The following article originally appeared in Design Kompany’s online magazine, S P A C E.
A SIGNIFICANT DISCOVERY this year for DK was the philosophical angling of someone we might have looked over, when we were kids learning about science and the atom.
I found the writings of physicist Neils Bohr. Not just philosophy, but also, the series of somewhat poetic musings that really, I have to say, made me very, very happy.
They did this thing. They’d jolt into sharp relief all of the feelings that thinking, creative people have, and try to insist on, but get mauled sharing about. What’s weird is that most everyone is thinking and creative, when we’re kids, learning about stuff like atoms and how things go together. But then we get turned into ‘workers’ and ‘knowledge workers’ in pursuit of ‘utility.’
Our world (the modern, Western, First World, that is, by means of qualification) is stocked with too many logic boxes.
Stuffing the logic right back into its container, Bohr would say something eloquent like this:
‘How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress.’
‘No, no, no. You’re not thinking. You’re just being logical.’
Can you see how this massive crush might come into shape? I am a huge fan of dismissing the boxes that define us too much, and enjoying the shape of space that can get made with the interstitial, the uncertainty… oh, boy. It’s all very heady. Nice to know, though, that a physicist who was real smart also got intrigued by the way logic and boxes can get us into binds.
Why didn’t we learn this in school?
NATURALLY I WENT STRAIGHT TO THE Neils Bohr Institute, then, when I was in Copenhagen in November. For ‘Discovery Day,’ where several presenters gave their findings in a lovely, airy and bright room called Auditorium A. (Ask me about the cannon vs. trumpet story I learned, upon visiting the secretary’s office and hearing the history of AA.) Hanging out I got to talk more about ‘uncertainty’ with a few people over sweets and coffee at the break, and that’s how I met a handful of folks who, like Bohr and scientists everywhere and philosophers and poets, are asking lots of questions that have ways of leading to still more and better questions, with study and scrutiny and the ever-possible thing that has happened in the past with a paradigm shift.
So many things
MORE ABOUT BOHR (AND BOHM, AND KRISHNAMURTI), will be featuring in the eBooks and articles I am composing now, while writing up the notes from the travels, the interviews, and the article series that is coming together to sum the learnings. I started everything, but it’s getting a little bigger than I had meant. I think I have to do some more research into areas I’m not super comfortable diving in. But then again, that is the work, isn’t it? Of discovery, the flirting with the uncertain, and the plunge into ‘N+1.’
To the next!
Will look forward to sharing more with those who express interest.