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
Making Network Science 'Sensible' through Dynamical Symnbolism
Representing 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 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.
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.