About the Book:
“Ask not what your country can do for you,
ask what you can do for your country.”
That sentence, spoken by President John Kennedy in a famous speech, is a good example of chiasmus, a rhetorical figure that reverses the terms of the two clauses that make up a sentence, or a part of a sentence.
Chiasmus is thus a linguistic twist or turn that you can use to express a crosswise mode of thought. Chiasmus (ky-AZ-mus) means “a crossing,” from the Greek letter chi, X, a cross. You “cross” the terms of one clause by reversing their order in the next.
In this book the concept of chiasmus is explored not only as a figure of speech but also, and more importantly, as a figure of thought, a figure of reality, and a figure of Deity. The book will show how the concept can be generalized beyond its literary meaning and that chiasmus, and the way it turns things around, is a powerful conceptual tool that enhances the poetics of perception.
Chiasmic structures, some with breathtaking beauty, pervade the Bible from beginning to end, and many great thinkers turn to chiasmus to express some of their most profound insights. Some of the revolutionary discoveries of modern science turn out to be chiasmic, such as Einstein’s famous equation and the concept of complementarity.
When God said, “Let there be light,” the universe turned luminous with light making 600 trillion chiasmic crisscrossings per second. And, turning East, what has been called Zen Buddhism’s most important teaching—that, too, in its turn, is a chiasmic concept.
In this book of many twists and many turnings, the concept itself, as you will see, turns out to be . . . chiasmystic!
Table of Contents:
1. Chiasmus Makes a Musical Offering
2. Chi-Reality and Molecular Theology
3. A Chiasmology of Knots
4. Chiasmus and Quantum Complementarity
5. Light’s Chiasmic Complementarity
6. Whitehead’s Use of Chiasmus in Process and Reality
7. Assaying Fibonacci’s Golden Section
8. Chiasmic Creation in Plato’s Timaeus
9. Amazing Literary Grace: The Structure of Paul’s Hymn to Love
10. Iconic Reading: A New Way of Seeing
11. Beauty of Structure in the Four Gospels
12. The Prophet Amos Puts Chi on the Map
13. The Gospel of John: Chiasmus Mirabilis
14. A Progression of Forms
15. The East-West Chiasmus
16. Dogen and Hartshorne: Meeting at the Matrix
18. Pietro Roccasalva’s Neon Poetics of Perception
19. Beauty from the Mists of Chinese Antiquity
20. Dependent Co-Arising (Pratitya Samutpada)
21. Rodin’s “Thinker” Meets Dogen’s Nonthinker
22. The Chiasmic Nature of God
23. Moondrops in Dewlight
24. The Most Important Teaching: Not One, Not Two
Appendix I: Examples of Chiasmus in Process and Reality
Appendix II: Examples of the “Converse” Theme in Process and Reality
Appendix III: 25 Examples of Chiasmus by Zen Master Dogen