I was taught to think outside the box. Before my grandfather was one of the original Mad Men, he and a group of other Air Force Intelligence officers formalized brainstorming as a problem solving technique. He taught the concept that creativity can be taught at Buffalo University. My dad invented toys. My mom was a photographer.
M. J. Rose
If we have dwelled on Godel's work at some length, is it because we see it in the mathematical analogy of what we would call the the ultimate paradox of man's existence. Man is ultimately subject and object of his quest. While the question whether the mind can be considered to be anything like a formalized system, as defined in the preceding paragraph, is probably unanswerable, his quest for an understanding of the meaning of his existence is an attempt at formalization.
Precisely constructed models for linguistic structure can play an important role, both negative and positive, in the process of discovery itself. By pushing a precise but inadequate formulation to an unacceptable conclusion, we can often expose the exact source of this inadequacy and, consequently, gain a deep understanding of the linguistic data. More positively, a formalized theory may automatically provide solutions for many problems other than those for which it was explicitly designed.
[Ritual] dwells in an invisible reality and gives this reality a vocabulary, props, costume, gesture, scenery. Ritual makes things separate, sets them apart from ordinary affairs and thoughts. Rituals need not be solemn, but they are formalized, stylized, extraordinary, and artificial. In the name of ritual, we can do anything. We can do astonishing acts. In the end, ritual gives us assurance about the unification of things.
To my way of thinking, the concept drawings that Rembrandt did, the drawings he made that he used to model his artists, to work out the compositions of his paintings: those are cartoons. Look at his sketch for the return of the prodigal son. The expression on the angry younger brother's face. The head is down; the eyebrow is just one curved line over the eyes. It communicates in a very shorthand way. It's beautiful, expressive, and, in a peculiar way, it's more powerful than the kind of stilted, formalized expression in the final painting.
It is often said that the progression from simple to complex runs counter to the normal statistics of chance that are formalized in the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Strictly speaking, we could avoid this criticism simply by insisting that the Second Law does not apply to living systems in the environment in which we find them. For the Second Law applies only when there is no overall flow of energy into or out of a system, whereas all living systems are sustained by a net inflow of energy.
For it was one of the special mercies of Providence, Lucilla was apt to say, that beauty and shabbiness are quite compatible. The great thing, she would tell her grandchildren, was to start well. A thing of beauty is a joy forever, but it must be a costly and strong beauty, purchased at a high price of service or sacrifice, not skin-deep but bone-deep, if it is to be as desirable at the shabby end as it was at the sumptuous beginning. Pointing a moral to the grandchildren she would wave a hand towards her Sheraton chairs with the petit-point seats worked by her grandmother in a pattern of purple pansies and crimson gilliflowers. She would tell them how the exquisite curves of the wood had been created by the hands of a craftsman, each tool in its aptness and simplicity itself a thing of beauty in his hands as patiently, line by line, he fashioned the vision that was in his mind. And the same with the great-grandmother's needlework. She had spun the wool herself and dyed it to its lovely colors with the juices of plants picked upon her walks, she had seen with the eyes of her mind a vision of her garden, formalized and touched with perpetual stillness, and painted the picture with her needle upon canvas. And now, though their legs were scratched and their colors were faded the chairs were as lovely as ever. Lovelier, Lucilla declared, because a work of art is like a human being, the more it is loved the more beautiful it grows, reflecting the gift of love like light back again to the giver... The odes of Keats, she had heard it said, are lovelier now than when they were written... And the same with her Sheraton chairs, which had been loved now for so many years. And everything in the house, she had told Margaret twenty years ago, must be as love-worthy as they were if Damerosehay was to be a perfect refuge for the grandchildren. Margaret had sighed and asked if this dictum applied to the saucepans. "Certainly, " Lucilla had replied. "I'll have none but the best saucepans.
I hope I have now made it clear why I thought it best, in speaking of the dissonances between fiction and reality in our own time, to concentrate on Sartre. His hesitations, retractations, inconsistencies, all proceed from his consciousness of the problems: how do novelistic differ from existential fictions? How far is it inevitable that a novel give a novel-shaped account of the world? How can one control, and how make profitable, the dissonances between that account and the account given by the mind working independently of the novel? For Sartre it was ultimately, like most or all problems, one of freedom. For Miss Murdoch it is a problem of love, the power by which we apprehend the opacity of persons to the degree that we will not limit them by forcing them into selfish patterns. Both of them are talking, when they speak of freedom and love, about the imagination. The imagination, we recall, is a form-giving power, an esemplastic power; it may require, to use Simone Weil's words, to be preceded by a 'decreative' act, but it is certainly a maker of orders and concords. We apply it to all forces which satisfy the variety of human needs that are met by apparently gratuitous forms. These forms console; if they mitigate our existential anguish it is because we weakly collaborate with them, as we collaborate with language in order to communicate. Whether or no we are predisposed towards acceptance of them, we learn them as we learn a language. On one view they are 'the heroic children whom time breeds / Against the first idea, ' but on another they destroy by falsehood the heroic anguish of our present loneliness. If they appear in shapes preposterously false we will reject them; but they change with us, and every act of reading or writing a novel is a tacit acceptance of them. If they ruin our innocence, we have to remember that the innocent eye sees nothing. If they make us guilty, they enable us, in a manner nothing else can duplicate, to submit, as we must, the show of things to the desires of the mind. I shall end by saying a little more about La Nausee, the book I chose because, although it is a novel, it reflects a philosophy it must, in so far as it possesses novel form, belie. Under one aspect it is what Philip Thody calls 'an extensive illustration' of the world's contingency and the absurdity of the human situation. Mr. Thody adds that it is the novelist's task to 'overcome contingency'; so that if the illustration were too extensive the novel would be a bad one. Sartre himself provides a more inclusive formula when he says that 'the final aim of art is to reclaim the world by revealing it as it is, but as if it had its source in human liberty.' This statement does two things. First, it links the fictions of art with those of living and choosing. Secondly, it means that the humanizing of the world's contingency cannot be achieved without a representation of that contingency. This representation must be such that it induces the proper sense of horror at the utter difference, the utter shapelessness, and the utter inhumanity of what must be humanized. And it has to occur simultaneously with the as if, the act of form, of humanization, which assuages the horror. This recognition, that form must not regress into myth, and that contingency must be formalized, makes La Nausee something of a model of the conflicts in the modern theory of the novel. How to do justice to a chaotic, viscously contingent reality, and yet redeem it? How to justify the fictive beginnings, crises, ends; the atavism of character, which we cannot prevent from growing, in Yeats's figure, like ash on a burning stick? The novel will end; a full close may be avoided, but there will be a close: a fake fullstop, an 'exhaustion of aspects, ' as Ford calls it, an ironic return to the origin, as in Finnegans Wake and Comment c'est. Perhaps the book will end by saying that it has provided the clues for another, in which contingency will be defeated, ...