Thursday, May 06, 2010

Morning Bacon and Cypher Night



Kryptos
Photo provided by the sculptor, Jim Sanborn
[see permissions]

So. I shouldn't still be awake considering I did not lay down to sleep today until 2pm and was wakened at 4:30.

Here's what happened (a typical occurrence)--after posting about crocheting last night I did pick up that hook again and crocheted three of the original pattern bookmarks while watching two DVD. First the movie A Month by the Lake staring Judy Dench and Uma Thurman then a Qi Gong video.

Only then did I pick up Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol to read the last 30 pages. I'd put it down last when called to dinner at 5:15 last evening and it was nearly twelve hours later before I resumed.

After finishing it, I decided it was as good a time as any to look up some of the items in the several pages of notes I'd taken while reading.

I started with pulling down the Francis Bacon and the Isaac Newton volumes from my Great Books set to see which of their writings mentioned in the novel were included, if any.

Discovered Bacon's utopia novel New Atlantis was, which really surprised me. Next thing I knew I'd been reading in it for over an hour.

I then switched to Newton. As I expected (remembered) only his science and mathematics writings were included. None of those on theology, Biblical exegesis, metaphysics or alchemy. But I spent another hour browsing in the texts anyway looking for keywords that indicated he was making metaphysical commentary connected to his scientific observations and thesis. Turns out he does that quite a bit.

Then I returned to New Atlantis for another hour. It's tough going. The language is similar to Shakespeare's in syntax and word usage as it was written within the same generation. It is not like any novel from my generation either. The story is a bit lame and seems to be there only as a frame for Bacon to put the espousal of his theories into the mouths of the characters. One set of characters (the visitors from Bacon's Europe to a mysterious uncharted island) submits to a series of lectures from different island inhabitants regarding their laws, mores, society, history etc.

Before I put the book down I spent a good half hour dipping at random into Bacon's essays The Advancement of Learning and Novum Organus.

I finally had to rest my eyes which led to a two hour nap.

Then after dinner this evening I looked over my notes again to see what I was most eager to look up online and chose the Kryptos sculpture in the CIA courtyard which has stumped thousands of cytologists, (many good enough to work for the CIA) since 1990. I wanted to see a picture of it so I could visualize it correctly.

So there it is at the top of this post.

A few other things from my notes for further research:

  • Magic squares [related to sudoku? if so how?]
  • The Apotheosis of George Washington
  • Map of Washinton DC esp the Mall
  • Pictures, history, floor plans and architecture trivia re all DC capitol buildings and monuments
  • Ditto for Folger Shakespeare Library
  • Ditto for Smithsonian Museum and Library of Congress
  • all things Freemason [which would be mostly a review of old research with an eye for new info]
  • Isaac Newton's metaphysical, theological, Biblical exegesis and alchemical writings
  • Cryptology [i am a puzzle geek but have never done a formal study of how they are created. And I really should since it would help me a lot with the mystery project/website I've been hinting about here for over a year.]
  • The writings of John Adams, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Einstein, Thomas Paine [by some weird synchrony I have checked out of the library right now the HBO John Adams miniseries which is based on the correspondence between him and his wife Abigail.. It's due Monday. It's 8.5 hours. So guess what I'll be doing this weekend. Tho at the moment there is no hold on it so it might renew for me.]

And here is a list of words I want to look up even tho my notes contain Brown's provided definition and explications. I want more context and examples:

  • sigil
  • symbol
  • symbolon
  • segmented cypher
  • circumpunct
  • ashlar
  • sacrifice
  • talisman
  • abracacabra

0 tell me a story:

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