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Explain Consciousness by Shapes of Flowers


Mr. Paul Lockhart, a mathematician, said before that how to become a mathematician does not depend on his specialized skills or knowledge, but on his insatiable curiosity and aspiration for simple beauty. So, is it possible to apply such curiosity and aspiration to solution of questions which have perplexed scientists and philosophers for a thousand years? More than a hundred years ago some scientist had made efforts to explore what consciousness is, how it works and in which shape the beauty could be presented.

In late nineteenth century, Mr. Benjamin Betts, a psychologist from New Zealand attempted for visualization of human consciousness with mathematical method. His research was so amazing by visual impact that his graphic drawing of consciousness was related to different shapes of flower. Bates believed that such charts clearly demonstrate the profile of our consciousness in particular situation.

These pictures were included in the book titled “ Geometrical psychology, or, The science of representation, an abstract of the theories and diagrams of B. W. Betts” , which was edited by Louisa Cook and published in 1887 . In his metaphysical exploration, Bates tried to show the continuous phases of evolution of human consciousness in the form of symbolic mathematics. As a result, he found that this kind of mathematical representation was always similar to graphical drawing of plants. Bates was satisfied with his finding and thought that he had found the right approach to the general form of consciousness. In addition, he insisted that human consciousness was the only thing we could study directly, for all others things should be first perceived by consciousness.

Is it a reasonable approach to demonstrate extremely complex and elusive human consciousness in such concrete form? The scientists and philosophers would have heated debate about it. Although Bates’s research method and graphic looks very abstract, these graphic do have their own charms. We could imagine how much a student of metaphysics could achieve profound understanding of these wonderful graphical drawing of human consciousness.

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Reference: The 19th century psychologist who tried to illustrate consciousness with geometric shapes

Title image source: scoop.it

Image source: io9.com

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