Friends and Players:
I think that another aspect of what k is saying or at least implying -- and I trust k will correct me or make a better presentation of the idea as appropriate -- is that science has steadily been mapping a variety of areas, and most recently and more specifically mapping contiguous areas, such that
in a process which is continually being revised at the extreme micro and macro ends of the spectrum, and fine-tuned at various other points, but which has now substantially identified and formalized relations at least from the subatomic via the physical to the chemical and into the biological realm in ways which will not change as science proceeds... That we now have reliable mapping of those areas, in other words, that our maps now accurately portray many parts of reality and are thus no longer disposable metaphors merely but representations of truth.
- subatomic physics maps the constituents of atoms and their qualities,
- atomic physics those of the atoms themselves,
- chemistry the formation and qualities of molecules,
- molecular biology and genetics the nature and function of specific molecules within biology and medicine ...
This puts science on a different footing from other worldviews, including mythic systems and religions, and I think this distinction is an important one, often overlooked in the name of relativity of worldviews.
For example see, Roger S. Jones, Physics as Metaphor
U Minn, 1982, for a physicist's account of feelingvaguely embarassed by a kind of illusory quality in science;and his conclusion thatscience and the physical world were products of human imagining -- that we were not the cool observers of that world, but its passionate creators
Max Delbruck is one of the key figures in the development of the contiguous explanation idea I've sketched above, in a lineage that runs from Neils Bohr, the Copenhagen Interpretation and Principle of Complementarity via Schrödinger's essay What is Life? to Delbruck himself and thence to Watson, Crick and Pauling.
Gunther Stent comments in his Introduction and Overview to Delbruck's Mind from Matter? (Blackwell Scientific, 1986):Through Delbruck, Bohr's epistemology became the intellectual infrastructure of molecular biology, the reason, perhaps, for its hegemony over twentieth century life sciences. It provided for mnolecular biologists the philosophical guidance for navigating between the Scylla of crude biochemical reductionism, inspired by nineteenth century physics, and the Charybdis of obscurantist vitalism, inspired by nineteenth century romanticism.
It would seem that a very similar Scylla and Charybdis (reductionism vs romanticism) confronts us this day. Hesse tells us that the great Game embodies the same eternal idea which underliesevery rapprochement between the exact and the more liberal disciplines, every effort toward reconciliation between science and art or science and religion.
In this spirit, it seems to me, we as players should welcome both the clarifications of fact offered by the sciences, and the clarifications of psyche offered by the poets...
With best wishes,
playable variants on
Hermann Hesse's Glass Bead Game
PLAY GAME FOUR
THE Men in Black have arrived!
GLASS BEAD GAME ARCHIVES
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