Our ‘Both/And’ World


“Art is the queen of all sciences communicating knowledge to all the generations of the world”
—Leonardo Da Vinci

Da Vinci was on to something. A picture is worth a thousand words. And multi-lingual. But more than that. Randomly scribble on a piece of paper and ask someone to tell you what they see, and they will always see something! To be human is to look for meaning. We look at the dots and we create a story.

The latest research on understanding the difference between traditionally constructed art and AI produced art suggests that narratives, as well as the perceived effort put into creating the art, play a big role in shaping people’s judgment. (https://medium.com/predict/human-art-vs-ai-art-why-we-prefer-one-over-the-other-ac3f858c2ec1)

I am interested in narratives that help me understand the way things are and how they have come to be; and do they need to continue to be that way. The interpretations of the scribbles on the piece of paper, as it were.

In particular, I am interested in how we construct meaning in our lives, what we are making of life’s ‘scribbles’. I’m interested in that layer beneath ‘what makes you happy’ that has more to do with what we find satisfying at the end of the day, a life lived with some sense of purpose, a life well-lived and that makes a difference. I am, for better or worse, in the world of religion.

As I sit at my screen, struggling to gather my thoughts into some coherent flow as a best approximation of what is going on in my mind, I am also thinking that what I am experiencing in this struggle is itself indicative of the very nature of a culture that has produced such a chaotic mind.

I remember once reading a comment on the difficulty of reading the book of Jeremiah because of the way we Westerners think; that the hickledy-pickledy bits of text thrown together without regard to a sequence of time, may well have been a reflection of the very nature of the period in which the pieces of text were gathered.

I see in myself an impatience with linearity. I am frustrated with those who want to domesticate complexity, who want to cut everything down to what they think they can control. I wonder if this is because I value open systems, because they always allow for something new to emerge; that I actually value uncertainty for its possibilities.

Yet I find it hard to live with entrenched disorder. I am always making lists, cleaning up, creating my own little systems that make life more efficient for me. Maybe that’s the science training I have had kicking in.

We live in and with both worlds.

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