[Fis] Book Presentation. Emotions and Energy

joe.brenner at bluewin.ch joe.brenner at bluewin.ch
Wed Apr 20 17:13:26 CEST 2022

Dear Mariusz, Pedro and All,
This new thread is of particular emotional and scientific interest to me as the son of an artist, the sculptor Michael Brenner (Siauliai, Lithuania, 1885 - New York, 1969). What I especially am enjoying is the continuity with previous FIS topics, for example in the reference by Mariusz to the non-metaphorical energy in art. This means to me that art follows the same rules of evolution as do energetic processes in what I have called the Logic of Energy.
With regard to reality in art, I quote the statement of Stephane Lupasco that a work of art is successful to the extent it embodies both the real and the non-real in an emergent state (included middle).
A corollary (not a criticism) is that an absolutely abstract, pure art does not exist, any more than the ideal values of 0 and 1 in complex processes. We can say (I think) that art is non-Kolmogorovian.
>From an informational perspective, Mariusz is right to emphasize how art compresses an enormous amount of information. What is important here, however, is not only the quantitative amount but its aesthetic value, which is, in my scheme and others, not proportional to size, like value in general.
Best wishes,
----Message d'origine----
De : stanowskimariusz at wp.pl
Date : 19/04/2022 - 17:47 (CEST)
À : fis at listas.unizar.es
Objet : Re: [Fis] Book Presentation. Emotions
 Dear Pedro and FIs Colleagues,
 You raised an interesting and important issue of emotions in art. This made me think about how it is that art evokes/intensifies our emotions. 
 From my research it follows that art (the essence of art) in the most general/abstract sense is the compression of information (contained in a work of art) thanks to which our perception saves energy, becomes more economical (cost-effective), e.g. a shorter text is more economical/compressed than a longer one containing the same amount of information. Thanks to this saving of energy (effort) we feel satisfaction, pleasure. This pleasure is related to our development, because saving energy obviously contributes to our development, which is our greatest value. 
 These positive emotions related to our development can be considered abstract because they have no “direction”, they do not concern any concrete sphere of reality but the abstract development itself (increase in complexity). These absolutely abstract emotions, however, always occur in conjunction with more or less concrete realities, because we cannot experience both absolute abstraction and absolutely abstract (pure) art. The diversity of art comes from the necessity of the presence of different concrete realms/objects/media of reality in works of art. Each work/type of art speaks differently about what they have in common - what art is in essence, which is contrast, complexity, compression of information, development or value. 
 The type of emotion depends on what specific realm of reality the compression of information refers to. If it is, for example, a landscape painted by an artist, we should like it more than an (uncompressed) natural landscape. The same is the case with all other emotions - they are intensified thanks to the compression of information - associated with them. The most abstract art is music, which is why it is often difficult for us to associate it with known/conscious emotions. However, connections with reality also occur here, mainly in the structural sphere. That is why, for example, different pieces of music are performed on different occasions. To sum up, we can say that art can be made of anything if we include information compression. However, compression alone does not tell us about the value/size of art because one can compress a larger (more difficult to compress/organize) area or a smaller area to the same degree. The compressed larger area (of information) has more complexity and aesthetic value, which can be equated with value in general - as discussed in the presentation.
 P.S. As a budding artist and art theorist I encountered a knowledge of art that relied mainly on closer and further metaphors. There was also a belief that only such knowledge was possible. For example, it was said that a work of art "gives us energy" which of course was treated as a metaphor. The attempt to understand this metaphor led me to the conclusion that it is not about receiving energy but about saving it and that energy is not a metaphor but a physical value, which was confirmed by studies in perception, information theory and physics.
 Best regards
 W dniu 2022-04-18 o 21:20, Pedro C. Marijuan pisze:
  Dear Mariusz and FIs Colleagues,
  May I disturb this calm vacation state and introduce some "contrast"? For the sake of the discussion, the Theory & Practice of Contrast presented may be considered as a pretty valid approach to visual arts, also extended to a diversity of other fields in science & humanities. let me warn that the overextension of a decent paradigm is a frequent cause of weakening the initial paradigm itself. The Darwinian cosmovision is a good example. One can read in a book of Peter Atkins:
  A great deal of the universe does not need any explanation. Elephants, for instance. Once molecules have learnt to compete and to create other molecules in their own image, elephants, and things resembling elephants, will in due course be found roaming around the countryside
  Some of the things resembling elephants will be men.”  I am not comfortable at all with that type of bombastic paradigm overextension--but maybe it is my problem. Finally it is the explanatory capability of the attempt what counts (which in Atkins case is close to nil). In any case, the co-ligation of disciplines is a tough matter not very well solved/articulated yet.
  Let me change gears. My main concern with arts stems from their close relationships with emotions. I remember a strange personal experience. In a multidisciplinary gathering (scientists & artists) time ago, there was a small concert in an ancient chapel. Cello and electronic music together--great performers. In the middle of the concert, for unknown reasons, I started to feel sad, very sad. I was very absorbed in the music and could not realize having had any other bad interfering remembrance. Then I discretely looked at the person aside me, a lady. She was in tears, quite openly. I realized it was the music effect. Quite a few of the audience after the end of the concert were with red eyes... Some years later, in some biomedical research of my team on laughter (the analysis of its auditory contents as a helpful tool in the diagnosis of depression) we stumbled on Manfred Clynes "sentic forms". Some of the basic emotions can be clearly distinguished in ad hoc acoustic patterns, as well in tactile expression. (He made and sold a few gadgets about that). To make a long story short, we found the most important sentic forms in the sounds of laughter, including the "golden mean" in the expression of joyful laughs. End of the story.
  Trying to articulate a concrete question, in what extension could have been some of the arts a powerful means to elicit emotions which are not so easily felt in social life?  Think in the liturgy of these days... such a powerful rites....
  Best regards,
  El 11/04/2022 a las 12:31, Mariusz Stanowski escribió:
   We are all right you are talking about the practical possibility of simulation and I am talking about the theoretical.
   Best regards
   W dniu 2022-04-11 o 11:30, Daniel Boyd pisze:
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Dear Joe, dear Mariusz
Thankyou for both your responses. If I may pursue the topic of continuous-discontinuous contrasts further: is the solution to Joseph’s issue with non-computable processes perhaps to be found in acknowledging the distinction between the reality and its representation/simulation?
Take a landscape. In reality this contains an almost infinite amount of continuous and discontinuous detail from the subatomic particle to the geological mountain. A representation or simulation (artistic or scientific) of this reality cannot and need not accurately reproduce this detail to fulfil its purpose: distillation, approximation, even distortion may justifiably be involved. An artistic rendition, unless intended as photo-realistic, will be intentionally inaccurate. Digital representations are, for the sake of efficiency, designed to compress information to the minimum required to provide the illusion of accuracy based on the sensitivity of our senses. This accounts for the 16,7 million colour standard for images: a lot of colours, but only a coarse approximation to the real colours of the rainbow. Our own senses apply similar necessary estimations: the cells of the retina determine the maximal pixel definition of the image recreated in the brain: the continuous is made discontinuous.
Such representational approximations do not, however, imply discontinuity in the object observed. We see this in the inability of algorithmic simulations to accurately predict the future of non-linear systems in which arbitrarily small differences in initial conditions may have large effects as the system evolves. 
Perhaps this distinction between reality and representation lies, in your diagram, between the being-contrast-complexity column and the neighbouring elements? Or, possibly, you intend the being-contrast-complexity elements not to refer to the objects of reality themselves, but the perception/representation of them? 
Regards, Daniel  
From: joe.brenner at bluewin.ch
Sent: Sunday, 10 April 2022 11:53
To: Mariusz; daniel.boyd at live.nl; "fis"
Cc: fis at listas.unizar.es; daniel.boyd at live.nl
Subject: Re: Re: [Fis] Book Presentation. Potentiality as well as Actuality
Dear Mariusz, Dear Daniel,
Please allow me to enter the discussion at this point. I will go back to the beginning as necessary later. I am in general agreement with Mariusz' approach, but I believe it could be strengthened by looking at the potential as well as the actual aspects of the phenomena in question. Thus when Mariusz writes interaction, is a prior concept to the concept of being, because without interaction there is no being. It follows that the basic ingredient of being must be two objects/elements/components (forming a contrast) that have common and differentiating features."). , I would add the dimension of becoming, which is a more dynamic relation. We can more easily talk about processes and change instead of component objects
A similar comment could be made about the discrete-continuous distinction. This is at the same time also an appearance-reality duality which is not static, but embodies the change from actual to potential and vice versa just mentioned.
I do not, however, agree with the following statement: Besides it is already known that using binary structures it is possible to simulate any processes and objects of reality)  There are many non-computable process aspects of reality that cannot be captured and simulated by an algorithm without loss of information and meaning. In the "graph" of the movement of a process from actuality to potentiality, the limiting points of 0 and 1 are not included - it is non-Kolmogorovian.
I would say regarding beauty that it is a property emerging from the various contrast or antagonisms in the mind/body of the artist. The logic of such processes as I have remarked is a logic of energy, and this seems to fit here.
Thank you and best wishes,
----Message d'origine----
 De : stanowskimariusz at wp.pl
 Date : 10/04/2022 - 08:35 (CEST)
 À : daniel.boyd at live.nl, fis at listas.unizar.es
 Objet : Re: [Fis] Book Presentation
Dear Daniel, 
Thank you for your questions. Below are the highlighted answers (of course they are more complete in the book). 
Best regards 
W dniu 2022-04-09 o 17:37, Daniel Boyd pisze: 
Dear Mariusz 
While (or perhaps because!) your work is a fair distance from my own field of expertise, I found your conceptual framework intriguing. Herewith some of the thoughts it elicited. While they may be unexpected because they come from a different angle, hopefully a cross-disciplinary interaction will be fruitful.  
The Second Law of Thermodynamics dictates the ultimate heat death of the universe (a state in which all 'contrasts' are erased). (The heat death of the universe is just a popular view and not a scientific truth)Its current state, fortunately for us, is teeming with differences (between entities, properties and interactions) which underlie all that is of importance to us. To take such contrasts as a unifying principle would therefore seem to be undeniable, if extremely ambitious! After all, the sheer diversity of contrasts takes us from the different spins of subatomic particles underlying the various elements to the masses of the celestial bodies determining their orbits around the sun; from the colours in a painting to the sounds of a symphony. Systemically, different patterns of contrasts underlie the distinctions between linear and complex systems. Contrasts also form the basis for the working of our sense organs, the perceptions derived from them, and the inner world of conscious experience. In each of these contexts very different classes of contrasts lead to different mechanisms and laws, leading me to wonder just what the 'underlying structure' is (beyond the observation that, ultimately, some type of contrast is always involved and that we tend to deal with such diverse contrasts in a similar way). Maybe your book provides an answer to this question that I am unable to find in this brief abstract: could you perhaps say something about this? (The answer to this question is contained in the contrast-being relation: "Contrast-Being Contrast, or interaction, is a prior concept to the concept of being, because without interaction there is no being. It follows that the basic ingredient of being must be two objects/elements/components (forming a contrast) that have common and differentiating features.").
Moving on to more specific topics, I see that you equate the complexity of a system to a relationship between binary values (C = N²/n). While such as approach may work for discontinuous contrasts (e.g. presence/absence, information in digital systems) many naturally occurring differences are continuous (e.g. the electromagnetic frequencies underlying the colours of the rainbow). In neuroscience, while the firing of a neuron may be a binary event, the charge underlying this event is a dynamic continuous variable. My question: how does the concept of abstract complexity deal with continuous variables ("contrasts")? (What seems to us to be continuous in reality may be discrete, e.g. a picture or a sound on a computer is continuous and in reality it is a binary structure of electric impulses; a continuous color is a vibration of an electromagnetic wave. Besides it is already known that using binary structures it is possible to simulate any processes and objects of reality). 
I was also intrigued by your statement that "Beautiful are objects with high information compression" based on the reasoning "perceiving beauty, we save energy, the perception becomes more economical and pleasant". Intuitively, it seems odd to me to equate beauty to the lack of perceptive effort required. (This is not about "no effort" but about "saving effort". If we have a beautiful and an ugly object with the same information content, the perception of the beautiful object will require less energy. The measure of beauty is not the amount of effort/energy, but the amount of energy saved, which in the case of the Sagrada Familia will be greater). This would mean that the Pentagon (high regularity/compressibility) is more beautiful than the Sagrada Familia (low regularity/compressibility); and a single-instrument midi rendition of Bach is more beautiful than a symphonic performance. It seems to me that beauty often stimulates (gives energy) rather than just costing minimal energy. Much research has been done on the universal and culture-dependent perception of beauty: does this support your statement? see e.g. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1551-6709.2011.01229.x which describes factors other than simplicity as necessary characteristics. (This article is based on faulty assumptions e.g. misunderstanding Kolmogorov's definition of complexity, which is not applicable here).
Musings About Beauty - Kintsch - 2012 - Cognitive Science - Wiley Online Library
Aesthetics has been a human concern throughout history. Cognitive science is a relatively new development and its implications for a theory of aesthetics have been largely unexplored. 
By defining contrast as a distinction between entities or properties, it seems to come close as a definition to the type of information underlying physical entropy. That being the case, your approach would seem to resemble those who would give such information a comparable fundamental significance (e.g. Wheeler's "it from bit"). Could you say something about how you see the relationship between 'contrast' and 'information? Are they effectively synonyms? Contrast and information are different concepts. Information is a feature or form of energy. Contrast is the tension/force/energy created by the interaction of common features (attraction) and different features (repulsion) of contrasting objects).
Thankyou, in any case, for your contribution which certainly demonstrates the relationship between Value and Development 😉  
Regards, Daniel Boyd 
Van: Mariusz Stanowski
Verzonden: zaterdag 2 april 2022 19:23
Aan: fis at listas.unizar.es
Onderwerp: [Fis] Book Presentation
Book Presentation
“Theory and Practice of Contrast: Integrating Science, Art and Philosophy.”
Mariusz Stanowski
Published June 10, 2021 by CRC Press (hardcover and eBook).
Dear FIS list members, 
Many thanks for the opportunity to present my recent book in this list. 
Our dispersed knowledge needs an underlying structure that allows it to be organised into a coherent and complex system. 
I believe “Theory and Practice of Contrast” provides such a structure by bringing the considerations to the most basic, general and abstract level. At this level it is possible to define contrast as a tension between common and differentiating features of objects. It grows in intensity as the number/strength of differentiating and common features of contrasting structures/objects increases. Contrast understood in this way applies to any objects of reality (mental and physical) and is also an impact (causal force) in the most general sense. Contrast as a common principle organises (binds) our knowledge into a coherent system. This is illustrated by a diagram of the connections between the key concepts: 
Below are brief descriptions of these connections. 
Contrast—Development When observing a contrast, we also observe the connection between contrasting objects/structures (resulting from their common features) and the emergence of a new, more complex structure possessing the common and differentiating features of connected structures. In the general sense, the emergence of a new structure is tantamount to development. Therefore, it may be stated that contrast is a perception of structures/objects connections, or experience of development. The association of contrast with development brings a new quality to the understanding of many other fundamental concepts, such as beauty, value, creativity, emergence. (Similarly, contrast as development is understood in Whitehead’s philosophy).
Contrast—Complexity In accordance with the proposed definition, when we consider the contrast between two or more objects/structures, it grows in intensity as the number/strength of differentiating and common features of contrasting structures/objects increases. Such an understanding of contrast remain an intuitive criterion of complexity that can be formulated as follows: a system becomes more complex the greater is the number of distinguishable elements and the greater the number of connections among them. If in definition of contrast we substitute “differentiating features” for “distinguishable elements” and “common features” for “connections”, we will be able to conclude that contrast is the perception and measure of complexity.
Note: Two types of contrasts can be distinguished: the sensual (physical) contrast, which is determined only by the force of features of contrasting objects and the mental (abstract) contrast which depends primarily on the number of these features. (This contrast can be equated with complexity). (The equation of contrast with complexity is an important finding for the investigations in: cognitive sciences, psychology, ontology, epistemology, aesthetics, axiology, biology, information theory, complexity theory and indirectly in physics).
Complexity—Information Compression Intuition says that the more complex object with the same number of components (e.g. words) has more features/information (i.e. more common and differentiating features), which proves its better organization (assuming that all components have the same or similar complexity). We can also say that such an object has a higher degree of complexity. The degree of complexity is in other words the brevity of the form or the compression of information. Complexity understood intuitively (as above) depends, however, not only on the complexity degree (that could be defined as the ratio of the number of features to the number of components) but also on the (total) number of features, because it is more difficult to organize a larger number of elements/features. In addition, the more features (with the same degree of complexity), the greater the contrast. Therefore, in the proposed Abstract Definition of Complexity (2011), we multiply the degree of complexity by the number of features. This definition defines the complexity (C) of the binary structure (general model of all structures/objects) as the quotient of the square of features (regularities/substructures) number (N) to the number of components or the number of zeros and ones (n). It is expressed in a simple formula: C = N²/n and should be considered the most general definition of complexity, among the existing ones, which also fulfils the intuitive criterion. (This relation explains what compression of information in general is and what role it plays as a complexity factor. This allows to generalize the notion of information compression and use it not only in computer science, but also in other fields of knowledge, such as aesthetics, axiology, cognitive science, biology, chemistry, physics).
Information compression—Development Our mind perceiving objects (receiving information) more compressed, saves energy. Compression/organization of information reduce energy of perception while maintaining the same amount of information (in case of lossless compression). Thanks to this, perception becomes easier (more economical) and more enjoyable; for example, it can be compared to faster and easier learning, acquiring knowledge (information), which also contributes to our development. Compression of information as a degree of complexity also affects its size. Complexity, in turn, is a measure of contrast (and vice versa). Contrast, however, is identified with development. Hence, complexity is also development. This sequence of associations is the second way connecting the compression of information with development. Similarly, one can trace all other possibilities of connections in the diagram. (The association of information compression with development brings a new, explanatory knowledge to many fields including cognitive science, aesthetics, axiology, information theory).
Development—Value Development is the essence of value, because all values (ethical, material, intellectual, etc.) contribute to our development which is their common feature. It follows that value is also a contrast, complexity and compression of information because they are synonymous with development. (The relation explains and defines the notion of value fundamental to axiology).
Value—Abstract Value About all kinds of values (with the exception of aesthetic values) we can say, what they are useful for. Only aesthetic values can be said to serve the development or be the essence of values, values in general or abstract values. This is a property of abstract concepts to express the general idea of something (e.g. the concept of a chair includes all kinds of chairs and not a specific one). It follows that what is specific to aesthetic value is that it is an abstract value (although it is difficult to imagine). (This is a new understanding of aesthetic value, crucial for aesthetics and axiology).
Contrast—Being Contrast or interaction is a concept prior to the concept of being because without interaction there is no existence. It follows that the basic component of being must be two objects/elements/components (creating a contrast) having common and differentiating features. (Understanding of being as a contrast is fundamental to ontology and metaphysics and worth considering in physics).
Contrast—Cognition The object of cognition and the subject (mind) participate in the cognitive process. The object and the subject have common and differentiating features, thus they create a contrast. Cognition consists in attaching (through common features) differentiating features of the object by the subject. In this way, through the contrast, the subject develops. It can therefore be said that cognition is a contrast of the object with the subject. (This is a new definition of cognition important for epistemology and cognitive science).
Cognition—Subjectivity The above understanding of cognition agrees all disputable issues (present, among others, in psychology, cognitive science and aesthetics) regarding the objectivity and subjectivity of assessments (e.g. whether the source of beauty is the observer's mind, whether it is a specific quality from the observer independent), because it shows that they depend on both the subject and the object, i.e. depend on their relationship—contrast.
Compression of information—Beauty Beautiful are objects with high information compression (a large degree of complexity/organization). Thanks to the compression of information, perceiving beauty, we save energy, the perception becomes more economical and pleasant which favours our development and is therefore a value for us. The example is golden division. Counting features (information) in all possible types of divisions (asymmetrical, symmetrical and golden) showed that the golden division contains the most features/information (an additional feature is well known golden proportion) and therefore creates the greatest contrast, complexity and aesthetic value.  (This explains the previously unknown reasons for aesthetic preferences, key to aesthetics, art theory, psychology, cognitive science and neuroaesthetics).
Development—Beauty Beauty contributes to development thanks to the economy of perception. Perception of beauty is accompanied by a sense of development or ease and pleasure of perception. (This explains the causes of aesthetic preferences).
Abstract Value—Beauty, Art Only beauty and art have no specific value but they express/have value in general (an abstract value). The objects that make up a work of art are not important, but their contrast-interaction, which results from the complexity of the artwork. (If we see a single object in the gallery, then the art is its contrast with the context - as in the case of Duchamp's "Urinal" or Malevich's "Black Square"). One can say that beauty and art are distinguished (defined) by two elements: abstract value and a large contrast.(This is a new and only definition of beauty/art that indicates the distinctive common features of all aesthetic/artistic objects, it is crucial for the theory of art, aesthetics, axiology and epistemology).
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Pedro C. Marijuán
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pedroc.marijuan at gmail.compcmarijuan.iacs@aragon.eshttp://sites.google.com/site/pedrocmarijuan/
Editor special issue: Evolutionary dynamics of social systems
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