a continuum of thought

For the past two years I’ve been working on a comic book called ‘Continuum’.

In ‘Continuum’, Albert Einstein takes a young George W. Bush on a journey through space-time and philosophy. Some of the pages were relatively straightforward, until this one – page 100. Page 100 shows many of the key figures who shaped different aspects of the modern worldview. This page has to date taken about 2 months. Each pose animates into the one following. Hefty research was required to select the characters – and when a new figure was added, this occasionally necessitated altering the poses of the figures before and after (one reason why this page took so long to complete).

Be sure to click on the image to see the full size version. Your browser may show you a magnifying glass. Again, be sure to click on the magnifying glass to zoom in to 100%.

a continuum of thought

Some close ups of the different sections of the continuum. Again, click to see the image full size, or you’re going to miss the details.

Row 1:

a continuum of thought - row 1

The figures above represent: Indus Valley; Sumeria and China (all ~3300 BC); Pythagoras (570–495 BC); Socrates (469–399 BC); Plato (423–348 BC); Aristotle (384–322 BC); Ptolemy (90–168 AD); Plotinus (204–270); Augustine (354–430); Aryabhata (476–550); Al Farabi (872-951); Al Hazen (965-1040); Al Ma’arri (973-1058); Avicenna (980-1037).

Row 2:

a continuum of thought - row 2

The figures above represent Avicenna (980-1037); Al Ghazali (1058–1111); Averroes (1126–1198); Maimonides (1135-1204); Grosseteste (1175–1253); Roger Bacon (1214–1294); Aquinas (1225–1274); Ockham (1288–1348); Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406); Copernicus (1473–1543); Francis Bacon (1561-1626); Galileo (1564–1642); Kepler (1571-1630); Descartes (1596–1650).

Row 3:

a continuum of thought - row 3

The figures above represent Descartes (1596–1650); Locke (1632–1704); Spinoza (1632–1677); Newton (1642–1727); Leibniz (1646–1716); Berkeley (1685–1753); Voltaire (1694–1778); Hume (1711–1776); Kant (1724–1804); Hegel (1770–1831); Mill (1806–1873); Darwin (1809–1882).

a continuum of thought - row 4

The figures above represent Darwin (1809–1882); Nietzsche (1844–1900); Freud (1856–1939); Husserl (1859–1938); Whitehead (1861–1947); Curie (1867–1934); Russell (1872–1970); Jung (1875–1961); Einstein (1879–1955); Korzybski (1879–1950); Eddington (1882–1944).

a continuum of thought - row 5

The figures above represent Eddington (1882–1944); Eddington (1882–1944); Bohr (1885–1962); Schrodinger (1887–1961); Wittgenstein (1889–1951); Heisenberg (1901–1976); Karl Popper (1902–1994); Von Neumann (1903–1957);
Godel (1906-1978); Franklin (1920-1958); Mandelbrot (1924-2010); Sheldrake(1942-).

I’m very happy with about 1/4 of the figures (design and pose), there are a couple that have given me nothing but trouble. But 2-3 months on this one page is more than enough, so I’m calling this one done, and moving on to page 101.

Here’s a preview sketch for page 101. The previous figures are now seen, marching up a spiral tower, a patchwork of architecture and technology from the source cultures:

continuum tower

I expect page 101 to take approximately another 2 months of solid work.

Continuum is inspired by Chapter 4 of Carroll Quigley’s book ‘Evolution of Civilisations’, in which he describes the principle of a continuum, and how it applies to history, not just the electromagnetic spectrum. The implications of ‘Continuum’ will take the reader into areas often covered by General Semantics and Semiotics…how humans create arbitrary labels for an irrational reality, then confuse those labels with reality itself.

The potential audience for ‘Continuum’ is in the low hundreds; it’s painful to know that so much work is sunk into a project that will never find an audience of any real size. We live in a world where Kony2012, Solar roads, and other patent nonsense grabs hold of peoples’ attention; material like this won’t. Nevertheless, if you like what you see on this site, this is me asking you to share it with anyone who may be interested.

I’ll post more images from ‘Continuum’ over the next few weeks.

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10 Responses to a continuum of thought

  1. Joumana says:

    I stumbled onto your project by sheer luck and I am terribly interested. Yeah, there are relatively smaller audiences for projects of real value, but they tend to be solid audiences, and you never really know what can take off. How can I be notified when the comic is available (or crowdfunded if you go that route)? I’ll follow your blog, but if you have a more direct means of notification please add me to it. Thanks!

  2. Vinayak says:

    Wow! This is brilliant! Wish you all the best! I would be most interested in this book when it comes out!

  3. Paula Galán says:

    Your work is a masterpiece, how can I get my hands on that comic book?
    If I understood correctly, the central theme here is not the evolution of human thought, but the way it has been taking form. What I interpreted from what you wrote was that we need to learn how to dialogue without pretending to categorize our arguments and conclusions. Rather, to keep and open mind due to the fact that things are a lot more complex than we would like them to be. I guess that applies to modern science on health and nutrition too – which of the historical figures you presented did research in medicine?

    • dermot says:

      Broadly, yes. To really simplify it, it’s a message to avoid binary logic – shunting every piece of incoming sense data into categories of ‘good’ and ‘bad’, and seeing complexity, chaos, nuance.

      Not that we can’t use categories (we have little choice), but to constantly be aware that they are imaginary and arbitrary – the core message is from Chapter 4 of ‘Evolution of Civilizations’ by Carroll Quigley, written in 1960.

      Oh, the walking image is up to 100 figures now.

      Avicenna is probably the top figure from health history.

      • Paula Galán says:

        100 figures??? 😮
        Please keep me updated of all the figures in medical history, I don’t know half of this people 😉
        Are you publishing your book?

        • dermot says:

          Well, I’ve been working on the book since Jan 2012 – it’s my immediate fallback when my other jobs wind down.

          I do want to get it published, hopefully I can find a publisher brave enough for something so niche.

          Well, most figures are either from hard sciences, philosophy (with a focus on phenomenology, mind/body problem, and phil of science), but there are a few from biology/med. I think I have al Razi (Rhazes) in there also.

          As the focus for this particular page is the development and dialectic between religion/science/mystical worldviews, there was a particular focus on certain characters and fields. So not too many pure mathematicians, for example. Godel, for his incompleteness theorem is in, though.

          • Paula Galán says:

            In your first answer you said “sense data.” What about conclusions derived from experiments – do those count as sense data? What would be the opposite of sense data?

            As for the book, you could publish it online as a pdf. Many philosophers and scientists are gonna be interested

        • dermot says:

          I’m replying to this post (not the lower one) because the reply button is greyed out on it for some reason. Your question: In your first answer you said “sense data.” What about conclusions derived from experiments – do those count as sense data? What would be the opposite of sense data?

          By sense data, ‘qualia’, our mental images of the external reality.

          Plato vs. Aristotle (philosophical realism vs. moderate realism).

  4. Ion says:

    Sartre or Camus ? 🙂

    • dermot says:

      They’re not really relevant to the story I’m telling, which is more on the lines of ontology (philosophical realism vs. nominalism); but if I do find an appropriate angle, I will work them in.

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