Announcing my new (e)book

Digital Dragon: The Road to Nirvana runs through the land of Tao offers a new perspective on art and science in East and West. Prior to the Renaissance, philosophers hardly make a distinction between art and science. By the 18th century “the artist knew no science and the scientist knew no art.” In East Asia we see the first signs that art and science will be reconciled. The history of art and science in East and West show us the contours of the future. Digital Dragon explains why:

  • Culture plays a far greater role in historical development than we usually assume
  • East Asia takes precedence over India in replacing the West as the most influential region in the world
  • Our modern world is constructed using the Chinese equivalent of linear perspective
  • Binary code inventor Gottfried Leibniz understood that the I Ching was the first application of the binary code
  • The dichotomy between analog and digital in Artificial Intelligence is not resolved

Quotable quotes from leading voices in Digital Dragon:

Joseph Needham, Science and Civilization in China (1956)
“But recent developments [in binary computing] have shown that the binary or dyadic arithmetic of Gottfried Leibniz is far from being a mere historical curiosity. It has been found, as Norbert Wiener points out in his important book on ‘cybernetics’ (the study of self-regulating systems whether animal or mechanical), the most suitable system for the great computing machines of the present day. It has been found convenient to build them on a binary basis, using only ‘on’ or ‘off’ positions, whether of switches in electrical circuits or of thermionic valves, and the type of algorithm followed is therefore the Boolean algebra of classes, which gives only the choice of ‘yes’ or ‘no, of being either inside a class or outside it. It is thus no coincidence that Leibniz, besides developing the binary arithmetic, was also the founder of modern mathematical logic and a pioneer in the construction of calculating machines. As we may see later, Chinese influence was responsible, at least in part, for his conception of an algebra or mathematical language, just as the system of order in the Book of Changes foreshadowed the binary arithmetic.”

Claude Bragdon, The Frozen Fountain (1937), cited by Yve-Alain Bois, Metamorphoses of Axonometry (Boekraad, 1983)
“Isometric perspective [geometric formulation of Chinese axonometry], less faithful to appearance, is more faithful to fact; it shows things more nearly as they are known to the mind: Parallel lines are really parallel; there is no far and no near, the size of everything remains constant because all things are represented as being the same distance away and the eye of the spectator everywhere at once. When we imagine a thing, or strive to visualize it in the mind or memory, we do it in this way, without the distortions of ordinary perspective. Isometric perspective is therefore more intellectual, archetypal, it more truly renders the mental image – the thing seen by the mind’s eye.”


George Rowley, Principles of Chinese Painting (1947)
“We will begin with the basic contrast of spirit and matter. In the west the gulf between them has been impassable. For us spirit belongs to the life of prayer and worship, matter is the concern of science. This has directed our art to the extremes of religious meaning and naturalistic representation. The Chinese, by not carrying the empirical method far enough, failed to develop the natural sciences; and, by not pursuing the nature of spirit to the ultimate personal God, they never evolved a real religion in our sense of that word. Instead, the Chinese created a unique conception of the realm of the spirit which was one with the spirit al matter. This meant that their painting would never become as religious, imitative, or personally expressive as our painting; and it also meant that art would become the prime vehicle for man’s most profound thoughts and feelings about the mystery of the universe. This unique conception of spirit and matter was embodied in the notion of Tao.”

Frank Lloyd Wright, The Japanese Print: An Interpretation (1967)
“No more valuable object lesson was ever afforded civilization than this instance of a people who have made of their land and the buildings upon it, of there gardens, their manners and garb, their utensils, adornments, and their very gods, a single consistence whole, a unit inspired by a living sympathy with Nature, spontaneous and inevitable. To the smallest fraction of Japanese lives what was divorced from Nature was reclaimed by Art, and so redeemed.”


Details about the availability of Digital Dragon to follow soon. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions at jankrikke [at]


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