• Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 04:23:42 +0100
    X-Sender: z1198@mail.pi.se
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    From: andreas.carter@pi.se (Andreas Carter) Subject: Re: ART PROJECT, ANDREAS CARTER

    material, a few people said the same, either they had no connection to their clothes,
    mostly people whose writing or music was more important to them than materials.

    This is the case with me also, I really have nothing that I wouldn't feel ridiculous to send -
    except my philosophy. Here below is something that I wrote myself today, to a mailing list.
    Maybe you could print it out and use it in your project, if you like it?

    Best regards,

    On :Sun, 26 Nov 1995 18:44 Mark Burch wrote:
    [[snip]... Darwin?s theory is good for explaining genetic variation in a population, but it is not
    very good for explaining evolution.

    Not to mention how bad it is at explaining human creativity.
    But if the human species has
    evolved from apes or through random genetic mutations is rather completely
    uninteresting from the point of view of the individual human being who actually DOES things
    , whether good or bad, without asking for a theory of this doing first.
    Institutionalized science on the other hand, as a general cultural phenomenon, gives the impression
    of trying to stop the world until a suitable explanation of it has been found and accepted - by the scientific establishment.
    There is a tremendous lack of generosity here, and of faith in potential human achievement.
    If I have a theory of a past event I can quite possibly ?prove? it and repeat it through experimentation and calculation.
    But how can one experiment with the future,
    except by participating actively in its current coming-to-be?

    When one thinks about the future, the part determined, part undetermined nature of the
    universe becomes obvious.
    There are definite limitations to what can happen during a given time span.
    But within the framework of these limitations there is plenty of room for randomness - and self-determination!
    The problem with self-determination from a scientific establishment point of view is
    that research in that area realistically only can be performed by an individual on him or her self.
    And so the results cannot be ?objectively? verified.
    But from the point of view of the individual there can hardly be a more important subject.

    By excluding the subject in the quest for objectivity, the modern scientific world view
    also excludes the possibility of constructive and creative forces entering evolution.
    Luckily, not all people are scientists.
    And even among scientists, quite a few forget themselves and discover things that,
    based on their previous theories and speculations, they would have considered impossible.
    Nonetheless, seen from the point of view of society as a whole,
    considering the power that the scientific establishment as an abstract entity
    wields over the way people think, this is a great problem.

    ?The world is not real until we have explained its reality? they (the stereotypical scientists) say.
    But since the concept of creativity is ruled out a priori through the demand of experimental verification,
    the world can never be explained.
    And so a great gap between reality and its corresponding description is permanented,
    leaving plenty of room for action to people
    who are completely uninterested in science and explanations.
    These people (and I am here thinking primarily of all the bad guys - drug dealers,
    rapists, corrupt politicians, greedy businessmen etc etc)
    are also, unfortunately, equally uninterested in democracy and justice and moral action in general.

    Now, please don?t accuse me of blaming all of society?s ills
    on some abstract ?scientific establishment?.
    The whole idea of blame is completely irrelevant,
    and lots of other factors have to be taken into account
    - the world is a complex system.
    But the subject of this list is science-as-culture, and the role of science in culture.
    Culture is, to me, something that is alive,
    the medium in which we - much as fishes live in water - live as human beings.
    It consists of all of our relations, and the way in which these relations are maintained,
    notably through language, but also through customs and established procedures.
    And lack of relations, language, customs and established procedures play an equally important part here,
    because culture abhors vacuum.

    When one speaks about the ?scientific establishment? one is not speaking about the process
    of knowledge, which is what science as such is about, but about the culture
    (language, custom, established procedures) that has developed around this organized
    process and methodology.
    A process of knowledge that a priori excludes the specifically human contribution
    to this same process on account of fear of ?subjectivity? must,
    if one accepts the above definition of culture as a specifically human medium,
    produce results that in aggregate...
    are not conducive to anything specifically human.

    In the above type of reasoning the major stumbling blocks lie in some of the concepts.
    The reality corresponding to the concept of the human individual,
    the human being as such, for example,
    can only be grasped intuitively by - individual human beings.
    And creativity can only be understood, in its essence, by itself.
    That is to say, lacking in creativity one can never arrive at a useful perception
    of what it means to be creative.

    Why do we have to accept again and again that the stereotypical scientist, often with a quite
    amazing lack of humility, either directly or by inference completely denies the existence
    of exactly that which actually makes us human - our individualized understanding of the world?
    Of course we don?t have to accept it as individuals, but as members of society
    we still have to observe and suffer the effects of this attitude.

    Is it impossible to imagine a culture where the scientists are considered to be active
    participators in the continuous unfolding of the fabric of life?
    Having the most important role of artistically, individually, but still quite ?objectively?,
    painting the picture of the world - in its infinite and everchanging details - that we need
    in order to put our actions into perspective, and, to be sure, to develop
    and improve the tools and methods which are the hallmark of human evolution.
    Why does such a thought immediately arouse, in some people,
    such intense headshaking and general nosaying?
    Because of fear - fear of the unknown, and lack of confidence
    in themselves and their own ability to use the unknown as a field of creativity.

    Within the self-realizing concept of the human being lies the potential ability, but not the necessity,
    to participate actively and creatively in life as a whole.
    Obviously this creativity also provides the ability to create an image of the world
    where the human being does not actually participate, but only exists to observe given facts,
    conceptualize them, and place them in the framework which has been created by this same creative ability.

    No matter how one twists and turns, human cognitive activities, the collection and
    organization of knowledge, will always carry the stamp of the creative, or at least creating human subject.
    Because edifices of knowledge do not erect themselves.
    The question is all about attitude: what does one want to DO with knowledge, what role
    does one want the conceptual reality-filter to play - in ones own life, and in the life of society?
    And does one ever look for the concept corresponding to one?s own individual human self
    or does one actively seek to avoid it?

    Provocatively yours,

    Andreas Carter andreas.carter@pi.se

    Is reality optional?