From: matthew gream (
Date: Wed Apr 12 2000 - 09:04:29 MDT

I wrote an essay about this recently, perhaps I can offer some points:

probably generally agreed upon points:
- we are talking terminology, half the arguments may be over the terminology and meanings assigned to the words 'art', 'science', 'engineering', 'innovation', 'creativity', etc; and values in these change over time and across cultures (e.g. innovation is highly rewarded in some cultures, not in others). (consider duchamp's work, and how it affected the notion of 'what is art' -- he sort of shifted the focus of the definition, illustrating that it is not just the media, but it is what goes into creating the media, cf. impressionism/expressionism)
- popular definitions of art focus on painting, dance, music, writing, etc, but art is a more general 'thing' that is a cognitive process and manifest in different media (e.g. mathematics).
- it's a continually debated and considered issue, a good book on aesthetics and probably other books recommended by other extropians would be good things to read. i am not sure who the respected authorities are.
- a big question at the moment surrounds the unity of art, science, religion and philosophy, particularly science and religion.

my personal perspective:
- science generally works with systematic rules and procedures, consider those formalised by popper et al.
- art is related to innovation and more about breaking existing realities, finding new insights into reality, where reality is the existing systems as we know them.
- the progress of society in many ways is towards the mastery of reality (in our inner, and outer worlds; in physics and biology -- in the unity); and somehow connected to spiritual needs of man, especially in solving 'difference', the difference between the ideals in the mind, and the reality out there in the world, to bring both into a unity: creative tension.
- for instance, art/innovation/invention allows a mathematician to intuit a theory (fermats last theorem) out of the depths of the mind, however this must be proved then by the formal tools of science. it is interesting that mathematics continues to find new paths through reality, and is in many ways boundless. for instance, fermats last theory solved by a mesh of systems, domains and constructs which map an unwieldy path between nodes in a mesh of mathematical reality. perhaps someone with enough creative power will simplify the proof, maybe by creating new mathematical domains/systems/tools. for instance, einstein, newtown and von neumann are recognised as having the creative power to bring together a wide body of knowledge and sythesise/conceptualise the fundamental forces/principles at work.
- there is often a general progression towards systematisation, wherein art discovers the new reality, the insight, and then eventually it becomes systematised and formalised and adopted. consider cognitive training, group brainstorming and other sorts of things.

Excuse the somewhat unstructured nature; but hopefully those are some ideas and thoughts.



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