In this way, we have come to
define all that we know or believe;
it is how we understand who we are.
Our relationships to others, to
places, and to actions are our most
intimate groundings of identity.
Seaching for more, we discover larger
systems with which to identify
ourselves: teams, families,
populations, time. Or, examining our
internal structure, we may define
ourselves in terms of our features,
our attributes, and ultimately, even
At one extreme, all of these
internal relationships can be
understood solely by a reductionist
analysis of their role in the overall
Our genes are nothing but the complex
relationships of chemical elements.
At the other extreme, hierarchical
relationships still rely on contrast.
We define our own culture only in
contrast to the cultures of others
and identify the bounds of a species
only by its inability to reproduce
It seems obvious that one would be
hard pressed to find a branch of
knowledge which did not consist
almost entirely of a series of
structures, subtended by other
structures and circumscribed within
still others. Absolute, independent a
priori definitions are scarce,
and often unnatural. Even in the
world of mathematics, one of the most
secure regions of human
understanding, the only thing we have
are equalities and relationships.
seminar, the "Architectonics
of Nature", strove toward an
understanding of these disparate
parts. We examined parallel
developments in artistic and
scientific thought from the
Renaissance to the present day,
tracing transformations in the
perception of knowledge from Galileo to
At a fundamental level, both artists and
deal with the smallest constituent
parts of an elusive whole: the artist
with the basic elements of vision and
the scientist with the chemical
interactions between neurons that
form the building blocks of
Barbara Stafford offers a picture
of the mind as collage: continually
constructing and deconstructing
visual systems, learning how to see a
dynamic whole out of disparate parts.
The American systemic philosopher Charles
Peirce sought to construct a
grand unifying system of knowledge.
Who is correct? What do they share
with the emerging, aesthetically and
scientifically complex world of
What is a triangle without the
conception of a line? What is a line
without the conception of a point?
What is a point without the
conception of a number? What is one
without two? What is an island
without the sea? What is the sea
without the sky? What is the sky
without the heavens? What is one
In this way, all of art,
may be examined as a vast, complex,
and poetic labyrinth- the
architectonics of nature.
Venture into our Architectonic and
question for yourself.