December 30, 1996
Following Kepler and Newton's Christmas encounter on a tour of high school science classes, they agreed to meet and give further definition to the "lessons" which had emerged from the significant emotional experience they had shared. This "Epilogue & General Scholium" summarizes their findings in the form of seven hypotheses, for which they have coined the term "The Madonna Hypotheses".
[**Editor's Note: Newton & Kepler have, in the interim, had full access to all available scientific and historic information extending through history to the end of 1996, [i.e. year according to the calendar of Pope Gregory XIII as adopted in 1582 (when Kepler was 11)]. Access was also provided them, to the World Wide Web on the Internet.]
Hypothesis 1., Newtonian Design and Structure is tuned to a "Transcendant God"
The design and structure of the Newtonian scientific approach which builds on the ideas of Aristotle and Descartes, is fundamentally tuned to the proposition of a transcendent God.
This design and structure removes all creative power and potency from things of nature, and delivers them to an external agent, i.e. God (or Man empowered by God's Will). As such, this design differs radically from the designs and structures of the ancient and long-enduring mythopoeic ages where nature was not "it" but "thou" and was seen as innately imbued with creative potentia ... i.e. with the "Logos" in the terms of Heraclitus and the "Gods in nature" of the Babylonians, Egyptians, Celts, North American Indians etc.
Hypothesis 2., Cultural Preference Acts as a Filter on Scientific Hypothesis
Enormous cultural pressures prevailed during the "Copernican Revolution" oriented to the rejection of any "occult" (hidden, and deemed evil in this era) causes in hypothesis/models for "the system of the world".
Thus, the works of natural philosophers of the time (e.g. Kepler and Newton) were selectively accepted according to the degree to which they distanced themselves from the "occult". That is, while the "occult" was amongst others at other times, and by other names such as "the Logos", and more recently "chaos", seen as a valued and accepted aspect of "the system of the world", which had indeed been deified by the ancients (i.e. it was the "god in nature"), in this 16th and 17th century era of a transcendent God, it provoked horror and hysteria (i.e. it was in fundamental conflict with the "order" in a worldview which drew from the concept of a transcendent God). Thus was the rational thought of the time constrained to "causal" logic whereby all things were changed or transformed by external, causal mechanisms (i.e. not by internal transformative, or "occult" forces). Hence, an acceptance of the explanations of the "system of the world" by natural philosophers was proportional to the degree to which explanations offered were causal.
Hypothesis 3., Concepts in Physics and Culture are Strongly Interdependent
While the ancients, in mythopoeic times, had no problem in accepting transformative forces which were innately internal (since the "gods in nature" concept provided a fully satisfactory explanation), a large variety of astronomical models were feasible to them, whereas, to sixteenth and seventeenth century believers in a transcendent God and, correspondingly, an "inert" nature, astronomical models were constrained in that they could not make use of any internal, creative forces in nature.
Thus, explanations of gravity (i.e. a force emanating from within a thing and acting on another thing at a distance) and inertia (i.e. matter seemingly being able to "remember" its velocity and course and autonomously "pursuing" it), were problematic. "Linear" mathematical models, which were devoid of "feedback" effects (autonomous co-evolution), satisfied this external "causality" requirement (i.e. things which "add up" are essentially "added up" by some external agent, while things which "do not add up" must innately incorporate some latent (occult) creative or destructive potentials). Thus did calculus and field theory invented by Newton provide a superficial (i.e. "sleight of hand") means of taking the innate creative (transformative) forces out of nature by forcing one to look only at instantaneous behaviors (through calculus) and by dividing interactions into two parts in a "spermbank" or "double blind" type of operation; first depositing the influences of effecting bodies at a given coordinate point, and subsequently having the the effected body acquire this summed package of influences from the designated coordinate point, and in so doing, seemingly avoid any direct interaction amongst effecting and effected bodies.
(Comment by Kepler: "While Isaac and I were of a like mind that we should focus, in this brief Scholium, on that in which we were in full and harmonious accord, and refrain from inserting personal "opinion" and gratuitious commentary, I felt it both appropriate and "just" to make this one exception on Isaac's behalf. While this third hypothesis may now look like dishonesty on the part of Newton, it was instead a combination of religious belief and Newton's secretive nature, for Newton thought that seeking a direct understanding of the infinite harmonies of all things acting on all other things equated to looking upon the "Ark of the Covenant". Looking upon God's blueprints was not only sacreligious but meant instant death, blindness or madness. For Newton was well familiar with the scriptures and knew both the power of the Ark; "And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan. (Book of Joshua 3:17). Newton also knew the danger of delving to closely towards it, for the Ark of the Covenant was associated by the Hebrews with God and "Touching it meant death." (Ex. 25.10
Hypothesis 4., Mathematical Models from Science Permeate Cognitive Processes:
The mathematical models used in satisfying our need for an explanation of "the system of the world" tend to be generalized in our minds, pervading the way we form our perspectives in most matters, as well as our responses to them. Further, there is a natural motivation to "standardize" such mathematical (logical) designs and procedures amongst people within a community to minimize disorder in an economic (welfare), physical (security) and spiritual (values and ethics) sense.
In the sixteenth and seventeenth century, the Church, the Monarchies, and the Middle Class were all vying for the role of stewards of these models of "the system of the world". In England, by 1689 (the Bill of Rights), the Middle Class (emergent seat of economic power) had wrested this control from both Church and Monarchy, and similar powershifts followed throughout the western world, so that the "standard models and tools" relative to "the system of the world" came to be stewarded by the middle classes and were effectively "built-in" to the economic system.
Hypothesis 5., There are Innate "Values" in Mathematical Models
There are implicit, innate "values" subscribed to by people, which derive from the "inert nature - external causality" model associated with a transcendent God, which differ fundamentally from the implicit innate "values" in the "creative nature, autonomous coevolution" model (e.g. as in the models of Heraclitus and Quantum Mechanics; the latter model involving creativity through the notion of energy waves involving time-transgressive "memory" of phase, and creative/destructive interference amongst different subsets of the whole).
While a mathematical development of the former model puts the focus on "linear systems", "force" and "material accumulation" (material accumulation and "force" or "power" go hand-in-hand in the linear model of nature), mathematical treatments of the latter model put the focus on "nonlinear systems", "harmony" and "experience".
Hypothesis 6., Adopting Newtonian Model led to Loss of Ancient Experience, Tradition
The values inherent in Newton's laws, being far more in tune with the values and beliefs of seventeenth century western civilization than were Kepler's, were more readily embraced. By the same token, the values of the mythopoeic cultures were commensurately rejected in this era; and rooted as mythopoeics was in experience and tradition, many cultural bridges and legacies were burned.
That is, the model of "external causality" and "inert nature", and its implication that any "occult" or "hidden order" associated with innate creativity in nature was evil became progressively more difficult to sustain due to continuing findings to the contrary by the natural philosophers (not to mention the sustained attacks of artists and poets). By the end of the twentieth century, however, religion, language and the economic system had served to "convert" the bulk of the western populace (superficially at least, since their "paychecks" depended on it) into "believers". In the process, much of the old experience and tradition, which had been in tune with modern views of an "animated" nature (e.g. a nature exhibiting innate "complexity" and "autonomous coevolution"), had been discarded or lost (e.g. Celtic and North American Indian cultural traditions). Thus is the process of "rehabilitating" the creative aspects of nature made far more difficult.
Hypothesis 7., Knowledge-Economy-Network (KEN) Becomes the New Steward of Models
While the western world, by Christmas, 1996, was maintaining order, not through an emphasis of the natural harmonies and "autonomous coevolution" of an "animated nature", but predominantly by the control hierarchies and linear rule structures of an "inert nature - external causality" model, the seeds of a new model and new stewardship were emerging through a consolidation of knowledge and economic power in a networked form.
The mismatch between human sensibilities and observations, which showed that nature was indeed "alive" in some sense, and the official view, stewarded by middle-class economics, that nature was dead and that God and Man (God's will in Man) gave it life, was the source of much mental confusion and anguish which emerged in physical manifestations and "symptoms" such as inordinate levels of crime, violence, drug-abuse, "mental illness" and suicide. Yet at the same time, creativity within the human populace itself was "autonomously" germinating and "coevolving" the ideas and conveyancing tools to facilitate a safe subduction of the "inert nature - external causality" philosophies, superceding them through an upwelling of belief in an "animated nature - autonomous coevolution" model. In contrast to the mytho-poeic era, where such models were stewarded by priests and shamans whose honesty could not always be relied upon, particularly when they were under the thumbs of powerful Monarchs or Emperors, the emergent steward of the new "living nature" model appears to be itself a "living network" infused with the power of economics and knowledge, and open to interrogation by all. This Knowledge-Economy-Network (KEN) thus transcends the role of "steward" becoming the "conscious" ombudsman of an "animated" Nature.
Happy New Year!
And, since we may not meet again prior to the turn of the millenium, have a great New Millenium (... the numbering of which is up to you, since we could not agree on it.)
Isaac and Johannes