whether it's a load of crap, but I find that Delany's
literary
> modeling of society is brilliant, and far superior to the theories
he draws
> upon.
>
> At 08:27 PM 6/22/2004 +0000, Doug wrote:
> >I'm aware that this posting is mostly closed, as Rebekah Sheldon
has
> >stated that its primary purpose was for writing a part of a paper.
> >(much excision of text here in the interest of shortening the
posting
> >......................)
> >
> >dwr
> >
> >
> >--- In delany-list@yahoogroups.com, "rebekah_sheldon"
> ><rsheldonvarga@h...> wrote:
> > > [The Disclaimer--------------------
> > > Hello Everyone:
> > > I was wondering if anyone knows whether there is such a thing
as
> > > modular calculus in the (ahem) "real" world? Not being at all a
> >math
> > > person I checked my encyclopedia and came up with a couple
> >different
> > > kinds of calculi(?), none of which were modular, however.
> > > I would really appreciate the help!
> > >
> > > Thanks,
> > > Rebekah
>
>
>
>
>
> >
> > >
> >
> >
> >
>
>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------
------
> The C.L.R. James Institute:
> http://www.clrjamesinstitute.org
> Ralph Dumain's "The Autodidact Project":
> http://www.autodidactproject.org
>
> "Nature has no outline but imagination has."
> -- William Blake

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• Intuitively, you make sense to me, which is the only way modular calculus made sense to me. Unfortunately, I ve lost the relevant brain cells and can no
Message 2 of 17 , Jul 1, 2004
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Intuitively, you make sense to me, which is the only way modular calculus
made sense to me. Unfortunately, I've lost the relevant brain cells and
can no longer remember the details in TRITON, to wit, this game. But I
suspect there's more than simply not being able to master the game. Of
course, Bron loses because he doesn't know the rules, but isn't the point
of the novel more than to teach us the rules? The very activity of
modeling, the limitations of our understanding of what we are embroiled in,
is an essential theme of TRITON an the Neveryon books, and harkens back to
THE EINSTEIN INTERSECTION. Hence, the question I would think is not merely
knowing how to play the game, but to question the games we are playing.

The point at which I diverge from Delany is that this project, which to me
is of the 1970s, has reached the limit of what it has to offer. To me the
countercultures have outlived their historical usefulness, but Delany seems
more ensconced in the gay subculture than ever. Whether this has to do
with the effects of the AIDS crisis, the loosening of social taboos, or the
restriction of vision of society as a whole (which has no place to go but
has regressed into barbarism), I can't tell. The fact that STARS LIKE
POCKETS still lacks a sequel may have significance, but I can't
tell. Anyway, I was turned off by the whole concept of "runs", and I think
it's time to grow up.

I far prefer Delany's playful attitude toward ideas in the days of the
Einstein Intersection and the modular calculus to his serious appropriation
of French philosophy which I find dubious and tiresome. I think his
novelistic use of these ideas is far superior than the ideas themselves,
i.e. that Delany as a fictionalist and social observer transcends the
stupid philosophical ideas he draws upon, though they obviously filled a
conceptual need for him. However, I see a conceptual as well as social
limitation in bohemianism, whose resources, in my view, have dried up.

At 08:05 AM 7/1/2004 -0700, Anna Yudovin wrote:
>A few remarks from the ignorant camp...
>I'll start by saying that, although I've had to take a LOT of math for my
>computer science degree, and I did pretty well in all of those, I know I
>must have missed the big idea behind mathematics in general and calculus
>in particular because for me it's simply the compilation of mental tricks
>to differentiate this or integrate that or simplify this or calculate
>that, and a mental equivalent of hard labor. At least that's all I've
>learned in school. Maybe when my brain recovers from the deluge of all
>that information (useless to me as a programmer by the way), I'll
>investigate further into the theories behind all that stuff (oh, if anyone
>layman-accessible terms, I'd greatly appreciate it!). It might be nice to
>know what everyone here is talking about -- I haven't heard any of these
>names you guys are mentioning (well, except Quine, whose 6 virtues of
>hypotheses I'd picked up in my philosophy class, have written out, and
> consult often ;) ). BUT, when I tried to figure out whether modular
> calculus really existed and was referred to the definition of modular
> algebra by some fellow students, somehow the premise of the fictional
> "modular calculus" as defined in SRD's remarks made sense. Not in any way
> I can articulate, but that's true for most of the more conceptually
> advanced SRD stuff -- it kind of sort of makes sense, but there's no way
> I can explain it to someone coherently. Oh, well, maybe some day :)
>
>However, when I thought about it in purely fictional terms, regarding
>Triton as a prequel to the Neveryona series fell into place when I decided
>that Vlet (did I spell that right? I don't have my books on hand right now
>-- the game Laurence always played with Bron. ) was the model of Neveryon,
>and the calculus used to play it was the modular calculus described in the
>remarks. Then it also sort of made sense in a way why Bron has such
>difficulty negotiating his life and relationships -- he doesn't get
>modular calculus, unlike quite a few people around him, who beat him
>consistently.
>
>So am I just totally off the wall to think there's a connection there?
>Just wanted to bounce the idea off some smart folks... :)
>
>Anna
• ... Correction: Bron does know the rules or he couldn t play at all... I knew the rules of chess since I was a little kid, I still royally suck at playing it
Message 3 of 17 , Jul 5, 2004
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--- Ralph Dumain <rdumain@...> wrote:
> ... But I
> suspect there's more than simply not being able to
> master the game. Of
> course, Bron loses because he doesn't know the
> rules, but isn't the point
> of the novel more than to teach us the rules? The
> very activity of
> modeling, the limitations of our understanding of
> what we are embroiled in,
> is an essential theme of TRITON an the Neveryon
> books, and harkens back to
> THE EINSTEIN INTERSECTION.

Correction: Bron does know the rules or he couldn't
play at all... I knew the rules of chess since I was a
little kid, I still royally suck at playing it -- the
particular kinds of strategies that go into playing
chess well just don't make sense to me. What I meant
was that Bron doesn't really understand how modular
calculus works and therefore can't come up with a
coherent strategy, just like he can't seem to figure
out how his actions affect other people, how various
people relate to each other, how Triton
society/culture relates to that of Mars and Earth, etc
-- he doesn't seem to get the very idea of the mapping
and modeling that the calculus is about. At least
that's what I get from the novel...
Speaking of which, Marq Dyeth, although infinitely
more sophisticated and "civilized" than Bron seems to
me to be having some of the same difficulties in
Stars/Sand. Is it just me or did someone else notice
that too?

Anna

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• Here is an apparent common thread in much of Delany s literature then {at least in the modular calculus discussion threads}--in The Star Pit, his most
Message 4 of 17 , Jul 9, 2004
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Here is an apparent common thread in much of Delany's literature
then {at least in the modular calculus discussion threads}--in The
Star Pit, his most "visible" writing, due to the WBAI yearly (?)
broadcast of it in the late Sixties;early Seventies, the theme is
the social misfit in the world of freedom---the very type of
marriage the conservative Republicans are afraid of, a group
marriage, does not "work" for the protagonist. Neither does he
express a hidden longing for a monogamous relationship. Actually,
the "group marriage" that is discussed is merely a type of kibbutz
or "hippie" community. (those darned radical, liberal socialists
are at it again! LOL). Again, it is the "fascination with decay"
(the title of a Dover Editions book by Paul Zucker, an art teacher
of mine at The Cooper Union), or the fact that a novel does not
really "succeed" or "ring true" unless it deals extensively with
failure ("happily ever after" tales are for small children), because
suffering, misery, and pain is the lot of mankind on earth (back to
The Bible and Adam and Eve), or what we refuse to see until we have
our face "rubbed in it" repeatedly. Perhaps the exposure to failure
is the only way we learn to appreciate success, if the opportunity
to learn remains ours to have and to hold. From Matthew Arnold: "Ah
love, let us be true to each other"---from Dover Beach, the end of
the poem. "---where ignorant armies clash by night".

--- In delany-list@yahoogroups.com, Anna Yudovin <animus_est@y...>
wrote:
> --- Ralph Dumain <rdumain@i...> wrote:
> > ... But I
> > suspect there's more than simply not being able to
> > master the game. Of
> > course, Bron loses because he doesn't know the
> > rules, but isn't the point
> > of the novel more than to teach us the rules? The
> > very activity of
> > modeling, the limitations of our understanding of
> > what we are embroiled in,
> > is an essential theme of TRITON an the Neveryon
> > books, and harkens back to
> > THE EINSTEIN INTERSECTION.
>
> Correction: Bron does know the rules or he couldn't
> play at all... I knew the rules of chess since I was a
> little kid, I still royally suck at playing it -- the
> particular kinds of strategies that go into playing
> chess well just don't make sense to me. What I meant
> was that Bron doesn't really understand how modular
> calculus works and therefore can't come up with a
> coherent strategy, just like he can't seem to figure
> out how his actions affect other people, how various
> people relate to each other, how Triton
> society/culture relates to that of Mars and Earth, etc
> -- he doesn't seem to get the very idea of the mapping
> and modeling that the calculus is about. At least
> that's what I get from the novel...
> Speaking of which, Marq Dyeth, although infinitely
> more sophisticated and "civilized" than Bron seems to
> me to be having some of the same difficulties in
> Stars/Sand. Is it just me or did someone else notice
> that too?
>
> Anna
>
>
>
> __________________________________
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> New and Improved Yahoo! Mail - Send 10MB messages!
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• I m not sure what you are arguing for here. In any case, I m not arguing for traditional institutions or suggesting that alternative lifestyles are inherently
Message 5 of 17 , Jul 9, 2004
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I'm not sure what you are arguing for here. In any case, I'm not arguing
for traditional institutions or suggesting that alternative lifestyles are
inherently decadent. Once people are free from the constraints of
traditional institutions, which is progress, then it is incumbent upon them
to impose a much more abstract set of principles on a free-flowing
situation. At the minimum, there are ethical norms and principles about
how to treat people, which we should all know anyway, and can only truly
live by or even understand once we are freed from convention.

Some time ago, maybe a year or more, someone had an interesting argument,
perhaps about Dhalgren. It relates to the mapping problem under discussion
now. The idea was, what structures emerge in the "random" situation
produced by the breakdown of recognized social structures, and is it
possible to navigate them intelligently? I'm not getting this quite right,
but maybe you get the idea. I think this was an insightful approach to
Delany's work.

At 03:39 PM 7/9/2004 +0000, Doug wrote:
>Here is an apparent common thread in much of Delany's literature
>then {at least in the modular calculus discussion threads}--in The
>Star Pit, his most "visible" writing, due to the WBAI yearly (?)
>broadcast of it in the late Sixties;early Seventies, the theme is
>the social misfit in the world of freedom---the very type of
>marriage the conservative Republicans are afraid of, a group
>marriage, does not "work" for the protagonist. Neither does he
>express a hidden longing for a monogamous relationship. Actually,
>the "group marriage" that is discussed is merely a type of kibbutz
>or "hippie" community. (those darned radical, liberal socialists
>are at it again! LOL). Again, it is the "fascination with decay"
>(the title of a Dover Editions book by Paul Zucker, an art teacher
>of mine at The Cooper Union), or the fact that a novel does not
>really "succeed" or "ring true" unless it deals extensively with
>failure ("happily ever after" tales are for small children), because
>suffering, misery, and pain is the lot of mankind on earth (back to
>The Bible and Adam and Eve), or what we refuse to see until we have
>our face "rubbed in it" repeatedly. Perhaps the exposure to failure
>is the only way we learn to appreciate success, if the opportunity
>to learn remains ours to have and to hold. From Matthew Arnold: "Ah
>love, let us be true to each other"---from Dover Beach, the end of
>the poem. "---where ignorant armies clash by night".
>
>--- In delany-list@yahoogroups.com, Anna Yudovin <animus_est@y...>
>wrote:
> > --- Ralph Dumain <rdumain@i...> wrote:
> > > ... But I
> > > suspect there's more than simply not being able to
> > > master the game. Of
> > > course, Bron loses because he doesn't know the
> > > rules, but isn't the point
> > > of the novel more than to teach us the rules? The
> > > very activity of
> > > modeling, the limitations of our understanding of
> > > what we are embroiled in,
> > > is an essential theme of TRITON an the Neveryon
> > > books, and harkens back to
> > > THE EINSTEIN INTERSECTION.
> >
> > Correction: Bron does know the rules or he couldn't
> > play at all... I knew the rules of chess since I was a
> > little kid, I still royally suck at playing it -- the
> > particular kinds of strategies that go into playing
> > chess well just don't make sense to me. What I meant
> > was that Bron doesn't really understand how modular
> > calculus works and therefore can't come up with a
> > coherent strategy, just like he can't seem to figure
> > out how his actions affect other people, how various
> > people relate to each other, how Triton
> > society/culture relates to that of Mars and Earth, etc
> > -- he doesn't seem to get the very idea of the mapping
> > and modeling that the calculus is about. At least
> > that's what I get from the novel...
> > Speaking of which, Marq Dyeth, although infinitely
> > more sophisticated and "civilized" than Bron seems to
> > me to be having some of the same difficulties in
> > Stars/Sand. Is it just me or did someone else notice
> > that too?
> >
> > Anna
• If we had said, Bron doesn t really understand the social interactions and their subtlies he encounters - that would have some meaning to me - but to say that
Message 6 of 17 , Jul 9, 2004
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If we had said, Bron doesn't really understand the social interactions and their subtlies he encounters - that would have some meaning to me - but to say that he doesn't understand how modular calculus works - means little ( to me anyways ) so beyond being fiction, does anyone know what "modular calculus" is and how it applies to culture ? - Curious ( and somewhat skeptical ) Jeff

"What I meant was that Bron doesn't really understand how modular calculus works - Anna
• ... Isn t this pretty much the definition of ideology ? ... Should we interpret this to mean you think there exists a set of such new norms and principles
Message 7 of 17 , Jul 11, 2004
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On 7/10/2004 05:03 AM, delany-list@yahoogroups.com wrote:

>Once people are free from the constraints of
>traditional institutions, which is progress, then it is incumbent upon them
>to impose a much more abstract set of principles on a free-flowing
>situation.

Isn't this pretty much the definition of "ideology"?

>At the minimum, there are ethical norms and principles about
>how to treat people, which we should all know anyway, and can only truly
>live by or even understand once we are freed from convention.

Should we interpret this to mean you think there exists a set of such new
norms and principles that replace "convention" for everyone? What is the
mechanism for coming to know the new norms/principles?

I'm not sure I understand how this replacement process is not simply a swap
of one set of traditions/conventions/ideologies for another (functionally)
identical set.

Ron Henry
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