I thought the Law of the Excluded Middle was something the Con-Dem
government had invented just for us in the UK ;)
But more seriously - or perhaps less so.
Physics can be a great metaphor in art. It can be a great metaphor in all
sorts of things. That's what physics is. So, when I propose that everything
is digital and that each digital unit is quantum, simultaneously zero and
one, I am proposing a metaphor.
In this respect physics is art. Sometimes it is great art!
On 26/03/2011 17:49, "Curt Cloninger" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hi Jon,
> This Whitehead maxim seems applicable:
> "The true philosophical question is, how can concrete fact exhibit
> entities abstract from itself and yet participated in by its own
> If insights from physics are to be applied to art, some abstraction
> will necessarily have to occur (otherwise you're simply left talking
> about physics, or reducing art to physics -- an analytic philosophy
> trap). But how to fruitfully cross-apply these abstractions to art
> a) slipping into grammatological wordplay (Derrida interminably
> riffing on Adami, a post-structuralist trap),
> b) cross-applying these new abstractions using old school dialectical
> metaphysics (metaphysics which presume the existence of an
> analog/digital divide in the first place).
> And (beyond the philosophical), how to make art that engages with
> these analogDigital conundrums (Leibniz's monadism wrestling with
> Bergson's concrete duration) in ways that enact and foreground said
> conundrums rather than merely re-presenting them via analogy.
> Jon wrote:
>> I think this is precisely the problem: that the metaphysics many of
>> us take for granted is inherited from outdated science textbooks.
>> Physicists have known since the beginning of the last century that
>> nature's building blocks are assembled in messy states of
>> superposition rather than lined up in neat compartments. ("Is the
>> spin up or down? It's both!") Yet so many humanists I read,
>> especially among the poststructuralists, yammer on about binaries
>> and dichotomies as though the Law of the Excluded Middle were an
>> incontestable truth. Or, almost as bad, as though they are the first
>> to realize it isn't.
>> Nor are all scientists immune from this outmoded determinism. Most
>> biologists I speak to have heard of quantum mechanics, but
>> implicitly assume that atoms are minuscule billiard balls careening
>> predictably around, instead of some perverse foam that oozes
>> contradictory states of matter when you're not looking.
>> Even Newton didn't understand the metaphysical implications of his
>> theory. Though a heretic by contemporaneous standards, Newton was
>> still a devout Christian, and during his life wrote more about
>> religion than science. He is remembered among metaphysics scholars
>> for positing an absolute frame of reference for space and time, in
>> contrast to Einstein's later relativistic one. Except that Newton's
>> equations *are* relativistic for the scales he was considering--a
>> fact he obscured by giving lip service to an absolute frame in order
>> to reconcile his formulas with the dogma of his time.
>> The design of digital computers to date has only reinforced the lay
>> perception that everything around us can be boiled down to 1s and
>> 0s. The advent of quantum computers to which Simon alluded could
>> challenge that perception--and maybe even give nonphysicists their
>> first glimpse of nature with her hair down.
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