“The fact that value judgments influence my proposals does not mean that I am making the mistake of which I have accused the positivists–that of trying to kill metaphysics by calling it names.  I do not even go so far as to assert that metaphysics has no value for empirical science.  For it cannot be denied that along with metaphysical ideas which have obstructed the advance of science there have been others — such as speculative atomism — which have aided it.  And looking at the matter from the psychological angle, I am inclined to think that scientific discovery is impossible without faith in ideas which are of a purely speculative kind, and sometimes even quite hazy; a faith which is completely unwarranted from the point of view of science, and which, to that extent, is ‘metaphysical.'”  (Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery (New York:  Basic Books, 1959), p. 39.)

Popper goes on to say that no matter how you come up with an idea, if it is not proved, it is not science.  In addition, falsifiability is central to the truth.  Thomas Kuhn focuses more on the process whereby science accepts a thesis and the repercussions of believing that there is such thing as truth.  On occasion, biologists discuss the similarities between male primate procreation strategies and science community strategies and tactics for achieving idea acceptance.  There are ways that interpretations of what “truth” is and the specifics that seek to occupy that truth station behave like sperm that lust to occupy a position of respect in the womb of our academic institutions.

It astonishes me the amount of time that I spend concerned with definitions of “truth” or foundation premises that inhibit alternative understandings.  I feel like I spend a lot of time in basements with flashlights discovering that an extraordinary amount of information has more to do with dream, or the unconscious, than with waking.  I then realize that I myself am a figment of dreamlike imagination.

Then, with chills, I realize the imagination is not my own.

Lately, I’ve been focusing on the difference between art and science and my exact role while engaged in the theorizing process.  As an artist, I seek insight, often by relieving myself of conventions that act as barriers between the social and the transsocial self.  A scientist adheres closely to conventions in order to provide colleagues the information that conventional reality is what is being explored.  Scientists need to trust that the information shared and relied upon is information that will behave identically for everyone in the science community.  An artist is looking for alternative perspectives, ideally universal, often not describable with anything like language.  Whereas science relies upon language or mathematics, media for sharing of convention, art instead seeks any avenue that usefully or beautifully offers access to nonconventional, but real, points of view.

No doubt these distinctions keep coming to my mind because I am engaged in an artistic process as I am theorizing about evolution.  I struggle with how exactly I fit into a conventional theorizing community while offering reverence to nonconventional, artistic process.  The result of this acute awareness is my frequent examination of the differences between science and artistic processes at both the creative level and the logistical level, the how of how content gets created, and the how of how content gets accepted by the community.

This often feels fatiguing, in no small part because a foundation feature of my personality is the deep-seated belief that what I create is not acceptable.  Many of us carry around this unconscious belief that we are of little use to the community and have to work extra hard to make a difference.  In the back of my mind, at the bottom of my emotions, is a frightened, grieving being who believes he’s alone because of something that he is or did.  I know many people with these hidden feelings.  I feel like much of what I do while I write is accompanying this being.

Accompanied, I get creative.

Whereas a scientist makes sure his work is above reproach, an artist seeks to be accompanied.  Popper and Kuhn describe rules of engagement regarding conventional reality.  The artist simply seeks to engage.

Except the product of my engagement is theory, theory that seeks to be useful.  I keep finding myself bridging these two worlds.  I note few models of how exactly to build this kind of bridge.  Firmly recognizing that I engage in art seems integral to my experiencing comfort with what I do.

Except I’m not convinced comfort is useful in creating art.


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