What is nature for?

Nature means different things to different people. The meaning depends on the context of discussion and action. According to geographers Phil Macnaghten and John Urry in their book Contested Natures, nature has to be negotiated. So we are entitled to ask what nature is for — as a concept. I’ve identified at least two main discursive uses of the…More

On being unbalanced

Balance is one of the master metaphors of health, life and of nature (nicely sidestepped in Mark Zuckerberg’s recent plan to engineer a disease free future). The seminal book by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, identifies balance as a ubiquitous concept easily traced back to the human body. After all, from an early age, the…More

Architecture and Music

Musicians are familiar with the discrepancies evident in musical scale systems. The cycle of fifths and the cycle of octaves work together to produce a harmonious and well-ordered system of relationships between notes — almost. The superimposition of the two systems that is so essential for free and inventive modulation across musical scales in fact…More