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The Two Cultures 49:1 Richard Farson It is my great pleasure to introduce to you Carol Anne Bundy, an old friend of mine, and someone with whom I have been discussing the subject of this conference for more than a year. Carol Anne was educated as a lawyer, but I met her when she was collaborating with Jonas Salk during the last five years of his life as they together explored the larger issues of the evolution of society. Unfortunately Jonas died before they were able to publish together, but since his death she has continued to pursue some of those same interests, resulting in two volumes about to be published. Welcome, Carol Anne. We look forward to a most interesting and valuable conference on the continuing division between science and the humanities, arts and social sciences. 49:2 Carol Anne Bundy 2 CULTURES SYMPOSIUM Another Look at Dialogue between the Sciences and Humanities: Dreamer‘s Panacea or the Future of Thought? Convened by The Western Behavioral Sciences Institute, La Jolla, California and The Human Futures Foundation, Oxford, England Internet Conference the 24th February - 24 March, 2006 Oxford, UK Conference – TBA (March 2007) La Jolla, California Conference – TBA (September 2007) Opening Comments First I would like to thank Richard Farson of the WBSI for giving all of us the opportunity to participate in these discussions. Richard was a dear friend of Jonas Salk's--a ―think-alike,‖ as Jonas liked to say--and participated with us on many occasions on some of the topics that I hope we will be able to touch upon in the course of this conference. And I would also like to thank in advance those who have agreed to participate, offering their insights and perspectives based upon considerable collective expertise and experience. Looking at the list of participants as a whole, one must again offer thanks to Richard for bringing together such a remarkable group of minds. Sincere thanks to everyone for their interest, time, and commitment. The subject of C.P. Snow's landmark 1959 essay The Two Cultures held that the division between sciences and the humanities was a major hindrance to solving world problems. The precepts of this iconic work, which Snow wanted to entitle Of Rich and of Poor, have reverberated throughout international academic circles for decades and was resonate with the motivation that inspired scientist and thinker Dr. Jonas Salk to found the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, in the 1960s. With the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Salk sought to establish an institute where the scientist could work alongside selected artists, writers, philosophers and social scientists synergistically on the problems of the day. Designed with acclaimed architect Louis Kahn, one could say that the Salk-Kahn collaboration was the first phase of Salk's exploration into exchange between the two cultures. Today the Salk Institute stands as one of the world‘s preeminent research institutes with more peer review citations published annually than any other research institute of its kind in the world. But the greater dream of Dr. Jonas Salk has fallen short of the mark, a failing not specific to the Institute. In fact, one could easily argue that the sciences and humanities have never before been more fragmented and separate due, to large degree, to higher levels of specialization. Yet the need for exchange has never been greater, given the higher levels of complexity which operate throughout all levels of society today. The 2 Cultures Symposium (functioning initially as an internet conference to be followed by meetings in Oxford, UK and La Jolla, California) seeks to explore what the 2 Cultures means to the twenty-first century. Its aim is twofold: first, to identify barriers to cross-disciplinary dialogue and establish frameworks and approaches for amelioration, if possible; and second, on a deeper level, to explore how dualistic thinking itself inhibits exchange across the whole of the human field and how cross- disciplinary thinking might contribute to new ways of thinking more resonate and better suited to solving the problems we as individuals and as a species face in terms of today and the future. It was after a lifetime of observing nature and what Salk liked to refer to as "the human side of nature" that he remarked, ―Ideas are homologous to genes, only they mutate and evolve at a much higher frequency and at a much faster rate.‖ It may be that the need for cross-disciplinary dialogue has come of age and is now societal mandate as advances in many areas of human endeavor, including, to large extent, scientific progress, have brought to the fore new ethical, philosophical and religious repercussions. As Salk observed, "We are products of the process of evolution and have become part of the process itself." If we are, in effect, part of the process of evolution, able to tap into the energy locked away within the nucleus of an atom and beginning to manipulate the genes that lie hidden within the nucleus of a cell, mustn't we as a species, make a more concerted effort to deal as effectively with the human mind and its products? Given the great diversity that exists in the human realm at this moment in time and the current, ever nebulous, so called "clash of cultures" prevalent today encompassing a far greater scope that Snow's academic notions of the sciences and the humanities, the trajectory into the future will depend as much upon the evolution of human consciousness as it will upon the furtherance of knowledge. Might it be through cross-disciplinary effort that we, as individuals and as a species, begin to unlock, in a purposeful way, the hidden patterns and connections that exist across the fields of human thought and questioning? In that it has been projected that the world human population may nearly double within the next fifty years, it can be said that those living today are witness to a point of inflection in the human story. Many questions remain including do we, as individuals, as professionals and academics, and as societies and governments, have the ability to think in new ways towards a more hopeful and harmonious future? Assuming the desire, how might we begin? 49:3 Douglass Carmichael Dear to my heart, this topic. And Carol Anne, so many thanks for your being open to this. I hope this is the longest of my contributions, but I think some scene setting can be helpful. A major interest of mine in the last few years has been how to bring the best thinking (such as the examples above) in the humanities into public policy discussions. I started as a physicist at Cal Tech but felt the personalities of Feynman, Pauling, Gell-Mann, Sperry and others were more interesting than the science they talked of. Great humanities courses such as Hallett Smith's year long Yeats, Eliot, Mann and Joyce gave me a good grounding in being able to read most anything. (I always wondered why Proust was left out—perhaps another year.) I went on from there to get a Ph.D. in psych at Berkeley, but the dissertation is the give-away, The Development of the Capacity for Irony. I took courses from Feyerabend and Kuhn, stirring up consciousness about science that was new to me. Then some time at Harvard, Erik Erikson, and then to Mexico with Erich Fromm, and became a psychoanalyst, shifting emphasis around in private practice, teaching (Santa Cruz), and consulting in organizations on strategy and scenarios. But that is the outer story. Inwardly was the sense that the reality was not as science described it. Something was wrong. I described it in corny terms such as "Science is a phase in the history of art" or "Science is one of the humanities" and it was important the way art or music was important in understanding what humans were about. But slowly I came to see that the science enterprise was peculiar in the way it tends to dismiss the human as relevant. I see it now that the bias in science towards math and thing-thing interaction leaving out the knower is related to power and control, and markets. In recent years I've read Bruno Latour, who has shown how science and other social roles like law get mixed up, and that the new objects of science like ozone holes are mixed human and natural phenomena. Phillip Mirowski has written a book, Machine Dreams: How Economics Became A Cyborg Science. Powerful, how fragments of control systems got integrated by WW2 needs, and emerged as the scientific agenda setting for the post war period, including getting the cold war out of game theory. Mary Poovey has written a very interesting book, The History of the Modern Fact, exploring how data came out of the discipline of double-entry bookkeeping in the late renaissance. But the most frustrating has been to see intelligence reduced to AI, and the whole neuroscience-cognition world and its funding driven by payoff in a control economy. At the same time the profound work of Piaget has fallen aside. I stick close to the psychoanalytic (in the loose sense of getting the story, watching resistance, enjoying a person becoming more aware of the balance between internal experience, the world, and the power of relationships. Increasingly, I read literature, the early English novels, the poets, Don Quixote in Spanish, Lao Tzu and the early Chinese poets in Chinese, and even now trying Agamemnon in Greek. I watch groups like Edge and sense a macho smugness, which, I think, gets in the way of awe and curiosity and replaces it with power and professionalism. I love science, I love knowing that almost all the *things* I see I can understand—how a car works, a TV, a computer, light through glass, a horseshoe magnet, rainbows, precession of the equinoxes. But I also am aware of how little we know of who we are, how we think, how we are both embedded in culture and the past (science is mostly about things named long before there was science), and about our capacity to dream, to love, to invent gods, and to separate the madness of projection from the reality of perception (knowing they are the same). Wow! In Snow's Two Cultures I was struck by how he took as equivalent failures the inability of scientists to read Dickens, or (I forget after 40 years what he took as the example but let's say it is..) of the humanists to understand Eigen values or Laplace transforms. These are not equivalent. The physics items are deep in the physics culture in ways that Dickens is not deep for the humanities. Enough to start. Where will we go in this conversation…? 49:4 Richard Farson Doug, your comment about science drifting into the control economy is of profound interest to me. Presumably, the dialogue between science and the humanities benefits both--science contributing a disciplined approach to truth and discoveries that extend the frontiers of knowledge and human possibilities, while the humanities offer perspective and wisdom. But the last half of the 20th century saw science move not toward the humanities but toward the commercial, to business, to what we refer to as the private sector. When asked in one of our previous conferences why the word wisdom is seldom seen in the same sentence with leadership, ILF Fellow Ray Alden, former president of the telecommunications giant Sprint, suggested that perhaps wisdom and leadership were incompatible. He was referring of course to corporate leadership and to a definition of wisdom that is close to social responsibility. As Nobel economist Milton Friedman remarked, "The only social responsibility of business is to make a profit." But in recent decades science discovered in a big way that it can be profitable, and perhaps rather than getting in bed with the humanities, it has gotten in bed with business, where wisdom may actually be unwelcome. Because Jonas Salk developed the hugely successful polio vaccine, most people thought he must have become wealthy, because surely he must have patented the formula. But he did not, and when asked about that decision, I think his words were, "Would you patent the sun?" 49:5 Sandy Mactaggart Carol Anne, following the lead of Douglas Carmichael, I always think it fair to give yourself as moderator, and perhaps others as participants, a brief background of myself, so that you can gauge the origins of the prejudices and assumptions that underpin any comments I may make in this conference. I was born in Scotland in the late 1920s and evacuated to Eastern Canada in 1940, just too young to experience the war. After it was over, I completed my education at Harvard College and Business School before returning to Western Canada where, together with my late roommate at HBS, we became successful property developers and entrepreneurs in a private company which has always believed that investing in public welfare is as important as creating corporate profit. Involving myself in our children's education brought me onto a variety of governance positions in three schools as well as at Harvard, The American University of Beirut and the University of Alberta. I suppose I would describe myself as someone who believes we are engaged in developing the practical as well as the moral future of the human mind, which is why I look forward with such interest to the unfolding of this conference. 49:6 Walter Anderson Hi—my name is Walt Anderson, biographical stuff can come later. Two themes that I think we might fruitfully explore: The first, which I know was of interest to Jonas, is the human role in evolution. Paul Crutzen, the Dutch meteorologist (and Nobel laureate), proposes that the Holocene Epoch has come to an end, and we should call the present era the Anthropocene Epoch in view of the increasing evidence that human processes and what we might call natural ones are inseparable. Here we see the obsolescence of one kind of dualistic thinking (human/nature) and good reason for dialogue across another polarization (science/humanities) if we are to transcend it. The second is the role of constructivist/postmodern ideas in widening the science- humanities gap. I'm sure everybody knows what I'm talking about—if not, I can elaborate. Again, there is a crying need for dialogue (in the David Bohm/Dan Yankelovich sense) and much work that needs to be done. 49:7 Jane Alexander I have just been co-chairing the first arts and cultural session at the US-Islamic Global Forum in Qatar last weekend, so this issue is very much on my mind. Political and traditional governmental routes to diplomacy have not made great strides lately between the world of Islam and the west. We artists however bonded immediately and after four days we were real friends, pledged to continue to effect cross cultural exchange despite a neurasthenic $2 million budget at the State Department for 2006. Karen Hughes met with us for only ten minutes. The artists from the Islamic world were: Salmon Ahmed, a rock star from Pakistan who is the Bono of the mid-east, two filmmakers who produced the first feature film ever made in Yemen, a writer from Lebanon who must write in English as he cannot get his books published in Arabic, a filmmaker from Lebanon who moved to Los Angeles because he could not get his films made in Lebanon, an Iranian Islamic arts specialist, and a few others. The Americans were: a hip hop artist from Brooklyn, the writer Amy Tan, the producer of the film Syriana, and me, an actress. The actress from Syria who was invited was not allowed to leave the country and the same was true for another artist from Iran. Why, I wonder, do artists jump in where politicians fear to tread? Are we fools jumping in where angels fear to tread? Are we just fools? Why is it we seem to go the heart of a matter while others skirt around the body of an issue? This may have nothing to do with the Sciences and the Humanities here but I did want to bring it up as it is so freshly with me. 49:8 Carol Anne Bundy Gloriousness all around! I feel like we are sitting down to a Babette's Feast for the mind. Douglass, a quote from da Vinci comes to mind: Art is the Queen of all Sciences communicating knowledge to all of the generations of the world. We used it as the opening for the address that Jonas gave when he received the American Institute of Architects Twenty-Five Year award on behalf of the Salk Institute. Of course there is the difference between science, as in the purist, epistemology of, which Leonardo was referring to, and science or scientific enterprise. I hope that we will be able to touch upon this throughout the conference. I was recently seated at a dinner next to the founding publisher of The New Scientist, Mr. Thomas Margerison, a distinguished thinker who I hope will be able to participate with us at some point. I asked him what he felt was the greatest challenge to science at this point in time. His answer: statistics meaning the economic drivers that must be appeased a priori irrespective of motivations borne out of a sense of responsibility, i.e., Richard's comment about patenting the sun. Solving the polio problem wasn't about making money for Jonas. It was about solving the problem and Jonas always maintained that nature had supplied the answer. His bit, he felt, had just been in asking the right questions. It was practical, albeit phenomenal, for sure. So what turned it? It was his sense of responsibility which made it a personal, moral imperative which is why Sandy's comment about "moral future of the human mind" is so intriguing and pivotal. An inner drive to be of service, which I hope Douglass will be able to speak to drawing upon his readings of Lao Tzu and the early Chinese poets in particular. As Walter says it is the human role in evolution and it will be interesting to think how this relates to the human mind in evolution...our thinking both individually and more collectively, even as a species. Might we one day think as a species? Do we now? Don't really think so.... Not when push comes to shove. What does responsibility actually mean? Does it mean different things to different people? Surely, yes. Which brings us to Jane's wonderful observations of her recent conference, which must have been an absolutely amazing experience. It has always been the burden of the arts to move barriers, cut through and shift our collective thinking while the politicians, by the very nature of what they do, have tended to be more about establishing and maintaining boundaries and barriers. Dualistic thinking? Binary thinking? Is such a shift possible? Walter has brought up the interesting word transcend. How do science, culture and religion fit into all of this (religio from the Latin, loosely, "to tie")? Wisdom and leadership, Richard—you‘re right: there is almost an allergic reaction to the notion of wisdom despite the fact that it is one of our most profound human assets. Why have we buried it? Jonas used to think of wisdom as the ability to make retrospective judgments prospectively. Have we just become too near-sighted or maybe we need a new lexicon? Thanks for all of the great comments. Let's see how far and deep we can take all of this. 49:9 Herbert Blau To introduce myself—and that's probably necessary, since I'm new to this forum and to most of the people in it— I am including a passage from an Auto/Archive (short autobiography) recently published in our oldest theater journal. I was asked to do it by the editor, who wanted me to explain how I came to the theater and why I'm doing what I'm doing now. He wasn't aware, when he asked, that I was actually working on a longer life, called As If: An Autobiography. What follows is a short excerpt from the short Auto/Archive, which, as you'll see, involves an early crossing from science to the humanities—an issue about which, later, I'll be saying more in other ways: As to how it all came to be, my initiation in the theatre and the perspective emerging from it, I‘ve not yet dealt with in the autobiography, no less the radically altered vision in the work of my KRAKEN group (my last work in the theater, started at Cal Arts, after The Actor's Workshop of San Francisco and the Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center in New York). But if you were to look at the first chapter, about my growing up in Brooklyn, on the streets of Brownsville (now prefixed with Ocean Hill, with or without the prefix as bad as a neighborhood gets), you‘d see that the prospect of my being in the theatre, no less writing about it theoretically, was about as inconceivable as my eventually being a dean. The fact is I wanted nothing more than to be a ballplayer. That was my real ambition, all through high school and even into college, but as it turned out I was a dean, twice, and a provost, though even more anomalously in over half a century of teaching (still unretired), I did have that parallel career in the theatre, but outside the university. And when I‘ve taught, it‘s not been in drama departments, but—except for Cal Arts, which I mostly conceived as founding Provost, while also Dean of the School of Theatre—in English and Comparative Literature. There were periods when, exhilarated beyond exhaustion, I was working full-time directing and full-time teaching (four courses per semester, two in freshman comp), all the more anomalously because my first degree was in chemical engineering, which I really liked, was very good at, and intended to pursue—having finished at NYU, going on to MIT. And I might very well have done that had it been more theoretical at the time. But in those days, gearing up for the war effort—and particularly the Manhattan Project, for which chemical engineers did the fluid mechanics—the stress was on problem solving. I had no trouble with that, though there was another kind of problem. In thermodynamics, for instance, I could work with the function of entropy, but I never quite knew what it meant until, as I wrote in The Impossible Theater: A Manifesto (a chapter called ―Growing Up with Entropy‖), I began to think seriously of certain dramatic figures like Orestes or Hamlet, who in his ―ratiocinative meditativeness‖ (as Coleridge called it) is a measure of the unavailable energy of the universe. Which, of course—along with the post-Brechtian critique of tragedy (see Derrida on Artaud and the fate of representation which remains, despite all desire for closure, the representation of fate)—they‘re now trying to ameliorate or redeem in terms of chaos theory. 49:10 Richard Farson I love these biographical sketches from Doug, Sandy and Herb, pictures we could only get from them. I do feel that all our participants should at least be introduced to each other, and I hope that they will expand on what I write here. First, our guests: Herbert Blau you have just met and know that he was my Provost (and Dean of the theater school) when I was dean at Cal Arts. He headed the acclaimed Actor's Workshop in San Francisco, and then the Repertory Theatre at Lincoln Center. He's now holding a named chair in humanities at the University of Washington. Kaveh Moussavi is Convenor, International Human Rights Seminars, Head of Public Interest Law and Policy Programmes at the Center for Socio-Legal Studies at Oxford University (whew!) and one of the people most helpful to Carol Anne as she developed the ideas for this task force. David Gladstone, a career diplomat, has been British Ambassador to several countries, most recently Sri Lanka and the Ukraine. Richard Cassín (really Ricardo because he's of Mexican descent), a friend from La Jolla, has PhDs in Molecular and Cellular Biology (Stanford) and in Economic History (University of New Mexico) so he has a foot in both cultures we are examining. Now a venture capitalist, he heads Windansea Capital Partners. But has also headed several other organizations, including the Ocean Sciences Research Institute and Public Interest Economics, Inc. A special welcome, all of you. And now the ILF Fellows: Walt Anderson, author, political scientist and social psychologist, is currently President of the World Academy of Art and Science. John Seely Brown, author, former Chief Scientist at Xerox and head of the Palo Alto Research Center (Xerox PARC), the famous laboratory that developed many of the advances in computer technology, now retired to a consulting practice. Herbert York, nuclear physicist, former head of the University of California's Livermore Laboratory, Assistant Secy. of State, US Ambassador to the Test Ban Treaty, Chancellor of the University of California, San Diego, director of UC's Center for the Study of Global Conflict and Collaboration. Jane Alexander, whom you've met, and undoubtedly already know her as the distinguished actress of stage, film and television, and former Director of the National Endowment of the Arts. I would have said "award-winning actress" because she certainly has them all, but since ILF Fellow Ralph Keyes and I wrote an article on failure and success for the Harvard Business Review that, among other subjects, argued that awards are counter-productive, I thought I'd refrain. By the way, our article won the McKinsey award. Mary Douglas, author, noted British anthropologist, principal developer of Cultural Theory, and Professor Emeritus, University of London. T. George Harris, former journalist with Life and Look magazines, editor of Psychology Today and founder and editor of American Health (both named magazines of the year) and more recently editor of the Harvard Business Review and founder of Spirituality and Health magazine. He‘s now here in La Jolla with the University of California San Diego. Douglass Carmichael, psychoanalyst. Now you are forewarned. Just kidding. Doug has been very helpful currently in the redesign of our conferencing system, and is one of the pioneers in this medium, having headed Metasystems, Inc., and other organizations. He also consults with industry and government. Sandy Mactaggart. I met him when he was President of the Harvard Alumni, headed his own real estate company in Canada, MacLab, was Treasurer and board member of the American University in Beirut, and then Chancellor, University of Alberta. He and his wife have one of the largest collections of Asian art in the world. Harlan Cleveland, former Assistant Secretary of State, US Ambassador to NATO, President of the University of Hawaii and holder of many other key appointments. Douglas Strain, a product of Caltech in science and engineering, is founding chairman of Electro-Scientific Industries in Portland, Oregon. He‘s involved in the leadership of many organizations and is a great promoter of the work of Linus Pauling, having helped start the Pauling Institute and created the Linus Pauling chair at Caltech. Finally, I'm very pleased to introduce Rosalyn Hansrisuk, a recent product of the University of California San Diego, who is the volunteer staff member facilitating this conference, and preparing weekly summaries that will be communicated to the larger body of ILF Fellows in a plenary session. We are indebted to her for taking on this assignment. 49:11 Mary Douglas The self-introductions are a great start. I am glad we have several theatre people here as well as the distinguished science and philosophy (meaning Dick) people. Let me add to what Dick said on my behalf. I am basically an anthropologist, specialized in Central Africa with Congo experience. In the '80s I retired from university work, and switched to applying Anthropology to reading the Bible, specially Leviticus and Numbers. 49:12 Mary Douglas I have always been very interested in the way that the word 'culture' works in the humanities and social sciences. We are a 'virtual (electronic) community', come together to explore the vision of Jonas Salk, C.P. Snow, Linus Pauling and many other great minds a vision in which science and humanities are not two worlds, but one, in which we are able to understand each other, to talk and read together. The beginning may be the right moment to throw a spanner into the works. Let us decide if we hope to make the two cultures into one, with the same assumptions, the same prime values, and the same vocabulary of shared understandings. I am going to argue that that is an impossible dream—a mistake. A live culture flourishes on opposition. Its members pride themselves on not being like those other people out there. I myself don't know the answer, but I hope it will emerge this week as we read each other‘s visions of how science and humanities should come closer together. My first stab at a solution will be about how we organize ourselves as a virtual community. ILF seminars are famously polite: no one sneers, or jeers, or angrily disagrees. If we do become a real 'virtual' community we will find ourselves aligned, each joining up with one of several sub-cultures, each deeply committed to a particular point of view. Fur and feathers will begin to fly! Dick will try to keep us calm. 49:13 Douglass Carmichael So, I guess we just step in. What an awesome crowd! We are all sort of tenured, no reason to hold back. I find myself actually scared, so profound are the questions, while the US is falling apart. Me, others. The world. Why does science take such a reductionist path through that nexus? We have ourselves and the world. Knowing our self inwardly and the world outwardly seem two sides of the same opportunity. But science and the humanities have to a large extent (nothing is black and white but a few like the chessboard) diverged. One angle is the cold war and the struggle against communism, which, for same conservatives, was also a war against social feeling of any kind. Science culture and scientists tend towards a belief in free inquiry and free minds. How did that play? In the Soviet Union, science was seen as part of social reinvention. In the west science was seen as "pure research". Michael Polanyi was appalled (in his book Tacit Dimension) he was shocked to the core when Bakunin told him that in a socialist regime there would no longer be anything like "pure science." The western science community fought against being seen as critical of the west by forwarding the notion of neutrality, and pure research. The result was, being "value free" it could not easily resist being co-opted into the west's military and commercial spheres of activity and funding. (I made it through undergraduate work on money from the AEC). The result is that science has increasingly become a narrower subset of interesting questions, the subset that has commercial or power implications. Many interesting questions, especially those that undermine the corporate state and its need for personal alignment, have been pushed to the side. Close to my own field of psychotherapy, the pressure from the drug companies, colluded in by state bureaucracies and insurance companies is to reduce mental problems in living to mental problems that are "dis-orders" with the idea that each person should have a cocktail of drugs that bring them back to the undefined but obviously conventional "ordered". The simple logic that modern life is stressful and investigating the conditions of modern life is totally avoided. Money power dominates the decision making and forces careers to align. What we are learning from science studies (in philosophy, history, sociology) is that science contains first a strong mixture of past culture (such as the Christian idea of dominating nature)and second a strong mixture of current political ideology, as in the idea that thought can be reduced to reason, reason to logic, logic to math and math to a machine. So I see my tech friends in the information world thrilled by new contracts to treat the world as if it was data—for whom? State control and surveillance. For me the real fun is taking the humanities ideas (clearly a subset of them) into the midst of science and public policy, rehumanizing our perceptions of the mind - creative and anxious - of the scientists—from Francis Bacon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Bacon ) who said science was like a courtroom where nature was tortured in front of witnesses till she yielded her secrets, while he was telling the king that science was good for England, its treasury, military and trade), to oh we could take the struggle between Kurzweil and Bill Joy. Science ought to be part of a culture of freedom, on inquiry and direction. The dominant scenario of our time is Shell's TINA - there is no alternative. To the extent it is formatted and predetermined, it fails. Polanyi wrote, in Philosophy of Science in 1936 "if at any time chemists would have been so ill-advised as to let themselves be frightened by physicists into abandoning all vague methods, the field where exact laws (or what are supposed to be such by physicists) pertain, the development of chemistry would at that moment have stopped dead." Polanyi then suggested that the description of chemical substances had much more in common with "the art of human behavior." (quoted in Mirowski, The Effortless Economy of Science. Paul Feyerabend wrote ""there is no reason why the research program "science" should not be subsumed under the research program "free society" and the competences changed and redefined ? (Feyerabend 1978,100). Bush has mongrelized to the point of sterility concepts of freedom, democracy, markets, and, even God. A free society of free minds is equated with freedom for property and money. Science cannot survive without the humanities and its awareness of the full life of the mind struggling with relationships and social conditions. 49:14 Richard Farson There, there, now....calm down. As Rodney King, the black man beaten by the police in LA some years ago famously said, "Can't we all just get along?" I do know and appreciate what you‘re saying, Mary. But isn't the need for enemies characteristic of certain kinds of groups, at certain stages of their development? And can there exist a healthy relationship between two cultures that may not involve intermingling, but nevertheless sharing at some level? It seems to me that the fundamental problem with the view of scientists toward the humanities and social sciences was told me in a conversation years ago with Gregory Bateson, Mary Catherine's father and one of history's great anthropologists. As I recall, he said that they cannot recognize patterns of relationships as "real", that is, as real as the brain or other matter. I'm with Doug on what I see happening to science. It seems both happily, but alarmingly, reductionist (especially at its leading edge--computers, complexity, chaos, etc.)--and increasingly not free because it is owned more and more by the private sector. 49:15 Mary Douglas The idea of our freedom seems quite central... good that it came up so quickly. What on earth did Rousseau mean with: 'Man is born free, but is every where in chains'? Who was it who extended it: Man is born free, but is everywhere in traffic jams'? Among so many cherished ILF friends here, I do miss Harlan Cleveland. On his behalf—absent, I hope to be quoting from his satirical book on leadership: 'Nobody in Charge'.—which supports the idea that freedom is curtailed in traffic jams. And truth! We are bound to be talking about that too. Yes, Dick, you are so right. But when we focus on hopes of peaceful agreement don't we risk a sad level of banality? mongrelization, and sterility? 49:16 Douglass Carmichael We are not free of our history (as traffic jam!). I studied psychoanalysis with Erich Fromm in Mexico City in the 60's. A few years ago, sensing the tide, I thought it might be worthwhile to do a rewrite of Escape From Freedom. In rereading I was shocked to discover that he only dealt with right wing authoritarianism; Hitler and Mussolini and the supporting social philosophies of escape. No mention of Stalin or the Soviet Union, or the struggles by folks like Arthur Koestler. At the same time, Polanyi and Hayek, among many others, were writing about the negative authoritarianism of the left. the atmosphere was so polarized that no one could write (I hope here are exceptions I am not aware of) critically of right and left authoritarianism and the dual threat to a sane society of mixed economies in the context of open societies. Our science world, now big science and massive public support for a corporate agenda, is not the science of our romantic imagination. I am less clear about the humanities and their entrapment in the political mass of post cold war economics and politics. The Internet is amazing, putting 'Man is born free, but is every where in chains' in Google. See this from wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Jacques_Rousseau#endnote_quote 49:17 Richard Farson So, Mary, can we make the case that rapprochement is not even the most desirable way for the humanities and sciences to coexist? Should we feel completely liberated to attack what we see as misguided in each others work? Will that force us to dig deeper into our critical consciousness? I certainly agree that trying to develop consensus will lead to those awful terms of superficiality you use-- banality, mongrelization and sterility. Every point you make just blows my mind. 49:18 Carol Anne Bundy Welcome, Mary. It is wonderful to have you here. Personally, I am all for fur and feathers flying. Everyone can kiss and make up at the end. First, let me just correct the record: Jonas never prescribed a world where the sciences and the humanities would exist as one culture. There is a big difference between merging and exchange. Dialogue and synergistic understanding. Diversity is a vital ingredient in all forms of evolution, including the evolution of ideas, societies and cultures. So the two of you see eye to eye on that. In fact, he used to joke that "his enemy defined his position better than he could himself." In responding to another's challenge, one has the opportunity to dig deeper into one's own thinking in seeking clarity. This formed the basis for much of our dialogue. Nothing bored Jonas more than someone always agreeing with him. Thinkers, as I suspect you are all aware through self recognition, are just built that way. Jonas would celebrate the diversity and look for the connections. He was always looking for the patterns, not necessarily agreement. As he put it, consensus was the lowest common denominator. Not what we are seeking here. There is a lot of diversity, experience and expertise in this "room." That's thrilling and its also necessary because, truth is, we have very little time, in terms of right now with this conference, if we are serious about contributing anything meaningful to further understanding in any one of the excellent issues already brought forth in response to the probe. And, we have little time as well in terms of the future, if the population projections are of merit, notable ones charting almost a doubling in fifty years or so. (Would love to see or know links to any projection any of you have come across.) Indeed, if we look at the population projections in terms of the sigmoid curve, we can envision ourselves currently at a point of inflection, not only in terms of numbers but, as Jonas and I were pursuing, in terms of a need for a shift in human values. We can go further into this if any of you would like, but, according to the projection I am currently using, the numbers in short-hand are right now roughly 20%, or 1.188 billion, of the world population from more developed countries, while roughly 80%, or 4.9 billion, from less developed countries. Fast forward to 2050 and one may very well see 13%, or 1.155, from the more developed, and 87%, or 7.8 billion, from the less developed. Seen in this way, one begins to wonder about how we perceive self and other and the implications of the groupings of societies and cultures on one axis and the branches of human inquiry on another, i.e., the nexus (or lack of) between the sciences and humanities. What does this all mean in terms of some of the issues that have been brought up through your comments so far: 1. The role of human in evolution (and evolution within the human)? 2. Concept s of community, both in terms of academic discipline, inquiry and progress and in terms of the global communities of nation, culture and religions? 3. The implications of a shift to the anthropcene epoch Walter references? (Would love to hear more about this, Walter.) 4. The practical as well as the moral future of the mind Sandy brings up? 5. The chaos theory Herb Blau speaks of? 6. The inner and outer representations of our selves and our world in light of the "de-humanization" of big science to paraphrase Doug. (Central to what we are discussing...) 7. Freedom and Rousseau. Wonderful fanning out, Mary. What about those chains? Primal need to connect and all of the obligations and restrictions, emotions that flow from that beginning on various levels? A sense of responsibility (currently marginalized, even defunct in many instances or maybe awaiting a resurgence?) Or something else altogether? What does any of this mean in terms of our thinking today and how we might approach thinking about tomorrow? If the sigmoid curve is any indication, we are entering a whole new "shape" of relating on multiple levels. Is there a need to re- think virtually the whole system. How might cross-fertilization, so to speak, between the humanities and the sciences, open up new concepts and possibilities, not only in solving historical problems but averting ones in the future. No doubt the green issue is a good example. Here in England, it is extensively reported (although very little mention was made of Bush's "Americans are addicted to oil" comment made during his last State of the Union Address. I found the comment and the lack of coverage astounding for different reasons although I must confess, with regard to the media, I am becoming more and more jaded everyday. Jonas referred to the newspaper as the pathology report.) I believe that we can all talk, (and must talk), about the green issue until we are blue in the face. But until there is a shift in consciousness, in human values, I can't help but wonder how realistic any notion of real change is...a concern that I do not limit to climate issues. Humans by nature are to a considerable extent self-interested. That has been our collective history. Some might argue completely self-interested at this point in time. Until it is understood that an aspect of self-interest will involve some self-sacrifice, seeing other as ourselves, and through active concern for the planet and the future, I fear we are all, to varying degrees, in trouble. Feel free to tear any or all of this apart. Center on your interest, expand, or start fresh. Nothing would be more pleasing. 49:19 Herbert Blau Regarding what's been said about consensus, though in due time I'll be getting back to science and the humanities: I've spent a lot of years in the theater, where the final criterion of performance is usually assumed to be the audience, but when I wrote a book called THE AUDIENCE, I started with reference to Virginia Woolf's BETWEEN THE ACTS, in which she speaks of that illusion of an audience, which seemed to her, brutally and equivocally mirrored in its dispersion. As for myself, over the years, if the audience was not altogether an absence, even when apparently there (as Brecht thought of the bourgeois audience, digesting its dinner), it is by no means a reliable presence. Anyhow, my view then, as still--as when I hear talk of the always knowing "public" on television--is that when there is the semblance of a gathered public, and consensus there, it's more likely than not to be (and forgive me for quoting myself again) "the merest facsimile of remembered community paying its respects not so much to the still-echoing signals of a common set of values but to the better-forgotten remains of the most exhausted illusions." That's why, when a few years ago, I was asked to give the keynote in Lisbon at an international conference on "Stagings of Collective Identity," I said I was there on false pretenses, and proceeded to give a talk, "The Dubious Spectacle of Collective Identity," from which came the title of my most recent book. With this in mind, and the fact that I'm now giving a seminar in metaphysical poetry-- from the 17th century to the millennium—it occurs to me that what the humanities, and particularly poetry, bring to whatever it thinks about, including the scientific, is a counter-exactitude, exact as words can be and conceptually exacting, with the capacity to think around corners, as Nietzsche said we should, and with the sort of unexpected questioning that occurs at the filamenting nerve-ends of thought where you're not quite sure what you're thinking, where thought may even escape you, and that's what keeps you thinking, in desperate pursuit perhaps, if it's really worth the thought. As for poetry, as Wallace Stevens said, poetry is words about things that wouldn't exist without the words, and that's by no means irrelevant to science in a post-Heisenbergian age. 49:20 Richard Cassín Herb ...I wonder if you might define "post-Heisenbergian" ? 49:21 Herbert Blau Richard, I didn't mean that Heisenberg is over with, only that his ideas have been absorbed, with some seepage into the humanities. I'm not sure what the state of the art, or science, is on the notion that every concept has a meaning only in terms of experiments used to measure what's being conceptualized, or that the particle has no meaning beyond the precision by which it is observed, but since I've thought a lot about the activity of perception in the theater--and written theoretically about the materialization of theater from whatever it is it is NOT (what words for it: life? reality? experience? what?), or is there nothing but theater, now- you-see-it-now-you-don't, the nothing that is not there and the nothing that is, Heisenberg seemed germane. Nothing may come of nothing, but when I talk about theatricality and perception to students, I'll sometimes say about a subatomic particle that if you can imagine an electron microscope powerful enough to bring it into focus, it might disappear in the energy required for you to see it. That may not get me hired in a microphysics lab, but it's how I think of the real substance of theater, and the absence of transparency in the reality we think we know. And I'm not only talking of theater when I think, thus, theatrically, but of something close to reality principle, as it is, too, in the mise en scéne of the unconscious. 49:22 Richard Cassín Herb ... you may have come up with a "Big Bang Theory of the Theater". 49:23 Carol Anne Bundy Very interesting post, Herb. Fertile ground for discussion. Walt, I wonder if we might go back to one of your earlier posts and ask for some expansion, the notion of the "Holocene Epoch ....and that we should call the present era the Anthropocene Epoch in view of the increasing evidence that human processes and what we might call natural ones are inseparable. Here we see the obsolescence of one kind of dualistic thinking (human/nature) and good reason for dialogue across another polarization (science/humanities) if we are to transcend it. Thanks. 49:24 Mary Douglas Carol Anne, you started by asking: How do we begin? We seem to be right in the middle of it in a mind-stirring, heart-warming way that leaves me dazzled. Are we free to retract and say sorry? I see already I was wrong to worry about peaceful agreement and a single community. It was an insult to the sheer sophistication of our group. Of course, it is all about dialogue and exchange. I am cheered by several comments that point to the real difficulties of understanding scientific writing, Douglass in his 49:3. And I resonate strongly with his 49:13 comment on the impossibility of 'pure science', and frank acceptance of the inevitability of being co-opted into the nation's military and commercial activities. All anthropologists aim to do value-neutral, objective ethnography. It is obvious that we have to, and traditionally we get a lot of fun unveiling the hidden and unconscious bias of our colleagues' writings, but don't relish the joke turned upon ourselves. In the late 1940s and early 1950s Evans-Pritchard taught his students in Oxford that value-neutrality was impossible, and that the only proper response to the challenge is to declare one's own cultural baggage as loudly and clearly as possible. The personal biographies we have read are a good start. I have a personal bias which I now declare. It is a resistance to the hegemony of economics in the social sciences. I thought it might be irrelevant to this forum. But Douglass, thank you for your first comment, on economics having become a Cyborg science (What does that mean?) and on intelligence having been reduced to AI, and neuro-science and cognition seeing human behaviour only as driven by pay-off. This is methodological individualism, my bugbear. Reading this conference, I begin to suspect that forgetting that human individuals are inherently social beings is a general failure of our own contemporary culture. It started in economics. It flows from the assessment that requires good research to be objective. So individuals are treated as separate autonomous objects of research, but surely this assumption is totally unscientific? Scientists make models. Everything relevant is included. Culture and community pressures would not be disregarded. It is a false idea of science that separates us (―us‖ in my case being the Humanities). I admit I get my idea of science from an old book, correct me please if it is mistaken: Mary Hesse, 1963, Models and Analogies, also 1974, The Structure of Scientific Inference. 49:25 Mary Douglas I want sometime to say more about our dislike of reducing the individual motivations to looking for pay-off. It has a smell of prejudice. Is there another short, less pejorative word for the utilitarian concept of 'self-interest'? a word that puts the individual's motives into a social register? Could we change the word to 'prestige'? There is a powerful article on prestige as the driving power of society, defined as 'freely conferred deference‘. Defined and analysed, it would easily cover Carol Anne's Chinese quote about the 'inner drive to be of service‘. (―The Evolution of Prestige, freely conferred deference as a mechanism of cultural transmission'‖ by J. Heinrich and F.J. Gil-White, Evolution and Human Behavior, 22, 20049: 165-196). 49:26 Jane Alexander Mary's observation on opposites (49:12) and the need for same in order to maintain a "live culture" rings true for me. We seem to be creatures of duality: right brain/left brain, male/female, ying/yang, the humanities and the sciences etc. Still we seem always to be seeking wholeness, oneness, to find consensus. The wise men who live with duality (Lao Tzu, the Dalai Lama) laugh a lot we're told, perhaps at the sheer ridiculousness of trying to figure it all out. I'd like to learn more from all of you about evolution; what do we know about how we are evolving as a species? I was sitting next to Sheika Abdulla Al-Misnad, the President of Qatar University last week at the US-Islamic Global Forum. The phenomenon of women outnumbering men attending colleges is not limited to the USA. It seems to be happening all over the world, including the Muslim world where women undergrads are the majority. The Sheika feels that this is part of evolution. I asked "Biological or cultural?" She didn't know. Interesting thought which gives me hope about the future with women the most educated in repressive countries. Any thoughts from all of you? 49:27 Walter Anderson Carol Anne, this is in response to your 49:24, the word "Anthropocene" seems to catch people's attention and invite some thought about what I call evolutionary governance, but the discovery of human-nature inseparability has been sneaking up on us for a long time. One big marker was the publication in 1864 of George Perkins Marsh's book Man and Nature, or, Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action. It was the first global-scale survey of those impacts, and inspired the first conservation movement as well as a subscience of analyzing human impacts, whose members knew we were already in the Anthropocene but just didn't have a name for it. About 50 years ago Julian Huxley declared that human beings are "in point of fact determining the future direction of evolution on this earth," and would do well to wake up to it. Now, as environmental controversy becomes global and often deeply polarized, the human-nature duality becomes more evident -- although different people take different positions about it: either nature bad/human good, or nature good/human bad. Meanwhile, although most people don't pay much attention to it, a huge eco/ information system of earth-orbiting satellites and other components has been developed in recent decades—and becomes more sophisticated all the time. And of course the information is used in many ways to manage ecosystems, monitor wildlife populations, etc. So those are a few pieces of life in the Anthropocene and, yes, some dialogue about it between scientists and humanists would be a very good thing. 49:28 Richard Farson As you point out, Jane, for centuries the east has been more comfortable with the idea of the coexistence of opposites than is the west, the west having been dominated by Aristotelian thought (e.g., a concept is either true or false). The seeming absurdity that the opposite of a profound truth is also true is a difficult concept for most of us westerners. But even in business management there is beginning to be an appreciation for the paradoxical, the need to go opposite directions at once. An Israeli management theorist, Alexander Laufer, has advocated Simultaneous Management, running a project with two teams heading in different, even opposite, directions—one sure to "fail" (that is, not finally chosen as the strategy) but both teams informing each other along the way, and both teams equally valued at the end. Is there a lesson for us in this? 49:29 Walter Anderson Dualistic thinking provides a platform for deionization— regarding the other as not only different, but evil. Lots of that going on these days. 49:30 Carol Anne Bundy Walt, thanks for that expansion on the word "Anthropocene." Climate change is a great illustration of this concept and it is easy to see how it fits in with other issues. By the way, there is an interesting experiment that is being conducted by Dr. Myles Allen at the University of Oxford, in conjunction with the BBC and Berkeley, mapping climate change through "distributed computing". It involves volunteers running, as a screen saver on their home PCs, climate change forecasts. They predict that if they can get 10,000 volunteers to participate, that they will have more power than the world's largest supercomputer overcoming the obstacle of not having a computer with enough capacity to handle the massive amount of calculations. The link is http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/hottopics/climatechange/aboutexperiment1.shtml for anyone who might be interested in taking a look. This Anthropocene epoch resonates with what Jonas was alluding to with his "we are products of the process of evolution and have become part of the process itself." Its an interesting way of looking at time, a bit different from the scheme that Jonas and I were pursuing which had more to do with the evolution of human consciousness in terms of the where we might be headed as a species (I would be most happy to come back to that later if anyone would like.) but the two link up nicely which I could explain a bit. It is just remarkable to think that in about the last, say, not even one hundred years, as a species, we have witnessed the growing belief that science was going to ultimately be able to solve many of humanity's ills, instilled in part because of the relatively short time span of huge scientific achievement and even birth and advancement of new branches of science. Doug's on-target observations in 49:2 about the de-humanization of science, so to speak, as referenced by Mary, exposes the paradox: the more we advance in science, the further away from human we seem to get. Is this really true? True in some ways? If so, how? I know for Jonas, after the polio success and the backlash that he experienced personally and that began to manifest within the profession, he came up with the short-hand "All of the problems of man will not be solved in the laboratory alone." which was to say that science could not be divorced from human values...even as they both advance and change. Let's discuss further. The more viewpoints the better. How do social sciences, the arts and humanities fit in here, economics? (again!) Lots of thought posted using the word duality. Would love to offer up the word binary for discussion. How might "both/and" (binary) thinking help us to move away from the limitations sometimes brought about with "either/or" (dualistic) thinking? Is this just mind gym or is there something real in that distinction? Folds nicely into Jane's 49:26 biological/cultural question which could also be seen as nature/nurture resonate with Walt's brilliant 49:5 post. This leads me back to Mary's 49:15 post and Rousseau's chains. Doug, your Wikipedia Rousseau link was fabulous and so well timed. The footnote was especially pertinent: The translation of the first verb can be either present or past tense, something that the critic's suspect was intentional play on Rousseau's part (Knowing the French a bit, I guarantee it!) so as to read, "Man is/was born free, but is everywhere in chains." Was every man born free by nature and it is society that enslaves him or was man as species once free but has become enslaved by a corrupting society? Is this the same culture responsible for the hegemony of the economics in the social sciences Mary speaks of in 49:24 (and life and physical sciences as well as referenced in many posts) A woman by the name of Victoria Hale is trying to make new patterns. She has launched the US's first non-profit drug company, OneWorld Health, whose mission is to identify undervalued chemicals or drugs that were created by academics or pharmaceuticals companies but were not being developed (or, if developed, abandoned) for lack of profit potential. OneWorld Health matches these chemicals/drugs with important diseases in the developing world, puts them through chemical trials, gets regulatory approval and then distributes. First on the board was paromomycin, a treatment for leishmaniasis. She said in a New Scientist article, "I wanted to do something about the fact that these were not orphan diseases at all-these were devastating diseases that had an impact on the economies of entire regions, and on political stability. In addition, the movement of the health industry into lifestyle issues such as impotence, baldness and memory loss were a real signal to me. I did not get my PhD to work on these issues knowing that there were huge diseases out there that very few people were working on. There were people working on global health, but they had so few resources, and they didn't have a drug company. There was no new drug RandD for the diseases of the world's poorest people. That was a big gap." Mary, having just returned from Balckwell's with your book Natural Symbols, I am fascinated. I wonder how grid and group plays into all of this. A useful framework for us to be aware of as we move forward in our thinking? Impact on bridging, new frontiers? I apologize for such a long post, but just one more thing. As the conference moves on and things begin to gel, if anyone feels like the discussion would benefit from another voice, please feel free to suggest. Let's approach this as organically as we can. Already there is a sense an organism coming forth rather than a collection of organs. Great stuff. Thank you everyone for you time and invaluable contributions. And Mary, on behalf of the group, (if anyone can come up with a better label than group, cough it up. The funnier the better.) let me take the liberty of saying that your apology was completely unnecessary but very kind. I'm going to track down that Evolution of Prestige cite and then let's discuss at large. Here's to feathers and fur! 49:31 David Gladstone I've been introduced briefly by Richard (49:9) and perhaps it's time I entered the lists. I am very much the odd man out here, being British and neither a scientist nor an academic: my sole academic qualification is a history degree from Oxford. My other possibly relevant qualifications are a career in diplomacy embracing the Cold War, the Arab-Israel conflict and the Third World with all the collisions of cultures, ideas and power structures that that implies. More personally I am infected (as an American might see it) and often intoxicated by liberal ideas inherited from a political ancestor and absorbed from study of the Enlightenment. I am a devotee of Popper's Open Society. I could write all day about the themes which have emerged in the altogether fascinating debate so far, but would like first to set out my historical stall and cast a pebble into the pond. In an age obsessed with the new (in Britain at last) we are often in danger of forgetting that there is little that is really new under the sun. In the seventeenth and most of the eighteenth centuries there was no divide between scientists and the rest. There were no professional scientists (nor architects for that matter): a well-educated person could expect to know everything that anyone else knew. Someone like Wren or even Newton could be expert in several different fields. I think we can all understand how things started to go wrong in the nineteenth and more particularly in the twentieth centuries as science became more and more abstruse (can someone please explain relativity to me?) but for me it is vitally important to remember that religion was a major problem throughout the 18th and 19th centuries and although many hoped it had gone away post-Darwin it is now all- too clear that it hadn't. We are discussing the "Two Cultures" as defined by C P Snow 50 years ago, but I fear that to-day we may need to re-define the concept in terms of the total stand-off between fundamental religious beliefs, be they Christian, Islamic or Judaic, and the very idea of science as all of us here understand it. If we can't resolve it, the "Clash of Civilisations" (or "Cultures") may make other more abstract discussions somewhat irrelevant. If nobody else wishes to pursue this hare, I should like to hook it in later to two themes which have run through several other very impressive contributions, namely Power and Dissent. 49:32 Richard Farson Welcome, David, and thanks for that helpful, disturbing and challenging opening comment. The phenomenal and puzzling growth of fundamentalist religion could indeed eclipse the issue that we address here. Are they possibly related? If any force could have blunted the development of these fundamentalist ideas it would be a combination of science and humanities. Have these disciplines not only been divided, but largely unshared as commerce grew and universities became more vocationally oriented? At least in the US. 49:33 Douglass Carmichael Fundamentalism—isn‘t it a desire for something rock slid, for security, when there is a time of stress, especially on income security and role identity? What strikes me is that much "normal science" is fundamentalist, a belief system, and religious in the sense of an overarching view that ties everything together. Much of science/scientists made the claim that science was getting towards the truth and everything else was false or suspicious. But that left people with no world to believe in that could orient action. Here is a favorite of mine to illustrate the problem. Truth is the same word as troth, "I pledge thee my troth" and began as a relationship word among people, "we are together in truth" meant we trust each other. The word then migrated to a craftsman and his tools, then the material on which he worked, and then to the relationship of old to material and finally material to material. In the process the human side gets stripped away and we are left with a material world without meaning creating and sustaining human relationships. material by it self has no value until it is in interaction, and, from a human view, interaction with humans. But that is where science in its quest post cold war for "neutrality" and "value free" meant that science was opting out of being a culture and being only a part culture. The value situation (what should we use the stuff for, who should own it, who benefits, what of war?)was left unexplorable. Worse the whole inner life of the person was both ignored and treated as if it were not a mystery. Mary Douglas asked me what 'cyborg science" meant. It is from the title of Mirowski‘s elegant book Machine Dreams, where he argues that fragments of control theory and operations research, game theory and thermodynamics, were pulled together in WW2 for things like gun control in shooting at airplanes, and this competence because the basis for programmatic science after the war, and determined to a large extent the funding and direction of research in economics, social science, biology and even physics. The cold war, he says, was a creation of the game theorists. The cyborg part (cyborg (sand#299;'bôrg') . A human who has certain physiological processes aided or controlled by mechanical or electronic devices. Comes from the argument that man could be treated as a machine, integrated into the economy, and that the economy, taken as a whole, could be analyzed as one big machine (so much for individuality where the individual was a "rational actor" and hence identical to everyone else. 49:34 Walter Anderson I think David Gladstone is quite right in calling our attention to the other (2 cultures) standoff, that of religion vs. science. Actually we have a number of different battles going on, each of them involving a certain degree of demonization of one group by another. Some religious leaders demonize (literally) science as an enemy of divine truth, some liberal humanists demonize scientists as reductionist and mechanistic and money-mad, some postmodern intellectuals demonize science as overstating its case to objective truth, some scientists demonize postmodern intellectuals as troublemakers and lousy writers (right on the second count, in my opinion) and on it goes. The deeper problem, I think, is that we are slipping into a global culture of demonization, in which it becomes easy to put oneself in a virtual community of like- minded people and then happily proceed with beating up on the wrong thinkers, with precious little energy expended on searching for commonalities. Do we have any practicing scientists in this conference? I may have missed something, but I can't recall a posting so far from anybody who fits that description. 49:35 Richard Cassín I suspect that I've won the "Triple Crown of Evil" for this conference: I'm a scientist (molecular genetics and oceanography), an economist (econometrics and regional development) and a venture capitalist (life sciences and energy). 49:36 Douglass Carmichael Walt, I am curious as to what you mean by "practicing." Seems that goes to the core of what we are talking about. I think of myself as a scientist. The step from physics ( I learned the culture as a livelihood earning undergrad at cal tech with a 20 hour a week job in the labs as "lab assistant", where I absorbed an ethos unavailable in the classes. In the lab we rarely knew what we were doing. It was hunching and mulling. In the classroom it was precut and diced and smug, like catechism must be like.) to developmental psych at Berkeley was a shock. It was not so much science in psych as posturing and grant getting. Social science (cognitive studies) at Harvard was not much better. But it got me thinking about what science really was. A professional approach, or organized curiosity? The atmosphere at Erich Fromm's Psychoanalytic institute in Mexico City took me right back to the physics lab -intense, disciplined, long hours, deep dedication to finding the reality above and beneath the procedural language. But today, calling myself a scientist based on that attitude seems quaint. But it is my personal identity, so… 49:37 Walter Anderson Well, Doug, if you say you're a scientist then you're a scientist. All definitions are a little fuzzy and all boundaries are artificial anyway. But I know scientists -- by which I mean in this case people who have spent a lifetime within organizations such as science departments in universities or research institutions -- who have a strong sense of loyalty to science as a calling. They tend to want to defend it. Maybe they overdo it, maybe they're wrong, but it's a voice that I missed here (at least until Richard came aboard) and that I think needs to be part of this discussion. 49:38 Richard Cassín For those of you who might be seriously interested in how contemporary science is actually done, allow me to suggest a bit of homework: John Platt's 1964 article in Science: (16 October 1964, Volume 146, Number 3642),entitled "Science, Strong Inference -- Proper Scientific Method(The New Baconians)". It is available full-text online at http://256.com/gray/docs/strong_inference.html#john Although published more than 40 years ago, this brilliant piece by University of Chicago Biophysicist Platt has been required reading by graduate students in virtually every field of "hard" science ever since. When I was at Stanford we used to require first-year ("BIO 1") biology students to read and internalize it. 49:39 David Gladstone May I try and link my apparent digression on religion back to some of the really interesting themes that have emerged? As an arts-trained layman with a strong interest in science, it seems to me that while the non-scientific majority in society has a duty to try and understand science better (yes, even relativity) science too needs to do some soul-searching and to reflect on the proposition "Know thine enemies". Some of these are external: religion most obviously. But some are within the body scientific. There is bad science, of the kind illustrated most elegantly in the piece recommended to us by Richard Cassín at 49:39 (I'm really grateful for that). And there is the corruption high-lighted by several contributors stemming from dependence on government and corporate contracts and funding which ties in to one of the great insoluble problems of human-kind: our obsession with wealth and power. Far be it from me to tell scientists how to fight these enemies; I just feel that unless they are at least faced up to, if not vanquished, it will be that much harder for science to engage in meaningful dialogue with the other culture. May I more constructively suggest three areas where I feel science has a potentially educative role to play vis-a-vis the rest of society including particularly the politicians? 1. Overcoming dualistic/manicheist thinking. This of course does not stem from Aristotle alone. Much more relevant to to-day's world are the Bible and Koran. 2. Embracing paradox. Quantum mechanics should surely be leading the way here. 3. Celebrating dissent. An increasingly beleaguered creature in all societies to- day but closely related it seems to me to the concept of disproof in science. 49:40 Carol Anne Bundy I am thrilled by Walt's comment in 49:33 and was hoping that this is where things would head in response to David's 49:31. Walt's comment, again: I think David Gladstone is quite right in calling our attention to the other (2 cultures) standoff, that of religion vs. science. Actually we have a number of different battles going on, each of them involving a certain degree of demonization of one group by another. Some religious leaders demonize (literally) science as an enemy of divine truth, some liberal humanists demonize scientists as reductionist and mechanistic and money-mad, some postmodern intellectuals demonize science as overstating its case to objective truth, some scientists demonize postmodern intellectuals as troublemakers and lousy writers (right on the second count, in my opinion) and on it goes. The deeper problem, I think, is that we are slipping into a global culture of demonization, in which it becomes easy to put oneself in a virtual community of like- minded people and then happily proceed with beating up on the wrong thinkers, with precious little energy expended on searching for commonalities. Walt, as to including a "practicing" scientist, I am hoping to bring in an old friend of Jonas and mine, Henri Atlan. (see link http://www.geocities.com/sensilis2000/Atlan) Henri, a research biologist in Paris and Jerusalem, co-authored an HIV paper with Jonas, has written extensively about self-organizing systems, recently authored a book, well received in France, L'Uterus Artificiel, discussing the impact of advances in human reproductive science on culture, economics, politic, and religion. Atlan points to the need to keep the human aspect in the thinking. He is also read extensively the writings of Spinoza. He would bring much insight to these discussions. Another who I hope will join is Dr. Jean Abitbol, a brilliant practicing surgeon in Paris, where he is the Ancien Chief de Clinque at the University of Paris. Dr. Abitbol, who practices in otolaryngology, phoniatry and laser voice surgery, has been innovative in developing new diagnostic and therapeutic techniques including three dimensional imaging of the larynx. Dr. Abitbol is also the author of The Odyssey of the Voice, a fascinating book exploring the historical development of the human voice and its potential. 49:41 Douglas Strain One reason for my silence as a science oriented participant has been Richard Cassín's 49:39 citing: http://256.com/gray/docs/strong inference html#john …reference by Platt. This says it all much better than I can and makes it clear That much scientific experimental work is indispensable. Unfortunately this net media is confined to verbalizations rather than scientific experiments so does not display the full value of the "scientific method". Taking my lead from the famous "oil drop" experiments on the electron by Millikan, I simply role play being an "electron" in my mind and "electronics" becomes a fascinating adventure with each new electronic advance. I believe that we will soon see "photonics" displace "electronics" by speeding up information access by a factor of a million in the near future by similar role playing with "photons". 49:42 Harlan Cleveland Carol Anne, what a meaty mixture of ideas you have already elicited from this engaging group of intellectual chefs! While recovering from a colonoscopy (nothing fell was found, thanks for asking), I spent an afternoon reading and pondering the comments so far. It's not easy to figure out where to plunge in, but plunge I will. First, a short and possibly relevant bio. Since I'm now 88, I am officially "retired," though I have always resisted the very idea of retirement, which translates into French as "retreat." I'm a "political scientist" -- though most of governance is art, not science -- and a sometime public executive. My "career" can best be described as miscellaneous. Half of it spent in government (military government of Italy, the UN's postwar economic aid to Italy and China, Marshall Plan for European recovery, later (in the '60s) Assistant Secretary of State for international organizations and U.S. Ambassador to NATO. The other half in academia -- dean of two graduate schools of public affairs (Maxwell School at Syracuse in the '50s, Hubert Humphrey Institute at U. of Minnesota in the '80s), President of the University of Hawaii, starting an international program for the Aspen Institute, and (in the '90s, as part of "retirement,") serving as president of the World Academy of Art and Science. It's obviously not a life that was carefully planned. But if there's a thread that runs through it all, I suppose it's a consuming interest in integrative thinking that leads to action. I've come to believe that "wisdom" is the result of integrating knowledge (which is an exercise in both reasoning and intuition). That's why integrative thinking is such an important aspect of leadership -- and why wisdom and leadership DO belong in the same sentence, if not in the same word. Some reactions to the "2 cultures" theme will follow in later "posts." 49:43 Harlan Cleveland A few comments stimulated by reading the first 42 "Responses:" 1. Many thanks to Mary Douglas (49:15) for mentioning my "Nobody in Charge" book. Quite a number of people have bought it, but it's nice to have hard evidence that someone as bright and perceptive as Mary has read it and "gets" it. 2. And thank to Doug Carmichael for scattering through his comments useful quotes from authors that others may not have read or remembered. I was struck with Polanyi's suggestion (in 49:12) that "the description of chemical substances had much more in common with 'the art of human behavior'." Criticizing those who swear by organization charts, I have argued that what goes on in human organizations is more like "chemical reactions in a liquid solution." Since I hadn't yet read the Polanyi quote, maybe that isn't indictable as intellectual thievery. 3. Within the culture of "hard science," there is the rigorously rational Scientific Method, but its practitioners seem also to rely heavily on guesswork and intuition. Theoretical leaps of imagination have to start with guesswork, of course, but it makes sense that they occur mostly to those who have slogged rationally to the limits of what is "known." (The "big bang" can be rationally analyzed if you carefully study only the evidence about what happened after the Bang. If you were to ask what happened just before the Bang—questions like "Who set it off?" or "Why?‖ You would reach a think-environment that, so far, can be explored only by unruly faith, not by rules of evidence.) 4. As some participants have suggested, the science/humanities duality may be only one aspect of an encompassing duality that riles our politics and international relations: the line that separates those who are certain from those who think it's all right to be still searching. In such a schematic, is a religious fundamentalist or an ethnic extremist akin to a scientist who believes only what can be rationally proven (as Doug suggests in 49:33)? Is certainty versus still-searching the duality we should be trying to reconcile? If so, we'll probably find answers in "binary" thinking (both/and, as defined in Carol Anne's 49:30 post). 5. Difficult though it is, we'll have to keep in mind that everything really is related to everything else. For my taste, Lewis Thomas has said this best in his luminous essay about the "vibes" cells give to each other: In order to sustain life, "using one signal or another, each form of life announces its proximity to the others around it, setting limits to encroachment or spreading welcome to potential symbionts." The earth itself might be thought of as an "immense organism" where "chemical signals might serve the function of global hormones, keeping balance and symmetry in the operation of various interrelated parts, informing tissues in the vegetation of the Alps about the state of eels in the Sargasso Sea, by long interminable relays of interconnected messages between all kinds of other creatures." It wouldn't take much editing to pull human beings into this picture, to illustrate how obsolete the duality between "humanity" and "nature" already is -- as Walt said back in 49:6. 49:44 Carol Anne Bundy Welcome, Harlan. So pleased that you are here with us. (much more fun than waiting rooms.) Jonas used to say, "Let intuition be your guide, keeping reason by your side." Somewhere during that time thinking with him, I came to wonder if intuition was God's whisper, so to speak, and together, we began wondering if Evolution was God and God was Evolution? What is God, we wanted to know, as so many have wondered throughout the millennia? Is it even a what? Or is it a who, as many believe, or even a how? Does such exist? For me, perhaps it is most easily thought of/felt as relationship. Relationships, on all levels, which, in light of time, change and evolve. I am captivated by the idea of resonance. Is God simply the relationship between the known, the unknown and the unknowable? Or is God a verb? I do believe that the sciences/humanities duality is part of an "encompassing duality" found in many aspects of social exchange. Certainly, politics and international relations. Further, I suspect that this duality is all encompassing and only when there is communion, resonance, do we escape it, if escape is the right word. Computers can be thought of as based upon binary systems. But, as far as we know, computers do not have emotions or feelings in the same way as humans. Is this their "secret?" What does this mean, if anything, in terms of humans "thinking as a species?" Is it possible for an individual to "species-think" or is self-interest too overpowering. Mary, can you elaborate on your 49:25 post offering "prestige" as a substitute for "self-interest"? What would be required of society/societies/human nature to allow for such an exchange in meaning? Jonas loved to ask, "Are we being good ancestors?" 49:45 Carol Anne Bundy Here’s an anecdote as told to me by Jonas: The filmmaker Roberto Rossellini had come to the Salk Institute and Jonas was giving him a tour. Standing in the central travertine court looking out over that beautiful canyon towards the Pacific, Rossellini said, "This will be one of the great plazas of the world," and then made a reference to God. Salk smiled and replied, "It's too bad they made God supernatural." 49:46 Douglass Carmichael So far it seems that science is getting a better hearing than the humanities. We talk easily of relativity and quantum mechanics, but where is the exploration of plot, character, cultural embeddedness as difficult concepts, not just throwaways of common sense? I for one have had a very difficult time feeling as at home in the humanities as in science. Science was like fish in water. But it was the personalities of Pauling, Feynman, Oppenheimer (who helped me get to Berkeley), later Feyerabend and Jerry Lettvin, that jarred me into recognizing that there was another part of the world. Take language like… "Whenever the transformative experiences of faith, hope, and love take a strictly secular form, their common ground becomes this expanded sense of opportunity in association. Nobody rescues himself; the path to those experiences necessarily passes through situations of aggravated risk in the life of the passions, and success in this pursuit requires that others not attack you at your moment of increased defenselessness; that is to say, it requires acts of grace by other people. If these acts are lacking or deficient, another grace would be needed to make up for their absence. …The visible drama of oppression and depersonalization takes place against the background of the shadowy dangers that accompany the effort to have others assure you in the possession of your own being while freeing you from enslavement to your own character. Both the forefront and the background threats arise from the need to enter society in search of things that a indispensable: the means of survival and identity, in one case; the assurance of selfhood, above and beyond station and even character in the other case.The problem of our mutual fear and our mutual need is worked out in the life of the passions, which ring the changes on the relations between our reciprocal and infinite longing for one another and our reciprocal and infinite terror…." This is from Umberto Ungar's book Passion, in the middle of a larger work on the need for openness and vulnerability to question the assumptions of a society people take as natural rather than man made. (The whole book is at http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/unger/english/passion.php ) I believe that words like "passion" and love, character and threat, are not just newspaper words, but each requires deep thought and reflection, study, comparison and experiment. They are as hard as relativity (which is really about constancy) and as elegant as the Michelson-Morley experiments or Millikan's oil drop (while he sold his body to Forest Lawn cemetery to be buried in the Hall of the Immortals in order to raise money for Caltech. Forest Lawn was thus an Industrial Associate). In this sense the humanities and "science" are equals, if not the same thing, in exploring the world. (Is not science one of the great humanities? If not, why?) Since it has come up several times, god, I've been working on a book called Gods, Dreams, Loves, and Other Projections on the idea that we need to take or gods seriously as self creations about which we then reflect and gain insight into our own nature. "Gods and men: each lives the other‘s death," said Heraclitus. It‘s another place to see how powerfully the humanities have explored this issue, and how much is known, especially of interest is the rise of science within a Christian Europe, the role of "dead nature" in Christianity making its dissection possible, the role of progress and the directionality of history, the idea that was so powerful of exploring nature in order to understand the mind of god. Science is embedded. One last thought for the evening. The idea that one kind of science makes more kind of progress than another implies a metric of comparison, which requires a theory in which they are commensurate. I doubt that such a theory or its metric exists free from social and economic assumptions. 49:47 Richard Cassín I'm wondering if there are any comments on Platt's "Strong Inference" article ? 49:48 Herbert Blau Re Doug Carmichael, 49:46: ". . . aggravated risk in the life of the passions," that would seem to have been, with "plot, character, cultural embeddedness," the tortuous territory of tragic drama, about which, at some Oedipal impasse, you could almost despair, or as with Lear on the heath, "howl howl howl howl howl howl." Which is what I sometimes feel, however, when that appalling vision is, as in the incursion of "cultural studies" (with its notions of cultural embeddedness), thought to be irrelevant to the reigning quadriviuum in the humanities today: race, class, gender, ethnicity--and if science, reproductive technologies. Which is about as far as the sciences go in the humanities now, though an English or Comp Lit department might have an untaught course in the catalogue in Poetry and Physics. A former graduate student of mine is about to publish a revised version of his dissertation, speaking of the Michelson-Morley experiments, on the Ether--from the ancient world thru the medieval and Shakespeare, to Poe, and Michelson- Morley, to Beckett, video art, installations, Robert Smithson, information theory and the Ethernet--but that sort of thing is rare. And there's next to no real impetus at all, despite all the talk of "interdisciplinarity," for the sort of cross-overs intimated here online, but still up there in the abstract dark, as to what can be specifically done, so that it's in the natural order of things for somebody in literary studies to ponder the dark energy that seems to be tearing the universe apart, as if confirming in actuality what tragedy portended, to the last syllable of recorded time, while trying to imagine human history not in Foucaultian epistemic but astronomical terms, with the curvature of the cosmos turning back upon itself, thus following, it would seem, the retroflexive pattern of reality and appearance--what always troubles the theater: is it the reality of appearance or the appearance of reality or the appearance of the reality that is the reality of appearance, and the endless permutations which is why (going back to Richard Cassín's remark, 49:23) it's no Big Bang theory of theater I had in mind, when I spoke of its materialization from whatever it is it is not. What I had in mind is something more outrageously subtle, at the extremities of perception, like the person performing in front of you dying in front of your eyes, no "strong inference" (though I'll be reading that essay), but existential fact, that invisibly visible phenomenon, around which the whole institutional structure of theater is merely a cover up. About what I said briefly about my old experience with thermodynamics, another time, that time, more to come on chaos theory maybe redeeming entropy by bringing the random data into the order of things. 49:49 Douglass Carmichael Richard, while mulling Platt note that my last sentence in the response above was a cryptic critique. "The idea that one kind of science makes more kind of progress than another implies a metric of comparison, which requires a theory in which they are commensurate. I doubt that such a theory or its metric exists free from social and economic assumptions." Take for example recent discoveries in archaeology of whole lost civilizations. How does that compare to the genetic code? Only a theory can make the comparison, and the theory is always a Trojan horse for some politics or economics. See for example the intro to Mirowski's book The Effortless Economy of Science" http://www.nd.edu/~pmirowsk/pdf/Effortless_Economy_Intro.pdf 49:50 Richard Cassín Doug ... By and large, most scientists simply don't care about such things. Most of us simply don't have time to wonder where "our" field is - progress-wise - compared to some other. That's an activity of those on the outside of Science, looking in. That's the kind of thing "The Humanities" wastes its/their time (and precious grant money)on. No one in Science really cares. Mirowski's book is a case in point. Who really cares? The only economics most scientists think about professionally is where in the federal research budget THEIR grants can be found. 49:51 Mary Douglas ―Theory is always a Trojan horse for some politics or economics....‖ (Carmichael; 49:49) Oh, Douglass, you sound so post-modern! It‘s not like you! Post-modernists hate theory, partly because of its pretensions, partly because of the restraining boundaries it makes. I suffer from its fashionableness, because I hate long sequences of descriptions that don't lead anywhere—I look for theory. And logic. And words having determinate meanings. A conversation in which anything can mean anything is so frustrating. Some way back we were talking about a kind of war between science and the humanities, which is what this Forum is about. Idly this week, stimulated by the exchanges we had been having, I picked up an old number of Daedalus, (Journal of American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fall, 2005). There my eye was drawn to a brilliant essay by Lorraine Dalston, ―Fear and Loathing of the Imagination in Science‖, originally done in 1998. It is a history of the polarizing of the one against the other since the Renaissance. A strange co-incidence that it has come up again just now, a perfect background for Carol Anne's interest in Dualistic and Binary Thinking (49:7), and her comment on the 'allergic reaction' to the idea of 'wisdom', and her question about the factor of responsibility in any discourse. No, not really strange. Our conversation on the theme sits on the crest of a wave of thinking about all of this. As we saw, not so long ago, our minds were dominated by the binary distinction between socialism and market. Our one idea of lack of freedom was Fascist or Stalinist tyranny. Now, it seems, we are all fixated on the theme of science. Not surprising either, given the run-away development of technological growth. What is it going to do to us? Or rather, What are we doing to ourselves and the world we live in? Dick has plunged us into a new movement. All over the place, thinkers are trying to confront the issues our members have raised. We have picked as a fundamental issue our tendency to think in terms of irreconcilable binary opposites. As Dick asks, in 49:17, should we feel free to attack each other outright? Carol Anne asks where the sense of responsibility fits in? These are basic questions, more eye-catching are the questions focused on 'human enhancement' offered by new science and technology. As, for example, the pamphlet produced by Demos,' Better Humans? The politics of human enhancement and life extension', saying 'technology now promises to transform our very nature'. And the Oxford Said Business School is holding World forum this very month on: ―The Challenge of Technologies for Life extension and Enhancement‖ to be organized by the James Martin Institute for Science and Civilization. They are interested in the moral and political issues, but I am glad that we are paying attention to thought and communication. We are on about the difficulties of understanding each other. I love Douglass Carmichael 's complaint about the obscurity of language in the humanities, 49:33. 49:52 Mary Douglas Sorry, I cut myself off near the end. Typing with only one hand is really slow and difficult. Six weeks ago I had a fall and broke my left wrist. I am very clumsy, but this amazing machine understood I wanted to 'Post and Go' even though I hadn't asked it. I want to thank Douglass in 49:33 for explaining 'cyborg', and for his philology of truth, troth, trust. Several of us are pointing in the same direction. There has to be a foundation of goodwill and minimum agreement for any mutual understanding at all. It comforts me to remember that the great David Hume in his Essay on Human Understanding said that the connection between words and things, the meaning that is given to a word, is based on a contract between the speakers: we agree that this word shall mean that thing, or that emotion. That is all there is to it! So Carol Anne is right on the ball to ask why 'group' sounds so bad? I don't know why, though I do know what you mean. My only move to an answer is to add that almost all the words for social behaviour sound awful too. Like social organization, social environment. I think it is the social aspect that is disturbing. 'Group' is all right as a verb for a scientist 'grouping' things on the lab table. WE just don't like sociologists talking about US. There certainly is a discomfort about the word 'culture'; my reference to Hume above suggests a new idea to me. Our culture is the set of categories, words and values we have more or less agreed upon. If we don't like thinking about ourselves in groups, perhaps we find it diminishing to talk about ourselves as a collective, with shared passions and ideas. This suggests that we can't help going along with the current trend, we deeply believe that we are the autonomous individuals of economic theory! So 'culture' is all right if we are talking about the arts, or yogurt, but disturbing when we are talking about our own cultural construction of reality. I never thought of that before. Welcome to old friend, Harlan. And to Henri Atlan too: we met many years ago at a conference in Italy. You gave me advice on my research into the Bible, and proved to be absolutely right! Next time I hope to say more about kinds of culture, my favourite topic. It is a daunting privilege to be trying it out on you people. 49:53 Herbert Blau What I'm missing here now is any particularity about what's going on in the humanities, what not, as with theory (what theory? as they speak of a post-theory generation, or even post-post). Or where and how is anything actually being said about the sciences, except so far as the sciences are conflated with technology or charged with being preempted by the corporate? Which seems to me old-time stuff, especially when the humanities too are being preempted, the universities as bureaucratic as anything these days--with all the presumable breakthroughs of the 1960s turning into bleak forms of surveillance, compounded procedures, that faculties with student "input" have perpetrated upon themselves. But again: what humanities are we talking about, where? if outside the university? As for obscurity of language in the humanities, on the interaction with the sciences, we're more likely to get banalities. And if poststructuralist theory is being referred to, that's receded, but one of the things I liked about it when it first came on the scene was that it was difficult, as the modernist poetry I grew up with was supposed to be-- with TS Eliot, there in "The Waste Land," shoring up fragments against his ruin. And some of it, the later theory, with the provisional death of the author, was performative as well. As for the arts, at the leading edges these days there is, actually, an impacted theoretical discourse, about museums and curators and the critique of critique, not merely in art journals but in the artwork itself--as if the aesthetic dynamic were in a sort of network of journals, museums, galleries, and the artist's studios. At the same time, there is advanced video art, installations, experiments with digitality and now "metacreation," with insects and bacteria, that seem to suggest some high tech, bot, and microbiological savvy, if still dubious aesthetically (excuse that "elitist" word, though it seems to be returning thru the anti-aesthetic). I won't talk about the theater, which, relative to the other arts, is mostly playing catch-up. As for anything significant, no less activating, that the humanities have to say about the sciences, where is that? My own impression is that scientists and mathematicians from a book on zero (the nothing that is) to Freeman Dyson in the NY Review of Books have more to tell us than we've been telling them—and if there's anything like the wisdom someone mentioned at the outset, where is it? and how imparted? As for those in the sciences here, what do you suggest as to how, what, how much, we in the humanities can be expected to share, without real scientific training, of what is otherwise likely to be out of sight? Is it habits of thought? ways of knowing? some apprehension of the Real? whatever that may be before it disappears? Or at the vanishing point of thought, with global warming and nuclear tradeoffs as the portents of apocalypse, what wisdom should we shore up against our doom?—and not in some unforeseeable future on a dying star. 49:54 Douglass Carmichael Richard, when I started with "progress" I was working off of the Platt paper, where he seems to care very much. "Who cares?" is very dismissive. Is there a bit of joking in your succinctness? Science in operation tends to shut down the imagination with the claim that getting on with it requires focus. The similarities of Platt to Popper (1934 Logic of Scientific Discovery) and Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions gets at the discipline side but not the freedom proposed by both. Science tends to impose the view that only material stuff counts. (pun intended). But the idea of replacing experience with "material" itself is a long and interesting history. And one that binds us, making human relationships at best secondary and at worst irrelevant (who cares?). Actually worse is that humans get in the way. Of things like economic progress, rational functioning. Rational for the Greeks meant the use of mind in the service of life. Now we have rational as meaning putting together processes whose outcome in the Greek sense are irrational. We need imagination to get to the future. Science should be a key part, but it as often blocks lines of inquiry. (at Harvard I wanted to use some grant money to go see Marcel Marceau to better understand the body as communication and as a part of rhetoric. "Not relevant" was the reply from Brunner.) This from Rorty and Castoriadis: "In other words, if there is social hope it lies in the imagination—in people describing a future in terms which the past did not use. "The only thing that is not defined by the imaginary in human needs," Castoriadis says, "is an approximate number of calories per day. Every other "constraint" is the fossilized product of some past act of imagination—what Nietzsche called "truth," namely, "[a] mobile army of metaphors, metonyms and anthropomorphisms ... a sum of human relations which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people." Mary, I will read your post carefully this evening. Herbert, the same, as I ponder "what is going on in the humanities." 49:55 Herbert Blau Doug: It was that "mobile army of metaphors, metonyms and anthropomorphisms," by the way, which--with all of what Nietzsche also called the inevitable lie in every word, all those slippery signifiers--brought on the grammatology of poststructuralist theory, and its deconstructive obscurity. 49:56 Richard Cassín Doug (49:54) ... I never meant to imply that thinking about progress in one's own work was unimportant or uninteresting. What I dismissed was spending much - if any - time or resources worrying about comparing progress in one field with any other. It is simply unimportant to compare the rate (in days? dollars?) of excavating and surveying a Mayan ruin, with how long it takes me to clone the nitrate reductase gene from a marine algae. Again ... who cares? And ... I completely disagree that "Science in operation tends to shut down the imagination with the claim that getting on with it requires focus". Quite to the contrary ... most scientists are encouraged to maximize their imaginative thinking ... always looking for new paradigms ... new questions ... new explanations. Focus is required if anything is to be accomplished. One has to make choices among the nearly infinite possibilities of inquiry, however. We no longer have the resources to allow graduate students 15 years to finish a Ph.D. We have to accomplish something, and that requires discipline and focus. WHAT we choose to focus on is our own decision. Likewise ... the notion that "Science tends to impose the view that only material stuff counts" is one of those notions that non-scientists habitually repeat out of ignorance of the world "inside" science. Nothing could be further from the truth. We discuss questions, methods, experiments, data, their analyses, outcomes, and the strong inference regarding what is likely to be the truth. When talking about what and who is important, we tend to laud those who are particularly brilliant or insightful in answering the most intractable questions. Encouraging and appreciating creative genius is vastly more important - in the big picture - than the mere "material" of a given experiment. There are many in Science who feel that the sociology of science is more interesting than the science itself. Those of in Science talk quite a lot about that sort of thing ... over a beer or coffee ... but after the experiment is done. And lastly, I too would have turned down the request to buy a ticket "off the grant" to see Marcel Marceau. To suggest that not subsidizing your entertainment was Science blocking your line of inquiry, is, in my opinion, patently absurd. 49:57 Mary Douglas What are the humanities doing? We have so many great humanists here, I hope they will take that question up. I can suggest something that they are not doing, that they don't like...a new preference that has recently emerged among us. They don‘t like closure. They don't like clear cut, definite endings. Poems, and essays, and narratives, should keep the options open, and the interpretations. Nothing is impossible, or finished. I came to this from a study of ―ring composition‖ that I have been making. It is an archaic literary form (Old Sanskrit, Chinese, 4th century Greece (Homer). It is called a ring composition because convention requires the ending to be linked to the beginning. There are many other rhetorical conventions that make it a very complex form of writing, including the rule that the middle of the ring is where all the meaning is loaded. The whole idea radiates out from the middle. Any one who tries to make sense of the poem, or speech, or dirge, by reading it in a straight line from start to finish is bound to get it wrong. Ring compositions belong to cultures that like clear endings. But we are not in such a culture. So many great works have been misread, or despised by our scholars because they don't recognize the ring form. Much of the Bible, for instance. It may be that it fell out of fashion in cultures that are repelled by closure. That there can be such cultures comes through very strongly in Barbara Herrn Smith's book, Poetic Closure. In a letter she wrote to me about 'the anti-closural tastes and presumptions of contemporary poets.... the suspicion of language, truth, and reason; the concern for complexity and ambiguity, etc.' Evidently such a culture is alive in the humanities, we are not necessarily imbued with it. Another literary philosopher, Evelyn Fishburn, cites Borghes as the grand old leader, the shining exemplar of this genre of writing. How's that for a start to answer the question, what are the humanities doing? 49:58 Harlan Cleveland Mary, I think I agree with your generalization, that "we humanists" don't like clear cut, definite endings. Isn't that another way of saying that, in the encompassing duality between those who are certain (about anything) and those who think it's better to be "still searching," we find it both more comfortable and more exciting to be still searching? Most of the best scientists I've come to know seem also to be sure there is no certainty. They're always trying—with ever-better telescopes, microscopes, or whatever—to explore the next reality that their previous research shows is sparkling just out of reach. So, Carol Anne, if we're looking for convergences between the "2 cultures," maybe one is their ongoing search for intriguingly elusive truths. 49:59 Herbert York Concerning Farson‘s comment on Fundamentalism in America. In rems both of the nature of the beliefs and the number of people who held them, I think America was much more fundamentalist a hundred years ago than now. What is both new and important is that the Fundamentalists have become politically active. This came about for two reasons: First Roe v Wade. And second, LBJ's Civil Rights actions. Most fundamentalists are conservative and in the old South they did not like the idea of black sheriffs and black party chairmen so they overcame their disdain of Lincoln and, following the "Nixon Strategy,‖ they switched en masse to the Republican Party. I think change that is the split between fundamentalist and secular politics, which oaf course also characterizes Western Muslim relations is both here to stay and is more important than the Humanist Scientist dichotomy. 49:60 Richard Farson Good idea, Herb, to turn the idea of the growth of Fundamentalism around. For example, one could now phrase the creationism controversy this way--that almost half of the American people have now come to accept the general idea of evolution, when a century ago many fewer did. Puts a different, but not entirely comforting, perspective on it. On closure--to what extent are these stylistic behaviors? I think we all recognize that, paradoxically, a tentative statement usually reflects more confidence than a declarative one. I agree with Harlan, that very few scientific articles are written as if definitive--almost all call for further research. I wonder, Mary, if that might be true also in the humanities. So even if we as scientists or humanists are confident we have the truth, we adopt a style that suggests we are still searching. I also wonder if there might be differences between university scholars and independent scholars in this regard. Since my father was an independent scholar, I have always assumed that independent scholars far outnumber university faculty scholars. And indeed the great breakthrough, civilization-changing achievements have often, perhaps usually, come from independent scholars--Freud, Darwin, Einstein, Edison, Marx, Mendel, Gandhi. But I would hypothesize that the writings of independent scholars are more confident, declarative, conveying a certainty that they have found a truth, while mainstream, university scholars feel the pressure to play by different stylistic rules. I guess my point is that how we point to truths is determined socially. I think that is what Mary is explaining. And to what extent has that helped or crippled us? How can we explain the fact that after a century and half of research and education, 55% of Americans believe the Garden of Eden story of creation, that the earth is only about 5,000 years old? Have we been shooting ourselves and each other in the foot? 49:61 Douglass Carmichael Shooting ourselves in the foot, a version of ouroborus, a version of the circular stories... Now, is science a ring story? 49:62 Richard Cassín Richard ... in Science, the incidence of the independent scholar was common in the 19th century and earlier, but nearly disappeared in the 20th century. Today, it is very rare. Most Science today is a very expensive affair, and there are few who can afford to self-fund it. All of the funding agencies require some sort of not-for-profit institutional affiliation. Einstein, by the way, was not an independent scholar, except perhaps during his few early years at the Swiss Patent Office. The latter part of his academic career was at Princeton. I don't think that the reticence of modern scientists to be overly declarative is just a matter of style, but more a matter of caution. We know how easy it is to be proven wrong. If you read articles in most serious scientific journals, they simply state what was observed and concluded therefrom, and sometimes an indication of what questions remain to be addressed. It may be a matter of style that most scientists these days frown on (and are suspicious of) bombastic or overly declarative statements. That has been adapted as the current standard of public professional behavior. Over a beer or coffee, the discussion may get a little stronger, but in public and/or in writing, we're pretty cautious. As to Doug's question (49:61), "is Science a ring story", I think not ... at least not by design. We seriously try to move serially, and NOT follow an inquiring path back to where we began ... although it sometimes happens inadvertently, and when it does, it can be a real bummer. 49:63 Richard Farson Richard, I do know that Einstein was at universities before and after his major contributions, but it is not insignificant that those contributions happened while he was employed at the Berne patent office. I was trying to make the point that it is not accidental that those great achievements were not done at universities. Indeed, it's difficult to find any contributions at that level that were achieved at universities. Great achievements of that sort are usually met with ridicule then anger then grudging acceptance. By my reckoning, universities are very good for mainstream research, not for paradigm shifting work. To what extent can we discuss the university culture as a determining factor in creating the two cultures we are discussing? Of course, science existed for centuries before it made its way into the university, about 250 years ago. The identification of the double helix is a major achievement, but by the time Watson and Crick reached it at Cambridge, about a thousand people were working on it and some think Pauling would have had it a couple of weeks later, and sooner had he been at the showing of that famous video. It was mainstream science. But Mendel, who created the field of genetics, worked alone in the garden outside his room at the monastery. Can you think of breakthrough ideas coming from universities? If not, why would that be true? Aren't we discussing here the role of culture in making or inhibiting progress? When I asked Jonas about developing the polio vaccine at the University of Pittsburg, he told me he did it in spite of the university. I know that the practice of science these days generally requires hugely expensive laboratories. I suppose the days are gone when brilliant individuals can figure things out the way Copernicus did by looking at the heavens, or Newton did by watching the apple fall. In any case, the need for expensive facilities does not seem to apply to the humanities, except perhaps for the staging of major theater productions or films, or the conduct of a large scale opinion survey. We still have our best people working alone with their pencils and yellow pads...and laptops. 49:64 Carol Anne Bundy A happy welcome to Herb York. I am so glad that you are here. Thank you for your targeted post. Two objectives were stated in the opening comments for this forum and maybe it's time to shift, as we are in our second week, to exploring more directly, the second focus: First, to identify barriers to cross-disciplinary dialogue and establish frameworks and approaches for amelioration, if possible. Second, on a deeper level, to explore how dualistic thinking itself inhibits exchange across the whole of the human field and how relational thinking might contribute to new ways of thinking more resonate and better suited to solving the problems we as individuals and as a species face in terms of today and the future. (I have edited "cross-disciplinary thinking" to now read "relational thinking." I am not sure I like it any better, but for the moment.... I suspect we might be able to come up with something better together.) I'd like to present the following extracts from posts as a collection to see if anyone else sees a pattern emerging: Walt (49:6) The human role in evolution. Paul Crutzen, the Dutch meteorologist (and Nobel laureate) proposes that the Holocene Epoch has come to an end, and that we should call the present era the Anthropocene Epoch in view of the increasing evidence that human processes and what we might call natural ones are inseparable. Here we see the obsolescence of one kind of dualistic thinking (human/nature) and good reason for dialogue across another polarization (science/humanities) if we are to transcend it. Walt (49:27) About 50 years ago Julian Huxley declared that human beings are "in point of fact determining the future direction of evolution on this earth," and would do well to wake up to it. Now, as environmental controversy becomes global and often deeply polarized, the human-nature duality becomes more evident -- although different people take different positions about it: either nature bad/human good, or nature good/human bad. Richard F. (49:28) For centuries the east has been more comfortable with the idea of the coexistence of opposites than is the west, the west having been dominated by Aristotelian thought (e.g., a concept is either true or false). The seeming absurdity that the opposite of a profound truth is also true is a difficult concept for most of us westerners. Walt (49:29) Dualistic thinking provides a platform for demonization -- regarding the other as not only different, but evil. Lots of that going on these days. David (49:31) We are discussing the "Two Cultures" as defined by C P Snow 50 years ago, but I fear that to-day we may need to re-define the concept in terms of the total stand-off between fundamental religious beliefs, be they Christian, Islamic or Judaic, and the very idea of science as all of us here understand it. If we can't resolve it, the "Clash of Civilisations" (or "Cultures") may make other more abstract discussions somewhat irrelevant. If nobody else wishes to pursue this hare, I should like to hook it in later to two themes which have run through several other very impressive contributions, namely Power and Dissent. Walt (49:34) I think David Gladstone is quite right in calling our attention to the other (2 culture) standoff, that of religion vs. science. Actually we have a number of different battles going on, each of them involving a certain degree of demonization of one group by another. Some religious leaders demonize (literally) science as an enemy of divine truth, some liberal humanists demonize scientists as reductionist and mechanistic and money-mad, some postmodern intellectuals demonize science as overstating its case to objective truth, some scientists demonize postmodern intellectuals as troublemakers and lousy writers (right on the second count, in my opinion) and on it goes. The deeper problem, I think is that we are slipping into a global culture of demonization, in which it becomes easy to put oneself in a virtual community of like- minded people and then happily proceed with beating up on the wrong thinkers, with precious little energy expended on searching for commonalities. David (49:39) 1. Overcoming dualistic/manicheist thinking. This of course does not stem from Aristotle alone. Much more relevant to to-day's world are the Bible and Koran. and, 2. Embracing paradox. Quantum mechanics should surely be leading the way here. Harlan (49:42) a consuming interest in integrative thinking that leads to action. I've come to believe that "wisdom" is the result of integrating knowledge (which is an exercise in both reasoning and intuition). That's why integrative thinking is such an important aspect of leadership—and why wisdom and leadership DO belong in the same sentence, if not in the same word. Harlan (49:43) As some participants have suggested, the science/humanities duality may be only one aspect of an encompassing duality that riles our politics and international relations: the line that separates those who are certain from those who think it's all right to be still searching. In such a schematic, is a religious fundamentalist or an ethnic extremist akin to a scientist who believes only what can be rationally proven (as Doug suggests in 49:33)? Is certainty versus still-searching the duality we should be trying to reconcile? If so, we'll probably find answers in "binary" thinking both/and, as defined in my (Carol Anne's) 49:30. Difficult though it is, we'll have to keep in mind that everything really is related to everything else. For my taste, Lewis Thomas has said this best in his luminous essay about the "vibes" cells give to each other: In order to sustain life, "using one signal or another, each form of life announces its proximity to the others around it, setting limits to encroachment or spreading welcome to potential symbionts." The earth itself might be thought of as an "immense organism" where "chemical signals might serve the function of global hormones, keeping balance and symmetry in the operation of various interrelated parts, informing tissues in the vegetation of the Alps about the state of eels in the Sargasso Sea, by long interminable relays of interconnected messages between all kinds of other creatures." It wouldn't take much editing to pull human beings into this picture, to illustrate how obsolete the duality between "humanity" and "nature" already is—as Walt said back in 49:6. My (Carol Anne) (49:44): Is it possible for an individual to "species-think" or is self- interest too overpowering? Mary, can you elaborate on your 49:26 post offering "prestige" as a substitute for "self-interest." What would be required of society/societies/human nature to allow for such an exchange in meaning? Doug (49:46) Since it has come up several times, god, I've been working on a book called Gods, Dreams, Loves, and Other Projections on the idea that we need to take our gods seriously as self-creations about which we then reflect and gain insight into our own nature. "Gods and men: each lives the other‘s death," said Heraclitus. It‘s another place to see how powerfully the humanities have explored this issue, and how much is known, especially of interest is the rise of science within a Christian Europe, the role of "dead nature" in Christianity making its disintegration possible, the role of progress and the directionality of history, the idea that was so powerful of exploring nature in order to understand the mind of god. Science is embedded. Mary (49:51) Some way back we were talking about a kind of war between science and the humanities, which is what this Forum is about. Idly this week, stimulated by the exchanges we had been having, I picked up an old number of Daedalus, (Journal of American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fall, 2005).There my eye was drawn to a brilliant essay by Lorraine Dalston, 'Fear and Loathing of the Imagination in Science', originally done in 1998. It is a history of the polarizing of the one against the other since the Renaissance. A strange co-incidence that it has come up again just now, a perfect background for Carol Anne's interest in Dualistic and Binary Thinking (49:8), and her comment on the 'allergic reaction' to the idea of 'wisdom', and her question about the factor of responsibility in any discourse. No, not really strange. Our conversation on the theme sits on the crest of a wave of thinking about all of this. As we saw, not so long ago, our minds were dominated by the binary distinction between socialism and market. Our one idea of lack of freedom was Fascist or Stalinist tyranny. Now, it seems, we are all fixated on the theme of science. Not surprising either, given the run-away development of technological growth. What is it going to do to us? Or rather, What are we doing to ourselves and the world we live in? Dick has plunged us into a new movement. All over the place, thinkers are trying to confront the issues our members have raised. We have picked as a fundamental issue our tendency to think in terms of irreconcilable binary opposites. As Dick asks, in 49:17, should we feel free to attack each other outright? Carol Anne asks where the sense of responsibility fits in? These are basic questions, more eye-catching are the questions focused on 'human enhancement' offered by new science and technology. Mary (49:52) WE just don't like sociologists talking about us. There certainly is a discomfort about the word 'culture'; my reference to Hume above suggests a new idea to me. Our culture is the set of categories, words and values we have more or less agreed upon. If we don't like thinking about ourselves in groups, perhaps we find it diminishing to talk about ourselves as a collective, with shared passions and ideas. This suggests that we can't help going along with the current trend, we deeply believe that we are the autonomous individuals of economic theory! So 'culture' is all right if we are talking about the arts, or yogurt, but disturbing when we are talking about our own cultural construction of reality. Herb B (49:53) As for those in the sciences here, what do you suggest as to how, what, how much, we in the humanities can be expected to share, without real scientific training, of what is otherwise likely to be out of sight? Is it habits of thought? ways of knowing? some apprehension of the Real? whatever that may be before it disappears? or at the vanishing point of thought, with global warming and nuclear tradeoffs as the portents of apocalypse, what wisdom should we shore up against our doom?--and not in some unforeseeable future on a dying star. Harlan (49:58) Mary, I think I agree with your generalization, that "we humanists" don't like clear cut, definite endings. Isn't that another way of saying that, in the encompassing duality between those who are certain (about anything) and those who think it's better to be "still searching," we find it both more comfortable and more exciting to be still searching? Most of the best scientists I've come to know seem also to be sure there is no certainty. They're always trying—with ever-better telescopes, microscopes, or whatever–to explore the next reality that their previous research shows is sparkling just out of reach. So, Carol Anne, if we're looking for convergences between the "2 cultures," maybe one is their ongoing search for intriguingly elusive truths. Herb York (49:59) "I think change, that is the split between fundamentalist and secular politics, which of course also characterizes Western Muslim relations is both here to stay and is more important than the Humanist Scientist dichotomy." And finally, Doug (49:54) Rational for the Greeks meant the use of the mind in the service of life.....We need imagination to get to the future.... 49:65 Carol Anne Bundy New thinking tools. The words duality, dualism, dualist and binary surface in our posts. And yet, often they are used in ways that overlap or contradict. I once had tea in a roadside restaurant in Upstate New York with a whirling dervish (as one does...) He was on his way to give a seminar, on whirling, I suppose (dervishes have to eat too...) I noticed he was wearing a ring and that the ring had writing on it. As he was dressed very plainly and therefore, I figured, the ring had to have significance, I was very curious to know what the writing meant. He told me that the writings were numbers, a "0" and a "1", which encircled the whole ring in pattern, and then he spoke about how he saw the world. see link; http://en.wikipedia.org/wik/Non-dualism. As we all know, there are lots of ways of seeing differently that which we may think we see in the same way. Walt, elusive truths, yes... During my La Jolla years, I came to wonder if the only truth, in some circumstances, was that there were many truths; as many truths as there are perspectives? If true, (or perhaps truish would be better!) I wonder where that leaves us if we are equipped only with dualistic thinking tools/vocabulary and, I might even say, prejudice? We don't necessarily need to throw that baby out with the bathwater, do we? Maybe there are situations/circumstances when dualist thinking is the clearer way to go? Or even combinations of "ways" of thinking. I, for example, see dualistic thinking and binary thinking as different from each other in subtle but, I believe, profound ways. When I refer to dualistic, I am conceptualizing either/or thinking. When I say binary thinking, it is more of a both/and perspective in simplistic short-hand. Isn't everything, at some level, relational? How does respect for other play into this? And again, responsibility, for self and for other. I agree with you, Mary, that there are more eye catching questions raised by new science and technology. But, even in its most basic form, a.) responsibility will very much apply to the issues brought forth from new science and technology and in far- reaching ways, i.e., ethics and b.), a sense of personal responsibility seems somewhat lost right now, especially, frankly, amongst some of my generation, the one before me and the one that follows. Not at all like what seemed to occur in the generation born in the 10's and the 20's, thinking of the west. I think many in those generations felt a personal sense of responsibility very early on in their lives. Correct me if I am wrong but I rather suspect it was in the culture. I don't think this is as true today and this is worrisome. Someone who is training in a lab today, might be the decision maker of tomorrow. What does responsibility mean to them? Do they have the thinking tools needed to make decisions in a world that, even in the short time span of fifty years, might be completely unrecognizable to what we know today and anticipate as tomorrow? Does that matter? What does responsibility (as well as respect) mean to the "fantastic" who blows himself up along with innocents? What does responsibility (as well as respect) mean to the "fundamentalist" Herb refers to? What's the difference between a fundamentalist and a fanatic, if any? How are they the same? What does self-righteous factor into all of this? The adversarial system, inherently dualistic? When I was in law school, some twenty years ago, I came across what I found to be an interesting statistic buried in an obscure book. The statistic stated that, at the time, there were more lawyers in Washington, D.C. than in all of China. I couldn't believe it but I didn't disbelieve it either. The statistic lead me to look into Chinese philosophy a bit more closely: In China, it would have been considered a loss of face for all in a dispute to bring in lawyers and the courts. This last resort would indicate that the characters of those in disagreement were not strong enough to sort things out amongst/between themselves. Aren't we, in a sense, back to square? Over fifty years of the Two Cultures. What have we learned about thinking itself? Could the "Two Cultures" iconography be a metaphor for outmoded thinking across the whole of the human field and not just the humanities and the sciences? Is it just about dualistic thinking, at its core? Or is it something even more fundamental than that? Is it a way or approach to thinking that hasn't been invented yet or is only just emerging, gaining ground? If so, what can we take from this "unresolvableness" as our lesson? How can those "findings", so to speak, if they could be agreed upon (a new kettle of fish), be applied to the issues that many of our participants have raised about "the bigger picture?" I once read, "The only way out, is to go all the way in." Some say that the Two Cultures, as a concept, was a red herring when it was written and if it wasn't then, it is now. Could be true. Probably true, to a degree. Nothing‘s perfect, easily to forget, the way our minds have been trained over the generations. Frankly, I think of the Two Cultures concept as more of a germ of an idea that had to wait for time to pass so that its truth, its trove, if there is such, even if uncompleted, and arguably raising more questions than it answered, could be used to bring forth deeper understanding on a broader scale of the whole of human existence? Science, humanities and religion...economics, globalization and politics...human nature, prejudice and truth. What about networks in thinking (maybe networks in ways of thinking) in much the same way as scientists are discovering networks for thought in the brain? Snow didn't speak about "networks in thinking" per se, but when I read it, this is what bubbled up for me in response. 49:66 Carol Anne Bundy Stefan Collini in his introduction to the 1998 Cambridge edition of The Two Cultures writes" The interesting questions are, rather, about the ways in which the specialisms relate to the wider culture and the impact they have upon discussion of those matters which can never be reduced, without remainder, to the preserve of one academic discipline. Here it may be helpful to emphasis another simple truth, namely that we do not have just one (italics supplied) identity, we are not exhaustively defined by our professional training and occupation. We inhabit overlapping identities—social, racial, sexual, religious, intellectual, political - and no one of them alone is always dominant or consistently determines our responses....One of the hazards of academic life is the way it ethos and organization encourage us to exaggerate the power and importance of these disciplinary affiliations to the neglect of other, often deeper, tie and allegiances. 49:67 Richard Farson To flesh out my previous comment about the culture of the university possibly playing a part in this subject, I'd like to reinforce the idea that universities are better at mainstream research than cutting edge research. Indeed, I just don't think universities can embrace such work, partly because of the‖ publish or perish‖ structure of tenure seeking. Young scholars and scientists have to pursue approved subjects. Not only have universities been slow in bringing science into their halls, but sometimes they bring in fields that had already become dated on the outside. Modern architecture of the International School, developed at the independent Bauhaus, and psychoanalysis developed at Freud's Vienna institute are two subjects that fit that category. I think that is why Jonas wanted to start his institute independently of a university. I think he knew he could never bring the two cultures together at a university--too big a job even for his independent institute. I know that at our institute, WBSI, deans and faculty from universities would sometimes visit and remark that they could never do what we were doing, such as starting online distance education or research on leaderless therapy groups. Online distance education didn't make it into universities for about 15 years after it was used by us. What's going on to cause that, and does it have anything to do with the subject of this conference? 49:68 Herbert Blau Not quite sure what's being talked about, or in what context, when dualistic thinking is belabored--especially in view of Dick Farson's remarks about the university, and its being behind. For over a generation now, in literary and cultural theory, binary thought has been critiqued, derided, subverted, deconstructed, along with the revisionist Marxist, Lacanian, Derridean, feminist, queer theory, "critical race theory," and up there on the Deleuzian "thousand plateaus," a dismantling of the apparatus of representation that presumably sustains the binaries. If they nevertheless haven't disappeared, in thought or behavior (with a free-flowing now globalizing "libidinal economy"), that may tell us something about obdurate human reflexes, which I see right here—despite all disavowal, or desire to move beyond--in these discussions online. As for the universities, there are plenty of things wrong, as I tried to suggest, and they've become in this corporate world as unavoidably bureaucratic as other institutions. But while I can't speak for the sciences, in the humanities there is, along with what's unregeneratively conventional or cautious, imagination, speculation, and risk-taking thought too—if not in equal measure, well, where do you find the exceptional overflowing anywhere? And that's true of the arts as well, which at the moment are trying various devious and desperate, and even collective ways, to restore a certain unpredictability that is not quickly institutionalized, even through metacreation at biogenetic levels. For it's been apparent for some time that the most way-out experimental work in the arts is absorbed almost overnight, and outdone technically, by Madison Avenue and the advertisements on television. Meanwhile, it's apparent too in the universities that whatever the humanities don't know about the sciences--and that's plenty, along with delinquency about exploring cross-disciplinary programs—those in the sciences (even those who may know the arts and read poetry) are for the most part indifferent to the rapid downsizing of programs in literature, philosophy, and the arts. And when complaints are registered about budget cutting, they say, why don't you go out and get grants, as we do. What grants? Since Lynn Cheney, the NEH has been next to impotent, not much to count on there; and since Karen Finley and Piss Christ, the NEA has redirected its money, the little it has, mostly to established cultural institutions, operas and ballets, and the "resident professional theaters." As for the rest, maybe a Fulbright or a Guggenheim, there ain't any grants. Somebody spoke, "aggravated risk in a life of passions," but few anywhere are capable of that, and what you may have to abandon to do, in art or poetry or theater, what without compromise you may really want. As for the ring composition (Sanskrit, Chinese) refusing linearity and clear-cut endings, radiating out from the middle, there have surely been correlatives from early modernism on, from Imagism (with its ideographs) and Vorticism, from Gertrude Stein to Beckett, from concrete poetry to the l-a-n-g-u-a-g-e poets, who have a capacity to teach those willing to stay with it, if not to annihilate the binaries, to think without endings and, on issues to which we have predictable dispositions (like the easy Bushwhacking on the Iraq war) to do the Nietzscheian thing: think around corners, that aggravating risk. 49:69 Carol Anne Bundy Herb Blau, in five short paragraphs, you were able to fit in 16 theoretical frameworks. That's impressive. But I am still not convinced that what you mean by binary is the same thing that I mean by binary. Maybe I've got it all wrong? But hey, if you think it has been belaboured and that it's not important, that's ok. We don't need to talk about it. I am sure what you are saying about funding for the arts and humanities is all true, and very sad. 49:70 Richard Cassín Richard (49:68) ... with all due respect, your comments on the University and cutting edge science, as well as the group's responses to them, demonstrate the near abject ignorance of most members of this group of the history of Science of the past half-century, and of what goes on in Science today. Your notion that "universities are better at mainstream research than cutting edge research" is factually incorrect for the sciences. Maybe for "The Humanities" - whatever they/it is/are - but not for the sciences. THE cutting edge research in the sciences is being done almost exclusively in universities and in larger independent research institutes - including the Salk - which are really no different. I would include the various National Institutes of Health and their laboratories in this group as well. Give us some facts! Where—today—is the leading-edge science being done OUTSIDE of the University? All you "humanists" don't like to consider anything in the private sector/commercial/industrial environment as being legitimate or creative, so we shouldn't consider "cutting-edge" scientific research coming out of such organizations such as Bell Labs, Genentech, Amgen, Microsoft, and the hundreds of companies who finance - and DO - excellent cutting-edge science. Please - tell us where all those "independent" scientists are that have no institutional affiliation. Jonas Salk's desire to create an independent institute was based largely on economics ... not intellectual freedom or any other such high-mindedness. He knew that overhead costs could be used more efficiently in an independent institute than in a University. Now, there is virtually no difference in the way the Salk Institute operates compared to UCSD or other serious research universities. Perhaps there are self-styled "intellectuals" in the Humanities that are sitting in the woods or on the beach with their yellow pads and pencils or laptops, but, I dare say, scientists are sitting and working in offices and laboratories in universities, research institutes, government laboratories, and private companies, where they interact with colleagues across diverse disciplines (biology/genetics/chemistry/physics/computer science/engineering), and produce ABSOLUTELY leading edge ideas and research ... THE leading edge research. And I'd have to include most of those in the Social "Sciences" (such as economics, sociology, psychology, political science)as well, however marginal they might be to "hard" science. The beach and the woods are fine for poets/writers/artists and independent, self-styled intellectuals and thinkers, but SCIENCE has moved well beyond that ... into the universities and similar institutions ... and it did that nearly a century ago. And where did you get the notion that "Not only have universities been slow in bringing science into their halls"? That may have been true in the 17th and 18th centuries, but not in the last 200 years. This kind of non-perspective is why people in Science tend to look askance at the Humanities. Its fuzzy, non-rigorous thinking. Discussions like many of those that have emerged from this symposium would have been torn to shreds even by first-year graduate students in places like UCSD, Stanford, Caltech, etc. I would very much like to see the Symposium finally get to a discussion of the stated topic ... the reason we're all here: consideration of the interaction between those working in the sciences with those working in the humanities. There have been 70 posts spread over a week, and virtually nothing germane to the stated central topic. Let's see some more-rigorous thinking and less incoherent verbiage. Seriously!!! 49:71 Herbert Blau Richard Cassín: Who, except Richard Farson, said that leading edge science wasn't being done in the universities? or that poets or novelists were, these days, all off-campus with pads or laptops? And who would claim--despite any critique of corporate culture--that cutting-edge research isn't being done by Genentech, Bell Labs, or Microsoft? As for the "stated central topic," there's been a prompting, more than once, to leave the self-evident behind, and for the scientists to lead off--because fact is that those of us in the humanities don't have (mine is ancient history) enough scientific training to know precisely what we're asking for, though in one previous posting I suggested, conceptually, speculatively, a series of possibilities as to what that might be. As for what the humanities might offer, since you're after rigorous thinking, you might look at the epigraph to William Carlos Williams' "Paterson," where not beauty, but "Rigor of beauty is the quest. But how will you find beauty if it is locked in the mind past all remonstrance?" Now, that's far from a "non-perspective," though you may be indifferent to beauty, or poetry, or to the sort of theater that you can't go to off a grant (as to Marcel Marceau), but before Broadway, off-Broadway, in reality itself, materializes thru appearance from whatever it is it is not. Major scholars in performance studies have been reflecting on that distressing notion for some time now, and the challenge to perception in the forms of (dis)appearance. Is all the world a stage? with its "seeming, seeming," or is that just Shakespeare sounding off--or for that seeming matter, is there, without any perceptible bodies, theater here online? what they now call "liveness," which gives a lip-synched Madonna more "presence," in a technologized concert, than the singer with her real voice, which can't match the DVDs. Well, back to beauty for the moment, and its status in the humanities: in the years of critical theory that I've mentioned, beauty has been out of fashion, though it's returning now, in other guises, other forms, as the object once returned to painting after years of (non-objective) abstract expressionism. And now and then, thru all this, one might hear the word beauty attached to some discovery or theory in science. Is that merely fanciful or factitious? As for the word "remonstrance" in the epigraph, that may be merely verbiage, or maybe more than germane, speaking of exactitude. Think about it, and maybe we can have a conversation. 49:72 Herbert Blau Forgot, meant to reply to Carol Anne, about binarism. Maybe I did miss what you had in mind, and please straighten me out if so. But relative to what I was saying about what's been happening in the humanities for over a generation: just take one binary that wasn't, as I recall, mentioned here, man/woman. In everything from feminist discourse to queer theory to recent writings in cultural studies on reproductive technologies, stem cell research, and cyborgs too, that binary has been surely challenged and threatened, if not broken down. And so about everything with a slash, from body/soul to human/nature (which was mentioned here). Again, I'm not saying--far from it--that all the presumably subversive critique has made the binaries disappear (no less men and women), only that there has been a lot of conscious attention to them. What hasn't been paid attention to is humanities/ science, and I don't mean the old CP Snow 2-culture debate, but rather the virtual Cartesian abyss between the programs in the humanities and those in the sciences, and the institutional delinquency in doing something about it. Or, since I'm not speaking for the sciences, but in the humanities (which need restructuring in themselves), having students read the work of scientists who are writing across boundaries, so far as they can, or as "public intellectuals," and writing damn well at that. 49:73 Sandy Mactaggart My goodness! I do like the comments of Richard Cassín. Responding to his long ago 49:48, as a nonscientist I found Platt quite fascinating in his description of the ‘branches of a tree‘ concept of scientific discovery. His imagery of the elimination by experiment of all branches to permit the one branch, surviving after rigorous investigation, becoming a part of the tree trunk at the end of the process, certainly described how we all stand on the shoulders of our predecessors. For me, it also explained a phenomenon that I first discovered in my graduate school of business, where complicated cases were debated each day between a section of some 100 students. In those discussions you could easily recognize those whose education had been scientific or mathematical, from those whose background was in the humanities. For the former, there was only one correct solution. For the latter, it was a question of which of a number of possible solutions best fitted the circumstances of the case. This difference, seems to derive from the incentives required for success in very different fields. In business, law, politics, or indeed in anything that deals with human interaction, success is driven by choosing among many possibilities, while it would appear from Platt that scientific success reduces, by a process by rigorous experiment and deductive reasoning, all possibilities to one. Is it possible, or useful, to attempt a synergy between two such effective ways of thinking, or does the answer lie in what we actually see happening all around us, and in this conference, namely the creation of teams of both. 49:74 Carol Anne Bundy Thanks for that response on your use of the word binary, Herb. That helps a lot. I have a much better sense now of what you are saying. You are right: There has been expansive writing around these concepts and your expertise is clearly broad. I have read some of it myself, though clearly not as much as you, but was drawn instead to those writers your rightly mention, the some of the scientists writing across the boundaries and the "public intellectuals." Mary Douglas mentions the James Martin Institute for Science and Civilization. Their website is www.martininstitute.ox.ac.uk for those who may be interested in knowing what they are doing here in Oxford which relates to our discussion. I still would like to take another go at what the word binary meant to Jonas, if you don't mind, as it was so central in his thinking. (But for now, that will have to wait .) There is one theorist that Jonas was drawn to that has been mentioned by David Gladstone as well: Karl Popper. What might you be able to tell us specifically about his thinking that might be relevant in these discussions? Are there any papers or books you might recommend to those who might want to dig deeper? 49:75 Richard Cassín Sandy (49:73), your observations of the differences in training among the section of 100 students are astute. The question, of course, is why the difference? Perhaps it's a difference of tools available to the various groups. I think that scientists are accustomed to having experimental tools (the ability to do actual experiments)by which they can clearly eliminate some of the hypothetical answers to a question, and the emphasis to finding THE answer...the inclination to rigorously drive on until the question is answered with strong inference that such an answer is correct (the "truth"). Folks emerging from training in the humanities don't usually have such tools, and are forced to use judgement and skill (as opposed to experiment)to decide among alternative hypotheses. That can be very difficult to do with any certainty, and as a result, it's easy to be wrong. You are also correct that scientists strive to reduce (through experiment and/or rigorous logic) the number of possible hypotheses or answers). I think, however, that smart people in the humanities strive for the same outcome, except they usually have to stop short because they don't have the tools to explore further. They must settle for a larger number of choices among which any one may be the answer. The scientist has the tools to plow on until (hopefully) all alternatives but one are eliminated. In the beginning of any research effort, most scientists must identify the many alternatives before designing experiments to pick them off, one-by-one. Early on in this process, the "scientific method" (as described by Platt)enables elimination of many alternatives by use of rigorous logic before a single experiment is actually done. Thus, as with scholars in the humanities, they have to choose among many possibilities. The difference, however, is in the tools—or methods—and the rigor of their application, by which they make such choices. I have met many people in business and non-science academia that employ the methods described by Platt, and they are invariably more successful than those who rely on non-systematic or non-logical analyses. Still, even the rigorous humanities scholars are limited by the intrinsic inability to do experiments and eliminate most - if not all - the alternatives. 49:76 Herbert York Another social dichotomy of rapidly growing importance is that connected with the rapid feminization of nearly everything. If you just look at who‘s in school today, you can easily conclude that in just one generation (25 years, say) the majority of the professionals in Health (including MDs) in Law (including Judges), and in Academia (including deans and presidents) will be women, and in another half generation these majorities will extend to Business and Government (both legislative and executive branches). But that‘s not all. In California, the male minority in the professions will be made up 50% Asians (including Filipinos and Indians) and the male minority in government will be at least 50% Hispanic. This leaves just 20 to 25% for white males in both government and the professions. They aren't going to like it, but I think they (we) will adjust to the inevitable. And this is not just in North America. Europe is in the same trend, and China and India won't be more than another generation behind. Several recent articles (NY Times, For Policy) have made the point that the trend to working outside the home is slowing, but I believe this will mainly affect relatively menial jobs alongside which house keeping and child raising don't look so bad. And as a final comment on what policy and life style changes all this might bring, look at the recent Bloomberg poll showing that while men remain fifty/fifty in support of the Iraq War, both women and minorities are 5:3 against it. 49:77 Richard Cassín Carol Anne (49:74).. For a good brief biography of Karl Popper and his influence, check out: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/popper/ 49:78 Carol Anne Bundy Thanks for the Popper cite, Richard. Should make for meaty reading together with the Platt article you referenced earlier that I plan to read as a non-scientist following Sandy's lead and succinct and intriguing observations. Very interesting statistics, Herb (49:76) The shift is already occurring. What are the factors behind the projections? Benefits? Disadvantages? What will be the options for the men not in those minorities? What will they be doing? 49:79 Mary Douglas We have had several calls (49.64 and 49.65) to keep close to the science/humanities dualism title. I don't think we have ever really left the track. We always start by letting off steam. To get back to basics, I need to correct a misunderstanding about closure and certainty, and intellectual risk-taking. There is a definite difference between humanities and science here, which is fudged by pointing out that scientists recognize uncertainty and adopt a tentative style. The dislike of closure is not about stylistics but about chosen topics of research. The writers whom I cited (1.58) (Herrnstein Smith, Fishburn, Borghes) are/were explaining that there is no truth to enquire into. Surely their desperately negative view, mistrust of reason and rejection of reality is a cultural bias impossible for a practicing scientist? It is not equivalent to the great scientists' modest disclaimers, and their certainty that there is no certainty (Harlan 49:58). It is very like the profound philosophy of negation developed by a branch of Hindu thought. It belongs essentially in the humanities. This may be my moment for starting to answer Carol Anne's wish for ways of studying our topic. The naive form of a deep question might be: "Why are some people strongly attracted to extreme forms of philosophical doubt?" The anthropologist's naive form of answer would say: "It has to do with the other people they live with, their practical dependence on each other, what they are expected to do about the problems and tragedies of life." In other words, cultural values arise out of practical, social situations. Some social environments are conducive to passive fatalism, usually when there is no well- developed cohesive community, a society of virtual isolates who hardly know each other. In another social environment the individual members are heavily interdependent, which puts pressure on its members to be active in building a strong community in which they are all assigned roles and are expected to work for the survival of the whole. This community wouldn't survive if it did not manage to develop consensus about values, penalties and rewards that support it. Our present stage of technology separates us more and more from each other. We don't have to work together or live together. We are moving to become a society of isolates. It doesn't matter too much what our neighbours think of us. All forms of closure begin to seem alien, or irrelevant. Gender distinctions are disapproved, we would wish the same for racial distinctions, we don't believe our politicians are honest, voting doesn't matter, religious differences don't matter. The big difference is between us (not all secular?) and the fundamentalists. The great merit of the tool we have devised for making comparisons objectively (grid- group measurement)is that we can correct the errors of methodological individualism! Furthermore, we want to control the subjective input as far as possible. It might be useful for thinking about science and humanities too. More later. 49:80 Rosalyn Hansrisuk Hello to all. My name is Rosalyn Hansrisuk. As Richard has introduced me before, I am the volunteer facilitator for the Two Cultures Conference. Below is a summary of the first week of posts as of Saturday, March 4th. These summaries will be prepared weekly and posted into the conference. Please contact me at email@example.com if there are any housekeeping problems with the site or if there is anything else I can assist with. As a longer introduction to myself, as Richard has pointed out, I am a product of the University of California, San Diego studying Anthropology and Political Science. I currently work at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice (http://peace.sandiego.edu)as an Audio/Visual Coordinator, and spend my free time studying Arabic and keeping on top of the ILF conferences. I've recently returned from a month-long vacation in Thailand, and hope to pursue graduate studies next year in a combination of Anthropology of the Middle East and Arabic language studies. Thank you again and I look forward to the development of the conference. 2 Cultures Symposium International Leadership Forum Western Behavioral Sciences Institute Summary #1 for the week of March 6th, 2006 The Two Cultures Symposium opened up with Carol Anne Bundy starting the conference off with a reexamination of the premise: C.P Snow‘s iconic 1959 essay The Two Cultures discussing the deep division between the sciences and the humanities that was a hindrance in solving many of the world‘s problems. Scientist and thinker Jonas Salk sought to bridge the gap and encourage healthy exchange between the fields of study, but however fell short in realizing this dream. It is in this spirit that the select group of participants will explore the relationships between science and the humanities to shed light on the divisions among the fields. Several concepts were introduced in the opening of this conference. Douglass Carmichael and Richard Farson discussed the theme of science funding being driven by payoff in a control economy. The last half of the 20th century saw sciences move not towards the humanities, but towards commercialization, big business, and the private sector. Science has been discovered in a big way to make a profit. ―The social responsibility of business is only to make a profit‖ (Nobel Economist Friedman). ―Rather than getting into bed with the humanities, science has gotten into bed with business, where wisdom may actually be unwelcome.‖ In addition, in the Western science community‘s fight for a platform of being neutral and ―value-free‖, it was easily co-opted into the West‘s military and commercial spheres of activity and funding, thus going to show that ―money power dominates the decision-making processes and forces careers to align‖ (49:13). Walter Anderson introduced the concept of the Anthropocene Epoch, with the obsolescence of dualistic thinking (human/nature), the rise for dialogue across another polarization (science/ humanities) to transcend it (49:6), and the rise of evolutionary governance (49:28). Carol Anne Bundy discussed the perspective of distinguished thinker Thomas Margerison, who viewed the greatest challenge to science was ―the meaning of statistics as economic drivers that must be appeased a priori irrespective of motivations borne out of sense of responsibility‖ (49:8). Salk invented a vaccine for Polio not out of the motivation for lucrative payoff, but out of a sense of responsibility that made the vaccine a personal and moral imperative. On a discussion on science and freedom, Mary Douglas touched upon the famous Rousseau quote, ―Man is born free, but is everywhere in chains‖, and updated the concept to a contemporary perspective, ―Man is born free, but is everywhere in traffic jams‖ (49:16). This concept is used periodically throughout the conference in illustrating how science has been taken hostage by corporate agenda, politics, and selective funding, without having the freedom to develop in lesser demand areas. The theme of culture then took the stage, with Mary Douglas indicating that it would be an impossible dream, if not a mistake, to merge the two cultures into one (49:12); further saying that a culture flourishes on opposition and prides itself for not being like the other cultures out there. Carol Anne Bundy agrees that diversity is healthy and fertile for development, adding a quote from Salk, ―his enemy defined his position better than he could himself‖ (49:19). In paraphrasing Bundy, nothing bored Jonas Salk more than people always agreeing with him; in the face of another person‘s challenge, one has the opportunity to dig deeper into one‘s own thinking and seek clarity. Salk would celebrate diversity and search for patterns and connections, not necessarily agreement, as ―consensus was the lowest common denominator.‖ Mary Douglas goes on to say that people get a lot of fun out of unveiling hidden and unconscious biases of their colleagues (49:25). Evans-Pritchard imparted to his students that value-neutrality in research was impossible, and that the only way to overcome the challenge was ―to declare one‘s cultural baggage as loudly and clearly as possible.‖ The obstacles of dualistic thinking were also explored, citing that it provides a platform of demonization of the other (Anderson 49:30). Some cultures in the East for example may be able to accept multiple interpretations as being true, however the cultures of the West influenced by Aristotelian thought may only accept a concept as either true or false (Farson 49:29). Mary Douglas adds that it is a fundamental issue for the West to ―think in terms of irreconcilable binary opposites‖ (49:52). Lastly, the theme of the imagination is starting to be discussed among the conference participants. Despite the view that science has been devoid of any human meaning and based solely on material matters, the imagination is used to describe the future in ways that the past did not use (49:55), and that scientists are all the time encouraged to use their imagination to maximize their thinking and look for new paradigms, new questions, and new explanations (Cassín 49:57). In terms of imagination and the humanities, Mary Douglas indicates that those in the field do not like closure or clear-cut, definite endings (49:58). Those in the humanities culture think it‘s better off and more exciting to ―still be searching‖ (Cleveland 49:59). Throughout the conference, the participants are privileged to read insightful anecdotes about Jonas Salk contributed by Carol Anne Bundy that gives the aura that he is participating in the conference. ---End of Summary # 1— [The Two Cultures continues…] 49:81 Richard Farson I think that one reason universities have to be conservative, not politically conservative, but risk averse, is that they must last forever. They must honor their degrees and tenure commitments, and therefore not alienate their donors, grantors and prospective students. They have to be cautious about what projects they undertake and whom they hire. Too much controversy can be trouble. Herb Blau will remember the explosive time at CalArts where he was provost and I was dean of the School of Design when the dean of our School of Critical Studies hired the Marxist scholar Herbert Marcuse. The shudder that went through CalArts over that episode left a lot of human debris, and the hiring did not go through. Marcuse was a politically hot potato during the cold war. And CalArts was organized to be very flexible--no professorial rank, no tenure, no grades. Independent institutes, on the other hand, can and do go out of business, usually rather quickly. The Bauhaus lasted only a short time, but the impressive and lasting and highly controversial work they did in modern art and architecture could not have been done at a university at that time. I still ask the question, could the special culture of the university, which is the institution that houses both cultures we are discussing, play a role in the difficulty between us and therefore in the improvement? 49:82 Carol Anne Bundy What a helpful summary, Rosalyn. Well done. A bit like herding wild cats, isn't it, following the posts of such an intelligent, thoughtful, diverse and passionate group. And thanks to the group for a great first week. 49:83 Douglas Strain Richard Cassín, thank you for the excellent reference on Karl Popper in your 49:79! 49:84 Mary Douglas Welcome to Rosalyn. Nice to have several anthropologists on board. Anthropology is one of the few academic disciplines that shelter both scientific and humanities research. 49:85 Mary Douglas Prestige, defined as freely conferred deference: I need to say more about why it is a better word for human motivation than self-interest. First, because it assumes that every human is interacting with others. In all theories about human behavior we should assume that the human is a social being. That means that the human is endowed with many complex faculties for interpreting the intentions of other humans. We read each other as signaling systems, faces, bodies, voices, and we respond in like manner. We have every reason to want prestige, it is a shorthand way of saying we want not to be victims or pawns of other humans in our environment. It is not a matter of vanity. To earn prestige for oneself it helps to be near a prestigious centre, so prestige-seeking triggers a centrifocal movement. For an individual to have prestige automatically generates a following, which ensures some advantage and protection for the prestigious individuals, but also for the community as a whole. Competing for prestige is not the same as dominance, which usually depends on physical coercion. But like dominance-behavior, it benefits the species, and it benefits the individual who wins the competition, giving better opportunities for feeding and mating. In evolutionary terms, competition for dominance holds the band together. Competing for prestige has other advantages. One main strategy for gaining prestige is to have proximity to the current winner, so a large following is a sign of prestige. Another strategy is to be successful in whatever crafts and skills are useful. The one with the highest skills will have the largest clientele. The result is reduction of information-gathering costs. Effective cultural traits can spread rapidly. The clientele easily pool information, and can protect their common territory from other species which might want to push them off it, or the sheer numbers of the competing prestige clientele may give extra safety against predators. The band has more success in adaptation and survival. Of course there are problems about the optimum size of a leader's clientele in a given physical environment. The path-breaking article by Henrich and Gil-White introduces a model of human motivation that is much richer than the economists' model of individual self-interest. This theory starts with animal models and moves on to human hunting societies, which provide admirable analogies even for living in post-industrial society. ('The Evolution of Prestige', Evolution and Human Behavior, Elsevier Science, 2001). 49:86 Richard Cassín Starting a new week, I would like to introduce a new topic to the group: Complexity Science. It is the single discipline that I know where there is a blurring of the line between the hard sciences and the various disciplines of the humanities. Although centered most notably at the Santa Fe Institute in Santa Fe, NM, the study of complex emergent systems now permeates virtually every field of science, and has received the attention of economists, sociologists, political scientists (particularly), and historians - among others. To get the neophytes started, I suggest reading the introduction to Mitch Waldrop's excellent 1993 book Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos, which can be found at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0671872346/ref=sib_dp_top_ex/002-6933632- 8256051?%5Fencoding=UTF8andp=S00C#reader-link Actually, I suggest you purchase the book (used, it's an inexpensive paperback). It may change how you see the world—indeed, the Universe. I also suggest that you look in some depth at the Santa Fe Institute's website at http://www.santafe.edu to get some sense of the kind of work being done there, and at other institutions such as Brookings and Los Alamos National Laboratory, among many others. Complexity Science tries to get at some of the more intractable problems in physics and cosmology, economics, genetics, political science, population biology, sociology, psychology, etc. Most disciplines in the hard sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities are represented at SFI, and are working together to help one another's research. I've spent a fair amount of time at SFI over the past 10 years, and I think most of the folks there would de-emphasize the notion of a Science/Humanities duality. Currently, what is known as agent-based modeling is very much in vogue among people studying complex emergent systems in the social sciences. At Los Alamos, for example (the progenitor of SFI), there is a group studying terrorism using agent- based modeling systems. And a year ago I participated in a Summer working group employing this technology to study conflict resolution, and focused on the civil war in El Salvador and the end of apartheid in South Africa. The economists have most enthusiastically taken to the study of economics as complex emergent systems, principally because of the many failures of classical theory-based econometrics to predict major economic events. For example, Stanford's Nobel Laureate, Kenneth Arrow - the father of econometrics, has been on the Board of SFI for many years. Likewise, Nobel laureate Murray Gell-Mann (The Quark and the Jaguar) in physics. The birth of SFI in the early 80's came out of discussions between economists and theoretical physics. At any rate, an awareness of what's going on at SFI and in Complexity Science in general should be of interest to most members of this group. The introduction to Waldrop's book and a look at the SFI website is a good place to begin. 49:87 Carol Anne Bundy Mary and Richard. Brilliant. Looks like its going to be a great week. Thanks to both of you for setting us off on the right foot. 49:88 Douglass Carmichael While I was off at an Oscar party and nursing my ego after the blow to my Marcel Marceau proposal, and being insinuated to not be an official scientist because I am not in a bureaucracy… look at the wonderful developments in the conference. On Marcel I must add that in fact his work became central to a lot of my thinking about rhetoric, poetics, and math in relation to the body, where they map and why. I took up tai chi and improvisational theater to explore it further and integrate it into my psychoanalytic work, and that led me to study Chinese for its wonderful example of "another kind of mind." The idea that seeing Marcel was "entertainment" is to miss the point. Psychology too much takes music, art, theater, literature, falling in love, the urge towards war and towards civilization - and cast them aside and works with what is left over. Crazy. A system is best understood by looking at what it does best, and for humans much of that is "entertainment" and hence core study for an adequate psychology. My view of the humanities and science is that both are concerned with stories. Good stores. Science is a collection of very good stories, as is the humanities, and understanding stories is key, and cross over between the two. 49:89 Walter Anderson I was unable to check in with this conference for a few days and return feeling like Rip van Winkle—things have moved so far. I did find time yesterday morning to read the funnies—the important things in life— and enjoyed the wonderful Doonesbury strip introducing the White House "situational science adviser," whose job is to point out that there are two sides to every science controversy (such as global warming, effects of tobacco, evolution, etc.) and not just the one supported by the facts. A great piece of satire, but I think it reveals one piece of our problem, which is that we think science is or should be at all times in possession of the facts -- true and final. But it never is, and the complexity sciences have given us new understanding of that. Correctly understood, this doesn't diminish the importance of science, it only requires us to appreciate that good science can give us true and precise information - - better than what we're likely to get from any other source -- that still isn't the final word on how to think about science-related public issues. 49:90 Henri Atlan Hello. I am glad to join the club at Carol Anne's and Richard Farson's invitations. Since Carol Anne has bothered to introduce me (item 49:41), I will not have to do it. (Only my e-mail is not the one indicated in the link).I am happy to renew the contact with Mary Douglas (49:54) : I remember very well our encounter in Italy, after I had appreciated , learnt and quoted her previous works. I appreciate Richard Cassín's comments on Complexity Science. This is a field where I have been working for more than 30 years. At that time it was not fashionable in Biology, because of the popularity, simplicity and technical performances of DNA technologies, dominated by the metaphor of the computer program, the so called "genetic program". While doing my work in cell biophysics (membrane biology) I was among the minority of biologists who tried to demonstrate that molecular biology findings were misinterpreted by this metaphor. I developed alternative models, mostly based on the logics of self-organization and mechanical emergence of global properties from local constraints. I published several works on a "complexity from noise principle" for self-organization, showing how random perturbations can have an organizational effect by increasing the functional complexity of a system in a non predicted way , adapted though to new situations.(Network models of complex autoimmune phenomena and diseases have lead me to collaborate with Jonas and to propose an original approach for an immunotherapy of AIDS, presently under trial). It was necessary to wait for the completion of the "human genome" project based on the idea that everything is DNA, to realize that this paradigm must be abandoned. A new revolution is taking place in biology. As often in the history of science an old paradigm is replaced by a new one, thanks to the exploitation of data that only the old one was able to provide. This is what happens now. The old paradigm, which lead to an extreme genetic reductionism, reviving the old ideas of "preformationism", is replaced by a new one, named "biocomplexity" or "system biology", which is not less materialist and reductionist but more open to epigenetic phenomena, including the possibility of emergence of newness. This history is important because it has strong implications on the vision of the world (and of ourselves) that modern biology gives us. Practical, bioethics, conclusions may be derived from this. Essentialist definitions of what is a human person, what is an embryo, must be replaced by evolving definitions. What and who is a human person can evolve from a nonhuman . A pseudo-embryo, i.e. a cellular artificial construct produced by nuclear transfer -so called cloning, can behave like an embryo if implanted successfully into a uterus. Uterus implantation, and not the formation of the original genome, by fecundation or by nuclear transfer, is what makes a mass of cells an actual embryo that may develop into a baby. Returning to the two cultures business, I tend to agree with Mary that there unification is impossible, no matter how "dual thinking" would be discarded, if that is ever possible. (I am trying to adhere myself to a monist philosophy, based on the Stoics, Spinoza, and some Kabbalah oriented talmudic masters). The reason is that there is no way in overcoming the naturalistic fallacy , i.e., confusing what is with what ought to be, or else introducing wishful thinking in the practice of scientific research. There is no unity even between different sciences because they are using different methods and vocabularies. There is even less unity between different forms of knowledge and human experiences : scientific, mythic, artistic, moral, juridical, economical, political, etc. however, there is a deep asymmetry between the two cultures, which probably makes even more difficult the task to bridge the gap : the language of sciences has succeeded in being almost universal, being reduced to mathematics, logics, and ... the basic English of international meetings. On the other hand, every real experience in what is called (in English !) "humanities", is rooted in particular cultures largely determined by different languages. Translations are just creating misunderstandings (sometimes, but not always, adding to the original (This is a particular instance of emergence of new meanings from noise, or Quine's underdetermination of translations, or Duhem's underdetermination of theories, and of underdetermination of models by observation, which I have found in my work on modelling and might turn out to be an intrinsic limitation to complexity science). Nevertheless, in spite of this impossible unity, there is a need of encounter, because science and technology create problems -social, political, ethical, ontological—that science and technology by themselves cannot solve. This encounter must be based to a reciprocal criticism, which I have called "intercritique of science and myth" aimed at limiting the hubris of technology on the one hand, and the confusion between dream and reality on the other hand. It seems to me that at one stage, our group should include more people from non occidental, not Christian background, whose mother language is not English. Some experience has shown to me how enriching may be encounters with Chinese and Japanese biologists and philosophers on subjects of bio-ethics, when cultural and linguistic backgrounds are very different. My apologies for having been so long. I will try to be shorter next time. 49:91 Carol Anne Bundy Welcome, Henri. Wonderful substantive comments and the practical suggestion for a "non-occidentalist" and someone in bio-ethics are most welcome. There is a wonderful Chinese doctor, Dr. Tzu, who Jonas and used to speak with whose life story is like none other I know. A most remarkable man. And there is a psychiatrist, Dr. Isaac Anbar, whose perspective I believe would bring much to these discussions. I will try to reach both this week. Any other suggestions and/or candidates? Richard Cassín, would you mind expanding on agent-based modeling and if this might apply in terms of "how" we think about thinking about the issues brought up so far in this discussion? I would love to see some discussion between Henri and Richard C about emergent systems, especially in terms of the "known, the unknown and the unknowable" that Louis Kahn often referred to. What is the role of contingencies here, if any? What about wisdom as Jonas defined it: Wisdom as the ability to make retrospective judgments prospectively" Any comments? Mary, thank you for your thoughts on prestige. I am going to need some time to think about that in relation to some conceptual work that Jonas and I were pursuing as to the evolution of consciousness. Anyone else ready to respond to Mary's profound post? A current events note: Interesting that Crash received the best picture at the Oscars. I rarely pay attention to awards but I did see this movie and was struck by its attempt to present "multiple perspectives." I would just like to add one more impression: Jonas like to think of genes and ideas as homologous only ideas had the ability, especially at this point in human history, to transform and evolve at a far faster rate and at a much higher frequency than genes are capable of. I rather suspect that this dialogue will go some distance in proving the point. 49:92 Walter Anderson Henri, welcome and thanks for the rich comment which I have just printed out to read again. A friend of mine at UC Irvine was working along similar lines, up until the last day of his life. It seems to me there is another aspect of the science-humanities issue we need to take note of, which is the tendency of nonscientists (journalists, etc.) to over-use what they take to be scientific ideas. So, even though science is moving into a more complex understanding of the cell, people are still talking about discovering the gene for this or the gene for that. 49:93 Richard Cassín Carol Anne (49:91) - For a brief introduction to agent-based modeling, look at: http://www.red3d.com/cwr/ibm.html 49:94 Richard Cassín Here is another excellent treatment of Agent-Based Modelling: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/99/suppl_3/7280 It's an article in PNAS entitled: ― Agent-based modeling: Methods and techniques for simulating human systems.‖ 49:95 Richard Cassín Sorry for the fractionated postings...but I particularly wanted to recommend the second item above over the first. Eric Bonabeau's PNAS article is a really excellent, detailed exploration of Agent-Based Modelling, its uses, and intellectual roots. 49:96 Douglass Carmichael I'll leave others to comment on the Bonabeau Agent based modeling article. Much can be made of it. I was at a seminar in the psychology department at Berkeley today, on "episodic memory and theory of mind." What struck me was that the methodology and framing was rather fundamentalist, in that the key presenter wanted to make sure that there were things that caused perceptions. And then the ensuing memory process had a discernible structure. An event was seen, remembered, and reportable to another who could know the event happened without being able to remember it. The problem from my view is that in, say, sociology or anthropology, we are striving to show that the scene as seen is socially constructed, that there is no "original" or "natural" that is not already the result of a complex social process over time. So this kind of psychology reifies the idea of a "real" before "perception". Politically this works out as "society exists and is part of nature" rather then socially constructed, and therefore is a given and not something that can be changed. Take for example the campus design. Obviously man made. What about god? obviously man made. What about "nature"? On science and the humanities, I love the crossovers now occurring. I gave the Mirowski reference earlier (despite "who cares"). The most developed in my view is the work of Bruno Latour, and his web site is worth exploring. http://www.ensmp.fr/~latour/ and the article at wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruno_Latour is a good beginning and includes "Latour rose in importance following the 1979 publication of Laboratory Life: the Social Construction of Scientific Facts with co-author Steve Woolgar. In the book, the authors undertake an ethnographic study of a neuroendocrinology research laboratory at the Salk Institute. This early work demonstrated that naïve descriptions of the scientific method, in which theories stand or fall on the outcome of a single experiment, are inconsistent with actual laboratory practice, in which a typical experiment produces only inconclusive data that is attributed to failure of the apparatus or experimental method, and that a large part of scientific training involves learning how to make the subjective decision of what data to keep and what data to throw out; a process that to an untrained outsider looks like a mechanism for ignoring data that contradicts scientific orthodoxy." At Caltech I worked in the lab that produced the Mossbauer effect and won the Nobel Prize. The day that happened we undertook a quick lit review and found 22 experimental papers that should have found the effect (which would have seemed anomalous in the context of those papers) and did not - and there were the plotted data! 49:97 Harlan Cleveland Ever since I can remember, I've enjoyed and admired complexity. Since most of my life has been spent in executive jobs—in government and in universities—my bent toward complexity has been often and fully fulfilled. And when I've tried to help students learn about leadership (that's not a subject one "teaches," except perhaps by example), one of my themes was always to advise them to "fall in love with complexity." So I have read a good deal about complexity—including, now, the lucid description of "agent-based modeling" suggested by Richard Cassín in 49:95. The author, Eric Bonabeau, makes a strong case for bottom-up modeling based on individual units in a system, as more sophisticated than formulas or equations which try to model the system as a whole. The modelers tend to use examples from businesses puzzling about customer flows, stock market behavior, financial risk-taking, innovation adoption, etc. I am interested in those fields, but they are not where my own executive experience tugs at my curiosity. My problem is how to fuse the theoretical models with my experience in managing, or at least coping with, complexity in the real worlds of public policy and academic administration. My initial efforts to think systematically about complexity came in the early '80s when I served on the board of UCAR, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, the holding company for NCAR in Boulder, CO, the world's largest and best atmospheric research facility. After listening to many briefings from mathematicians and scientists—and reading James Gleick's book Chaos—I had a "2 cultures" thought: scientists were discovering what practitioners of politics and administration had known by instinct and experience, ever since Lao-tzu (or before). Should I be welcoming them to the club? I gave some examples in a 1997 essay reprinted in my 2002 book Nobody in Charge. One example: The chaos/complexity experts spoke of "sensitive dependence on initial conditions;" in less fancy language, that means "It matters where you start," which is hardly a blinding revelation to anyone who's ever tried to organize people to get something done. The complexity literature grew and I naturally lost track of most of it, since I was busy trying to handle my own niches of the Great Complexity. But a question kept gnawing at me which this conference provides an occasion to ask: Attempts to model the efforts of real people to work together seem bound to treat individual humans as units—not necessarily as undifferentiated robots, but as all making judgments in a single dimension, as drivers of cars, voters, shoppers, rational economic actors, stock market traders, etc. Yet each person is part of a different family, ethnic group, and a dozen different communities—and, as a person, is a very complex combination of body parts intricately interconnected by muscles, nerves, and a brain with its rational and intuitive and spiritual potentials, an almost unimaginable complexity in itself. Even with all we know from experience and study about groupthink, crowd behavior, and followership patterns, how can a "model" of human behaviors possibly match the complexity the modeler is trying to describe or predict? And if it inherently can't, what is it essential for the practitioner who uses such a model to understand about its limitations? 49:98 Henri Atlan Agent Based Modeling has great advantages in that, among other things, it allows for more realistic models taking into account individual agents with their fluctuations rather than averages. Emerging, new properties are often linked to amplified random fluctuations. These models allow predicting or ―explaining" how unpredictable events may happen. As Bonabeau him self rightfully mentions, this kind of modeling raises the question of what is "explaining" . We could add "what is understanding?" In addition, one limitation, as in other bottom up modeling techniques of "complex" systems, i.e. made of many interacting units, observed in nature and not in a controlled experimental environment, is again underdetermination of models by observations(or underdetermination of theories by facts): too many "correct" models are available, correctly predicting the observations, because the number of possible observations is much smaller than the one which would be necessary to falsify, ideally, all models except one, as it is the case for well controlled experiments acting on small number of variables. In such situations one should be perhaps more satisfied with generic, top down, models (including AB Models)than bottom up ones. 49:99 Walter Anderson Doug's comment on Bruno Latour points toward one of the hottest areas of science-humanities controversy, which is the whole "social construction" movement. Although some elements of this were already alive in academia when Snow's book was published, most of it -- postmodernism and the backlash against it -- has happened since. 49:100 Douglass Carmichael The agent model tends to be dealing with rational actors under strict rules in a make and sell market model (the main example in the paper). What is at least as interesting to me is how cultures change - that is, fundamental beliefs. These actors in the agent model are not emotionally involved with each other. (Mirowski's Machine Dreams referenced earlier is a fascinating history of the development of these models). I am completely convinced that science is a religion - that it integrates bits into a holistic system that explains everything—jjust as other religions do. Each religion has a payoff of a different kind. The alignment of science with "progress" and hence a certain model of empire should be fairly obvious. For Islam the payoff is organizing those who feel (for good reason) a lack of social justice economically and legally. Christianity organized the poor and outcast in the ME until adopted by Constantine to fill a gap in the Roman Empire. From then on, those still left "outside" mostly in the ME became those organized for social justice by Mohamed. This dynamic is still working, just as Christianity is aligned with power and tries to keep traditional "spirit" alive. Science, as a religion, lacks a strong view of human experience in love and death, sin and redemption, or equivalents, and so has not developed a view that can support the life cycle of the majority of the population. I would go so far as to say the rise of swearing (use your own graphic examples from our children and hip hop)with its focus on the body is a reaction to the ignorance of the body in this society, especially as the children are not allowed outside but forced into TV/internet as the parents say "can't you find something to do in your room?" Agent based modeling can be interestingly compared with actor-network theories. Again via Latour http://www.ensmp.fr/~latour/livres/XII_tdmANT.html 49:101 Sandy Mactaggart I am trying to determine what we are attempting to do in this discussion of Agent Based Models as they refer to our objectives as described originally by Carol Anne. From what I read, they are useful in modeling evolving systems where agents are programmed with limited characteristics. But, as has been pointed out, we are diverse individuals with complex motivations whose behavior can seldom be predetermined. They may be useful in modeling behavior from a cinema on fire, where the only motivation is to escape as soon as possible, but any action that flows from human emotions surely is impossible to predict or model. Harlan‘s 49:97 seems to say it all, both in terms of wisdom, being the ―feel‖ or understanding of a sufficient number of previous experiences, and also his comment on the importance of knowing where to start. I remember being invited to a class in a School of Business where the students were working through a formula to determine the outcome of a problem in finance. When the results were compared, a great deal of time was spent in determining if the mathematics were correctly calculated. When asked to give a critique of the class, I pointed out that the correct answer did not lie in the calculations, but in the assumptions that decided whether the inputs to those calculations were valid or not. They had been accepted without discussion, but were in my opinion of doubtful worth. It seems to me we are searching for ways to bring the precision of scientific thinking in to the uncertainties of humanistic social/ moral chaos and vice versa. The discussion is erudite and interesting, but hasn‘t yet persuaded me that it can or should be done. 49:102 Herbert Blau About what Sandy Mactaggart said (49:101) aye, there's the rub. We all live in a world of incessantly appalling realities, from nuclear threats and global warming to suicide bombings (why not yet in a shopping mall?), poverty, pillage, genocides, rape, fundamentalisms and evangelisms, innumerable children with AIDS, Katrina episodes and Dubai doubts, with containers unexamined at seaports, like our ethics up for grabs in the social and moral chaos. The issue would appear to be in this dialogue--if dialogue is still possible, and a journal named DIALOG, at its 50th anniversary, has asked me to write about that, at time when some believe, in the waning of disbelief, that there's "No substance for dialogue . . . anymore because there is no more history," only the illusion of it, in the ruins of time. Whether that's true or not, here we are, in the humanities or in the sciences, with maybe some dubious crossovers: if there are things we can't talk about, because next to untranslatable for those untrained, do we have anything from our respective disciplines to offer, whatever's been formed by how we've come to think, from the research we do, the poems we read, or amidst our believable fictions our sense of reality principle, to guide us in making judgments at the extremities or indeterminacies of what we'd rather forget, the world we unfortunately share? Even the best informed are likely to feel powerless, but what, if in some fantasy of power, we had it--what would we do about all those issues, complex beyond complexity, which we deal with mostly by what used to be called "selective inattention"? Or do we keep trying to talk because it's really impossible? Which may be, in science or the humanities, the most compelling motive of all? 49:103 Mary Douglas A response to Herb at 49:71, your interesting remark on intermittent appearance of the word 'beauty' in scientific language. Also a flippant connection to Herb York at 49:76 on feminisation of everything! My mother-in-law, who would be 100 if she had lived on, reproached me for using the word 'beautiful' for a man. Apparently it was for her an utterly feminine concept. Odd, because she was French and in that language it was even then OK to speak of 'un beau garçon'. Back to beauty as an objective in scientific work. I was given a recent book about theological disputes in the early Christian Church, by Marguerite Haas. La Bible en Sorbonne. Its frame is the intellectual progress of a young classical scholar in Paris in the 1960's through the stages of a career that took her on to the faculty of the Classics department. She found that according to the curriculum no ancient works in Greek counted as classics unless by Greeks and about Greeks. My copy has been mislaid, so this is from memory, unreliable. It sounds like an ethnic cleansing of the academic subject. No literature by or about Christianity or Judaism counted in Classics even if by world famous Greek writers. The ancient Greeks would appear to have lived alone, fighting the Persian Empire alone, ignoring the Greek Jews who lived among them, and Egypt whom they conquered. It must be a peculiar view of a people who had paramount importance in the whole Mediterranean world. Not being a classicist, I can't imagine what a one-sided vision it gave. And I don't know whether other great classics Departments purified 'Greek Culture' to the same degree. The result was that important movements fell between the cracks. I am intrigued by what this book says about Origen. I never knew that his losing version of the omnipotent God of Christianity was strongly based on an aesthetic principle. God is beauty, his creation is beautiful, making his worshippers ecstatic. This principle lost out in the development of Christian thought, the winner was the idea of God as a supremely rational being. The chance to integrate a theory of reason and a theory of beauty was never taken. To an anthropologist the obvious obstacle was the development of the Church as a huge, magisterial bureaucracy. Bureaucracies depend on logic, they like to define and close. But now, all that is tottering. Refer back to our earlier talk about modern dislike of closure. Has the principle of beauty got a new a chance? Here we are, looking for it in the Orient. Afraid that mixing the categories would make for bad science. Surely we are right to worry about indiscriminate mixtures. But it ought not to be too impossible to work out what aesthetics and logical reason have in common. 49:104 Richard Farson Such important points are being raised, such wisdom offered. I am so appreciative. Your comments, Mary, about beauty and reason needing to find each other makes me think of developments in the world of business management where the concept of design is becoming the byword. Traditionally we have associated a number of terms with leadership--courage, optimism, decisiveness, vision, humility, compassion, etc. but seldom wisdom or beauty. The reason we don't see wisdom mentioned in the halls of corporate leadership is because it is associated with social responsibility, and in the competitive capitalistic market system, that cannot be a high priority (surely an influence on corporate-sponsored science). But appreciation for the esthetics of leadership is creeping in now. Management guru Tom Peters says it flatly, "Everything is design." And design always carries an esthetic dimension. Great leaders in every field, like great bullfighters and great athletes, combine form and grace and courage into actions that can only be described as beautiful. Maybe beauty sometimes passes under other names--charisma or mystique. I'm sure the same idea can be applied to science and scholarship and education when they are at their best. 49:105 Herbert Blau About the misguided perimeters of classical Greece, it seems poetic justice that the only extant trilogy of tragic drama, the ORESTEIA, begins at dawn with a character called (in a perfect naming) the Watchman, waking from "the weariness of the watch time measured by years," after lying there "dog wise" below "the grand processionals of all the stars of night" and waiting to read the meaning in the beacon light coming from the East in actuality, in the play from mythic Troy, but as if from barbaric darkness into the beginning of the Western Enlightenment: its humanism, rationality, science, models of agency (or Agent Based Models), and still unending history of now rational, now gratuitous slaughter--and even those ―aesthetic dimensions,‖ as Walter Benjamin remarked, part of that history of barbarism. There he is, The Watchman, speaking to the 18,000 or so spectators with the Aegean sea behind him, and the Orient beyond it, about the shifty doings within and what they ought to know already, in that spectacular structure and structure of spectacularity, in which, he watching them, they watching him, the watchers are watching the watchers watch (as in its pre-psychoanalytical apotheosis in Hamlet‘s play-within- the-play). Dutifully, he sets the scene, hints at the scandal within, subliminally there within, the irony of which is that he is telling them what they surely know, or would know if they really thought about what, with an ox upon his tongue, he otherwise leaves to silence: "I speak to those who understand, but if they fail, I have forgotten everything." Speaking of complexity, or design, or wisdom, there you have it, the coming to know what‘s already known, and even in its cruelty the whole thing beautiful too--though we have to know it unknowingly thru the implacability of the drama, where (to repeat) not beauty, but ―rigor of beauty is the quest,‖ though more often than not, sadly so, ―locked in the mind past all remonstrance.‖ And without remonstrance, well, all of culture, wherever it comes from (science, humanities, or pending now, the global- market enlightened Orient) will have taught us nothing at all. 49:106 Mary Douglas Richard, thank you for the comment. It may be that in what was a very masculine environment beauty sound inappropriate. Yes, beauty does come in by other names. I would like to ask our science friends here whether 'elegance' is such a one. Didn't whoever used 'parsimonious' as a praise word for a theory? also used 'elegant' for a solution? Elegance is applied to great bull-fighters, and what could be a more masculine model? 49:107 Sandy Mactaggart Continuing with the theme of the difficulty of determining the future, and therefore the human condition in it, and since there are vague references in some comments to the influences of the Orient, I thought it an appropriate time to repeat a well known Chinese Folk Tale about a farmer, his son and a horse. The farmer was about to use the horse to bring in his harvest, when one morning he found it gone. ―What bad luck‖ his neighbors said,‖ You‘ll never get the Harvest in now!‖ ―You never can tell,‖ said the farmer, and sure enough the horse soon returned with a mare. ―How lucky you are‖! Said the neighbors, ―Now you have two horses instead of just one‖. ―I‘m not so sure,‖ said the farmer, and not two days later, as he was harnessing the mare, it kicked his son and broke his leg. ―How terribly unfortunate‖, said his neighbors. ―Perhaps not‖, said the farmer, and sure enough, the following week the Emperor‘s troops drafted all the able bodied young men into the wars where most died, but the injured son was exempted. One could go on. Perhaps the difference between science and the humanities is that science deals with discovering certainties, which, if correctly analyzed, repeat the same result over time. The more complex the human condition, the less it repeats itself over time. One can capture a particular moment of it, one may, like the neighbors above, make a judgment on what will happen next, but until there are unchangeable laws governing the actions of human beings as immutable as those that govern nature, we are unlikely to find many useful parallels in how we manage our two cultures. But that perhaps, is not what we are trying to do. If Jonas Salk believed that the moral questions raised by evolving science would be better resolved through association with the humanities, why do we need to attempt to blend differences that have evolved over time to enable two different ways of thinking to efficiently operate in their respective fields? Will anything ever stop a scientist somewhere from seeking after the answer, regardless of the moral consequences? Once the answer has been found, is it not the inevitable responsibility of those who deal with the governance and morality of those who are affected by it, to deal with its consequences? Is there any certain way to do this that is better than the imperfect solutions we use today? 49:108 Richard Farson Sandy, I believe those are good questions to ask. They escalate to larger concerns. Maybe we need to escalate even more, as you did in an earlier comment, calling for our collaboration to build a better world. I don't think that Jonas wanted scientists to associate with folks from the humanities and social sciences so that biologists would have a group to advise on the moral issues raised by their work. He actually built two identical buildings of considerable size to house an institute for the study of man, believing both disciplines were equally necessary to bring about a better world. It is our failure to bring about that better world that is not getting the attention it deserves here. Yes, some things are definitely better. But we just emerged from the most violent century in history and practically every area of human endeavor is riddled with enormous problems. None of the professions are dealing effectively, if at all, with the great issues in their fields--health, education, justice, architecture, economics, psychology--you name it. It is to meet these challenges that we need to explore the possibility that a new relationship between science and humanities might help. The problem may be that we are comfortable in the definition of our fields as now constituted. Many scientists see their work as all encompassing, not requiring any interaction with humanities. Many scholars in the humanities may have abandoned the idea that they could make any real difference in how people live on this earth, comfortable in the pursuit of knowledge in their own narrow discipline, believing that the human condition is, after all, immutable. I know that psychologists give little thought to how they might affect programs that would address the mental health problems of the billions of people in the world who are troubled by mental illness. And architects do not address problems of world shelter. Even we Americans are unhealthy, uneducated and uncivil. I'm afraid we do need each other. 49:109 Douglass Carmichael Creating a better world is maybe the crux. For obvious historical reasons, science supports, generates, is paid to - extend technology. And the clients for the most part are governments or corporations and support, and pay to create, what will enhance profit. Nothing wrong with this and it is hard to see how it is otherwise. the difficulty comes when we see to what ends power lends itself; to greed, or creating a garden world (shorthand for a society embracing the goal of making everything as beautiful as possible). Here the question of science and humanities comes on strong. technology, and its supporting science, like to see themselves as neutral, but that is obviously wrong. Every technology has a tendency. A gun is more likely to be used for killing than a hoe. So does the emerging ideology within technology tend to take us towards some social goals over others? When Galileo said that mass and spatial position were real and everything else was secondary qualities, he was setting us on a path that tends to make things more important than people machines more important than life. Someone said that the two basic approaches to life are, can you build it? , or grow it?). The humanities tend to suggest rather that falling in love, feeling out of sorts with society, tendencies to jealousy and depression, and awe and care, are more important than the sciences tend to indicate. Science of course for a long time assumed that society would be moral and continue doing what it did best (that was a gentleman's science, a science organized around empire and its technical needs, of steam, and entropy, chemicals and the periodic table..). But that was before we saw how profoundly the technologies themselves would reorient our living. Science considers rational any workable series of actions that produce a result. All machines are rational. So this week I've met with people who are mathematicians who design control systems for the military, or .. well, you all have many examples of how quite decent folks can bomb Dresden. In any larger humanist sense such work is not obviously what is meant by rational. I take as a prime example the tendencies within medicine to maximise profit by costly interventions that in turn generate law suits. So a hospital architect tells me that more than half the floor space goes to accounting and records systems, mostly with things the attending physician does not need to know. Within psychiatry there is a general tendency to look at the 'client" as somehow "disordered" (with the implicit idea that we know what ordered mans, what the neocons call a well ordered society) and in need of being reintegrated with the main stream of society, and this to be done by some combination of anti-depressant, anti- psychotic, anti-anxiety and anti-activity (hyperactivity) drugs. Makes big pharma happy, and gives a graspable role for the docs. Yet it reduces all human self- confrontation to basically four variables. But if we take the view that "feeling bad" is a reaction to a difficult society, by eliminating the reaction, we eliminate the feedback we need on whether or not society is working well for humans. I think it is obvious that those who have read more very good literature (and some bad), who know the history of music and seek out an art museum between sessions at their professional conferences, will respond better, but unpredictably, to the social and political dramas of our time. In law much has been made of this nature of reading and perception of life (Martha Nussbaum at Chicago), and in politics by the philosopher Richard Rorty. It is in the discussion of how to build a better world that the humanities and science need to mix it up, be interested in each other, and work together on making that better world. On beauty, Suzanne Langer wrote a three volume series on mind and feeling, looking at the rise of aesthetic from within the biological, the activity of the body from the simplest to the more complex. So much to explore. And the hints about the east. Maybe it is what has led me, in a kind of blind intuition, to struggle with the Greek of Agamemnon and the watchman, and to learn classical Chinese. China, coming out of Maoism still has a deep regard for the question of better society, and they seem less anxious (the very good book One China, Many Paths by social critics in China) about critical issues like wealth distribution, energy and water than Americans, who seem more hopeless. Recovering our imagination and hope for better is one of the tasks, and I would love to know more - documents, letters, missions statements, that Salk created to set the parameters for what he wanted out of the twin buildings. 49:110 Douglass Carmichael As the evening has moved on, my mind keeps coming back to Herbert Blau and power of his evocative paragraphs, so resonant with hinted at significances. I wish I could write like that and was steeped enough in the literary culture to do it naturally. This writing, so important in helping us locate ourselves in the flow of history and the opportunities of human potentiality, is different from what science usually offers, and so important. 49:111 Richard Farson We tend to think of science as a tool, a method to discover the truth. We believe that we can use it, but it is benign, it cannot use us. As Doug points out, however, it is a technology, an enormously powerful and successful one, and as such it is capable of becoming autonomous. And it definitely can change us, even if we don't want it to. We think we invent technology, but technology also invents us. Note how the automobile has invented cities and suburbs and malls and, in important ways, parenthood and childhood and courtship and on and on into our most intimate lives. We can make a similar case for television and computers and washing machines. We could not have predicted the effect these technologies have had on us, and we could not rid ourselves of those technologies if we tried. In Langdon Winner's term, they have become autonomous. It's easy to see in those products of science, but what about science itself? The method, the culture, the range of science. Perhaps we should examine what science has done not just for us, but to us. Sandy has already mentioned the fact that science, in pursuit of the truth, ultimately will not draw back from any question--somewhere some scientist will ask it. And then we will know. But in human affairs haven't we learned that some questions should not be asked, or answered? Not knowing is one of the aspects of life that make our most important experiences possible--the mystique of romance, for example. If we were to learn how to have a romance, it would not be a romance, it would be a seduction. Studying it changes it. What else is science doing to us? 49:112 Rosalyn Hansrisuk Another summary has been created based on last week's posts of this conference. Please click on the link below and scroll to the bottom of the page to read: http://groupjazz.gjhost.com/gj/swebsock/0013687/0156409/GJ8/main/viewitem.cml?3 995+39+428+3+0+0+1+x#here 49:113 Richard Farson It seems to me that perhaps the most important development shaping science since C. P. Snow's lectures in 1959 has been its movement toward the private sector and its involvement with the market system. It is not just private industry that has moved strongly into the sciences, but universities have become more market oriented, seeing the great revenue potential from scientific achievements in the form of licenses and patents. When we talk about building a better world, the market system has its place, but it is surely not the greatest friend of the better world. The market system in the hands of private industry is notoriously socially irresponsible. Still the vibrant economy that it can provide is necessary for democracy to exist. There is no democracy in the absence of the market system. But because it is otherwise socially irresponsible, responding to "wants" not "needs," it is not comforting to have science under the control of the private sector, or of universities in bed with the private sector. Broadcast journalism and architecture are just two vital professions that have been seriously corrupted by that association. On our new ILF blog you might be interested in Charles Lindblom's series of articles, showing how a market system could still thrive under more public ownership. Lindblom is Sterling Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Economics at Yale, and the world authority on politics and markets. Such a development as he proposes would have a profound effect on the directions that science takes. http://www.ilfpost.org 49:114 Henri Atlan Regarding the evolution of science in the 20th century, a very exciting auto-biographic book by Edwin Chargaff, a pioneer in DNA biochemistry and a humanist scholar at the same time, both actor and witness of the biological revolution, could be the basis of an interesting discussion on science and humanities (and economics, and ethics, etc.) at the end of the 20th century. The book was published in 1978, but it happens to come out now in French translation for which I have been asked to write a preface. Its name: Heraclitean Fire: Sketches from a Life before Nature (Rockefeller Univ. Press, N.Y.,1978). The author is obviously melancholic and very pessimistic and we do not have to necessarily share his feelings and passions, but he is certainly very deep and thought provoking in raising real questions. 49:115 Carol Anne Bundy There has been a great deal of comment speaking to the distinctions between the humanities and the sciences. I am curious: What do you all see that they have in common, not perhaps in terms of practice necessarily, but in terms of ultimate objectives? What value might there be in defining points of nexus in spite of vast distinctions? Could this be of value as we recognize our role as humans - as individuals, groups, communities, cultures and as a species - in influencing and, perhaps, even shaping and creating the future for better or for worse? Do we all suffer from, to varying degrees, "occupational myopathy"? In a world inherently favoring specialization, can expertise itself lead a paradoxical limitation or shrinking of capacity for view of the whole resulting from intense focus on specific aspects or parts? What is a "discipline"? It is a man-made classification. In nature, everything is interconnected. The Japanese word sunao translates to the ―untrapped mind‖ How can one have a view into the future that is not inherently biased, especially when so much of our own identity is wrapped within bias? Can the veils of our biased perspectives be lifted revealing to us alternative realities/perspectives which by virtue of even acknowledgment of their existence, better inform us of our own and possibly lead us towards more evolved middle? Commonalities towards understanding of the whole for without some understanding of the whole, how can the future be meaningfully contemplated and, if possible, prepared for, created? Does assessing commononalities equate with a loss of prestige/identity? Could Mary's definition of prestige - freely conferred deference- play a role in helping us to open the view between the humanities and the sciences (for starters) a bit? Or even identify common objectives as first initiative for whatever value that might have? 49:116 Richard Farson Henri, I was interested to learn that you are pursuing the AIDS vaccine work that occupied Jonas in his last years. One of the great ironies of the Salk story is that, as you undoubtedly know, Jonas was not appreciated in his own institute. One day at lunch he told me that the president of the institute, Fred DeHoffman, was pressuring him to resign. To compound the irony, shortly thereafter DeHoffman received a tainted blood transfusion, and died of AIDS. 49:117 Richard Farson Carol Anne, I'm sure members of the two cultures are far more alike than different. My guess is that the same reasoning that Margaret Mead applied to the differences between men and women applies here--the differences within sexes are greater than the differences between sexes. So the differences within either science or the humanities are greater than the differences between these cultures. The question then becomes, are the people at the top of both cultures more alike? My guess is that they are. 1) More likely to be tentative about their work 2) More likely to see their work in a broader context 3) More likely to be meticulously disciplined in their research 4) More likely to want to test their work in applications that would benefit humanity (the best psychologists always had one foot in the applied world, testing their theories in practice--Sigmund Freud, B.F Skinner, Carl Rogers, etc.) 5) more likely to be concerned with ethical issues in their own fields. 6) More likely to be critical of their own discipline. 7) More likely to be interested and involved in the other culture. 8) More likely to be in a position to pursue their own interests as opposed to the interests of superiors, businesses, government, etc. 49:118 Carol Anne Bundy Jonas used to speak of AIDS as "the metaphoric disease of our time" Just a bit of history: Jonas became involved in HIV/Aids after being asked to advise in the dispute between co-discoverers of HIV, the American NIH's Gallo team and the French Institute Pasteur Montagnier team, as to the origin of the first HIV strain. Montagnier had maintained that the first strain had come from his laboratories. After looking at the literature, Jonas began to wonder about an alternative approach to solving the HIV problem itself, a therapeutic vaccine, counter-intuitive to anything else that was being discussed at the time, which centered in part upon what Jonas referred to as a "both/and" philosophy, live and let live conditions, in which t-cell support was the aim, not virus eradication. No one was too much interested in Jonas' theory. Around the same time, maybe a little bit before, the then Salk Institute President Dr. de Hoffman was in fact pressuring Jonas to resign from the Institute and, according to Jonas, had offered him quite a bit of money to do so. A golden parachute of sorts I guess right next to the Glider Port. De Hoffmann, Jonas said, it seemed resented his desire to have a say in Institute affairs and had initiated a campaign amongst the fellows for his resignation, not the first time Jonas had faced such a treat. What Jonas was concerned with at the time, was de Hoffmann's push towards the more commercial aspects of research, Jonas wanting to protect the original mission of the Institute. Dr. de Hoffmann died and was replaced by Dr. Delbeco, one of the founding fellows, and even though he and Jonas shared a resonance, it was still pretty clear that the Institute, where lingering strains of negativity remained towards Jonas amongst a handful of the more senior fellows, which was no secret, would not exactly be the place where he felt he could pursue his theory. As he used to say, he was once again "included out", only this time from the very Institute he had founded because of personalities at the time. But as a man who fervently believed that where there was a will there was a way, Jonas never gave up trying. He continued to speak of his theory and eventually Mrs. Kroc gave him some money to develop it. It was during this time that he got together with my mentor, a friend of his who was also his lawyer from time to time (this friend had been instrumental in breaking the code at Midway during the war so he too was pretty adapt at seeing patterns and making new ones from existing connections. He had been the Dean of the Stanford Law School, before, at the age of forty, he moved on to becoming the President of the Council of Foreign Relations, finally ending up at Paul, Weiss in New York) He helped Jonas set up The Jonas Salk Foundation and it was through this platform that Jonas went about collecting what he needed from other places - a small group of seemingly unconnected scientists and clinicians from around the world (outside of the Salk Institute but themselves working in other Institutes, clinics or government agency) who would open their minds to listen and eventually helped him develop and test the theory. At some point, a venture capitalist approached and offered to raise some more money so that things could go live, so to speak. Immune Response Corporation was formed but soon splintered off into additional avenues of research unrelated to HIV/Aids to diversify investors' risk. During this time, I remember once having lunch with Jonas out on the court of the Institute. He had just received news from a colleague in Paris at the Institute Pasteur. The news was that basically all of the monkeys who had been vaccinated with an early formulation had died, not exactly what he had hoped for. Jonas got over the disappointment of this "failure" in the time it took him to finish his habitual tuna fish sandwich. He wanted to know why. It was the "why" that he couldn't resist. He was immediately back to his charts, back to his thinking. He would need to become the virus again, he said, in order to imagine what it, and therefore he, would do next in order to outsmart it, so to speak. He used to say that there was no such thing as a failed experiment as long as it led to another question. So, in a way, it wasn't as much as a quest for certainty per se for Jonas, but his intrinsic need to understand the "why" and the "how" so as to solve problems. Maybe this was idiosyncratic to Jonas; his emphasis of always keeping an eye on the larger problems, an ever-present view of the scientific challenges within a human context and not in isolation within a discipline or institution, and his ability to be flexible, not only in his thinking, but in his associations so as to create the patterns he needed to proceed. This flexibility of mind was brilliant and it was utterly fascinating to regard his curiosity and openness to new thought. In this way, he was like evolution itself. I hope that Henri will give us some insight into where the work stands now. I just want to add one other thing. Here was a man, Jonas, who was surrounded by controversy many times in his life, a man who certainly had his detractors. A scientist whose work had touched multitudes and yet was never admitted into the National Academy.... A man of ideas who some in his own field wanted to dismiss as "amateur" and not rigorous. Sabin himself called Salk "a kitchen chemist" And yet, it is interesting to note that his polio vaccine was reinstated in 1999 as the worldwide WHO protocol after a 35 year absence. For the 35 years prior, the Sabin vaccine, released seven years after the Salk, had been instituted as protocol after it had supplanted Salk's on the supposition of superior safety, efficacy and economy. Salk: A failed scientist? A failed humanist? Or sketch of what we may someday refer to as a "universalist"? How history will judge him is not at issue here but what can we learn from his example about how to approach problem solving for the present and the future? Jonas came up with many aphorisms, but one of my favorites was "Let intuition be your guide, keeping reason by your side." 49:119 Sandy Mactaggart We give our freely controlled deference to those of us who appear to be improving the world we live in. That can be the skill of an artisan, the appreciation of artistic ability, the creation of an industry or technology, or defending our way of life. The common thread seems to be a desire to leave the world a better place for our descendants. Whether it be building a better mousetrap, or researching how to improve one, or even discovering that mice ought to be preserved, there is a commonality radiating from the centrality of the family that is present everywhere in Nature. Education and specialization certainly does lead to biases, as does too slavish an acceptance of religious dogma. That is why Secular individualism holds more promise for evolving a questioning universal mind, than do any coercive societal systems. The latter may be necessary in war, but in peace time, Churchill‘s description of Democracy as the worst form of government, Except for any other, seems to hold true. But that may just be an educational bias! 49:120 Herbert Blau First, thanks to Doug Carmichael for his late-night reflections on something I‘ve said, and how. And another time I want to follow up what he and others have said, about the two cultures in the corporate world, politics, everyday life, as well as their more intrinsic leading edges, where, as Richard suggests, those at the top of their professions are more likely than not to be alike. In that regard, for now, let me return to the edge aesthetically, but picking up on what someone said here about beauty being, truly, an ―objective‖ in scientific work. What has always beguiled me in reading about modern science is not only that any number of equations have been described as beautiful, but that there are some scientists who have insisted they must be. Thus once, in a seminar, Paul Dirac—when asked to summarize his philosophy of physics—wrote on a blackboard in capital letters: ―PHYSICAL LAWS SHOULD HAVE MATHEMATICAL BEAUTY.‖ I have, over the years, heard E=mc² spoken of as similar to a great poem, and now and then scientists speak as artists do when they say, e.g., as I‘ve also read somewhere, ―My equation is smarter than I am.‖ Which is what any number of poets or painters might say not only of the work as formed, but even before that, of the words putting out interrogative feelers or the paint in a searching arc, though all of this might begin with the notion of technique as an act of discovery. What appears to be true, however, is that what materializes might not have been there without the words, or the action of paint on the canvas, or it might have been there, always already there, but otherwise unperceived. As for the meaning in all this, as W. H. Auden once said, how do I know what I mean until I see what I say. And while I can‘t judge this methodologically, it sounds like something other than strong inference when another theoretician of science talks about things that had always been there, with somebody maybe chancing on them, as if scientists were archeologists unearthing mysterious laws. Is this a romance of science, or my romantic view of it? Or are there, at the outer limits of perception, where things go out of sight, or seem to escape us in the extremities of thought, certain real affinities between the arts and science, where what we desire to know exceeds the means of knowing, though in order to know it we may for the percipient moment have to forget what we think we know? Speaking of which—in a brief transposition to the hard-tack, heart-rending material world, to politics, say, where powerless as we may be with our fantasies of power-- we deplore, say, what our faith-based know-nothing outright lying president is doing, thinking we know it all. Simple experiment: now that we're in, over our heads in, should we get out of Iraq, and how? and how, given our respective methods, experience, knowledge, how should we be thinking about it? Or, if there were, not in NY or Las Vegas, a suicide bombing in a shopping mall in Idaho, what should we do if it were incited, like 9/11 from abroad? and thinking of 9/11, at what point of an impending threat, supported by undeniable intelligence, would something approaching torture be justified? Or, given what we're talking about, science and the humanities as modes of thought and inquiry, are such questions irrelevant? off the track of this discussion? Sometimes what I'm thinking about is so far out, or impossibly in, or in a time warp of the unthinkable--and again I think of a line from Shakespeare: "Ah, thought kills me that I am not thought!" Beautiful that, painfully so, which is what keeps me thinking. 49:121 Richard Farson Your interesting description, Herb, of the creative act transcending the creator reminds me of something I've been learning about education. Maybe there are no basic skills that must precede achievement. Not only do the better artists transcend technique, but some do not even learn it in the first place. The number of jazz musicians who do not read music is impressive--Erroll Garner, Chet Baker, Buddy Rich, Wes Montgomery....Dave Brubeck graduated from college as a music major and could not read music. And apparently only about half of the rock stars read music. Some learned to read music after becoming top achievers. When Louis Armstrong was asked if he could read music, he answered, "Not enough to hurt my playing." Even in the world of classical music....tenor Luciano Pavarotti cannot read music. Another way of saying this is that there is no such thing as training (which makes people alike and can be measured) without an educational component (which makes people different and cannot be measured). And sometimes the education comes first. I suppose this is true in science too. Maybe we have it all upside down. 49:122 Douglass Carmichael The similarity between science and the humanities is the told story. Getting better stories is the aim in both. I sometimes think of yin and yang, the dark and the light side of the mountain in Chinese, and how they can't see each other, but together make the world. We need good science, both for an appreciation of the world, and as a base for making it better. But science has increasingly had more to do with markets, war, corporate medicine, and supporting a technology world that is more aimed at wealth transfer than the arts of being human. We need a good science. And it is failing us. We also need good humanities, and the simple idea that a good novel, history, anthropological episode, can help us understand our lives, is not a connection made by most humanities professors. In science the contempt for history is as conventional as the contempt for the non- financial on the editorial page of the WSJ. To strong? Science and the human.. Max Plank, the need for universals "possess absolute, universal validity, independent of all human agency.."..."our view of he world must be purged progressively of all anthropomorphic elements. Consequently we have no right to admit into the physical world-view any concepts based in any way on human mensuration." 1949 Scientific Autobiography. It would be interesting to show the deep cultural history of ideas like "right", and even "physical" is cultural, and "world- view" is about anthropomorphic as you can get... So Herb thinks the thought I am not thought " which leads to "I must attend time's leisure with my moan." And so Iraq. The vendors of high tech asymmetrical war were in the corridors of the pentagon giving Rumsfeld the vision of a war of the US tech against the flesh of others. They wanted this war. 9/11 gave the pretext, and we forgot Br‘er Rabbit and the tar baby. The simple thing about 9/11 and the next big US attack is, they are fairly inevitable, and while painful, not system killers, except for the magnification of the event through the language of the politicians. It would have taken grave leadership o have responded to 9?11 with the understanding that it was the result of largely US policies, and that 40,000 a year die in auto accidents, and as a society we should move to reduce threats by making a better world (not Bush's capital dominated fake democracy and markets), and making sure we focus on the real threats and the difficulties in a complex world. We told inadequate stories after 9/11. I had a newsletter then and on that day I wrote one sentence. "We must remember that causes have causes." The head of the history department at Annapolis wrote me "Thank you, you have given me what I need to get through the day." And another person of unknown social role wrote and said "to even think that is immoral and disgraceful, to imply that the victims were not innocent, and that we should do anything but revenge." Here to me is the rub: science is moving us toward an interconnected world where we are all carded and documented and the internet remorselessly tells us about every bad deed done twenty years ago. We are being organized as a giant machine. I don't like it. I want gardens and personality and impishness and bravery. Where are those Internet folks arguing that of course internet commerce should be taxed, where are the congressmen who can say "yes Bush lied and should be impeached" and where are the scientists who will tell me about what we do not yet understand, not in their field, but about the world? 49:123 Douglass Carmichael Carol Anne, I appreciate deeply your Salk stories. Much to think about. 49:124 Richard Farson Doug reminds us again of the larger role that science and the humanities need to play in building a better world. The task of defining that better world has largely fallen to the humanities, because science attempts to be value-free, taking the pursuit of knowledge wherever it seems to lead. Of course in most instances it leads where the financial support for it exists. I take the assumption of this conference to be that a stronger relationship between the sciences and the humanities is crucial to a better world. I have tried to think of the bridges between us that could be built. It may come as no surprise to those who know me, because I've written a couple of books on the subject, but let me suggest that what both science and the humanities need is a greater recognition of the paradoxical nature of nature, of human affairs, and of all of our efforts to make a difference. We in the west are still dominated by Aristotelian thinking--categorizing and assuming that in a rational world, truth and falsity cannot exist in the same statement. Our commitment to a rational world has certainly had its benefits, but in human affairs, and I suspect in all aspects of nature, paradox, the seemingly absurd, is the rule, not the exception. If we could embrace paradoxical thinking, which neither of us does much now, perhaps that could be a bridge. I think that may be what Carol Anne is proposing with her "both/and" way of thinking. 49:125 Carol Anne Bundy Relational thinking. Both/and thinking. Part of binary or relational thinking involves recognizing aspects of validity in others, including perspectives, which operate to inform and transform the middle, the ever-evolving nexus. In a world of increased specialization, which has generated and has been generated by an explosion of information, attention becomes the currency. Attention is directly related to time and priority which, in a world operating at warp-speed, becomes a scarcity. In this sense, the specialization itself, the product of our ―success‖ lies vulnerable to the Second Law of Thermodynamics in terms of the larger picture. And yet, the very risk of entropy encourages innovation. Exploration and development of the ―New World‖ would not have been possible without the existence of some form of insurance industry, a concept predicated upon analysis of possible future scenarios for the potential of risk avoidance or reduction. Could there one day be the emergence of new types ―assurors‖- new navigators, (bioethists come to mind as a precursor), learned intermediaries, multi-focal mutants or even systems, for example, provocatively, a ―wisdom bank‖ for the purpose of creating an infrastructure of interfaces amongst the vast diversity. Opening our minds here, what system or network could be put in place which rather than focusing solely on risk-avoidance, could also focus on ―potential maximization‖ Are we at a ―New Frontier‖ in this sense, needing a new system, a new thing or type of community (or thinkers) from the independent sector, perhaps, with the potential to transcend beyond professional, national, racial, and religious boundaries, perhaps even making obsolete those boundaries which no longer serve, including geographical and political?. Assertion of rights or assumption of responsibilities? Critical mass? Global citizenship? Mary‘s concept of prestige? Biotechnology may offer many opportunities here for new thinking. Going back to the sigmoid-curve, if one looks at it in terms of thinking, one can imagine or perhaps see that the thinking of yesterday cannot, by virtue of the shape of the curve and what it represents, fit the curve of tomorrow if we are indeed at a point of inflection. Just a thought. More on relational thinking later. * Assure, ensure, and insure all mean ―to make secure or certain.‖ Only assure is used with reference to a person in the sense of ―to set the mind at rest‖: assured the leader of his loyalty. Although ensure and insure are generally interchangeable, only insure is now widely used in American English in the commercial sense of ―to guarantee persons or property against risk.‖ 49:126 Richard Farson The preferred option for those involved in conflict resolution is not to deal with the conflict directly, but to find a goal that is or could be common to the parties in conflict, one that they would care about enough to either resolve or set aside their differences in order to achieve the goal that could be even more important to them. It was in that spirit that I suggested that we explore the possible benefits of paradoxical thinking--for both science and the humanities, because if our common, higher order goal is the betterment of the world, we need to adopt a different strategy. The route we are on is not working well enough. Recognizing the inevitability of paradox ("There is only one truth, steadfast, healing, salutary, and that is the absurd"--Andrew Salmon) perhaps we can join together to see what paradoxical thinking could do for us. It is the overwhelming fact of life in both our realms. Technology produces what it was intended to do, and it also produces its opposite. There are more than a thousand diseases (iatrogenic diseases) that would not exist were it not for the practice of medicine. Widening highways increases congestion, air conditioning pollutes the air, pesticides and preservatives endanger our health. The computer designed to create the paperless office has increased the amount of paper in the office, etc. etc. The field of ecology is full of examples in which successful efforts to intervene in the natural course of events on behalf of some species, usually homo sapiens, have produced unexpected damage to that very species which dwarfs the original success. Paradox is everywhere. Good marriages fail more often than bad ones. Big changes may be easier to make than small ones. The better things are, the worse they feel. And on and on. We all recognize the law of unintended consequences, but we do not take a posture that honors it, that is built on understanding the paradoxical nature of life. We do not embrace it as a fundamental truth, and integrate it into our designs. We have great difficulty considering the coexistence of opposites, that something could be true and false, good and evil, painful and pleasurable. Everything in our Aristotelian background, which we don't even know that we have, militates against such a view. If we are going to try jointly to better the world, we will need to embrace paradox. 49:127 Richard Farson Appropriate for this conference is Michael Crichton's lead commentary today on our blog, the ILF Post, on the need for intellectual diversity. You might want to check it out. http://www.ilfpost.org 49:128 Herbert Blau Really not sure, Richard, that people don't live paradox, quite well aware of it, even if they don't embrace it (or have the intellectual luxury of thinking about it). As for those of us for whom paradox is second nature (Aristotle long receded), the making of choices, even when we don't like it, is more often than not unavoidably one of this or that. Psyching out when it can be a little of this and a little of that, as in diplomacy or other political negotiation, can become a fine art. As for questions of paradox and power, let me go back to a long-gone issue you mentioned: about Herbert Marcuse coming to Cal Arts. Fact is that the Board and the Disney family (for those who don't know, Cal Arts was started with money from Walt's will) were ready to approve his appointment, because at the time they trusted my judgment, and I'd assured them that Marcuse wanted to be there because, toward the end of his life, he was concerned with issues of aesthetics. But when the newspapers picked up the prospect, and it looked as if there'd be a surrounding furore, it was Herbert who backed out, not wanting to go thru what he'd been thru before. Now, that's another sort of paradox, as well as another example of that often indecipherable space between reality and appearance, the interplay of which produces, more often than not, paradoxes beyond belief. What's to be remembered, perhaps, is that even paradox is many-layered, and laminated by disposition, sentiment, ideology, you-name-it, even probably DNA, in the very activity of perception. 49:129 Herbert Blau About paradox, too, relative to Carol Anne on "relational thinking": if you really think paradoxically in the most innovative thought, with an aversion to "risk-avoidance," there's no assurance, ensurance, or insurance— another twist on the sigmoid curve? maybe thus keeping it curving? And then if, in thinking it over, you find yourself back with a binary, that may as it all keeps moving be refreshingly paradoxical. 49:130 Carol Anne Bundy Herb, can you explain that last part of your idea a bit more? Would like to explore.. 49:131 Richard Farson Herb, it is no surprise to me that you personally find no difficulty in living with paradox. The theater has been one of the great contributors to whatever understanding we might have of those absurdities of life. Certainly one of the important contributions the humanities could make to science, which surely tries to be rational. But I don't think the acceptance and understanding of paradox is quite as widespread as you seem to think it is. Paradoxical ideas don't go down all that easily, even among the intelligentsia. But you are undoubtedly correct in pointing out that it is multi-layered, extremely complex. And for that reason all the more worth studying, I'd say. Thanks for the clarification of the Marcuse affair. Shows what memory will do to screw things up. I wasn't aware of how that all played out. Maybe all the trouble came when one of my faculty members, photographer Ben Lifson, when the swim suit optional swimming pool issue came up in a trustees' meeting, stood up and took off all his clothes. 49:132 Herbert Blau What I meant, Carol Anne, is that in the circuitousness of it all, when you're entertaining every conceivable way of thinking about some issue, it may- -when you're really up against the wall (and I've been there, more times than I'd like to count)--come back to this or that, the damnable binary you tried to avoid, even when you're keeping, in the curvature of the sigmoid, other options open for some less constraining day. As for Ben Lifson's strip tease, Richard, that was one of those incidents--and there we had a binary, take it off or leave it on--that cost Cal Arts some immediate millions (I forget how much) from an about-to-be donor, who was advised the place was crazy. As Provost, when the Board (and various of them, remember, went into, first Nixon's, then Reagan's, kitchen cabinet, and it was HR Haldeman who hired me) asked me to fire Ben Lifson, I apologized for him, but said we won't do that (academic freedom was freer than ever those days, and had to be defended). To Ben, of course (who was my son Dick's best friend at Harvard), I said, you schmuck, don't ever do anything like that again! I'm not sure that was a paradox, but speaking of the absurd (and it had an element of it), the Absurd (as capitalized, not yet commodified) was a way of life and philosophical prospect, after WW II, in the existential, myth-of-Sisyphus days defined by Camus and Sartre (who eventually split on a political binary), then dramatized by Ionesco, and presumably by Beckett. But to think of Beckett as Absurd, that's to diminish the myriad complexities in the "accusative of inexistence" in his work, and the sort of paradox that comes with excruciating vision from equivalent pain, a desire for that, transcendental, which perhaps never was, and thru all the corrosive playing around with life, an immitigable sense of ground zero: "Use your head, use your head, you're on earth, there's no cure for that!" By the way, in one of Beckett's earliest publications, an essay on Proust, he spoke of another science, "the science of affliction." 49:133 Richard Cassín An interesting example of the sciences and humanities intersecting appeared in Thursday's NY Times. I'm attaching the file, and hope you are able to retrieve it. NY Times Article.htm 49:134 Richard Cassín Please scroll down below the non-appearing photograph to read the rest of the article. 49:135 Douglass Carmichael Richard, I can't fathom what you might mean by "interesting." Our discussion seems to be losing steam. Is it meme deficient? let's hope we are just incubating. We need this conversation. Reason discovered nature and nature is meaningless. Beautiful but without guidance for human society. . Let's start from another direction: we are in real trouble. Iraq, Iran, limited president and a cast of characters running things around him. An unsatisfying economy. The abandonment of the nuclear culture of constraint. It turned out that technology became part of an empire, an empire rooted in nature and reason giving us a world that had no recourse against oligarchy, an oligarchy of power, status, money and technology. Now what do we do? 49:136 Richard Farson I think all Richard meant to communicate is evidence that science is already in bed with the humanities, and always has been. That has seemed to be the message other scientists here in this conference also want to convey. I think Doug would acknowledge that those connections exist, but that neither science nor the humanities have yet collaborated to address the giant problems of this world, where things are not going well. Doug cites a number of currently troubling issues, which are possibly temporary (although as Maureen Dowd comments, it may take a hundred years to overcome the damage done). But we have more deeply rooted and lasting problems with education, health care, and the erosion of all the professions, science and universities included, as they become more commercial--oriented toward ownership, property, privatization, the market. What might we do together to address larger concerns at both the current and more permanent level? 49:137 Richard Farson Relevant to our discussion of science drifting into the clutches of an ownership society, ILF Fellow Michael Crichton writes in today's NY Times an op-ed piece arguing that our patenting decisions are becoming dangerously limiting of thought and action. It is a compelling and entertaining article, and deeply significant for the kind of discussion we are having here. The link: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/19/opinion/19crichton.html?_r=1andoref=slogin 49:138 Richard Cassín In February, 1975, at the Asilomar Conference Center near Monterey, California, 140 scientists (mostly biologists)lawyers, media people, and a handful of other academics, met for several days to discuss issues of safety regarding the future use of recombinant DNA technology. The meeting was historic, for it was the first time scientists got together to talk about how their work might affect other people, and society at large. The result of the meeting was to establish voluntary standards by which the then-new field of molecular biology would operate and police itself. Those standards are still in effect, precluding the necessity of regulation by Congress or regulatory agencies. It is a fascinating story, and is relevant to how science and society interact today, and that story is told in an excellent article by Stanford's Paul Berg, who shared the 1980 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for having cloned the first gene, giving birth to the field of biotechnology. Berg was one of the organizers of "Asilomar" as that meeting is now simply known. Take a look at the Berg article at: http://nobelprize.org/chemistry/articles/berg/ Perhaps it might stimulate some discussion in the group. 49:139 Douglass Carmichael What about Sane and The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, and after Asilomar, in fact in the 90's at least one well known American firm, in fact a standards setter, sold anthrax and other biologicals to Iraq. I can't see how the Templeton prize shows any interaction between the humanities and science. It basically is an interesting conservative religious organization getting people to write essays about religion. Where are the humanities in this? Sorry to be acerbic. I have been in so many discussions today about how things are really falling apart, discussions with people who have some real money, status or organizations on the line, including people trying to figure out what to do with the Democratic Party. In one discussion we talked about the dominance of technology driven by profit and not by design (In Richard F's sense). In another a discussion of cognitive neurology and how implicit AI and military agendas were dominant, and driving my university dean companion to tears. Nietzsche said "the problem of science cannot be seen from within science." The Berg article has no hint that corporations and corporate scientists are involved or that there even is an economy. No hint that GM seeds have contaminated nearby farms and led to suits against those farmers for stealing seeds, or that age old varieties from Indian farms get patented by American companies. How to take such a conference report seriously? Twenty years ago I had the responsibility to review a report on the dangers of nuclear accidents. About twenty consultants wrote reports, and four women with PhDs, two from English and two from philosophy, were hired by the prestigious scientific organization to edit the 20 into a single document. I read the twenty. They were full of alarms, all missing in the final report which said that a nuclear accident was no more serious than a major dam bursting. I traced this metaphor to one of the philosophy PhDs (who could not find academic employment). The original reports were raw, harshly and poorly written but revealing. the final doc was smooth and elegant. Now, as to rules of friendly conversation.... 49:140 Harlan Cleveland The 1975 Asilomar meeting described by Paul Berg (49:146) is very apropos to our discussion of the "social fallout of science" -- which is an important part of the puzzle Carol Anne posed at the very beginning of this conference. I would define that puzzle as how best to get the natural ("hard") scientists, the social ("soft") scientists, and the policy practitioners on the same page in considering how to think hard about the social (including economic, political, cultural, etc.) effects and utilities of scientific discoveries and technological innovations. When I got to know some of the nuclear scientists who developed the fission and later the fusion bombs, I was struck by their universal testimony that the Manhattan Project didn't have on its staff a single person whose fulltime job was to think hard about the contingency that the Project might succeed. I mentioned this lapse once in a talk about nuclear arms control to the NATO Science Committee, then chaired by I.I. Rabi (whom I had known long before I worked at NATO). After my talk, Dr. Rabi complained that I shouldn't say things like that: "Oppie and I used to talk about nuclear arms control all the time . . ." He must have caught my quizzical expression, because he then added ". . . at lunch." We have, of course, been trying to play catch-up ever since. During the time (1961-65) that I was responsible in the State Department for U.S. relations with the UN and other international organizations, I had a number of opportunities to bring scientists and institution-builders together early in the development of new technologies. An outstanding case was the development of the World Weather Watch, which was launched by President Kennedy as a U.S. initiative in the UN General Assembly in 1963. This was directly the result of working closely with Robert M. (Bob) White, then head of the Weather Bureau, and Herb Holloman of MIT, who was Assistant Secretary for Science and Technology in the Department of Commerce. At lunch one day in the summer of 1963, I asked them to explain to me what was going to happen to weather forecasting when the various kinds of satellites then on the drawing board became operational. By the time we were on our second cup of coffee, they had outlined four breakthroughs which, taken together, would enable humans to think systematically about the weather as an envelope around the earth -- the way God had presumably been thinking about it right along, but Man with his pitiful and scattered observations from the earth's surface, plus balloons, was not really able to do. The four breakthroughs were: (1) picture-taking satellites, keeping track of the cloud systems from above, giving a synoptic view covering the whole world, supplemented by but not depending on observations from the earth's surface and from balloons; (2) measurements, from remote-sensing satellites, of temperatures and air currents at places in the global atmosphere that could not readily be reached by balloons or other probes launched from the ground; (3) communication satellites, which would be able to get digitized data from anywhere to anywhere else in a big hurry; and (4) much faster computers, which could process the different kinds of information coming in from all over the world and get it onto the forecasters' desks in time - that is, before the weather changed. But since the weather pays no attention to the political boundaries that we otherwise consider so important, it would take a consensus of nearly all the world's nations to create what we came to call the World Weather Watch. So we put together a plan (one of the three computer nodes would be near Moscow, so the Soviets didn't object); it was presented in a Kennedy speech at the General Assembly; the GA unanimously agreed, with action to be taken by the World Meteorological Organization; and the WMO, with Bob White as our chief delegate, got the WWW up and running in less than five years. In short, when it comes to handling the social fallout of science and technology, the World Weather Watch is a good model and the Manhattan Project a lousy one. The key thing is for those who understand the science (and resulting technologies) and those who know something about organization, finance, and leadership to be working together as early as possible after a new spark of scientific imagination seems likely to make possible new social/economic/political workways. In developing the World Weather Watch, we started inventing new kinds of global data-exchange systems, and figuring out how they could be governed and financed, WHILE the hardware (the picture-taking and remote-sensing satellites, the communication satellites, the faster computers) was still being developed, procured, perfected, and deployed. Granted, this is a case very different from the issue addressed by the 1975 Asilomar conference. But the essential idea is very similar -- the people who understand the science need to try to think about the social fallout, and the people whose study and experience makes them more able to think about social impacts and implications should try hard (with the scientists' help, of course) to understand the scientific and technological futures. Together, if they start cooperating early enough, they can make the most of the potentials and head off the worst disasters. 49:141 Richard Farson Powerful examples, Harlan, illustrating one level of scientific concern--how intervention and collaboration can be designed to enable discoveries to benefit rather than harm humankind. I'd like to mention other levels of concern. One is how science can be mindful of the effects of the sponsorship it receives. We note this concern now when drug studies are released which must indicate that the financial support came from the drug company. But in the larger sense, the move of science toward support from the private sector, a force which cannot be relied upon for social responsibility, is more pernicious--as illustrated by Crichton's essay yesterday. Those drifts tend to be invisible, and need attention from the humanities as well as the sciences. In other words, the social, political and environmental issues raised by the PROCESS and CONTEXT of science, as well as its discoveries, need to be illuminated and addressed. At yet another level, it is one thing to assess the possibility that a scientific discovery could be beneficial, after the fact of the discovery, but quite another to see what might be done deliberately to bring the power of science to bear on the great social issues. In that instance, science has to be informed of those issues, because most are invisible to the public. Only in that goal oriented way can science and the humanities reach their potential for building a better world. I am aware both scientists and scholars require the freedom to go where their imaginations can take them, without the strictures of oppressive controls, government or otherwise. But that condition need not prevent the joint assessment of the great needs of society that Harlan calls for, and the setting of goals to bring the power of science and scholarship to bear in reaching those goals. On all three levels, interaction between the sciences and the humanities and social sciences is desirable...let's say vital. 49:142 Richard Cassín I'm confident that there are more, but one major institution that is focused on the nexus of Science and The Humanities is The Santa Fe Institute: "SFI Science: Transcending the usual boundaries of science to explore the frontiers of knowledge." I think most of you would enjoy SFI's website to learn about the exciting work of people who work there or are in some way associated with the Institute. Having "hung around" their beautiful campus for more than a decade, I found that my view of Science, and intellectual work in general, were irreversibly changed. Go to: http://www.santafe.edu/ 49:143 Richard Farson Richard, I had earlier looked at the SFI website, and did find it interesting. I noticed its sponsorship is corporate. But again, by mentioning it, you seem to be saying, "Look, folks, the larger issues of science are already being addressed, and have been for half a century. The issues raised here in this conference about what is happening to science are either non-issues, or are being addressed fully within the structure of the present scientific community." Do I read you correctly? 49:144 Richard Cassín Richard ...yes, you are correct. Although practitioners of the "social" sciences have been actively pursuing intellectual partnerships with the so- called "hard" sciences for some time, it seems that those in the traditional humanities have come to the interdisciplinary table late, or not at all, unless you count their continued lame, non-rigorous, science-bashing. That has become a pedantic bore, frankly. Perhaps that's why so many contemporary self-styled "intellectuals" talk only to themselves. They don't have anyone else to talk to. That'll certainly raise a hackle or two. And lastly, what is the point of "I noticed it's sponsorship is corporate" ? You should also have noted that SFI's sponsorship is extremely broad, and includes not only corporate sponsors, but foundation support, government grants of all sorts, and more than a few high-net-worth individuals who feel that the work at SFI merits their largesse. 49:145 Rosalyn Hansrisuk Another summary of last week's posts from this conference is available in the ILF Plenary. Please click on the link below and scroll down to the 3:10 post: http://groupjazz.gjhost.com/gj/swebsock/0007475/0482076/GJ8/main/viewitem.cml?4 657+8+428+3+0+0+1+x#here Please contact me for any housekeeping inquiries about the forum or anything else you may need. 49:146 Kip Winsett In a recent email to me Richard expressed his surprise that I hadn‘t participated in this conference. I‘ve taken the liberty of treating that as an invitation to join in. I‘m coming late to this discussion because I‘ve been unusually busy the past several weeks. It‘s difficult to enter such a conversation as this simply because so much has already been said and truthfully I haven‘t read it all. I‘ve skimmed some of it. A quick bio then. Professionally and on the rather more ‗scientific‘ side, several years as a computer programmer (very logical) and a systems developer (pragmatic). Currently a web site developer including the WBSI site, the original design of this conference, and editor as well as technical creator of the ILF Digest, and I just set up the ILF POST blog.(which accounts for much of my busyness the past several weeks). Personally, it‘s a different story. Psychology, comparative religion, philosophy, and the occult. Last week I was ‗blessed‘ by Swami Vishwananda (an acknowledged saint from India). What does that mean? I‘ve no idea. Well, many ideas but no certainty. In fact I‘m not certain of very much. One thing, however, of which I am pretty certain is that humans are not digital. Logic is a useful tool for operating ‗on‘ the world but is of less value when operating ‗with‘ the world. In logic, something is true or it is not true. In the human condition, I find that things are both true and untrue – often at the same time. Such is how I see this split between science and the humanities. It is useful at times to perceive and act as though there is a split. Doing so creates boundaries (this is in – that is out) and the boundaries provide an opportunity to exploit the niches created by the boundaries. Thus lots of opportunity for research, publication, reward and prestige. On the other side lots of opportunity for fiction about science and magic and spirituality offering the same set of rewards. In between, odd blends of science and not-science offering, again, the same rewards. The split is useful at times for some people. At other times, for other people, blending the two is useful. The ‗war‘ between the two seems to me to simply be part of the process of establishing artificial boundaries that open the door to exploitation – not in the negative sense, but in the sense of taking proper advantage. What we each perceive about the relationship between the 2 (science and humanities) speaks volumes about how we each will describe our world at large and how we will interact with that world we perceive. Personally I favor an elastic functionality. I‘m willing to use what works at any given moment. The only straitjacket I put on it is that at the end of the day I have to feel OK about myself, meaning I haven‘t violated any essential component of the structure that comprises my ―self‖. 49:147 Walter Anderson I wish we were able to get a bit more of a spirit of dialogue rather than debate into this conversation. I find it invariably interesting, many brilliant comments, but somehow not making much progress in the direction of advancing science/ humanities/social science understanding. (As an aside, I dislike the term social sciences in general and especially dislike the naming of my own discipline political science.) The dialogue process (as developed by a scientist, David Bohm) emphasizes searching for common ground over identifying differences and arguing about them. As one step in that direction, we might note that the problem of over- protection of intellectual property rights is a huge one outside of science. We had a conference about that in WBSI a year or so ago. 49:148 Carol Anne Bundy Welcome, Kip. Your comments are much appreciated and your timing impeccable as evidenced by Walt's comment 49:147. I, too, wish that we could move on to how we might think about the common ground and I think the notion of "elasticity" is a good one. It resonates with much of what Richard F. refers to as paradoxical and what I refer to as relational in terms of thinking itself and Sandy's comment 49:5 speaking to the "development of the practical as well as the moral future of the human mind." How might we explore all of this in terms of the humanities and science? I keep coming back to the notion that "Science has a human face." meaning that science is often about solving human problems. I very much appreciate Harlan's post 49:148 and found it remarkable that there was not one "single person whose fulltime job was to think hard about the contingency that the Project (Manhattan) might succeed." And I find the story about the World Weather Watch inspirational. Surely there are lessons for all of us there. I have just received a magazine called Quarter from the publisher of Prospect Magazine here in Britain (one of the best policy, politics, essay and social critique magazines here) in connection with NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) Quarter is about the nexus between art, science and politics. The first section is called Crossing Borders and the tag line of the article reads "What do you get when you combine a choreographer, six cognitive scientists and an anthropologist?" There is another article looking at the journalists' take on science and the problems they face in terms of writing about science and getting page space. "Scientists see themselves as the unacknowledged legislators of the world and far more important than the acknowledged ones.." says the article and while many scientific journalists agree with that, they must fight for the page space needed to make the stories, important stories, comprehensible to the public. One news article pertinent to our conversation appeared yesterday in the New York Times about the difficulties of eradicating polio world wide. Take a look and you might agree, science has a human face. It's not just about coming up with the breakthrough but how that breakthrough is translated, assimilated and optimized for the benefit of humanity. http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/03/19/news/polio.php What are the common denominators between the sciences and the humanities? At base, they both share a quest for understanding. Is this the starting point? Can there be shared vision/visions? What can each bring to the table to improve upon the human condition? Jonas used to say that "all of the problems of man would not be solved in the laboratory alone." He also used to say that "It's not the dollar value of a human but the human value of a dollar." Is there a connection here as well in terms of societal thinking and our conversation thus far? 49:149 Kip Winsett It seems to me that the endeavors of most organisms are largely predicated on seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. Humans are probably no exception. I don't think that "understanding" simply for the sake of understanding is what drives exploration be it scientific or humanistic. Both, in general, strive to improve the lot of at last some part of humanity. As humans we struggle in the mundane world of existence at the physical level and science has proven itself a worthy contributor to our ability to survive and prosper in that world. We also, as humans, struggle in the world of relationship and meaning. Most people at some point have questions about what it means to be alive, what it means it to be human, what it means to be part of a family, a group, a community. Science hasn't, so far, offered much insight into the "meaning" of these things. Understandably, as the "meaning" is not quantifiable or measurable from an objective point of view. In this arena everything is contextual and the context is mushy and undergoes considerable change. Whoever invented gunpowder had no possible way to conceive the incredible destructive power that would be unleashed upon the world. In a sense, one purpose of humanities is to ameliorate the unpredictable consequences of knowledge, of invention. In a similar vein, the humanities come up with ideas that are useful at the time, but which are later used by others to control and exploit. Myth, music, art, theater have all been used in such fashion. Science often comes along later to debunk the "idea" with "proof" that the idea itself is inaccurate. The result of this dynamic between the two is a continuing, rich diversification of experience that maintains the human system as a robust survivor. 49:150 Carol Anne Bundy O.K. Improve the human condition. Just for fun, if we wanted to write a mission statement as to why we think it is important for there to be, or continue to be, depending upon one's perspective, a dialogue between the sciences and the humanities, how would it read? What other elements would be included using "improving the human condition" as a base? Jonas and I played around with this quite a bit in thinking about the as yet unbuilt meeting center at the Salk which we started to refer to as "the concordance center." In our dialogue the natural link between the biosciences and the humanities was the human mind. Any ideas? 49:151 Richard Farson The idea of separate disciplines in the university structure has long been criticized, but except for occasional efforts at interdisciplinary groupings, most of the traditional disciplines remain as walled cities. But even the interdisciplinary efforts do not ordinarily reach far enough across fields to wed the humanities and physical sciences. The scientific method has been embraced by the social sciences, and extended into qualitative methods, but no real marriage between the physical and social sciences has taken place. Perhaps the issue is not so much a need for collaboration at the research level as it is the need for an overarching approach to identifying the issues needing attention, to include not only great social issues, but a critical look at the largely self-imposed limitations of both science and humanities. Perhaps that could be accomplished by a superordinate joint committee. Both science and scholarship suffer from an emphasis on individual achievement (science less than the humanities, I would think). It begins with the student writing a dissertation, then publishing articles to achieve tenure. By that time the die is cast. The obsession with individual honors and awards carries the practice on from there. Science has many more sponsors than do the humanities, and is more likely to form teams. The arts and architecture can function outside the university, and there are many independent scholars, historians, poets and writers, but mostly the humanities are driven by university procedures, are they not? And with the emphasis on individual achievement, and the necessary choice of subjects narrow enough to study by individuals, it may be that the design of university life simply works too much against collaborative efforts on a large scale. 49:152 Walter Anderson If I were to launch a concordance center I would want it to be about knowledge itself. Inquiries might draw on sources such as philosophy of science, evolutionary epistemology, cognitive psychology, brain sciences, information technologies, etc. The system of disciplines that Dick refers to above—the reasons for it, the pathologies of it—would be a worthwhile object of study. 49:153 Carol Anne Bundy A concordance center to thinking and knowledge itself is what Jonas Salk had in mind for the meeting center as envisioned in the original Salk/Kahn master plan, a place of synergy where the scientist could come together in thought and dialogue with leading social scientists, philosophers, writers, artists, industry leaders, government heads and, potentially as importantly, the independent sector, on matters relating to the betterment of humankind. While the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, which Jonas Salk originally wanted named the Institute for the Study of Man, is universally recognized as one of the world‘s preeminent scientific institutions of its kind, a temple to science, so to speak, Jonas Salk had hoped that with the Institute he would have initiated the development of a ―Temple to Thought‖, as he put it, ―a crucible for creativity‖ where diversity in thinking, thought patterns and ideas would create the conditions for the optimization of wisdom in addressing the larger issues of the day. For Salk, ―wisdom was the ability to make retrospective judgments prospectively‖ a conception of systems thinking that celebrated diversity while searching for the common grounds upon which to build a more hopeful, and he would argue, wise, future. Wise because to Salk, we, as individuals and as a species, would need to evolve beyond the notion of survival of the fittest to, as he put it, ―survival of the wisest‖ if a more hopeful future was to become reality. While the original Salk/Kahn master plan referenced the structure on the Northern Bluff as such a ―meeting center‖ , Salk in his later years, in relation to the philosophical work we were pursuing together in combination with a lifetime of rich experience to reflect back upon, began referring to this structure as the ―Concordance Center.‖ It is interesting to note this subtle shift in scope when considering scientific research at the vanguard throughout the world especially if one subscribes to the notion that science has a human face, which is to say that scientific quest and progress cannot be divorced from human concerns and consequence. The recent stem cell grant sought by four San Diego area institutions, all of international stature, immediately comes to mind, especially in light of the fact that initially the institutions were competing against each other and yet have now joined together in consortium. Clearly a potential example of what Salk referred to as ―the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.‖ When considering Harlan‘s comment 49:140 referencing the integration of lateral thinking in the development of the World Weather Watch and the lack of same, specifically as to the potential adverse consequences of success with regard to the Manhattan Project, the need for places incubating integrated thought , like a Concordance Center, becomes even more apparent. Calif. Institutions Form Stem Cell Center SAN DIEGO, Mar. 17, 2006 (AP) Four San Diego research centers said Friday they are joining forces to create a nonprofit institution to study stem cells, as California awaited a judge's decision on a state agency that could help fund it. The members of the new alliance, the San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, are the University of California, San Diego; Burnham Institute; Salk Institute; and Scripps Research Institute. "I believe strongly that this consortium will, in time, lead to significant scientific advances and life-saving results," said Marye Anne Fox, chancellor of UC San Diego. It will be based at UC San Diego, said university spokeswoman Leslie Franz. The four institutions have yet to finalize details including costs and the research funding process, which may involve raising private funds to match money provided by a voter-approved initiative. 49:154 Carol Anne Bundy I would like to welcome Xavier Guerrand-Hermes of the Guerrand-Hermes Foundation for Peace to the conference. A long-time friend of Jonas Salk's, Xavier is President of the Guerrand-Hermes Foundation for Peace which seeks to promote deeper understanding of inter-faith issues in relationship to peace. Welcome Xavier. I would also like to welcome John Lloyd, the highly innovative television producer behind British comedy standards Not the Nine O'Clock News, Spitting Image, Blackadder and currently the BBC's very successful program QI (Quite Interesting) a comedy quiz show premised upon revealing humourous unseen patterns and debunking false myths which has its adoring fans doing the near impossible; laughing and thinking simultaneously. ( www.qi.com) Welcome John. 49:155 Kip Winsett What seems to me to be critical in creating an environment such as this is the participants. It‘s all well and good to say that it should be multi disciplinary, but the key is in the nature of the individual participants. Not everyone is open and flexible with respect to knowledge sharing. There are plenty of agendas. Stem cell research is probably a reasonable example of how this could play out poorly. If the scientists engaged in the research are simply focused on accomplishing the research (there may be issues of financing, patents, prestige, etc.) then they may not be open to any kind of meaningful dialogue with, for example, a cultural anthropologist or a sociologist, or an ethicist. They may say they are but that doesn‘t ensure their good faith participation. The same is true for someone from the humanities. How would you know whether or not they had a hidden agenda (e.g. pro- life) unless they ‗fessed up right from the start? Someone may on one level be engaged in a project to ―improve the human condition‖, but that doesn‘t mean they aren‘t also carrying personal baggage that is more focused solely on improving their own lot. Is it possible to ‗design‘ a system for Concordance that will increase the possibility of concordance? 49:156 Douglass Carmichael Dialog. Yes. But it has to touch on hard questions I think. Mary Douglas gave us some advice early on to not be so nice. On the broad scale I suggested that common ground is stories, but got no response. Last night I was at a seminar given by a leading Indian futurist (http://www.strategicforesight.com/ ). The view was simple: the world business community can create wealth, and is expected to do so at 3-8% per year for the next 20 years (India and China are on the higher edge of the number), but...but...it does not know how to distribute the wealth more evenly. In India only 7 million families, 30 million people, are in the leading edge of the economy (car, phone, computer). Farmer violence episodes were 700/year in 2000 and 7000 last year. they are left behind. same in china. Both the leading sector and the rural sector want democracy, but in the real conditions that translates in to aristocracy for the business class and theocracy for the bicycle (200 million people) and bullock (800 million)classes, the vast majority. The same conditions exist in china, and influence similar conditions in the middle east. This is a catastrophic situation. Technology is an enabler of this current culture of capitalism. If it continues it will be extremely destructive, and the forces of destruction are increasing much more rapidly than the overall growth rate. Science and the humanities: how to take on this problem? The question is can growth be cohesive? (along the way he said that the US used to represent sanity and an attractive reasonableness in world culture. It has lost that leadership and now is not seen as credible. It has also lost the status of world power, because while it has the military side, it does not have the diplomatic side required for great power status. the result is a real loss of world coherence). His view, Iran was close to a real reform in 2002. The war in Iraq benefited the most conservative forces, which were about to lose out. The Shi‘a are the great beneficiaries. Issues like oil, ozone holes, patent systems property rights, bioethics, all are a blend of human and physical systems. On Santa Fe, assuming the conversation says here. I have twice had conversations with Murray about bringing in a history department. He wanted McNeil (The Rise of the West, one of our great historians, very old and retired)to run it, but Murray couldn't get him. He seems to be stuck because he wanted high profile totally legitimating figures, not an opening to real conversation in the history fields. There has been some good human development research, but not much more that even touches on the human. In the early days when Los Alamos types were looking for new contracts, there was an economics conference, and the center seemed to be how to model the market. One of the younger physicists attending suggested that here were far more real parts of the economy, such as production, innovation, management, and that market price was maybe one of the worst ways to go about it. He was severely criticised by the leadership "we want first to show that we are useful, and the way to do that is to show how to make money". It has become more sophisticated and reasoned since then but the tone is still one of high church contempt for ordinary mortals, from the point of view of felt superiority of methods rather than an engagement with the more interesting questions. Which comes back to my Indian's perspective. Commerce can grow and economy but it can't be more inclusive. The tight nexus among capital, tech, and organization works for those who can get into the game, but the number who can get in are limited by complex dynamics. What to do? Santa Fe works for those in the game, for the game itself. It does not (oh, to be wrong!) question the game itself. Funding? Bruno Latour, whom I really admire wrote a book "Politics of Nature : How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy " and Amazon has the following description "A major work by one of the more innovative thinkers of our time, Politics of Nature does nothing less than establish the conceptual context for political ecology-- transplanting the terms of ecology into more fertile philosophical soil than its proponents have thus far envisioned. Bruno Latour announces his project dramatically: "Political ecology has nothing whatsoever to do with nature, this jumble of Greek philosophy, French Cartesianism and American parks." Nature, he asserts, far from being an obvious domain of reality, is a way of assembling political order without due process. Thus, his book proposes an end to the old dichotomy between nature and society--and the constitution, in its place, of a collective, a community incorporating humans and nonhumans and building on the experiences of the sciences as they are actually practiced. In a critique of the distinction between fact and value, Latour suggests a redescription of the type of political philosophy implicated in such a "commonsense" division-- which here reveals itself as distinctly uncommonsensical and in fact fatal to democracy and to a healthy development of the sciences. Moving beyond the modernist institutions of "mononaturalism" and "multiculturalism," Latour develops the idea of "multinaturalism," a complex collectivity determined not by outside experts claiming absolute reason but by "diplomats" who are flexible and open to experimentation." 49:157 Richard Farson My experience with the ILF has made me think that each profession needs a brain trust to help steer it in the most worthwhile directions. The various professional societies cannot do that. They are focused on revenue protection. Having served on the national board of the American Institute of Architects, it became clear to me that the necessary higher order thinking could not be accomplished within the structure, process and goals of that body. As a result they were doing much to further remove architecture from the great calling it has always had. The design professions need a brain trust to help them know better what they are doing, and what is worth doing. I'm sure the same is true for other clusters of professions. And that is what Jonas wanted to do for the humanities and the sciences with the Concordance Center. It seems both more necessary, and more doable, now than it was when he first imagined it, partly because we can combine residential meetings with online discussions. 49:158 Carol Anne Bundy Kip, Doug and Richard seem to share a concordance in the preceding comments and it was this sort of dialogue that Jonas envisioned happening at a place like the Concordance Center: Re-thinking the system, with all of its faults, opportunities and personalities in hopes of a better way of approaching the larger issues of the day. Salk thought that the independent sector would play a vital role in this and it may be, as I suggested in an earlier post (49:133), that new types of professionals need to emerge? Perhaps there aren't labels yet for these sorts of "mutants", if you will, bioethist perhaps, public intellectuals? Perhaps the label isn't as important as the concept at this point, but what I read in the comments of Kip, Doug and Richard and within many of the more recent comments is, in a sense, the need for a new way of approach, a new way of thinking. Impossible? Maybe, maybe not. I think there is a chance if, as Kip suggests, the right sort of thinkers become involved. The dialogue needs to continue and open up and, I would add, needs suggestion outside of circles such as this as well. Even though initiatives such as a place dedicated to integrated thinking, thought and knowledge have been tried in the past, some more successfully than others, I think Richard is right; prospects such as a Concordance Center are more feasible now more than ever when viewed in combination with online discussion, especially in terms of catalytic effect. Richard C is right: Santa Fe Institute is a good example and Doug is right as well: there have been limitations as one would expect when trying to do something new. But that shouldn't stop like-efforts. It will be through combined efforts that synergistic change will occur. Jonas used to joke "Evolvers of the world unite. We have nothing to lose but the status quo!" It will be tough and mean thinking outside of the box, but not impossible if there is support and open-mindedness, plus, I would argue, deeper understanding that it will be in our self-interest, or, as Mary would say, an exercise of prestige, to be more open-minded and inclusive, an attitude that many here have suggested will eventually need to run across the whole of the human field, not limiting itself to the humanities and the sciences, but as earlier comments have indicated, reaching into the arenas of faith, politics and governance. Can the sciences and the humanities set an example in a place like a Concordance Center and thereby help the human course evolve? Reasons and rationale against such ideas are manifold but so too are the opportunities that could be generated if such ideas could come into being. It would take a colossal effort but the challenges facing humanity are in fact, when viewed as a whole, nothing short of colossal in terms of scope and inter-connectedness as evidenced by Doug's Comment 49:164 and Herb York's Comment 49:78. Kip asks if such a thing can be "designed". First, we must think about what is the "thing"? A building, a place, a concept or even a way of thinking? An approach....? An integration of all of the above? I still marvel at the Constitution of the United States for, even given its faults and shortcomings in terms of translation and application from time to time, it remains a brilliant example of systems design as applied to abstract concepts and ideas bordering on organic. No doubt I may be in the minority in much of what I say. 49:159 Richard Farson Jonas had the experience once before of building the building before the program was in place, only to have it stand empty for years and then see it used for antithetical purposes. That is often the case, not just at the Salk Institute. Joan Kroc left about 75 million dollars to the University of San Diego for a building to house an Institute of Peace and Justice that was completely built before even the director had been hired, let alone a program designed. And while it may not be the building our ILF Fellow Joyce Neu who is the director would have designed, and has been occupied by many other elements of the university who moved into the vacuum, it does now house that institute. So there are arguments on both sides of that issue. I think we need to find or create prototypes of the concordance center to test its workability. 49:160 Douglass Carmichael My view of how it works is that is starts anywhere (my psychoanalytic background) and starts to spin out the story started. Others add to the story in thee sense of "yes, and" and the map of possibility relevant concerns expands. This is not to come to a narrowed conclusion, but to expand the map, letting the complexity emerge. Visiting participants will be affected by the advanced state of these stories, and that will enhance their participation in their own milieus. The challenge for leadership of the concordance is to continually open up lost or not yet opened dimension: the historical, epistemological, literary, adding potential paths out of the dilemma, and offering aspects that may be integrated into larger stories and paths. I keep thinking abut how to actually bring in fruits of the humanities to the discussion where science and the humanities can cross inform, pollinate, and fructify. For example, I have been reading Shelley, another large gap in my education, and find this(in a little 1815 essay, "On Life"): http://www.wam.umd.edu/~djb/shelley/1880onlife.html "I confess that I am one of those who am unable to refuse my assent to the conclusions of those philosophers who assert that nothing exists but as it is perceived. It is a decision against which all our persuasions struggle, and we must be long convicted before we can be convinced that the solid universe of external things is "such stuff as dreams are made of". The shocking absurdities of the popular philosophy of mind and matter, its fatal consequences in morals, and their violent dogmatism concerning the source of all things, had early conducted me to materialism. This materialism is a seducing system to young and superficial minds. It allows its disciples to talk, and dispenses them from thinking. But I was discontented with such a view of things as it afforded; man is a being of high aspirations, "looking both before and after," whose "thoughts wander through eternity," disclaiming alliance with transience and decay; incapable of imagining to himself annihilation; existing but in the future and the past; being, not what he is, but what he has been and shall be. Whatever may be his true and final destination, there is a spirit within him at enmity with nothingness and dissolution. This is the character of all life and being. Each is at once the centre and the circumference; the point to which all things are referred, and the line in which all things are contained. Such contemplations as these, materialism and the popular philosophy of mind and matter alike forbid; they are only consistent with the intellectual system. ..... The view of life presented by the most refined deductions of the intellectual philosophy, is that of unity. Nothing exists but as it is perceived. The difference is merely nominal between those two classes of thought, which are vulgarly distinguished by the names of ideas and of external objects. Pursuing the same thread of reasoning, the existence of distinct individual minds, similar to that which is employed in now questioning its own nature, is likewise found to be a delusion. The words /, you, they, are not signs of any actual difference subsisting between the assemblage of thoughts thus indicated, but are merely marks employed to denote the different modifications of the one mind. Let it not be supposed that this doctrine conducts to the monstrous presumption that I, the person who now write and think, am that one mind. 1 am but a portion of it. The words "I", and "you", and "they" are grammatical devices invented simply for arrangement, and totally devoid of the intense and exclusive sense usually attached to them. It is difficult to find terms adequate to express so subtle a conception as that to which the Intellectual Philosophy has conducted us. We are on that verge where words abandon us, and what wonder if we grow dizzy to look down the dark abyss of how little we know!" 49:161 Herbert Blau As soon as one talks concordance I want to talk dissidence, and if that‘s not dialectic, it may be a chastening thought, on behalf of complexity too. Sure, we want knowledge and forms of knowing from every quarter of the universe, variable methodologies, empirical, speculative, audacious, and whether psychoanalytical or surrealistic (or as it happened historically, some merging of the two), free associative. But if anything cautionary here, that has to do, not with concordance, but context, where you do it, when you do it, and whom you‘re doing it with. Which is one thing at a Center or with the ILF online, and another in the chancier world outside of institutions, or even there, in those unforeseeable moments when somebody asks the question you hadn‘t thought about, or more exorbitantly, when you have to make a decision at some unavoidable cost to yourself. However we charge others with predictable dispositions, whether from vested interests or on ideological grounds, the hard thing in thinking--and I should imagine this is so in science at some cloud of unknowing or selvedge of perception, when measurements are maybe dubious and there is some slippage in theory--is putting your disposition aside or, if the conviction is really there, and the sometimes self- corrosive honesty that ethical issues require, insisting on what you believe—-which of course becomes harder if you have to give something up, sometimes, at considerable cost, the thing you really wanted, because it will never again be, given the warped reality, what you wanted it to be. And I‘m not talking of those situations that are any longer, as much as I admire it, subject to diplomacy. There are also issues of temporality in all this, what‘s possible at this point in history, what not, which makes it possible even for those in power whom you might otherwise think contemptible to do what those you trust couldn‘t somehow do—-all the more because they normally represent some presumably unyielding position (no less, in character, what drives you up the wall). Thus, with Nixon‘s rapprochement with China, and Reagan with Soviet Union, and the Cold War. As for the Bushwhacking tendencies today, I could again enumerate a whole series of issues on which, if you could replace Karl Rove at the White House (and there‘s some rumor that might happen), you wouldn‘t know what to say, which doesn‘t mean we shouldn‘t be skeptical, critical, even outraged—-only that we should recognize, as ever, that we‘re likely to think quite differently when in the place of power, knowing what we know then, with certain privileges of knowing, and even then still guessing. As for science and the humanities, and some liaison between them, for me that exists somewhere in the vicinity of what I‘ll never know—-which is, in any mode of inquiry, perhaps the most powerful impetus to thought, refusing the impossible, precisely because it‘s so. 49:162 Richard Farson Because it so resonates with Herb's last point about dissidence, I can't resist quoting from Ed Lindblom's profoundly important submission to our new blog, ILF Post, which I just received from him this morning. Ed, as I think you know, is Charles Lindblom, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Economics and Political Science at Yale. Here then, is a preview of a couple of paragraphs, which will appear in a few days on the blog: "As we all know, in governmental policy making or problem solving, a policy that serves some groups will, if only because people differ in their circumstances, typically hurt others. Intellect can go a long way to find policies that reduce these injuries, but they are rarely eliminated. Hence every possible policy combines gains for some with losses to others. Thus over some range of alternative policies, one policy is as good as another. You and others like you may have reached a reasoned preference for a policy, but I and others like me will have done so for another. As between countless choices, the conflict cannot be intellectually resolved. There exists no right or correct policy, whether on athletic teams or going to war. Reason, for all its power, is exhausted. Each party can of course reconsider its values or opinion. The effort will reduce some conflicts, but possible policies will still differ in whom they help and whom they hurt. And study often uncovers new differences in interests, values, or opinions. Plato's imagined harmony of values has escaped us for two thousand years." 49:163 Walter Anderson On the subject of the two cultures, and gaps between, I offer the following which I just came across in the Edge newsletter: first a reference to "Social-constructionist 'intellectuals'" and the "radical ism-ist culture warriors of the New York Times Book Review," and then a quotation from Richard Dawkins: "Show me a cultural relativist at thirty thousand feet and I'll show you a hypocrite. Airplanes are built according to scientific principals and they work. They stay aloft and they get you to a chosen destination. Airplanes built to tribal or mythological specifications such as the dummy planes of the Cargo cults in jungle clearings or the bees-waxed wings of Icarus don't." Not what I would call a thoughtful discussion of social- constructionist thought, or even a serious and informed engagement with it. 49:164 Kip Winsett Last night I was pondering my question ―Is it possible to ‗design‘ a system for Concordance that will increase the possibility of concordance?‖ I was thinking about it from my pragmatic systems design point of view, and from that perspective it seemed that one critical step would be to devise a system that allows the designer to select participants based upon particular criteria. But what criteria? And how would the criteria be applied? Typically an organization seeking members looks first at such criteria as credentials, prestige, and who the candidate knows. It also looks at how the candidate will fit in with other members – a very subjective judgment made by interviewers. Interested members will also look at potential threats posed by the candidate. While this approach is probably of considerable value to organizations, it seems to me that when trying to design something like this ―Concordance‖ such an approach will be self defeating. So, I started thinking about Mary Douglas‘ ‗Group Grid‘ - an approach that I‘ve found very intriguing ever since she shared it in an earlier ILF conference. Using something like this would allow the designer of this ―Concordance experience‖ (an attempt to answer Carol‘s question as to what the ‗thing‘ is) some kind of relatively objective way to examine and select from a pool of candidates a blend of people that would be representative of the 4 cultures Mary has defined. I like the idea of using it for various reasons: 1. The parameters for the makeup of each quadrant can be varied, so one could experiment with it. 2. One could select candidates from any portion of each quadrant and observe the different result of their later interaction. 3. It would actually provide a more dynamic and realistic overview of ‗real world‘ possibilities, rather than the more predictable results of the usual selection criteria. 4. It would seem to offer a better chance of avoiding the ―deadliness of conformity in thought.‖ To which Ed Lindblom refers at the end of the article (which is not included in the portion Richard posted). 49:165 Douglass Carmichael What do we think could be the outcome of a science humanities concordance-diverse conversation? Specific enough that we could video it. 49:166 Carol Anne Bundy Kip, essentially the same idea (49:164) came to me on the other side of the Atlantic this morning—I‘m a little slow. Definitely worth pursuing. And Doug, the idea of video taping sounds very fertile and I wonder if putting that idea together with Kip's in some way might serve to focus the conversation while allowing it to expand. Very interesting. Richard and I have been toying around with the idea of extending the conference for a week or two based upon the richness of recent comments if the group expressed an interest in doing so. Does this sound like a good idea to anyone else? Perhaps we could focus in on this aspect of concordance a bit and see what develops? Additionally, a magazine publisher has expressed interest to me in some of the issues we have been discussing of late which could be of interest to those in the group who wish to see something tangible come out of all of this. Alternatively, we might be able to set this up as a separate conference or task force. Perhaps take a break of two weeks and allow those interested to reconvene? I have been waiting for some others to join in who I believe would bring some great thinking into this, some of whom are in the business of bridging gaps and some of whom are in the business of formulating and communicating ideas and concepts. Sadly their schedules are only now opening up to allow them to do that and the conference is officially set to close this week. Richard and I have already taken the liberty of extending it until Monday. Any thoughts? 49:167 Harlan Cleveland Carol Anne and Richard Farson: I hope you do extend the conference in some manner that enables us to define a mode of "concordance" that could work for many different issues and a variety of participants. I've been trying to generalize from my own experience (of which I reported one vignette in the story of the World Weather Watch). One key is to encourage those who are making socially relevant scientific discoveries and technological innovations to expose their thinking EARLY to folks who know something about institution- building, so the latter don‘t always have to play "catch-up." That doesn't require only socially conscious "hard scientists," though they are obviously essential. It also requires growing numbers of "soft scientists" and experienced institution-builders who really take the time and trouble to be intellectually curious about mysterious things like particles and nerves and genes and rocketry and intuition and space and time, etc., etc. So these abnormally curious and broad-minded specialists will have to live together, work together, and play together. Information technologies enable them to do that partly by distance-education systems (viz. WBSI), but that needs to be combined with reasonably frequent face-to-face interactions (viz. Santa Fe). That takes money, for a place or places, also for travel, and above all to buy the time and attention of those (always a minority in any specialty) who are both qualified enough and widely curious enough to take the lead in "concordance." Let's focus on developing a workable system! 49:168 Richard Farson I'm for that, Harlan. But it seems to me that the group should do much more than figure out the implications of potential new discoveries. I think first of all it should be a critical group, capable of seeing the possibilities and dangers in the ways in which both the sciences and humanities, and the institutions that support them, like universities and corporations, function to the detriment or betterment of society. It could monitor he growth or decay of these professions, understand their cultures, warn of the dangers of reductionism or narrowness or exclusion or whatever is determining or limiting the nature of their work. And it could illuminate poorly understood social issues worth the attention of these professions. I see the real dangers not to be the lack of applications of science, but the ways in which these fields become influenced by forces that are invisible or ignored. And in this, I suspect the humanities are as vulnerable as the sciences. 49:169 Kip Winsett Carol Anne, I‘m so glad to hear that somebody else thought of that. I was a little hesitant to share it because it is sort of out of the box. Earlier I talked very briefly with Richard about it and he voiced the thought that such a group might get too contentious (my word not his). Possibly so, but that may not be a disadvantage overall, since it would more accurately reflect society in general anyway. Thinking about it some more, I realized that one could select the bulk of the participants from within the area where the 4 corners of the group grid meet. Each '‗culture‖ would be represented, but by selecting from that area you would have some possibility of each section being somewhat fluid in their ability to move from 1 cultural quadrant to another. You could pepper in a few people from the outside corners of each quadrant as well (those who are fairly rigid in their cultural orientation) to observe the reaction from them as they mirror such people in society at large. The isolates then could make a valuable contribution by pointing out what is really terribly wrong with whatever is under discussion. Hopefully, if it‘s set up well, one could also learn how each cultural quadrant would seek to exploit the subject. Additionally one could include trained observers who would be able to objectively characterize the behavior and contribution of the members as with respect to how they represent the 4 cultures. This way while the group might not achieve any consensus at least we could understand a broad range of perspectives, perceptions and reactions to a proposal. Perhaps that would lead to a second step. 49:170 Carol Anne Bundy Brilliant to all. I think together we might be able to design a useful concept for the basis of an institution, even extending to an institution without walls, as Jonas used to imagine, that gets to the heart of the thinking itself. I like very much the notion of diversity on multiple axes. This, if you will, may illustrate the concept of binary or relational thinking as Jonas and I saw it. For sure we are beginning to function now as an organism rather than just a collection of organs. I am going to go back over notes and writings between Jonas and me in the next few days that concerned something we were calling the concordance principle for the value that this might have in framing some of the issues that might be involved here as we begin to flush things out acknowledging in advance that the germ I may be able to provide will need to evolve and expand. Two points I'd just like to emphasis. First: Thinking outside of the box can be inherently risky on a personal level but is an exhilarating experience when shared amongst like-minded souls. We have that on our side here. Second: We set the ground rules early on that the fear of appearing contentious would not stand in our way of pushing forward to something perhaps new, something perhaps useful. Fur and feathers flying we said. Kiss and make up in the end. The conference will be extended for an additional two weeks. I hope we will have the chance to integrate comments from some others who have been invited to participate in the last week or so. I will do my best to introduce them as they feather in. And thank you again to everyone who is making this such an exciting experience. 49:171 Douglass Carmichael I think it may be helpful to post examples of the kind of thinking we would like to engage with. Chris Alexander the architect has been working on what makes for lively architecture, and his work has been stimulus to Richard Gabriel, a silicon valley software teacher and writer. Here are some notes of Richard's on Alexander's thinking. http://carmichael.wordpress.com/2006/03/25/richard-gabriel-on-alexander/ 49:172 Douglass Carmichael I found my old copy of Snow's 1959 Reed Lecture From C.P. Snow's THE TWO CULTURES AND THE SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION: "I believe the intellectual life of the whole of western society is increasingly being split into two polar groups. When I say the intellectual life I mean to include also a large part of our practical life…"* "Two polar groups: at one pole we have the literary intellectuals, who incidentally while no one was looking took to referring to themselves as 'intellectuals' as though there were no others. Literary intellectuals at one pole—at the other scientists, and as the most representative, the physical scientists." He makes the following comparison.. Note that the literary types are discussing a fairly arcane piece of knowledge. Rutherford however is not matched with a piece of science, but a statement more historical and literary. Throughout the essay the pressure is on the humanists to learn to be reasonably literate about the second law, but there is not so much pressure the other way. "They hear Mr. T. S. Eliot, who just for these illustrations we can take as an archetypal figure, saying about his attempts to revive verse-drama, that we can hope for very little, but that he would feel content if he and his co-workers could prepare the ground for a new Kyd or a new Greene. That is the tone, restricted and constrained, with which literary intellectuals are at home: it is the subdued voice of their culture. Then they hear a much louder voice, that of another archetypal figure, Rutherford, trumpeting: 'This is the heroic age of science! This is the Elizabethan age!' Many of us heard that, and a good many other statements beside which that was mild; and we weren't left in any doubt whom Rutherford was casting for the role of Shakespeare. What is hard for the literary intellectuals to understand, imaginatively or intellectually, is that he was absolutely right." Here are a few more quotes "It is bizarre how very little of twentieth-century science has been assimilated into twentieth-century art. " What strikes me is the degree to which Picasso, Joyce, and the rest of the modernists were in synch or anticipated… The art has also not been digested by the general culture either. "Talk to schoolmasters, and they say that our intense specialization, like nothing else on earth, is dictated by the Oxford and Cambridge scholarship examinations. If that is so, one would have thought it not utterly impracticable to change the Oxford and Cambridge scholarship examinations. Yet one would underestimate the national capacity for the intricate defensive. " It seems to me that the education we have is more attuned to the sorting process than to the educational needs. The idea of a broader cross disciplinary education is a real threat to the instrumentalities of college and graduate school admissions. Real depth and breadth would screw the system's technical ability to sort. "Since the gap between the rich countries and the poor can be removed, it will be. If we are short- sighted, inept, incapable either of good-will or enlightened self-interest, then it may be removed to the accompaniment of war and starvation: but removed it will be. The questions are, how, and by whom." "Closing the gap between our cultures is a necessity in the most abstract intellectual sense. As well as he most practical. When have grown apart, then no society is going to be able to think with wisdom. " 49:173 Carol Anne Bundy As referenced in the original probe, Snow had wanted to entitle the Reed lecture Of Rich and of Poor. It is my interpretation, and I am not alone I think, that what was really pushing Snow in this work was the dichotomies that run across the whole of the human field as evidenced by the great disparities of wealth and therefore opportunities for certain sections of humankind. I believe that what Snow was getting at was that only when we take in our awareness of these dichotomies, in part as product from what we could call "culturally-based thinking" which in turn stems perhaps from world views that favor dualisms rather than the binary, and by this I mean what I have been referring to as "either/or" thinking as distinct from "both/and" thinking, and the inherent limitations of those dichotomies, will we, as individuals, professions and as a species, really be able to comprehend the challenges before us. Does this mean that we need to abandon the opportunities that evolve from specialization within fields? Not at all. But we need to have simultaneously, some sense of an integrated view of the human challenge in order to make wise and sustainable progress. 49:174 Walter Anderson I have frequently mentioned the dialogue process, which is a specific way of managing conversations, distinct from debate and focused on finding common ground. If there is to be a conference (or several of them) looking for concordance in relation to the 2 cultures issue, it would have a much better chance of getting somewhere if it/they were facilitated by someone skilled in the dialogue process. As it happens we have in the WBSI community Dan Yankelovich, who is a recognized authority on dialogue and has a company, Viewpoint Learning that does it. 49:175 Douglass Carmichael Certainly the deeper anxiety in Snow's book seems to be that the world is entering a phase where it is not working. He proposes that the solution to the poverty problem is to pour in capital and experts. Understanding why that is not likely to happen is a terrific question. I've been reading an interesting book The permanence of the Political, by Joseph Schwartz. The argument is that progressive radicals embraced the view of a future conflict-free (hence politics free) society. He argue for a pluralistic modern progressivism. I think we need dialog without the goal of resoling differences, but rather to explore them, letting each take what wisdom they can. And I've been reading the new EDGE report on Dawkins. There is in it a good example of a strongly held position that probably will not budge under dialog. http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/selfish06/selfish06_index.html It would be very intriguing to discuss that report but probably beyond our engageability so far - unless we really start to take each other seriously. There are an almost unlimited series of provocative quotes for example Daniel Dennet "And I also thought, on rereading the book, that the late Steve Gould was really right when he called Richard and me Darwinian fundamentalists. And I want to say what a Darwinian fundamentalist is. A Darwinian fundamentalist is one who recognizes that either you shun Darwinian evolution altogether, or you turn the traditional universe upside down and you accept that mind, meaning, and purpose are not the cause but the fairly recent effects of the mechanistic mill of Darwinian algorithms." To my view, saying that Darwin explains everything is a slightly more sophisticated view of saying "atoms cause everything." One could acquiesce to his (their) viewpoint, but there are consequences. A few paragraphs later he says "What we can then see is that these processes are arms races. Not just arms races between armies of intelligent people, but arms races between trees, and between bacteria, and between any form of life you want to name. We can watch an arms race generate more and more design, more exquisite solutions to problems, in ways that are strikingly similar to the more intelligently (but not very intelligently) guided arms races that give us the metaphor in the first place." 49:176 Kip Winsett I strongly agree with Doug that resolving differences is far less important than exploring them. 49:177 Douglass Carmichael Thinking this through, and under the influence of the Dawkins retrospective mentioned above, and making a bold move (and with Chris Alexander in the background). What if the units of evolution, instead of being described by mechanics, were poetics? That every creature, from single celled up to us, were more motivated by holism, beauty, expressiveness, felt integrity, rhyming instead of "mechanisms and functions"? 49:178 Kip Winsett If people were to embrace such a belief the world might be different. 49:179 Douglass Carmichael What do we want from an interaction between the humanities and science? For me it is a world where values and technology are more integrated. To get there we need wide philosophical, literary, and historical input to the conversation. 49:180 Richard Farson For me, the question is what are the larger contextual, social, cultural, governmental, political, psychological, market influences that are largely invisible but nevertheless shape both science and scholarship. These forces can only be brought to light by knowledgeable people committed to work together in a brain trust to illuminate them, and recommend responses to any that seem to reduce the potential for contribution to a better world. That is, I don't think that the focus should be on methodology in either the sciences or humanities, but on what people in these fields cannot see is happening to them because they are too close to their work to see the bigger picture. It must be a critically oriented group, capable of taking the long view. I would think historians of science would make good members of the group, as would other historians of ideas, etc. Economists, philosophers and political scientists would bring important insights, as would cultural anthropologists. And of course thoughtful, expansive scientists and scholars who are not so buried in their subject matter that they cannot look around and see what is happening. In every field there are always a few who are able to rise to that level, but very few in my experience. As an exercise in attempting to see what we really think should happen, can we imagine using this group to make nominations for such a brain trust? Forgive me if I miss the fact that there is such a brain trust now--perhaps the various national or world academies of art and science, or professional associations? It doesn't quite seem that way to me, but....could I possibly be wrong? 49:181 Kip Winsett I'd nominate David Christian, author of Maps of Time. His book is a 'scientitic overview" of the evolution of the universe and mankind but he describes it as simply our modern version of the "myth". 49:182 Kip Winsett Interesting that it today's paper there was an article about companies like Xerox, IBM, Sun, Intel and Microsoft hiring anthropologists and sociologists to help them overcome the disconnect between the 'tech' world view and that of 'regular' people. 49:183 Rosalyn Hansrisuk The latest summaries for the Two Cultures Conference have been posted on the ILF Plenary. Please click on the link below: http://groupjazz.gjhost.com/gj/swebsock/0000493/0360806/GJ8/main/viewitem.cml?6 616+15+428+3+0+0+1+x#here Please notify me for any and all housekeeping concerns for the conference. 49:184 Richard Cassín In the current issue of The New Yorker (April 3rd), there is an excellent article/book review by H. Allen Orr entitled "The God Project: What the science of religion can't prove". It is a review of a book by Daniel Dennett, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. It is somewhat relevant to this symposium, and I think that most of you would enjoy it. 49:185 Carol Anne Bundy 2 CULTURES SYMPOSIUM Another Look at Dialogue between the Sciences and the Humanities: Dreamer‘s Panacea or the Future of Thought? Closing Comments By Carol Anne Bundy The Third Culture What a fascinating experience, being in conversation with all of you who have so freely given of your insight, wisdom and experience. And special thanks to Richard Farson and the WBSI for giving us all this unique opportunity to discuss an issue that touches every aspect of society today. Six weeks ago, we embarked together upon the exploration as to what meaning C. P. Snow‘s Two Cultures dialectic might offer the twenty-first century recognizing that Snow had originally wanted to entitle his 1959 Reed Lecture, Of Rich and of Poor. Early on in our discussions, a wide range of views emerged, running the gambit from laments as to the limitations of dualistic thinking to the social fallout of modern science to the notion that a merging of the humanities and sciences is impossible and therefore even attempts to attach value to any discourse between the two would be nonsensical. And yet, in the end, many within the panel identified with the need for some sort of reciprocity of understanding between the two ―cultures‖ if we, as individuals and as a species, would wish towards a more hopeful future. Acknowledging this impulse, the desire to make the world a better place, I wonder if perhaps one of the lessons to be learned from our discussions is the awareness of the need for the emergence of ―The Third Culture.‖ By Third Culture I mean thought analysis of policy initiatives and recommendations springing forth from a triumvirate of the independent sector, such as philanthropic institutions, nongovernmental organizations and multi- and international organizations, together with the public intellectuals, those in a position to take perhaps a larger view of world affairs and developments unbiased by commercial or even, if possible, political affiliations, and the global citizenry, engendering a sense of world consortium, and, at best, approximating some sense of global conscience. In that it has been duly acknowledged throughout our conversations that science and capitalism and, by extension, globalism, are now inextricably linked, the need for a Third Culture is more obvious than ever, and evermore imperative. The global age, together with specialization within the fields of science, and biotechnology in particular, has created a world of increased fragmentation where the aspirations towards democracy and expansion of capitalism can no longer be linked to the notions of civil society and national citizenship. And yet, in the end, it remains abundantly clear that science has a human face both in terms of the quest for progress and the repercussions of advancement or failure. In fact, one could easily argue that in certain parts of the world, democracy, with its theoretical base plate of self-determinization, has provided the ―legitimization‖ of human rights violations in the name of national interest. It equally clear that part of the challenge of democracy‘s self-determination within post-modern times is that it is increasingly difficult to refer to a single self when considering national composites; rather plurality and multi-interest seems to be the moving trend the world over. This shift to global constituencies, if you will, which I believe will become even more pronounced as the world populations increases and the chasms between and within those who consider themselves to be disenfranchised widens, will require a re- thinking of the concept of democracy and all that it entails by all concerned in light of reconciling notions of citizenship with the idea of self and other. I would maintain, that this re-thinking cannot be limited to nationalistic boundaries alone but must integrate recognition of the simultaneous classification of global citizenship as well if the hurdles we face, as highlighted throughout our discussions, are to be addressed intelligently with wisdom and thoughtfulness. It will be in this way, that ―both/and‖ or relationary thinking will lead the day into what, I believe, will be the ultimate paradigm shift within thinking itself. I do believe the day will come in which economic strength of global communities will not be measured by currencies alone but by opportunity as well, of which responsibility for self and other will be integral. On a personal note, I would like to add my gratitude to each of you for helping me address how I might go about honoring a commitment I made to Jonas many years ago. Two nights before he died, he entrusted a notebook of his to me entitled The Plan for the Rest of My Life which he had been keeping for two years. I liked that about him; his determination to use every last breath in pursuing his goals. He could always make me laugh whenever he would sing his Townsend Harris School for Boys mantra (a scholarship school for very bright boys in NYC in his youth) "Rooty toot, rooty toot. We are the boys of the Institute. We are not tough. We are not strong. But we are determined!" Jonas told me that as a young boy, while waiting to hear if he had been accepted, he had prayed every night to God promising that, if accepted, he would dedicate his life to service. He promised God that he would make a difference. Well, anyway, as he handed me the notebook, Jonas asked me to promise to do what I could to see things through. I made that promise to him and am more convinced now after having had this experience with all of you, not only that I must continue to keep it, but that those dreams must live on and evolve. In fact, I know he would have wanted the ideas to evolve, for others to add aspects of themselves, their own ideas and experiences into the mix. In fact this experience with all of you has proved the point: That it will be through the coming together, the thinking together, of ―the liked-minded‖ as Jonas used to put it (in all of their diversity), that we will all be able to look towards a more helpful future. To that end, I have been asked to write about this important conference and I would very much welcome any comments that anyone might feel inclined to make to a draft. There will also be continued thought towards the Concordance Center if anyone is interested in participating in that as well which will take the form, in part, of in-person workshop meetings together with a facilitator in La Jolla and in the UK. I am sure that more will become apparent after reflection. The experience has truly been rich for me and I thank you all most sincerely from the depths of my heart and mind. Carol Anne 49:186 Richard Farson I would like to add my thanks to those of Carol Anne for all of you who participated so generously. Considerable wisdom was generated in this conference, and it has already led to what will be a series of magazine articles, and the likelihood of future meetings, both face-to-face and online. It is clear that the division that brought us together is still very much with us, and continues present a significant barrier to achievement of the better world to which we are all committed. Perhaps our deliberations will be a significant positive step in the history of this dilemma. Finally, I would like to thank our leader, Carol Anne, for her inspiring and responsive leadership, and our facilitator, Rosalyn Hansrisuk, for her excellent summaries. 49:187 Carol Anne Bundy Thank you, Richard. That is very kind of you indeed. I am the one who has been inspired by your outstanding and distinguished group of fellows. It has been an absolute pleasure. -Ω-
"The Two Cultures"