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How do you see the world?
How do you know what you know?
How sure are you about your truths?
For millennia, we have struggled with these questions. Since before Socrates, we've beheld the world and asked ourselves - just how much can we really know about it and ourselves within it? Can we even trust our own senses and judgement?
In philosophy, there is a name for this: Epistemology. The theory of knowledge. The mind's relation to reality.
"mindprints" is simply this artist's attempt at visually rendering the unique ways individual minds have of understanding reality.
schools of thought:
I wanted to challenge myself this time by keeping the code as simple as possible. There are only two main functions (besides the obviously necessary random()) used to create "mindprints": noise() and circle()
Using these plus some trigonometry fun, I created 8 different "Perspectives" which I named after a few different schools of thought/approaches to knowledge in epistemology. They are:
*Romanticism is not actually part of epistemology but rather an artistic and intellectual movement of the early 19th century, characterized by emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of the past and nature, preferring the medieval to the classical. I decided to include it after discovering a set of parameters that produced particularly unique iterations.
The one above is Idealism. I won't spoil all of them, but to give you an idea, here are three more, in three different colour schemes:
Quite distinct styles, as you can see. (The colour schemes are arbitrary, by the way). The 'Complex' and 'Balanced' parts I'll explain below.
First, here are brief descriptions of each school of thought (composed by Bard A.I. and I):
Imagine reality like a dream woven by the mind. Idealists argue that the ultimate foundation of existence is not physical matter, but consciousness or ideas. Thinkers like Plato and Berkeley believed that true knowledge comes from understanding these underlying forms and concepts, rather than just our sensory experiences.
The world is an open book – let your senses read it! Empiricists like John Locke and David Hume argue that all knowledge ultimately comes from our experiences and observations of the world through our senses. They highlight the importance of experimentation and evidence-based reasoning, challenging claims based solely on tradition or authority.
Trust the power of reason! Rationalists like Descartes and Spinoza believe that knowledge comes primarily through clear and distinct thinking. They prioritize logic and deduction, arguing that valid reasoning can lead us to universal truths about the world, independent of our senses or individual perspectives.
Don't believe everything you hear! Skeptics, like the ancient Greek philosopher Pyrrho, advocate for cautious questioning and doubt. They challenge us to scrutinize evidence and avoid jumping to conclusions based on assumptions or mere belief. Skepticism teaches us not only to be critical thinkers but also to embrace the limits of our understanding.
Truth is in the eye of the beholder. Relativists argue that knowledge is not absolute but is shaped by individual or cultural perspectives. Thinkers like Nietzsche and Feyerabend emphasize the diverse ways humans make sense of the world, questioning the existence of universal truths and encouraging open-mindedness to different viewpoints.
Cynicism, in ancient Greek philosophy, wasn't about hating puppies (that's a modern misinterpretation!). Rather, it was a sharp critique of social conventions and hypocrisy. Cynics like Diogenes of Sinope lived simple, often provocative lives, challenging societal norms and materialism. They valued self-sufficiency and reason, rejecting social hierarchies and seeking virtue through a rejection of desires and comforts.
From this skeptical and critical root came Stoicism, founded by Zeno of Citium. While sharing Cynicism's emphasis on reason and virtue, Stoics offered a more constructive approach. They believed emotions were natural but could be trained through reason and acceptance. Instead of rejecting society, they aimed to live virtuously within it, accepting what they couldn't control and focusing on what they could, like their own thoughts and actions. This emphasis on resilience and inner peace became a defining characteristic of Stoicism.
Not strictly epistemology, Romanticism was an artistic and intellectual movement in the 19th century that celebrated emotion, imagination, intuition and individualism over cold, logical reasoning. Romantics valued feeling and connection to nature as paths to understanding the world, challenging the dominance of reason championed by other schools.
Besides the 8 "perspectives" that an iteration can have, there are two more attributes: "mindset" and "aspect".
In the code, there are three important variables whose relations to each other determine the mindset and aspect. These are most easily distinguished with the Idealism perspective, so I've used it below to show you the mindsets, from "Pure" to "Intricate":
These mindsets can either be as is, on their own, or accompanied by one of two prefixes: 'Greatly' or 'Extremely'.
Lastly, there is the aspect, which is determined by the simple relation between two of the three variables I mentioned above. If either of them divided by the other is particularly small, the aspect changes. Mostly commonly, the aspect will be "Balanced" ... All the above examples are balanced. The other possible aspects are "Unbalanced" and "Threaded".
To show them, here are three more examples, using the same exact hash seed of a "Pure" iteration, and changing only those two parameters:
mindprints is unlike my first two generative works.
℈ℽ⍷-ᚤက is a great metaphor, celebrating both the individual human mind, with its constant need to find meaning in the universe, as well as all of humanity as a whole, and its achievements.
Ars Fractalia embodies an age-old philosophical question about the nature of art and mathematics, and its a celebration of my own artistic past.
mindprints is simpler, in concept and code. It asks nothing. It simply states that human minds are unique, in the same way that our fingerprints are unique, and attempts to render them beautifully in a way that makes sense.
My hope is that you do indeed find them beautiful. Any epistemological rabbit holes you might find yourself lost in are completely coincidental and unintended.
Lastly, let me show you how each iteration is created, from start to finish, with this particularly beautiful Cynicsm, Greatly Complex, Balanced, Sherwood Forest: