Wednesday, July 05, 2006

No Time to Think

I have stumbled slightly in the last few weeks, and my cheerfulness has lapsed. I have always attempted to cheer people up and cheer people on (including myself) but sometimes the sheer glum gloom of everday life (and what people have made of it) still grinds me down. (sigh)

Escape into watching a great, sporting and skilful game of football does not seem like an option - even with the claim that you see it as a meditation on spheres.

I have spent more time dozing or day-dreaming recently, as I find it pretty therapeutic. One of my greatest role-models (although we hardly work in the same sort of fields) remains Bucky Fuller. Some of that comes from his remarkable cheerfulness and optimism about 'humanity', and some from a hunch play, and a love of the very forms that he claims lie at the root of 'Universe'.

I found this on p122 of Martin Pawley’s lucid little book on Bucky.
The brilliant manner in which Fuller fused the development of a revolutionary structural system, the geodesic dome, out of a combination of many hundreds of paper and cardboard geometrical models that were ostensibly intended to be analogical aids for a system of thought, deserves careful consideration. Perhaps the best explanation of it is offered by his 1989 biographer Lloyd Steven Sieden.

'Thinking is sorting experiences’, writes Sieden at the beginning of his exposition of Fuller’s approach, ‘Separating the huge set of experiences that are irrelevant from the very small set of experiences that are relevant’. But irrelevant material itself falls into two categories, and Fuller believed that imagining thought as a transparent sphere helped him to see a way of distinguishing between them. He visualized a situation in which all irrelevant experiences that were too small and too frequently occurring were inside the imaginary sphere, and all those that were too large and too infrequently occurring could be regarded as outside it.
The way Fuller imaged the thinking process, the surface of the imaginary sphere itself would then only consist of relevant experiences, or thoughts. He then wondered how many relevant experiences it would take to establish the ‘insideness’ and ‘outsideness’ necessary to create a sphere of thoughts. His answer was that while any two experiences could be joined by a line, it too three to fix their relationship – a concept perhaps not dissimilar to the journalistic principle that it takes three events to make a trend. This point Fuller diagramatized by drawing a triangle. But to establish a sphere containing ‘insideness’ and outsideness’ something robust enough to be called a thought, was impossible using flat triangles on paper, because the triangle had no integral space-enclosing depth. Three-dimensional structure, in thought as in geometry, could only be achieved by plotting in a fourth experience. The resulting three-dimensional model, a three-sided pyramid, or tetrahedron, Fuller came to believe, was the true geometrical model of a thought. It consisted of four points, or experiences, which in turn generated six sides, or relationships.

My son contacted me to see if I had ever got through ‘Synergetics’ which I have to admit to not having tackled seriously. You can find it online at that link.


pentaphobe said...

That's probably my fault; it's cold here, and my travels have successfully provided me with an "endless winter" for just under two years :)

I need as much sun as my folks, I think, and it's beginning to get to me.

Or perhaps I've taken on the SAD thing - finally got an excuse to hang indoors during winter!

Anyway - hope things improve, hang out with the neighborhood cats, put some blim holes in your favorite shirts... did you ever make it through Synergetics?

Bogus Magus said...

Nah, never did get through Synergetics, never had a copy when spacetime gave me room to move and think.
We have too much sun in the UK right now (for most people) and no tradition of the siesta (sigh).
Actually we now have storms, and flash floods, and so on...
Not really down too far - gonna miss Kris Kremo and Ignatov at the Irish/Euro Juggling Convention, though - which I had half hoped to get to...but duty called and asked me to cover for him...

Related Posts with Thumbnails