Moulton Lava

Moultonic Musings

My Photo
Name:
Location: New England, United States

Monday, May 06, 2013

Our Place In the Cosmos

Symphony of Science
Our Place In the Cosmos
Two years ago, Wired Magazine reported that Neil deGrasse Tyson would host a sequel to Carl Sagan's Cosmos which aired on PBS three decades ago.

The producers of the new sequel say the new series will tell “the story of how human beings began to comprehend the laws of nature and find our place in space and time.”

This also creates a parallel opportunity to review our place in the story known as “The Advance of Civilization.”

We can pick up where Giambattista Vico, James Joyce, Warren McCulloch, Gregory Bateson, Douglas Hofstadter, Benoit Mandelbrot, and Harold Bloom left off in The Canon of Western Literature.

The hardest law of nature to apprehend is the mathematical nature of recursive systems. We live in a physical universe, a biological niche, and socio-political culture all governed by recursion laws which we struggle to discover, understand and reveal.

Per Vico and Bloom's model, we have, over the past 4000 years, repeatedly passed through three recurring ages:

The Viconian cycle consists of three recurring phases:

(1) The Theocratic or Divine Age, represented in primitive society by the family life of the cave, to which the thunderous voice of God has driven mankind;

(2) The Aristocratic or Heroic Age, characterized by incessant conflict between the ruling patricians and their subject plebeians;

(3) The Democratic Age, in which rank and privilege have finally been eradicated by the revolutions of the preceding age.

Currently, we are ensnared in the Fourth Age, as anticipated by Vico, and as explicated by any number of modern sources:

(4) The Chaotic Age, characterized by the bewildering collapse of democratic society, which is inherently dysfunctional and therefore riddled with a panoply of hellish and baffleplexing problems: conflict, violence, oppression, injustice corruption, poverty, ignorance, alienation, suffering, and terrorism.

The resolution of this nightmare age of unrelenting chaos is to evolve to the Fifth Age where we master the art of taming the ill-mannered recursion laws that define and characterize the Chaotic Age:

(5) The Cybernetic Age, in which the otherwise mind-boggling math of recursive loops is tamed and tuned to gracefully converge to the long-dreamed of Omega Point.

To emerge from the Chaotic Age and evolve into the Cybernetic Age, we are going to have to conscientiously educate ourselves in the STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a concentrated effort to master the fractious mathematics of recursive systems.

The key to mastering the Fifth Age is to embrace the Fifth Discipline of Peter Senge. The key is to master the Ninth Intelligence of Systems Thinking.

Once STEM fully integrates Systems Thinking into our tools for thought, we can then team up with Artists who can shape this work for public consumption as part of the evolving Canon of Western Media. Once STEM is teamed up with the Artistry, we'll be on our way to the Cybernetic Age with a Full Head of STEAM.

15 Comments:

Blogger Higs; said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Higs; said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Moulton said...

By Artist, I mean someone who is a gifted storyteller and also an illustrator — someone who can use media (visual arts, animation, soundscape, and drama) as well as journalistic narrative.

Recall that the Bell System Science Series was written, produced and directed by Frank Capra, who considered the science compatible with theology.

If you've never seen any of the Bell Science Series, they are online.

I'll have to take a look at the write-ups on Pynchon's novel.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Higs; said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Higs; said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Moulton said...

Philosopher Daniel Dennett was interviewed today on Radio Boston. By the time you read this, they should have the audio up to accompany the story.

At one point in the interview, Dennett talks to the host, Meghna Chakrabarti, about "Fixed Points of Philosophy."

3:59 PM  
Blogger Higs; said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Moulton said...

Dennett is no slouch when it comes to Existential Thinking (or Systems Thinking, as I prefer to label it).

I'd love for him to zoom out a bit from his focus on consciousness (what I would call "becoming aware of Becoming Aware") and explore how others (e.g. theologians) used their intuition in conjunction with existential thinking to arrive at theological insights that STEM-based approaches are only now discovering how to nail down with scientific and mathematical rigor.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Higs; said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:01 AM  
Blogger Moulton said...

As you probably know Theology, Theory, and Theorem all have a common Greek or Latin roots, related to theoria, meaning, "I behold."

A philosopher of Dennett's stature is a beholder of many things, including a beholder of many subtle abstractions.

Existential or Systems Thinking is about beholding the most abstract or fundamental concepts that one can deign to contemplate.

What is the name of the process of beholding the Process of Beholding? Meta-Beholding? Beholdingness?

How about just calling it Theos (or Theosophy)?

4:09 PM  
Blogger Higs; said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Higs; said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Moulton said...

Semiotics is a fascinating minefield, ain't it?

Beholding the "Sky Father" is clearly an exercise in imagination — gazing upon the Heavens and seeing the unseen. Initially, of course the Watchers of the Night Sky saw the five visible wandering planets which became personified both as deities and as names of the days of the week.

And, of course, these Sky Characters needed narrative stories to match their proclivities for slow or speedy motion, and brightness.

So Jupiter, being the brightest among them, becomes Zeus, the dominant night-time Sky Deity. Mercury is the speedy winged messenger. Saturn is the slow, lackadaisical, take it easy dude. And Mars, with its contrary retrograde motion, becomes associated with going against the mainstream.

That's a whole lot of highly imaginative beholding, if you ask me.

So we have the observable phenomena coupled with the noumenal imaginations that complement the phenomenal observations.

Gradually, the noumenal evolves from narrative story to scientific theory.

Well, yeah.

11:55 AM  
Blogger Higs; said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Moulton said...

See these excerpts from the Viereck interview. There is some skepticism on Viereck's transcription of the oral interview, but modulo that, the sources are about as impeccable as one could hope for.

And yes, it would stand to reason that Spinoza (like Einstein) was an Existential/Systems Thinker.

6:07 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home