16 July 2010

as daft as the olympus business

[click image]


Swinging from one dominant paradigm to the next might be evidence of great thinking, but not of an ability to discern truth.
The two most surprising ideas in Plato's hidden philosophy may be explained simply. First, the musical and mathematical structures he hid in his writings show that he was committed to the radical idea that the universe is controlled not by the gods on Olympus but by mathematical and scientific law. Today we take it for granted that the book of nature is written in the language of mathematics, but it was a dangerous and heretical idea when it struggled for acceptance in the Scientific Revolution of the 1600s. Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake and Galileo was condemned and imprisoned. After Socrates was executed for sowing doubts about Greek religion, Plato had every reason to hide his commitment to a scientific view of the cosmos. But we now know that Plato anticipated the key idea of the Scientific Revolution by some 2000 years.
It is the better part of valor to nest it inside your work such that it is difficult or impossible for succeeding generations to ruin, but it needs to be real—as contrasted with the human attraction to elegant symbolism and beauty—to make it worth the effort... on either end.


1 comment:

  1. Ya know, dammit, the only comment on this was a spammer. Something important was said here but it left you speechless.


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