Chaos Theory / Quotes from the Without A Net Exhibition:

When the logician has resolved each demonstration
into a host of elementary operations, all of them correct,
he will not yet be in possession of the whole reality,
that indefinable something that constitutes the unity...
Now pure logic cannot give us this view of the whole;
it is to intuition that we must look for it.
Henri Poincaré
Science and Method, 1952, page 127

You've got to love a mathematician who punches big holes in the smug simplicity of logical thought while inventing the system for determining error in physics equations.

"Tomorrow night after work, I'm driving to Albany with
Danny Sherwood for a cup of coffee, and I'll be back for
work the following day."
Lois Long said, "For heaven's sake, you can have a cup of
coffee here at home."
Tucker Madawick replied, "Don't be square. Read Kerouac."
John Cage
Silence, circa 1961, page 269

Jack Kerouac lived outside the bounds of his fate, inviting change, success and failure with an idiosyncratic, non-deterministic life-style. Where the results of Cage's life were a deliberate achievement, an exploitation of a particular strain of artistic thought, Kerouac's writing and publication were the result of a certain existential serendipity. Great swings of circumstance and a tragic end.

The function of Art is to imitate Nature in her manner of
operation. Our understanding of "her manner of operation"
changes according to advances in the sciences.
John Cage
A Year from Monday, 1980, page 31

Wherever we are, what we hear is mostly noise.
When we ignore it, it disturbs us. When we listen to it,
we find it fascinating. The sound of a truck at 50 mph.
Static between the stations. Rain. We want to capture and
control these sounds, to use them, not as sound effects,
but as musical instruments.
Richard Kostelanetz
John Cage, 1970, page 54

Cage created from randomized sources of sound and chaotic and idiosyncratic systems for scoring pieces of music. He sought to create music beyond the bounds of individual invention. Cage was religious in his fervor for not passing judgment on these compositions (although he was quite liberal in his criticism of other musicians), his interest was primarily the creative process and not the product. John Cage lived the structured, organized life of an academic. He was an expert of internationally recognized status on the subject of edible fungi.

To rely entirely on logic is to accept a limited number of solutions to a problem. The range of acceptable possibilities is always larger than the set produced by deductive reasoning.

Chance processes should not be confused with intuitive processes. They have different, though not necessarily conflicting, philosophical assumptions. The use of chance process assumes that the logical mind is not powerful enough to encompass all possibilities. The use of intuitive process assumes that the mind has certain abilities that cannot be defined by logical constructs.
M. Blair Ligon
Chaos Dynamics and Chance Methodolology
in Graphic Design,

Personality is a flimsy thing on which to build an art.
John Cage
Silence, circa 1961, page 90


copyright 2006, M. Blair Ligon, all rights reserved worldwide.