an exercise in miscellany

Posts Tagged ‘Thoughts’

Sympathetic Magic

In Religion, wild card on May 10, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Mumford full bodySympathetic magic, also known as imitative magic, is a type of magic based on imitation or correspondence. The theory of sympathetic magic was first developed by Sir James George Frazer in The Golden Bough. He further subcategorized sympathetic magic into two varieties: that relying on similarity, and that relying on contact or ‘contagion’:

If we analyze the principles of thought on which magic is based, they will probably be found to resolve themselves into two: first, that like produces like, or that an effect resembles its cause; and, second, that things which have once been in contact with each other continue to act on each other at a distance after the physical contact has been severed. The former principle may be called the Law of Similarity, the latter the Law of Contact or Contagion. From the first of these principles, namely the Law of Similarity, the magician infers that he can produce any effect he desires merely by imitating it: from the second he infers that whatever he does to a material object will affect equally the person with whom the object was once in contact, whether it formed part of his body or not.

Sympathetic magic

Conceit

In art, history, words & phrases on February 15, 2013 at 9:56 am

aristotle2In literature, a conceit is an extended metaphor with a complex logic that governs a poetic passage or entire poem. By juxtaposing, usurping and manipulating images and ideas in surprising ways, a conceit invites the reader into a more sophisticated understanding of an object of comparison. Extended conceits in English are part of the poetic idiom of Mannerism, during the later sixteenth and early seventeenth century.

via Conceit

Operation Elster

In history, operations and projects on August 8, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Operation Elster aka “Magpie”  was a Nazi German mission to gather intelligence on and sabotage the Manhattan Project during World War II. The mission was commenced in 1944 with Nazi agents sailing from Kiel, Germany on the U-1230, coming ashore in Maine on November 30, 1944. Within a month the operation ended, resulting in espionage convictions for the agents.

via Operation Elster

Synchromysticism

In words & phrases on January 19, 2012 at 7:48 am

Synchromysticism is an emerging field of study and subculture existing on the fringe of areas already considered fringe – primarily mysticism and Jungian psychology. The word was coined by Jake Kotze in August of 2006 for an article posted on his website Brave New World Order, who defined it as: “The art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance.” Synchromysticism is a study of coincidences, synchronicities, connections, esoterica, symbolism and possible hidden agendas in all aspects of reality. Everything’s connected!

via Synchromysticism

Mary’s Room

In people, science & nature on December 31, 2011 at 7:31 am

Mary’s room (also known as Mary the super-scientist) is a philosophical thought experiment proposed by Frank Jackson in his article “Epiphenomenal Qualia” (1982) and extended in “What Mary Didn’t Know” (1986). The argument is intended to motivate what is often called the “Knowledge Argument” against physicalism — the view that the universe, including all that is mental, is entirely physical. The debate that emerged following its publication became the subject of an edited volume — There’s Something About Mary (2004) — which includes replies from such philosophers as Daniel Dennett, David Lewis, and Paul Churchland.

via Mary’s room

Unified Field Theory

In science & nature on November 15, 2011 at 9:47 pm

In physics, a unified field theory, occasionally referred to as a uniform field theory, is a type of field theory that allows all that is usually thought of as fundamental forces and elementary particles to be written in terms of a single field. There is no accepted unified field theory, and thus remains an open line of research. The term was coined by Einstein, who attempted to unify the general theory of relativity with electromagnetism, hoping to recover an approximation for quantum theory. A “theory of everything” is closely related to unified field theory, but differs by not requiring the basis of nature to be fields, and also attempts to explain all physical constants of nature.

via Unified field theory 

Project Camelot

In operations and projects on October 15, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Project Camelot was a social science research project of the United States Army that started in 1964 and was cancelled after congressional hearings in 1965. The goal of the project was to assess the causes of conflict between national groups, to anticipate social breakdown and provide eventual solutions. The proposal caused much controversy among social scientists, many of whom voiced concerns that such a study was in conflict with their professional ethics.

Chile was to be the test case for the project, but Claudio Bunster was alerted almost immediately to its possible military nature when Johan Galtung showed him a letter from the Special Operations Research Office (SORO) inviting him to a seminar to discuss the project in 1966 at the American University in Washington DC. The seminar was actually held in the summer of 1965 but by then the initial exploratory mission to study the feasibility of running such a project was being phased out and the project itself was officially cancelled on July 8 1965

via Project Camelot 

Gild the Lily

In words & phrases on July 30, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Meaning:  To apply unnecessary ornament – to over embellish.

Origin:  Gild the Lily
From Shakespeare’s King John, 1595: SALISBURY:

Therefore, to be possess’d with double pomp,
To guard a title that was rich before,
To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet,
To smooth the ice,
or add another hue Unto the rainbow,
or with taper-light To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish,

      The term ‘paint the lily’ was used in the 20th century, with the same meaning we now apply to ‘gild the lily’. Clearly, this is the correct quotation. The two versions coexisted for a time, although ‘paint the lily’ is now hardly ever used. The first citation I can find for ‘gild the lily’ comes from the USA, in the Newark Daily Advocate, 1895, in what appears to be a half-remembered version of Shakespeare: “One may gild the lily and paint the rose, but to convey by words only an adequate idea of the hats and bonnets now exhibited absolutely passes human ability.”

via Gild the lily.

Parable of the Pearl

In words & phrases on July 17, 2011 at 7:04 am

The Parable of the Pearl (also called the Pearl of Great Price) is a parable of Jesus. It appears in only one of the Canonical gospels of the New Testament. According to Matthew 13:45-46 the brief Parable of the Pearl is as follows:  “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”  The parable illustrates the great value of the Kingdom of Heaven. A version of this parable also appears in the non canonical Gospel of Thomas76.
“Jesus said, The Father’s kingdom is like a merchant who had a supply of merchandise and found a pearl. That merchant was prudent; he sold the merchandise and bought the single pearl for himself. So also with you, seek his treasure that is unfailing, that is enduring, where no moth comes to eat and no worm destroys.”

via Parable of the Pearl

Flogging a Dead Horse

In words & phrases on July 11, 2011 at 9:14 am

Flogging a dead horse (alternatively beating a dead horse in some parts of the Anglophone world) is an idiom that means a particular request or line of conversation is already foreclosed or otherwise resolved, and any attempt to continue it is futile; or that to continue in any endeavour (physical, mental, etc.) is a waste of time as the outcome is already decided.

via Flogging a dead horse