The Origin of Scientific Theories
Acrylic paintings on canvas 24 x 30
Science starts with questions. How does Nature
work and what is behind it? We observe Nature and form a theory,
and then apply the Algorithm of Science.
We use the theory to predict events. If correct,
the theory is accepted as a Law. Otherwise, the theory is
modified and subjected to the algorithm until the theory
reflects the Laws of Nature.
This simple algorithm gave us the powers to
understand Nature and to apply science. We now need Algorithms
of Wisdom to use these powers to our advantage and to benefit
The observing eye above the cliffs notes the
gravitational attraction of two spheres. We then form a theory
of these forces and apply it to the trajectory of objects in a
gravitational field. The results are input into the Algorithm of
Science. If verified, the hypothesis becomes a Law. If not, the
hypothesis is modified until the true Law emerges.
Our Universe Came to a Unique
Point in Life
Acrylic on canvas 24 x 30
The painting illustrates three alternative
universes. In one universe the forces among particles are too
strong, and all atoms condense into inert solids (left panel).
In our actual universe the forces allow life to flourish
(center). In yet another universe the weak forces cannot bind
particles and all matter dissipates into vapors (right).
Einstein asked: Did the Creator have a choice?
Could have the Creator formed different universes, or only one
set of physical constants is allowed by Nature?
We can experience only one universe and we cannot
prove if different universes can, or do, exist. But the fact
that this universe is configured precisely for Life gives our
existence a special value.
canvas 32 x 48
Human nature is directed by layers of control
embedded in the brain. These brain centers are inherited from a
legacy of ancestral generations: reptilian desires, mammalian
love and human intelligence, that will guide us in the universe.
Impelled by the territorial desires of our
reptilian ancestors; inspired by the mammalian love to protect
life; and armed with the human power of intelligence, we can
then fulfill our destiny to safeguard life and expand it in the
The Order of Life
Acrylic on canvas 24 x 20
The structures of Life embody the highest forms
of order in Nature. However, these living structures are
improbable and can more likely disintegrate into formless chaos.
Therefore life is fragile and requires constant maintenance.
Nevertheless, the structures of life have endured
for eons while mountains rose and eroded, continents shifted,
stars formed and exploded, and the universe expanded and cooled
We are part of the enduring structures of life.
This defines our purpose to forever safeguard and promote Life.
From this purpose result the precepts of ethics: Life is good
and the chaos of Death is evil.
With these precepts, we must expand Life in the
cosmos. The unique order of Life will then encompass all matter,
and destructive chaos will be vanquished.
Acrylic on canvas 24 x 28
people rise to their days labor
children laugh and cry in the backyards
underground vaults cast long shadows.
people watch their movies and lie down to sleep
embrace on the silent beaches
submarines glide to unknown,
And each day
that people work and children laugh and lovers
missiles rust in shame in their vaults and
And Life has
won another victory.
Worlds of Higher Order
Acrylic on canvas 28 x 48
Life on this earthly cradle brought forth our
intelligence and our higher aspirations. We can now emerge from
Earth to secure for Life the vast resources of space. There we
can construct multitudes of worlds for trillions of humans for
trillions of generations.
In these new worlds life can progress to new
levels of complexity. Our descendants can then create worlds of
the highest orders of structure: Social harmony enriched by
Justice, Truth and Peaceful Cooperation. Life, strengthened by
these high structures, will long flourish.
Legend: The lower panels illustrate the emerging
technologies that will bring us to space. The higher orders of
Justice, Truth and Peaceful Cooperation in these new worlds are
illustrated by the human diagrams in the upper squares.
Limits of Knowledge.
Acrylic on lucite 28 x 28
Nature, and especially Life, is complex on all
levels. The human brain, however, is finite and handles only a
minute fraction of complex Nature. The painting illustrates
complexity on the most basic levels, of interacting particles in
a multi-body system; and complexity on the highest level of an
Science is successful in seeing the simple laws
behind complex phenomena, but cannot reconstruct the complexity
of Nature from these simple laws.
We must be satisfied with the insights that
Nature does permit. There will always be mysteries and their
pursuit will challenge human minds to ever higher achievements.
Acrylic on canvas 24 x 28
We desire knowledge. But should we pursue
knowledge if it may endanger our survival? Nuclear physics is
part of nature, but we may have revealed its secrets too early.
Other pursuits can have similar consequences.
Genetic engineering can lead to stronger species, and it may
lead to diverse space-adapted life-forms. But genetic
engineering may also produce species without the desire to
propagate life. There is danger also in creating robots that may
displace our family of gene/protein life.
Knowledge benefits only those who are wise enough
to use it prudently.
That which helps life is good, and that which
threatens life is evil. All human acts, even the pursuit of
knowledge, must be judged by this criterion.
The Helical Song
on canvas 24x28
Life embodies the highest order of structure
in this universe. Biological matter, as protein sequences
encoded in the DNA helix, arose from the primeval chaos.
Even the first ancestral cell composed of
this matter must have been highly complex, and its origins
are mystery. Did life arise on Earth first? Did it arise
only here? Does the galaxy teem with life? Are we alone, and
is then the fate of all life in our hands?
We may not find the answers for many eons, or
ever. Whatever the answer, prudence requires that we
safeguard life and propagate it throughout the accessible
universe. This is the highest human purpose, and fulfilling
it will give our existence a cosmic meaning.
on canvas 36 x 36
space/time the universe burst forth
As the Four
Forces emerged from the primeval chaos.
Forces that in the fabric of space/time
galaxies to swirl,
condense form dust,
molecules to assemble
And Life to
spring forth and expand into space/time again.
space/time the universe will forever expand.
descendants may some remote day decipher its secrets
the Laws and to use them,
transform its Laws to their advantage,
matter becomes Life or its supporting matrix.
descendants will then reach for eternity
And give our
human existence a cosmic meaning.
All images and text copyright Michael N Mautner 2000.
For permission to reproduce free on the internet/web with
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