Thursday, 20 March 2014

Ancient Druids -- part four

The jigsaw puzzle as an analogy to

cultural receptors: while green and
orange share no direct receptor, they
are locked together by the other colours
which do share direct receptors.
In order to explain certain aspects of syncretism, I have adapted the idea of receptors from biochemistry, calling them "cultural receptors". This sort of borrowing is used in other subjects, for example, Michael Odhiambo uses the model for human rights studies in: Dialogue in the Receptor Approach to human rights model: some lessons from Theatre for Development (TfD) .

Aaron Lynch gives seven patterns of meme transmission, or "thought contagion", and one of these is:
"Cognitive: ideas perceived as cogent by most in the population who encounter them. Cognitively transmitted memes depend heavily on a cluster of other ideas and cognitive traits already widely held in the population, and thus usually spread more passively than other forms of meme transmission. Memes spread in cognitive transmission do not count as self-replicating."
This structure exposes a fallacy in the Celtoskepticism: in my jigsaw analogy,  green and orange provide no proofs of each other in their direct relationship, while the other two colours lock them together. By selecting only certain aspects, there is no jigsaw puzzle. Philosophically, green and orange fail in any attempt at "chain reasoning" which demands that green must prove orange (or vice versa), but by using Peirce's "cable reasoning", we can see the presence of other receptors (colour pieces) which tie them together with great certainty.

But it goes beyond this: the jigsaw puzzle diagram is not complete (it has no corners). We might observe that because of the shape of the pieces, together, it is an incomplete jigsaw puzzle. Anyone who does jigsaw puzzles makes great use of the corner pieces to fix the puzzle. The recent studies of transdisciplinarity reveal that such corner pieces do not exist in the real world, and furthermore, even if we build an accurate transdisciplinary model that is completely workable, different models can also be built which can involve some other pieces absent from the first model. Transdisciplinarity posits the existence of infinite realities connected by the included middle contrary to classical logic which uses the excluded middle and reserves the former as a fallacy in all cases. Quantum physics has shown the validity of the transdisciplinarity model especially in the wave/particle duality.

Lorentz transform of world line
Besides using the receptor model and transdisciplinarity in our look at syncretism, we also have to include the analogy of spacetime rather than space (geographical distance) and time (seriation) separately. As it is a bit long for a caption, follow the link for the explanation and history of the animated diagram to the left, or look at the Wikipedia entry for the Lorentz transformation. I use this diagram rather than the commoner image of earth within spacetime curvature to illustrate spacetime as it contains movement (and I like it).

In studying early Celtic art, it can be seen that a lot of the chronology is relative, rather than absolute. I was able to plot exact changes in the chronology of Coriosolite coin die designs because they are well-focused in space and time, but previous space/time confusions had not revealed the correct chronology because far too few factors were considered. When it came to the origins of certain design elements, the pattern was very different. The focus of design motifs brought me to Saarland, and to a time far earlier than the coins. In Saarland, these designs were part of the general evolution of the Rhineland, rather than the Champagne workshops and their changes were more rapid because of the size of the populations and the amount of communication and travel that transmitted change. In Armorica, where the Coriosolite tribe lived, such travel and communication was less frequent and much slower so things  changed slower as a result of this. It is a case of relative time. Similarly, if we look for a mythological element in Homer, we see that it contains less detail and elaboration than the same example in later classical collections. We might think the latter is due to later elaborations and a sort of Chinese whispers, whereby the story changes through various errors in transmission,  and that can happen, but the commonest reason is that as time progresses for  a culture, greater communication with more distant areas can happen and because of syncretistic changes in these areas, the stories become more elaborate quite naturally. As there are metaphors at play, and because different cultures pick the metaphors most relevant to themselves, we can actually get a more accurate picture of the psychic factors underlying the metaphors. We look for common denominators because mythology, really, is a primitive psychology and not a primitive history or a primitive science.

Now that we have all of the methodological ammunition that we need, tomorrow I will start to put it all together to cast some more light on the ancient Druids. We will discover that La Tène was more than just an art movement: the art was an expression of an important religious/social movement. It reflected the time and culture just as did the more modern Romantic art movement.

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