Friday, March 23, 2007
Boomtime, the 9th of Discord, YOLD 3173 Discordian Calendar
You may notice that we have reached the First of Clinamen in the 'Pataphysical Calendar, here displayed in honour of Bob's love of calendars. If you use several then you may begin to perceive the arbitrary nature of calendars, and perhaps not take 'New Year's Day' quite so seriously, just because Pope Gregory says January 1st (whatever that means) counts as a starting point of something or other called 2007.
We publish MQ on Solstices and Equinoxes because they have a 'true' astronomical significance, even if you don't think about astrology or other calendar events.
I somehow acquired the mistaken idea that Clinamen meant the little spiral from the Institute (their months have funny names), but it turns out I should call that a Gidouille - it appears the word 'clinamen' goes back a ways - and could mean something a little more intriguing:
According to the Lucretian account of chaos falling into order by the chance concourse of atoms -- Sometimes, wrote Lucretius, at uncertain times and places, the eternal, universal fall of the atoms is disturbed by a very slight deviation - the "clinamen." The resulting vortex gives rise to the world, to all natural things.
The clinamen is also translated as "swerve," and in its literary dimension marks a point of intellectual revision. (see Harold Bloom's theory of the anxiety of influence.) Lucretius attributes both the creation of nature and the creations of mind to the clinamen. "The fact that the mind itself has no internal necessity to determine its every act and compel it to suffer in helpless passivity--this is due to the slight swerve of the atoms at no determinate time or place."
"Again, if all movement is always interconnected, the new arising from the old in a determinate order -- if the atoms never swerve so as to originate some new movement that will snap the bonds of fate, the everlasting sequence of cause and effect -- what is the source of the free will possessed by living things throughout the world?" Lucretius, De Natura Rerum, Book II.
Presumably, Prigogine's "fluctuations" are instances of the clinamen...
Oh, and Clinamen - otherwise known as Borsky's Blog - deserves a visit. You can find Borsky's definition(s) of Clinamen in an article he wrote for MQ.