Friday, May 04, 2012

bounded set, centered set, fuzzy set...and pivotal set and dancing set?

Beth Maynard's amazing chapter  in "Exploring U2"   (indispensable  for understanding what U2 are "on about" ) helped me see  a classic Bono  quote in a new light.

In a 2005 Rolling Stone interview, Bono commented that, artistically, the important thing to him was not whether music was "running toward God or away from God," but that it  "recognize the pivot, that God is at the center."  Structured around this pivot, then, U2's live performances include all registers of life onstage, not juxtaposing the sacred and the profane harshly as if to shock, but simply refusing to admit there is opposition.
-Beth Maynard, "Where Leitourgia Has No Name," in Exploring U2, p. 5

Just the way she framed  the quote took my focus from direction (towards/away) to the center's...well, centrality.

When one studies and teaches Paul Hiebert's version of "set theory" (see tags below) as much as I do, it is ironic and imevitable that sometimes the focus falls  too fully on the direction of the arrows and not the Center of "centered sets." 

Even in someone's arrow/intention/life direction suggests that they are "headed the wrong way,"
it doesn't mean the runner doesn't recognize..or even honor..the center/Center.  Do all "Wrong Way Riegel'"s "recognize the pivot"..even preveniently; even subconsciously, even if the wrongwayness is "unintentional" (as Wriege;s'  obviously was)..or intentionally unintentional?

Should we run the wrong way so that grace may abound?  μὴ γένοιτο!!!

  • How would Bono define pivot?
  • How big /central is my God/Pivot?
  • What does it mean for God to be Pivot/Center?
  • Should we add "pivoted sets" to the sets of set theory, or is this just "centered set"-ness rightly  viewed?   OR: Do even centered sets have "issues"?
  • How would one draw a "pivoted set"?  Does the pivot ever...well, pivot, or repivot? Like "centered sets with moving centers"?

Check out these definitions of "pivot" below.  Snce set theoory's origins are in math, if we corralled this new category into set theory, we should probably adopt the math definition below..but I am intrigued by the second definition under "computing" (:

 And the fact that under "music," there is a "pivotal chord." This is string theory/sound theory..and sounds like the sound sound theory sounded  on U2's last release!).    It also furthers Bono's illustration in that not just the arrows are musical, but so is the Center.


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Pivot may refer to:
  • Pivot, the point of rotation in a lever system
  • More generally, the center point of any rotational system
  • Pivot joint, a kind of joint between bones in the body
  • Pivot turn, a dance move



  • Pivot point, a price point in the financial, commodity, and securities markets



  • Syntactic pivot, the argument of the verb around which the sentence revolves
  • Pivot language, an artificial or natural language used as an intermediary language for translation


  • Pivot word (kakekotoba), a technique in Japanese poetry






  • Pivot Peak, the highest point in Wilkniss Mountains, Victoria Land
  • Mount Pivot, a mountain in the western part of the Shackleton Range


  • Pivot Wireless, a cell phone service, created by a joint venture between Sprint and multiple cable companies
  • Pivot Legal Society, a legal advocacy organization based in Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Incitec Pivot, an Australian chemicals & explosives manufacturer


Here below is  Bono's quote in context.  His second sentence calls to me to consider yet another set: the "dancing set"...(or is that "Dance Prints")..and reminds us that no line is straight, even in set theory
(See: "spiraling towards a moving center: pardon me, your gravitas is showing").

You never saw rock ; roll – the so-called devil’s music – as incompatible with religion?
People are always forcing you to make decisions between flesh and spirit. Whereas, I want to dance myself in the direction of God. I go out drinking with God. I am flirtatious in the company of God. I am not a person who has to put God out of his mind to go out on the town. And it's a key point. The divided soul of Marvin Gaye, Elvis - it tore them apart, these conflicts. And they don't tear me apart. I reckon God loves all of me.
The music that really turns me on is either running toward God or away from God. Both recognize the pivot, that God is at the center of the jaunt. So the blues on one hand – running away; gospel, the Mighty Clouds of Joy – running towards. The blues are like the Psalms of David. Here was this character, living in a cave, whose outbursts were as much criticism as praise. There’s David singing. “Oh, God – where are you when I need you?/You call yourself God?” And you go, this is the blues.
Both deal with the relationship with God. That’s really it. I’ve since realized that anger with God is very valid. We wrote a song about that on the Pop album (1997) – people were confused by it – which was called “Wake Up Dead Man”: “Jesus, help me/I’m alone in this world/And a f***ed-up world it is, too/Tell me, tell me the story/The one about eternity/And the way it’s all gonna be/Wake up, dead man."
Look at the people who have formed my imagination. Bob Dylan. Nineteen seventy-six – he’s going through similar stuff. You buy Patti Smith: “Horses” – “Jesus died for somebody’s sins/But not mine...” And she turns Van Morrison’s “Gloria” into liturgy. She’s wrestling with these demons – Catholicism in her case. Right the way through to “Wave,” where she’s talking to the pope!

Then I can remember John Lennon singing “Oh My Love.” It’s like a little hymn. It’s certainly a prayer of some kind – even if he was an atheist. “Oh, my love/For the first time in my life/My eyes can see/I see the wind/Oh, I see the trees/Everything is clear in our world.” For me it was like he was talking about the veil lifting off, the scales falling from the eyes. Seeing out the window with a new clarity that love brings you. I remember that feeling.

Yoko came up to me when I was in my twenties, and she put her hand on me and she said, “You are John’s son.” What an amazing compliment!  LINK


  1. what a bunch of observe balderdash.

    you are satan.... "get thee behind me, satan"... you are doomed to hell

  2. Thanks Steve. I love you too.


Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!