"The mind is a compact, multiply connected thought mass with internal connections of the most intimate kind. It grows continuously as new thought masses enter it, and this is the means by which it continues to develop."

Bernhard Riemann On Psychology and Metaphysics ca. 1860

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Implications of the non linear basis of aesthetics

The recent article in Scientific American: The Human Instrument elegantly demonstrates several interlocking transcendent principles of both art and science. The first is the inherent non linearity of the biophysical vocal instrument. (This in juxtaposition to the inert metallic or previously living wooden instrument's composition.) The distinction between the inorganic and biosphere in the sense developed by Vernadsky is clearly evidenced here. This non linearity persists in the substrate of the living as its sine qua non, as it were. The quality of feedback enhancing the efficacy of the biotic in non linear ways is being rather continuously demonstrated in innumerable instances at the microscopic domain in living tissue.
This issue feeds into the divide between the community of physicists and biologists. (Although stochasticism has crept in through the back door via a reductionist methodology among an over compartmentalized segment of the latter, in areas including such novelties as random molecular walks and attractor predator/prey dynamics.) The point being that linear, entropic systems are prevalent for the most part for the physicists and color their outlook.
The second issue that the researchers bring up is what they refer to as inertial resistance. This is conformal with what Riemann and his pupil Weber referred to as retarded potential. Thus the wave nature itself is transformed via its action upon biota in a peculiar way. If one adds the further cognitive, noetic element of the propagation beyond the means of the means of the medium to carry the wave, one arrives at the shock wave principle. In the case of human singing this would correspond to the composition moving beyond the fixed domain of musical harmonic "laws" to presage the continuing ongoing non entropic development of human society. (This to be understood not in the silly "time reversal" model a la "unscrambled eggs" of negative entropy of Maxwell et al, but rather as the non linear step functional model of the increased reducing power of technological innovation.)
This brings us to the final aesthetic principle that unfortunately the authors don't distinguish between the primal scream therapy of a rock singer and the bel canto principle of covering the voice which also protects it from percussive deleterious effects that can cause nodules. But given the false dichotomy of nonsensical right brain left brain mumbo jumbo separation prevalent in today's college curricula this is understandable. The fact is that the emotion of discovery associated with scientific advancement is decidedly not different than the conveyance of the beautiful or the sublime in art.

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