Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Owen Barfield Quote of the Day (11/6/12)

He had in mind a hint dropped by David Bohm to the effect that the invention of the Cartesian co-ordinates had marked a crucial moment in the history of mathematical physics, determining the whole of its subsequent history. Perhaps the co-ordinates were not as inevitable as we all assumed. Bohm had suggested that it was not a 'natural' idea, but that there was, on the contrary, a certain arbitrariness about it. Our ordinary direct experience both of space and of time was not Cartesian but topological-inside and outside, above and below, before and after, etc. But at a certain point in the history of science we had made an abstraction that was not forced on us by nature, by introducing the precise, but limiting, Cartesian co-ordinates . . ." — Owen Barfield (Unancestral Voice 133)

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