Category Archives: Philosophy of science

Human-Animal Hybrid Prohibition Act of 2009

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Sam Brownback with Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) introduced the Human-Animal Hybrid Prohibition Act of 2009.

This legislation works to ensure that our society recognizes the dignity and sacredness of human life.

Creating human-animal hybrids, which permanently alter the genetic makeup of an organism, will challenge the very definition of what it means to be human and is a violation of human dignity and a grave injustice.

This legislation is both philosophical and practical as it has a direct bearing upon the very essence of what it means to be human, and it draws a bright line with respect to how far we can go in attempting to create new creatures made with genes from both humans and animals.(Brownback)

The Human-Animal Hybrid Prohibition Act would ban the creation of human-animal hybrids. Human-animal hybrids are defined as those part-human, part-animal creatures, which are created in laboratories, and blur the line between species. The bill is modest in scope and only affects efforts to blur the genetic lines between animals and humans. It does not preclude the use of animals or humans in legitimate research or health care where genetic material is not passed on to future generations, such as the use of a porcine heart valve in a human patient or the use of a lab rat with human diseases to develop treatments.


The question is:

What is there exactly, that those politicians are so scared of?

What is that protected and inalienable: dignity and sacredness of human life – that human dignity – they are ready to fight for?

Just take away all the religious and – yes – philosophical life-jacket out of their reasoning…what we are left with?

A common, yet never -to -be -admitted fear of a pandemonium of being truly ‘human’ with the messed-up animal DNA?…

How is it then – are we so frail in our human identity, are we so insecure in it that we have to ban all the attempts of disturbing that ‘sacred’ purity of the dominating species?

But – if there is any system, any reality which knows only one ‘correct’ answer, only one possible scenario – is it not yet another case (or possibility, at least) of an intellectual, spiritual and – factual – dictatorship?

To dictate one and only solution to a highly intricate problem/phenomenon – this is all what this sort of politics are about…

What are they so scared of? What are we so scared of?


Multiverse (M) Theory and a tower of tortoises…

Featured above is the first of five parts of the BBC documentary: “Parallel Universes”. So-called ‘M’ (Multiverse) Theory in physics has been circulating in the air for some time now. Being still a big gamble and a hypothesis per se – one can be actually surprised that is being served by the BBC as a sort of a new ‘Decalogue’ to believe in…

To state my point of view – I’m quite impressed (who wouldn’t be…) – the sheer visionary power, actual and theoretical potential and imaginative flair of this new-born piece of science is simply entrancing. Einstein’s biggest dream of constructing the Theory of Everything – at once beautiful and working, seems to live on and evolve in interesting, unforeseen directions.

At the same time I have in mind the funniest first few sentences of a great scientific book, I’ve ever read. Stephen Hawking in his “A Brief History of Time” starts his explanations from an anecdote:

After Bernard Russell finished his proud lecture on the spherical nature of the Universe, he had to face a point of view of a little old lady, who said: This is all rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on a back of a giant tortoise. Russell asked with a superior smile: But what is the tortoise standing on? And the little old lady replied: You are very clever, young man… But it’s the turtles all the way down!

And Hawking challenges us further in his uniquely reachable, crystal-like prose (actually, it’s so casually understated, that I remember double checking, if my book was an original “Hawking” and not the simplified version):

Most people would find the picture of our universe as an infinite tower of tortoises rather ridiculous, but why do we think we know better? What do we know about the universe, and how do we know it? (…) Some of the recent, breakthrough answers may seem as obvious as the earth orbiting the sun – or perhaps as ridiculous as a tower of tortoises…Only time (whenever it may be) will tell.

Is the enchanting ‘M’ Theory that tower of tortoises, or is it the Holy-Grail of science finally found? I can’t assess it scientifically, but from an artistic point of view this concept of physics alone dwarfs a big chunk of the conceptual and postmodern ‘philosophy’ as formed and portrayed by artists – actually, it makes it appear as intellectually ‘lazy’ or simply pretentious, lacking in the visionary impact and, recently, quite impotent to generate any sustainable, innovative ideas… A. Einstein defending fiercely his freedom of imagination, which is ‘more important than knowledge’ (as he stated), S. Hawking or Michio Kaku – the devil’s advocate of ‘M’ Theory – they all present themselves as being much more, in much profound way… artists than many professionals within the fine art field I can think about…

Around 4.26 minute of the video presented  Michio Kaku beautifully dances on ice  talking about his childhood dream to take part in Einstein’s quest to link and explain everything in the universe… what an evocative metaphor of both – an artist and scientist condition…  Being a visionary and a dreamer, yet a risk-taker and a skillful performer at the same time… Sliding on the thin ice, exposed and vulnerable, yet – pushing the laws of physics in order to find even greater sense, balance and beauty…


The remaining parts of the documentary:  (2)… , (3)… , (4)… , (5)…

Thank you “kellyneill” from Youtube for making this available to all of us.

Chaos Theory, Fractals and the complexity of existence…

I’ve promised you few notes on “Fractal Ontology”. Well, here they go…

The term bridges philosophical notion of ‘ontology’ -(Greek meaning: ‘theory/science of being’) with the phenomenon of ‘fractals’ taken from the natural sciences and maths. Going deeper – ‘fractals’ originate from the Chaos Theory, and this is where one probably should start all the explanations.

Chaos Theory is a dark horse of contemporary science. Two hundred years ago  it would be unthinkable – Newtonian perfectly organized world-view, with its deliciously logical mechanics, was too strong to allow any serious benefit of a doubt.  A hundred years ago Einstein’s genius abolished the rule of determinism, reductionism and objective knowledge in science – his contribution was so revolutionary and complex that it hasn’t been fully digested yet; practically, one can easy predict, that our 21st century would be a completely different fairy-tale if it wasn’t for that one man and his theories…

The ‘scandal’ of Chaos in science had started to develop in maths (with regular experiments being conducted in 1920s onwards), then had been followed by physics, chemistry and biology  – where scientists observed irregularities, even randomness in the dynamics of systems considered as ‘ordered’ by the traditional views. From various chemical reactions in micro and macro-cosmos to weather and climate – universe has started to display itself as – in fact – infinite chaos, rather than the absolute order, as humankind was keen to believe for ages.

In natural world, there have always existed structures and phenomena, which proved to be impossible to describe by traditional Euclidean geometry or Newtonian dynamics… Mountains ranges, clouds, coastlines, crystals, lightning, blood vessels –  boundless, captivatingly beautiful, unpredictable in its evolution though fairly self-similar, they generate themselves forever expanding accordingly to the rules, which cannot be completely captured or explained, simply because they’re no definite rules… Epitomes of Life per se – the face of Nature in its most primordial, creative and self-sustaining structure… These are FRACTALS – children of the organized chaos of the Universe. Yet “chaos” here doesn’t simply mean ‘anarchy’ but ‘a higher order’ – out of confusion and complexity life emerges as a functioning organism, it may be unpredictable and extremely sensitive to any stimulants – yet – it displays that innate tendency to form into patterns and structures – it fosters and commands order despite of all forces that act against it.

Fragmented, ‘broken’, complex, inexhaustible – this is the ‘fractal’ theory of existence (transplanting scientific concepts on the philosophical field). One of those very few examples where the nature of the human thought and the nature of the physical world interweave so closely and creatively.

Focusing on the creativity- ‘fractal’ world-view belongs to the oldest, most pre-thought, deeply spiritual as the example from the ancient “Book of Kells” (above) shows. There are many symbols and primitive art images created by ancient civilizations, which show their intuitive reading of nature as fragmented, ‘fractured’.

Picasso’s portrait of A. Vollard (above), just like many cubists works from its analytical period picture the fractal vision of reality – looks like art preceded science in its practical applications of the Chaos and Fractal Theory (though calling it with different names)… In many abstract and abstract expressionist works, from P. Klee and J. Pollock to postmodern works (look above -work from the “Fractal Gallery”), often digitally generated one can easily noticed how that chaotic, ‘broken’, non-linear (as opposed to ‘classical’ ordered) representation of reality prevails presenting itself with innovative spirit, confidence and haunting beauty.


Note: Due to the immense complexity of the issues presented and the brief nature of blogging, one cannot consider this article as ‘informative’ in a scientific sense (due to simplifications and the fragmented outlook). Its intent is mainly that of promoting science and its theories. Care will be taken in my further research to develop this, here introduced, art-science affinity concept. Extended information on fractals can be found online – here are some of the links: FractalOntologyWikipedia, Chaos Intro, EnchantedMind and many more…

The Face – a short story of existence and annihilation.

Human face. The Face. What is there what our conscience claims as ‘real’ that is more exposed and more impenetrable, more familiar and more uncanny, more loved and more despised?

At the beginning there was a Chaos and…

For millions of years mankind lived just like the animals
Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination
We learned to talk
(S.Hawkins quoted by Pink Floyd in “Keep Talking”)

When first cavemen put images of their world on the walls of their mind and space they occupied art had been born, yet something much more had came into existence – man set afire his own genius of distracting the act of being, the Existence from itself, of putting a symbolic Name, the Face on physical, actual Self.

Through ages and generations we have been inventing our humanity cutting through its surface to reach the depths just like a surgeon cuts a mother’s womb to reach the reluctant baby. We’ve created gods and mythologies, in wild yet far from being scare moments of a pure narcissism we gave our own, specifically Human Face to those deities and universes. Asserting and fighting our own being we’ve condemned them to our pitiful and formidable passions, to an imaginable suffering and cruel death, neither curses of perfectness nor blessings of daemons have been spared to those creations of human mind and imagination.

Modern times brought a challenge of extending the limits of our neurological systems and sensual perception through a development of electronics and virtual realities – the old dream of the Multiverse – multi-reality with parallel worlds and alternative time-lines, in which one could exist in multiple incarnations and at various points in his/hers lifespan seems to be closer than ever.

Our grand-grand parents gazed with a somehow stupefied expression on their photographic and/or painterly portrait both admiring and hating its power to capture the being by mocking it in never-accurate renditions. Our fathers made a ritual and a sexual-like act out of having a picture taken – probably more images of the human simulacrum, more Faces has been constructed in the last hundred years than in the whole history of the humankind put together and the technology has been perfected to serve that need – to multiply, duplicate, transplant, construct and deconstruct, perfect and finally – to destroy human Self in its appearance and essence.

Our humanity has been and is still our obsession, my humanity is my obsession.

It’s impossible to imagine a different scenario except that of a madness and other forms of escapism. The most surprising thing I consider to hear today (even though “to be surprised’ is even more surprising than to be alive) is when a creative person paints an abstract shapes or builds an esoteric looking structures and claims that they have nothing to do with her/him – that it’s only an ironic play with concepts, a homage to masters or an activity hanging somewhere between a void and a boredom. There is no art outside you being you, outside your guts and what is the most Sublime in you, outside the trauma and beauty of self-discovery. Art of today acts as an exorcism, a self-hypnosis, a self-therapy. Sartre’s, Freud’s, Baudrillard’s and other post-modern elements are mixed with our blood, no serious alternative has been attempted yet. To dismiss it is to be deluded.

But where to go from this bloody battlefield where dozens of conceptual corpses still seem to breathe (brrr, that sounds scary) and millions of images that have nothing to do with the real, actual being look completely legitimate, even necessary? Humanism seems to be put in fairy tales or at least it is in a serious identity crisis… Is our era is that of ‘post-human’ ? . We make our own avatars, humanoids, we attribute animals and objects with human-like qualities, we know very little about emotions and how to really communicate with each other, we attempt to cheat death – that only equal enemy still anchoring us to our fleshy, “bloody”, so called ‘human’ existence… But maybe I’m going too far after all… Maybe we only lost our Face being blinded by flashes of the contemporary challenge… Maybe…


Images above feature Loretta Lux’s work (“Dorothea”), Rembrandt’s self-portrait, Martin Parr’s work (from the “Common Sense” series) and my own snapshot taken just a while ago to incorporate my own Face (or what can pass for it) in the ‘story’.

%d bloggers like this: