It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how Nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about Nature.
The city is a fact in nature, like a cave, a run of mackerel or an ant-heap. But it is also a conscious work of art, and it holds within its communal framework many simpler and more personal forms of art. Mind takes form in the city; and in turn, urban forms condition mind.
Despite some claims by anthropologists in the 1970s, human beings are not the only species that engages in war or kills its own kind. It now appears that chimpanzees guard their territory, raid the territory of rivals, and, if they can pull it off, kill the males of the neighboring group and take their territory and their females. And it now appears that warfare has been a constant feature of human life since long before agriculture and private property. For millions of years, therefore, our ancestors faced the adaptive challenge of forming and maintaining coalitions that could fend off challenges and attacks from rival groups. We are the descendants of successful tribalists, not their
more individualistic cousins.
When we represent a group of connections by a closed and coherent set of concepts, axioms, definitions and laws which in turn is represented by a mathematical scheme, we have in fact isolated and idealized this group of connections with the purpose of clarification.
But even if complete clarity has been achieved in this way, it is not known how accurately the set of concepts describes reality.
Physics and Philosophy
“These idealizations may be called a part of the human language that has been formed from the interplay between the world and ourselves, a human response to the challenge of nature. In this respect they may be compared to the different styles of art, say of architecture or music.
A style of art can also be defined by a set of formal rules which are applied to the material of this special art. These rules can perhaps not be represented in a strict sense by a set of mathematical concepts and equations, but their fundamental elements are very closely related to the essential elements of mathematics.
Equality and inequality, repetition and symmetry, certain group structures play the fundamental role both in art and in mathematics. Usually the work of several generations is needed to develop that formal system which later is called the style of the art, from its simple beginning to the wealth of elaborate forms which characterize its completion.
… the question of how far the formal rules of the style represent that reality of life which is meant by the art, cannot be decided from the formal rules. Art is always an idealization; the ideal is different from reality — at least from the reality of the shadows, as Plato would have put it — but idealization is necessary for understanding.
This comparison between the different sets of concepts in natural science with different styles of art may seem very far from the truth to those who consider the different styles of art as rather arbitrary products of the human mind. They would argue that in natural science these different sets of concepts represent objective reality, have been taught to us by nature, are therefore by no means arbitrary, and are a necessary consequence of our gradually increasing experimental knowledge of nature. About these points most scientists would agree; but are the different styles of art an arbitrary product of the human mind?
Here again we must not be misled by the Cartesian partition. The style arises out of the interplay between the world and ourselves, or more specifically between the spirit of the time and the artist. The spirit of a time [(Zeitgeist)] is probably a fact as objective as any fact in natural science, and this spirit brings out certain features of the world which are even independent of time, and are in this sense eternal. The artist tries by his work to make these features understandable, and in this attempt he is led to the forms of the style in which he works.
Therefore, the two processes, that of science and that of art, are not very different. Both science and art form in the course of the centuries a human language by which we can speak about the more remote parts of reality …”
Thanks for understanding, Heisenberg.
I am not saying more or less technology – I am saying appropriate technology. Instead of technological excess – we should have technology that is balanced with nature. Instead of replacing nature with technology – we should balance it. Instead of replacing intelligence with artificial intelligence – we should use humanistic intelligence…
We have to remember that what we observe is not nature herself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.
“Natural vs Artificial”, “Man vs Nature” — those are real points of conversation. It’s important that we begin to see through that facade, to create new mythologies that don’t pose that kind of polarity, because it’s going to be a problem if people think it’s a real thing in the world.
How many articles are there now, about how computers and the internet are changing our brains, when actually we’ve been changing our brains for much longer than that — it’s only the most obvious, accelerated changes that are noticed, and the rest pass by as if they never happened. As if we were “natural” before computers, natural before the 1950s, before the 1800s? When? Where is the line? As if these artificial things are not a part of nature…
as if We Are not Nature Itself, Creating.
Stories like Avatar (or Fern Gully, if you like) have their points, and those are important. But we need new stories — stories that contain a different point of view: that of artifice as a manifestation of nature.
Quoting myself. (lol). Had forgotten about this. It’s good, it holds true, and it needs to become something.
Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is.
I don’t know about that, Albert. What does that mean? What are we to be? Do stick insects and those birds who make flower art also share our stubbornness, then?
[Artificial Intelligence] may well be the most vital of all commodities, surpassing water, food, heat and light. Without it, we will certainly not survive as a species.
One of our problems is data - masses of it. A few hundred years of scientific inquiry and the invention of the data-generating and sharing mechanism that is the internet has left reams of crucial information unused and unanalysed.
AI is not about sentient robots, but machines that mimic our organic intelligence by adapting to, as well as recognising, patterns in data. AI is about making machines understand.
Human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.
Lenoardo da Vinci (via inthenoosphere)
And when Nature does lack, she simple eats the thing doing the lacking. Problem solved.
Love you Leo, but so pre-Darwin.
[In] common table salt, or NaCl[,] one of the elements is a metal, and the other is a poisonous gas.
Karl F. Kuhn, Basic Physics: A Self-Teaching Guide
That is a simple example of why it’s important to have at least a basic understanding of chemical compositions, if not simply the scientific literacy and common sense to research them when it matters —
For example, prior to using the word “chemicals” as if they’re all equally poisonous, and not the constituents of everything in our reality,
And, prior to touting “Natural” and Organic products without understanding that a “natural” formula may be no better than an artificially-created one,
And, prior to eschewing all types of a compound (for example, sulphates in hair products) without really grasping that [sulphate] compounds are different from one-another, and that if one type is hazardous to your health, it does not mean that all types are. [I actually don’t know whether all sulphate-based additions are or not, but it’s important to research.]