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Being a Poem in the Making

Engendering a Multiverse through Musing (Part #1)

Insights from the crisis of science and belief
Questionably exclusive framing of multiverse by science
Imaginative engagement with multiverse through poetry
Poetic insights into becoming a poem -- and being one
Transcending both scientific and poetic comprehension of multiverse

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Produced in the light of the joint meeting of the Scientific and Medical Network and the
Society for Scientific Exploration on Mapping Time, Mind and Space (Brú na Bóinne, Ireland, 2012).


This is a reflection on engagement with the quantity of information, the challenge of quality and selectivity, and the consequences of ignorance and confusion as time goes by. The situation becomes ever more evident through the increasing accessibility of information, the lack of time to consider most of it, and the need to focus on what appears to be of immediate concern. The situation is aggravated by the range and complexity of the tools by which it is possible to engage with available knowledge and insight -- and diminishing motivation to acquire the skills to use them, or the capacity to do so.

The situation is notably characterized by the multiplicity of purveyors of information and insight -- from the wisdom of the past to the creativity of the present, radically reframed by imaginative speculations on the future. Engagement is further challenged by the claims and disregard with respect to any insight -- and the questionable efforts towards integrative reformulations to facilitate comprehension and memorability, such as to nourish the quality of life. The potential of global sensemaking has as yet to be realized.

The condition is usefully understood as epitomized by emerging recognition of the extent and counter-intuitive complexity of the universe. Now reframed by physicists as a "multiverse" -- potentially composed of a multiplicity of parallel universes -- this complexity might be said to mirror the immediate experience of many, to the extent that they have any comprehension of such speculative hypotheses. Claims by physicists that such comprehension requires insight into ten or more dimensions -- questionably meaningful to only a limited elite -- is appropriately indicative of the experiential challenge of many and the explanations offered to them.

The question here is how any individual might then choose to engage with this experiential multiverse of information, knowledge and insight. The approach taken is to benefit from the appropriation by poets of "multiverse" as fundamentally poetic in its multidimensional significance. Any description of that engagement is however formulated in words, the comprehension of whose meaning is questionable and subject to interpretation -- whilst potentially intimately personal.

A poetic engagement with any multiverse, however imagined, then offers a degree of coherence compatible with individual experience. The dynamics of that engagement, as with that of poetry-making and appreciation, is also consistent with insights of complexity theory into chaotic systems. These in turn are consistent with the process whereby the multiverse of experience is engendered through poiesis -- and especially through the self-organization of autopoiesis, understood here as the emergence of comprehensible meaning.

The following argument is essentially about "language" -- specifically the contrasting abilities of science and poetry to engender and communicate meaning. However, whilst acknowledging the questionable ability of science to deliver meaning of some value to the collective, the argument highlights the potential for the individual to engender and be nourished "in reality" by meaning of aesthetic form, exemplified by poetry. It is the manner whereby individual identity is carried coherently by their potential in the face of complexity that is the primary focus.

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