2004/09/28

Modern art 37: ARTSENSE 012


Acryl012. Nature's urge for more complexity.

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The slide-show of all the acrylics of my ARTSENSE serie has been installed, if interested click
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I'm very much interested in the sciences of complexity, a multi dimensional approach towards knowledge. To be more accurate I should have written that it is a multidisciplinary collaboration in pursuit of understanding the common themes that arise in natural, artificial, and social systems and that the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) is an institution that was created as a new kind of scientific research community devoted to those sciences of complexity.

To me the most intriguing aspect of knowledge is how life emerged. This question has been at the centre of the philosophical debate of our Western civilization. Aristotle posited the question in the following terms:

"In all change, Aristotle says that neither the matter ("to hule") nor the form ("to eidos") comes into existence ("Metaphysics"). His point is that for something to change it must already be something, in which case the matter of the process of change pre-exists its change. In other words, that which changes, the matter, must already exist for it to be capable of change. The form is that into which the matter changes; as such, it likewise must already exist for there to be change. (That by which change occurs is the immediate mover.) Because change presupposes matter and form (and an immediate mover), the process of change will regress to infinity, because every change presupposes matter and form, which pre-exist the process of change. It follows that there must be a terminal point in the process of change: "Therefore there must be a stop" ("ananke de stenai") ("Metaphysics"). But this is not a temporal terminal point, because change or motion is eternal; rather it is a logical one. Aristotle holds it as an axiom that there cannot be an infinite regress of causes and effects, movers and the moved. That which is the logical starting point of infinite change must be an unchanging substance, causing change but not being subject to change."

Arriving at that point of his argument, Aristotle and in his footsteps all Western philosophers had only one recourse: god as the ultimate mover but I never could make myself follow this road. I always tought that the principle of change as being our reality at work would one day open for us a better avenue of understanding. At long last, I discovered the sciences of complexity that are opening a window on this understanding with the concept of emergence.
Those interested in this idea can go to my weblog THE air of the times and see the post titled Cold Sugar in Space Provides Clue to the Molecular Origin of Life dated September 25th, 2004.

When the idea of the emergence of unicellular organisms is established, how then to explain the evolution towards more complexity, towards we, humans?

It seems that starting with the emergence of uni-cellular organisms also called prokaryotes a code, the genetic code, has been inscribed in our dna, a chemical substrate that contains the order to incessantly search for more complexity. It seems as if life, the conscience of its preservation has been conditioned since the start by this need to go further, to stretch the limits.
That is the idea that I was thinking about when painting Nature's urge for more complexity.

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