unfolding expression

context and content

Unfolding. Origami in reverse
HERB SIMPSON: "I'd like to give you a twenty-minute presentation that'll change the world." HOMER: "Aww. Twenty minutes!"
edited: 6 Oct 2021, written: 24 Aug 2018.

The answers we get are determined by the questions that we ask - and in a world humming with information both are expected to be brief and simple. Science is reasonable; it provides straightforward answers to simple questions, but those of wellbeing are chaotic and it can do little more for these than provide information.

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

This was my introduction. Lost, buried under sympathy and dogma, to find where I was I searched through silos of knowledge for elementary facts. Although familiar, when assembled like a jigsaw puzzle, the result was surprising - like an old children's story.

This is a story, a map, of semiosis, conversation, society, and health; the four sections below are like layers. The map itself seems dependable but its form has depended upon my expression - and it remains a work in progress. I hope you can find your way through it, though that seems unlikely:

For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice.

λ  literalism
    meaning and spells

The ideas we form and choices we make are misdirected when different frames of meaning are unconsciously mixed - there may be an epidemic in our minds, and one too in our souls, but even if so these are not the same. When feeling certain we know what things mean we are at our most vulnerable to deceptions and misunderstanding.


Ψ  on being heard
    life and language

Life was born when an environment was perceived as a pattern of signs - in the beginning was the word just not one that we recognize. Every being perceives others in its environment through the signs that they make. As consequences of the awareness that is intrinsic to life, society and language have developed.


Δ  making sense
    health and fluency

From the beginning, survival has depended upon successful interaction with an ecosystem. Communication is central; as beings developed and multiplied, they evolved finding advantages of protection and empowerment in social integration. Mental as well as physical well-being, now coextends with fluency.


θ  gathering conversations
   society and reproduction

As a society develops, its individuals become more dependent upon it and their roles increasingly specialize. Cohesion and growth are achieved by means of a shared cultural narrative. This replicate in the thoughts and behaviours of individuals. Competing with others as individuals do, it forms new colonies virtually.


Chaos refers to dynamic systems of apparently random states of disorder and irregularity that are actually governed by interconnectedness, underlying patterns and deterministic laws. The mathematical study of this is chaos theory.

As wellbeing is not available for scientific examination science cannot tell us how to achieve it. Science, like a computer, can only answer questions that are clearly specified. The Atom Bomb for example, was built by politicians and engineers not science. E=Mc2 is only an answer to the question "What is the relationship between E and M." However transparent good science is it can always be misrepresented to hide the crudest of intentions. It has been used in this way to hide the refutations of climate-change and worse. The Nazis abused it to disguise their pathological zenophobia - and still do.
quoteleftMathematics is able to deal successfully only with the simplest of situations, more precisely, with a complex situation only to the extent that rare good fortune makes this complex situation hinge upon a few dominant simple factors. Beyond the well-traversed path, mathematics loses its bearings in a jungle of unnamed special functions and impenetrable combinatorial particularities. Thus, the mathematical technique can only reach far if it starts from a point close to the simple essentials of a problem which has simple essentials. That form of wisdom which is the opposite of single-mindedness, the ability to keep many threads in hand, to draw for an argument from many disparate sources, is quite foreign to mathematics.
from: "The Pernicious Influence of Mathematics on Science", by Jacob Schwartz (Prof. of computer science, mathematician)
quoteleftIt may seem natural to think that, to understand a complex system, one must construct a model incorporating everything that one knows about the system. However sensible this procedure may seem, in biology it has repeatedly turned out to be a sterile exercise. There are two snags with it. The first is that one finishes up with a model so complicated that one cannot understand it - the point of a model is to simplify, not to confuse. The second is that if one constructs a sufficiently complex model one can make it do anything one likes by fiddling with the parameters - a model that can predict anything predicts nothing.
from: "The Origins of Life", by John Maynard Smith (theoretical evolutionary biologist, and geneticist) and Eors Szathmary (Prof. of theoretical evolutionary biology).
A farmer, perplexed that his hens were not laying, called on a theoretical physicist for help. A few weeks after investigating the problem, the physicist returned with detailed calculations and announced: "I have the answer, and it holds for all spherical chicken in a vacuum."
after: the Spherical Cow.

T. S. Eliot, 1934, from the pageant play: 'The Rock'.

Prefatory Note to: "The Rock"
Choruses from "The Rock" by T-S. Elliott

From the poem: 'Little Gidding', written by T.S Eliot during World War II and the air-raids on Great Britain, and published as the final poem in a series of four that he wrote between 1936 and 1942. He began work on it in February 1941, as illness, and the war, disrupted his ability to write. Dissatisfied with each draft, Eliot believed the problem with the poem was with himself, not finishing it until September 1942. It was published, together with the three other poems, in 1943, as: 'Four Quartets'.


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