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Art Without Frames;
Science Without Boundaries;
Healing Without Patients

By Iona Miller, 10/2004

“...to behave is to choose one pattern among many.” ~ Professor Jose Delgado, Yale

"meaning is not something that is attached to or floats between or behind things that can parade before one's mind but something that connects with something deeply embodied in our being." ~Wittgenstein (1973/1958)

"There was a passionate craving among all ... [intelligentsia] ... for a means to express their new concepts. They longed for philosophy, for synthesis. The erstwhile happiness of pure withdrawal each into his own discipline was now felt to be inadequate. Here and there a scholar broke through the barriers of his specialty and tried to advance into the terrain of universality. Some dreamed of a new alphabet, a new language of symbols through which they could formulate and exchange their new intellectual experiences." ~ Hesse, The Glass Bead Game

R. Buckminster Fuller pointed out that rulers in the past made it virtually mandatory through the rules of academic advancement that the smartest minds became specialists, thus missing the Big Picture. In this way they sought to suppress their own overthrow by those more intelligent than themselves by containing their thought-processes.

This system creates stricture in scientific and artistic freedom. Hermann Hesse not only wrote the classic introspective novels Siddhartha and Steppenwolf, but won the Nobel prize in Literature (1946) for his final masterwork published under two titles in English: The Glass Bead Game or Magister Ludi. This work (set in the 23rd Century) describes a cadre of individuals and their headmaster -- the Magister Ludi -- engrossed in interdisciplinary play engineering cultural values from behind the scenes. Hesse never forthrightly explained just how the game is played, but gave many hints to its structure for future aspirants seeking solutions to the critical predicament of mankind through Global Architectronics.

The Glass Bead Game requires that its players synthesize aesthetics and philosophy. The name Castaglia, the place of knowledge, is the Italian form of the Latin Castalia, which was the Roman name for the spring on Mount Parnassus where dwelt the mythical Muses. Castalia was also the name for the abstract realm of the intelligentsia. Let the game begin…


Free Style is an improvisational aesthetic that uses one’s realtime local surroundings and (synthetic) synchronicities and virtualities from which to create new expressions in any medium or discipline. We can deal with and use “what comes up” in a creative and therapeutic manner; we can intuit, invent, and concoct from the nonlocal information that is at hand if we simply open to that, living artfully from that spontaneous place.

Free style is an intuitive act that is at once intentionally connective with source and presence, thus freeing and directing that which is inside desiring to emerge – meta-creativity. Freestyle breaks free from the vault of derivative, corporate, or audience-driven formula production. After all, it takes risk to either succeed or fail.

This is the source of artistic and scientific freedom. We must trust the process; trust our own vision – the womb of our subconscious that gives birth to full-blown ideas and inspirations. Freedom of expression means each artist is free to create their own style, weaving into the existing genres of expression, combining, contrasting and injecting their own unique rhythms, modulations, and vision by working at their dynamic edge.

Free style results may be concrete or ephemeral, but the drive comes from a commited perspective on the fundamental nature of reality and our nature. It seeks and sometimes embodies a new way of being, an ethic and aesthetic that is open and psychophysically transformational -- morphogenic. The art of survival equals the survival of art.

Ideally, it is the harmonization of cognitive awareness with empathic and compassionate emotional sensitivity to the zeitgeist of the day. It implies a global conscious awareness – “getting” the Big Picture – and perhaps doing something about it.

Creativity is a local embodiment, an essentially holistic process of a spontaneous non-local field of influence that can permeate the globe. The creative process, like a hologram encapsultes the entire gestalt at several levels of observation; each part reflects the whole if at lower resolution. In this way we find meaning in an idea, a piece of art, a performance, or a culturally revolutionary invention.

The thrust and dynamics of the creative process are such that intentionality encompasses multiple threads of creation simultaneously – rhapsodies of multi-tasking without drudgery. Therefore, there can be no “failure”, for a lost project is easily replaced by another project or process – another thread to weave, another melody to play.

“Free-styling” is a spontaneous eruption of the ever-renewing geyser of creativity – it means embodying the process of inspirational flow in each moment – artful living. This form of creativity can originate in the sciences/technology or the arts or any combination thereof (i.e., Hypermedia; Science-Art; Poetry Science; Nonlocal Healing; Global Architectronics). It describes the mutual interpenetration of life and art, a recurrent theme in contemporary art.

This negentropic energy leads to the embodiment of something intrinsically valuable and emotionally meaningful from essentially nothing. Therefore, free style is always breaking news; it cannot be anything but fresh.

Characterized mainly by deep feelings and heartfelt authenticity and intensity, freestyling creates a hyperreal random movement that nevertheless has its own tempo and internal cohesion, even when it moves in quantum leaps. A good example is an incredibly stimulating and cross-pollinating conversation or interview, where real rapport is established with context and depth allowed to emerge. It springs from an open-minded perspective based in authentic emergence rather than contrived product.

The medium may be people, behind-the-scenes influence, mentoring, cross-pollination, dreaming out loud, brainstorming, contributing to global dialogue on topical issues, technological shift, process-oriented therapies, Socratic method, or immersive experiences that transform those who experience them. There are many more.

The often unrecognized modalities are virtually infinite and range from formal to informal, academic and highly technical to “street”. All are means of influencing people and environments, through revealing meaning with little or no commercial or corporate interests. Freestyling tells it like it is. It is art that reveals Truth.

The significance or meaning of life is a central topic in philosophy, art, religion, medicine and psychology though any definitive answer remains elusive. Ethics or morals (personal accountability) should help us cooperate with one another. But there is no moral super-principle that undergirds us all besides humankind’s survival. It is clear, however, if humanity should cease to exist, it all becomes moot. We may be throwing away the entire arc of evolution through poor choices.

If we have values, we have to stand up and be counted and speak out for them. Moral agency and status are relative. Meta-ethics examines our notions about what constitutes ethics or morality relative to the position of others. Related issues are lifestyle choices, decisions, respect, impartiality, responsibility, identity, duty, principles, empathy, compassion, and conscience or consciousness.

The flattening of affect or emotional neutrality is the enemy – the aspect that conditions poor choices and ethical erosion as the acceleration or speed of cognition increases in our mindnumbing modern lives and we become dulled to the field of perception (Damasio 2004). Its been called information overload and future shock.

Ethics is Aesthetic

How can we rectify our guilt and shame for living so heavily on the planet? We are born and die consuming non-renewable resources, at least under current technological conditions. If there is any ‘original sin’, arguably the necessary evil of consumption is it. This fact of life has led our world into ecolo-nomic crisis, which has spawned multidimensional sociopolitical crisis where no one problem can be solved in isolation and change can wreak havoc in other domains.

Ethics relates to intentionality which means more than self-serving, so-called “good intentions,” individually and collectively. It means living deliberately, with global intentionality, which is an artform in itself – living with awareness and acting from that center. It is an aesthetic choice for ‘artful living’, living life in an artful manner in harmony with flow and creativity, choosing enriching experiences over consumerism. Art, which has its roots in primal shamanic culture, has traditionally been associated with the optimistic ‘Bohemian’ ethos rooted in Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Love.

The question of what makes for a human life that is good for the personliving it has been at the heart of ethics since the Greek philosophersenquired into eudaimonia (‘happiness’) (see Aristotle; Eudaimonia;Happiness; Life, meaning of; Plato; Socrates). Once again, aphilosopher’s theory of the good will almost always be closely bound upwith their views on other central matters (see Good, theories of the). Forexample, some of those who put weight on sense experience in ourunderstanding of the world have been tempted by the view that the goodconsists entirely in a particular kind of experience, pleasure (seeEmpiricism; Pleasure). Others have claimed that there is more to life than mere pleasure, and that the good life consists in fulfilling ourcomplex human nature (see Perfectionism; Self-realization). Nor havephilosophers forgotten ‘the bad’ (see Evil; Suffering; Suffering, Buddhistviews of origination of). Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Our philosophical ethics are tied to our aesthetic sense and metaphysics, to our worldview – especially for artists and scientists. The mechanistic view is one of greed-creating scarcity, a sense of there not being enough of whatever resources to go around (Fuller). The worldview provides the ground for our beliefs, ideas and lifestyle choices about what is right and what is wrong.

This paradigm is tied to our health, both logistically (through the locked-down healthcare delivery system) and biologically. Healing is the biological form of creativity, and it is both a science and an art, which is why it is practiced. In a mechanistic view our bodies are machines which get worked upon by experts, rather than holistically healed by compassionate providers who cooperate with us in our healing process. For much of the planet, none of this is even an option.

Everyday we witness the reckless extinction of species after species, culture after culture. We live at their expense, and some even find that acceptable. The planet has degraded and its fundamental resources such as water and soils depleted and mined out. Meanwhile the human population has bloomed like algae. Who is to say how long it is before human existence becomes untenable?

This is not a new topic, obviously. It has been the subject of earnest speculation for some time, even before public awareness of the global population bomb (see ZPG). In 1968, the Club of Rome formed a multidisciplinarian team to analyze the precarious predicament of mankind. As an experiment, this endeavor gets mixed reviews as the results have been used to justify another round of Western imperialism.

Recognizing the complex interactions, scientists, educators, economists, humanists, industrialists, and national and international civil servants from ten countries began to think and act globally. Their stated aims were to bring new understanding to policy-makers and the public, and to promote new global policy initiatives and action. This benign-seeming program got twisted into the agenda of the neo-con(servative) parties, and came under the umbrella known as New World Order, who’s hallmark is that absolute power corrupts absolutely. But they only have the power we give them by denying our own.

Predicament of Mankind

The institutions and patterns of thought of the (military/industrial/academic) World-Machine have created an interconnecting set of world-wide problems of an ecological, economic and political nature. Machine-minded think tanks, even if they are thinking globally, can only see entropic decay through their own worldview. They cannot think out of the box, unless there is a fundamental paradigm shift that is reflected in the sciences, and likely foreseen in the arts.

The energy shortage, rise of food prices, scandals in government, and unwinable wars against ideas like idiologies and ‘terrorism’ are the first harbingers of the approaching crisis. There are two routes from here: The route of stagnation and eventual total collapse, and the route of flexibility and growth, which could lead to a golden age. Chaos Theory reveals both catastrophe (bifurcation) and renewal are likely inevitable.

Rather than the obsolete paradigm of a ‘world machine’, we need to think in more organic terms of holistic self-organization – reorganization at a higher level -- as revealed in Chaos Theory, which demonstrates nature’s own creative way of evolutionary assembly. All things are simply connected.

Order emerges spontaneously and unpredictably from the creative edge of chaos – it emerges suddenly from disorder: from the unconscious chaos the concept finally forms, the artistic inspiration is captured, the photographic composition suddenly appears in the frame with just the proper atmosphere. Aesthetic principles of multisensory harmony reflect similar structuring.

With a change in paradigms that is fundamental not merely conceptual, the dangers and the possibilities are as great for us in this 21st century as they were for those in the sixteenth century. In chaos theory, the old system typically undergoes a catastrophic collapse before the new order emerges. The “new order” cannot be imposed on the old system by will nor intentionality.

When all the available world's arable land is required to feed the world's population , even with perfect world-wide systems of land use and distribution of food, there will inevitably be mass famine. Even if productivity is quadrupled it only gives us roughly 50 more years. Once all the land is used to full capacity and the soil mined-out, there is simply no more land. Once the non-renewable resources are gone, that's it. The geological processes that created those resources took hundreds of millions of years.

We are using them all up while simultaneously polluting the ecosphere for decades. The ecosphere is flexible, but not infinitely. We have made massive assaults on it (including such Frankensteinian experiments in ionospheric heating such as HAARP in Alaska and Pine Gap, Australia) with little understanding of the ultimate effect. Sudden increases in the temperature of the earth and melting of ice caps, death of the oceans and rainforests that produce our oxygen are horrible possibilities that such worldwide pollution produces if exponentially continued long enough.

The shut down of the vast oceanic pump from melting fresh water near Greenland would usher in a new Ice Age. Other unpredictable catastrophes include collisions with meteors or comets, pole shifts, or the collapse of the ionosphere with solar scorching of the biosphere. With all this and more to fight against, you’d think we could just get along on our small blue planet, but such is not human nature.

With these scenarios in mind, the human race has a mandate to reinvent entropic technology and revision our existence with an ethically based negentropic technology, based in the proven notion of a virtually infinite universe of potential. Only in this way can we (all) become part of the solution, rather than the problem.

There are many psychic prophecies down through the centuries of a great worldwide war ending this period of history. When social groups become about equally powerful and equally dangerous to each other, some conclude it is time to put them under a common government, and a synthesized civilization. Yet, this process cannot be forced nor engineered.

We must avoid the specialized way of thinking that blindly leads toward these frightful collisions of ideology. We must have a tolerant humanist government – the democratic ideal we inherited from the Greeks whose philosophical culture and aesthetics was based on geometrical harmonies.

This dynamic existential aesthetic is what has come to be known lately as the “DaVinci Code”, that was foundational in the emergence of the Renaissance flowering. The democratic ideal shelters and even fosters idiosyncratic processes and thinking along the spectrum of potentiality that lead toward creative emergence – at the fringes of society and research. Western civilization of the World-Machine has lost its direction and vitality in the Twentieth Century. There are numerous symptoms of this, ranging from crime in the streets, to the ugly unlivability of modern cities, to political corruption, to the pandering tendencies of the information/entertainment industries, to the thickening rigidity and irrelevance of schools and universities. There is no longer any higher center in Western civilization, not religiously, aesthetically, or politically. Christian religion ceased to be vital in the 17th Century; Faustian consciousness has produced a fragmentation of 'higher' cultural worlds and Practical consciousness gives us the total impoverishment of the ordinary aesthetic environment that is one of the chief reasons for the boredom and alienation that most people feel in our cities. The first sign of rigidity in the schools and universities probably came with their reaction to psychical research in the twenties and thirties. Today, swollen hierarchies of administrators absorb half the budget and contribute nothing but obstruction and useless regulation for faculty and students. No alternatives to the World-Machine materialism/Christianity nor to its specialism nor to its teacherism can be explored. Humanist, empirical religionist, open learning schools are actually illegal most places.One of the symptoms of the corruption of Western civilization is that no one feels any higher responsibility anymore. This is especially evident in the publishing industry and in the information/entertainment industry. The importance of an idea for mankind is of no relevance at all in determining if a book or article is published or reviewed. Things are judged from a very narrowly (and in the long run stupidly) commercial viewpoint. Thus, what is published and made famous are trashy, trivial, intellectually flyweight books about future schlock, massaging the media, Dr. Blank's new fad diet, or some white specialist's universalization of his latest rat studies (or studies of human sexual plumbing). ~Limits of Power

Intentional Communities

The Glass Bead Game is thus a mode of playing with the total contents and values of our culture; it plays with them as, say, in the great age of the arts a painter might have played with the colors on his palette. All the insights, noble thoughts, and works of art that the human race has produced in its creative eras, all that subsequent periods of scholarly study have reduced to concepts and converted into intellectual values the Glass Bead Game player plays like the organist on an organ. And this organ has attained an almost unimaginable perfection; its manuals and pedals range over the entire intellectual cosmos; its stops are almost beyond number. Theoretically this instrument is capable of reproducing in the Game the entire intellectual content of the universe. ~Hesse

We are so used to having our cake and eating it too that we assume there are technological solutions to all these entropic problems. One early sign that this is not so is the collision of pollution control requirements and energy conservation in the design of automobiles. It is possible to reduce pollution technologically, but each further improvement is exponentially more expensive in non-renewable resources (such as platinum for catalysts), and in gasoline used, and in performance and cost of the automobile.

Commercial pandering is typical of industry which first does motivation research, then invents and sells a product, not because there is any prior desire or any real need for such a thing, but simply because it is something people can be manipulated into believing they want. Such pandering produces degraded tastes. Image is everything and triumphs over substance. The final result of entropic capitalism and democracy is the same decadence suffered by late Hellenic (Roman) civilization.

The method of value science is to judge things not by whether they are approved by a majority (as in democracy), but by whether they are of genuine value to all in the group. How do we know something is of genuine value? By the test of life, by experience. The laboratory of the value scientist is the intentional community. The value scientist (experimental) is an active participant, committed to the trial community.The eleven theorems of value science all deal with community action, where a community can be as small as a village and as large as the universe. In analyzing any particular problem, of morality, of aesthetics, or of politics, the first thing is to see exactly what action, by whom, to whom, under what circumstances, is in question. Not all ordinary value talk is directly related to action, but the value scientist does so confine himself. He is also mainly concerned with obligations, orders, directions, instructions, etc. The community's action may result in the creation of obligations, orders, instructions or whatever, and create a social situation which motivates them being followed. But what is directly justified is always an action of value.The justification is always relative to a particular actor (an actor may be a particular group). Values are guides to actions, not properties of things or situations. Thus, you always need to specify the actor, and must be aware of the possibility that a particular sort of action may be justified for one actor but not for another. This is the principle of relativity of values. As mentioned, the theorems are concerned with community action. A group action must be of value to every member of that group. This is the group value axiom, and essentially defines the meaning of "community." In order for such justification to be possible, there must be some common value all members of the community share. There are only a few universal personal values, such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and all the theorems are based on them. ~Limits of Power

Entropic Agendas

Entropic agendas can arguably be called “diabolical” based on their essential nature: they are death-oriented, self-fulfilling prophecies – “No Exit” nightmarish futures. There is philosophical precedence for this position condemning closed-system paradigms. Applied ethics is of immediate importance not only in public policy but in science, art and medicine where it relates to best practice.

Public policy must therefore support best practice in all the arts and sciences, including the healing arts. It is our undeniable responsibility to the future, to our progeny. It is our legacy, for good or evil. It will in fact determine whether we actually remain human beings, or not – and even whether humanity survives at all. Institutions founded on entropic principles cannot engage, therefore, in best practice, and shortchange future generations at every level of cultural enrichment and sustainability.

The question of what makes for a human life that is good for the personliving it has been at the heart of ethics since the Greek philosophersenquired into eudaimonia (‘happiness’) (see Aristotle; Eudaimonia;Happiness; Life, meaning of; Plato; Socrates). Once again, aphilosopher’s theory of the good will almost always be closely bound upwith their views on other central matters (see Good, theories of the). Forexample, some of those who put weight on sense experience in ourunderstanding of the world have been tempted by the view that the goodconsists entirely in a particular kind of experience, pleasure (seeEmpiricism; Pleasure). Others have claimed that there is more to lifethan mere pleasure, and that the good life consists in fulfilling ourcomplex human nature (see Perfectionism; Self-realization). Nor havephilosophers forgotten ‘the bad’ (see Evil; Suffering; Suffering, Buddhistviews of origination of). ~Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Sound geometrical principles have been linked to the emergence of scientific thought. They are also fundamental in the formation of geopolitical and secret societies, where “secret” knowledge of these verities undergird technologies of human development and applied wisdom.

For Immanuel Kant, (paradigmatic philosopher of the European Enlightenment), Euclidean geometry characterized that ‘pure form of our sensible intuition’ which is space, a condition imposed by the mind upon the experience of the outer sensible world and thus a condition of the possibility of experience of this world.

Kant joined the key ideas of earlier rationalism and empiricism into a powerful model of the subjective origins of the fundamental principles of both science and morality, and laid the ground for much in the philosophy of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Above all, Kant was the philosopher of human autonomy. But once Descarte got ahold of rationalism we were plunge into an era of rational enlightenment, which may come to be seen as the second Dark Ages by future generations.

Kant held that both the laws of nature and the laws offree human conduct must be compatible because they are bothproducts of human thought imposed by us on the data of ourexperience by the exercise of our own powers. This was clearlystated in his last book, The Conflict of the Faculties (1798):Philosophy is not some sort of science of representations,concepts, and ideas, or a science of all sciences, or anythingelse of this sort; rather, it is a science of the human being, of itsrepresenting, thinking, and acting - it should present the humanbeing in all of its components, as it is and ought to be, that is, inaccordance with its natural determinations as well as itsrelationship of morality and freedom. Ancient philosophyadopted an entirely inappropriate standpoint towards thehuman being in the world, for it made it into a machine in it,which as such had to be entirely dependent on the world or onexternal things and circumstances; it thus made the human beinginto an all but merely passive part of the world. Now the critiqueof reason has appeared and determined the human being to athoroughly active place in the world. The human being itself isthe original creator of all its representations and concepts andought to be the sole author of all its actions. (7: 69-70)

Kant’s view was that by the use of our own reason in its broadest sense human beings can discover and live up to the basic principles of knowledge and action without outside assistance, above all without divine support or intervention. Geometry’s demonstrable truths led directly to scientific hypotheses and the experimental method of inquiry. Euclidean geometry began as the science of space and non-Euclidean geometry is now that of spacetime and complexity.

This same fundamental geometrical wisdom forms the basis of sacred sciences as expressed for example in kabbalism, fen shui, Islamic art, Renaissance and Gothic architecture and great monuments. It is the basis of Masonry, and formed an underlying matrix for the philosophy of the Founding Fathers of the American Revolution with its democratic principles. It reveals the harmonies of nature, God and man – and we have applied it as an ideal model and technological basis for our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual lives.

The earliest records of activity in geometry come from Babylon. Whatwe know as Pythagoras’ theorem appears in cuneiform texts of around2600 BC, where it is given an empirical and approximate verification. Asthe name indicates, the subject of geometry originated in the practicalpursuits of land measurement and surveying (though probably not firstamong the Egyptians, as Herodotus famously reports). Although theGreeks did not originate geometry, it is to them that we owe theconception of geometry as an exact demonstrative science as against anempirical and practical discipline. While anecdotal evidence identifiesThales of Miletus as the originator of the idea that geometric statementsare to be proved, it is generally accepted that the Pythagoreans hadtransformed mathematics into a deductive science by around 500 BC.Pythagoras himself is said to have conferred upon geometry the standingof theoria, the manner of contemplative knowledge alone worthy of afree and not a slave people; and to have propounded the belief that itstrue subject matter pertained to intelligible objects rather than to senseexperience. Later, in Plato, geometric figures - circles, triangles, theregular solids - became archetypal ideal forms: perfect, universal,absolute, eternal and harmonious; whereas their sensible instantiations inmatter were seen as inexact, particular, relative, temporal and discordant(see Pythagoreanism §2). …While such methods were suitable to the discovery of simple arithmeticand geometric facts, they were not as conclusive as the deductivemethods canonically compiled in Euclid’s Elements of Geometry (c.300bc). Through its influence, the idea of a demonstrative science wasestablished and geometry became the paradigm of systematicpresentation of a body of knowledge in terms of logical deductions fromaxioms, whose truth was antecedently recognized. Routledge

R. Buckminster Fuller and E.J. Applewhite made brilliant new geomerical discoveries about the process of natural transformations in the atomic nucleus and nature’s own means of assembly. They applied Synergetic or tetrahedrally based geometries, rather than the crude Cartesian coordinate system, which is never employed by nature.

As Fuller pointed out, there are no right angles in nature and she uses great circle economies. This is Nature’s aesthetic expressed geometrically and fractally in all Her creations. 21st century science and arts is still trying to absorb this revelation as more than a concept. It may lead to negentropic technologies that save mankind as a species from itself, from its entropic shadow.

Aesthetics and Ethics

Aesthetics is a kind of interest in certain things, expressed in a kind of judgment, which is concerned with things quite apart from their utilitarian use. Kant even declares aeshetic interest independent of whether they actually exist. Aesthetics is an interest and valuing which is without interest, in the common sense. We are caught imagistically somewhere between the infinitly repeatable with variations and the truly infinite.

Kant drew a sharp difference between an aesthetic and utilitarian interest in things, which is as relevant today in the context of the sciences as in the arts and humanities. He considered this distinction urgent, and it remains so, in that artists are often at the spearhead of human culture (Miller, 2004), and the engineering of that culture through consensus and contagion (fads; memes; mind control). Issues include uniqueness, taste, evaluation, discrimination, virtuosity; objects of devotion and absorption, if not de facto ‘worship’.

Leading edge ideas often emerge in the arts before science or technology catches up with its symbolic yet prescient vision. New technologies now commonly appear as art installations, followed by their ubiquitous appearance in the mainstream. In Kant’s era, aesthetics appeared with the emergence of a merchant class and related to what was desirable to possess or consume. In today’s global economy, formerly isolated parts of the world are newly faced with this dilemma, as are the nouveau riche.

What is intrinsically desirable, individually and by consensus? Kant reduced it to “the Beautiful”…but in today’s world this can be superficially dismissed by confusing it with “the pretty.” Contrived beauty often fails to deliver on its promise, being somewhat akin to rule by committee. To be truly beautiful, technology must reflect nature’s creativity by springing from a negentropic paradigm or worldview. It must add to our well being in some fundamental and sustainable way.

Aesthetic experience is directly related to evaluation of all other kinds of experience, including ethics and politics. Aesthetics is seamlessly woven into our cultural and biological existence. Aesthetic sensibility underlies both the arts and nature, and therefore we find beauty and harmonies in nature experiences, mathematics and science, just as we do in the arts. Artists and scientists are earnestly involved in creative expression in the now as well as hunting the future.

Aesthetics implies sense abilities – and we call it sensibilities. When we agree artistically, what we share is an aesthetic sensibility. A certain rhythm and harmony can also express our emotional rhythms, tone, hue, value, intensity, clarity, etc. Symbolization and signification are also relevant.

What's New with My Subject?

"Let us imagine the anima mundi neither above the world encircling it as a divine and remote emanation of spirit, a world of powers, archetypes, and principles transcendent to things, nor within the material world as its unifying panpsychic life-principle. Rather let us imagine the anima mundi as that particular soul-spark, the seminal image, which offers itself through each thing in its visible form. Then anima mundi indicates the animated possibilities presented by each event, as it is, its sensuous presentation as face bespeaking its interior image--in short, its availability to imagination, its presence as a psychic reality. Not only animals and plants ensouled as in the Romantic vision, but soul is given with each thing; God-given things of nature and man-made things of the street." ~ James Hillman

Robert Rauschenberg originally legitimized collage as a valid artform with his curatorial manifestos, The Art of Assemblage (1961) and Random Order (1963). He revisioned many presuppositions about art and older notions of the avant-garde in his own non-nihilistic oppositional strain. In fact, his notion of “random order” prophetically prefigures the scientific discovery of Chaos Theory by decades.

At his most ambitious, Rauschenberg hoped technology would allow him to create a machine to integrate spectators into its functioning, reactions setting it in motion transforming the participants. This is multimedia interactivity, with feedback and feedforward loops. He wanted to educate the predictable public to risk, including in the realm of sexuality. He wanted to reflect and modify the desires of the viewer.

Many of the goals of today’s multimedia “Know-Brow” artists are similar, aiming at embodied experience and pushing those insights further as CG images become more compelling. The larger question remains, “What does it mean to be human?” American film and video critic Gene Youngblood once wrote that “all art is experimental, or it isn’t art.” Innovation brings radically new frames of reference or discards frames entirely.

“Indeed the new materials artists use today have radically transformed art, and our globally-linked planet has brought the plurality of artistic forms, the diversity of styles, the ways in which statements about art can be formed and framed to the surface. Within this we find that the wide array of technical practices, this virtual reality theatre being one example, now make it easy to see that technology has had a tremendous impact on how we engage with art, how we engage with the question of what art is, and how we view the many ways artists exploit technology in our time.“New tools, of course, have always resulted in new forms and, in the largest sense, we can say that technological innovations add imaginative possibilities to the artistic toolbox. When we place the results into a mix that includes social, cultural, political, and scientific contributions we find the enlarged vantage points new technologies offer are even more intriguing. “Perhaps as striking as the number of ways in which artists use technology is that forms of experimentation, like artistic goals, vary widely today. Given this it is not surprising that, sometimes, technologically informed work simply excites our senses and, at other times, even an educated viewer may wonder how best to address a work he or she simply does not understand. There is also the challenge of engaging with work that invites us to be participants rather than passive spectators. And, of course, work presented in more traditional ways, so to speak, continues to raise traditional questions about what art is. “One might ask: Is it the visceral quality of a work that excites us or will we more fully experience an artist’s intention if we read the work as a text and interpret the levels of meaning embedded in the project? Then, again, perhaps an interpretation based on ferreting out meaning compromises key elements that might be optically-centered or intended to emotionally-charge our experience?” ~Amy Ione, 2000, http://users.lmi.net/ione/sf3.html

Philosophically defined concepts such as ideology, aesthetics, meaning, emotion, embodied or situated cognition, complexity, anticipation, inspiration, signification, psychophysical coordination, emergentism, depiction, focal-point conflict, and other elusive models fit into the well-honed categories, bracketing themes such as picture organization and gestalt, metaphor, interpretation, subjectivity, enculturation, neural processing, language and history.

They depend crucially on our psychophysical constraints (compensation, accentuation, contrast, occlusion, dissonance, blur, grain, codes, projection, distortion, denotation, etc.) and enabling of our sensorimotor apparatus. They also depend on the ecological and sociocultural environment in which our apprehending and productive capacities come into being. Rhythm perception and production involve a complex, whole-body experience.

The avant-garde attempted to break down the false division between “art” and “life.” This medium has morphed again, and the message of the art and science of depiction morphs with it. The generative approach is multidisciplinary. Insightful connections and correlaries are described, not truths or explanations. Collage, montage, and assemblage have gone digital -- jumped the juxtaposed canvas into graffiti, into digital fine art, into art music as sampling and into animation, which draws from the entirety of art history stringing together its pastiche.

Early digital films of the 1990’s such as “The Mind’s Eye,” “Beyond the Mind’s Eye,” and “The Gate,” are good examples of the later. Some of these vignettes draw explicitely from art history, using works of Picasso, allusions to Dali, Magritte, etc. They also draw on the genre of science-art. Their immediate predecesors were computer-generated dynamics, such as “Fractal Fantasy”, and a host of other mathematically driven animations like “Voyage To the Planets”.

Multimedia with its efficiency of rendering takes us beyond the aesthetic block of static art that hangs on the wall and becomes p(art) of our lives. Home studios and user-friendly programs and interfaces now allow individual digital fine artists, such as Laurence Gartel and filmmaker Bob Judd, to produce their own audio-visual visions on DVD. Trial and error process focus the artist’s eye on the current state of he image and his/her reactions to it. Trained image makers know what they need and choose the relevant tool.

Art history language is translative and descriptive, not generative. Validity has standards, but they become outmoded periodically, and must be revisioned to prefigure inevitable transformations. The aesthetics of juxtaposition is fundamental; it is a primary modality of simultaneous display that can either 1) temporarily shock, negate, or scandalize, (cultural value); or 2) lead toward lasting aesthetic and symbolic tensions (aesthetic and psychological value).

Juxtaposition can shock, surprise or inform. However, once the shock circuit [artifact of the DaDa era] is closed, the effect will not repeat again in the same individual. There is a world of difference between threat and shock or lasting aesthetic effect. Primary tropes tend to characterize the creations of those who work in this assemblage modality, revealing their mental shorthand, their private symbolic and iconographic lexicons.

The second form ignites the potential of disparate elements in a new ‘force field.’ It becomes a ‘strange attractor’ around which our eye and consciousness can circulate and recirculate. This is one form of the iconography of high art, Rauschenberg effectively argued. His was a challenging balance between aesthetic signification and spectatorial reception.

Collage can seem random or purposeful, assembling symbols or elements that “want to live with one another.” Some artists just ‘know’ what wants to live together, what is aesthetically pleasing and psychologically congruent or challenging, what juxtaposition still has something to say beyond simple pattern saturation. Minimalism, or classical juxtapositions of opposites, is too sparse for such rich, complex vision.

Rauschenberg continually rejected an aesthetic of nihilism, shock and negation through his whole career preferring complete esthetic freedom, eschewing art and historical battles already waged by predecesors. His works changed focus, evoked multiplicity, and multiple perspectives. He preferred the unresolved.

Neo-dada attitudes of the pre- and post WWII era have carried over into post Postmodern underground art with multimedia performance artists, who are socially disengaged or culturally and politically frustrated. Even this seemingly negative response to pain seeks to engage with “process” and “life” which is not separate from “art.” But, by definition, much of this “art”, often identified with the Fluxus movement, is not lasting, frequently consisting of artifacts or ephemera.

These edge and extreme artists are idiosyncratic and narcissistic, but generally not socially toxic, anarchistic or apolitical – but quite political and often spiritual in their statements, rhetoric, and performances. They have broken free of the museum and the artworld and found their own validation. But provocation can’t last indefinitely.

The history of the avant garde is discontinuous, turbulent, nonlinear – chaotic, just like its art. All of its metaphors strongly suggest the randomly punctuated rhythms of Chaos Theory. Its reference points reinforce this description, reiterating complex feedback loops, strange attractors, and producing big effects [such as radical cultural and political effects] from minor perturbations.

Iona Miller’s Psychogenesis: Updates: In the 1990’s, Iona Miller created 400 posters, 24 x 36, from the most prevalent form of trash available – discarded magazines, the base of the garbage pyramid. While they are commonly used, she found a unique means of doing so. Of course, the strongest constraint of this medium is availability, listening to one’s inner voice on where to go when to find the raw materials. If you listen closely enough, knowing what to save and discard, they call to you.

Miller recycled this ‘found’ imagery into a series of self-therapeutic works, which she later discovered contained a virtual encyclopedia of psychological archetypes, the “strange attractors” of the psyche. She compiled the more symbolic, rather than merely aesthetic, of these process art works in Psychogenesis: A Journey through Inner Realms of Wonder and Imagination via Modern Iconography and Recycled Imagery, at the turn of the Millennium.

The avant garde alleged the praxis of life is to be renewed and renewal was the unrelated therapeutic purpose of this project. But this ‘art’ was uncontrived, naïve, claiming no commercial purpose or drive. It has nothing to do with the institutionalization of art nor discursive rules, nor social criticism, nor overarching historical frameworks.

Nor is it expressing the avant garde strategy of using shocking assault on the division of art and life. It had to do with getting what was inside out. It is life in motion and its strategy is to take the commonest most discarded thing, appropriate it and activate its healing talismanic potential, turn lead into gold, giving it a new potency beyond the transgressive power – a force that comes from the emergent power of the one true thing.

These works reappropriate the ordinary, the mundane and recontextualize it within a meaningful whole of which the viewer is an integral part. It is motivated by the urge to connect with the life stream, the flow of psychophysical energy or libido that animates us. It is driven by jealousy of time to fulfill its expressive goal before death finds another unreleasable hostage, for even as I am writing this I hear about the sudden death of a friend of 25 years. Now, I have gone digital and begun merging myself in this series, particularizing the images even further.

The Psychogenesis preface begins:

“Welcome to my world--a world ensouled and enlivened by imagery. A world of the seemingly familiar, yet peculiarly mysterious…the vast landscape of consciousness, fluid temporal movement, the undivided flux of creation. Many people have allowed me to tap into their dreams, their inner streams of realities, their nether realms. I conclude that our local existence is nested in a vast collective domain, abode of symbols, guiding archetypes, and myths. We contain and are contained by Universe, and we are not different from that. This eternal world outside spacetime is the contact point for sacred time and space, the container for that which never was but is always happening. Since its source is complex, its coding is intense. Archetypal images enfold multiple meanings, modes, potentials, dimensions. The human psyche is inherently polytheistic, polymorphous, continually in motion.We are experiencing not just the revival of ancient images, but also the harvest of all the world's cultures, belief systems, ways of knowing, seeing, doing, being. Gradually we discover that these stories are our own stories, that they drive the amplified rhythms of our own lives, depending on and enhancing us, filling us with a sense of the fractal resonance of the mythic life within our own.In our modern culture every image, mundane or divine, has been used and abused. In the Postmodern Era there is no new iconography. In imagery and art, there is nothing new under the Sun. Everything, which can be used from religion, myth and symbolism, has been used and can only be recycled -- recycled like these collaged images from the trash-heap of society. The material for these images was literally someone's garbage. My task was therefore, as usual whether doing art or therapy, trying to turn alchemical lead into gold."