Friday, March 15, 2024

The Gift of Entropy

This is a new piece that incorporates a 'similar triangles' structure.

The Gift

The work’s main image (see below) displays a biblical reference to the Garden of Eden donning a large snake presenting us with an apple from its mouth Figure 1. In the Bible Genesis 2-17, we understand that eating the apple from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is punishable by death. According to this text, this death resulted in shattering Adam and Eve’s as well as humanity’s immortality and promulgated sin for the world. By titling this piece, “The Gift of Entropy” we question the arguments of theodicy resulting from a cognitive blend in the relationship between entropy and universal death as ascribed by the Bible. The ramifications of this may move St. Augustine’s advocacy of free will from a theological epistemology to a theory in science or maybe a failed theological theory because of science. It can be argued that St. Augustine invented ‘free will’ to shift the blame of evil from the creator to the created.  Yet if one believes in a creator of the universe one has to accept that entropy was embedded into its fabric. This mathematical visual poem is intended to pose questions and this paper is to illuminate the concepts around some of those questions. For instance, there is the question: Can one have life without entropy? I would like to remind one that this expression is not science it is strictly poetic and philosophical yet, points to science

The Definition

A concise, yet limited, definition for entropy is: “the degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity. Entropy is the general trend of the universe toward death and disorder.

From the definition above, and in the context of this aesthetic expression, it is important to notice that, ultimately, entropy is the death sentence for the universe unless, as Ilya Prigogine states, we have an understanding of how the universe was created. Understanding Prigogine’s theory of equilibrium and non-equilibrium states, does it follow that entropy creates while it destroys? While entropy is as mysterious as it is pervasive, it is fundamental to the very nature of the universe. It flows from the same mystery that makes a coin flip on its head 50% of the time.

Vaclav Havel is quoted as saying, "Just as the constant increase of entropy is the basic law of the universe, so it is the basic law of life to be ever more highly structured and to struggle against entropy." The latter statement is profound for we have no choice but to struggle with entropy every second of our life. Furthermore, the fight against entropy always has the same result as us trying to make our entropic state lower at the expense of our neighbor. In short, this is not a personal choice, for it is necessary for our survival, and as humans, we have been fighting entropy for millions of years. Humanity has never had unlimited access to energy though it pervades everything. We may not be pathologically selfish in our personal lives however, as societies I believe we have become solipsistic nations.

maneuvering to hoard energy, and the oil wars in the Middle East provide an example. Entropy forces us to constantly compete with others to acquire energy —and I believe the ramifications are the reason that wars have always been in our past and will always be in our future. The utopian ideal can never exist because we are always held in check by entropy. Evading the problem is highly problematic if not futile for one cannot change the fabric of the universe. While good and evil are always relative terms, I can argue that all battles of good and evil in the world can eventually be traced back to our selfish nature of manipulating entropic states.

The mathematical visual poem titled, "The Gift Of Entropy" adds a mytho-spiritual dimension to this idea of entropy. It points to the relationship between death and that which is punishable by death and ultimately to the question is the apple (entropy) a gift? who gifted it? and for what purpose? Or is entropy about life as much as it is about death? Are there parallels in other legends such as the story of Prometheus? The answer to these questions can be found in the conceptual blending of the numerous concepts presented as inputs to the blend.

Figure 2: Example of the similar triangles structure which shows the image schema for the poem. The Poem

In this "Similar Triangle Poems,” a conceptual blending is used in the analogy between the variables in the proportional mathematical structure. In addition, the similar triangles poem fits within the characterization of a similar triangles “image schema” as defined by cognitive linguistics and its relationship to “embodied cognition.” I would like to mention again, to have an in-depth understanding of how similar triangle poems are read please see “A Cognitive View Of Pandemic Meditation”

Figure 3: Nature is to the garden as the despot is to the slave

In the vernacular, this poem makes the analogy, 'Nature is to The Garden as a Despot is to a Slave' or the syntax can be flipped to express 'Nature is to The Despot as The Garden is to The Slave' Figure 3. In creating this poem, I chose the neutral word "nature" carefully while also pointing to the concept that a personification of nature is gifting us entropy as opposed to something based on the probabilities governing states of energy. Again, we have another conceptual blend to spawn our cognitive creation.

Let us analyze this poem in the context of the questions asked above. This poem incorporates the “similar triangles poem” structure and again, as an image schema for the production of metaphor. I map concepts into the values for the legs of the triangle to establish either cognitive domains for a conceptual metaphor or mental spaces for instances of cognitive blending. In the case of “The Gift of Entropy”, the variables of the similar triangles establish mental spaces to which we can create a conceptual blend. Therefore we can see that Nature is to The Garden as The Despot is to The Slave. We can solve the equation for any of the four variables yet, for this poem, we will solve it for Nature Figure 4.

Figure 4: The equation solved for ‘nature’ Conceptual Blending

By blending the concepts of “The Garden” in the equation with the graphic image implying the Garden of Eden we are given a situation where we can make an analogy with the concept of “Nature” We then can ask what immanent power is present in the “Nature” of The Garden of Eden? We then blend the latter with the title of the piece to ask who is presenting this gift. Nature? the personification of evil? Or the personification of what created the universe? Furthermore, by blending the relationship of The Despot to The Slave in reference to the relationship of Nature to The Garden we have a new dimension to ponder. Who is the despot and who is the slave? If we substitute the equal sign for the concept of “is” we can view the equation as a conceptual metaphor mapping across the equal sign where the source domain is the concept of the Despot to the Slave and the target domain is the relationship of Nature to The Garden. I would argue that the relationship of the Despot to the Slave is more rigid and concrete relative to the more abstract target domain of the relationship of Nature to The Garden. Therefore we have multiple conceptual blending as well as a conceptual metaphor expressed in this poem.

Figure 1: The Gift Of Entropy

Tuesday, August 08, 2023

Video - Tools for El Puente Del Corazón


Or Click Here To See The Video On YouTube

I recently created a video to be presented in the mathematical poetry session at the "Bridges Conference" on mathematical connections in art music and science. The conference took place in Halifax Nova Scotia at the end of July, 2023. The video provides tools to access the mathematical visual poem titled "El Puente Del Corazón".   I had already created a blog post for this piece when it was displayed at "ARTS" (a reason to survive) gallery in National City California. I will not repeat all of that post but I want to reiterate the important part. 

Here is a quote from Sam Harris:

In the Prajna Paramita Sutra (Heart Sutra) it is written that form is emptiness and emptiness is form. Form is not other than emptiness and emptiness is not other than form. Emptiness in this context, refers to what experience is like prior to conceptualization. Everything is simply appearing and at the level of experience everything is inseparable from consciousness itself - or what ever you want to call this condition of appearance. So there are no things, really - there is just this display of appearances. And consciousness is not one thing either - nor is it many - it is merely open and without definition and yet it allows for everything to appear without impediment. It’s no mere vacancy. Rather it is vividly aware of itself - as itself. Ceasing to overlook this condition where ever you are whatever is apparently happening - is meditation.

Within the imagery of the work a circular shaped 'Il won sang', (enso) Zen Buddhist symbol of emptiness, appears as the Mayan creator God reaches for it. A quote from the Popol Vuh follows 

(English Translation):

Now it still ripples
Now it still ripples
Now it still murmurs
It still sighs
Still hums
And it is empty under the sky

Here is the original mathematical visual poem:


The Prison of Hope

This is a new blog post but the mathematical visual poem I am sharing is over a year old. I thought I would let it simmer for a while before putting it out to the public. The title of the piece is "The Prison of Hope" It follows the mathematical visual poetic form of an "Orthogonal Space Poem" The creation of this endeavor was inspired by my personal dharma which includes zen meditation.  The expression is an embodiment of a conceptual tension between the imagery (Prison) and the equation (liberation). The realization is an understanding that hope is in the domain of the thinking world and while, in pain,  I had always cherished the idea of hope, I now have a different understanding knowing that hope is not the answer.

In the vernacular, the math equation that lies within the piece says that when the value of "The importance of Hope" approaches zero the value of "Before Thinking" approaches infinity. This liberation is accomplished by the fact that the equation instructs us to take the Limit of "The Importance of Hope" to zero. Also it says the value of the concept of "Before Thinking" is proportional to the value of the concept of "Bodhi"

In reference to the image we see that thinking about hope is the trap and one is reminded that the thinker sits at the gates of hell. Check it out at the Rodin Museum: Click Here
Therefore the imagery points to the prison yet, the equation points to liberation.

I just was made aware of a blog post by Hyon Gak Sunim where he discusses hope in the context of Buddhism: Click Here

Friday, March 03, 2023

Artist Panel at the Oceanside Museum of Art

 Here is the video feed from the event that occurred March 22, 2023


I am very pleased to announce that I will be part of a panel discussion on AI art at the Oceanside Museum of Art. If you are in Southern California, please come out and see us it should be lots of fun. Register on the QR code.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Kaz Maslanka @ Perry Meyer Fine Art

 While it is not mathematical poetry, I am very happy to have my work shown at Perry Meyer Fine Art in San Diego.

The work in this show presents some of my much older expressions with time exposure photos from 1983 to 2000. Related to this work is, Biomorpheus, the multimedia piece I did in 1983. On the second and fourth slide you will notice images floating on the landscape made of light. I produced these images by making giant stencils out of cardboard and painting light through the opening. On slide two the whale images are 12 feet long which means that I took a 12 foot by 4 foot long piece of cardboard, drew a picture of a whale and then cut it out leaving a hole to which I could paint light. 

I recently posted a video of this on youtube. see it here:


Painting on the body with light - from 2000:


Friday, October 07, 2022

My Friend Karl has a new book

 My Friend, Karl Kempton has a new book with selected mathematical visual poems that he has created over the years. His work is quite different from mine which is interesting in itself. What I love the most about Karl's work is that it is an expression of his spiritual work. Much of the visual poetry out there is more about "how" something is being said instead of "what" is being said. His work is not harmless and safe like so much of what is being done out there.

Purchase his new book here:

Here is a tiny example of what is in the book:



Here is another piece:


and another:

Visit the National Gallery of Writing