Dialogue between Basarab Nicolescu (France) & Lucia Daramus (Romania)
Transdisciplinarity, a New Vision of the World
L.D.: Dear Professor Basarab Nicolescu, for those who have not read about it, what is transdisciplinarity?
B.N.: Transdisciplinarity is a term introduced by Jean Piagent, a very renowned Swiss philosopher and psychologist, in 1970. Personally I have developed this idea, treating new dimensions. The term transdisciplinarity comes from three researchers, Jean Piaget, Edgar Morin, Erich Jantsch. Three decades ago, the term expressed the overcoming of discipline boundaries. I have worked on this theory for over 20 years. Now this theory works.
The idea is about connections, about connection between facts, people, cultures, religions, disciplines. It is about what unites, what crosses areas of knowledge and about what is beyond areas of knowledge. In other words, transdisciplinarity is the understanding of the human being as a whole. Today we are in the middle of the era of intelligence. Therefore transdisciplinarity reveals the poetic dimensions of life, crossing disciplines. Transdisciplinarity is not multidisciplinarity or interdisciplinarity.
L.D.: If it were to relate to society, would it be applicable?
B.N.: Transdisciplinarity has an universal character and does not refer just to French society, German society, etc. There is an application. The first application is in the education domain. It seeks the inner stability of the human being, a status of a flexible nucleus inside man who is able to understand the mutation, to cope with change within society. In the same field, transdisciplinarity’s goal is to put into operation a wider intelligence who reflects the triad: analytical intelligence, emotional intelligence, intelligence of body.
L.D.: We are witnessing a galloping expansion of Western culture worldwide. Does transdisciplinarity propose a dialogue which can strengthen the civilizations? In this regard, what is the difference between transdisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity and multidisciplinarity?
B.N.: You have reached an important aspect. An interesting domain is the dialogue between cultures, the dialogue between religions. Transdisciplinarity offers something new, not an ideology, not a philosophy, but a methodology of dialogue. In other words, it offers structure to dialogue, based on natural systems, considering what we have learned from quantum revolution. Transdisciplinarity draws ideas for dialogue, and, as we call in terminological language of transdisciplinarity, a dialogue is impossible without »a third ». If we talk about differences and hues watch the prefix »trans » from transdisciplinarity. This relates to what is in between disciplines as well as to what is inside disciplines.
L.D.: Your affirmation is about »a third ». This assertion makes me to think at internal semantic levels of language, as was thought by Eugenio Coseriu. What is »a third »?
B.N.: »A third » is what is in between, »a third » mediates the dialogue between people, nations, and cultures. I would say that the total expression for »a third » is love, because all of existence starts from love and it returns in love.
L.D.: M. Camus has discussed in a dialogue with Petre Raileanu about the first Congress of Transdisciplinarity, and about dialogues with you. How is the dynamic of dialogue between a physicist and a poet or a philosopher?
B.N.: My talks with M. Camus assumed the clarification of relations between language and transdisciplinarity, between poetry and quantum physics, between poetry and science. We have debated ideas about levels of reality, ideas about perception, the language being raw material for poet and scientist.
L.D.: If we seek in poetical language the side of sacred, apropos your theory, we could talk about »transpoetry »?
B.N.: The concept of transpoetry was developed by M. Camus in a book. It means that you have a sensational intuition because you felt that it would exist a concept who is potentially present. The concept was introduced by M. Camus in the following idea: beautiful words do not make poetry, the meaning of words do not make poetry. There is a mysterious combination in this act of writing, which is trying to translate the inexplicable via explicable. It is a perennial paradox for poet and for scientist. The scientist elaborates theories, he makes mathematical formalizations, but he knows that what he thinks is beyond this formalization. For a moment things are progressing, but it is an unknown. No matter the name of this unknown, which is the engine of this writing, of these words. Therefore the space between words, the silence. It is about loaded silence, which means to stop the mental associations that pollute the meaning. In this regard, transpoetry is what crosses the various forms of poetry, known historically, what is beyond these forms. ‘A beyond’ who arrives at the interface between poetry, science, and metaphysics. The occurrences are very interesting. Let’s consider the French poet, Renè Doumal who incarnates this concept of transpoetry. Remaining in the field of writing, in that of poetry, he tries to reach this zone of inexpressible via expressible, a zone of intersection with other fields of knowledge. Among the actual writers in France I would remind you of the name of an Arabic poet, Adonis, which is a pseudonym. At this time he incarnates this idea of transpoetry, transcultural, transreligious. In order to reach this dimension, there is a huge effort of purification via writing.
L.D.: The cathartic side of writing. Is this vision a new view of the Universe, a holistic approach of the diversity in a unity? I am going to use an artistic formulation. Suppose we talk about the immersion of the above waters into down waters. The whole quantity of water has its own unit, volume, running in accordance with universal laws of that unit. But in that quantity of water there is the particle, the drop of water with specific atoms, which has its own motion. Although the atom represents a particularity, because of its own motion, it contributes to the quantity of water. According to your theories…..
B.N.: ….according to transdisciplinarity, in agreement with your metaphor, the quantity of water can not exist without fish, neither fish without the quantity of water. In other words, the holism is a word I avoid in my works, because it stresses just the unit.
In the field of knowledge, transdisciplinarity works with the whole and the segments at the same time. At the same time unit through diversity and diversity through unit. There is a lot of talking about consequences of globalization, with effect over immersion of languages, religions, cultures, about the disappearance of small cultures.
But the ocean without fish and drops of water can not exist. In other words, the diversity of the nations, according to transdisciplinarity, strengthens via globalization. This fantasma of homogenization must be avoided through these concepts of transdisciplinarity.
L.D.: The creative man, when he lives in the multitude and the complexity of the world, can not place himself either in the object part or in the subject part. He will live between existence and nonexistence. This way of being inclines to reticence. Some people wrongly perceive this kind of life. They may be unable to understand this ‘between’. The worlds are just yours, because you have created them, these worlds work in accordance with the aesthetic laws.
How can this creative man transmit the need of perception of this ‘between’?
Basarab Nicolescu, « The Transdisciplinary Nature of Peace »:
B.N.: What do you mean by this?
L.D.: It is about the creative man who lives in a poetic way. This is like the City of Plato. His world is perfect, in the smallest detail. He has the capacity to detach from himself. He can perceive himself in thousands of fragments, a kind of multiple personality. This situation, sometimes, determines the creation of worlds. From that moment nothing matters. He will be completely aware of his own self. The creative man will never be anything from what exists and he will be everything from what exists.
B.N.: I understand you perfectly. I will continue your idea. Here it intervenes the suffering of the creation and the suffering of geniality. Your comment has opened several aspects. Unfortunately it is very late. A first dimension is the existence of another being. His perception. If in this creation the poet has to make his books available to a lot of people, he will suffer for sure. If he is satisfied by his inner, his creation is just for the creative man which has similar experiences. It is just for the man which is in a process of creation. At this moment we are living in a new age, the age of technology. The technology has power.
I should consider here a different aspect, the exclusion the poets felt in the romantic period.
Basarab Nicolescu: Science et spiritualité (avec Père Pierre Dautais) :
This exclusion should not be allowed. But there is a need for education, the education of the society in order to understand the receiving receptacle of creation. The society must have the capacity to receive this type of creation – to be ‘ in between’.
L.D.: Thank you for this dialogue.
B.N.: My pleasure.
Basarab Nicolescu born March 25, 1942. He is an honorary theoretical physicist at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Laboratoire de Physique Nucléaire et de Hautes Énergies, Universite Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris. He has written a lot of books: Transdisciplinarity – Theory and Practice ; Manifesto of Transdisciplinarity ; Science, Meaning and Evolution ; « A New Vision of the World – Transdisciplinarity » ; Nous la particule et le monde, etc.
Lucia Daramus is a Romanian Jewish Writer. She has been a teacher of Latin and Greek . She worked as the culture editor on the staff of Renasterea Radio Station Cluj-Napoca as well as the culture editor for the Pro Saeculo magazine. She currently lives in Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK. She has published several poetry volumes in Romanian and English, and has translated works by Erasmus and Plautus. Her poetry penetrates deeply into the human subconscious, finding and revealing the indestructible connections between spirit, time, and Universe.