I don't really remember the finer details that The Structure of Scientific Revolutions brought up, but there are two points from it that seem to float through my head every couple days: the majority of science is backfilling and verifying the knowledge-base that larger discoveries create, and large discoveries themselves do not happen often, but when they do they completely shift what we see as being an absolute truth about the world. People once looked into the sky to see the sun and assumed it circled us, whereas now we look to the fixed (relative to us) star of our solar system and know that we whirl around it with the rhythm of a cosmic boom-a-rang. This was a moment of intellectual revolution, which is all the more impressive when we gauge it against the contemporary ideas of the time (another point brought up by Kuhn, the author of SOSR, that book mentioned up above. Which I now, looking back at that acronym, have the compulsion to spell out, but I will restrain myself and waste this space instead in this other fashion.). I think comparing this process of scientific process to that of creative output/thinking sheds light onto some of the frustrations and underlying systems at play in my brain. I will verbally stumble through some of this now.
Having a great idea is one of the things I look forward to most. Not just any idea, but an idea that rockets to the front of my brain and bangs into my skull like cowboys ringing dinner bells. Maybe this idea is about something to build. Or paint. Or write. Whatever it is it breathes and stands on its own, chest out, holding a flag for some nation I've never seen before, but know that I want nothing more than to be a citizen of. To flesh out the characteristics of this idea maybe takes a week. Or a month. Or a year. But eventually the proud diplomat is fleshed out for the thing it is. And there is a lull that follows. A boundary (or tower?) has been placed in my mind whose foundation and cement is ground from the hands of this one idea. I can stand at this place, find it easily in my mind, and look out over the land that it gives vantage to. And with this view comes a period of topography. Walking the ground created by this idea and plotting. Measuring rivers. Taking in the rise and fall of fields with the squiggly line of a contour drawing. This period can be incredibly frustrating. It can make me feel depressed and lonely and as if my head is in the process of checking boxes and filling in forms. I can loose patience with the process of mapping the area that my ideas have laid bare for me. And then one day I stumble on a piece of rubble (maybe a contemporary of this idea's land… maybe just a piece of some other history risen from eroded soil) and the land of this idea is forever changed. Dimensions are suddenly different. Or maybe this landscape doesn't change, but it is added to, and a new tower is built suddenly allowing the sight of a long range of young mountains in the distance, their peaks like torn blue jeans and loose dangling cigarettes. Angry and young.
There is a rhythm to this process that I sometimes forget to respect. A process that is continued and when followed with diligence the path that allows for us to create the most complete picture. I used to think art had a certain unique beauty in the fact that I could throw a stone deep into the blackness of the mind and come to some conclusion with no ties to any previous idea. Art doesn't require proof in a formal sense. Art can create an island floating gloriously in its unlikely discovery. But even in this, I forget the duty of the day-to-day. Of backfilling the ideas of this discovery, otherwise I will end up with an infinite mind full of small towers and islands, versus an infinite mind full of swatches of cloth and honey.
A small aside on my current beliefs concerning the Mind and the troubling Self.I've always thought about consciousness as residing outside of the body in a type of plane; a field, like gravity. I took my line of thinking from a very amateur view of physics, with consciousness being a sort of probability wave created as an emergent behavior of my neural network. There's all kinds of conscious states that I could be in, but at each moment, the wave collapses in a particular way and I'm brought into a particular conscious state. I suppose I saw this conscious plane sort of drifting through my brain; a bit like when I used to get X-rays taken of my teeth at the dentist and they'd stick these plastic prongs in my ears and pull my head up to keep me still. Consciousness I see like those pins. Or maybe it's more like peaking out of a manhole cover where consciousness is the street suddenly crashing into ones head from all sides. But I've been forced recently to take into account the body into this whole equation, and how it plays into ones conception of self. At the start of it all, a human brain was a tool to keep the body alive -- help the body find food, people to have sex with, spot animals that would kill it -- and it would stand to reason that the feedback my body is still giving my brain now about my environment, has as much to do with who I believe I am as are my love for playing basketball or looking over large mountain peaks (sidebar: I got jabbed in the eye very hard a few days ago -- my eye was bleeding with my contact getting shoved so far behind my eye that it didn't come back out for a full day -- and I thought that if the doctor told me I was going to go blind, I was going to jump on a plane and fly somewhere that I could look at a range of tall snow-capped mountains. In my head it was a very dramatic movie, with great cinematography: the camera framed me looking out over mountains in Tibet, or some other place that would invoke, superficially of course, a sense of spirituality (in my vision there was a german shepard next to me, which I assume is some subconscious thing where I find them to be the most stoic of the dog breeds) and the scene slowly faded to black. You can clearly see that my daydreams can sometimes be crushingly formulaic and speak to the immense amount of trashy cinema/tv I have consumed). So as before where I saw the mind and self wrapped up in this probability wave flickering around my ears with the intensity of an angry swarm of bees, I now am thinking about it more in a womb-like way, with my body getting in on the action, too. Cradled by consciousness, is how I would put it. I still hold to my probability wave idea, but the action of collapsing is putting on a full outfit of clothes now, opposed to just donning a cap. I'd also like to throw out that the pace of perceived conscious states play heavily into how I perceive the passage of time and how interesting I find myself at a particular moment. I definitely can look at myself and notice I am being particularly boring, with my consciousness ticking away like an old grandfather clock while a whole family sits on poorly upholstered couches, in silence.