Monday, 15 November 2010

Conscious In Time

Conscious In Time
The Bergson-Einstein-debate about the Duration of SpaceTime.
Otto B. Wiersma

In his 1907 book Bergson appreciates the logic of solids as making our intellect triumph in geometry. But that’s only one side of the story (after all it’s life that made geometricians). Life as transcending teleology as well as mechanism is according to B a continuous change / transition / progress / transformation / maturation / evolution. This opens our eyes also for the ‘arrow of time’: ‘Consciousness cannot go through the same state twice. That is why our duration is irreversible.’ B opposes the idea that aspects of the present are calculable as functions of the past (e.g. as differential equations). Bergson: ‘The most complex has been able to issue from the most simple by way of evolution.’ but ‘Anything that is irreducible (..) and irreversible in the successive moments of a history eludes science.’ For which Bergson uses comparative arguments: ‘life is no more made of physico-chemical elements than a curve is composed of straight lines’. This way Bergson opposes both radical mechanism (the real is complete – the only problem is that our mind just doesn’t know that) and radical finalism (realization of a previously arranged programme - as inverted mechanism), although refuting radical mechanism and radical finalism is not as easy for both of them. Finding a trace of spontaneity will refute radical mechanism, but there is no similar refutation for radical finalism. With his Philosophy of Life Bergson claims to transcend both mechanism and finalism, looking for another principle of organization. For this he refers to ‘curious facts of regeneration’ in order to postulate an ‘appeal to some inner directing principle in order to account for this convergence of effects’ which may also ‘imply consciousness and will (..) admitting an internal and psychological principle of development’. Darwinian, neo-Darwinian nor neo-Lamarckism deliver an explanation of this development. According to B an original impetus of life is the fundamental cause of variations, that accumulate and create new organs and new species. For instance: two points are equally striking in an organ like the eye: the complexity of its structure and the simplicity of its function. Nature does not show straight ways to succesfull organs and species: failure seems the rule, success exceptional and always imperfect. In the creative process B distinguishes intelligence (manifacturing) and instinct (organizing): two different methods of action on inert matter, which both involve knowledge that is acted. In this context he makes some remarks about ‘matter’ that sound very modern in 2005: Matter can be seen as ‘elementary vibrations, the shortest of which are of very slight duration, almost vanishing, but not nothing.’ And again he constrasts the succession of eventities with simultaneity: ‘For the (..) system of to-day actually to be superimposed on that of yesterday, the latter must have waited for the former, time must have halted, and everything become simultaneous: that happens in geometry, but in geometry alone. (..) Induction therefore implies first that, in the world of the physicist as in that of the geometrician, time does not count. But it implies also that qualities can be superposed on each other like magnitudes. (..) Matter becomes, it seems to us, geometry itself.’ But this approach of science itself is contingent, relative to the variables it has chosen, relative to the order in which it has successively put the problems. So again B contrasts the order of the vital or the willed (impetus, impulsion) against the order of the inert and the automatic’.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Icons: A Silent Auction Of Contemporary Art In Aid Of St Joseph's Hospice at St Botolph-Without-Aldgate

THURSDAY 18TH NOVEMBER 18:00 - 21:00

Emi Avora, Sarah Jane Barnes, Darren Beatty, Karl Bielik, Kevin Broughton & Fiona Birnie, Sean Branagan, Oana Camilleri, Elena Cecchinato, Jake Clark, Oliver Clegg, Paul Cole, Giles Corby, Alex Daw, Mengsel Design, Robin Dixon, Peter Doig, Ralph Dorey, Elmgreen & Dragset, Richard Ducker, Kris Emmerson, Sophie Erlund, Ruth Ewan, Ben Faga, Nooshin Farhid, Dave Farnham, Oona Grimes, Gonkar Gyatso, Ian Hamilton Finlay, David Harrison, Adam Hemuss, Alex Hudson, Henry Hudson, Mandy Hudson, Kate Hughes, Max Hymes, Chantal Joffe, Ben Johnson, Birthe Jorgensen, Deirdre King, Peter Lamb, Andrea Medjesi-Jones, Hugh Mendes, Hiroko Nakao, Chris Ofili, Grayson Perry, Robert Rush, Harry Sewell, Keir Smith, Malin Ståhl, Richard Stone, Kate Street, Mimei Thompson, Hugh Wilson, Jeanine Woollard, Mark Wright 

Turner Prize winners Grayson Perry and Chris Ofili are among the high profile names donating works for this exhibition and silent auction to be held over 2 days. The auction will help to raise essential funds for St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney, which provides end-of-life care to those with incurable illnesses in east and north east London. Victoria Miro, of Victoria Miro Gallery is Patron of the event and is helping attract artists, including Chantal Joffe, Peter Doig, Hiroko Nakao, Ian Hamilton Finlay and Elmgreen and Dragset. With over 50 pieces from both established and emerging artists, the auction offers a unique opportunity to get your hands on some original, high quality art works whilst supporting a worthwhile cause.

St Botolph-Without-Aldgate  / Aldgate High Street, London EC3N 1AB