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FleshFactor: Are we not machines?

A E C  F O R U M - "F L E S H F A C T O R"

I have to make my stand and totally disagree with the intellectual,
reductionistic and self-fulfilling idealogy that the we are fundamentally
a machine.  A machine operates on the basis of causality, what you get out
is a process of what you put in - predictable, reducible to a set of laws.

Do all these Darwinians believe our brains can supply the answer to
everything, that there is no limit to our ability to understand, reduce,
categorise, predict all that is, was and might be?  Where does this
egotistical and arrogant belief stem from?  A need for control and

Godel showed that for every set of rules there would be some rule that
would be unknowable and unprovable outside of that set.  Quantum physics
contains many non-casual (uncertanity type) phenomena.  Chaos theory shows
how so called machine like systems can become unknowable/unpredictable. 
The language of mathematics extends into spaces that are almost of the
imagination, yet also appear to be grounded in so called reality. 

There are other ways of knowing - emotive, intuitive, feeling, irrational
even, allowing those neurons to fire according to strange influences,
peculiar resonances, holistic unconnected impressions, non-analytical
improvisation (language is not the way this is experienced). 

I would argue this - ever since we emerged from the caves of superstition
and fear we have yearned for control over nature - the machine ideology
seems to be another illusion of control and power. 

What if we are not a machine?  What if there are forces that influence us
in ways we cannot comprehend?  (I can almost hear the horror and fear
these irrational non-scientific unempirical suggestions produce!)  Let's
go really overboard here - Extra Sensory Perception, The Fourth Dimension
(+ more), Astral Projection (called something more scientific in the
Military), Lucid Dreaming, Near Death Experiences, Deja Vue, mass
hysteria, possession, trance dancing and probably many more unlabelled
undiscovered examples of non-machine (resist the analysis) phenomena.

Let us not fool ourselves - we will not be able to explain, know or detect
everything that might be, is or was, aspects of "reality"--the place where
we are by definition constrains us as to what can be known (pencil write
upon thyself).

Has anyone read Flatland, by Edwin Abbott Abbott?  (A parody of Victorian
society set on a flat world, occupied by lower being female lines, humble
male triangles, and priest like circles - a square (the narrator) is
visited by a sphere from the next dimension (the third), his rationality
and understanding thus challenged by a phenomena "not of his world"...) 

Richard Brown,

Research Fellow,
Royal College of Art,
Kensington Gore,
London SW7 2EU.

Tel: 0171 590 4296 (direct line)
Fax: 0171 590 4290


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