What Can I Say, When The Hamster Runs, It Flies

Where to begin? So much has happened in the past five days I can hardly expect to be able to write it all in one post. That is not to say that any of those numerous events would be shocking or even important enough to leave bitter their omission. I am, however, beconed by a fear of forgetfulness to attent to my most recent intelectual realizations first rather than those physical events which will stay until I once again care to recall them.

I have become engrossed in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. The discussion of the nature of rational thought and science is potently meaningful to me at this moment, for it is a discussion I must have with myself before I commit myself wholly to the path of my future. The question that arises is “Does science offer enough fulfillment to compel my comitment to it?” that is to say more specifically “Will I study science or art primarily in college?”. I have said, up to this point, that I will be focusing on Film and/or Photography for a few reasons, but before I explore those I must say I have never been interested in the “entertainment industry,” I quite simply refuse to to take  part in any business so indulgent as that of the blatenly capitalist and brain-numb blockbuster/sitcom media machine. I have been drawn to film and photography for two distinct primary reasons. First, it offers me a means to express artistic vision using a media of which I have an intuitive understanding. Second it provides a pretense for the expansion and outward expression of my personal bank of knowledge. It is towards this second reason I have leaned in the recent past, claiming intrest in documentary work more than fictional work. The truth is I have a natrual tendancy towards the endulgance of my curiosity, and that the world of science and technology offers me a source of both questions and answers for my personal indulgence. That is not to say that I do not considder those more noble reasons and goals refered to at large as “helping the world” when considdering my ocupation, but rather that I have reached the conclusion that I will be pursuing this path with whatever means I choose to focus on. A further inspection into the nature of science has, however, introduced me to other paths of reasoning.

What is science? This is the overarching question that has compelled me. In order to answer it, however, many other questions must be adressed. Firstly we can break science into a broad heirarchy: Physical Sciences and Social Sciences are the two “domains” of science and I did not, until recently, understand the implications of these labels.

Physical Sciences are concerned solely with truth and the pursuit thereof for it’s own sake, they concern themselves only with the litteral, physical aspect of the world. They are, in the most litteral use of the term, the Research Scinces. They search only to anwer one question: How does it work? The vast body of answers to this question is continually examined and reexamined, or, more pertinantly, Re-Searched. The Physical Sciences are on a quest to search for the set of ultimate truths, truths which can never be disproved, but because of the ver nature of science itself there is an equally vigorous search for reasons why the currently accepted answers to the great question are wrong. It is a continually expanding loop of self-contradiction. Why is this indulgence allowed the scientific community, one must considder,  if truth is its only goal? what good does it do humanity? There are two answers that I see. First is that it adresses a simple human instinct: curiosity. The Physical Sciences continually provide new and more detailed stories that we can tell one another about the answers we have found to the questions we ask ourselves because it is in our nature to do so. The second reason is one more often cited as a “good” reason to pursue the physical sciences: it feeds the body of Social Sciences.

In order to truly understand the nature of the Physical Sciences we must further devide it. There is an ocasionally joked about heirarchy within the PS that is more important than most people will admit, that is the Heirarchy of Truth. The Heirarchy of Truth is an organizational structure by which one can asign the scientific divisions values for “how close to the unquestionable truth they are,” or alternately “how tainted they are by subjectivity or impure objectivity.” In order to understand this heirarchy, however, we must understand a bit about the Social Sciences.

The Social Sciences are those pursuits of man which pursue the question “how can the truth work for man?” Medecine, Philosophy, Religion, History, Engeneering, Design, and  Entertainment are all concerned only with how the truth discovered by science can be used to “better” the lives of humans. They are not so much concerned with truth as results: if this chemical, discovered by the PS, is consumed by a human will he be more healthy? If this physical concept is aplied to these materials will it allow more people to live better? If this principal is aplied in this structure will people be more happy because of it? It does not matter if the principals and understanding behind the pursuit are “true” as long as they work.  Is gravity caused by gravatons? are gravitons particles? it doesn’t matter to an engeneer as long as gravity remains functional. In the Social Sciences only subjective conclusions are valid, for purely objective thought is rarely beneficial to humanity.

This brings us back to the Heirarchy of Truth. The Physical Science all strive for pure objectivity, however their subject matter varies in the degree in which it comes into contact with the subjectively corrupting influence of the Social Sciences. Unarguably the purest of all Physical Sciences is theoretical mathmatics, which has no conection whatsoever to subjective thought and relies strictly upon observed interactions between a set of flawless truths to produce enhanced knowledge. Because of this the Heirarchy of Truth can also be considdered a spectrum which details the amount of mathmatics involved in the science, as mathmatics contains the only known pure and flawless truths. Physics, then, is second in ranking as mathmatics directly aplied to physical existance, followed by Chemistry and Astrology which differ only in scale, Geology and Biology which differ only in the presence of life, and so on until we reach Sociology and Anthropology and lastly Psychology which are so thoroughly tainted by the subjectivity of the Social Sciences they are hardly involved in mathmatics at all exept for the most subjective of mathmatical concerns, Statistics, and even that is only peripheral.

These two bodies of work are essentially the embodiment of two schools of thought, the only two schools of thought, Classicism and Romantacism. Classicism is concerned with form, Romantacism is concerned with function. The example used by Robert M. Pirsig is a motorcycle. Classicism looks at a motorcycle and wonders how does it works? How does each part interact with all the other parts to form a system? How does the system move the maching forward? Is this motorcycle running the same as the ideal motorcycle? Romantacism looks at a motorcycle and wonders what can be done with it, will it allow me to go from one place to another faster than I can as I am now? Will the feeling of riding it make you more or less happy than driving a different vehicle? Will painting it blue make the person riding it look better? This last question is perhapse the most telling. Romantacism is the only school of thought which can create or change anything. Equally Classicism is the only school of thought capable of repairing or reverting anything to its previous form. For this reason Technitions are the median between Researchers and Creators, classical in the methodology of their work yet romantically concerned with its original creative intent. This middle ground is, however, not as valued by society for the reason that it cannot exist without the previous work and involvement of the other two classes, which are fully capable of functioning independantly.

Where, one must wonder, does Art fall in this mass of Science? The temptation is to allow Art to fall under the label Entertainment and be percieved only as a utilization of acumulated information to best stimulate the emotions and thereby enhance the lives of man. I feel, however, that it might better be placed under the Research Science catagory, and it is this revelation which has left me further questioning my calling. The creation of Art is, in essence, the most subjective of all research, research into the very essence of humanity which cannot be accessed through any other means. What, however, does this mean to me?

I´m not sure, GObama ´08! It´s an Obamarama!


~ by twist9 on November 4, 2008.

One Response to “What Can I Say, When The Hamster Runs, It Flies”

  1. Emmett,

    Wow! I have to read all that again. Clearly, you are thinking and searching very hard. Your gift has always been the integration of knowledge from various disciplines into creative new thought. You may not have to choose science over art. Live in the middle and something amazing might happen.(Obama just carried Pennsylvania! We win! History is made! Amazing. Wish you were here to celebrate with us)


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