Thursday, January 26, 2017


Works in the humanities are designed to resonate on many levels, using metaphor and metonymy to give expression to a mix of conscious and unconscious meanings. 

We sometimes consider scientific and technical writing to be at the other end of the spectrum, with a literal factual truthful meaning only, and no intentions towards resonance. 

The postmodernists wanted to show the notion of absolute objectivity flips to subjective (opposites meet). Kierkegaard made the same point in his Concluding Unscientific Postscript (1846). However the idea of a spectrum remains useful.

Synergetics is a work in the humanities, is philosophy more specifically, because it's written to resonate. It's polymorphic without being perverse would be Fuller's claim, taking "perversion" in the Lacanian sense. See also: Love's Body by Norman O. Brown.

Fortunately, philosophy leads to science through natural philosophy, with scientists often becoming philosophical and willing to indulge in the humanities. What literal truths we might glean from "explorations in the geometry of thinking" are by definition potentially applicable in "real world" situations.

Poe is a bridge writer in that he introduces the cryptographic. Stories about secret codes may intimate that they themselves are a secret language. The rediscovery of Egypt and the idea of Indiana Jones type adventures coincided. Here's a PDF about that.

Wittgenstein took this to an extreme, suggesting a secret one cannot divulge even in principle (some private "beetle") is not really a secret at all nor private. If I suppose "my world is my language" then "my secret world" is simply "the world" (secret from whom? -- "everyone but me").  The solipsist has no way to mean what is grammatically out of bounds (Tractatus).

The attitude one takes to reading an enciphered work was thereby further popularized by Poe.  One need not take a Freudian approach to dreams to find "hidden meaning". Indeed, the humanities have always harbored the esoteric and the occult.

Those wondering how to line up Synergetics with STEM might want to bridge through psychology, an approach E.J. Applewhite somewhat favored (not surprisingly given his CIA background), though he never eschewed direct links to crystollography.  

Wittgenstein talks about our sense of something crystalline, something logical, at the heart of our language. Philosophers hunger to bottle and sell its eternal flavor in their cryptic notations.

Synergetics is more Alchemy than Chemistry, true, but only because the human psyche works that way too, reaching into the physical and special case to express the metaphysical, the mathematical, the eternal verities. 

The Gibbs Phase Rule relating solid, liquid, gas states to temperature / pressure applies to thinking itself, with "solid" meaning the more crystalline, and "gas" the more nebulous.

Critical Path, Grunch of Giants and Tetrascroll have the appearance of "code books" in their layered use of symbols. "How much of this are we to take literally?" becomes a real question.  Given the two Synergetics volumes behind them (earlier in time), I'd keep that question open ended, more like what Quakers call "a query".