Yuri Tarnopolsky

      
 THE NEW AND THE DIFFERENT


FOREWORD (2006)

I am publishing the ten year old  The New and the Different on the Web with minimal editing.  I completely realize the awkwardness of its shape, style, and language.  But I believe it still has something NEW in it.  I tried to express it in the simplest language possible.

My INTRODUCTION to  The New and the Different tells the story of the manuscript.  It was my first attempt to formulate a chemist’s view of the world, stimulated by Ulf Grenander’s Pattern Theory.

Since 1995, when the manuscript  was finished, a lot of things have happened. Ulf Grenander and I completed History as Points and Lines, I was privileged to watch Ulf’s work on  Patterns of Thought, the ashes of  9-11 fell on the fresh page of history, the Iraq slaughter splashed a bloody Rorschach test on it, and the flat world turned out to be dreadfully bumpy for big wheels.  Linguistics seemed to me a comforting distraction. 


I see this manuscript as a bulky packet with a few seeds for a NEW perception of  evolving complex systems (ECS- or X-systems) in which we are destined to live like fish in muddy water. Do we really need any new vision of the world? See Chapter 32: COMPLEXITY AND EVOLUTION.  Will the seeds germinate?

Speaking about seeds, the science of Everything is probably as old as agriculture.  The art of growing plants starts with soil and develops slowly.  Ancient Sumerian dream books were the first publications on abstract bonding.  The Greeks discovered atomism—the greatest idea of physics, according to Richard Feynman.  Benedict Spinoza suspected that the order of ideas is the same as the order of things.  Georg Cantor noticed that there was not so much difference between both.  Ulf Grenander gave atomism a mathematical form and he surveyed and mapped the entire huge expanse of  Everything.  The soil is ready.  More literature is reviewed in my other e-publications.

My most important  personal discovery since 1995 has been  the realization of the contrast  between the physical theory and a theory of complex systems.  Since the number of interconnected and well paid brilliant minds in the world is very high, it can be postulated that a lack of progress in some direction for more than 50 years is a proof that the direction is an impasse.  I believe that in order to achieve a still lacking understanding of evolving complex systems  we have to abandon the paradigm of scientific theory that has been serving us flawlessly if applied to well defined systems.  Unaccustomed to the concept of novelty, it stumbles on the threshold of evolving complexity. This is exactly why the atomistic understanding of Everything remains a rare intellectual oasis populated with a minimal number of people: the visitor has to discard  the equipment with which he or she makes a living. 

The central for Pattern Theory idea of atomism goes back to the less mercantile times when philosophers regarded creativity of intellect and search for truth as the real meaning of life.

Ideas do not die.

                                                                                    Yuri Tarnopolsky

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