In search of connections

I haven’t written a decent blog entry for a whole week now, I think. My life had been a little hectic with the things at the lab and all, but that’s not the reason for the sudden fall in my blogging output. I have been thinking about the relationship of arts and sciences in general, trying to find some way that goes further than the dictations of intuition so commonly attributed to the study of art and inspirations of science.

As I have written before, the origin of human creativity is a single topic that seem to show up persistently in some corner of my mind, bumping into me like a boogie man regardless of what I’m doing at the moment, from trying to calculate oscillation for a complex plasma to walking through a gallery of abstract expressionists. I consider the problem of the origin of creativity to be the problem of a complex system, deeply intertwined with variety of other questions regarding the nature of beauty, perception, self-recognition, origin of life-like system in nature and historic/cultural zeitgeist. And the questions are quite overwhelming for me. The more I seek, the more questions I find, without a clue as to what the answer to any one of them might be. So I decided to do what almost anyone with a science background does. Formulation and mathematical analysis, with moderation and deep retrospection given the nature of the problem I’m trying to understand. As with many artists I began with the beginning of human history and civilization viewed from the perspective of art, identifying general similarities and isolating persistent homocentric behavior that shows up on universal scale without regards to economic or technological sophistication. A search in collectively unconscious human behavior some might say. After identifying some of them, I applied the idea of complex emergence in regular complex science to those universal characteristics… To no understandable solution.

To be honest, beyond the technical jargon and back-of-the-napkin logic, the whole idea is rickety and I have no idea what exactly I’m looking for, or what I should do with what I get.

I do have an idea of some of the consistently recurring topics like formation of myth/folklore and metamyth/metafolklore, presence of ‘sudden madness’ as a type of primordial force/catastrophe much in the same fashion as the ancient’s concept of flood which strangely enough also acts as a deus ex machina of sorts (like the cult of Sakhmet), near-obsession with metamorphosis on the global scale, and contributions to and from zeitgeist and its different names and understanding throughout times and cultures. But how to connect them into a persistent structure that would let me have an insight into it all? I have no idea. Or rather, I have about a thousand ideas and don’t know what to do with them all.

I’ve frequently made clear my conviction regarding the nature of arts and sciences, and I’d like to state it again. The very idea that arts and sciences somehow exist on opposites ends of a spectrum is a load of bollocks. They are meant to be together, and they are meant to be applied in similar reasoning and purpose. The question is how they would be able to be together. Simply saying that arts and sciences should both follow aesthetic conviction and reasonably sound thinking is not enough because, frankly, we had been doing it since the beginning of civilization, with mixed results. There is a strange and as of yet little understood way these things work, perhaps intimately linked with how lives and brains are formed in this physical universe. Thus study and understanding of arts and sciences require resources from variety of other academic disciplines, because in the end everything is artistic and scientific as long as human beings are involved in it. And this is the reason why I push for the study of artificial life as a zenith between the limitations of the field of art and the field of sciences, a connection between the physical world and the perceived world.

Maybe I’ll do a summary posting of my thoughts on Jasper Johns or complex plasma later. I really need time to sort out all the things in my head.

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