They Gave Us Their Mind: Science and the Imagination

“We are all one” is mainstream culture’s primary unifying catchphrase. A more accurate version would be; “We are a union of diverse parts.” Perhaps this is still an overly simplified version of something that’s likely to be a lot more organic and chaotic in actuality.

Consider the extent that modern culture is currently registering an unspoken inability to adequately conceptualize the world as a dynamic system of inter-connected realities and modes of being.

tumblr_mmce1rlFzq1r8ygzlo1_1280The keenest activity in the various fields of accepted science, is often related to things we can’t see with the naked eye (unless aided by microscope, telescope, computer…) This has caused a largely unacknowledged deepening of the human skill of envisioning and conceptualizing. While science at present can’t present a compelling unifying esoteric/exoteric model, through the employment of advanced organization of visual data (diagrams, visualizations, models…) it has helped provide the methodology and imaginal space where such a model could be realized. This model could provide a system of comprehending the world significantly more compelling and accurate than a cloudthing of colliding symbiotic circles.

“Science is an excellent tool. It’s well-suited to discovering how nature functions, in terms of physics, chemistry, biology and so forth. I am in favor of taking science as far as it can go in those terms. As a philosophy for living, however, science is bereft. It has no answers for questions such as ‘What is a good life?’ The dogmatic belief that science is the only path to any and all kinds of knowledge has been called ‘scientism.’ There’s a world of difference between science and scientism. Science is a fine tool, but scientism is a cruel master; it disparages the life of feeling and persecutes those who would enjoy the numinous, unspeakable side of reality. The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein said ‘We feel that even if all possible scientific questions be answered, the problems of life have still not been touched at all.’ I would agree.”

Michael LaTorra

“What’s happening in the twentieth century is that scientists have taken over the realms of the imagination. You see that again and again with chaos theory, complexity theory, relativity. The universe became strange and was proven to be strange. It’s almost as though poetry had entered the universe and I think the artists and writers have been lagging behind.”

Jeff Noon

Consider the art of expression in Non-Art:

  • The News is not art, yet it is broadcasting an emotional signal just like art does.
  • Science is not art, yet it conveys visual data and design just like art does.
  • Can you think of other examples of art in non-art?



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