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"Emergence" is Like Art and Science Having Sex

"#Emergence" by Max Cooper is like #Art and #Science Having Sex

e·mer·gence
/əˈmərjəns/
noun

1. the process of coming into view or becoming exposed after being concealed.
2. the process of coming into being, or of becoming important or prominent.


Emergence is a sublime collection of music and visual art pieces exploring the emanant nature of reality. The series was principally produced by Max Cooper, a PhD. in Computational Biology turned electronic music producer.

In this collaboration, Max did not leave his scientific background behind. In fact, Emergence is an attempt by Max to link his deep interest in science with art. The results are a nearly-psychedelic exploration of the same questions motivating researchers in their quest for a deeper understanding of the universe.

emergence-planets-art
Emergence is the story of natural laws and processes, their inherent beauty, and their action to yield the universe, us and the world we live in...The story is told using a universe timeline, from pre-big bang to future, with each chapter a collaboration with a different visual artist, including some collaborations with mathematicians or scientists for those chapters using real data visualisation. As such, there is a huge range in visual styles, and for each different idea and piece of music I had in mind, it was a matter of finding the right visual artist and approach to try and tell that part of the story. My aim with this approach was to have plenty of variation to make what is an often abstract narrative, interesting, and also a hope that the over-arching story links the different visual styles together.
— Max Cooper

a few favorite pieces:

Symmetry

Symmetry is one of the most fundamental principles of nature, and also forms the basis of music...which starts with visualisations of the basic building blocks of nature, setting the stage for the physical universe to come into being, and later planets, life, civilisation, and technology.

Symmetry is the idea that one aspect of a system can change while another remains constant. The idea of natural laws themselves, rely on the forms of symmetry that mean the same forces will apply to you as they do to me, independently of our position in space or time. And scientists searches for natures symmetries lie at the heart of much of our best models of reality (see Noether’s Theorem or more recent uses of symmetries in things like the ‘amplituhedron’!).
The principle is also responsible for music, in that our enjoyment of tonality, melody, harmony and rhythm comes from our subconscious appreciation of different types of patterns (i.e. symmetries) in sound waves.

Biochemistry

This video sequence by Nick Cobby shows cell-organelle-like structures developing, and lock-and-key-like interactions for the glitch sections. So I thought it would be a nice abstract way of presenting intracellular form and dynamics; the factory operating inside every living cell, reliant on a vast shipping network, countless tiny molecular machines and complex molecules bouncing in a hot soup and fitting together in precise forms to direct metabolism and cell behavior. It’s a miracle it works at all, but nature is great at robustness after billions of years of failed attempts.

Self-Awareness

I thought I should give special attention in the story to the emergence of self-awareness, given it’s importance in the human condition. I decided to do this with a slowly materialising eye, where the audience is forced to look back at something which reveals to be themselves, as an analogy for the emergent process.

The Digital Self

Nick Cobby had put a great video together for this one, mapping people’s faces with a Kinect, and syncing them to the vocal snippets of the audio track. I use this as an analogy for the information age, where the human form becomes digital.

Altruism

The video brief was to focus on the emergence of altruism, and Cenk came up with the interesting idea of transposing this from a pre-human evolutionary process, to a future emergence of altruism in robots. This opened the door for some additional scorched world and warring political system narratives, which fit in well with the generally darker themes in the other videos upon the arrival of complex human society. I’m not a pessimist though, things do eventually get better in the overall Emergence story, it just happens when humans and society as we know it have transitioned to a new state.

You can find more info and all of the rest of the work here


Rewire Your Brain to Make Ingenious Connections


The above post was lovingly crafted by Josiah Hultgren. Josiah Hultgren is Founder/CEO of MindFullyAlive, a Senior Lecturer at California Lutheran University, a NeuroCoach, and a practical neuroscience expert. He produces and curates mindfulness content designed to improve structure and functioning of the brain. His mission is to help create a more vibrant world and apply neuroscience in ways that help people reach their highest potential.

Exploring the Nature of What We Are

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This thought-provoking video essay by Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell insightfully deconstructs the nature of what we are.

Are you your body? Well, kind of, right? But, is there a line where this stops being true? How much of yourself can you remove before you stop being you, and does the question even make sense?

Your physical existence is cells, trillions of them, at least ten times more than there are stars in the Milky Way. A cell is a living being, a machine made of up to 50 thousand different proteins. It has no consciousness, no will, no purpose; it just is,but it is still an individual. Together, your cells form huge structures for jobs like preparing food, gathering resources, transporting stuff around, scanning the environment, and so on.
If you extract cells from your body and put them in the right environment, they will continue to stay alive for a while, so your cells can exist without you, but you can’t exist without them. If we take all the cells away, there is no “you” anymore. Is there a line where a pile of your cells stops being you? For example, if you donate an organ, billions of your cells will continue to live on inside someone else. Does this mean that a part of you became a part of another person, or is this other body keeping a part of you alive?

Or, let us imagine an experiment: you and a random person from the street exchange cells. One at a time, your body gets one of their cells; their body gets one of your cells. At which point would they become you? Would they ever, or is this just a very slow and gross way to teleport you?
Let’s make this more complicated! The image of ourselves as a static thing is untenable. Almost all of your cells have to die during your lifetime. Two hundred and fifty million have died since the beginning of this video, alone, between one and three million per second. In a seven-year period, most of your cells are replaced at least once. Every time your cells’ setup changes, you are slightly different than before, so a part of you is dying constantly. If you are lucky enough to become old, you would have cycled through roughly a million billion cells, so what you consider yourself is really just a snapshot, but sometimes, cells are broken and don’t want to die questioning the very nature of the unity of our bodies. We call them cancer. They cancel the biological social contract and become basically immortal.

Cancer is not an outside invader; it’s a part of you that puts its own survival over yours, but you could also argue that a cancer cell becomes another entity inside us; another being that just wants to thrive and survive. Can we blame it for that?
A chilling cell story is that of Henrietta Lacks, a young cancer patient who died in 1951. Usually, cells only survived for a few days in the lab, making research very hard. Henrietta’s cancer cells were immortal. Over the decades, they were multiplied over and over again and used for countless research projects saving countless lives. Henrietta’s cells are still alive and overall have been grown to at least 20 tons of biomass, so there are living parts around the world from someone who has been considered dead for decades.

How much of Henrietta is in these cells? What makes one of your cells “you,” anyway? Maybe the information contained in it, your DNA? Until recently, it was believed that all the cells in your body had basically the same genetic code, but it turns out this is wrong. Your genome is mobile, changing over time through mutations and environmental influences. This is especially the case in your brain.
According to recent discoveries, a single neuron in an adult brain has more than one thousand mutations in its genetic code that are not present in the cells surrounding it, but how much “you” is your DNA, really? About eight percent of the human genome is made up of viruses that once infected our ancestors and merged with us. Mitochondria, power plants of the cell, once were bacteria that merged with the ancestors of your cells. They still have their own DNA.

An average cell has hundreds of them, hundreds of little things that are not really human, but they still kind of are. It is confusing. Let’s backtrack a bit. We know that you’re made up of trillions of little things made from more little things that are constantly changing. Together, all those little things are not static, but dynamic. Their composition and condition is changing constantly, so we might just be a self-sustaining pattern without clear borders that gained self-awareness at some point and now has the ability to think about itself through time and space, but really only exists in this exact very moment.
Where did this pattern start? With your conception, when the first human arose, when life first began conquering our small planet, or when the elements that make up your body were forged in a star? Our human brains evolved to deal with absolutes. The fuzzy borders that make up reality are hard to grasp. Maybe ideas like beginning and end, life and death, you and me, are really not absolutes, but ideas belonging to a fluent pattern; a pattern that is lost in this strange and beautiful universe.

The above post was lovingly crafted by Josiah Hultgren. Josiah Hultgren is Founder/CEO of MindFullyAlive, a Senior Lecturer at California Lutheran University, a NeuroCoach, and a practical neuroscience expert. He produces and curates mindfulness content designed to improve structure and functioning of the brain. His mission is to help create a more vibrant world and apply neuroscience in ways that help people reach their highest potential.

Jason Silva on Our Emerging Future of Altered States

Jason Silva on Our Emerging #Future of Altered States
Nirvana will be packaged and sold
Human beings are into altered states of consciousness… We are willing to spend money to perceive the world in a different way. Whether it’s our fierce appetite for mind-altering drugs, or virtual reality, technologies like cinema, or even going into a casino or hiring a prostitute; human beings will spend to feel different to go into an altered state.

Today we’re seeing a renaissance in the psychotherapeutic uses of psychedelic substances like MDMA or psilocybin mushrooms. Where human beings are now saying that, within the realm of altered states, might be a solution to our existential ills. That we might finally bridge a tunnel between ourselves and the infinite.

So, it is in the end through altered states, that we may even find our salvation. And I think this is really interesting. You know, I love to go to the movies. I love to go into a liminal trance when I lose myself in an alternate reality. I like to dream while I’m awake. I like the dream at night too, but if we can treat our normal waking lives as something that is as unbounded as our dreams, that is as unbounded as cinema, perhaps therein lies the future of human consciousness.

When technology can be sourced to take care of all of our ills and to handle our menial tasks might we free human imagination into a waking dream state? A lucid dream in which we live? Might we all fall into the rabbit hole? Might we all inhabit wonderland? Might we all get a pass to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory? It’s Never Ending Story, folks, and this is where we’re going to live.

Virtual reality technologies that are emerging now are indicative. We’re going to be living in a world rendered at the speed of thought. Condensations of human imagination. The universes built out of life and mind and intentionality… The Garden of Eden for sale - real soon.
— Jason Silva

Video via Shots of Awe


The above post was lovingly crafted by Josiah Hultgren. Josiah Hultgren is Founder/CEO of MindFullyAlive, a Senior Lecturer at California Lutheran University, a NeuroCoach, and a practical neuroscience expert. He produces and curates mindfulness content designed to improve structure and functioning of the brain. His mission is to help create a more vibrant world and apply neuroscience in ways that help people reach their highest potential.