Monday, 3 July 2017

THE OPOSSING SELF (LIONEL TRILLING) AND THE PHYSICS´ARROGANCE

Readers of literary bent, who have as an clement of their pathos
the belief that they arc persecuted by science[1], will set special
store by those parts of the novel that have the effect of exposing
the arrogance as well as the contradictions and absurdities of the
physical science of the day. Everyone who has ever studied litera-
ture knows that physical science was the basis of the vulgar
materialism of the nineteenth century. In this regard it is well
to remember that Flaubert had no principled hostility to science
as such — quite to the contrary, indeed. He takes note of the ridic-
ulous statements that science can make, but much of the confu-
sion that Bouvard and Pccuchct experience is the result of their
own ineptitude or ignorance rather than of the inadequacy of
science itself. It is not the fault of botany— although it may be
the fault of a particular elementary textbook of botany — that
they believe that all flowers have a pericarp, but look in vain for
it when confronted by buttercups and wild strawberry.


[1] It is not sufficiently understood that men ..f science have an analogous-
homologous?— pathos to support them in their own troubles: they believe that they
are systematically persecuted by the humanities.



Let´s not consider the reciprocal ‘pathos’ between Science and Humanities, which  is  against to this blog´s spirit. We have already talked about the novel Bouvard and Pecuchet here. When you read it you can´t raech any negative conclusion about Science, rather that negativity goes against those ‘hicks’ who are the novel´s protagonists.

Regarding the Physics´arrogance, there is a famous sentence by Lord Kelvin that says: "There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now, All that remains is more and more precise measurement." It was said on 1900,when the classic Physics was about to break down

Monday, 19 June 2017

BLOODY MIAMI (TOM WOLFE) AND THE DETRITIVIS

The maggots! . . . Once, when she was six or seven, Magdalena had come upon a little dead dog, a mutt, on a sidewalk in Hialeah. A regular hive of bugs was burrowing into a big gash in the dog’s haunch—only these weren’t exactly bugs. They looked more like worms, short, soft, deathly pale worms; and they were not in anything so orderly as a hive. They were a wriggling, slithering, writhing, squiggling, raveling, wrestling swarm of maggots rooting over and under one another in a heedless, literally headless, frenzy to get at the dead meat. She learned later that they were decephalized larvae. They had no heads. The frenzy was all they had. They didn’t have five senses, they had one, the urge, and the urge was all they felt. They were utterly blind.
Let´s deal today with a nasty topic. Science sometimes stains and it is disgusting. Even the ugliest creature  with a nasty job is important for the ecosystems. Detritivis ( named in this way because they eat detritus) are fundamental to the food chain.
Every child has some time found a earthworm digging the soil. This moment is very important for the later man, because  he cans react in two different ways to this discovery. The boy with Animal Fisiology Aptitudes gazes with attention and even tries to touch the earthworm with a little stick. The boy without Animal Fisiology Aptitudes doesn’t play again with the sand for a long time.
Earthworms are able to concentrate the snake´s revulsion but without their majesty

Monday, 5 June 2017

LIBRA (DON DELILLO) AND AN EXCESIVE CASE OF CONSERVATION OF LINEAR MOMENTUM

The thing he could not forget was the way the hat jumped from the slim man’s head. The heavy thudding surprise, the sudden insult. Even after you think you’ve seen all the ways violence can surprise a man, along comes something you never imagined. How much force do bullets have to exert if they can hit a man in the chest and make his hat fly four feet in the air, straight up? It was a lesson in the laws of motion and a reminder to all men that nothing is assured




We are in favour of a thorough compliance  of all kinds of laws, including the scientific ones, because  otherwise everybody knows that chaos overcomes. But the opposite can also have drawbacks, just like that Spanish student who, in doubt , writes more tildes than necessary. We also know from science that there are errors by defect and excess. The  Principle of Conservation of Linear Momentum explains curious phenomena, but we believe the incident that is narrated in the text is impossible from a scientific point of view 

Monday, 8 May 2017

THE INFINITE JEST (DAVID FOSTER WALLACE) AND THE NORMAL SCIENCIE OF KUHN AS A PLATEAU

'... that because you proceed toward mastery through a series of plateaus, so there's like radical improvement up to a certain plateau and then what looks like a stall, on the plateau, with the only way to get off one of the plateaus and climb up to the next one up ahead is with a whole lot of frustrating mindless repetitive practice and patience and hanging in there.’



The one who speaks is a teacher from the famous Enfield Tennis Academy and he establishes the analogy for the tennis training, how one must insist and keep training even when you think you aren´t progressing. I think the analogy also works for the language learning and for our topic today:  the change of paradigm in the progress of science and the normal science concept.
It´s necessary to cross over all the plateau to get to climb to the next one. In Kuhn´s words: it´s necessary that normal science advances mechanically until a crisis appears. Then, there is a change of paradigm followed by another period of normal science



Monday, 10 April 2017

AMERICAN PASTORAL (PHILIP ROTH) AND DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MEN AND MONKEYS

Monkeys, gorillas, they have brains and we have a brain, but they don’t have this thing, the thumb. They can’t move it opposite the way we do. The inner digit on the hand of man, that might be the distinguishing physical feature between ourselves and the rest of the animals. And the glove protects that inner digit. The ladies glove, the welder’s glove, the baseball glove, et cetera. This is the root of humanity, this opposable thumb. It enables us to make tools and build cities and everything else. Maybe more than the brain. Maybe some other animals have bigger brains in proportion to their bodies than we have. I don’t know. But the hand itself is an intricate thing. 


The genetic similarities between humans and primates are very clear when you see Mick Jagger. Regarding the differences, we have the thumb, as the text explains, but we also have the fact that primates don´t have a white sclerotic, so you can´t see where they are looking at. This has plenty of evolutionary implications, as José Cervera has explained in this conference very well.
From a literary point of view, American Pastoral is a great book, so is The World Accoding to Garp, by John Irving. However, neither books should be read by parents that are inclined to suffering about their children too much. 



Aspectos de la evolución humana en los que no solemos pensar from CRFP CLM on Vimeo.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

A MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY (KURT VONNEGUT) AND THE SCIENTIFIC THOUGHT APPLIED TO LITERATURE

As an undergraduate at Cornell I was a chemistry major because my brother was a big-shot chemist. Critics feel that a person cannot be a serious artist and also have had a technical education, which I had. I know that customarily English departments in universities, without knowing what they’re doing, teach dread of the engineering department, the physics department, and the chemistry department. And this fear, I think, is carried over into criticism. Most of our critics are products of English departments and are very suspicious of anyone who takes an interest in technology. So, anyway, I was a chemistry major, but I’m always winding up as a teacher in English departments, so I’ve brought scientific thinking to literature. There’s been very little gratitude for this.


Kurt says he studied Chemistry because his brother was already a big-shot chemist. This is a big deal. I don´t know whether eldest brothers are aware of their responsibility when they choose a degree. I am not sure if they know how they can influence on their siblings. How many soft, but genuine vocations have been destroyed by the big brothers influence?
Regarding the fear mentioned in the text, we have said several times that this dread is reciprocal between scientists and men of letters and that we try to make this dread as soft as possible. It is been accepted that the man of letters thinks all scientists are brutes and, on the other hand, scientists think men of letters are damsels. This is unbearable.
With thi­s text we want to express our gratitude to Kurt Vonnegut for the incorporation of the scientific thought to literature, even if we don´t believe in this thought or scientific method so much.
(looking at Vonnegut’s picture, he looks like Fogwill, the way that Cortazar believed that Baudelaire and Poe were actually the same person)

Thursday, 2 March 2017

CARPENTER´S GOTHIC (WILLIAM GADDIS) AND THE AGING OF MEN AND PLANTS

Well it's, yes of course that's what happens isn't it, he said as though again called on to explain, pursuing it as he had the house itself, welcoming facts proof against fine phrases that didn't mean anything with —all those glorious colours the leaves turn when the chlorophyll breaks down in the fall, when the proteins that are tied to the chlorophyll molecules break down into their amino acids that go down into the stems and the roots. That may be what happens to people when they get old too, these proteins breaking down faster than they can be replaced and then, yes well and then of course, since proteins are the essential elements in all living cells the whole system begins to disinteg..


It seems there are similarities between the animal and the vegetal aging, apart from the exchangable adjetives: glum, overripe… whithered! much harder.
Insane, whithered or dead” were the three possibilities, terrible possibilities, for women, according to a Mexican poet.
The Fisiology assesor of this blog told me that the text says the truth about the chlorophyll, but not so much about the animal proteins, from a scientific view. Maybe you, like I, have the feeling that the text should have more commas, I guess the author has made it in this way on purpose.