Category Archives: chain


A Yojijukugo (四字熟語) is a unit of four kanji characters that usually represents an idiomatic saying in Japanese. It is itself a yojijukugo, even though it isn’t idiomatic, since the term can also broadly refer to a non-idiomatic phrase of four characters.

Shunkashūtō (春夏秋冬) is a nice one that means the four seasons of the year, and so is a fourfold written in four kanji characters.

Eshajōri (会者定離) is hopefully appropriate, meaning “every meeting must involve a parting”.

Further Reading:

And these are just interesting:



Charles Fourier and the Theory of Four Movements

Nothing is too wonderful to be true if it be consistent with the laws of nature.

— Michael Faraday in his Laboratory Notebook

There are many things to scratch one’s head about in Charles Fourier’s “Theory of the Four Movements,” first published anonymously in 1808. However, his progressive political thought influenced many in France and in the United States. Fourier was a utopian and a socialist, and thought social cooperation and unity were the only ways to overcome the discord and strife he observed in his times. His theory is based on a hierarchy of “movements” within four realms, from low to high: the Material, the Organic, the Animal, and the Social.

As he elaborated on these movements, Fourier claimed that social history went through four main periods of unhappiness and happiness, ascending from a chaotic period, through two harmonious periods which were each seven times longer, before descending into another chaotic period of length equal to the first. In order to achieve this happiness, he thought that we must envision and engineer a new social order to achieve a common purpose. Nowadays, of course, socialism has a noxious connotation to those of the right-leaning and hyper-capitalist persuasion.

  • Ascending Chaos
  • Ascending Harmony
  • Descending Harmony
  • Descending Chaos

And now, the United States teeters on the brink of choosing four more years of terrible leadership, all to maintain the status-quo of funneling more money into the pockets of the wealthy and more power into the hands of the already dominant.

Further Reading:

Charles Fourier / The Theory of Four Movements

[*9.62, *12.63]




Classes of Automata

Here is one way to carve up abstract (mathematical) automata into different classes of complexity (from low to high).

There is a somewhat different and older one that is based on the Chomsky Hierarchy (where ND stands for non-deterministic), and the associated language or grammar that they recognize:

Further Reading:



The Ware Tetralogy

Here’s another science-fiction tetralogy for you to read that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. The  four books in Rudy Rucker’s “Ware” Tetralogy are:

  • Software
  • Wetware
  • Freeware
  • Realware

From Wikipedia:

The closest to the cyberpunk genre of all his works, the tetralogy explores themes such as rapid technological change, generational differences, consciousness, mortality and recreational drug use.

Pretty wild stuff!

Further Reading:



The Book of the New Sun

Gene Wolfe’s “Book of the New Sun” tetralogy is said to be rife with alchemical symbolism. I have not read it yet, although it has been on my to-read stack for years. Nonetheless, here is a diagram for you, partly because it’s an easy post, but also for me, so that I can add interesting links as I might find them.

  • The Shadow of the Torturer
  • The Claw of the Conciliator
  • The Sword of the Lictor
  • The Citadel of the Autarch

Of course, there are a few other tetralogies that exist, although they are not as common as trilogies. One already mentioned on this blog is the Aeygpt Tetralogy by John Crowley.

Further Reading:

An Analysis Of The Alchemical Tradition Behind BOOK OF THE NEW SUN, Part I: Urth, Ushas, And Unus Mundus

An Analysis Of The Alchemical Tradition Behind BOOK OF THE NEW SUN, Part II: The Solve et Coagula of Terminus Est

An Analysis Of The Alchemical Tradition Behind BOOK OF THE NEW SUN, Part III: The Piteous Gate and A Dark Albedo

An Analysis of the Alchemical Tradition Behind BOOK OF THE NEW SUN, Part IV: Hethor, Typhon and the Temptation of Severian

An Analysis of the Alchemical Tradition Behind BOOK OF THE NEW SUN, Part V: The Aestivation Hypothesis and the Hierodules

An Analysis of the Alchemical Tradition Behind BOOK OF THE NEW SUN, Part VI: Tzadkiel and the Mystery of Yesod


Fourth Person

I also dream of a new kind of narrator―a “fourth-person” one, who is not merely a grammatical construct of course, but who manages to encompass the perspective of each of the characters, as well as having the capacity to step beyond the horizon of each of them, who sees more and has a wider view, and who is able to ignore time. Oh yes, I think this narrator’s existence is possible.

— Olga Tokarczuk, Winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize for Literature

Further Reading:

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