Friday Program
Imagination and the Adapted Mind 
Saturday Program
 

Creative dynamical systems in nature, economics, art and religion:
Transcending biological and social reductionism

Frederick Turner

The rod of Moses and the caduceus of Hermes/Mercury combine the staff and the snake in a symbol whose meaning is ambiguous, but which mediates between biological and cultural forms of emergent order.  The double-helix geometry of the Greek version of the symbol may be a natural diagram of growth through feedback, so that its resemblance to the shape of the DNA molecule is no coincidence.  The mythical exchange of the caduceus for the lyre, symbol of poetry, implies a further meaning for the caduceus: human poetry and art in general.  The wand or staff of Moses is glossed by the story of Jacob and Esau in Genesis, where Jacob uses a similar wand to control the reproductive genetics of his uncle's sheep.  But both the rod of Moses and the caduceus also connote profitable financial dealings, economic production and trade; Jacob's story is in turn glossed by Jesus' parable of the talents, and Mercury became the Roman god of business information systems, giving his name to the market itself, to commerce, merchants, mercantilism, and even to the mercy that is made possible by economic profit.  Is the market, then, the continuation on the cultural level of gene pool communication and recombination on the biological level?  And is human art and poetry a further elaboration of the feedback system symbolized by the snake-encircled tree?
 

Personal web page: http://www.benturner.com/genesis/
 
 
Friday Program
Imagination and the Adapted Mind 
Saturday Program