- Education and Science
Art of life
Impressions on the wondrous ways of existence
It is the constant endeavor of every being, consciously or unconsciously, to understand and integrate their emotional selves to the larger abstract entities around them. At the same time, they- at least we know that humans incessantly seek to gratify this urge - tend to comprehend the root cause of this inexorable compulsion. Art is an expressive manifestation of this endeavor.
Science attempts the same, in the material realm; trying to describe immediate systems, discover their place and mode of amalgamation with larger and more general systems - all the way up to the composition of the universe. At the same time, it also sleuths around to find the basic quantum upon which the material world rests and the manner in which this basic quantum evolved into a universe of unimaginable cosmic proportions.
Philosophy seeks to network these two parallel processes using logic and structured reasoning and including both the rigors of science and the abandon of emotion, while literature records the nuances of these ventures, embellishing the narrative with charming flourishes that makes its reading a pleasure.
The fusion of science, philosophy, art, and literature perhaps, describes existence in its entirety, from a human perspective.
The narrative in verse titled "Art of Life" - and the exhibits that go with it - is my outlook of how such a fusion would be. It comprises four sections - Cosmic Art, Quantum Art, Evolutionary Art and Speculative Art.
All twenty-one exhibits in this presentation have been hand-crafted, mostly out of waste material: cardboard cartons, discarded pipes, throw-away plastic containers, spent pressure cooker gaskets, condemned kitchenware, broken clothes lines and clips, old newspaper, twigs, clay ... in short, a healthy and brimming trash pile; and a few inexpensive items like toothpicks, thermocol balls, plaster-of-paris, matchsticks and homemade glue, thrown into the pool. Eleven months have been consumed from conception to completion.
The exhibits and poetry are best viewed in the order in which they are presented, as they constitute a story of sorts about existence - adhering to the theory of a universe that comes into and goes out of being in definite cycles. It begins with a point about the theme and ends with the speculative notion of where the human-originated concept of god might fit into the scheme of a logical perspective of life.
The Ubiquitous Point - Universal originator
From being the focus of a complex league
or coalescing to form patterns of intrigue,
it pervades every object of cognizance -
real, abstract, elaborated, or in essence.
Such is the sway of the ubiquitous point;
a self-image that creation made to appoint
as the sovereign, to oversee in its stead
the world of consciousness that we tread.
Its schemes that appear as concord or strife,
constitutes the infinitely diverse art of life.
Big Bang - The biggest known "B" of 'em all
Observable and computed facts
seem to incontrovertibly signify
that every plausible idea
invariably extends to dignify
the conception of the Big-Bang
from which emerged the universe
Inflating itself from a point without an
inside, outside, or anything obverse.
From the depths of this explosion appeared
energy, matter, time, and space,
that went further on to evolve into
life and its astounding ways.
To ask, "What was there before this event?"
would be an act quite self-demeaning;
For space would have implied nothing then,
and time wouldn't have had a meaning.
Linearity and Curvature - Galactic Art
For motives mysterious and unknown,
the big-bang caused a seed to be sown
with characteristics of a definite nature
that sprouted to assume a colossal stature.
Of the two main attributes which coerce,
shape, and control the observable universe;
one is omnipresent and almighty gravity;
the other permeates every vacuous cavity.
Linearity seems to be the manner of their actions;
The effects are curvatures: real or abstractions.
In tandem have they carefully fashioned
Being neither detached nor impassioned;
Galaxies: estimatedly about eighty billions,
With a star content in inestimable zillions!
The Solar Ensemble - A close-knit multi-generational family
Our solar system is an average sized group
comprising a star and its planetary troupe;
formed from a single large mass
of dispersed stellar dust;
an element molding the next higher,
when exotically combust.
By a time-scale that we claim to
comprehend, but actually don't;
life as we know it, evolved in small steps
and big leaps, as it is its wont;
the other members of the
assorted solar ensemble
contributing to it, by their
measured celestial wamble.
Maybe, life exists on more than an astral sphere,
to familiar norms, that just do not adhere.
On earth, though, there are many a parallel,
of events reflecting a recognized stellar ravel.
Cosmic Embrace - The courted sun
The universe may appear desolate
with unimaginable empty spaces.
A variety of celestial bodies sparsely
manifesting in occasional traces.
That, however, is only half the truth,
for there is ample warmth too.
One can see countless entities engaged
in ardent acts quiet akin as to woo.
Those that are successful in their quest
live like a family all their lives.
Constantly tugging at each other,
while doing their individual jives.
Their trails in the expanse of space,
if it were possible to lace,
would unmistakebly suggest that
they are in each other's embrace.
Beauty at its best - Firmamental Art
It is not a fortuitous occurrence that
planet Venus is associated with art;
Perfectly symmetrical orbital movements
to it, gravity - in its wisdom, imparts.
Voluptuous whirls; enticing pirouettes;
graceful glides; mark its celestial cruise.
Closer home, our only Moon sports
similar artistically refined traits.
To those who follow the two in their wake
a visual spectacle surely awaits.
In the crescent Moon's pleasing bosom,
a sparkling Venus at rest,
is indeed a view that appositely
epitomizes beauty at its best.
Action Fest - Celestial swordfight
Activity is one thing that never stops
in this immense conglomeration;
every exploit familiar to us humans
has a firmamental replication.
Though the happenings are on
a much greater time scale;
when pursued, the trajectories detail
immaculately every earthly tale.
The romantic and artistic realms
have already been dwelt upon.
One doesn't need to go far to see
where their opposites spawn.
A seemingly innocuous event that
provides a robust representation;
seen from another perspective would
portray death and confrontation.
The Citadel - A futuristic castle in space
The general but inappropriate notion
about the depiction of celestial motion
is that, it is a confusion of curvy tangles
with no straight lines or sharp angles.
The truth is that, it is the time interval of
observation which is the defining issue;
granting striking shapeliness or stark
linearity, as it would be fittingly due.
Artists and architects can both claim
cosmic inspiration in equal measure.
The magnanimity of Time bestows
whatever each of them prefer.
If one point of view offers a design
that fits a demure attire very well;
Another would be just perfect to
build an impregnable citadel.
A Pattern Versatile - Expressions of an innate trait
Versatility is an intrinsic feature
of all fundaments of creation;
sub-atomic particles and a fertilized cell
being two examples of this affirmation.
One could also say this
of certain forms of abstract art;
viewers comprehending in them,
themes that are diametrically apart.
Celestial movements too display
a similar fascinating characteristic;
stimulating minds to see their patterns
as symbols of their personal mystique.
The accompanying exhibit was construed
to be the depiction of a human womb;
an unfurled parachute; a bird of paradise;
an intricate motif on an emperor's tomb.
The Tranquility of home - Returning to roost
Recorded history is witness to the
human penchant of utilizing the Moon
to express every manner of emotional
outpouring, mainly those that we croon.
From the joy of consummated love
to the distress of unrequited affection,
Earth's lone satellite serves to articulate an
array of conflicting moods to perfection.
The motivation for this predilection
is not very difficult or far to seek;
The Moon's apparent eccentric behaviour
has a veritable stirring and sensitive streak
that swings from its glorious completeness
when it graces a blemishless dark sky;
to its periodic total disappearance, eliciting
earthlings to voice many a gloomy sigh.
The Sub-atomic Soup - Causality cooked in a cauldron
The origin of life upon earth is attributed
to the brewing of an organic soup,
with lightning substituting for fire
and swirling winds playing scoop.
There must have been a similar act, much
earlier too, at the time of the 'Bang,
when creation brewed a sub-atomic broth
from which matter as we know it sprang.
The wee bits of wonder, whizzed, whirled,
and zoomed about at incredible speeds;
shaping and breaking composite particles
according to instantaneous needs.
This tango of the infinitesimal and the
infinite, continues incessantly around us.
Cocooned in the apparent safety of our
world, of this play, we remain oblivious.
Tell-Tale Trails - Sleuthing inside a bubble chamber
Physicists may well imagine themselves to be
adventurous and pioneering sherlocks;
the quantum world is inhabited by entities
as perilous as the snake and as wily as the fox.
Yet, like the concord and harmony seen
in any system that is ecologically stable,
here too one finds sensible denizens, who
help, such hurtful tendencies, to disable.
What is fascinating about the work that
goes into unraveling this subatomic play
is that one never gets to see the players;
only trails linger, their presence, to betray.
The diminutive artistes have roles that
vary greatly in content and duration.
Some are inertly around for an eternity;
others face a femto-second of sensation.
Quirky Quarks - An atom in bloom
Matter is largely made up of quarks: so says
the standard model of Quantum Physics.
They change their attributes continually,
following a regimen rivaling calisthenics.
Switching states that physicists describe in
terms of charge, spin, color, and flavor,
which makes lay-persons to almost believe
that quarks are yummy things to savor.
In a way that is the truth, for if quarks
constitute air, water, rocks, and dirt;
they are equally part of what goes into
cooking up a lip-smacking dessert.
Three of them go into making neutrons
and protons; and two to build a meson,
where after pairing up with anti-quarks
momentarily, into oblivion they are gone.
The Super-Duper String - String suspended existense
"How minuscule can 'infinitesimal' be?",
may perhaps remain a question eternally;
sub-atomic particles are now postulated
to be manifestations of 'Strings' - in theory.
Objects with dimensions of Planck length,
which is ten power minus 33 centimeters;
their range of vibrational modes bestow
upon particles, their unique parameters.
Envisioned to act in eleven dimensions,
we get to see their effects only in four;
it stands to reason however, that we must
have the innate ability to imagine more.
When the universe reverses its mode of
expansion and subsides at the "Big Crunch",
all that remains to restart the process is a
single little string packing a colossal punch.
Quantum Clairvoyance - Celtic entanglement
Entanglement, though existentially blissful,
is also an impediment to perceive the beyond.
This idea applies to the emotional realm;
the quantum world too has a correspond.
It is the primary characteristics of the subject,
distinguishing it from its classical cousin.
Yet, parallels subsist in conventionality, by
suspicion, though confined to a garrison.
If one of two entangled objects separated
by a great distance were to change its state;
the other would be aware of this at super-
luminal speed and mimic its mate's trait.
If the mechanics of the process of telepathy
is shrouded in the mists of ignorance;
so are the technicalities of quantum tele-
portation that borders on clairvoyance.
Organized Organisms - An intangible entity inhabiting an abstract domain
Technology has granted us a new
perspective to view and appreciate life,
stressing that organisms aren't just organic;
with other life forms too, existence is rife.
Some real, others abstract, still others
inhabiting the shades in-between.
All sharing a common trait: an algorithm
that binds them to a definite routine.
Composed using simple logical operators,
their size can span a considerable variety;
from those for unpretentious viruses to
behemoths that display impropriety.
Their physical manifestations - if real,
or their observed effects - if insubstantial,
need not necessarily be commensurate
with the bent of logic they emulate.
The Miracle-Monger - The Omnipresent Virus
A comparable denizen of the organic realm
is that potent trivial thing hard to whelm;
wrongly conferred a virulent sobriquet
and assigned a wholly deceptive dossier;
it merely lives out its algorithmic existence
as everything around does in persistence,
that revolves around the twin motives
of self-preservation and propagation;
negating the need for either prolific praise,
or as accorded now - utter condemnation.
It must however be said to its credit, if
acclaim and censure are truly called for,
that they are programmed to be as much
beneficial to humans, as things to abhor.
They are the essence of sanctity of rivers;
perhaps, even the power of miracle-givers.
Coded Intelligence - Inconceivable complexity from undemanding simplicity
"Random" and "Chance" seem to be
words behind which to conveniently hide,
when our understanding is under threat;
a sea of incomprehension there is to tide.
However, when it is time for a truth to
be revealed for an evolutionary cause;
complexities are bared and understood as
aggregates of ridiculously simple laws.
For eons, ants and termites have had a
set of rules hardwired into their brains;
applied to build their palatial abodes with
baffling tenacity and gooey clay grains.
The dawn of awareness stimulates man to
employ the same principles to effect
magnificent edifices that are inherently
sound in structure and aesthetically perfect.
Everyday Evolution - Architectural thoughts
Evolution is neither an archaic happening
set in the mists of geological time;
nor is it restricted to anatomical changes
obligated by an adverse clime.
It happens all around us, here, now, every
instant; and is the essence of existence;
encompasing material forms as well as
abstract phenomena in its persistence.
Our attempt to understand this write-up
too, is a process of ongoing evolution;
pushed, and propelled by a host of controls,
both fixed and those subject to alteration.
If our reflections are expressed as structured
drawings showing thought nodes and flow,
it may expose the reason why we shun
certain stimuli, while at others we glow.
Soul Search - A slice of the soul matrix
The notion of a soul has long been dwelt
upon, hypothesized under various guesses.
Granting it immortality with no enduring
locale, or a range of definite addresses.
If analyzed in the backdrop of the
currently verifiable convictions of science,
these hypotheses fall well short of being
able to stand up to the rigors of logic.
The explanations provided are either utterly
absurd or seem to be plagiarized from
juvenile stories that have a healthy mix of
fantasy, whim, and medieval magic.
The quest remains, however, to account
for that elusive and perhaps illusive, view;
of the distinction between the living and
the dead that experience insists to be true.
The Big Bang has been described by a set of
variables; its progress to the Big Crunch by
a definite algorithmic process set in time.
It is but logical to deduce that everything in
this system would draw from such a scheme
and evolve within its limiting rhyme.
The grand cosmic play is only an expression
of this universal algorithmic soul;
The attributes of the parametric variables and
the flow of the plot, determining its goal.
An individual soul would then be a subset
of these attributes driven by a subroutine;
Unique in itself, trivially significant, and
appearing when due, upon the scene.
Time Transcended - A handful of space-time
Causality too, as with the concept of a soul,
has been a much-speculated idea for eons;
with a surfeit of justifications for it; the
adherents for each, inexhaustibly burgeons.
In the framework of time it is generally
perceived as a blend of cause and effect;
granting a sense of control and influence;
the impulse to expect; the urge to prospect.
If it were possible to transcend space-time
and look down at the fabric of existence;
a vast multidimensional network will be on
view with events and processes packed dense.
A scenario where there is neither cause nor
effect; just happenings as functions of time;
where duality morphs into something
indefinable, and being is perhaps sublime.
Shackled God - The most intriguing human creation todate: almighty yet helpless
That the cyclic process of cosmic birth-to-
bust is timeless, is how science envisions;
M-theory indicating that it is the period
between successive membrane collisions.
The membranic attributes at impact
determining the traits of the universe to be;
which in turn decide the features of the
algorithmic hordes; their role and pedigree.
Seemingly, there is no role here for god
except as the creator of this awesome plan;
that is if all this is looked upon as "creation"
which god would need to constantly pan.
However, if existence is deemed to be "an
anthology of happenings in perpetuity";
god, even if there was one, would be just a
figurehead; shackled and lost in obscurity.
The natural yearning of artists after all,
is to showcase the consequences of their inner call.
That others deign to see them, is approbation enough,
though authors are steeled for an occasional rebuff.
I trust that the presentation is considered with a view
to mildly condemn, or to mutedly applaud - if due.
© 2011 Ram Ramakrishnan