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Entries in Allen Ginsburg (2)

Monday
Jul062009

Geminisms

venus & serena w Il lI ams

Gemini often occurs among siblings or couples who become prominent in related professions, and whose personal relationship is professionally relevant. Serena is a Libra, an air sign like Gemini, in fact the most serene of the air signs. Venus, the Gemini sister, is paradoxically named, since the planet Venus rules Libra, her sister's sign. Thus in their very naming began the intended intermixture of their identities. They are the only pair of tennis players to have played championship singles matches and then partnered in doubles. This year they did it for the second time. I relish the exemplary equanimity of these sisters who shift from opposition to cooperation, expressing the astrological nature of the signs of the Twins and the Balance. 

iSaiaH Berlin

 

 

Anglo-russo social philosopher, historian of ideas, and intellectual playboy (6 June 1909-1997).

A portion of his voluminous correspondence (Enlightening:Letters 1946-1960) is reviewed by Terry Eagleton in The Guardian:

“Berlin was not only a compulsive chatterer; he was in a chattering class of his own. These letters are great splurges of urbane speech, which at times come close to stream-of-consciousness mode.”

 

 

 

"Fragments of political philosophy blend with upper-class gush ("divine", "delicious", "adorable"). There is the odd, respectfully restrained note to Winston Churchill, along with loquacious missives to Arthur Schlesinger, John Sparrow, David Astor, Richard Wollheim, Violet Bonham Carter, Bernard Berenson and a glittering array of others. Berlin's parents are kept informed of the socially glamorous crew he has just dined with in Paris. All the time the man himself is darting from Harvard to Aix-en-Provence, Italian castles to Tel Aviv, penning his views on the Palestinian question while his social life proliferates hopelessly beyond control." (Terry Eagleton, The Guardian)


 

Sunday
Jul062008

scientists: gilbert coulomb poisson maxwell lodge crookes mesmer 

steinbergplusminus057.jpgAnother image of pure Gemini from Saul Steinberg (June 15, 1914). 

 

Scientists usually feel left out when the topic of astrology arises;  they should not. For instance, a clearly disproportionate number of the seminal names in the physics of magnetism were born under the Twins, the primal dualism, Gemini:

William Gilbert, author of De Magnete, ("the first great English scientific work") was born May 24, 1544. He discovered that the Earth is a giant magnet.

Charles Augustin de Coulomb (born June 14, 1736). In seven papers on electricity and magnetism published between 1785 and 1789, he explained the mathematical laws of attraction and repulsion between magnetic poles and electric charges.

Simeon Poisson, mathematician (b. 21 June 1781)  " . . his memoirs on the theory of electricity and magnetism, virtually created a new branch of                 mathematical physics. .....  made important contributions to the theory of                       attraction."

James Clerk Maxwell (b. June 13, 1831), author of the 1873 Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism demonstrating the identity of the two phenomena, "the most important physicist between Newton and Einstein".

These four men established the theory that the material world is essentially constituted by the interplay of two opposing immaterial forces. Equally entranced by the dance of plus and minus was the genius British technoscientist Oliver Lodge (b. 12 June 1851). He extended and applied electromagnetic theory to wireless transmission, the bipolar electrical cell, the study of lightning, automotive engineering (the spark plug), and fog-busting. He might almost be the man in Steinberg's drawing. Oliver Lodge was also twice a highly active president of the British Society for Psychical Research.

 

Another important scientist and British SPR president was Gemini Sir William Crookes (17 June 1832) who made discoveries in many scientific realms, including electricity. He is best remembered for the Crookes radiometer, which moves by virtue of the difference between black and white. Gemini Wallis Simpson's witty earrings

Mention must also be made of another experimenter associated with a form of magnetism, so-called animal magnetism: Franz Anton Mesmer (b. May 23, 1734) who, applying the principal of universal immaterial polarized force to medicine, psychology and sexuality, was the progenitor of dynamic psychiatry and the experimental approach to subjectivity. Mesmerism was, of course, a principle object of study at the SPR. 

 

At the time of the flourishing of the SPR London was awash with Gemini writers characteristically eager to extend communication. Arthur Conan Doyle (22 May 1859) and G. K. Chesterton (29 May 1874), both alter-egos of popular psychic investigators (Sherlock Holmes and Father Brown) both also deeply pursued mediumistic contact with their departed, beloved brothers. The poet W. B. Yeats (13 June 1865) while working with Crookes on a spirit-voice transmission device, runs into novelist Arnold Bennett (27 May 1867) at a seance . . . Gemini embraces any possibility of communication. No wonder Timothy Berners-Lee, inventor of the internet, is a Gemini.


 

This universe a thing of dream
                substance naught & Keystone void
                                    vibrations of symmetry  Yes   No
                                    Foundations of Gold Element Atom
                all the way down to the first Wave
                making opposite Nothing a mirror
which begat a wave of Ladies marrying
waves of Gentlemen till I was born in 1926
                in Newark, New Jersey under the sign
                                                                sweet Gemini ---

                                                                           ALLEN GINSBURG