Coronet  Effect

  In 1936 M.I.T. physics professor Harold Edgerton created an ultra high-speed photograph he named “Milkdrop Coronet” in it, a single drop of milk causes a “coronet”  (an expanding ring) of 25 distinct droplets to explode up simultaneously ( thus the “coronet”)  from the surface of the milk bowl encircling the point of impact of the larger drop. One large event, the milkdrop in this example, causes many smaller events. This is the Coronet effect. A cue ball striking another ball or two would not be an example of the coronet effect. One cause-one effect is not coronet causality. A coronet is not a cascade. The resulting smaller events do not cause one another to occur nor do they initially interact with one another. they are all caused by the single large event not by one another. When the droplets forming the coronet fall back into the medium from which they sprang, they DO begin to interact with one another but not in mid-air to any noticeable degree other than via quantum spook.

Example of Coronet Effect:  A mountain of copper and gold deep in the jungle of Irian Jaya ( Western New Guinea) is slated for mining, the big drop. The following list of droplets are coronet effects:

  1. marginalization of Indonesian leader Sukarno by C.I.A.
  2. JFK assassination
  3. ascendancy of LBJ
  4. dislocation of indigenous mountain tribes
  5. the Vietnam War
  6. a prospering U.S. mining company

A coalesce is the opposite of a coronet. A coalesce occurs when several separate events combine to create a single, larger thing, a whole larger than its parts.  Twelve equal segments of TNT in an atom bomb explode simultaneously in order to drive two previously separated chunks of plutonium together detonating the plutonium causing an  explosion  magnitudes larger than the sum of the 12 segments of TNT.

Consider the work of the following geniuses coalescing to form Postmodernism from an aging Modernism ca 1912, the year the Titanic sunk-symbolic !: Mieles( motion pictures), Wright Brothers ( pitch, yaw, roll), Frank Lloyd Wright ( asymmetric balance of form and space), James Joyce ( stream of consciousness) , Isadora Duncan (anti-baroque free dance), Tesla ( AC current, radio waves ), Braquasso ( Braque and Picasso roped together like climbers on Mt. Cezanne inventing Cubism i.e. Cezanne for Dummies) Einstein- deconstructing Newtonian mechanics, Schoenberg-atonal music composition, Edison-recorded sound, Duchamp- redefinition of capital “A”  art. The emergence of the Postmodern zeit, a colossal paradigm shift is a reverse coronet, 12 smaller drops coalesce  into a single culture-wide drop of zeit-welt (zeitgeist-weltanschauung) characterized by uncertainty, ambiguity, complexity and contradiction. The ultra-democratic rhizome appears counterbalancing all things of The Descended Grid, The Enlightenment Project i.e. The Modern, symbolized by Charles Darwin’s branching tree.

The 1857 Dred Scott decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, Chief Justice Roger Taney presiding,  had a vast Coronet effect as it initiated the reification of the key assertion of  the Declaration of Independence:  “All men are created equal”: The U.S. Supreme Court decision is the big coronet drop causing the following droplets: The Civil War, the 13th, 14th, 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, Reconstruction, Jim Crow era, contemporary African-American struggle for justice.

The emergence of bilateral symmetry from radial symmetry in animals was a coronet event. Once the “decision” was made for bilateralism in Cambrian fishlike organisms, a cornet of causality followed; now every animal has a left side and a right side; a front and a back and with that -implied velocity ( motion with direction). The birth of the idea in animals of action over stasis - advantage is immediate and widespread -  the Cambrian Explodes. There is oscillation from drop into droplets creating the coronet and from droplets into single drops creating the coalesce. What is the connection between the coalesce: Picasso and his fellow geniuses launching Postmodernism and the coronet of the Dred Scott Decision & aftermath?  Do phenomena comprising a coronet often coalesce and vice versa? Is droplet formation from a single drop always energy dissipating? Does coalescence always require energy input? Is there more coroneting or coalescing in nature? The eukaryotic cell is a coalescence of previously free-floating microorganisms, higher animals are a coalescence of organ systems and of other organisms ( bacteria and viruses). Are coronet-coalesce events like waves or like yin-yang, chicken-egg, object-shadow dualities, one automatically implying the other?  Will a cornet always be a part of a coalesce? Every wave has a trough and a ridge. It is not that one causes the other but that they are two parts of the same thing. If you drop a rock in a pond causing a coronet, the droplets will coalesce upon impact causing waves. Life on Earth is a coronet,  plants, animals and microorganisms are droplets in gradient reduction theater to be followed, in billions of years, by coalescence back into singularity.

Coronet-coalesce oscillation  in human affairs follows the same rules of causality as seen in larger and smaller arenas of the natural world,  from intergalactic events to sub-atomic activity. This explains why we get nervous when good things happen and why most believe it is darkest before the dawn. A pea-brain squirrel knows that a pile of nuts is too much of a good thing and will run away if it encounters such an unnatural cluster of seductive goodies on a fence rail. Humans set traps for one another using this universal causal logic. Buy this car, see this movie, eat this food, drink this alcohol-The Big Drop, and a coronet of good things will ensue….not…. as car and other payments coalesce into a stack of bills each month.

People, at times, mistake a big drop as the final outcome unmindful of the coronet effect. The conspirators behind five years of Dred Scott shenanigans: Roger Taney, James Buchanan, Franklin Pierce and Stephen Douglas,  believed they were solving the slavery problem once and for all by ensuring the survival of slavery via federal law. Their One Big Drop: a Supreme Court judgement. This One big drop created many droplets spreading effects in all directions. In some cases droplets grow into big events spawning a new generation of effects both positive and negative.

Around the locus of 1912 there was one big Western Culture-wide drop with 10 subsequent droplets, one each in physics, biology, politics,  painting, dance, fiction, music, electricity, manned flight, and architectural space, each droplet creating its own path of events and subsequent droplets over and over dissipating energy and adding complexity all the way. Looking at the paradigm-shifting drop of 1912 ( initiating our Postmodern world) one can follow a single droplet such as Duchamp’s reinvention of capital “A” art and follow this capital “A”  Art droplet  through several generations of art innovation revealing a “bouncing ball” pattern.

Questions and Theories:

  1. Is every big drop at the center of a coronet also a small drop from an even larger coronet event?
  2. Is the human capacity for written language coded in genes or by some RNA modification?
  3. JBT - Human epigenetic machinery such as MYSM1 does not distinguish between creating a new molecule to battle an invading microbe from creating a new molecule to transmit a byte of experience ( emotional or rational) language, music, math. It’s all the same. The DNA-gene making machinery will sort it out over time i.e. encode or discard. New stuff gets a trial period of perhaps a few thousand years or millions when the new feature is encoded in DNA or discarded onto evolution’s trash heap.
  4. Jared Diamond in his Pulitzer Prize winning bestseller ( over one million copies sold) refers many times to “human evolution” to describe cultural developments that led to language, guns and steel stuff, sidestepping the fact that all human “progress” i.e. development of the past 50,000 years has emerged from the same neocortical gene group not from any human evolution in the Darwinian sense with ‘evolution’ meaning change to the human genome i.e. changes to nucleotides as they sit on strands of human DNA. One might say that humans have, over time, learned to use their inflated neocortices to greater effect as they learn from one another and store information in myth, tradition, libraries and social patterns learned by children. Diamond wants it both ways: to claim that societies evolve in a Darwinian sense while asserting in his main thesis,  that we humans are not differentiable genetically from one another as if humans the world over would have all changed in evolutionary terms ( unlike any organism ever)  into identical phenotypic expression from an identical genotype. In Diamond-speak, societies evolve while humans all remain the same genetically i.e. share the same brain. One excuses Diamond- logic in light of its time of writing in mid-1990s when epigenetics was simply discredited Lamarckism and not the established science it is today.
  5. The very large human neocortex is a big evolutionary  coronet drop caused by the mutation of a single gene. This increased brain capacity has resulted in so many useful coronet droplets in our struggle for survival such as language, tool making, social complexity, animal/plant domestication that it appears so far to be a mutation worth conserving. The big brain is in its infancy in geological time.
  6. Jared Diamond juggles different meanings of the word evolution. His topic employs much life-science evidence where evolution has a strict meaning related to mutations in DNA affecting an organism’s genome-genotype-phenotype. He uses the term evolution interchangeably: formal - informal. the informal meaning is  far more casual meaning simple change for the better or change itself with no connection to actual modifications to nucleotides. This may seem trivial but when Diamond’s thesis revolves around his assertion that all humans the world over have no discernable  genetic differences that might be the source for vast differences in language acquisition, tool use, plant / animal domestication, social complexity, war-making capability, it becomes important to point out Diamond’s essential fuzziness in his definition of evolution. He likes it fuzzy. This fuzz is essential to Diamond’s thesis. Twenty years of epigenetic science blows away fuzz. There may be thousands or millions  of heritable pathways to cultural complexity and these may or may not involve DNA ( rather than RNA, histones, proteins etc).
  7. True evolution versus accrued human culture. There was a single evolutionary event - the big brain mutation, all else is not evolution but the much simpler “change” Many things change without evolving.  The stuff of culture changes it does not evolve. Aircraft changed from biplanes to supersonic jets they didn’t evolve. If Guns, Germs, And Steel is based upon biology-living things such as people and their culture then Diamond’s thesis: “The ubiquitous role of geography in the transmission of human culture” evaporates. Epigenetic change accrues immediately as well as over a few thousand years and contributes, along with geography to cultural diversity.  Diamond asserts the reason that one culture has all the cargo is strictly geographic happenstance; in light of the past 20 years of genetic research, this is not so.
  8. Diamond and many anthropologists list several societies that did not invent writing. Perhaps these societies invented writing AND paper thus any evidence has decayed into dust say: animal blood ( ink) on animal skin ( paper) both organic and gone in 100 years let alone 3,000 to 5,000 years. Maybe not all societies wrote on rocks or into wet clay. Diamond relies too heavily on anthro dogma on the subject of writing as a marker for place in time or time in place.
  9. To study: The relationship between risk-taking behavior of Western peoples induced by Toxoplasma gondii parasites as cysts in neocortex due to association with domestic cats and Western  dominance of Third world  indigenous peoples.
  10. The chicken-egg heuristic is exhausted - use yin-yang simultaneity that accelerates or slows, as in autocatalysis. Autocatalytic def: A process that speeds up over time at an increasing rate.
  11. Entropic thermodynamic theory-gradient reduction as causality for increased social complexity with war serving a cosmic compulsion toward stasis through growth of living things: plants, animals, empires.
  12. Did humans migrate from the Olduvai Gorge across what is now the South pole into Australia then on up to China when the Earth was oriented differently on its axis, when the equator was plus or minus 90 degrees from its present location? - no
  13. Jared Diamond discusses language in an historic manner using it to trace the migration of races across continents and oceans and islands. Language is treated as one now treats genetics as a means of establishing primacy in a locale. In Saussurean terms, this is diachronic linguistics. To study language laterally in terms of grammar and syntax and its neurological origin is synchronic. Noam Chomsky is a synchronic linguist.
  14.  We spend our lives trying to close the gap between what we know intuitively ( a lot !) and what we are surrounded by in the real world (our lot in life, Lalena) with its thin crust of the whole pie of life and other things. Humans who get all peaceful and dreamy believing they have closed the gap between self and cosmos have simply learned to modulate hypothalamic flow of serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
  15. Was Dred Scott a hired double-agent of Southern slave interests led by “Dough Face” president John Buchanan manipulated to create a case that would ensure the perpetuation of slavery in the U.S.?

“Authority has a nose of wax, it can be twisted in either direction.”

                                                                                       -Alain de Lille


10/27/15  1:41 pm