Lately I've messing around with prints of my snowflakes.
I've found a way of folding a hexagon so it makes a thing I call a dangler and then I make mobiles from the danglers.
I get files printed at the drug store and then cut the hexagon out of it to fold. This leaves me with lots of scraps of colored paper.
I noticed that the printing system does some colors much better than others and made a rainbow blend to print on the background behind the snowflake hexagon.
This led to me having strips of paper with a rainbow blend on it.
Very pretty - but what do you do with strips of rainbow blend paper.
Pretty obvious - weave them together.
I did that and after a struggle achieved the picture this: I was surprised and quite pleased.
When I was a kid I used to gather popsicle sticks and weave them together like this.
It was fun because it was hard to do - a mistake would make the whole thing blow up :-)
And it's hard to imagine these days gathering sticks that people had been sucking on to play with: but hey; it was a different world then.
But also it was fun to make a plane from some sticks held together by friction.
I once took a weekend weaving workshop with my girlfriend. The woman giving the workshop had a barn full of beautifully coloured yarn.
That kind of weaving is very satisfying to do. The work is very repetitive so you get practiced but also you need to keep your mind on what you are doing.
And you emerge with a pretty piece of cloth.
I didn't pursue that craft because I don't know how to sew.
Most weaving is done on huge mechanical looms now. Weaving was one of the first industries to become mechanized in the industrial revolution and I suspect that weavers were the sort of workers Marx considered to be the 'proletariat" Weaving at that level is both an art and a science that requires huge teams of people designing the patterns of the weave as well as operating the machinery.
A weave illustrates the idea of levels of abstraction.
The woven fabric has properties that the threads it is woven from don't have The threads basically just have a length while the fabric has a length and a width. You make a tent out of a fabric but not out of thread. So the thread and the fabric are on different levels of abstraction.
I think that that is a good way to think about society and culture.
Each of us can be thought of as a thread moving through time.
But we are not alone. We are intertwined with many other people. And the fabric that emerges from that intertwining we call society.
An interesting thing here about levels of abstraction. The idea is generally present as lower levels creating higher levels with new properties. But in this case a property is lost at the higher level.
People are intelligent. They have projects and needs and can act fairly deliberately to accomplish them.
I don't think society is intelligent. That's because I think intelligence can only arise in creatures like us, with senses and memory and individual autonomy. I do think that we will develop machines with that sort of capacity and who knows whether that would be good or bad - but society isn't like that.
We see that in the pandemic - most people comply with social distancing but many people don't and that pushes society into a state of turmoil that can't be called intelligent.
What do you think?