The Zenith from Ontology, to Sensor Systems, to Art

In 1863, Hermann Helmholtz published “On The Sensations of Tone”, describing in the introduction a general hierarchy of the study for any sense:

  1. Physical
  2. Physiological
  3. Psychological

Investigations into the processes of each of our organs of sense, have in general three different parts. First we have to discover how the agent reaches the nerves to be excited, as the light for the eye and sound for the ear. This may be called the physical part of the corresponding physiological investigation. Secondly we have to investigate the various modes in which the nerves themselves are excited, giving rise to their various sensations, and finally the laws according to which these sensations result in mental images of determinate external objects, that is, in perceptions. Hence we have secondly a specially physiological investigation for sensations, and thirdly a specially psychological investigation of perceptions.

Ontology is about how media work in general. Ontology is not about a highest or lowest or unattainable medium, but all media, including all variations of virtual systems.

Virtual systems may be entirely formalized abstractly and repeatably. Virtualized models of each layer of the senses, the physical, physiological, and psychological, may be tested in a reproducible manner.

The missing realization is that aesthetic systems are actually founded on ontological systems, and that ontology and aesthetics are studies that are both:

  1. empirical.
  2. capable of being abstract while remaining empirical.

Previously, wise philosophers throughout the ages have thought that as soon as something became abstract, it became unfalsifiable. This is a side effect of the Western concept of duality, which has no basis in reality, but in a political manipulation of thought.

Rather than being unfalsifiable, abstractions are always falsifiable, or “omnifalsifiable” so to speak.

It may be realized that a general understanding of sense systems may be formalized

This, in effect, presented a foundation for aesthetic theory. A modern linguistics is placed on top of this foundation to provide a complete framework.


Art is about communicating through the senses. It is language of a general scope, including, but also beyond, spoken language. The same general model that applies to spoken language may be used to model any sensory system. This is where linguistics enters.

In linguistics, all things may be modeled by pairs of subjects and predicates. I posit that all aesthetic perceptions, as Helmholtz calls “mental images of determinate external objects”, may also be modeled by pairs of subjects and predicates. That is, things, and the actions upon those things. What is missing from Helmholtz’s description is that the physiological reception causing a perception must be the result of some action, and that action, in our model, is the predicate.

When the body is processing a sensation, it is trying to piece together the environment. To do this, the sensations must be modeled into descriptive statements that are able to represent aspects of the environment. The problem with sensations is that they do not represent absolute properties of things. Sensations provide the relationships to things, and order of things.

That is, a sensation provides a perspective of a thing, and from the action that induced its reception. For example, when listening to a forest, the ears are exploring the forest through the sounds induced by movement within the forest. Each sound provides a different perspective of the forest. When looking at the forest, the eyes see movement through changes in illumination by sunlight.

In the domain of hearing, there is music. In music, the instrument is the subject, and the musician expresses predicates on the instrument by acting upon it. A stringed instrument has a string subject that is plucked, picked, or bowed. The bowing of a string is a predicate of the string subject.

In the domain of sight, there is painting. In painting, the instrument is the set of the canvas, paint, and brush. The application of pigment to the canvas is a predicate of the pigment on canvas.

Much of art involves the reification of the interesting aspects of a natural environment. In composition, many things are augmented or diminished to bring the interesting aspects to the foreground. This can be observed in painting and in music. In painting, cartoons often have exaggerated features to help convey emotion quickly. In music, the methods of orchestration and harmony allow many musical phrases to make overlapping statements, like a rise and fall at the same time, perhaps indicating tension or conflict. Combine that music with a cartoon with furrowed eyebrows to create a complete operatic scene with a clear statement, perhaps a part of a larger leitmotif of the cartoon character.


Ontology is media-independent. It follows that all of ontology may be understood through any medium. That is to say that the question of the existence of the most significant things may be understood in the same way as the most trivial. Ontology is not about a higher medium, but about media in general. Rather than being inaccessible, it is the most accessible thing.

When sense systems are generally understood, then the role of media is generally understood, and then a pure ontological system is able to be evaluated through the whole aesthetic chain, providing a theoretical framework for ontological theory. It is possible to connect end-to-end the zenith of the human condition from ontology to art.

When these vertical connection are made, the horizontal path from one specialization to the next becomes much shorter, and innovation is a natural product. In practice, when media is understood, techniques may be designed directly from theory.

The Study of Becoming through Creation

Ontology is a subset of logic. As such, it is comprised of a set of tautologies, and is merely descriptive.

In any action there is the context of an object within a plane of a medium. The object and the plane are first and second degrees of position, or Being. The action and the medium are first and second degrees of movement, or Becoming.

As both position and movement are relative, so too are the degrees of position and movement. That is, the finite plane of one object can be the object of a higher plane, and a finite medium of an action can be an action in a higher medium. That is, as objects may be grouped, so too can actions be grouped. The finality is what is relative.

The first degree of position, the object, is an instance. The second degree of position, the plane, is the context of the instance. The first degree of movement, the action, is an operation. The second degree of movement, the medium, is the platform of the operation. The degrees here are degrees of finality, acting as sets where structure and composition is relative and regional, as areas.

The plane is the "where" of the position of the instance, but the medium is the "how" of the operation of the instance. As areas are hierarchical, so too are the movements within the areas. Functions are merely integrated expressions of the operations having no direct ontological significance, but they are useful for engineering purposes. It is easy to get lost in functions.

Action is the derivative of creation. Creation is the integration of action. To create 4 from 2, you must add 2. The difference between the function and the operation is the action. The mapping of f(2, 2) = 4 is a final expression.

Creation does not start as an action. It starts as a perspective (x == 2) which leads to an action (x = x + 2) which ends at another perspective (x == 4). In creation the logic is not in the structure or context, but in the action resulting in equivalence in the objects themselves. Creation is the logic of action, not identity nor position. It has nothing to do with Being, but of Becoming. This is why it is so easy to do, but so hard to grasp.

Computing is optimized creation (x += 2). But creation is a perspective. Not the data, but its meaning, from the consumption of aesthetic value. Aristotle was backward: the value is in the use, not the tool.

Creation is a change through a medium. It is a change where the medium is constant.

Training is learning that is "supervised" to create some end, as a form of optimization. The end is previously determined, and learning toward it is a form of adaptation. Although the state of the environment will likely change, the properties of the medium are unchanged. Training to an end can only merely create. It cannot innovate.

Innovation is a change in the medium itself. That is, it is a change in rules, or a "game changer". Innovation must be calculated from theory. Instead of the object being supervised and manipulated itself, the environment is supervised and manipulated. Training in this way is expensive. It needs a laboratory or systematic experimentation.

A base level of innovation happens naturally as the environment changes, and is observed in passing. This is evolution. But another level of innovation may occur as a result of force. This is revolution.