In science and history, consilience refers to the principle that evidence from independent, unrelated sources can “converge” to strong conclusions. That is, when multiple sources of evidence are in agreement, the conclusion can be very strong even when none of the individual sources of evidence are very strong on their own. Most established scientific knowledge is supported by a convergence of evidence: if not, the evidence is comparatively weak, and there will not likely be a strong scientific consensus.
A couple of years ago, I read a book called Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge by Edward O. Wilson (available for download in PDF form). From the back cover blurb: “…Biologist Edward O. Wilson believes that all knowledge is intrinsically unified, and that behind disciplines as diverse as physics and biology, anthropology and the arts, lies a small number of natural laws, whose interlocking he calls consilience.”
I like the idea of the “unity of all knowledge.” It mirrors what I’ve tried to do in this painting, which is to take a wide variety of disparate elements and unify them into a whole greater than the sum of its parts.
As often happens with very large objects, the overall effect can be difficult to imagine from viewing a small image. So here are some detail shots.