Tag: chaos

Celebration of Research

This week was the final week of the course. All the students had to present their research that they were working on for the whole semester. During class, we had a pre-presentation to make sure all the students’ presentations were in good order. We were advised by professors and students on what needed to be altered so that the actual presentation goes smoothly. In the actual presentation time, we had three classes all from the STS Origins theme to present on their research projects.
The projects done for our class were vastly different from the projects done by the other classes. I had a chance to look at the artist book class projects. I met one presenter named Sage Bailin, who worked on photographs of sprinters. In his book, there were photographs of him sprinting from all different angles and sprinting positions. It was interesting to see how he was able to take all the photos from different positions from different angles. Sage also had many photographs of many professional athletes, one was the notable Usain Bolt. He had a photograph of Usain doing his famous celebration pose and as well as photographs of Usain while sprinting. The photographs he took were not ordinary photos; It is noticeable that the artist wanted the photos to capture specific different angles and positions of the subjects as well as capture and focus in on the main point of the photo. Another work was relatable to me and fascinating was a work done by Stephanie. Her book contained hand drawings portraits of her friends and family, but mostly K-Pop celebrities. K-Pop celebrities are a significant part of the contemporary culture in South Korea where I am from. K-pop celebrities are a main source of entertainment for not only South Korea but Southeast Asian and East Asian countries worldwide. I am personally not a fan of K-pop. However I got to know the celebrities through my relationships with my Korean friends who were avid fans, but also, I have made personal investments in the Korean record label/entertainment/management companies that manage these Korean celebrities. Many foreigners, don’t recognize South Korea, however through a positive association with k-pop has given South Korea and its culture a worldwide recognition. It is always a pleasure to meet K-pop fans because they are usually not only a fan of the music but also deeply aware of the Korean culture as well.
The presentation day went very well; most students were able to present their project concisely and directly. It was nice to be informed about such wide-ranging topics such as financial crises, bitcoin/currency, transgression/superheroes, academic scholarships, Kenyan tribes, Chinese/ Eastern medicine, a modern form of journalism, and ethnic migration. All these topics were related to the theme of origins or the theme of order versus chaos.
The course was truly inter-disciplinary since it had students who had different fields of expertise. The course had taught me to look at ideas and concepts from a broad perspective and incorporating other disciplines into research as well.

The Origins of Contemporary Poetry

Stephano Colangelo came to lecture about origins of contemporary poetry. He first mentions before getting into the heart of the lecture that poetry is a study of literature that produces metaphors to understanding something new about topics. He also expanded that the origins of poetry and especially contemporary poetry is difficult to trace since poetry is abstract and defined it as a state of mind. He said he would use metaphors to understand different parts of contemporary poetry.

One of the more interesting ideas he discussed was Benedetto Croce’s quote that, “art is pure intuition or pure expression.” I believe this is true for all art. There is fluidity in this statement that art is a pure intuition. When someone hears, sees, smell, taste, or feel any art form it, is the person interpreting that is giving the meaning to the art form, and it is all based on intuition without the primordial form of knowledge. You can also see this from the perspective of the artist, where the artist doesn’t have any concepts, but has an intuition and uses his art as his or her way of expression. There are ideas and concepts of the art, but there is no primordial form, and this is what art is by Croce. Croce also believes poetry as art and this intuition might be the beginning trace of origins for contemporary poetry. I think you can connect the idea of order vs. chaos in this definition of art. When art is a pure expression or intuition it gives it order because expression and intuition there is some understanding and intention behind it, however, the lack of primordial knowledge is similar to the idea of chaos where there is no understanding of where, how, and why this intuition or expression came to be.

Another significant point discussed in the lecture is the notion of relating voice, poetry, language, and body. Colangelo mentions that the multilingual poet, Paul Celan, says “poetry is timeless, and poetry can be an empty space. It doesn’t always have to be fully understood; it can be just left empty.” These components of poetry are crucial to discover some evidence to origins of poetry. However, it is also the reason I think why finding origins of poetry difficult. If poetry is timeless than it becomes more challenging to pinpoint when poetry has started because any literature with verses can become poetry from any time, but also most origins share the same characteristics of being timeless, such as origins of the universe there is no definite time when the universe started. Leaving poetry vague and incomprehensible also shares similar characteristics with the origins of universe and art. We also don’t fully understand why the universe was created and trace the origins of art. It is challenging to find origins of universe and art. For art, it is mainly due to defining what qualifies as art that makes tracing origins of art difficult, and for origins of the universe, we are not technologically and scientifically able to trace our universe at the beginning of time.

Finding Order in Chaos: A Bleak Speculation on the Human Time-line

Last week I wrote about the ties between religion and astrology, suggesting that perhaps we are asking too many questions pertaining to the ‘how’, and less of the ‘why’. I concluded with a loose suggestion that perhaps astrology and our pursuit of a proof-based origin story mirrors religious endeavors to instill comfort and confidence with a sense of understanding. After this week, I stand by that theory. However, I am left with a sublime sense of our aimless and haphazard existence. On the grand scheme of the cosmos, a human life span is a speck within a spec on a grain of the sands of time. Excuse my melodramatic angst, but we are nothing (relatively). But that’s not what I write about today.

Today, I write about the concept that systems, when starved/burned/ or otherwise introduced to chaos, find order. They adapt. Of course I find comfort in this, especially when I noticed this phenomenon on every scale. In the macro theatre, post gravitational collapse, space dust hurries to accumulate mass (and thus gravitational force) to overcome the pull of the collapsing star. The dust, and soon planets, are introduced to the star’s rotational axis and follow suit. On a micro scale, post big bang, the hydrogen molecules among the gaseous soup cool enough to form bonds, and soon life. Even on a human scale, after 59 individuals were shot dead at a Las Vegas music festival, hospitals fill with volunteers waiting to give blood. We organized among the chaos. The 18th century Industrial Revolution led to the organization of labor unions, the American Civil War drafted the Lieber Code, and World War II gave birth to the United Nations. While these examples are quite generalized, they serve to highlight systems bathed in chaos finding order.

Bringing it back to our lecture…

When media discusses global warming, they treat it as though the world were coming to an end (of course depending on what news program you watch), and, for many, the end of the human race is the end of the world. But, as I mentioned earlier, the end of the human race, by means of environmental shifts beyond the sufficient condition of the human species, is indeed not the end of the world. In fact, for the earth, humans are a relatively only a short blip in time. The earth has fostered the growth and reproduction of humans, and, as we upset the stability of our atmosphere by artificially releasing stored carbon, it must correct. To return to a stable state, as we discussed, the environment will make the necessary alterations to counteract the abundance of carbon-dioxide. Now this is not to say that we as humans will not find order within our new-found chaos, but will it be enough?

Will I be dead? Most definitely. Will I have left an impact or made a difference? We hope, and most likely on a local, relative scale. Will my carbon footprint have mattered? Now I dabble into question of morality. The earth will correct, that much we know. Will it do so fast enough to spare the human population? No, not unless we change our trajectory and artificially apply the carbon-hand brake. So it really boils down to one question, how does my environmental ignorance deviate from the trajectory of mankind? Is Asiimov accurate in his predictions of an everlasting, entropy-reversing walk of life, or are we destined to remain a spec within a spec on a grain of the sands of time.

From origins to the destination

I was 10 years old when I learned that humans could only move forward in time and that the Sun would eventually engulf the earth for the first time. The fear of death and inexistence immediately swallowed me, who was too young to think about and question the meaning of life. I wondered for such a long time what the point of living was if eventually everything would be exploded and gone and how could the future creatures know that I once existed. Even till today, I feel so lost and flustered to think about these questions to which I have never had an answer.

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Simple Space

When I think of space, of anything above our atmosphere, it’s usually clouded by my belief that anything in that realm is far too complex, large, or confusing for little me to possibly understand. However, every time I read a chapter or take a class about space, it feels like the things going on in that sky above me are simpler than the jumbled mess of life happening on this spaceship called Earth.
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