Monday 7 January 2019

Picture Post #42: Space in a Nutshell

'Because things don’t appear to be the known thing; they aren’t what they seemed to be neither will they become what they might appear to become.'

Posted by Tessa den Uyl

Picture credit:  A Mundzuku Ka Hina, communication workshop, Maputo, Mozambique
Things might look a bit disorientating in this picture. Who’s going where? All move and get blocked. To unblock, one needs movement. 

But where does movement occur? When there is space. And is the suggestion of space not primarily evoked by the idea of chaos? 

Back to the picture above. All were moving to a point that ultimately leads into an impasse. ‘The road’ no longer exists, so to speak. 
Symbolically, this image reflects the Taoist notion that the essence of life consists in never stopping the flow, for no point will ever reward us.

Then perhaps chaos is chaotic only by a misconception about space?


Keith said...

In my opinion, ‘chaos’ in its more noble form paradoxically masks underlying order and determinism, but whose complexity makes prediction imperfect or outright impossible by even the most deft of models. Such chaos, then, has more to do with uncountable initial conditions (known, uncertain, and unknown starting variables); mind-boggling branching paths along which events unfold; iteratively repeating formations whose compounding intricacies confuse; nonlinearity of correlation, sequence, and cause and effect; imprecise predictability of runaway follow-on happenings and elusive endpoints; and so forth. But here — the dispiriting, testosterone-fueled tangle of vehicles — chaos is irredeemably of the less noble kind, where all we, as voyeurs, can hope for is that the drivers’ ‘movement’ back to the outer edges of the ‘space’ that this picture post refers to ends what’s generously dubbed here as the ‘impasse’.

docmartincohen said...

Even so, Keith, a small movement could have greatly magnified effects. Say someone nudges forward, and then someone else can't move, and soon the traffic is actually gridlock...

Tessa den Uyl said...

Is chaos more of a physical ‘matter’ or a psychological one? For in the Greek tradition chaos was described either as absolutely empty, as either just place or else a material flux or Ovid’s interpretation as a confused mixture of materials of different kinds. The latter interpretation is the one we westerners seem to have adapted.
The term chaos here, in the post, is intended to question how we use this term.

Keith said...

Your point immediately above, Tessa, about chaos introduces interesting dimensions to the subject. My brief comment about chaos focused on traditional 'chaos theory', with its modern (science-based), Western interpretation and application. Your interesting reference to ancient Greek tradition as it related to chaos, as well as your provocative mention of 'how we use this term', rightly challenges orthodoxy in this arena.

Thomas O. Scarborough said...

It was philosophers Kamlah and Lorenzen who said that we are 'thoroughly dominated by an unacknowledged metaphysics'. As I understand them, the harder we think, the more powerfully we are dominated. The solution might be to relax and play.

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