« November 2006 | Main

December 7, 2006

Kahn & Gershenfeld : Nature & Man

Writings by Louis Kahn, Silence and Light, and Neil Gershenfeld, Fab, both discuss an apparent interdependent relationship between nature and man, the manufacturers of expression.

Kahn explains that “what nature makes it makes without man, and what man makes nature cannot make without him.� Using analogies of silence and light, he also alludes to what man makes it cannot make without nature. Through this relationship of nature and man is manifest the presence of the two and their desire for expression, transformed.

“The beautiful in the material is transformed from wonder to knowing which in turn is transformed to the expression of beauty that lies in the desire to express.�

Gershenfeld also speaks of transformation as a tool of both nature and man. He uses nature as an interesting analogy to the working of the computer: “The universe if literally as well as metaphorically a computer. Atoms, molecules, bacteria, and billiard balls can all store and transform information.� Kahn’s discussion reiterates this idea that everything in nature has the ability to store and transform information, and adds how this ability stems from the desire to express:

“Because nature, in what it makes, records how it was made. In the rock is the record of the rock, and in man is the record of man. Man, through his consciousness, senses inside of him all the laws of nature, except that his instrument is usually very poor, which he gets from nature, in the way of a brain… But regardless, the quality which he inherited… that which is the nature of man, he inherits, just like his physical being, in this he senses the desire to learn to express.�

Gershenfeld, in turn, reiterates the idea that man “senses the desire to learn to express� through his experience at MIT. Thecourse in “How To Make (almost) Anything� attracted students beyond his expectation. The reason for this attraction of such students was the opportunity to make the things they desired in life, the things that did not exist but was irrefutably in personal need, and use them.

Both nature and man are manufacturers of things that can store and transform data and through this creation is manifest the desire for expression. Man learns from nature and uses this knowledge to create expression (e.g., personal fabricators manufacturing objects). Nature in turn reflects the desires of man in beautiful expression (e.g., light illuminating form).