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Our Next

            World View

The New Reality of Art
How Networks Operate and 'Act' can be Experienced through Metaphors
  • The simultaneously interactive feedback that gives networks agency evades ordinary description

  • Artistic expression in images and words can model this interdependent activity through dynamical metaphors

  • In this way we can have an indirect experience of the otherwise inaccessible qualities of self-organizing systems

  • Art and mythology are the archaic methods humans used to perceive the hidden operations of complex networks

  • But this dynamical symbolism can only be experienced through our right brain hemisphere perspective

Making Network Science 'Sensible' through Dynamical Symbolism
and Right Brain Hemisphere Attention
Representing Complex Network Behaviors Logically is Limited

To appreciate the concurrently interacting feedback relationships of parts/factors that generate self-organizing, adaptive system networks requires a radical shift in how we experience the way things happen. Our ordinary sense of events as mechanistic sequences of predictably proportional actions cannot grasp these dynamics.  We require some extra-ordinary stimulus to enable perception of the 'everything happens at once'  of these activities, along with the unpredictable emergence of self-organizing agency.  Scientific diagrams and schematics give us some impression of these simultaneous, disproportional dynamics. But these abstractions are difficult to appreciate without extensive technical knowledge.

Experiencing Interactive Feedback and Emergent Ordering through Dynamical Metaphors

Artistic representations can provide more experiential impressions of feedback dynamics and how these collectively generate an emergent whole that is something more than the individual parts or actions. The most obvious of these are visual symbols that represent such reciprocal interactivity, which can be considered as iconic metaphors of complex system dynamics.


Art as the symbolization of network dynamics ranges from more realistic to more fanciful and abstract styles. By violating our ordinary perceptions and interpretations of how thins appear to us, these styles can awaken intuitive awareness of the hidden networks that actually enable the existence of our selves, ecologies, thoughts, and interpersonal relationships.

Employing Scientific Symbolism--Making the Invisible Visible

When the provocations that art, and its more ancient mythological versions, present to our ordinary sense of reality, are associated with the science of complex system networks, our understanding of both can be enhanced.

Re-Experiencing Left Hemisphere Knowledge through Right Hemisphere Perspective

Systems science confronts us with reductive knowledge about irreducible complexity, about the emergence of self-organizing interdependencies, that can be factually verified yet also not completely analyzed and explained.  This is knowledge derived from the reductive perspective of our left brain hemisphere, but it has implications about 'how the world actually works' that our left hemisphere is not able to fully appreciate.  From the perspective of neuroscientific study of our bilateralized brains, it appears evident we must use metaphoric symbolism -- in images, language, concepts, and ritualized actions -- to experience the science through the inclusive, holistically simultaneous attentional mode of our right hemisphere. 'mind-ing.'

This Dynamical Symbolism of Art is a Fundamental Aspect of Traditional Spiritualities

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