Cultures are constantly changing. There has never been a stagnant culture. They may change by becoming more complex, or less complex. They may change by becoming more insular or more cosmopolitan. They may change by becoming more liberal or more illiberal. But change they always will.
The post-scholar Frederick Turner once said that sometimes you have to break the shackles of the past to create the present, and sometimes you have to use the past to break the shackles of the present to create the future. The shackles of the present is the avant garde, institutionalized into postmodernism in our universities. Worse, postmodernism is all too often avant garde without understanding–you cannot start with Abstract Expressionism and innovate from there. Indeed, the postmodern fiction writer Donald Barthelme observed that before you can write bad sentences, you must first master writing great, perfect sentences–only then can you write bad sentences well. That is, you must know the rules before you can break them.
But aren’t the rules arbitrary? Yes and no. For example, all poems in all cultures through all history are broken up into lines and have rhythms. And those line lengths are optimally 3 seconds long. Is this arbitrary? No more arbitrary than the fact that our auditory present is 3 seconds long. The speed of speech in a language will help determine the real line lengths, of course. Faster French is optimally iambic hexameter than slower English which is optimally iambic pentameter. Does it have to be iambic? No, of course not. It can be any of a variety of regular rhythms, or repeated rhythms among lines–and here it does become arbitrary–and yet, not arbitrary that there are rhythms, as nature is full of rhythms, including our brains. Poetic rhythms are carrier waves for the words and help the brain remember their singing.
The cosmos is full of such rules. The cosmos is neither orderly nor chaotic, but both orderly and chaotic. It’s in the realm of criticality, a paradoxical space where creativity takes place. Here we will discuss what I termed diaphyiscal laws–laws that run through the different levels of reality, from quantum physical to macrophysical reality, through biology, human psychology, and human social environments. Further, we will discuss psychosocial evolution, the cycles of history and economics, complex patterns, self-organization, chaos theory, bios theory, constructal theory, information theory, networks, evolution, and similar topics.
These rules apply not just to the cosmos, biological evolution, ecosystems and the biosphere, and the brain, but also to human epistemological ecosystems such as the economy, scientific discovery, artistic and literary production, philosophy, philanthropy, mathematics, technological innovation, money and finance, history, culture, democracy, and civil society–so do not be surprised if and when you find these things discussed. After all, any one topic, any one system or individual human being or scientific or artistic creation is always within a given historical and system-wide context. Everything is unity in variety, and variety in unity. From the least to the most complex elements and systems, the cosmos–perhaps especially the human cosmos–is therefore beautiful.
“To man some things are just, others unjust; but to God, all things are just and good and beautiful.”–Heraclitus