Tuesday 16 December 2014

My life - in a nutshell (I wish)

The butterfly, a cabbage-white, 
(His honest idiocy of flight) 
Will never now, it is too late, 
Master the art of flying straight, 
Yet has - who knows so well as I?- 
A just sense of how not to fly: 
He lurches here and here by guess 
And God and hope and hopelessness. 
Even the acrobatic swift 
Has not his flying-crooked gift.

By Robert Graves (1895-1985)



Nathan Wright said...

Off topic: Bruce, did you see this already?


I have a hard time following pop-physics arguments. But this reminded me of something I read on your blog a while back, regarding inanimate evolution.

Nicholas Fulford said...

Of up and down,
and round and round.
With dervish whirl,
without a sound.

Towards a silent centre,
a door that all must enter.
Voiding in a spinning twirl,
and none to be my mentor.

I drown within a scrying pool,
the victim of a raping, raging fool.
Offering tin for gold and pearl,
to the one who will with one ring rule.

So soon my life extinguished dies,
with Truth dispelling dreadful lies.
My soul unto the abyss does unfurl.
to transform into someone wise.

MC said...

"Now I ask you: what can be expected of man since he is a being endowed with strange qualities? Shower upon him every earthly blessing, drown him in a sea of happiness, so that nothing but bubbles of bliss can be seen on the surface; give him economic prosperity, such that he should have nothing else to do but sleep, eat cakes and busy himself with the continuation of his species, and even then out of sheer ingratitude, sheer spite, man would play you some nasty trick. He would even risk his cakes and would deliberately desire the most fatal rubbish, the most uneconomical absurdity, simply to introduce into all this positive good sense his fatal fantastic element. It is just his fantastic dreams, his vulgar folly that he will desire to retain, simply in order to prove to himself--as though that were so necessary--that men still are men and not the keys of a piano, which the laws of nature threaten to control so completely that soon one will be able to desire nothing but by the calendar. And that is not all: even if man really were nothing but a piano-key, even if this were proved to him by natural science and mathematics, even then he would not become reasonable, but would purposely do something perverse out of simple ingratitude, simply to gain his point."

-Notes From Underground

Bruce Charlton said...

@NW - I don't know of it, nor can I evaluate it - but it sounds like he is working on the same (true) problem recognized by the physicy-mathematical'structuralist' school of theoretical biology (e.g. Aristotle, Goethe, D'Arcy Thomson, Waddington, Kauffman, Sheldrake etc) - which is that most existing science takes *form* for granted; and fails to recognize that form must come first, must be assumed before natural selection can operate. Form must either be explained or assumed - maybe this guy is trying to explain it.