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Thursday, 31 August 2017

366 – A Scriptovisual Composition Unknown: An Artistic Investigation of the Spaces between Spaces in the Quest to Create a post-European Era, post-Enlightenment Science

366 – A Scriptovisual Composition Unknown is the result of several artistic processes. Founded in the artistic way of working called, not knowing, and the surrealist technique of writing described by AndrĂ© Breton in the First Manifesto of Surrealism, the work is simultaneously located in both the expressive and the cognitive. But the work is more than just a book, for it is also the product of working simultaneously in two forms of expression – descriptive and plastic. Thus the work is the product of a dual creative process, being scriptovisual in form: a painting and a book which together form the work with the title: 366 – A Scriptovisual Composition Unknown.

And the reason for the above, it transpired, was to undertake an artistic investigation of the spaces between spaces as part of the author’s life-long quest to create a post-European era, post-Enlightenment science and technology. Now is the time to bring this search to fruition, for it is surely the case that a move beyond a science and technology – a culture – that is based on conquest and domination is much needed. Many people in the modern world are weighed down with baggage from the past that comes in the form of functionalism, determinism, positivism, mechanism, scientism, technocracy, materialism, historicism, … The list is quite long! It is a baggage that is destroying humanity and the planet!

The supremacy of the fragmented, reductive, and overly rational mind, heroised in the European world, is leading humanity to the edge of doom, to the creation of a dysfunctional – dystopian – world in which no sane person would want to live. Yet the very nature of the problem – the fragmented, reductive, and overly rational mind – which craves the one best way of knowing, the sole truth, and unambiguousness, even though the complexity of human existence point towards there been many ways of knowing, many truths, and a state of ambiguity as the norm, is preventing the step forward that humanity must now take. Mix the fragmented, reductive, and overly rational mind, with mind-sets that value and prioritise data, numbers, mathematics, and computations, above other ways of knowing, as well as softer thinking based on intuitions, feelings, etc., then one has a recipe for a disaster on a scale never before been seen in human history.

Provided in this work therefore, are the reasons, presented in a way that is highly unusual, why the development of a different type of science and technology is now needed. The reader will also discover pointers towards the creation of this new form of science and technology, the development of which, the reader will learn, is far more advanced than people realise. Raised also as a consequence is an issue called Unity of Knowledge, for which so-called consilience, the author has concluded, is an irrelevance. The author proposes that what is required is the development of a new Theory of Knowledge; one that is built on a different perception of the universe and humanity to that which dominates in the European world.

The book is also a demonstration of the value of artistic thinking and practices, which contrasts sharply with the obsession that some in the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) have, which in many cases is nothing more than an appropriation of the arts for the furthering of an old vision of STEM, which is – to borrow from Ancient Greek mythology and the story of Prometheus – just entrails (more of that baggage referred to above), dressed up with a little good meat (art).





Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Experts, Polymaths, and the Liberal Arts – Outdated Concepts for an Outdated Western World

Given the (often tedious) discussion (not dialogue) often found in the very conventional world of academia and other such failing institutions (like the European Commission and its DG CONNECT), and the endless (mostly empty and sometimes almost fraudulent) talk about STEM to STEAM; here are some standard and (not so standard) alternative definitions of three overused words which just illustrate why the above are failing institutions, doing what all failing institutions do – retreating into the past, that place of security where everything seems fine:


Expert: a person who is very knowledgeable about or skilful in a particular area.

Alternative

Expert: A person who knows a lot about very little.


Polymath: A person of wide knowledge or learning.

Alternative

Polymath: A person who knows very little about a lot.


Liberal Arts: arts subjects such as literature and history, as distinct from science and technology.

Alternative

Liberal Arts: subjects still defined according to an archaic division of knowledge.


Liberal arts subjects are those that an educated person should know in order to participate in the life of the community. Hence in the real world the liberal arts include all the subjects that the archaic division of knowledge excludes …

For the most able of people, it takes about two years of full time effort to cross a disciplinary boundary such as they are able to operate in that discipline. Few people, polymath or otherwise, have time for such, and no degree course can provide sufficient knowledge in the limited time available. Yet increasingly it seems that what is needed, are for people to cross disciplinary boundaries and to operate in those second (or third) disciplines!

Is the fad for Liberal Arts (standard definition) just another fruitless debate about liberal arts education versus specialist education? A repeat of debates already held in the past. Debates that most (including polymaths - standard definition) seem not to know took place. Likewise for the so called T-shaped person – this concept dates back to the 1970s at least, possibly earlier. The polymaths seem to have missed that point too! All this somewhat undermines the argument for – liberal arts education and polymaths (standard definitions)!

So Prometheus sits on his rock, wearing his invisible and silent chains that keep him bound there, and everyday he reinvents himself in exactly the same form he was yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that …

The Vainglorious Enlightened Ones are, indeed, in serious trouble. May you live in interesting times! You are living in interesting times …