Another path in the S. adventure


What Does 291 Mean to You?

To me, it now means a new path — and a new end that is also a beginning?  It’s funny what little birds can bring (and big birds, too).

291.1 291.2 291.3 291.4










A Different Fella’s (and Gal’s) Progress

It turns out that John Bunyan isn’t the only one who was known for a ” ___’s Progress.”

William Hogarth created two of them: The Rake’s Progress and A Harlot’s Progressm – they are a part of his Modern Moral Series.

The Tate Museum has an extensive online exhibit of Hogarth’s work.

Spending time at the virtual Tate was an interesting diversion, and the bio given there was OK enough, but nothing to write a blog about. It was cued up as a tweet, but I decided to check Wiki

Here’s what I read that makes me think we were supposed to find him:

  • He’s the father of comics! “Hogarth (10 November 1697 – 26 October 1764) was an English painter, printmaker, pictorial satiristsocial critic, and editorial cartoonist who has been credited with pioneering western sequential art. His work ranged from realistic portraiture to comic strip-like series of pictures called “modern moral subjects”.
  • Knowledge of his work is so pervasive that satirical political illustrations in this style are often referred to as “Hogarthian”.
  • He painted: The Gate of Calais (1748) “Hogarth produced the painting directly after his return from France, where he had been arrested as a spy while sketching in Calais.”

Artist William Hogarth Year 1748 Type Oil-on-canvas Dimensions 80 cm × 96 cm (31 in × 37 5⁄8 in) Location Tate Britain, London

“The scene depicts a side of beef being transported from the harbour to an English tavern in the port, while a group of undernourished, ragged French soldiers and a fat friar look on hungrily. Hogarth painted himself in the left corner with a “soldier’s hand upon my shoulder.”[1]”

“The The Gate of Calais’ secondary title, O, the Roast Beef of Old England, is a reference to the popular patriotic ballad ‘The Roast Beef of Old England‘ from Henry Fielding’s The Grub-Street Opera (1731), which told of how the food “ennobled our brains and enriched our blood” and laughed at “all-vapouring France””.

About the Grub Street Opera (by Henry Fielding):

The author of the play is identified as Scriblerus Secundus. Secundus also appears in the play and speaks of his role in composing the plays.

The Grub-Street Opera is the first truly political play and also Fielding’s first ballad opera. As such it owes a lot to Fielding’s model, John Gay‘s The Beggar’s Opera. Unlike his other Scriblerus plays, Fielding’s Scriblerus persona in The Grub-Street Opera is deeply connected to Gay instead of Gay’s fellow members of the Scriblerus Club, Alexander Pope or Jonathan Swift.

So we’re back to the Scriblerus Club via Progress and Calais . . .(and wasn’t there a mention of “Tate” in one of the ads accompanying the review?)


Washington & Greene Connections

I haven’t seen much on Washington and Greene in our ARGBG, so I thought I’d research it.

Googling “Washington & Greene” yielded blah, blah, blah.

So, I followed the “Pennsylvania monkey” and Googled: Washington Greene Pennsylvania

I got this:

WAGGIN: The Washington & Greene Greater Information Network. That it’s an e-library called “waggin” and has a dog in its logo made me think of Clare and the best wagtail/not-wagtail moment ever.

But it turns out that Washington and Greene are sister (twin?) counties in southwest PA — and that “Greene County was created on February 9, 1796, from part of Washington County and named for General Nathanael Greene.”

Nathanael Greene “was a major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. He began the war in the “lowest rank possible” [militia private] and rose through the ranks to “[emerge] from the war with a reputation as George Washington‘s most gifted and dependable officer.

So — Washington & Greene: revolutionaries — Washington & Greene: Pennsylvania.

Casting a line for the 1929 connection, I got a small bite worth contemplating (ST: washington & greene 1929 pennsylvania):

“Congressional District Representatives . . . for today’s 9th & 18th Congressional Districts & yesterday’s 12th 1795 to present day representating [sic] Greene County, Pennsylvania”

I noticed that the fella who held the seat in the Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district in 1929 was John J. Casey. He actually held the seat from March 4, 1923-March 4, 1925 and then again from March 4, 1927-May 5, 1929, when he died in office (from a stroke on vacation in Balboa, Panama Canal Zone).

Wiki gave me this:

  • “At the age of seven, his father, Andrew Casey, died in a mining accident in the Wilkes-Barre Coal Mines. In accordance with company policy, the oldest son of a miner was required to take his father’s place in the mine if his family was to retain their home and company credit … In 1883 at the age of eight, Casey was … responsible for breaking the slag off of coal fragments as they were excavated from the mine.”
  •  “During his political career Casey espoused the views of organized labor
  • “On his tombstone there are two titles engraved . . . ‘United States Congressman’, but above that title is emblazoned ‘Labor Man’.”
  • “During his tenure as a union organizer, Casey on many occasions, was pursued by private detective organizations, including the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, and private company owned police forces in an attempt to deter him from unionizing several industries.”
  • “In 1900 the United Mine Workers President John Mitchell visited the Pennsylvania anthracite region and Casey quickly made a name for himself as a union organizer.”
  • He was the Representative from Pennsylvania’s 11th District from March 4, 1913 – March 3, 1917 and then again from March 4, 1919 – March 3, 1921.
  • In 1918, he was “appointed labor advisor and executive of the labor adjustment division for the Emergency Fleet Corporation, United States Shipping Board, during the First World War.”

So we dug up: coal, labor/unions, ships, Pinkertons, Agents, revolution – all from Washington and Greene, 1929 (and Pennsylvania, of course).


Here’s my pitch for Ludwig Wittgenstein.


Family Resemblance:

Though the philosophical notion of “family resemblance” appeared before Wittgenstein, his development of the idea in Philosophical Investigations (1953, published posthumously by two of his close friends and colleagues) is considered a/the seminal source on the subject. Family resemblance:


“argues that things which may be thought to be connected by one essential common feature may in fact be connected by a series of overlapping similarities, where no one feature is common to all.”


Games, which Wittgenstein used as an example in order to explain the notion, have become the paradigmatic example of a group that is related by family resemblances.”


It has been suggested that Wittgenstein picked up the idea and the term from Nietzsche, who had been using it, as did many nineteenth century philologists, when discoursing about language families.”


This connects to S. (at least the alternate world of S. that we are exploring/creating) in 4 ways that I see right now:

  • Palimpsest: The overlapping similarities of the Straka candidates (living and dead) — no two the exactly same – but all with so very much in common. They describe the same “person” — but not quite.
  • GEB: This is a notion Hofstadter uses with Godel, Escher, and Bach, (I think) — using family resemblance among G, E, and B to develop his thesis. See GEB in S.
  • GBG: Family resemblance is a big part of what makes a GBG both possible and worth committing (to losing) hours of your life to playing.
  • Wittgenstein used the concept of games to develop the concept of family resemblance.
  • Nietzsche influenced the work of Hesse, as well.


Duality and the SOT Paradox

There are really two Wittgensteins – the early period and the late period. He completely changed his philosophical stance. But he was still Wittgenstein, right? Well . . . he was dead by the time PI was published. But he was still Wittgenstein – he still is Wittgenstein to us.


Early Period:

Wittgenstein’s first published work (the one “book” published during his lifetime), the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus connects to our S. in 4 ways that I see right now:


  • The Vienna Circle (a secret society): The Tractatus “formed the basis for the group’s philosophy.”
  • Though not a member of the VC, Godel was a scholar at the University of Vienna at the time and was allowed to attend meetings of the VC.
  • Betrand Russell (the one who let TS Eliot live with him at Cambridge when TSE was still relatively unknown) was instrumental in getting the Tractatus (originally published as Logisch-Philosophische Abhandlung) Wittgenstein is connected to TS Eliot through, who was a mentor, supporter, and sounding board for both early in their careers.
  • Its name is an allusion to the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus by Spinoza (the “substance” guy).


Later Period:

In the Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein attacks the philosophy he so carefully developed in the Tractatus, particularly the notion that “Every word has meaning.” He instead he argues that “meaning is use.”


He reinvented himself . . .


I’ve already mentioned family resemblance from PI, but here’s what else I think matters:

  • PI is like experimental fiction – and S. – that engaged the reader to participate actively.

From Wiki:

“Philosophical Investigations is unique in its approach to philosophy. A typical philosophical text presents a philosophical problem, summarizes and critiques various alternative approaches to solving it, presents its own approach, and then argues in favour of that approach. In contrast, Wittgenstein’s book treats philosophy as an activity, rather along the lines of Socrates’s famous method of maieutics; he has the reader work through various problems, participating actively in the investigation.”

“The central component of language games is that they are uses of language, and language is used in multifarious ways. For example, in one language-game, a word might be used to stand for (or refer to) an object, but in another the same word might be used for giving orders, or for asking questions, and so on.


Wittgenstein does not limit the application of his concept of language games to word-meaning. He also applies it to sentence-meaning. For example, the sentence “Moses did not exist” (§79) can mean various things. Wittgenstein argues that independently of use the sentence does not yet ‘say’ anything. It is ‘meaningless’ in the sense of being insignificant for a particular purpose. It only acquires significance if we fix it within some context of use.”


“One general characteristic of games that Wittgenstein considers in detail is the way in which they consist in following rules. Rules constitute a family, rather than a class that can be explicitly defined . . . Following a rule is a social activity.”


I see it like this: The GBG is its own game – governed by rules that are not strictly defined in Hesse’s book. We seem to be socially constructing the rules of our GBG as we go – and using language and rules (and language rules) that have meaning for us within the context of our game.


Other reasons LW should be at the table (on the ship?):

 “This “notorious paragraph” has heated up a debate on whether the point Wittgenstein has to make is one of “great philosophical interest” revealing “remarkable insight” in Gödel’s proof, as Floyd and Putnam suggest (Floyd (2000), Floyd (2001)), or whether this remark reveals Wittgenstein’s misunderstanding of Gödel’s proof as Rodych and Steiner argued for recently (Rodych (1999, 2002, 2003), Steiner (2001)).”



In fact, the author of the above-quoted article (Timm) takes a different stance from Floyd/Putnam and Rodych/Steiner. Worth a read if you’re interested in getting sucked into that rabbit hole.

  • “Soldier,” ship, artillery: “On the outbreak of World War I, Wittgenstein immediately volunteered for the Austro-Hungarian Army, first serving on a ship and then in an artillery workshop.”
  • Sexual Fluidity: He was gay.
  • Suicide: His 3 brothers all committed suicide. Wittgenstein was not secretive about his own contemplation of suicide.
  • Douglas Hofstadter: Like Hofstadter, he thought that his work was misunderstood by his “followers” — that it ran deeper than they were processing it. (In the case of DH, he’s come out and told us the theme of GEB.)


There’s more, I’m sure. But this is where I am now. Anyone care to join in?