Beauty is Truth

Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Ode on a Grecian Urn – John Keats

I just listened to a

Click to play, right click to download
TED talk by Murray Gell-Mann

He is eloquent about how beauty works in the investigation of truth in science. Beauty is not just in the eye of the beholder, there is pattern in nature, there is symmetry and self symmetry.

Why this is such a great talk for me is that it ties in with an essay I wrote a few years ago (and it is still under construction) about practice based evidence in psychotherapy. I write about a profound knowing that happens in psychotherapy that is scientific, and not at all like the physical sciences. Nor is it part of the social research that looks scientific but is just pseudo science.

Psychotherapy & Science

especially the section on Alice that concludes:

Finding repeating patterns in what might at first glance appear to be unrelated material is very like the scientific endeavour in the physical world. Once a pattern is clearly seen then we have established a law of nature. To think of the work with Alice – which is typical of our psychotherapeutic work – as a form of research requires a shift of perspective, but it is clearly in a similar realm.

The dynamics that repeat independently of the content are understood through a visceral experience, tears and laughter. When yet another instance of the pattern is spotted it corroborates and often extends the understanding. When the dynamic is evident, though in a minor way in the psychotherapy itself it is a full experiential knowing that is shared in the psychotherapy space. Both the psychotherapist and the client can easily use such words as knowing, understanding which are the very things that scientific research aims for.

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One Response to “Beauty is Truth”

  1. Alan Lightman « Psyberspace Says:

    […] speaks about how the idea is more important in science than the presentation. But is it? Beauty & truth are more interrelated than that. Also the expression about the world is always a map, the nature of the correspondence between the […]

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