Chapter 8— Vanishing Point

Palm Drive: View from Stanford Oval
to University Ave, Palo Alto
While walking down Palm Drive from Stanford University to Palo Alto's Cal-Train Station, it dawned upon me that the road's vanishing point is another image of the Platonic Lambda Λ. Wrote a poem "Vanishing Point" (3-2-2011, Notes) on a mountaineer's conquest of Matterhorn, K2, and Everest. But there is one vast peak he'll never reach no matter how hard he tries— the more he approached it, the further the goal receded from him. The mountaintops a climber has conquered are metaphors for worldly achievements. However, in the spiritual realm, there is one peak that will elude all attempts at conquest. Vanishing point is a metaphor for such spiritual goals that will keep questers busy for a lifetime and beyond. Unlike mountains and hills rising vertically that can be climbed, the "vanishing point road" appears as "a mountain laid flat on earth".
While this "flat mountain" may not be as strenuous to traverse as real mountains, nevertheless it poses a challenge for hikers who try to reach its end. That's because the road's apex is an optical illusion or mirage.
Photographs Showing Vanishing Point

Wind Farm on Highway 10, CA
Photograph by Stacey Kinaid

Burgundian Vineyard
Photograph by Geoff Martin

Foggy Road, Crow Edge, England
Photograph by Andrew Lee

Vanishing Point Road
Photograph by Peter Tellone

Dirt Road to a Church
Photograph by

Road in Australia
Photograph by AustralianViews

Railway Tracks
Photograph by SoundAndSpace

Cypress Trees at Sunrise
Photograph by Gary Yeowell

Pier to the Sea
Photograph by

Vanishing Point in the Cinema

The Passenger: View of Road Passed By (Poem)
Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni (1975)

Of Human Bondage: Opening Scene
Directed by John Cromwell (1934)

The Third Man: Ending Scene
Directed by Carol Reed (1949)

Postage Stamps Showing Vanishing Point

Persia 107, 2.50 rials
Railway Tracks
(issued 5-2-1957)

Korea 711, 10 won
Seoul-Pusan Expressway
(issued 6-30-1970)

Philippines 583,
Wright Park, Baguio City
(issued 12-15-1952)

New Zealand B6, 2 d.
Road to Health
(issued 11-8-1933)
Note: Above stamps were located in my 1975 Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue, Volumes I-III. With catalogue #s, found them in Google Images, and downloaded from the web. Click on stamp catalogoe # for image sources.

Platonic Lambda Λ in James Joyce's Finnegans Wake

James Joyce

Finnegans Wake

James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, I.8

Finnegans Wake, II.293
James Joyce's Finnegans Wake (1939) is a work of comic fiction, significant for its experimental style, and considered one of the most difficult works of fiction in the English language. Chapter 8 of Part I begins with twelve words "O / tell me all about / Anna Livia! I want to hear all" arranged in the shape of a pyramid or "Platonic Lambda". The chapter was described by Joyce in 1924 as "a chattering dialogue across the river by two washerwomen who as night falls become a tree and a stone." Since there are over 350 rivers from all over the world embedded in this chapter, it is a symbol of stream of consciousness writing which Joyce began with Ulysses (1922). The chapter ends with "Beside the rivering waters of, hitherandthithering waters of. Night!" (p. 216). It's interesting that Joyce ends his most important chapter in Finnegans Wake at page 216, since 216 is the product of the last numbers in the Platonic Lambda 8 and 27. Joyce writes of "Plutonic loveliaks twinnt Platonic yearlings—" (292.30-31), and borrows a Vesica Piscis diagram (293.12-14) from Commentary on Euclid's Elements by the Neoplatonist Proclus (412-485 AD). The intersection of two circles forms an almond-shaped mandorla often associated with Christ and Pisces (Sign of the Fish). The lower triangle (ALP) stands for the mother's initials Anna Livia Plurabelle, signifying the Lower World (Plutonic or Hades), while the upper triangle (αλπ) stands for the Higher World (Platonic Lambda or "World Soul" with the transcendental number π on top). I didn't know what Joyce meant by "waters of Night" until it dawned upon me it's dew! Joyce hints at this in 213.19-20: "Wring out the clothes! Wring in the dew!" More Dew Symbolism: The light of dawn; spiritual refreshment; benediction; blessing. Sweet dew is peace and prosperity. Celtic: The most sacred form of water among the Druids. Chinese: Immortality. The Tree of Sweet Dew grows on the sacred mountain Kwan-lung, the axis mundi (Tree of Life). Hebrew: In Kabbalah, it is resurrection. Mexican: The dew of the peyotl, sacred cactus, found at the intersection of the two perpendicular diameters traced in a circle, is the dew of immortality. Neo-Platonic: Dew is the natural envelope of souls; generation. Roman: The seminal fluid of Jupiter (J.C. Cooper, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols, 1978, page 50). From the triangular Platonic Λ's typography (196) and αλπ diagram (293) as well as his call of "Wring in the dew" (213.20), Joyce is telling us about a spiritual awakening of the soul. He learned this from A.E. from midnight to dawn (1901).
Another interpretation of Finnegans Wake, page 293, may be found in Carla Baricz's "The Finnegans Wake Diagram and Giordano Bruno" Joyce Studies Annual, Volume 2008, pp. 235-242 (

Notes to poem "Vanishing Point" on his lasting
quest looking for grace at end of the rainbow

James Joyce cites the RAINBOW in an acrostic in Finnegans Wake 226.30-32 and even backwards "Winnie, Olive and Beatrice, Nelly and Ida, Amy and Rue" (227.14). "At the end of a rainbow, you'll find a pot of gold" is the first line of the Sid Jacobson & Jimmy Krondes song At the End of a Rainbow that was sung by Earl Grant in 1958. Rainbow is an optical and meteorological phenomenon that causes a spectrum of light to appear in the sky when the Sun shines on to droplets of moisture in the Earth's atmosphere. It takes the form of a multicoloured arc. Rainbows caused by sunlight always appear in the section of sky directly opposite the sun. In Greek mythology, the rainbow was considered to be a path made by a messenger (Iris) between Earth and Heaven. In Norse Mythology, a rainbow called the Bifröst Bridge connects the realms of Ásgard and Midgard, homes of the gods and humans, respectively. The Irish leprechaun's secret hiding place for his pot of gold is usually said to be at the end of the rainbow. This place is impossible to reach, because the rainbow is an optical effect which depends on the location of the viewer. When walking towards the end of a rainbow, it will appear to "move" further away (two people who simultaneously observe a rainbow at different locations will disagree about where a rainbow is). I've changed "gold" to "grace" for the "lasting quest" for in the end it is not our will but "Thy will be done". Paul Brunton advised advanced students of yoga to give up their perennial search to better themselves, and let Grace take over. "Nothing is to be held within the consciousness but rather consciousness is to let itself be held by the enveloping Grace." (Notebooks, Ch. 7, #241)
(Image: Double Rainbow,

  — Peter Y. Chou
      Mountain View, 7-15-2020