from my notebook—11/28/10 (re: the next frontier)
what is the next frontier? in technology the next frontier is smart matter. neri oxman (ed: who is maybe the hottest woman on the planet and also a genius. i’m a bit in love with her) said materials are the new software.
that sounds metaphysical to me. the structuring element is immanent within the material itself. that sounds like leibniz.
the new frontier is the nano world. it is the thinking of tiny structures on which everything depends. the new frontier is the search for fractal comprehension. it is seeing and understanding those identical processes that link together disparate scales. the new frontier is the vertical integration of reality.
there can be no movement forward until we back-burner our insistence upon ontological certainty. any scientist will tell you that scientists make models. they gather data and then construct models that map onto the data as accurately as possible. to a scientist the notion of “truth” should be meaningless and irrelevant. there is always a lacuna separating the model from the phenomenon it models.
a good scientist never confuses models of reality with reality itself. but the rest of us often make precisely that mistake and ought to stop immediately. we need to stop mistaking ways of thinking about reality for reality itself, and then turn our efforts to the question of what is the best way to think about the world? or what is a different way of thinking about the world? we know from hume and kant that causality—the principle of interaction whereby the world becomes intelligible—is supplied by the mind itself. so why not try on a different pair of glasses?