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Photograph 51 (X-ray diffraction image of DNA). 

Photograph 51 (X-ray diffraction image of DNA). 

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This paper analyses the technoscientific objective of building a synthetic cell from a Jungian perspective. After decades of fragmentation and specialisation, the synthetic cell symbolises a turn towards restored wholeness, both at the object pole (putting the fragments together again) and at the subject pole (synthetic biology as a converging fiel...

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... there are more mandalas showing up in modern science. One important example is the famous photograph 51 (Figure 2), taken by Rosalind Franklin and her collaborator Raymond Gosling in 1952 and shown by Maurice Wilkins (without Franklin's knowledge) to James Watson (in a corridor at King's College, London) as a decisive piece of evidence for the helical structure of DNA: a crucial step on the pathway that led to the unveiling of DNA (Zwart, 2015). This photograph (a helical structure, seen from above) reflects the archetypal structure of a mandala, which is no coincidence of course, for this picture marks a crucial milestone in a long and complicated project (focussed on understanding the noumenal, molecular essence of life), of which the synthetic cell would be the final completion (the Omega ...

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... Jung analysed the dreams of quantum physicist Wolfgang Pauli, a Nobel laureate who, among other things, predicted the existence of the neutrino, but who also was a prolific dreamer. According to Jung, mandalas (archetypes of wholeness) played a crucial role in Pauli's dreamlife, to compensate for the disruptive impact of quantum physics on established worldviews (Zwart 2018). ...
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Gaston Bachelard (1884–1962) occupies a unique position in the history of European thinking. As a philosopher of science, he developed a profound interest in genres of the imagination, notably poetry and novels. While emphatically acknowledging the strength, precision and reliability of scientific knowledge compared to every-day experience, he saw literary phantasies as important supplementary sources of insight. Although he significantly influenced authors such as Lacan, Althusser, Foucault and others, while some of his key concepts (“epistemological rupture,” “epistemological obstacle,” “technoscience”) are still widely used, his oeuvre tends to be overlooked. And yet, as I will argue, Bachelard’s extended series of books opens up an intriguing perspective on contemporary science. First, I will point to a remarkable duality that runs through Bachelard’s oeuvre. His philosophy of science consists of two sub-oeuvres: a psychoanalysis of technoscience, complemented by a poetics of elementary imagination. I will point out how these two branches deal with complementary themes: technoscientific artefacts and literary fictions, two realms of human experience separated by an epistemological rupture. Whereas Bachelard’s work initially entails a panegyric in praise of scientific practice, he becomes increasingly intrigued by the imaginary and its basic images (“archetypes”), such as the Mother Earth archetype.
... Mandalas demonstrate the fragmentation and reintegration of knowledge through active imagination, providing a technical-scientific vision of a research strategy, and can also serve as a guide for researchers to synthesize the various biochemical, biomolecular, and biocomputational fragments in order to help to direct the completion of a research process. At the same time, a mandala represents a type of map guiding researchers on their journey to new insights interconnecting all parts of a process [47]. Furthermore, when constructed in groups, mandalas arise from the dialectic between subject, group, and the problem being researched, in an attempt to understand, through systematic and open processes, thus permitting the development of non-linear approaches for complex situations that are studied [48]. ...
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The objective of this study was to systematize a method that describes the dynamic processes that exist in space and time related to the production chain of the ceramic industry production center in Iranduba, Amazonas, Brazil, through the use of a mandala. A map of possible conditioning factors that can be characterized as links or problems related to the production chain was constructed, and this consisted of seven variables subdivided into three levels that stratify the descriptive steps of the processes of the production chain. A mandala was constructed in order to describe historical aspects of the ceramic industry production center in Iranduba, as well as to integrate biophysical and economic variables such as soil climate, energy sources used in the ceramic kilns, economic and financial variables, and specific characteristics of the ceramic industry production center. This method allowed for delineation of productive chain influences with the goal of improving the processes spatially and temporally. The results demonstrate that the structure of this method based on a mandala allows for an integral and systematic vision of these processes. It is therefore inferred that this is a practical tool which is integrated for making adjustments and new inclusions of techniques and procedures, remodeling the conditioning variables of production chains such as the one of the ceramic industry production center in Iranduba. The mandala is a tool that adjusts itself in time and space in a flexible way due to its capacity for interactive analysis in the construction of technical and scientific knowledge and dynamic and sustainable processes.
... In the case of an impasse, as we have seen, the solution is a kind of gift (or, in this case, as critics have argued: a theft) in the form of a symbol: the double helix as the modern technoscientific version of a squared circle or circular square, a symbol of holism, of integration and the Self (Jung 1921(Jung /1971. The story of photograph 51 became the primal scene of molecular biology research, a crucial step on the pathway that led to the discovery of the helical structure of DNA (Zwart 2013;2015;2018). ...
... A mandala, Sanskrit for (sacred) circle, is a spherical-quadratic diagram, a pattern of geometric shapes contained within a circle or square (or "squared circle"), concentrically arranged and radiating from a centre. According to Jung, it is an archetypal symbol for restored unity or wholeness (1968, p. 27;1959a, p. 356;Zwart 2018). It is a harmonious, symmetric image, gradually constructed, guided by active imagination (1968, p. 96; 1959, p. 356), allegedly containing everything and revealing how everything is related (1959a, p. 357). ...
... One fascinating example is photograph 51 already discussed in the previous section: a helical structure seen from above, conveying the archetypal structure of a mandala, which is no coincidence, for it is a spectrographic rendering of the essence of life, symbolising the commencement (Anfang) of a long and complicated journey towards the molecular understanding of life. From a Jungian perspective, the emergence of mandalas in contemporary scientific discourse reflects a holistic turn in contemporary technoscience (Zwart 2018). Whereas in the past the focus was on analysis, on dismantling and breaking down living entities International Journal of Jungian Studies (2019) 1-21 into basic molecular components, time has now come to put Humpty-Dumpty together again, to develop a systemic holistic perspective, focussing on the living entity as a whole to explore how all these partial objects fit and work together. ...
... focussing on convergence (on the living cell as a systemic whole), but also by bringing multiple research fields together in the context of an overarching research program, a "Gesamtwissenschaft" (Zwart 2018). Furthermore, as Tomita (2001) and others have claimed, the final objective and major challenge of contemporary synthetic biology is the production of a functioning and self-replicating synthetic entity: a synthetic cell (also known as artificial cell or protocell). ...
... This article explores the observation that, in scientific efforts to visualise the synthetic cell endeavour, one particular metaphor seems especially striking, namely the mandala metaphor: the tendency to represent synthetic cells with the help of mandala-like images (Zwart 2018). Synthetic cell visualisations often take the form of circular-quadratic diagrams, with a nucleus and a spherical membrane, suggesting recovered wholeness, as Carl Gustav Jung (1950Jung ( /1959 argued. ...
... In this contribution, however, I want to consider one particular metaphor, namely the synthetic cell as a mandala. The mandala concept easily comes to mind whenever I see model versions of synthetic or artificial cells, inserted in academic papers or displayed on PowerPoint slides during meetings and conferences (Zwart 2018). Take for instance the following three examples of synthetic biological mandalas, more or less randomly selected from the literature. ...
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Metaphors allow us to come to terms with abstract and complex information, by comparing it to something which is structured, familiar and concrete. Although modern science is "iconoclastic", as Gaston Bachelard phrases it (i.e. bent on replacing living entities by symbolic data: e.g. biochemical and mathematical symbols and codes) , scientists are at the same time prolific producers of metaphoric images themselves. Synthetic biology is an outstanding example of a technoscientific discourse replete with metaphors, including textual metaphors such as the "Morse code" of life, the "barcode" of life and the "book" of life. This paper focuses on a different type of metaphor, however, namely on the archetypal metaphor of the mandala as a symbol of restored unity and wholeness. Notably, mandala images emerge in textual materials (papers, posters, PowerPoints, etc.) related to one of the new "frontiers" of contemporary technoscience, namely the building of a synthetic cell: a laboratory artefact that functions like a cell and is even able to replicate itself. The mandala symbol suggests that, after living systems have been successfully reduced to the elementary building blocks and barcodes of life, the time has now come to put these fragments together again. We can only claim to understand life, synthetic cell experts argue, if we are able to technically reproduce a fully functioning cell. This holistic turn towards the cell as a meaningful whole (a total work of techno-art) also requires convergence at the "subject pole": the building of a synthetic cell as a practice of the self, representing a turn towards integration, of multiple perspectives and various forms of expertise.
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Islamic design encompasses the visual arts produced in the Islamic world. In this research, we present symmetrical composite designs using Islamic geometric patterns by constructing periodic and closed graphs on the unit circle.