Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Evolution by nature

~From Roots of the Classicalby Peter Van der Merwe, page 142:

Even today, our notions of causation are profoundly influenced by the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century. Newtonian physics gave such satisfying results that later thinkers gound it natural to apply its principles to biology. They assumed that nature--including human culture--must proceed by similar chains of cause and effect. One had only to trace the chain backwards to arrive at the ultimate cause: natural selection in Darwin, the economic motive in Marx, the sexual instinct in Freud. People argued about which was the correct 'driving force', but seldom stopped to wonder whether the whole system might be based on false analogy.

It now appears that no driving force is needed... Evolution is a process whereby parts combine into wholes, and this happens automatically.

Exactly. Also note that in some systems, like John Conway's "Game of Life", you can't work backwards, as deterministic as the future is.

I think this point is also touched upon in Taleb's The Black Swan which I hope to read this summer. Some composers look at Mozart's and Beethoven's influence and ascribe them entirely towards something like their innovations in certain pieces of music, when in reality their influence is most likely part of a much larger more incomprehensible system.

And, while an artist may strive toward innovation in his work, it is not only not a promise a success, it is also not needed to bring about changes in the art world as a whole. The artist's desire to innovate for its own sake is not a driving force. The art world will change and innovations will emerge without needing to be forced.



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