Given that Professor Schutt is a member of the chemistry department and has done extensive research in the structure and chemistry of proteins, it would have been difficult to avoid engaging scientific viewpoints in the seminar. Our motives lie deeper than that, however. One of the seminar's main goals was to draw out and pull together the fundamental threads that link all human knowledge, whether in a unified whole or a set of disparate parts.

Scientific analysis of the basic building blocks of life provided an ideal metaphor for our attempt to construct our own architectonic. Just as Seurat's pointillist analysis of color metamorphosed into great works of art, so did our examination of the basic forms of consciousness gradually blur into a whole that surmounted the sum of its parts.

With this goal in mind, we gradually built up from the chemical structure of proteins to the interactions between neurons: firings and refirings that power the subtle and often mysterious creative process. We reached into some quite technical and heavily detailed readings from Nature, developing the details of exactly how individual neurons interact. Most people found that they could grasp at least the basics of the reading; a capability that made us wonder why science is increasingly incomprehensible to the majority of the world it describes.

Return to the Architectonic

May 25, 1996.