Yuri Tarnopolsky
The Visible Hands:
Homo Faber and the Chemistry of History






Studies of evolving complex systems (X-systems)—organic life, society, language, mind, culture, technology, ideology, science, art, politics, economics—do not have a common language either between themselves or with any particular natural science. This essay continues  the search (at http://spiropero.net/complexity.htm ) for a common interdisciplinary language for understanding X-system, using the paradigm of Pattern Theory (Ulf Grenander) as generalized chemistry and emphasizing the kinetic aspects. The semantic units for this language are labeled as ideograms. From this angle, Hannah Arendt’s homo faber is seen side by side with chemical catalysis and Werner Heisenberg’s casual remarks on technology as large scale biological system are extrapolated on the double function of homo faber as source of both kinetic chaos and catalytic order in the X-system of technological civilization.


full text: http://spirospero.net/hands.pdf


KEYWORDS: evolution, technology, futurology, complexity, regularity, pattern theory, simplicity, history, catalysis, self-assembly, ideogram, thermodynamics, kinetics, transition state, stability, mind, society, culture, homeostasis, allostasis, Ulf Grenander, Hannah Arendt, Werner Heisenberg, Langdon Winner, David Aubin.