The Covalent Metaphor, Prologuegreenspun.com : LUSENET : Daily Tales : One Thread
The Covalent Metaphor - prologue
On Sun, 2 Dec 2001, John Perry Barlow wrote:
> By the way, the harmonic-at-a-distance is also mutual, though
> perforce, one can't know the symmetry or asymmetry of its intensity...
Ah, Comparative Intensity. The focus of much in relationship to one's self and anything. The measurement of "ouch" and "yumm", and the spectrum in between.
I study shapes, and it's the variation in intensity, and the countervalent dynamics of shortened things (muscle) providing the space for lengthened things (different muscle), that creates much true original (as different from purely responsive) action.
Without asymmetry there would be no real movement, just a languid reflection of the greater flow around it (that I'm perfectly happy to also express, under the right circumstances, with the right person). So, thanks for the asymmetry, for it's a gift, and I hope you're appreciating it as much as I am.
> >In my story that I'm writing, the one that these
> >Daily Tales continue to be a Voice exercise for, the tension
>between governmental ordering systems is expressed through types
>of molecular bonding. The existing status quo is what I call an
>Ionocracy. Its grouping strategy is to form ionic - taken and
>privately owned - bonds, while its counterpart supports
>Covalence, the sharing of ions necessary to complete one's
>outer shells. Water. Diamond. Covalent. One of the points is the
>strength in a working and deep diversity.
> This is an intriguing, um, metaphor. Or description of reality?
Oh, most definitely - most hopefully - a description of reality. That's what's interesting about the exploration. That's what's challenging about it.
I begin with a hypothesis that interests me, a premise that maintains contact with an intuited truth as I run analyses of my actual and imagined experiences (experiments) through the personal history my rational mind has spun through its years of cataloguing the reality it has encountered.
The theory needs to be deeply interesting or I won't pursue it for as long as it takes to see what I want to. This particular hypothesis - started by the highest mystics in the form of "As Above, So Below", in all its varied fugues - has been growing for about 30 years in my mind.
I'm still refining its core statement, but its very unoriginal working thesis is that our collective social behavior (at least, the behavior that my class and my race is most focused on in the culture I have easy access to) -mimics to a great extent laws and patterns of nature that are currently known. These patterns are becoming more visible daily due to the incredible recording and information dissemination technologies that are exploding around us.
Much data is now collected by technicians and scientists seeking a particular (usually the death knell of pure science) track of truth - often an industrial or materially utilitarian one. It is *not* viewed in an objective, nor dispassionate, manner, contrary to its preferred mythos.
In fact, the technician relies almost blindly on the objectivity provided by a designed control system (Heisenberg? Heisenberg who?), even though in many cases the control system itself has been designed to bias the end toward a result that might meet other objectives: i.e, continued funding, regulatory approval, improved market position for the company funding the study - you know the score, and it is a "score".
Western science likes to give the impression that it is in the best position to understand these laws for two main reasons that I see: 1.) because it deems the province of observation to be that of the lab, using machinery that perceives in ways its priesthood says a human bodymind cannot, and 2) because it pretends that if the laws can be replicated in numerical equation, then that equation constitutes an adequate understanding, and no more needs to be said. (I explore this, and its ramifications,) in my story.
In fact, it goes so far as to say that if the laws don't replicate into an accepted numerical pattern, then they are not laws at all, but anomalies, to be discarded until they reappear often enough to "make a difference", i.e. pierce the pre-existing bias of the research. So, pity the poor truth that happens to be novel, or irreproducible, or with intervals that pulse outside of the researcher's purview, or- even worse - runs counter to the mercantile thrust of the original inquiry.
I believe the best analysts of this data will be non-scientists, and I suggest (daily, but primarily through the story I'm writing) that - when the information gets out there, widely enough - the next technological revolution will come from the artists among us, i.e., the folk who see the data with their own eyes, and not solely through the Dominant Paradigm's Operating System.
These Freed Thinkers will describe what they see using analogues relevant to their own experience, and concurrent with their own morality. When combined with my premise for a better business organization (where the Covalent metaphor really comes into play more specifically, and has plot and substance, because it competes throughout the story with the Ionocratic approach), this has the effect of Kuhn's paradigm shift, and gives me a positive upwards spin for the novel, something I decided that I wanted to do.
I am a great fan of the historian C.P. Snow, as well as a number of other scientists who were very frustrated with this artificial end-point that their guild had created to suit its own superficial goals - an end-point that the best scientists (ala Bacon, and all the frustrated observers who fought church tooth and nail to describe what they saw) always knew was counter to the heart of true Science and would, in the longest run, produce dark results.
The irony is not lost on me that today the agency I am at odds with most often is the FDA, whose ignominious origin was the American Chemical Manufacturer's Association, in a marriage with the Allopathic Physcians, and whose original work was to destroy Homeopathy as a profession in the 19th Century.
But I don't knock all the work done in this conventional realm, though I think the intent contaminates the result and, as the line between lab and land grows much too thin, bad lab accidents (that happen all the time) will/are happening out in the field, and we've grown too powerful to "just say "oops".".
Theories are always, eventually, wrong. While they're not - while they're in phase with the flow of a cluster of us, they're extremely interesting, and can be trails to the next new places.
For a time, there was a theory about something called "Phlogiston", and it provided a working hypothesis for a number of chemical experiments that led directly to uncovering subsets of natural law. That, in turn, allowed aspects of formal chemistry as we know it today to be born. Phlogiston outlived its usefulness and was eventually discarded, replaced by other subsequent models that let new patterns emerge.
One such would be Mendeleyev's Periodic Table. Its original lattice framework (formed in vision and dream, btw) allowed scientists to predict, and then discover, an array of elements that, once observed, could be worked with in the manifest now.
In the beginning, the pattern itself was like a scented garden that pulled observers into its field of influence, and let them find the lilacs and the roses, the sod and the worms and the matrix of it all. When science allows itself to be pulled forward by vision, and when that vision includes beauty, (and this is another of my working premeses), then we slog more surely toward a Julia Set, someplace nice to sit in and watch the world from.
In the last 50 years, Mendeleyev's table has become cumbersome. It has lost its symmetry, and begs a new shape. Scientists have discarded using the *shape*, the pattern, for a guide, however, as they have now new tools and theories to replace the original inspirational form that was once empty, once begging to be filled.
15 years ago, I had a dream vision at the end of a fever and a month long illness, in which I saw a new Periodic Table - a new shape, for it, that solved some of the old grid's problems, and had a lot of spaces still, sitting open-faced like unanswered questions, or beckoning gardens. I have that Table, for I drew it out, and in the drawing of it I felt lots of other things begin to coalesce. I use it in my story. Among these Siren questions was the idea of the Covalency, born 25 years ago (! has it been that long!?!) although it didn't have that name yet.
But you know, I've written so much here that I think I'm going to just close this up and spin the covalent silk out over time. This is, by the way, how I love to write. You ask a question, and I can follow its lead for awhile. What I explore with you becomes the bones of the thing that the story will one day more firmly be. The story, if you're wondering, is called "Chasing Spring", and it's getting very close to landing into being - I hear its wing-beat, and sense its shadow - it gets exciting, and this next two years looks very, very cool...
So, thank you again for your ear, and your eye. Thank you for bearing my pedantic voice. I'm awkward (not unpracticed - awkward!) with the declarative statement, but you give me more confidence to use it. You mentor and muse me. I hope it remains easy for you, because it's wonderful for me.
PLUR. Remember PLUR
-- Anonymous, December 05, 2001