“Everywhere I go I find that a poet has been there before me.”–Sigmund Freud.
A paradigm is a mental model for explaining the world and our experience. Mental models are the frames of reference for experience. New paradigms are created from observation, reflection, and imagination: Science, Philosophy, Art.
In this new millennium, we are witnessing the gradual acceptance of new paradigms – world-views, which are radically divergent from the paths of perception and understanding from which they were spawned. Classical physics gave rise to the new physics. A single electron must simultaneously take every possible path in time and space every time it changes location. Electrons can be in many places at once and exchange information instantanesouly across astronomical distances. Elementary particloes do not exist in determinable ways until they are observed by an instrument of conscious awareness. The universe turns out to be more about probability than certainty. And verifiable truth is more relative than it is absolute.
The new metaphors we need to allow us to grasp a more comprehensive view of our own evolution and our place in the universe are being created in our minds and in our conversations in the present. It is an aesthetic project – this evolving awareness. We’re creating this increased intelligence between us…as a cultural artifact – a virtual reality. But before we can build it, before we can become it, we must imagine it.
This is the art part. Aesthetic constructions and experience are essentially metaphorical procedures. Metaphors are bits of aesthetic information, which are able to encode and communicate correspondences, connections between disparate experiences. They are open-ended and they have a relationship to intelligent living systems. Scientific theories, even while being encoded in mathematical terms, achieve the status of cultural memes and shape our view of the world by enlarging the scope of our collective imagination.
Metaphors encode new worlds in new ways. They provide vision tunnels between remote frames of reference. They involve the imagination and are necessary aspects of theoretical models. Our understandings are built upon metaphorical structures. New worlds need new metaphors. We are propelled forward, by our imaginations. This is the good work we all share here…and now. As it turns out, reality itself seems to be a collaborative art.
Image: “Mind and Brain 112810” by Tullio DeSantis, ink drawing with brain, fractal, and EEG digital images, 2010.