Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Dream of a true mythology
Opera by Ralph Abraham
"Opera was born as a conscious imitation of Greek tragedy, and the beginning of opera is synonymous with Orpheus. The earliest recorded opera, by Peri in 1600, is Orpheus and Euridice. The second opera, by Caccini in 1602, is Orpheus and Euridice. The third opera, by Monteverdi in 1607, is Orpheus and Euridice. There are at least 26 operas in the 1600s about Orpheus, and 29 in the 1700s, including classics by Telemann, Gluck, Handel, and Haydn. And not only operas but operettas. Perhaps the first operetta is Orpheus in the Underworld by Offenbach in 1858. Similarly, with musical theater and film, Orpheus is a traditional theme to this day. The morphogenesis goes on."
"And the word Chaos was not just another word in Hesiod's Theogony, but one of three basic principles, three abstract principles - Chaos, Gaia, and Eros - out of which everything else was created ..."
Ralph H. Abraham
"Orpheus, son of Apollo. His father descends to take Orpheus up to heaven. "It will help you to forget Eurydice and concentrate on higher things."
But Orpheus can't forget, or won't. He transports himself, whoosh, to Galveston, which he's heard is hell. [ Maybe he'll find her there? ] He sleeps on a steel bed in a skid row hotel. He drinks in a bowling alley bar. He's a garrulous drunk. The hookers don't mind as long as he's buying. Besides there's something about his voice... They listen to the music, even if the words don't make sense. He's leaning towards one of these ladies now, in full flow:
"Here's what I'm going to tell you. When you come into this world you find pockets in your pants, handlebars on your bike, put there by those who preceded you. You walk in their footsteps. But, as regards the entry into and possession of yourself, you're a solitary pioneer."
The hooker looks up at the clock and yawns. Orpheus doesn't notice. In his mind he strums a lyre and what he's saying is song and under its influence wild beasts are tamed and stones deliquesce. Trees uproot themselves to be closer to the source of this music... He passes out."
Orpheus - The Lowdown by Peter Blegvad & Andy Partridge
"Today, when you hit a bit of hypertext in a text, you are invited to spread your cybernetic wings, to leave the page you are reading, to lift yourself beyond the limits of the room in which you are seated, to sail across the seas, to enter an old library or to explore some distant "site" which is but a point and click away. We can, without moving our gross and heavy bodies an inch, sail swiftly across space and enter the Louvre, summon up old Latin manuscripts in distant libraries, or hear [...]
If Heidegger liked to quote the line from the German Romantic poet Friedrich Hölderlin, "poetically does man dwell upon the earth," we today get a bigger surge out of sailing cybernetically around the earth."
John D. Caputo - On Religion (Routledge, 2001, pages 73-74)
You believe in coincidence? Amazing. So do I
"Charles Coghlan, a leading actor in Victorian times, was born on Prince Edward Island, off eastern Canada. After a distinguished career, he died, following a brief illness, in Galveston, Texas, in 1899. Too far from Canada to be sent home, Coghlan was interred in a lead-lined coffin and placed in a local burial vault.
A year later, Galveston was struck by a hurricane that hurled massive waves over the cemetery and washed Coghlan's coffin out to sea. In stately solitude, the weatherbeaten box floated into the Gulf of Mexico, rounded Florida and sailed up the American coast until it reached Prince Edward Island. It was then picked up by local fishermen. He had made it home and was buried in the church of his baptism.
The tale is distinctly appealing. For a start, it is touching to know some of us still display a homing instinct even when we have snuffed it. In addition, the story has a decidedly spooky resonance: the dead adrift on the high seas, like Dracula's boat carried by the tides towards Whitby."
Dreaming of Electric Sheep
"There's a now-familiar riff about extra-terrestrial life that maintains that the "little green men" of 1950s lore -- or the coneheaded oversized infants of recent fare -- are the ultimate in Homo sapiens provincialism: When intelligent life arrives from outer space, it won't look like bipedal primates -- it'll look like a cloud or a cluster of bacteria or something so different from our earthbound life forms that we won't even perceive it. (Marlon Brando was on a parallel wavelength when he famously proposed playing Superman's father as a green suitcase.)"
MSN Encarta - Opera
"The first true opera, a little of whose music survives, was Dafne (1598) by Jacopo Peri. Another composer, Marco da Gagliano, subsequently reset its text in 1608. Gagliano's version survives, but a contemporaneous German version by Heinrich Schütz -- the first German opera -- does not. In 1600 Peri turned to the Orpheus myth for his opera Euridice, a modest entertainment composed for a royal wedding. Peri was a member of the Camerata, a society of scholars, poets, and amateur musicians in Florence. For 20 years, the Camerata had researched the manner in which classical Greek drama had been performed, with a view toward reviving it. They concluded that the Greek actors had delivered their lines in a declamatory style halfway between speaking and true singing. In their efforts to recover this lost Greek art, the Camerata essentially invented a new type of solo singing, called monody, that was performed in free rhythm to simple accompaniment. Thus, Peri and his librettist, Ottavio Rinuccini, told the mythological story of Orpheus and Euridice using recitative sustained by chords from a small orchestra of seven instruments. In the end, opera was not a re-creation of Greek drama, as the Camerata had intended, but the creation of a powerful new type of drama instead.
It fell to another man, however, to realize the full potential of this dramma per musica (drama through music) that the Camerata had invented. Claudio Monteverdi, like Peri, was an educated gentleman; unlike Peri, he was a professional musician, not an enthusiastic amateur. Born in Cremona, Italy, Monteverdi flourished at the court of the Gonzaga family and ultimately directed the choir of Saint Mark's Cathedral in Venice. In 1607 he composed his own operatic version of the Orpheus and Euridice myth, Orfeo. The difference between Peri's Euridice and Monteverdi's Orfeo is the difference between an experiment and a masterpiece. Monteverdi expanded the orchestra, which included bowed and plucked strings, harpsichord and organ, trumpets and drums for ceremonial passages, recorders, and various novel instruments. He gave each character a distinctive accompaniment and wrote a heraldic overture. Monteverdi's recitative, more than a mere vehicle for the text, has a life of its own."
And the Octave Formed a Circle
"According to Greek Mythology the lyre was invented by Hermes, the god of tricksters, thieves, and merchants. On his first day of life Hermes had stolen the cattle of his brother Apollo, the god of music. Hermes knew that his brother would be furious when he figured out who had stolen the cattle, so he decided to make his brother a present so his punishment would not be so severe. Finding a tortoise shell and 7 pieces of sheep gut, Hermes fashioned an instrument. When Apollo came looking for him Hermes offered him the instrument as a peace offering. Enchanted by the sound it made, Apollo forgave his baby brother and took the instrument as his own, naming it the lyre."
Lyre [via LoveToKnow Free Online Encyclopedia]
"Notwithstanding the Hermes tradition of the invention of the lyre in Egypt, the Egyptians seem to have adopted it from Assyria or Babylonia.
To define the lyre, it is necessary clearly to separate it from the allied harp and guitar. In its primal form the lyre differs from the harp, of which the earliest, simplest notion is found in the bow and bowstring."
Gary Garritan - The History of Harps
"Many believe that the earliest harps came from the hunter's bow. Perhaps while hunting, prehistoric man liked the sound of the vibrating bowstring. Then a second string was added to the bow, then a third. In the course of time, more and more strings were added. Eventually, a gourd or a hollow area at one end of the bow was added which became a sound box."
Harps and lyres from Mesopotamia
"The brain consists mainly of two types of living cells, the long stringy neurons (Greek for "bowstring") and the compact glial ("glue") cells."
Nick Herbert - Elemental Mind (Plume, 1994, page 95)
"The first thing we have to face up to is quite a tough proposition for people reared in our culture. It is that whatever we humans can do is mediated by our brains, and those brains are finite. We have in the cranium a slightly alkaline three-pound electrochemical computer running on glucose at about 25 watts. This computer contains some ten thousand million (that's ten to the ten) logical elements called neurons, operating on a basic scanning rhythm of ten cycles per second. Then this is a high-variety dynamic system all right; but it really is finite. It follows from Ashby's Law that we can recognize patterns up to a certain limit, and not beyond. Thus if something is going on that involves a higher variety than the brain commands, we shall not recognize what it is. This is the old constraint of requisite variety again.
There are practical consequences to this. For instance, I am sure that the reason we are making such a hash of the problems of global ecology is that we cannot understand them. I don't just mean that they are awfully difficult, so that understanding will take a lot of research. I mean that we can not understand at all, ever. Very likely this goes for many problems of government too, especially world government. It may even be true at the level of recursion where a corporation is managed."
Stafford Beer - Designing Freedom (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 1974, page 58)
"The brain is an electrochemical engine, and as it operates it generates electrical fields."
BBC NEWS : World getting 'literally greener'
Alex Kirby reports: "The world seems to have begun to turn greener, in the strictly literal sense, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep). Satellite data show plant growth has been measurably more vigorous over the last 25 years. The news comes in Unep's first Global Environment Outlook Year Book 2003, which highlights trends and problems. [...]
Satellite and climate data between 1982 and 1999 show an "apparent greening of the biosphere", Unep says. "The amount of energy produced by plants through photosynthesis, minus what they use in respiration, increased globally by about 6% during the last two decades of the 20th century," it adds.
Advances in farming and successful conservation programmes around the world may have contributed to the greening trend, according to the organisation. Unep says areas in tropical zones and in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere accounted for 80% of the increased growth.
Nearly 40% came from the Amazon rainforests, probably because of a decline in cloud cover and the resulting increase in solar energy reaching the surface. Changes in monsoon dynamics meant more rainfall in the 1990s and increased vegetation over India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and the Sahel belt of sub-Saharan Africa."
BBC NEWS : World population growth 'falling'
"The growth rate of the world population has slowed down, according to the US Census Bureau. Its report says there were 74 million more people in 2002 - well below the 87 million added in 1989-90.
The rate of growth peaked 40 years ago, when it stood at about 2.2% a year."
Stone age traveller - Sunday, 22 April, 2001
"While working as a visual artist in London, [Tim] Robinson had approached his relationship with landscape in a highly abstract way, by creating large, movable installations. Then his art works began to shrink in size until they were gradually reduced to tiny dots on the walls of his studio. Feeling that words, not painting or sculpture, should be his new medium, he sought a solitary place where he could concentrate on writing.
He found that refuge on the Aran Islands, off Galway's coast, which was being battered by the full lash of November gales when he and his partner, Mairead, arrived. Robinson spent the next few years learning about the islands' flowers and birds, grappling with the Irish language and collecting local place names that were in danger of being lost.
"Then a local person asked me to make a map, something I'd never considered before. It was a wonderful way of taking everything I'd learnt about the island and giving it structure -- not simply putting facts down on a map, but using cartography as an expressive medium."
He developed intimate links with literally every stone on the Aran Islands -- a task that no islander would ever dream of undertaking -- and went on to produce two lengthy works. Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage and Stones of Aran: Labyrinth defy classification, encompassing history, pre-history, botany, geology, sociology, folklore, archaeology and mythology."
A Distant Mirror for the Brain
"By the 1650s, young natural philosophers were emulating Harvey, not Aristotle, in their studies of the liver, lungs, and other organs. And in the early 1660s, a group of Harvey's disciples applied his methods to the brain.
The group was led by the Oxford physician Thomas Willis (1621-1675). A royalist soldier during the Civil War, Willis had been rewarded at the Restoration with an appointment as professor of natural philosophy at Oxford. He used the new position to embark on a bold project: to map the brain and nerves and to work out their function.
[...] In recent decades, neuroscientists have looked back at Willis' work with growing admiration. He has even been called the Harvey of the nervous system. [...] By the late 17th century, the work of Willis and continental anatomists such as Nicolaus Steno and Franciscus Sylvius had led most physicians to accept the basic tenets of neurology. Philosophers such as John Locke (a student of Willis') even incorporated the reconceived brain into their epistemology."
Adam Zeman reviews 'Soul Made Flesh'
"Carl Zimmer's illuminating book charts a fascinating chapter in the soul's journey; it is distilled from the writings of Oxford's 17th-century "virtuosi," depicted against the turbulent, sometimes tormented, background of the English Civil War, the plague and the Great Fire of London. The principal characters are a formidable group who transformed the understanding of our bodies and minds: William Harvey, who established the circulation of the blood; Robert Hooke, who coined the term "cell" for the smallest functional unit of biology; Robert Boyle, who dared "speak positively of very few things" yet fathered a great brood of profound experiments; Christopher Wren, astronomer, illustrator, architect; and, at the center, the physician Thomas Willis, whose studies of the brain and its functions created a "neurologie," a "doctrine of the nerves," which, Zimmer argues, has come to its fruition in our present "neurocentric age."
Willis grew up outside Oxford in a Royalist family, became a student at the university in 1638 at 17, and volunteered as a soldier in King Charles I's army in 1644. Despite his affiliation with the defeated Royalist cause, Willis managed to establish a successful medical practice. He, Wren and others formed the "Oxford Experimental Philosophy Club," whose activities included the creation of a universal language, the microscopic description of insects and the telescopic interrogation of the moon. In 1660, with the Royalists back in the kingdom's saddle after the restoration of King Charles II, Willis was appointed professor of natural philosophy at Oxford. He turned from the contemporary preoccupation with the work of the heart and lungs to a more obscure project: "to unlock the secret places of man's mind." To do so, he wrote, "I addicted myself to the opening of heads."
Willis dissected human brains in his Oxford house, Beam Hall, exploiting techniques of preservation, injection and microscopy developed by his colleagues. His theories were guided by his experience with patients and tested in animal experiments. He was intrigued by the network of blood vessels covering the brain, giving it the appearance of a "curious quilted ball"; he described the arterial circle at its base that still bears his name; concluded that the fluid-filled ventricles at its center, considered crucial by previous theories, were a mere "complication of the brain infoldings"; and traced the intricate network of nerves that emanates from the brain to coordinate the workings of our organs. In a series of books -- "Anatomy of the Brain," "Cerebral Pathology" and "Two Discourses Concerning the Soul of Brutes" -- he developed ideas that Zimmer reasonably describes as the foundation stones of contemporary neuroscience: that the nervous system is a network designed to transmit signals (regarded by Willis, well prior to the science of electricity, as "animal spirits"); its parts are specialized for particular functions; it shares much of its anatomy and function with the brains of animals, and its afflictions, both neurological and psychological, can be cured by "manipulating the atoms which compose it."
But although Willis believed that most brain functions could be explicated "according to the Rules, Canons and Laws of a Mechanick," he could not bring himself to identify the soul with its bodily home. The brain might be the "mind's presence room," in the words of his student John Locke, but Willis proposed that man, alone, was "a double-soul'd animal." An immaterial, rational soul cohabited with its material counterpart in the brain. Robert Boyle described this ethereal being as "a kind of imprisoned angel."
Lisa Jardine reviews 'Soul Made Flesh'
"The modernity of Willis's ground-breaking work with the brain, and his account of the role of the nerves in bodily functions, including the emotions, will astonish ..."
First Chapter: 'Soul Made Flesh' by Carl Zimmer
"At the beginning of the twenty-first century, thousands of neuroscientists follow Willis's trail. [...]
To some extent, we have become comfortable with this new brain. Few will deny that the workings of our minds are the product of billions of neurons organized into clusters and networks, trading trillions of signals with one another every second. We demonstrate our comfort by buying billions of dollars of drugs in the hope of lifting our mood, calming our jitters, or otherwise modifying who we are, simply by boosting or squelching the right neurochemical signals.
This comfort may have come too easily. The big business of brain drugs belies science's enormous ignorance about the organ. The maps that neuroscientists make today are like the early charts of the New World with grotesque coastlines and blank interiors. And what little we do know about how the brain works raises disturbing questions about the nature of our selves."
A robot to DIY for - The Guardian 27 March 2004
"Take Lucy's motors, for example. Grand spends a few pages explaining how he took perfectly good servomotors and made them harder for Lucy to control by adding some springs. It makes perfect sense, because the springs make Lucy's arms behave in a much more biological fashion. This forces Lucy's artificial brain to learn to control her arms in a way that is likely to be closer to the way mammal brains control muscles than to the way computers usually control servomotors. Her body thus provides the right sort of home for her mammalian-style brain, which is what Grand is most interested in. In the third section of the book, Grand sets out some of the novel hypotheses he has come up with to explain mammalian intelligence. I am not a neuroscientist, but I did find his suggestion that mammals are more intelligent than insects because their brains are in an important sense simpler both original and daring."
Simon Garfield meets AI inventor Steve Grand
"Grand, Lucy and Grand's wife, Ann, work in a converted garage by their house in Shipham, Somerset, and together they try to figure out what it is that makes the mind work. Lucy, who has the face of an orang-utan bought in Toys 'R' Us and a torso and arms of batteries, circuit boards, wires, motors and lots of solder, was never designed to perform marketable human functions that one might see in science fiction or Woody Allen films.
She is a vessel into which Grand throws some of his theories on how humans see the world and act in it. He is trying to make an artificial life that will learn the way babies learn, by seeing and touching, and by accumulating knowledge and experience. To do this, he must build muscles and connect them to a homemade central nervous system."
Growing Up with Lucy : How to Build an Android in Twenty Easy Steps
Page 47: "The human brain is amazingly subtle and complex, but it is not necessarily complicated. If all the parts were different then the overall machine would indeed be complicated - this is how the human brain appears when people assume it is made from specialised ad hoc neural modules. But that is because they are using the wrong paradigm. In reality, many of the parts are identical, or at least essentially similar, like Lego bricks."
A Culture of the 'Inter' : Japanese Notions ma and basho
"In Japanese the word for 'person' is ningen. The first character (nin) means 'man', the second (gen) space or in-between (aida). Ningen does not refer to a substantial core of an actual person (hito) - cogito - but to a dynamic sphere wherein people are interconnected."
Joi Ito's Web: Talking to Danny Hillis about Time and Comments from Takemura Sensei about "Ma"
"[...] The concept of the medium, the in-between, signifies the interval between time and space, and is similar to the concept of the web.
The function of the web, which weaves the internal world and unconsciousness of man, is the most important concept in trying to understand media. Until now, the massive, one-way media network has reflected, as the very word net implies, the ideology of capture, of rounding up the masses into a net. Hakim Bey, an advocate of the web and anti-copyright who had a decisive influence on cypher-punk, expresses with the word web not this type of net, but rather a web as a function of communication, actively weaving together the mutual intercourse of the scattered reference points of information. It could be compared to Sufi philosophy or the ambient "journey" woven together from nomads and nature.
In previous mass society, if you were excluded from the circulation system consisting of mass-produced advertisements and media devices it was difficult, even with superior content, to gain attention. The internet society, or the digital society, dismantles the circulation system that previously required a long duration of time and geographical expansion and infiltration. And as content and context instantaneously form a web of time and space, it produces a knot called "cyber-space/Ma" tying together time and space. In contrast to previous media circulation systems, which closed the gap between time and space, the web has already bestowed the flexible grid of "Ma" and a tribal response onto time and space. In this sense, freeware and web are truly new media systems in the context of cyberculture. [...]
Currently, the media of the inter-world called the web is weaving a new articulation with the traditional aesthetics that constitute the resources of Japanese experience and sensibility. The digital web, spreading across the earth like a nervous system, is evoking great changes in the physical world, in communication and the formation of communities in cyberspace, as well as in the industrial, economic systems which will be revolutionized by the digital network. We are facing the question not of how to design the completely new electronic world of cyberspace, but rather how to embody it. The historical experience and knowledge that human beings and the natural world have woven together will become an important factor in the design of this new ecosystem of information, the new world that has appeared on the earth, unaffected by gravity and whose concepts of time and space cannot be evoked by the old media. The emergence in the real world of an imaginary real society, in which unrealizable worlds are produced without end, conceals the complicit relationship of desire between human beings and the media. What we must consider seriously is the fact that media is the reflection of man's limitless desire. In the next generation of desire-designing media, we will need to discern an exquisite interval that reflects life-sized bodies and cultures."
"The Eastern and Western experience of both time and space are essentially different. In flower arrangement, for example, the European arranges the flowers in space, whereas the Japanese harmonizes the space between flowers."
Barrington Nevitt - The Communication Ecology (Butterworth & Co, 1982, page 61)
Barry Boyce - What Time is Now?
"The Japanese concept of ma refers to the ability to stretch and bend time according to the movements of a human body dancing. If we watch dancers adept at ma, they create time for us as we witness their movements through space."
The Extensions of Humans
"Today man has developed extensions for practically everything he used to do with his body. The evolution of weapons begins with the teeth and the fist and ends with the atom bomb. Clothes and houses are extensions of man's biological temperature-control mechanisms. Furniture takes the place of squatting and sitting on the ground. Power tools, glasses, TV, telephones, and books which carry the voice across both time and space are examples of material extensions. Money is a way of extending and storing labor. Our transportation networks now do what we used to do with our feet and backs. In fact, all man-made material things can be treated as extensions of what man once did with his body or some specialized part of his body."
Edward T. Hall - The Silent Language (Fawcett, 1959, page 60)
The Speculist: Speaking of the Future Archives
"Language is metaphor in the sense that it not only stores but translates experience from one mode into another. Money is metaphor in the sense that it stores skill and labour and also translates one skill into another. But the principle of exchange and translation, or metaphor, is in our rational power to translate all of our senses into one another. This we do every instant of our lives. But the price we pay for special technological tools, whether the wheel or the alphabet or radio, is that these massive extensions of sense constitute closed systems. Our private senses are not closed systems but are endlessly translated into each other in that experience which we call con-sciousness. Our extended senses, tools, technologies, through the ages, have been closed systems incapable of interplay or collective awareness. Now, in the electric age, the very instantaneous nature of co-existence among our technological instruments has created a crisis quite new in human history. Our extended faculties and senses now constitute a single field of experience which demand that they become collectively conscious. Our technologies, like our private senses, now demand an interplay and ratio that makes rational co-existence possible. As long as our technologies were as slow as the wheel or the alphabet or money, the fact that they were separate, closed systems was socially and psychically supportable. This is not true now when sight and sound and movement are simultaneous and global in extent. A ratio of interplay among these extensions of our human functions is now as necessary collectively as it has always been for our private and personal rationality in terms of our private senses or "wits," as they were once called.
Hitherto historians of culture have tended to isolate technological events much in the same way that classical physics dealt with physical events."
Marshall McLuhan - The Gutenberg Galaxy (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1962, page 5)
Steven Connor - Seeing Sound: The Displaying of Marsysas
"It is neither accident nor surprise that in our world of recombinant media and conjugated forms, there should be such active and energetic concern with the ways in which different media and art forms converge. Convergence, which is to say, interconvertibility is all. [...] Mediation, a singular and general condition of translatability, is the medium within which we live.
I want here to look at a much earlier period in the history of intermedial translation, by considering the rendering of the flaying of Marsyas, in myth, text and image. I shall consider how the story of the antagonism of the lyre and the pipe and the defeat of the latter has been played out, from Herodotus and Ovid through Raphael, Titian, Nietzsche and Frazer to contemporary rereadings of the Marsyas myth in the work of the French psychoanalyst of the skin, Didier Anzieu. Along the way, I will be considering the argument and agreement between sound and image, music and skin, cry and gesture, playing, flaying ..."
Advanced Knowledge Technologies: Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration
"We may note ... that the psychosocial extension of man throughout the biosphere has been characterized as adding a "noosphere" layer. This idea of organized human thought now covering the globe as a functional part of the overall ecological system is, to an extent, physically demonstrable in our present global communications networks, and in the enormously accelerated growth of human knowledge with its parallel increase in the numbers of messages, meetings, journals, etc., ceaselessly circulating around the earth.
Our basic critical impasse in global terms is still, however, our inability to use our collective knowledge. The block is to be found most often in the persistence of obsolete social forms and attitudes. This brings us back to ... the role of social invention as a prime need."
John McHale - The Future of the Future (Ballantine, 1971, page 103)
machinewatch - a wary eye on the convergence
"[We] feed upon each other's mouths and minds like ants with social stomachs."
Weston La Barre - The Human Animal (Phoenix, 1955, page 207)
Autopoiesis and Coevolution
"Autopoiesis is based on the way living systems address and engage with the domains in which they operate." Chris Lucas
Poiesis of Spaces
Herbert Marshall McLuhan: "In the electric age we wear all mankind as our skin."
Nick Herbert - Elemental Mind
"I think that mind is as fundamental to nature as light or electricity."
Spacetime networks from multiway systems
Finite Relativity Theory
Causality and Multiply Connected Space-Time
"Although his theory of mind was inspired by Einsteinean relativity, Culbertson uses none of Einstein's other relativity postulates, only his four-dimensional spacetime framework for all material events.
In spacetime, the motion of a body -- a Democritean atom, for example -- is represented by a series of events winding their way through the block universe, the body's so-called world line. When bodies meet, their world lines entangle, forming networks in spacetime. It is the detailed topography of these spacetime networks that is, according to Culbertson, uniquely correlated with conscious experience. Hence the material basis of Culbertsonian mind is not isolated particles, but the world lines these particles trace out as they move through time. These world lines resemble threads in a fabric, and the patterns in this four-dimensional fabric are all "alive" -- elements of sentient life, [...] Culbertson breaks the Democritean isolation of lonely atoms by picturing these particles' spacetime paths as threads in an elaborate tapestry -- a tapestry in which the universe's entire history ..."
Nick Herbert - Elemental Mind (Plume, 1994, pages 122-123)
The "Life" of a Carpet: An Application of the Alexander Rules
"The life of a carpet originates in its details, and is established through connections. [...] The coupling of balanced opposites brings a carpet to life. In some parts of a design, space must be differentiated at the smallest perceivable scale -- the smallest size the eye can see -- to define nodes of interest. For a carpet, that will be a line with a one-knot width, and elements the size of a few knots."
Nikos A. Salingaros
Time is discrete
Powells.com Interviews - Brian Greene
It was in China, late one moonless night,
The Simorgh first appeared to mortal sight -
He let a feather float down through the air,
And rumours of its fame spread everywhere;
Throughout the world men separately conceived
An image of its shape, and all believed
Their private fantasies uniquely true!
(In China still this feather is on view,
Whence comes the saying you have heard, no doubt,
"Seek knowledge, unto China seek it out.")
Farid ud-Din Attar - The Conference of the Birds
Translated by Afkham Darbandi and Dick Davis
(Penguin, 1984, pages 34-35)
Conference of the Birds -- The Birds Assemble
posted by Andrew 4/06/2004 02:33:00 PM