Human beings developed natural sciences over the course of their cultural history in order to understand the physical world of nature, which became unintelligible as they gradually distanced themselves from it through a process of progressive abstraction. Culminating in the Enlightenment, arguesVilém Flusser, science was active modelling of the natural world, an attempt to describe it with the most parsimonious models – Isaac Newton’s laws of physics, Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, or quantum mechanics, for example – that enables us to analyze, dissect, and rearrange it into a rational, linear form. Seeing nature (including ourselves) as a foreign object of scientific investigation allowed us to learn more than we could from our subjective experience alone. Indeed, this was necessary to break through our ideological projections of the world in order to see its true mystery, a task taken on by Flusser’s pseudoscientific treatise on the Vampyroteuthis Infernalis (2011), for example. Once this veil of ideology was removed, however, and “nature” was revealed to be simply a human projection of invented “natural laws” onto its entropic abyss, the natural sciences would then be required to give way to intuition and perception of nature and culture as one and the same – what Flusser calls our “second nature.” Nature understood as a projection of human imagination can, therefore, be creatively manipulated and rearranged, Flusser reasons, by using nature’s laws against itself to create an intentional, even artistic, “negentropic” world that might finally help humans overcome nature’s dark essence: the entropic death of all things.
Original article by Anne Popiel