New Sciences and Humanities
Wennie Wu, PhD
Keywords: Sciences, Humanities, Modernization, Reductionism, Holism,
Newton, Einstein, Feynman, Prigogine, Hawking, Gödel, Obama, Clinton, Blair,
Greenspan, Krugman, Martha Graham, Xun Lu, Eileen Chang, Kenneth Pai, Ang Lee, Jin
Yong, Hwai-min Lin, Jay Chou, Incompleteness, Indeterminism, Dark Matter, Fuzzy
Logic, Existentialism, Zen, Yin-Yang, the Book of Change, the Third Way, Agile
Methodology, Financial Tsunami, Globalization, New Civilization, Limitology
Biographical Note: Wennie Wu holds a B.S. in physics from National Taiwan
University, a PhD in Biophysics from UC Berkeley. She has worked at Lawrence
Berkeley Lab, Jet Propulsion Lab/California Institute of Technology, USC, International
Innovative Institute, etc., on subnanometer imaging and image analysis of membrane
protein, optical computing, system analysis and engineering. She has led programs with
budgets of billions of dollars. She has chaired and spoken on topics about technology,
economy and culture. She has won championships in Science, Writing, Gymnastics,
The development of Newtonian physics1 at the dawn of the enlightenment
led intellectuals to believe in precise, definitive and deterministic solutions for the world.
With this reductionistic approach, their view of the world was mechanistic and it was
thought the world would be completely known and controllable.
Postmodern realism has rendered discoveries and developments in the 20th century
and our time that shake the foundations of the reductionist paradigm. Contrasting
developments in the fields of science, logic, social science and humanities will be briefed.
Quantum uncertainty, probability, indeterminism, incompleteness, etc. will be discussed.
The views of scientists such as: Newton, Einstein, Feynman, Prigogine, Hawking,
etc., as well as views of politicians, writers and artists, are discussed in this paper. For
-Prigogine, a Nobel laureate in 1977, was inspired by Chinese views of the nature.
-Bill Clinton and Tony Blair advocated “the Third way”, which echoes the
Midway (Centrism) that is a major theme by Confucius.
-The works of Lu, Xun, Eileen Chang, Kenneth Pai, Ang Lee, etc., will be briefed
to illustrate the environmental impact and transcendence from modernization to this new
era of globalization.
The potential contributions of the Chinese culture to the new globe will be dis-
cussed. In the West, some scholars, artists and leaders have looked to the East for inspi-
Given the New views of Sciences and Humanities, to progress toward a new
civilization - the betterment of the changing new Globe; ideas of reductionism, holism,
inclusiveness, agility and pragmatism will be explored. Comments will be made about
the financial tsunami.
Newtonian Physics (Precise, definitive, deterministic)
Championed by Newton’s Principia1, enlightenment scientists took a
reductionistic view in the characterization of nature. Henceforth, scientists since that age
postulated precise laws to characterize and predict the behavior of the world in every
field of study.
Apropos Newtonian dynamics posits the precise prediction of positions and
motions for stars, planets and the usual dynamics of objects we observe every day.
Newton was the first to characterize mass as an inertial quantity of an object and stated
that an object at rest tends to stay at rest, and an object in uniform motion tends to stay in
uniform motion unless acted upon by a net external force; this is Newton's first Law. He
further characterized that an applied force, , on an object equals the rate of change of
its momentum, , with time; Newton's second law. Ultimately Newton established the
concept of a closed system wherein the sum of all forces is zero, essentially for every
action there is an equal and opposite reaction; Newton's third law. Henceforth precise
initial conditions combined with Newton’s laws of motion postulate the precise
Sir Newton, Isaac, Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, 1687
prediction of the system dynamics, everything is determined. Nature is resigned to be an
automaton, completely within human control, at least by assumption.
Quantum Mechanics (Uncertain, probabilistic)
The 20th century witnessed revolutionary changes in theoretical physics. Quantum
mechanics challenged the reductionist philosophy of physics in an unavoidable way. Es-
sentially quantum mechanics uses waves to characterize the dynamics of a system. When
the quantum waves of a system are forced into an experimental arrangement for measure-
ment, the system exhibits a probabilistic behavior. Quantum mechanics antagonized the
philosophies of the Viennese Circle and even Albert Einstein. Quantum physics particu-
larly confounded the physics community with experimental predictions and success envi-
able by any other physical theory, including Einstein's general relativity. Quantum theory
enabled practitioners to estimate not only measurements but the inaccuracy, uncertainty,
of measurements with the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principal. The tenet that experience is
knowledge however made the disdain of quantum mechanics by the Viennese circle an
Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle2
In 1927, Heisenberg (Nobel Prize, 1932) found that a certain formula yielded a
discrepancy of h/4π between the measured position of a particle, and its measured mo-
mentum. The uncertainty principle is now known to be a basic phenomenon of informa-
tion theory and general wave mechanics. The smaller the error in the measured position
of a particle, the greater the error in its measured momentum, with h/4π being the lower
limit of the uncertainty involved. This conclusion came to be called Heisenberg's Uncer-
tainty Principle. The more precisely the position is determined, the less precisely the mo-
mentum is known in this instant, and vice versa.
• is the Planck's constant divided by 2π.
Heisenberg, Werner, "Über den anschaulichen Inhalt der quantentheoretischen Kinematik und Mechanik",
Zeitschrift für Physik, 43 1927, p. 172-198. English translation: J. A. Wheeler and H. Zurek, Quantum
Theory and Measurement Princeton Univ. Press, 1983, p. 62-84.
The uncertainty principle is endemic to wave mechanics. The founding con-
cept of quantum mechanics is the characterization of dynamical system with waves.
The uncertainty principle is the result of restricting the deterministic dynamical waves
of a system to specific observational states. Repeatedly scientists and sociologists
must observe that the result of restricting a dynamical system into a more limited con-
text results in random and unpredictable behaviors.
The Schrödinger equation3
The Schrödinger (Nobel Prize, 1933) equation takes several different forms, de-
pending on the physical situation. This section presents the equation for the simple case
encountered in many textbooks, i.e., a single particle in three dimensions:
For a single particle in three dimensions:
• is the particle's position in three-dimensional
• is the wavefunction, which is the amplitude and
phase for the particle to have at given position r and given time
• m is the mass of the particle.
• is the potential energy of the particle at given po-
The Schrödinger equation extends the dynamical equations of classical dynamics.
Essentially deterministic trajectories of classical particles are generalized to be embodied
by waves. Although the particle waves may be precisely determined by the Schrödinger
equation one cannot know the precise position and momentum of a particle at a given in-
stant, all that can be known about the position and motion of a particle at some future mo-
ment is a probability distribution characterized by the uncertainty principle. Quantum
Schrödinger, Erwin, "An Undulatory Theory of the Mechanics of Atoms and Molecules". Phys. Rev. 28
(6), December 1926, p. 1049–1070
mechanical behavior is so confounding that the postmodern realists such as Richard
Feynman accepted the experimental results and predictions of quantum mechanics but
relegated the fundamental understanding of the precise goings on of point particle entities
in quantum mechanics to fools or his own comical stories of drunken sailors frequenting
bars on main street. Feynman's predecessor Albert Einstein was however victimized to
understand the elusive quantum denizens. Einstein (Nobel Prize, 1921) commented on
“Quantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me that it
is not yet the real thing. The theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer
to the secret of the 'old one'. I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw
“Whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you
use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed.”5
Niel Bohr (Nobel Prize, 1922) replied to Einstein: Stop telling God what to
do with his dice (Fifth Solvay Congress, 1927).
These two statements are often paraphrased as, Einstein to Bohr: "God does not
play dice with the universe." Bohr to Einstein: "Stop telling God how to behave!"
Outside of controversy the quantum mechanics and quantum theory have estab-
lished the most successful scientific results in the history. Armed with uncertainty princi-
ples, physicists have used particle accelerators to observe hundreds of previously un-
known subatomic particles and even predict other species of particles before observation
The End of Certainty (Indeterminism)
In his 1997 book6, The End of Certainty, Prigogine (Nobel Prize, 1977) contends
that determinism is no longer a viable scientific belief. "The more we know about our
universe, the more difficult it becomes to believe in determinism."
Excerpt from Chapter 1
Einstein, Albert, The Born-Einstein Letters, 4 December 1926 (translated by Irene Born) (Walker and
Company, New York, 1971) ISBN 0-8027-0326-7.
Einstein, Albert, during Heisenberg's 1926 lecture at Berlin; related by Heisenberg, quoted in Unification
of Fundamental Forces, 1990, by Abdus Salam, ISBN 0521371406
Prigogine, Ilya, End of Certainty, 1997. The Free Press. ISBN 0684837056.
The concept of a passive nature subject to deterministic and time-reversible laws
is quite specific to the Western world. In China and Japan, nature means "what is by it-
self." In his excellent book Science and Society in East and West, Joseph Needham tells
us of the irony with which Chinese men of letters greeted the Jesuits' announcement of
the triumphs of modern science. For them, the idea that nature is governed by simple,
knowable laws seemed to be a perfect example of anthropocentric foolishness. According
to Chinese tradition, nature is spontaneous harmony; speaking about "laws of nature"
would thus subject nature to some external authority.
His work is seen by many as a bridge between natural sciences and social sci-
Dark matter and dark energy are recent discoveries (mostly un-
According to present observations of structures larger than galaxies, as well as
Big Bang cosmology, dark matter and dark energy account for the vast majority (about
96%) of the mass in the observable universe. Yet scientists know very little about the
physics of dark matter and dark energy, so far.
Gödel's incompleteness theorems7 proved by Kurt Gödel in 1931, are either
revered or dreaded in the mathematics and computer science community. Gödel's two in-
completeness theorems state inherent limitations of formal arithmetic systems. Computer
languages are also limited by Gödel's theorems as essentially formal systems. Interest-
ingly the conceptual framework, a recursive diagonal theorem, to prove Gödel's theorems
is the same as either Cantor's proof of the uncountability of real numbers or Russell’s
contradiction of universal sets8. Ironically Gödel brought down the edifice by exploiting
an essential proof technique necessary to codify the pillars of mathematical logic. The ed-
ifice unmistakably refers to David Hilbert's “Program”, an ultimate pursuit to identify a
complete set of axioms that would eliminate theoretical ambiguities. Gödel’s success es-
Gödel, Kurt, Über formal unentscheidbare Sätze der Principia Mathematica und verwandter Systeme, I.
Monatshefte für Mathematik und Physik 38, 1931, p. 173-98.
Lawvere, FW, Schanuel, SH, Conceptual Mathematics: A first Introduction to Categories, Session 29,
1997, p. 302-308.
sentially rendered the futility of the “Program” which was a response to Hilbert's stated
second problem for the 20th century at The International Congress of Mathematics in
Gödel's first incompleteness theorem states that:
Any effectively generated theory capable of expressing elementary
arithmetic cannot be both consistent and complete. In particular, for any
consistent, effectively generated formal theory that proves certain basic
arithmetic truths, there is an arithmetical statement that is true, but not provable
in the theory.
Relation to the liar paradox
The liar paradox is the sentence "This sentence is false." An analysis of the liar
sentence shows that it cannot be true (for then, as it asserts, it is false), nor can it be false
(for then, it is true). A Gödel sentence G for a theory T makes a similar assertion to the
liar sentence, but with truth replaced by provability: G says "G is not provable in the the-
ory T." The analysis of the truth and provability of G is a formalized version of the analy-
sis of the truth of the liar sentence.
Gödel's second incompleteness theorem can be stated as follows:
For any formal recursively enumerable (i.e., effectively generated) theory
T including basic arithmetical truths and also certain truths about formal
provability, T includes a statement of its own consistency if and only if T is
Einstein and Gödel
Economist Oskar Morgenstern recounted that toward the end of his life Einstein
confided that his "own work no longer meant much, that he came to the Institute
merely…to have the privilege of walking home with Gödel"9.
In the absence of his wife, Gödel refused to eat, eventually starving himself to
death. He was 65 pounds when he died. His death certificate reported that he died of
Goldstein, Rebecca, Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel. W. W. Norton. 2005, p. 33.
"malnutrition and inanition caused by personality disturbance" in Princeton Hospital on
January 14, 1978.10
Refutation: Theories of Everything
Stephen Hawking and others, argue that Gödel's theorem implies that even the
most sophisticated formulation of physics will be incomplete, and that therefore there can
never be an ultimate theory that can be formulated as a finite number of principles,
known for certain as "final".11
Led by Newton’s Laws of Motion, physicists took a deterministic view and
believed science provided a precise and complete predictions and solutions for the world.
Some social scientists also believed social sciences should be and could be dealt with in a
so-called scientific way to generate precise and complete predictions and solutions for the
society. Initially much of the thought that emerged in social sciences of the enlightenment
was critical of society. Thomas Malthus12 prognosticated that growth in population
would always outstrip resources to emerge as dystopian society. The Malthusian
catastrophe would influence the theory of Darwin's theory of natural selection and Karl
Marx's doctrine of eventual proletariat overthrow of private resource ownership. To fully
begin the understanding of society the study of the economics of goods and services,
value theory, was undertaken by Adam Smith with the Law of supply and demand. The
extreme treatment of value theory by reductionist thinking was refined by William
Jevons13, a logician and economist. Jevons’ marginal utility theory treated the valuation
of goods and services as a constraint problem but did not take into account human
behavior or the propagation of price information, id est all buyers and sellers are
unrealistically aware of all prices at all times. The introduction of game theory and Nash
equilibrium14 in the 20th century eventually considered a limited human decision in the
Toates, Frederick; Olga Coschug Toates, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Practical Tried-and-Tested
Strategies to Overcome OCD. Class Publishing. 2002, p. 221. ISBN 978-1859590690.
Hawking, Stephen. "Gödel and the end of physics", A&M University, Texas. 2003
Malthus, Thomas R, “An essay on the principle of population “, 1798
Jevons, William, The Theory of Political Economy, 1862
Nash, John, "Non-Cooperative Games" The Annals of Mathematics 1951, 54(2):286-295
As indeterminism and incompleteness have evolved for science, determinism for
social science would not hold.
For the 20th century, there had been severe struggle between the left and the right.
Late 80’s, Berlin wall collapsed, the extreme left was discouraged.
Today, the financial tsunami hit the globe. The extreme right is discouraged.
Alan Greenspan conceded: “Shocked disbelief”15.
The Third Way
Bill Clinton and Tony Blair advocated “the Third way”, which echoes the Mid-
way (Centrism) that is a major theme by Confucius. 中庸之道. Obama is said to be
practicing the Third way also.
The Third Way is a term that has been used to describe a variety of political
philosophies of governance that embrace a mix of market and interventionist philoso-
phies. Third Way approaches are commonly viewed as representing a centrist compro-
mise between capitalism and socialism, or between market liberalism and democratic so-
cialism. However, proponents of third way philosophies often claim that the third way
represents a synthesis of these competing viewpoints, distinct from and superior to both
of its sources, rather than simply a compromise or mixture.16 極高明而道中庸
Engineering Application of the third way (Fuzzy Logic17)
Interestingly, the Third Way has actually been applied to engineering in form of
Fuzzy Logic18. In Western philosophy, a logic statement can only be true or false and
there is nothing in between. On the other hand, Eastern philosophy recognizes values be-
tween true and false. As example, if someone is asked whether a father should punish his
child, a Westerner would answer either yes or no. In contrast, Confucius’ answer was 小
杖則受, 大杖則走. That is, if the punishment is reasonable, then it is acceptable.
Greenspan, Alan, remarks prepared for delivery to the House of Representatives Committee on
Oversight and Government Reform, Oct. 2008
Dale, Reginald, Thinking Ahead/Commentary: What a 'Third Way' Is Really About, The International
Herland. 4 April, 2000.
Zadeh, L.A., "Fuzzy algorithms". Information and Control 12 (2): p. 94–102, ISSN 0019-9958,
Chen, G, Pham, TT, Introduction to Fuzzy Sets, Fuzzy Logic, and Fuzzy Control Systems, CRC,
However, it will not be acceptable if the punishment is too harsh. Therefore, the answer
is not a simple yes or no.
In mathematical terms, a logic statement X can only take on either the value 0 or
1 in Western logic. The operators on logic statements are called Boolean operators. The
basic Boolean operators are NOT, AND, and OR. All Boolean operators can also pro-
duce only 1’s and 0’s.
On the contrary, in fuzzy logic, X takes on any value between 0 and 1. That is,
Truth (X) = [0, 1]
As oppose to the Boolean operators, the fuzzy operators can produce values be-
tween 1’s and 0’s. These operators are:
NOT X = (1 - truth(X))
X AND Y = minimum(truth(X), truth(Y))
X OR Y = maximum(truth(X), truth(Y))
These logic operators form a fuzzy logic system that has many engineering
applications. For example, in the Western world, most systems such as air conditioning
are controlled by Boolean logic. Therefore, the air conditioner can only be turned “on”
or “off”. It has to rely on the duty cycle of the on/off sequence to produce the desired
temperature. This results in very inefficient use of energy. On the other hand, an air
conditioner with fuzzy logic controller can be turned “off”, “slight on”, “normal on”, and
“highly on”. It has been demonstrated in Japan that such systems are more efficient and
smoother than the Boolean style controllers. Fuzzy logic controllers are widely used in
Japan but seldom used in the Western world. This is an example of difference in Western
and Eastern philosophy manifested in engineering.
Literature and Art19
The works of Lu, Xun, Eileen Chang, Kenneth Pai, Ang Lee, etc., will be briefed
to illustrate the environmental impact and transcendence from modernization to this new
era of globalization.
Lu, Xun 魯迅-橫眉冷對千夫指, 俯首甘為孺子牛
Wu, Wennie, 新科學與人文 --從魯迅, 張愛玲, 白先勇, 李安 談起-- 09/21/2007,
Deeply concerned about China being weak and poor, he produced harsh criticism
of social problems in China, particularly in his analysis of the "Chinese national charac-
Eileen Chang 張愛玲-娥眉冷指千夫
Her works frequently deal with the tensions between men and women. Chang's
work described life in 1940s Shanghai and occupied Hong Kong.
Kenneth Pai 白先勇-慈眉慧目, 悲天憫人
He combined the western techniques of modern novelty and the eastern philoso-
phies of Buddhism and Confucianism, to create supreme artistic works.
Ang Lee 李安-低眉推手, 旋乾轉坤
He is good at “speaking English in Chinese, and vice versa”. He gently criticized
and manifested multi-cultural values.
Lin, Hwai-min 林懷民, Chou, Jay 周杰倫, they all are good at integrat-
ing the traditional and the modern, the East and the West.
Contributions of Chinese Culture:
Below is my attempt to make a list of contributions of Chinese Culture:
A. Organic viewpoint of the universe, versus mechanic viewpoint from the west.
Prof. Prigogine, (Nobel Prize, 1977), thought highly of Chinese culture and denoted
Chinese viewpoint of the nature in the first chapter of his book6.
B. Holistic medicine
C. Philosophies (Confucianism, Taoism, etc)
D. Esthetically, such as Garden and Dances (S shapes, or, stream-lines, as shown
in the pattern of Yin-Yang, prevail in China; versus straight lines, as defined in Euclidean
geometry in the west)
E. Zen that dealt with logical thought and its limits thousand years ago
F. Martial art, Tai-chi, etc.
G. Iconic language (Feynman, a physicist and an artist, found it interesting; it’s
like an ancient Unified Modeling Language20, a pictorial language for system design)
H. Unique painting, poetry, literature, music, craftsmanship, etc.
Object Management Group, UML Version 2.2 Specification, ISO/IEC 19501, 2009
I. Harmony versus conquest/conflict (This applies vastly: human to human,
human to nature, body to soul, elite to commoner, intellectual to illiteracy, etc.).
J. Experiences in integrating the west and the east. Experiences of modernization
by a country outside of west Europe and America. Modernization exerts great stress to a
system that communism developed right where modernization started: the west Europe.
Needless to say the stresses on other cultures have been tremendous. Look at Japan,
Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, etc. Modern history showed their way of
successful adaptation included solid traditions where modernizations leap from.
Traditions provide cohesiveness, identity, security, trust, stability, order and values.
Traditions are the fundamental and supreme calling of a society. Popularity of classical
novels of Jin Yong 金庸 has accompanied the process of modernization of Chinese
K. Liberated and explosive productivity and creativity in all fields
L. A perpetual pursuit of peaceful, progressive and prosperous world 禮 運大 同
M. The Book of Changes21易經 A shifting flow of probabilities for futures lies at
the heart of theories associated with the I Ching, the Book of Changes. Probabilities take
the center of the stage away from things and people. A kind of "divine" volition sets the
fundamental rules for the working out of probabilities in the universe, and human
volitions are always a factor in the ways that humans can deal with the real world
situations one encounters. If one's situation in life is surfing on a tsunami, one still has
some range of choices even in that situation. One person might give up, and another
person might choose to struggle and perhaps to survive. The I Ching mentality is much
closer to the mentality of quantum physics than to that of Newtonian physics, and also
finds parallelism in voluntarist or Existentialist ideas of taking one's life as one's project.
How to Progress Toward a New Civilization
Feynman (Nobel Prize, 1965):
I don't know anything, but I do know that everything is interesting if you go
into it deeply enough.22
Wilhelm, Richard. I Ching Introduction. English translation by Cary F. Baines; HTML edition by Dan
Baruth. Retrieved in: March, 2009.
Feynman, Richard, From Omni interview, 1979, The Smartest Man in the World (chapter 9)
Apparent absurdities of Quantum behavior23
Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possibly avoid it, "But how can it be
like that?" because you will get "down the drain," into a blind alley from which nobody
has yet escaped. Nobody knows how it can be like that.
I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics. What I can-
not create, I do not understand. God is always associated with those things that you do
not understand. Therefore I don't think that the laws can be considered to be like God be-
cause they have been figured out.
I can live with doubt, and uncertainty, and not knowing.24
I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which
might be wrong. I have approximate answers, and possible beliefs, and different degrees
of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything, and in many
things I don’t know anything about, 知之為知之, 不知為不知, 是知也
We absolutely must leave room for doubt25
Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts. We absolutely must leave room
for doubt or there is no progress and no learning. There is no learning without having to
pose a question. And a question requires doubt. People search for certainty. But there is
no certainty. People are terrified—how can you live and not know? It is not odd at all.
You only think you know, as a matter of fact. And most of your actions are based on in-
Admission of uncertainty… there is a hope...
Nobody knew how to govern….
Doubt and discussion are essential to progress…
Uncertainty is of great value, one that extends beyond the sciences26
" I want to maintain ... that it is in the admission of ignorance and the admission
of uncertainty that there is a hope for the continuous motion of human beings in some di-
Feynman, Richard, On the apparent absurdities of Quantum behavior, in The Character of Physical Law,
Lecture 6: Probability and Uncertainty — the Quantum Mechanical view of Nature, 1965.
Feynman, Richard. The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, filmed 1981, edited by Jeffery Robbins ISBN
Feynman, Richard, from lecture "What is and What Should be the Role of Scientific Culture in Modern
Society", given at the Galileo Symposium in Italy, 1964.
Feynman, Richard, The meaning of it all. University of Washington, 1963
rection that doesn't get confined, permanently blocked, as it has so many times before in
various periods in the history of man"
The government of the United States was developed under the idea that nobody
knew how to make a government, or how to govern. The result is to invent a system to
govern when you don't know how. And the way to arrange it is to permit a system, like
we have, wherein new ideas can be developed and tried out and thrown away. The writers
of the Constitution knew of the value of doubt. ... The fact that you are not sure means
that it is possible that there is another way some day. That openness of possibility is an
opportunity. Doubt and discussion are essential to progress. The United States govern-
ment, in that respect, is new, it's modern, and it is scientific"
"All scientific knowledge is uncertain. This experience with doubt and uncertainty
is important. I believe that it is of very great value, and one that extends beyond the sci-
ences. I believe that to solve any problem that has never been solved before, you have to
leave the door to the unknown ajar. You have to permit the possibility that you do not
have it exactly right. Otherwise, if you have made up your mind already, you might not
Overall, Feynman believed in our potential to continually challenge and stretch
the limits of being human; he believed in embracing the humble limits of being human, as
means to unleash our amazing potentials, paradoxically and wonderfully!
Einstein vs. Feynman
Physicists like Einstein had to struggle to reconcile their ordinary intuitions with
the evidence of their equations. Dr. Feynman happily gave up the struggle. He and the
physicists of his generation made peace with a way of describing nature that only ex-
plained how, not why.
Embrace the humble limits of being human; Be faithful, open, in-
clusive, agile; be aware of boundary conditions and limits.
To hold on to one model (doctrine) exclusively and superstitiously leads to prob-
lems, sometimes big ones, like the extreme left and/or right. 盡信書 不如無書
Max Born (Nobel Prize, 1954):
The belief that there is only one truth and that oneself is in possession of it, seems
to me the deepest root of all that is evil in the world. 27
There are metaphysical problems, which cannot be disposed of by declaring them
meaningless. For, as I have repeatedly said, they are "beyond physics" indeed and de-
mand an act of faith. We have to accept this fact to be honest.28
Holism and Reductionism
The general principle of holism was concisely summarized by Aristotle in the
Metaphysics: "The whole is more than the sum of its parts".
Reductionism is sometimes seen as the opposite of holism. Reductionism in sci-
ence says that a complex system can be explained by reduction to its fundamental parts.
For example, the processes of biology are reducible to chemistry and the laws of chem-
istry are explained by physics.
On the other hand, holism and reductionism can also be regarded as complemen-
tary viewpoints, in which case they both would be needed to get a proper account of a
Eastern civilizations being progressive
In the west, some scholars, artists, leaders have had ideas pertinent to eastern civi-
lizations. Below is a partial list of those occasions:
• Prigogine (Nobel laureate, 1977) was inspired by Chinese views of the
• Zen dealt with the limits of logic as Gödel's incomplete theory
• Clinton and Blair advocated the third way (Centrism)
• Existentialism respects Han-Shan 寒山 Se-Te 拾得
• Martha Graham (Lin, Hwai Min's 林懷民 mentor) created her mod-
ern dance based on the body language of the eastern dancers.
Agile methodology (for realistic situations):
The agile methodology29 is one approach that has been developed for the engi-
neering of software systems and general industrial or human processes. Overall a consis-
Born, Max, Natural Philosophy of Cause and Chance, 1964, p. 230
Born, Max, Natural Philosophy of Cause and Chance, 1964, p. 209
Ruby, S, Thomas, D, Hansson, D, Agile Web Development with Rails, Pragmatic Bookshelf, 2009
tent and complete design that satisfies holistic and reduced requirements is an elusive
To implement a timely and effective solution requirements should be established
from a high level to a low level with incremental development roll outs and tests to assure
the timely completion and satisfaction of requirement goals. A development process des-
ignated as “Agile” is outlined. The agile methodology is ideally suited to mature develop-
ment teams exposed to industries with dynamic requirement environments. Agile
methodology will empower system engineers with a robust and versatile suite of software
to face the challenges of an expanding requirements and application environment. Ele-
ments of use case design and IBM's Rational Unify Process also influence the methodolo-
gy to provide a base of formalism and consistency. Other than basic textual outlines the
unified modeling language20 (UML) is used to provide a standard for visual communica-
tion throughout the requirements, use case, design, deployment and implementation pro-
cesses. UML is a pictorial language intended for intuitive understanding of system de-
signs by both engineers and uninitiated stakeholders of the process. UML is furthermore
specified from a meta-language, id est a language to specify a language. This enables
UML to avoid Gödel's completeness and consistency limitations within the context of ap-
plication. Computer software to support the Agile design methodology also greatly am-
plifies the success of the methodology.
To satisfy holistic requirements a top level process or system design must be de-
veloped with reduced component elements to model lower level processes in the system.
Each component requires not only a design but the establishment of bounds for the opera-
tion of the system. As noted in the success of quantum theory, error bounds with the
Heisenberg Uncertainty Principal are important to successful operations, likewise the ag-
ile methodology requires error bounds on component operation to improve the robustness
of system design.
To fully implement the design an iterated rollout of the system is required to test
individual components in a reductionist frame and the integrated operation of a system of
components in a holistic frame. By implementing an iterated rollout the system can satis-
fy some requirements in a prototype and test real world operations in an incremental pro-
cess. Eventually a core system design is rolled out to satisfy a majority of requirements
with the complement satisfied by further iterations. This same procedure can be used to
implement system upgrades and maintenance. The same process can be used to imple-
ment any type of interactive human process which may or may not involve technology.
Iterated Software Life Cycle
Iterated Weekly Functional Roll out
Proto Core F1 Fn
Analysis Design Test
Upgrade or Implementation Deployment
Comments on Financial Tsunami
Max Born (Nobel Prize, 1954): The belief that there is only one truth and that
oneself is in possession of it, seems to me the deepest root of all that is evil in the
In this case, the doctrine is extreme capitalism and free market. Alan
Greenspan even conceded: “Shocked disbelief”15. (Just as extreme Communism was
once the chosen doctrine and failed). History taught us twice that holding on to one mod-
el (doctrine) exclusively and superstitiously leads to problems, sometimes big ones, like
the extreme left and/or right. 盡信書 不如無書
Obama’s plans (the Third Way and Agility)
Obama’s plans appear to be inclusive (the Third Way16) and agile29:
Overall the Obama administration is maintaining a calculated and methodical
approach to the Financial Tsunami. Financial resources, such as printing dollars and low-
ering Federal Reserve interest rates, are flooding the market to combat endemic deflation
from capital hording by banks and the private sector. The Obama administration is attack-
ing the financial crisis on many fronts currently by
1) restructuring and regulation of the financial industry
2) restructuring the auto industry
3) providing economic stimulus to citizens and small businesses
4) Reducing imported energy dependence by sponsoring development of
alternative energy sources and fuel efficient vehicles and homes. The
restructure of the auto industry also supports the development of
alternative fuel vehicles for the nation.
5) reforming drug distribution and the medical industry to better support
low cost heath care for the greater population
6) planning a reduced budget deficit for the coming decade by reducing
egregious ear marks in spending for special interests, i.e., farming,
medicine and defense
7) improving military and drug procurement networks
To restructure the financial industry, Timothy Geithner has developed a "Bad
Bank" concept ironically modeled after AIG by providing security for
private investors to buy "toxic" securities from troubled bank institutions.
Intentionally this will relieve troubled banks of illiquid security assets
to lend to citizens and industries in a more liberal fashion.
The 7-points Obama plan is a challenging effort. To employ the agile
methodology to this plan each point is considered a component process with the
entire plan as the system process. Requirements must be established for the
entire plan and each of the components. UML must then be employed to design
a first iteration process for plan and each component. This supports a
holistic "plan" view and "component" reductionist view. To be successful,
each component of the plan must be parameterized and associated error
bounds for each parameter. Error bound estimates are necessary to make the
plan more robust to unexpected challenges and new requirements that occur as
each iteration of the design implementation evolves. To summarize the
prototype plan is quickly deployed and tested to provide rapid feedback for
design adjustments for the next iteration rollout. Quick rollout of the
prototype and core designs is necessary to meet overarching requirements
immediately without overstressing the long range budget with costly errors.
Unfortunately the TARP program and the 2009 stimulus plan were rolled out
too quickly in one iteration, hence wasteful and inappropriate
implementations have resulted. International Innovative Institute hopes to
support improving national and global efforts in the future.
Suggestions for global nations: pragmatism
Work in concert, developed countries and developing countries, all must take a bit and
give a bit, to first stabilize pragmatically the tsunami. The problem of being “too big to
fall” is a reality in hand. For the long term planning, consider boundary conditions and
set pragmatic goals of growth.
The development of Newtonian physics1 at the dawn of the enlightenment
led intellectuals to believe in precise, definitive and deterministic solutions for the world.
The view of the world was mechanistic and it was thought the world would be
completely known and controllable.
Postmodern discoveries have shown logic is incomplete/inconsistent (Gödel7),
physics is uncertain (Heisenberg2), absurd (Feynman23), indeterministic (Prigogine6),
incomplete (Hawking11) and that much is unknown (like dark matter and dark energy).
The author had pondered on the limits of logic, science and humanity and formed
the theory of Limitology in the 60’s. In the 70’s and 80’s, the author, unfashionably, did
not believe in the extreme left, which was prevailing from Berkeley to Harvard. In the
80’s, the author discussed with Feynman about physics and limitology. After the fall of
the Berlin wall, the author, again unfashionably, has not believed in the extreme right.30
The author questioned Alan Greenspan since the 90's. Greenspan, once worshiped as the
Savior of the world, when facing the financial tsunami, recently conceded: "shocked
disbelief"15. Krugman (Nobel Prize, 2008) criticized him for a series of economic
bubbles, the worst of which is the current economic crisis31.
Since modernization, severe miseries have descended upon humanity in the 20th
and 21st centuries: world wars, cold war, environmental and social issues, terrorism, and
today, financial tsunami.
Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on Thursday, 3/26/2009, told
reporters: “This crisis was caused by the irrational behavior of white people with blue
eyes, who before the crisis appeared to know everything and now demonstrate that they
Feynman, for one, was very willing to admit ignorance26. He feels that
embracing the humble limits of being human is the process that unleashes our amazing
potentials (a wonderful paradox, indeed!).
The author maintains: Be aware of limitology, and limitology might lead to
functional and sustainable ways26. The Third way16, the agile methodology29 are
examples. Not staying aware of it and holding on to one model (doctrine) exclusively
and superstitiously might lead to problems, sometimes big ones, like the extreme left and/
Wu, Wennie, “High Tech, High Touch, New World, New Civilization”, CCNAA-LA, 1992
Krugman, Paul, The Return of the Depression Economics, W. W. Norton Inc., p. 139-152, 2009
This financial tsunami might be a blessing in disguise, as people won't change
unless they have to. This can be a good wake-up call. It calls for change. All envy the
American way of life. It is time to re-define this American way of life. It is time for
CHANGE, big change. Or, there might be even greater disasters. We shall not and can
not afford the problem of anything being ”too big to fall” again.
Intelligent economics needs to be developed. On the one hand, we must figure
out all the boundary conditions (physical resources, human resources, financial resources)
and make plans for a pragmatic goal of growth. On the other hand, be aware of
limitology30 and leave ample room for buffer and for agile test and adaptation29.
Chinese culture has a lot to offer in this new era of globalization. Some western
scholars, artists and leaders have looked to the East for inspiration, or developed ideas
pertinent to the Eastern traditions, such as views of the nature6, limits7 and fuzziness17
of logic, the Third way16, existentialism, modern dance, etc. Chinese writers and artists
have evolved to integrate the East and West, the modern and the traditional19.
Chinese culture promotes holism and long term planning. It is time for global
nations to work in concert, to stabilize pragmatically the financial tsunami, and to strive
adaptively for a long term sustainable future. It is time to face and resolve the global
issues of environment, resources, finance, conflicts, society, etc. Chinese culture has
dealt with these issues for many years32.
This paper serves as an introductory composite of many on-going projects, to
adopt an inclusive and agile approach for the betterment of the changing new globe.
More literature will follow for a detailed description of research progress.
In this new era of globalization, with the new views of sciences and humanities,
embrace the humble limits of being human: Being faithful28, open26, inclusive16, and
agile29 are keys to a better world. Modeling, given incompleteness7, indeterminism6,
boundaries and limits11, 30, is to be remodeled inclusively, pragmatically, agilely and
adaptively. 苟日新，日日新，又日新, 聖之時者也
Wu, Wennie, “the Modern Meaning of Confucianism”, Champion of the Writing Contest by The
Society of Confucian Study of America, 2008