Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Revisiting Gould's NOMA

On the heels of my exchange with Peter Gabel about the relationship of science and religion, Tikkun Daily intern Sarah Ackley has written an excellent summation of the late evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould's non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA) model, one bolstered by insights from Catholic theologian Hans Kung.

Ackley points out that Gould insisted that "the two magisteria bump right up against each other, interdigitating in wondrously complex ways along their joint border." This observation is of particular interest to me because, until now, I'd mistakingly believed that Gould felt there was no exchange between the two, non-overlapping realms.

As I wrote in "Matthew Day Jackson's Wonderful Artifacts," in October 2008,
"Whereas Gould posits that the magisteria of religion and science are nonoverlapping, I would argue that, where their circles meet, the membrane is permeable. This bleeding of one into the other represents the pinnacle of art and philosophy.”
It's clear to me now that Gould and I were on the same page all along (or, more accurately, I was on Gould's page)!

Read Ackley's TD piece here. Above, I've included a NOMA diagram that I created for the essay on Matthew Day Jackson.


Donald Frazell said...

Still dont agree. I see the three main branches of Mankind's universal explorations overlapping, and creative art the visualization of where they intermingle,resolving the supposed contradiction of these branches, for they are truly one. It is not seperate, a true artist must know all three well to reflect what is, and build on what was, but through the filter of his own experience and developed instinct.

Creative musics do this also. And reveal the structures and patterns of our world, science. The creative power and purpose in life, god. And the study of ourselves, philosophy, as we are not logical creatures, reason but a faulty tool, and how we see the other two and bring them together what art does. It bonds.

All that has survived has this trait, all deemed worthy as they still achieve its Purpose of unifying our blobby, fat filled, organically evolved, electrically misfiring, and far from "perfect" brains and hardened bodies(Cezanne said an unfit body reveals a weak soul).

This is why saving the Rodia/Watts Towers, now that LA has gone bust, is top priority for all true local artists here. As few as they are. Took my wife this weekend for the first time, she was inspired as never before to continue her quest, to counteract the fashion and lifestyle magazines that have so screwed with womens psyches and self worth. From afar it doesnt look like much, but once entering, it is truly a spirtual place.

Rodia worked completely focused for three decades, everyday, completely by himself to create a work 100' high by 140' long, his entire triangular back yard, into a place of god. One of the rare places where Man, God, and Nature intersect. And evoke Purpose. Weddings ansd baptisms were originally held there, but it is beyond religion. He walked away, his mission done.

He lost himself in his work, his sadness, his material well being. All true creative artists seek this, Braque and Cezanne did the most obviously, but all do. He was a great artist, yet ignored by the artiste community as it does not fit in their lifestyle, so revealing them as entertainers serving the individuals desires, not defining humanity.

Art is never seperate, except when about the artist, who by himself is nothing. Games, therapy, and self expresion are not creative art, what children do and responsible, mature adults explore are completely different things. Finding what is true, reflecting it, and losing ones individuality arts goal. Philosphers of modern time like Nietzsche and Camus wrote novels for a reason, they were testing grounds where the supposed contradictions in life played out. And found resolution as best as our weak species can.

Art is the visual reflection of the three joined branches, not seperate. When it is by itself, it is controlled, and academic or a diary. Not art.

art collegia delenda est
Save the wWatts Towers, tear down the Ivories

Check my latest blog entry, it is time.

Donald Frazell said...

And it is now to be put to use. I have been put in charge of saving the Watts Towers by the most important black and spiritual leader in LA. The Rev. Chip Murray, who my wife recently interviewed for her magazine


has charge me with gathering the tribes, of bringing organizations together for our own common purpose, and strengthening. To save the Towers, by using them as Mr Rodia saw.

As a spirtual gathering place, not to be studied, but enhancing and stimulating our minds, bodies and souls as one. Thisis the artist sole function in society. And a major one, but still, just one role among many. It is time we got back to our jobs. It is time to put aside childish things.

Join us. Once i have contacted all the various organizations Rev. Murray gave me, we will be petitioning, though that is but a limited form, it must back up action. Once we get going, it will snowball. It must.
Please check my blog, and regularly, it is time.

Save the Watts Towers, tear down the Ivories.

Hungry Hyaena said...


Based on your first comment, I think that you are in accord with the writer of the article that I originally reacted against, Peter Gabel. My disagreement with Gabel's stance is a nit-picky, but significant one; I find NOMA to be a very useful sketch of the relationship between various realms of human endeavor or inquiry.

With respect to your follow-up, congratulations and good luck!

Donald Frazell said...

No, I dont agree with him, its never either/or. He is trying to make something into something its not. I am saying its all the same damn thing, we simply split things for ease of study and data storage/retrieval. Thats not real. Art reveals how they ARE all the same thing. They are one, and resolves, not solves, the Supposed contradictions. Which are manufactured in our weak and puny minds. Humanity aint all that, we are not gods. But we are all we got, and better get it together, together.

Save the Rodia/Watts Towers, tear down the Bastilles of art.