Email Sent before Class:
I got here early and will be making my way down to the classroom in about 5 minutes. If you need to ask me anything about the course and are around feel free to come on down and ask. If any of you are doped up on Mountain Dew like myself I would appreciate the company of a fellow Lotophage
There are a few ideas that Mankind is fixated on. One of these fixations involves multiplicity and unity. Let me take a step back.
From the formless empty void, chasm, abyss both the greek gods and the cosmos originated. Each of the main gods in the Pantheon could be seen to be the personification of important characteristics of Existence. (For example in In Neoplatonism, Zeus’ relation to the gods familiar from mythology is taught as the Divine Mind. )
The people of times past saw all the different things in the world as coming from one unique origin. And when they turned to nature and the world around them, they saw this constant dance between multiplicity and unity, mortality and immortality. And while the centuries have passed we are still fixated on this topic.
In theoretical physics we are searching for the grand Unified theory that will lead to the unified theory of everything. In linguistics there was the idea that there was once one mother language from which all other languages came from. One can easily see this search in myth as well, the tower of Babel, the various creation myth where from nothingness life comes. Biology too has of course been very touched by this as well. Actually whether on is an atheist or a theist, black or white, hidden in our very thoughts in our deeply personal experiences there is this allusion back to unity and diversity. That may sound a bit poetic but I have noticed this search for wholeness and integrity in every human endeavor whether space or ocean exploration, dream analysis, therapy, tail-gating football games (laughing) or whatever else.
let me Quote from Hamlet’s mill Giorgio de Santillana (a professor of the history of science at MIT) and Hertha von Dechend (a scientist at Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität) is a nonfiction work of history and comparative mythology, particularly the subfield of archaeoastronomy
Over many years I have searched for the point where myth and science join. It was clear to me for a long time that the origins of science had their deep roots in a particular myth, that of invariance.
The Greeks, as early as the 7th century B.C., spoke of the quest of their first sages as the Problem of the One and the Many, sometimes describing the wild fecundity of nature as the way in which the Many could be deduced from the One, sometimes seeing the Many as unsubstantial variations being played on the One. The oracular sayings of Heraclitus the Obscure do nothing but illustrate with shimmering paradoxes the illusory quality of “things” in flux as they were wrung from the central intuition of unity. Before him Anaximander had announced, also oracularly, that the cause of things being born and perishing is their mutual injustice to each other in the order of time, “as is meet,” he said, for they are bound to atone forever for their mutual injustice. This was enough to make of Anaximander the acknowledged father of physical science, for the accent is on the real “Many.” But it was true science after a fashion.
Soon after, Pythagoras taught, no less oracularly, that “things are numbers.” Thus mathematics was born. The problem of the origin of mathematics has remained with us to this day. In his high old age, Bertrand Russell has been driven to avow: “I have wished to know how the stars shine. I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved.” The answers that he found, very great answers, concern the nature of logical clarity, but not of philosophy proper. The problem of number remains to perplex
To me when I read this when I was 15 or 16 and it changed my thinking on things on science and human endeavor. Also of course on myth as both a psychological tool and a tool for the recording or astronomical occurrences like the precession of the equinoxes.
What we are studying today is a continuation of that work. We learned how to in today’s class represent biological macro-molecules umathemetically particularly the use of probability which if you think about is central to the functioning of the post modern, post industrial age..but that’s another story.
We are look for the rules or singular rule that governs how these various molecules come together and arrange themselves into unique three dimensional shape. Our tools may be more sophisticated but I don’t see us more sophisticated than those more ancient people in search of understanding. It might mean something to you to imagine that you are part of a legacy, you are the visible face of an ancient human fixation.
ok my soda is done that’s all the juice i got for tonight.