"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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Saturday, October 22, 2016

How the Poetic Faculty of Hypothesis Overcomes Limits of Human Senses

A result of the fact that human creativity is capable of scientific revolutions is the extension of our very limited mammalian senses into the much broader electromagnetic spectrum. It is the case that we now know that many species are capable of sensing parts of that spectrum walled off from human sense perceptions to ensure their survivability.

A recent study, for instance, hypothesizes a biophysical mechanism that may underlie migratory animal perception of the earth's magnetic field. This research is a prime example of how scientific hypotheses are generated by taking advantage of previous such revolutions.

Further, it must be emphasized that there exists a hierarchical ordering of life forms on this planet that culminates in the unique feature of humanity to go beyond our own bounded senses. This is what Vladimir Vernadsky called the Noosphere. Our ongoing survival, unlike lower species, hinges upon successive creative breakthroughs that provide us previously unknown resources.

In order for civilization to progress as rapidly as possible this uniquely human potential must be nurtured and heightened. It is the emotional correlative that accompanies great discoveries that is produced in classical forms of art which is the life blood of this creativity. It is the shared human faculty for creation and appreciation of great beauty in the arts that underlies such necessary progress.

Here John Keats eloquently displays this emotion of discovery:

 
On first looking into Chapman’s Homer

MUCH have I travell’d in the realms of gold,

And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
 
Round many western islands have I been
 
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
 
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told

That deep-brow’d Homer ruled as his demesne;

Yet did I never breathe its pure serene

Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
 
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies

When a new planet swims into his ken;

Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
 
He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men

Look’d at each other with a wild surmise—

Silent, upon a peak in Darien.































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