Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Formula for Beauty

As you may know from previous posts I am a fan of Richard Feynman - physicist.   Murray Gell Mann was a contemporary and colleague of Feynman.  They were interested in the investigation of the quantum world but had disagreements that fueled their enquiries.  A similar relationship, I suggest, to that of Mondrian and Van Doesburg. Scientists frequently are confronted by aesthetic judgments that emerge quite naturally from having to use their imaginations. They are curious about creation, certainly creative and have observations about creativity from their experience and scrutiny of the world. David Bohm another giant in the physics world wrote Science, Order and Creativity  (Too many points within it to cover here but very readable and worthwhile.) However back to Gell Mann - he talks about elegance and beauty being signifiers of truth and within this symmetry and simplicity as indicators of beauty.  He acknowledges the difficulty of imaginative conceits and the possibility of self-deception by referring to the manner by which Newton hid his idea of gravity just in case his contemporaries considered it in this vain light. He knew the impact of his idea was to be so huge not only on the perceptions of the universe but on his colleagues and institutions. This example raises the question how do you recognize beauty? If you think you recognize it are you certain of it? What is truth? Etc etc....... Which brings me to Murray Gell Mann's equation, which can no doubt be applied to many activities but rings true to me with regard to painting.


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