Divine instruments for self learning
April 7, 2008 12:59 AM   Subscribe

Epic Lulls.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:02 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

I've only had a quick look and I can't do more while at work, but this looks great, and far more than a few mnemonic tools. I've wished for ages that there was a computerised version of the Ars Magna - the 'truth-generating' mechanism which arguably makes Lully (Llull, whatever) the earliest fore-runner of both the chat-bot and the pop-up book (besides being the father of Catalan literature and much besides).
posted by Phanx at 2:04 AM on April 7, 2008

For those not familiar with the highly acclaimed 13th / 14th Century arabist Ramon Llull also known as Ramon Lully here is a reader.
And at the bottom of this page you can see a few links to the Llull exhibition in Algeria last year.
Only yesterday I was strolling in the sun through Plaza Ramon Llull in the delightful old city of Palma.
posted by adamvasco at 2:14 AM on April 7, 2008

I Lull'd
posted by elpapacito at 3:34 AM on April 7, 2008

Descartes said the "art of Lully" consisted of "speaking without judgment of things of which we are ignorant." BURN.
posted by nasreddin at 3:58 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

posted by localhuman at 4:21 AM on April 7, 2008

Llull also invented numerous 'machines' for the purpose. One method is now called the Lullian Circle, each of which consisted of two or more paper discs inscribed with alphabetical letters or symbols that referred to lists of attributes. The discs could be rotated individually to generate a large number of combinations of ideas. A number of terms, or symbols relating to those terms, were laid around the full circumference of the circle. They were then repeated on an inner circle which could be rotated. These combinations were said to show all possible truth about the subject of the circle. Llull based this on the notion that there were a limited number of basic, undeniable truths in all fields of knowledge, and that we could understand everything about these fields of knowledge by studying combinations of these elemental truths.

Aha, so Ramon Lull was the inventor of those combination wheel things. I've seen them as used to present various kinds of information: a perpetual calendar, a tide calculator, a slide rule, a computer game code wheel, among others.

Fascinating, thank you. :)
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:28 AM on April 7, 2008

aeschenkarnos—those wheel charts are sometimes called volvelles. This page claims that Lull wasn’t the first to use them, although it doesn’t dispute that he was their foremost early adopter.
posted by misteraitch at 6:08 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

Can anyone tell me how Llull would have pronounced "Llull"?
posted by wfitzgerald at 6:30 AM on April 7, 2008

I would pronounce it, "whoa."
posted by wobh at 6:46 AM on April 7, 2008

: catalan L·L (named ela geminada) is pronounced like two consecutive l’s, cf.: * cèl·lula f cell.
posted by adamvasco at 7:14 AM on April 7, 2008

Oh thank goodness. I thought this was some sort of better designed timecube.
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:43 AM on April 7, 2008

'Yoy', I always thought, but why not call him Raymond Lully, since it's sort of an honour that he's one of few foreigners who ever made enough impact on the Anglo-Saxons to get an anglicised version of their name.

How do you pronounce two consecutive 'l's without putting a vowel in between? If you do that he's going to be 'Lululul' which sounds like a stammer.
posted by Phanx at 7:57 AM on April 7, 2008

When I clicked on the main link to Blessed Lull, as provided by Generalist, a huge dark screen with a box in the center came up. The gist was that it was blocked by Sonic Wall COntents Filter. What is going on? Who is that blocker? Is it friendly (protecting us from physical or CPU assault) or evil?
posted by yazi at 7:59 AM on April 7, 2008

Borges wrote about Llull a couple of times, which is no surprise.
posted by Falconetti at 8:29 AM on April 7, 2008

I'm just posting cuz of the tags. Screw the article.
posted by mnology at 10:02 AM on April 7, 2008

: catalan L·L (named ela geminada) is pronounced like two consecutive l’s, cf.: * cèl·lula f cell.

You grabbed the wrong entry. You'll notice the l's here do not have dots between them (that form is much less common in Catalan). Here's the correct one:
LL (named ella) denotes the sound [λ]. It is similar to English li in million, but is articulated in a single glide of the tongue (it is like Italian gli, Portuguese lh), cf.:
* llapis m pencil.
In other words, it's properly "lyooly" (one syllable), but "lool" is perfectly normal and acceptable in English.

Ramon Llull resources on the Web; also, anybody who is interested in the memory stuff should read The Art of Memory by Frances A. Yates
posted by languagehat at 11:01 AM on April 7, 2008

Llull from Merriam Webster sounds like a man with a bad cold saying 'Looly' or 'Lulu'.
posted by Phanx at 11:18 AM on April 7, 2008

"Llull" in modern Catalan is pronounced, as best as I can transcribe it in ascii, "yooiy," but in old Catalan (Lull lived from about 1215 to 1307 or something like that) it was both pronounced and spelt differently.

Another view.
posted by Phanx at 11:35 AM on April 7, 2008

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