Montréal, September 30, 1999
Scientartist: ... I beg to differ, ... I believe the correct polarity is the way I am doing it, ... putting science in a primacy over art.
Artoscientist: ... no matter, ... seeking to determine 'rightness' or wrongness' is no more than the abstraction of the scientartist,... or obsession, should I say. Determinations with such finality are not imposed upon nature, ... and the main effect of the dispute is the involuntary damage done as antagonists grapple with each other like sumo wrestlers in a china shop. Let's not look back, ... let's 'let go' and keep moving, ...
Scientartist: .... just what is it that turns you off about using our polarity, anyhow?
Artoscientist: ... it's the lack of consistency.
Scientartist: ... HAH!, ... talk about the pot calling the kettle black, ... how can you say that with a straight face? Scient-art is the domain of laws and predictability, ... where there is a consistent understanding in how things work which can be demonstrated by experiment and shown to come out consistently and identically in all repetitions, ... while artoscience is blurry and ambiguous, ... every canvas being unique, ... like none other ever painted.
Artoscientist: Yes indeed, that's my point. I meant 'consistency' in the sense of 'consistency with nature', ... the machine works you have described is radically INCONSISTENT with nature, the declared subject of your inquiry. On the other hand, the aesthetics of art, ... ratio and proportion, rhythm and harmony, ... emulate natural behaviors, ... the aesthetic properties of the things and dynamical patterns of nature. Your scientartist's preference has you believing that you can start from the bottom, from the notion of material 'things' and their properties and behaviors, and 'construct' a reality which emulates nature, ... an absurd hypothesis. Johannes Kepler, who you regard as a practitioner of scientart and I see as a practitioner of artoscience, showed the impossibility of this 'bottom-up' reconstruction of nature in his work 'Harmonies of the World'.
Scientartist: You are wrong there, my friend, ... Kepler was into 'laws', not ambiguities, and his three laws of planetary motion were extended by Newton to provide the foundation for today's fluorishing scientart activity, ... an activity which has underpinned the tremendous progress we have been witness to over the past 350 years, since Newton's formulation of the mathematical principles of natural philosophy.
Artoscientist: Hmmmm, .... 'progress' is one of those marvellous abstractions of the scientart world, ... which measures the advance of civilization in terms of the price, number and complexity of technological widgets bought with a years wages, .... it has now't to do with the quality of life. And Kepler's most valuable artoscientific insight on nature, was totally ignored by Newton, who strip-mined rather than extended Kepler's findings, ... casting the gems aside, ... and continuing to ignore them to this day.
Scientartist: And what might this marvellous artoscientific insight be, pray tell?
Artoscientist: The insight is as the title of his work states, ... that there is an essential harmony in nature, .... that, the universe, ... our space-time containing environment 'adorns' its constituents with harmony, ... and proclaims this as his greatest finding, ... saying to Emperor Rudolph II, his patron, .. "The most wise prince will easily reckon how great an addition this makes in illustrating the glory of the fabric of the world, and of God, the Architect."
Scientartist: What utter twaddle, ... and every scientartist should at least be allowed a faux pas here and there, ... for what is learning if it is not through making mistakes. There is no possible way that the 'whole' complex configuration of dynamics can be known in advance of the sequential dynamics of things and their behaviors which together produce it. And since I know you will bring this dilemma up, which Newton expressed in his Author's Preface to 'Principia ...', I shall pre-empt your spin-doctoring by doing so first;
"I wish we could derive the rest of the phaenomena of nature by the same kind of reasoning from physical principles; for I am induced by many reasons to suspect that they all may depend upon certain forces by which the particles of bodies, by some causes hitherto unknown, are either mutually impelled towards each other, and cohere in regular figures, or are repelled and recede from each other; which forces being unknown, philosophers have hitherto attempted the search of nature in vain; but I hope the principles laid down will afford some light either to this or some truer method of philosophy."
And, in doing so, would like to make clear that scientart has begun to work on this problem, ... in the context of 'complexity', .. 'chaos and order', ... and the answer to this question of 'whole-and-part' harmony or system resonance, ... is just a matter of time, as the scientart greats of our time, such as Edward O. Wilson, have made clear.
Artoscientist: ... yes, ... 'just a matter of time', ... and so may well be the destruction of our environment and collapse of civilization emanating from the shortfalls in scientartistic understanding of 'how the world works'. Scientart keeps itself so busy looking down the barrel of a microscope that it stays unaware of what is evolving in its own containing environment, ... it's own 'life', the impact of science on civilization, has been something which 'just happened' as scientartistry was busy dinking around with its voyeur experimentation. 'The check is in the mail', ... is just not good enough, .. not after 350 years of rising dysfunction which scientart claims will be solved by building bigger and better super-conducting super-colliders so that scientartists can take quark-hunting holidays, detached from the real issues of life.
Scientartist: Strong words, my friend, ... and words which overlook the fact that without the products of science, gleaned from the barrels of those microscopes, ... you might never have even survived the common childhood illnesses to be standing here and saying them. Scientart's understanding of the cause of illness, and its ability to design and build anti-biotics and prescribe anti-viral chemicals has been keeping you artoscientists alive.
Artoscientist: As they say in the game of pool; "there's no sense in running if you're on the wrong road", ... the road which leads to being snookered. We've all been forced to make the same forking choice as the scientartists, when scientart dropped the multi-body harmony insight of Kepler and settled on the two-body interference concept of 'causality' as being the sufficient basis for 'how the world works'. Even the bacteria are angry at us, ... and as for the so-called 'viruses', which seem to remain an elusive figment of our abstraction of 'causality'. Kepler made the choice of which fork in the road we must take very clear in his summary to 'Harmonies of the World', saying;
"Now, the 'harmony-of-the-whole of all the planets contributes more to the perfection of the world than the single harmonies by twos and the pairs of harmonies by the twos of neighbouring planets. For harmony is, so to speak, a volume [containerfull] of unity. A deeper unity yet is presented, when all the planets form a harmony with each another, as when just two at a time harmonize in a doubled manner. In the interference of these harmonies deriving from the dual harmonic line-ups, which the pairs of planets form with each another, the one or the other must capitulate, so that the harmony-of-the-whole can prevail."
Kepler presented us with the choice of building our understanding of 'how the world works' on the basis of the interference (harmony) of two things at a time; i.e. 'causality', ... the effect of one thing on another, ... the fork chosen for us by scientart which put us on the road we're currently running on. The other choice, .. Kepler's recommended choice, was to understand the 'way the world works' in terms of the interference (harmony) 'of the whole', ... harmony induced from the containing ether or 'inertial field' --- the adorning property of the universe.
Scientartist: You know as well as I do that Newton looked at the simultaneous harmony of three bodies or more, in his mathematical principles LXV and LXVI, and concluded that; "An exact solution for three bodies, exceeds, if I am not mistaken, the force of any human mind".
Artoscientist: Indeed I do, ... but while a scientartist may be blind to it, there are two rather fundamental pre-suppositions in Newton's statement.
Scientartist:, ... and, pray tell, .. .what might these 'presuppositions' be?
Artoscientist: ... 'a', ... that one needs an 'exact solution', ... and, 'b', .... that one is constrained to rational, logical-causal thought stripped of imagination. When I paint, I start from my impression of the 'whole', ... the pattern of relationships of whole-and-part, ... from the reciprocal disposition or 'negative space' viewing of the living dynamic of nature and reality, ... and this is what I keep in the primacy over the detail of the part. I do not build from the bottom-up, .. from the parts to the whole, ... I proceed from the top-down, ... from the implicit to the explicit, ... the implicit precedes the explicit and gives it meaningful context, ... one cannot have material 'things' without containing context in real life.
Scientartist: ... that's the trouble with your approach, ... it's always blurry and ambiguous, ... each work a work of uniqueness, ... never predictable, never repeatable. The artistic imagination is what prevents us from developing a common and crisp understanding of nature and community.
Artoscientist: ... if nature is not itself 'crisp' and 'predictable', ... what kind of understanding is this which imposes a crispness and predictability which is not there?
Scientartist: You play with words well, you artoscientists, .. but I will not fall into your poetic trap, ... I will merely remind you that 'imagination' is not a basic property of nature. A rock, for example does not 'imagine', and the empty space can scarcely imagine what sort of harmonies it wants its constituents to engage in, ... the 'harmony-adorning' property of the ether, as Kepler hypothesized, is just not scientartistic, ... inorganic matter and empty space do not have the capacity to 'imagine'.
Artoscientist: And I suppose you further believe that inorganic matter, .. the cosmos, .. is 'not alive', then?
Scientartist: Of course it is not alive, ... it is a collection of rocks in motion first and foremost, ... life is something which only appeared here on earth a few billion years ago,... perhaps engendered by the effect of lightning on a fortuituous combination of complex inorganic but organic-like compounds.
Artoscientist: Let's see now, ... a short while ago we were speaking of 'consistency', or the lack thereof, ... and what I am hearing is that your understanding of 'how the world works' is that it is crisp and predictable while nature is manifestly ambiguous, your view also being contrary to the artoscientist Heisenberg and his 'uncertainty principle', ... and you go on to say that this nature, governed by causality, .. fully determined by the properties and behaviors of 'things', ... has engendered 'life' just like that, ... out of nowhere, ... that the cosmos suddenly acquired its most illustrious property, 'life', ... out of the blue. How then does this fit with the notion that 'how the world works' is governed by 'causality'?, ... no, let me retract my question, ... how stupid of me, .... the check is in the mail, right?,... we'll be receiving it any day now. On the other hand, .. perhaps, ... just perhaps, ... the cosmos already possessed the properties of 'life' and 'imagination', ... but possessed them on space-time scales not easily accessible to us, ... certainly when one sees time-lapse films of the history of the earth, .. . the Gaia hypothesis starts to look very believable. Perhaps lifeforms, in the terms of organic, animal life, as we define them, ... are simply evolved and enfolded informational structures, as the biologist Henri Laborit has suggested, ... which because of the particular spectrums of rhythm and pace of informational and energy exchanges relative to our sensory apparatus, ... become to us,...very, .... shall we say 'animated'?
After all, biochemists such as Candace Pert, as well as biologists such as Laborit, ... are saying that the human body is like a sphere-within-sphere nesting of communicating systems, ... just as in an ecology, ... a nested 'psychosomatic network', as Pert puts it, which has enfolded some very old and primitive structures within more complexly enfolded structures, ... incorporating at the base, ....inorganic materials, ... inorganic materials which cannot be differentiated from the building blocks of animal life, ... according to Laborit, ... except by their informational structuring. The findings of Candace Pert and her colleagues seem very informative in this regard, as voiced in one of her presentations;
"I'd like to bring the tetrahymena to your attention because it both illustrates an important biological fact and gives me a chance to end my lecture on a philosophical note. Think about what it means that the same basic informational network found in the tetrahymena is still to be found in us. If these peptides and their receptors --- the molecules of emotion --- have not only been conserved since their origins in the earliest and simplest forms of life but have continued to grow into the incredibly elaborate psychosomatic network we have discovered in the human body, we have to conclude that their role in evolution has been a powerful and critical one. To me, this is a stunning demonstration of the unity of all life. We humans share a common heritage, the molecules of emotion, with the most modest of microscopic creatures, a one-celled being, even though evolution has caused us to develop into trillion-celled creatures of astonishing magnificence. I leave you with that thought ...."
Scientartist: ... Well, she's clearly operating in 'artoscientific mode', ... but her suggestion that we are indistinguishable from the basic substance of nature is not convincing to me. I believe that quantum jumps are possible and the jump from inorganic to organic life was one such jump, ... these two states are mutually exclusive, ... like the difference between existence or non-existence, ... the binary '1' or the binary '0' in informational computation.
Artoscientist: Your reference to computation reminds me of a presentation I sat in on in July by Jay Hammerofff. His work on 'quantum vitalism' shows that a neuron does not actually work like a binary switch, ... that the interior of the neuron in the human neural system possesses a ciliated micro-tubular, paramecium-like structure. The microtubules manifest dipolarity and have the aesthetic fibonacci proportions which permeate nature and give it a 'whole-and-part' harmonic structuring. Also, the nature of the 'computation' which goes on in the neurons is 'quantum computation' based on 'qubits' of information which are '1' AND '0' at the same time, and which require complex representation, ... that is, .... real plus IMAGINARY components. As you know, ... the 'simultaneous unity and plurality' implied by '1' AND '0' is the same as that which Kepler suggested with respect to the simultaneous harmony of the multiple planets, .... the choice which the scientartistic community declined in favor of the more simplistic and 'crisp' two-body interference, .... i.e. 'causality', ... the 'sequential unity and plurality' option, which is the special case of the '1' AND '0' where the simultaneity or self-referentiality drops to zero. In other words, scientartistry embraced the mutually exclusive view of computation, where the SOLE option is '1' OR '0', ... a simplified and approximative way of looking at quantum computation which contains mutual exclusion as a sub-option. Hammeroff observes no basic distinction in physics, from this informational view, between 'emergent properties' in inorganic or organic nature, ...
Scientartist: This is all very fine, ... muddying the waters with all of this ambiguous detail, ... but I hardly see what this has to do with the issue of whether the containing space has some sort of primary ordering effect, or 'inductive field influence' over its constituents which goes beyond what can be calculated from the properties and behaviors of the constituents of the containing space.
Artoscientist: Well, first of all I think its worthwhile to hear from the scientartistic architect who helped us choose the 'causal' approach and decline the notion of the primacy of the containing space-time over constituent matter. Isaac was not too pleased with this untidiness in having to ascribe properties of force solely to matter and not to the container, as is apparent in his letter to Bentley;
"It is inconceivable, that inanimate brute matter should, without the mediation of something else, which is not material, operate upon, and affect other matter without mutual contact; as it must do, if gravitation, in the sense of Epicurus, be essential and inherent in it. And this is one reason, why I desired you would not ascribe innate gravity to me. That gravity should be innate, inherent, and essential to matter, so that one body may act upon another, at a distance through a vacuum, without the mediation of anything else, by and through which their action and force may be conveyed from one to another, is to me so great an absurdity, that I believe no man who has in philosophical matters a competent faculty of thinking, can ever fall into it."
Moreover, the detached '1' and '0' in your informational model represent entities without any mention of a container, .... how can we use this as a building block for understanding nature? .... All we can get out of this is the notion of tangible structures in their own abstract 'being', .... without any meaning-giving, 'containing' context, ... without any notion of 'reciprocal disposition' as the theory of relativity informs us characterizes the universe we live in? The building blocks characterizing the essence of nature surely must have some 'relational meat' in them, ... some container-content reciprocal disposition meat, ... since pure entities in their own right cannot 'sprout' their own containing space, ... the transition from pure tangible components to 'tangibles plus container' requires complex algebra, ... the use of 'real' plus 'IMAGINARY' components. Dr. Denis Gabor pointed this out in his 1946 paper on 'The Theory of Communications' in the Journal of International Electrical Engineering, ... a reworking of information theory in a quantum physics compliant manner.
Scientartist: I believe we must start from what we know for sure, from the bottom-up, and not from an imagined 'answer', or we will become horribly confused and perhaps driven mad. Descartes expressed this need very well in his 'Discourse on Method', in the very first of his four points, ... "Le premier était de ne concevoir jamais aucune chose pour vraie que je ne la connusse évidemment pour telle . . ", ... "The first of these was to never accept anything for 'true' whose truth was not evident to me."
Artoscientist: ...hmmm, ... yes, but you are leaving out an important bit of context and history here, in that Descartes had been in those years preceding 'Discours..', writing a non-Aristotelian work, 'Le Monde', ... a work that went beyond 'mutual exclusion' and 'causality', ... but Descartes was, by all accounts, scared out of his wits by what happened to Galileo in 1633, .. the book burnings in Rome and the incarceration of Galileo, ... and he destroyed his work on 'Le Monde' and came out with the 'Discours ..' in 1647 instead, ... faithful to Aristotelian principles. The context provided by the sentence immediately leading up to the one you quoted, as he introduces the principles, casts a slightly different light on things; ... "And as a multiplicity of laws often furnishes excuses for evil-doing, and as a State is hence much better ruled when, having but very few laws, these are most strictly observed; so, instead of the great number of precepts of which Logic is composed, I believed that I should find the four which I shall state quite sufficient, provided that I adhered to a firm and constant resolve never on any single occasion to fail in their observance. The first of these was to ..." ... This context-giving statement, as Descarte suggests, conforms to the unambiguous and mutually exclusive 'good' OR 'evil' ethic of Aristotle as expressed in his Nichomedian Ethics, ... i.e. "goodness is simple while evil takes many forms."
As Einstein has said, ... scientific inquiry is about the 'what is', ... not the 'should be', ... we must get the 'should be' from somewhere else, ... from 'cosmic religious feeling' perhaps, as he suggests, in his book 'Essays and Opinions'. It seems as though we may be surreptiously 'salting' our 'what is' with 'should be' in these principles of Descartes.
Meanwhile, it has been suggested by Stephen Toulmin in 'Cosmopolis', that Descartes' search for crispness and certainty was borne out of the tragic situation of the seventeenth century, a time of instability and war between catholics and protestants in the name of religious dogma, ... a time of witch-burnings, the beheading of kings, ... the deadly Assizes in England, Puritans sailing off to America, ... and so on. Toulmin suggests that it was in the midst of this strife that Descartes began his search for certainty that all humans, independent of their religions, could share, and that this was what led him to his famous 'cogito' and to the view that science based on mathematical law was the only way to reach such certainty.
Scientartist: I would suggest to you that we are once again in the midst of such strife and turmoil and that it behooves us to hold hard to such crispness as is provided by the rule of law, ... to stem the confusion which arises from overactive imagination, and ...
Artoscientist: .... do I hear 'dogma' once again?, The overt 'salting' of the 'what is' with the 'should be', .... is this where 'scientartistry' is coming from? While psychologists and anthropologists are attributing the strife to the loss of imagination, ... the loss of myth in our society which is giving rise to a 'crisis of heroism' in our youth, ... you are arguing for less still, rather than 'more' imagination? Would you purge society of the inspiration and coherency induced by such myths as the Celtic myth of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, ... the myth of Camelot which gives one the answer before one starts, where the space of community adorns its constituents with a simultaneous harmony, ... " ...No head, no foot. Everyone equal. Even the King. ... In serving each other we become free. ... That is the very heart of Camelot. Not these stones, timber, towers, palaces, burn them all! and Camelot lives on because it lives in us. It is a belief that we hold in our hearts." Do you find this unnatural, ... this imagination-based primacy, ... this container-induced ordering of constituents?
The biophysicist Friedrich Cramer, in a section in his book 'Chaos and Order' entitled "The Harmony of the Spheres: Kepler Was RIght After All", ... points out that our option of a 'sequential unity and plurality', ... causality, .... the primacy of material constituents and the exclusion of container-sourced inductive influence, has failed to give us an understanding of, as Cramer says; "the almost mystical numerical ratios established in the planetary system. The interaction of heavenly bodies [which] gives rise to resonances. The periods of Jupiter and Saturn [being] almost exactly 2:5. In the asteroid belt, the numerous tiny planets between Jupiter and Mars, [where] there are gaps where asteroids would have had periods of one-half, one-third, or one-fourth the period of Jupiter.", ... this apparent inductive influence of the container on its constituents which would seem to require a kind of 'collective imagination' accessible by the constituents. If, indeed, the scientartistic community feels 'the check is in the mail' with respect to our understanding of these whole-and-part harmony phenomena, ... then perhaps there is something amiss in the delivery service. What can it be?
Scientartist: ... I, ... uh,....... that, I really can't imagine.
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