Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Perfect Circle Surrounds You: The Expanding Universe and Beyond, Billions of Light Years Away: Inspired by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist, Scholar, Visionary, Cool Guy!

I dedicate my next work, A Perfect Circle Surrounds You: The Expanding Universe and Beyond, to Dr. Tyson, an exceptionally inspiring person.  Humble and wise, dedicated and personable, Tyson’s 54 years on Earth have seen him move impressively in his own circle from the Bronx Science through Harvard undergrad, Austin for his PhD, then professor at Columbia U, and onto his current post: Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space, and a research associate in the department of astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural HistoryTyson's entrance into the main stage of subjects and notable voices affecting culture has a refreshing personal style.   He breaks stride from an extraordinary group of societal contributors, since he doesn't share their publicly discussed peculiarities in social, communication and behavioral ways (some appear behaviorally as autistic scale): Michelangelo, Mozart, Abraham Lincoln, Van Gogh, Nikola Tesla, Dali, Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, Robin Williams, Bob Dylan, Al Gore, Bill Gates and perhaps our new Facebook friend Mark Zuckerberg.  Dr. Tyson is socially savvy and warmly personable.   

Maybe Tyson's focus on intelligent design and distinguishing between terrestrial and gas giants in space may affect his sensitivity to smaller-scale human interactions.  Alternating between operational views has allowed Tyson to create friendly and authentic social abilities.  Dr. Tyson and I share very little professionally, so I found it inspiring that we share a spiritual outlook on the cosmology of life.  Tyson considers the physical world one of essential elements that remain largely undiscovered by humans, which I interpret to mean we have a great grasp of our immediate raw elements upon which to base our everyday concepts of reality; and we also have miles of space (literally, billions of light years) to explore and discover new tangible (and perhaps intangible) elements and ways of understanding what we already know (our surrounding environment) and explore much, much further into a vastly unknown sphere, (things we have no idea that exist). 

Tyson’s compelling discussion with Evolutionary Biologist, Dr. Richard Dawkins in 2010 at Howard University also touches on human ability to create abstractions that represent extensions of our abilities and physical forms and shapes (watch it on YouTube).  One popular abstraction example is Math, Tyson says, which is one of the most conceptual human inventions, since we don’t find “Math” anywhere tangibly.  Rather, Tyson says math serves to allow humans to compare tangible results to arrive at effective directions, thus reducing reliance on unnecessary processes that naturally fall away from our genetic make up.  Tyson suggests that the brain contains a number of evaluator systems to align good judgment, such as, checking the safest route to walk or drive, sizing up danger levels that our genetic systems have developed to turn on or off certain sensory abilities in relation to our physical surroundings and survival needs.  Tyson claims humans learn to abandon their senses in order to prune back unnecessary sensory activity in order for brain processes to remain efficient.  Math, he continues, allows you to logically estimate the best comparative routes to arrive at a particular goal.  Math, Tyson adds, allows you to imagine beyond your senses and beyond the capacity of your mind.  Thus, Tyson asserts: math becomes a tool of the mind to maintain evaluative abilities beyond what it can actually perceive simply by looking around the immediate physical world.

The piece below shows ever-expanding sets of circles meant to represent human evolution and expanding universes (I believe there is enough evidence to suggest the existence of multiple, parallel universes).  It is a sketch of both the potential for mental capability beyond the actual universe humans exist.  Biological forms we are aware of are round, like human organs, especially heads and brains.  Concomitantly, scientists envision a rounded universe, as Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity showed us in curved space-time (where we find the appearance of the 4th dimension, a representation of how adding the variable of time alters our visual perception of form).  Technology that aides memory recall (Websites, Facebook, Blogs, etc) transforms thinking into tangible forms we can more easily revisit and reshape into new forms and arrangements.  Perfect Circle isolates a focus on broader forms in relation to the shape of our universe.  A tricky and hypothetical subject.  A great subject for art's limitless imagination.  

Are we simply large floating, spiraling fractals?  Or, are we grounded to other life-sustaining forms or sources?  If there are other universes floating around near ours, perhaps the Big Bang was a collision of neighboring universes and not an implosion, as is the current theory?  Turok, Ovrut and Steinhardt, string theorists, conceptualize the existence of 11 dimensions coexisting in parallel relations, and that our universe is a result of a collision of two of them.  So very small is our Earth and immediate reality in relation to the large universe we live in and possible neighboring ones?  A Perfect Circle envisions in one small frame, the entire expanse of current layered universes.  This micro-atomic view allows our minds to grasp both our external totality and our possible place within it.

My belief is that nature replicates in similar patterns.  Perfect Circle presents a head-shaped object representing a universe with many layers (a prismatic view from a human perspective and design basis), which simultaneously emit and receive information to aid their development.  I envision the universe to have a neck and head-shaped structure that has a funnel to limit input and output activities of a larger livable sphere, maintaining the stability of our solar system.  The piece suggests that the universe is not a series of neighboring planes, or ‘branes’ as Turok imagines, but as a unified whole (that may or may not have individual atomic parts that actually touch each other). The piece also allows for a fix to current String Theory that relates all fundamental forces to forms of matter, which I expand to suggest that not everything that ‘exists’ is in material form: a curious notion to ponder and enjoy!  I welcome your comments.