FORM: the conceptual attempt of an awareness to impose structure on chaos

All patterns or forms are attempted conceptual simplifications of the complexities of a chaotic reality. Form is not a property of any existential phenomena but exists only in so far as it is conceptualized. It is a template of pattern or structure or relationships which is abstracted from and applied to perceptual experience. It is almost irresistibly seductive to assume that form is some sort of absolute property of some aspect of the existential environment and that with training and experience and research it can be revealed. There is certainly sufficient reliability and predictability about our existence for generalized pragmatic working models to be constructed that enable awarenesses to function more or less successfully. But the formal nature of these working models operate in an environment of ever-present chaotic perturbations and, although certain broad patterns are identifiable, the aspirations of an absolute deterministic predictability are futile.

It may seem possible to come to some comfortable consensus that the sun or some birds, have particular unequivocal forms, but this is the case only for crude and broad generalizations. An erudite group of humans may perhaps be able to agree that the sun is round, but the moment we attempt to refine that idea and describe its complexity in more detail then it becomes clear that the supposed forms are hypothetical and reside in the minds of the observers. Any pulsation and resonation of oscillation modes, duration of sunspot cycles, or shape and origin of the corona, are all forms or patterns imposed upon the sun by the mind. They are not, however much we might wish to believe it, natural intrinsic cosmic forms awaiting their discovery.

Attempts to refine a form are swamped by chaotic complexification. The form of a bird can be described in general terms of wings and feathers but any attempts at further precise elaboration with increasing detail is eventually overcome by the chaos of minutiae. The general understanding of a broad structure... such as a wing... needs to make allowance for significant variation even at that fundamental level, but attempts to change the scale and concentrate on substrucures... in order to clarify the details... simply uncover more complexity and deviations characteristic of the level of consideration. Entities thus possess a kind of chaotic form, describable in terms of general parameters, but lacking in any capacity to be absolutely mathematically described.

Form is relative to absence of form or to other forms. Thus 'curved' and 'straight' cannot be absolute concepts entirely independent of one another. One contemplates 'curved' as being essentially 'not straight' and vice versa. If space-time is supposed to be curved for example then something must also be straight somewhere. One appreciates what is 'massive', only relative to what is not. In fact, if it is desired that 'colour' be considered a form, then even 'redness' cannot be an absolute perceived abstraction but must be related to all that is deemed to be not-red.

All processes of imposing a formal structure on aspects of reality could be called modelling. A plant growing away from the earth and towards the light is behaving thus because of its ability to react to the form and pattern of electromagnetic radiation. A kitten playing with its tail, or a child learning to pick up an object, depend for success upon the ability to appreciate the form of three dimensional space and how to interact with it. In the process of training their vocal chords, singers listen to the shape and form of their output and build up feedback aural models in order to facillitate reliable performance. Scientists, artists and politicians all abstract form and pattern from their environment and construct a model that guides their behaviour. And of course, since musical compositions, plays and novels become entities only in so far as they are integrated in the memory capacities of an awareness, it is even more obvious that whatever forms are abstracted, the mind is constructing a model with them.