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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tea-bowl for Mark Potter, #25 of 36, "Mars"

     "Mud hues burned by simple iron,
      My blood got wed to red desire.
      A draught of Mars does deaden fears,
      Drink from this cup - live a thousand years."

This cup is a red-brown on all sides.

There's a tiny trace of a drawing.


Now some number stuff, since 25 is a cousin of 36:

52 = 25, + 11 = 62 = 36
62 = 36, + 13 = 72 = 49
72 = 49, + 15 = 82 = 64

The odd numbers are what separate the square numbers!

1 squared is three less than 2 squared is five less than 3 squared etc.

The difference between any square number and its predecessor is:

n^2 = (n - 1)^2 + (2n - 1).\

A beautiful thing numbers. This simple equation is one of the reasons that people on the Indian subcontinent are so good at mathematics. Firstly, the Brahmanic culture there is primarily oral, not written.

Without pencil and paper you have to memorize a few things very very well, but once you do you can master a great deal of math very easily. So called 'Vedic Mathematics' is a body of understanding about numbers that makes calculation extremely easy, and fast.

What we just covered, if you've bothered to follow me thus far, leads to some easy to remember mnemonics, that can greatly speed mental calculation, once committed to memory.

Here's one rule that derives from the pattern of perfect squares:

A square number can end only with digits 00,1,4,6,9, or 25.

Here are some other quick math aids that stem from the same relationship between square numbers:

If the last digit of a number is 0, its square ends in 00 and the preceding digits must also form a square.

If the last digit of a number is 1 or 9, its square ends in 1 and the number formed by its preceding digits must be divisible by four.

If the last digit of a number is 2 or 8, its square ends in 4 and the preceding digit must be even.

If the last digit of a number is 3 or 7, its square ends in 9 and the number formed by its preceding digits must be divisible by four.

If the last digit of a number is 4 or 6, its square ends in 6 and the preceding digit must be odd.

If the last digit of a number is 5, its square ends in 25 and the preceding digits must be 0, 2, 06, or 56."

The point I"m making is simple: Written culture facilitates a loss of memory. We loose the ability to remember once we write something down. Writing, storage on a computer both, become a surrogate to memory. The act of committing to paper, or computer, relieves the brain of the responsibility of remembering. So we have no need for mental recall. We look for it on a computer, online, in a pile of papers, or in a library.

Yes the web has extended the human mind. But without it we're quite literally, dead.

The human mind instead of being filled with memories, instead is filled with web page addresses, codes for accessing information, essentially library cards to another body of cultural memory, essentially useless references without the corresponding assets, books, papers, computers, or the web.

There's a modern confusion: source with reference, of knowledge inside those volumes with the means of getting to them.

This leads to rapid perusal but not absorption. If you are still reading this now you are one of a tiny percentage that will read an article of any length. Most click to a page, look at it, and then click somewhere else.

Yet others will print it, believing that by printing they 'own' or 'know' what they've printed. Entire forests are disappearing because of this gulf between mind, and fantasy.

Oral culture trains the biological memory, our brain! Memorization is good for us! So is rhythmic culture, music, poetry, and mathematical structures of knowledge, as I have just shown.

This is the essence of the tantric technique I write about so often in these posts. All of experience may be encoded in this form. Experience is deepened, life enriched.

No imagine these same techniques applied to love!! This is not a new idea at all It was done centuries ago, in Vedic India.

When I started this project I realized that my own memory for the things I made is actually very poor. When forced to imagine the results of this firing, without the cups in front of me I found that I could only remember two or three tea-bowls out of the whole lot! Looking them over, then made me realize how many I had forgotten. The majority remained alien to me.

Having started this project, heaped on the writing, verse, and disciplined photography of each piece, I've enormously strengthened my own memory of what I've made. That has in turn increased my own understanding of my work as a potter, revealed areas of weakness, and strength, things to work on, techniques to get right etc.

We in the West are hounds for experience. We live life's rich tapestry of experience, but forget almost all of it.

Which is why we don't learn.


At long last I've decided to give this tea-bowl to myself. I has not been claimed by anyone else, and it bears my name.


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