Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Science of Artistic/Literary Production

The brain operates at criticality -- at the border of order and chaos -- resulting in a power law distribution of electrical cascades. As a result, original paintings demonstrate self-organization, just like the brains that make them. The same would be true of any complex product of the human brain -- typically, one of the arts. The production of works of literature, the production of symphonies demonstrate self-organization as well. This can be seen in their fractal patterns of note or theme word distributions.

Our social systems are similarly critical systems -- once they reach a certain level of complexity, of course. Looking back at the time when we lived in tribes is therefore of extremely limited use for understanding complex societies like we find today. We can use this to understand artistic movements in complex societies, for example. We would expect there to be periods of extreme creativity followed by periods of relative stagnation if artistic productivity in complex societies were a social activity. We would expect there to be artistic movements -- strange attractors -- attracting many artists to doing similar things. At least, for a while, until the idea is "used up" and ceases being creative and generative. That's when the paradoxes holding it together drives it apart. Think of how Baudelaire was simultaneously a romantic and deeply challenged romanticism to drive the creation of a new poetic sensibility.

Brains are self-organizing critical, our social systems that emerge out of our interactions are self-organizing critical, and our artistic products are self-organizing critical. Welcome to the science of artistic/literary production.
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