Saturday, September 8, 2007

Opposition Attracts

Courses Without Borders Series

To Colleagues & Linguistics, Fiction & Liberal Arts

ON Opposites & Opposition:
Putting IT into PLAY

Making Your Own Möbius Strip

1. Start with a long rectangle (ABCD)
made of paper.

2. Give the rectangle

a half twist.

3. Join the ends so that
A is matched with D
and B is matched with C.

“This curious surface is called a Möbius Strip
or Möbius Band, named after August Ferdinand
Möbius, a nineteenth century German mathematician
and astronomer, who was a pioneer in the field of
topology. Möbius, along with his better known
contemporaries, Riemann, Lobachevsky and Bolyai,
created a non- Euclidean revolution in geometry.

Möbius strips have found a number of surprising
applications that exploit a remarkable property they
possess: one-sidedness. Joining A to C and B to D
(no half twist) would produce a simple belt-shaped
loop with two sides and two edges -- impossible to
travel from one side to the other without crossing
an edge. But, as a result of the half twist,the
Möbius Strip has only one side and one edge!

Now: I can write all my favorite double binding faux &
genuine dichotomous dualistic diametrical oppositions,
devils & deep blues seas, rocky tops & hard places,
Charybdi & Scyllae pesky in-betweener damned if I do
damned if I don’t deals down on both sides of the strip:
pluses on one side and minuses on the other, what I hate
(one side) what I love (other) : do the moebic twist (see
step 2 above), seal it, paste, duct tape the opposing ends
and it’s all one—unitarian, universalist—I can slide the strip
between my fingers witnessing the integrity , feeling the
integration after all is said and done. xxxooo, Presbyter

These oppositions are normally
seen as completely distinct; the
Moebius Strip, however, enables
us to see them as continuous
with each other: the one, as it is,
is the "truth" of the other, and vice

Reni Celeste invokes a similar
topology, when she comments on
Lynch's rewriting of American meta-
physics, a rewriting that emphasizes
the position where "violence meets
tenderness, waking meets dream,
blond meets brunette, lipstick meets
blood, where something very sweet
and innocuous becomes something
very sick and degrading, at the very
border where opposites becomes both
discrete and indistinguishable: (Celeste)

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