IT

What's the Scientist's Game?

Finding regularities in perceptions is one of the games played by scientists. Some call these regularities "natural laws". Because of the limited computing capacity of the human brain there is the necessity to have a finite set of rules by which to operate. The map is not the territory but a map helps immensely in orientation and planning ahead.

Maps, natural laws, calendars and other "nets" we throw over our perceptions are constantly refined and adapted. One could even go so far as to say that most of human cultural history was just this endeavour to comprehend and express better.

In certain persons this activity of searching, finding, refining, and expressing their discoveries seems to release a large amount of endorphines ("happiness hormones"). After physical safety is assured, psychologists say, relaxed research people seek out

What is hinted at here is the mentality of a discoverer, not a tourist. A tourist goes to places that are already known. He wants to enjoy, relax, be entertained, or just "see with his own eyes", maybe as kind of status symbol. In contrast, a discoverer goes to the unknown or an area that is researched only by a handful of experts (after Modis' book).

The curiosity of the professional scientist is also found in the widespread interest in mystery and strange phenomena.

The "energy difference" between known and unknown drives the discoverer to expand her sphere of knowledge and experience. This is where the enjoyment comes from. But there are "tastes" in each researcher, themes that recur.

This reminds of certain musical compositions or biographies. Some "themes" are exposed at the beginning and then "worked through" or "unfolded". At the end the whole "gestalt" is seen (literary example). Often there is one deep desire or need at the root of all actions of a discoverer. Some of these are the need

You may recognize the above list as the nine psychological types of the Enneagram.

But back to the title. Game means play. The other meaning of game, however, is a wild animal that is pursued in a hunt. A metaphor that fits our competition-oriented techno-civilization well. Research and technology are fueled by this drive.

Is there a strange loop in the above conclusions? First admit that a brain is necessary for perception, then find the necessary limited (and limiting) nature of "natural laws". But the brain operates by these laws. Or maybe not completely? Is this situation like meta-mathematics where a certain set of axioms excludes the "truth" of a set of conclusions?


mathematical articles

calendars

transformation


Mystery


© Copyright 2001-2005 Mario Hilgemeier, email: contact
homepage stylized apple blossom