Thursday, February 22, 2007

Tom Robbins’s riff on colors

“She moved to the acrylic department…She chanted the names of the colors as she dropped them into her basket.

Indian red, Mars red, Venetian red, cadmium red, vermilion and rose madder. There was alizarin crimson, magenta, and that thorn in the backside of the sinful, sister terra rosa.

There was cobalt blue, cerulean blue, Prussian blue, ultramarine blue, and with just a soupcon of garlic, french ultramarine blue.

Hansa yellow (patron saint of jaundiced piano players). Zinc yellow, lemon yellow, yellow ocher, mars yellow, naples yellow and brilliant orange. Thio violet, prism violet, mars violet, cobalt violet, dioxazine purple.

Next those nightmares of newlywed homemakers, raw sienna and burnt sienna. (He likes his medium-rare, boo hoo.) Raw umber and burnt umber (There, there, dear, we’ll send out for pizza), Vandyke brown, brown madder, thalo copper, silver, gold oxide, and payne’s gray.

Viridian, o viridian! Green earth, cadmium green, hooker’s green (protectress of novice prostitutes). Sap green (patron saint of voters who believe all irish-American politicians are honest).

O sing mars black, lamp black, ivory black, and titanium white (blessed are the Caucasians who went down with the ship)…

What did she forget? Lily white, basic black, snow white, black beauty, white Christmas, black Friday, white supremacy, black power, the color purple, people-eater purple, the color of money, long green, lawn green, lone green, Lohengrin, the color of your parachute, the color of my true lover’s hair, puce, mars puce, mars chartreuse, mars bars, little-boy blue, blue bayou, blues in the night, paint-the-town red, do-it-up brown, james brown, dorian gray, red skelton, red October, tom Clancy red, better-dead-than red, better-ill-than teal, Greenberg, Goldberg, long-john silver, mellow yellow, electrical banana, yellow peril, yellow fever, mayonnaise yellow, mustard, relish, and onions.”

(Skinny legs and all)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Rupert Sheldrake

One of the reasons I feel a special affection for Rupert Sheldrake is that he’s worked in India (Principal Plant Physiologist at ICRISAT, Hyderabad) for a while. The other reasons have to do, of course, with his thoughts and ideas. From studying natural sciences at Cambridge and philosophy at Harvard, to getting his PhD in Biochemistry and holding posts like Director of Studies (at Cambridge again), to eventually postulating theories of formative causation, and morphogenetic fields, makes for a man with diverse interests.

Additional endorsement- Science (the publication) called for burning his A New Science of Life.

On his work:

The theory of formative causation is concerned with how things take up their forms, or patterns, or organization. So it covers the formation of galaxies, atoms, crystals, molecules, plants, animals, cells, societies. It covers all kinds of things that have forms, patterns, structures, or self organizing properties…what my theory is concerned with is self-organizing natural systems, and it deals with the cause of form. And the cause of all these forms I take to be organizing fields, form-shaping fields, which I call morphic fields, from the Greek word for form. The original feature of what I'm saying is that the forms of societies, ideas, crystals and molecules depend on the way that previous ones of that kind have been organized. There's a kind of built-in memory in the morphic fields of each kind of thing. So the regularities of nature I think of as more like habits, than as things governed by eternal mathematical laws that somehow exist outside nature.”

A good explanatory interview can be found at