165 – On Vacation …

I am on vacation. If everything goes as planned, I will post again on February 1, 2017

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164 – On the Universal Plan …

It is undeniable that our Universe unfolds upon a creative Plan that allows adaptation with a degree of creativity. The more we know about ourselves and about the world in which we exist, the more obvious the creativity of Nature becomes.

Several scientific theories have discerned some of the fundamental properties that form a blueprint for the methodical, progressive Plan that governs and incites with unbounded imagination the creative unfolding of our Universe (from primordial soup to globular and spiral galaxies, from atomic compounds to organic life, from primitive instinct to self-conscious intelligence). Some of these fundamental properties are: self-organization, cohesion, self-generation, equilibrium, self-regulation, adaptation, transformation.

We are inextricably linked to the universal Plan. It is the reason why, from the moment of Becoming when cells from each our parents bond into our progenitor cell, we follow the methodical, progressive properties of a Plan that organizes us with astonishing creativity into a cohesive, self-regulating, intelligent body that inherently knows not only how to adapt creatively to environments, but also how to transform itself and, oftentimes, the world in which it exists. But this creative Plan is so routine, so familiar, that we take it completely for granted; and so, as Hegel said, precisely because it is familiar, it remains unknown.

Is it not inconceivable that we can discern fundamental properties of our unfolding Universe, but we know absolutely nothing about the reason why we create cells in our bodies that not only know how to replicate and bond together with evident intelligence and creativity, but also know how to plan our unfolding?

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163 – What kind of society have we created? …

What kind of society have we created, where investigative journalism and the disclosure of abuses of power and the horrors of war, are grounds for imprisonment and oftentimes assassination?

What kind of society have we created, where dominant political and economic ideologies exercise the most horrendous acts of cruelty and destruction, with total impunity?

What kind of society have we created, when there are incontrovertible scientific proofs that the exponential growth of human activity is dramatically altering the atmosphere in which our lives depend, and these proofs are being veiled or flatly denied to protect the profits of corporations?

What kind of society have we created, when a population is weakened by an epidemic of opioid and chemical addiction, and those who produce are held responsible while those who consume are absolved of responsibility?

What kind of society have we created, where politics is based on deception; where organized religion is based on division; where greed overrides human decency; where the value of money overrides the value of human life?

What kind of society have we created, where entire nations are ravaged by conflict and war; where innocent people are bombed out of existence and their deaths trivialized as ‘collateral damage’; where little boys and girls are taught to hate, and kill?

What kind of society have we created, where levels of inequality are so monstrous that a small few can bask in ravenous wealth, while entire communities are destroyed by conflict and extreme poverty, while millions of children starve?

What kind of society have we created, where there are such levels of violence and poverty in the wealthiest and most powerful nation in History, that when a school Principal in an underserved and violent neighborhood asks a thirteen-year-old student: “Where do you see yourself in five years? his answer is “I don’t know if I am going to be alive that long”? *

Does it not hurt – our silence, allowing the inhumanity, the hate, the poverty, the sheer desolation, the killing of innocents?

Can we not, the creators of this society, the most intelligent and ingenious creatures we know of, do better than this?

*TED talks: Principal Nadia Lopez, Sep 2016

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162 – On Transcendence …

Transcendence: to rise above or extend notably beyond ordinary limits. Merriam-Webster

Update on my quest to find the answers to what I believe are the most profound questions posed to the human mind (the questions are taken from the title of Gauguin’s painting shown below [click on picture to enlarge]).

Gauguin

Where do we come from?

 Like cells in our bodies, we emerge out of a living, creative, self-determined Being; a self-organizing, self-generating, self-transforming phenomenon whose unfolding we call Evolution. But Evolution is the progression of this phenomenon, amid trial and error, creation and destruction, towards higher levels of complexity and order … from a cloud of ice and dust to solar system, from cells to human being, from stars to galaxy … and although the progression of this phenomenon is relatively measurable, its creativity evident, its self-determination tangible, yet remains inexplicable to us, some of us call it God, but we tend to call God what we cannot understand.

And although this Being thrives in us (the flow of ancient blood in our veins; the self-organization of molecules into a life-creating double helix; our universal urge to bond, to re-generate, to survive; our boundless ingenuity in adaptation, our self-reflective contemplation of Self-reflection), what this Being is, how it might have been engendered, what its purpose might be, we cannot yet comprehend – perhaps we never will.

What are we?

 We are self-activated manifestations of the living Phenomenon we call Universe; promoters of its universal mandate to Become, to Self-organize, to Bond, to Re-generate, to Adapt, to Self-perpetuate, to Transform. Thus, ensuring our participation in the renewal and perpetuation of its onward movement.

And although our actions and reactions are mostly driven by primal instincts, and although we are limited by physical laws that regulate our internal and external environments, we are, as far as we know, the only manifestation of this phenomenon with the capacity of conscious self-reflection … the capacity to self-reflect upon our degree of freedom to transform ourselves and our world … and so, we are sources of Transformation.

Where are we going?

 Limited by our internal and external environments, yet pregnant with the possibilities of a degree of freedom to transform ourselves and our world, we forge ahead until we no longer can; at which point in our existence we begin the inexorable dissipation into the environment from which we emerged, yet, in equal measure to

what we have imagined,

what we have created,

what we have destroyed,

what we have taken,

what we have given to the world,

we may re-emerge, transcending the sanctioned limits of perception, into more complex manifestations of Existence.

Think of Einstein – challenging our understanding of Reality; think of Darwin – stimulating research on the origins of our ancestry; think of Mandela, or Gandhi – inspiring pacifist rebellion against the tyranny of unaccountable power; think of Gauguin – living in the haunting questions of his beautiful painting. The mental processes of these individuals live on in us changing the way we understand ourselves and our world. Humanity is different because of them: they transcended into what we are, as we can transcend into what might be.

Dressed with the attire of Ancestry, / we are called into the playground of Existence / at an appointed moment in time and space. / And what we do / or do not do / with our moment of Existence / is the measure of our Transcendence.

Transcendence is a measure of the significance of existence.

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161 – On Life …

Excerpt from a book I wrote and am currently editing:

… Life is chaotic, destructive, cruel, and at times seems purposeless and without meaning. But Life is also incredibly beautiful, creative, full of determination and opportunity. We are intensely interdependent and relatively pre-determined complements of Life’s evolutionary processes, and as such, we are Life itself. But Life is neither exclusive to our planet, nor something of which man is the zenith. Life is manifested in the dynamism of atoms, in the self-replication of cells, in the purpose of human beings, in the self-regulation of our planet, in the self-generated magnificence of our galaxy, in the infinite creativity of our complex Universe. Life, in all its manifestations, is the universal urge to survive, the innate need to bond, the insatiable drive to self-generate, the inherent promise of a process brimming with possibilities. Life is the spark ignited when the fundamental complements (mass and energy) find the promise of continuity in determined steps of self-reflective equilibrium. Full of tenacity and possibility, Life contains a degree of freedom to change the course of its own evolution, and under immutable laws and the pressures of environmental demands, it is this degree of freedom that encourages the infinite creativity in adaptation we witness in us and all around us; it is this degree of freedom that can give a single action the power to transcend; it is this degree of freedom that has given Life, in the manifestation of a human being, the capacity to look at itself and wonder.

And, when measured against the significance of our actions and the repercussion of our accomplishments, it is what we do with Life that ultimately determines the magnitude of our transcendence. The names of Jesus and Aristotle and Hitler and Gandhi and Einstein and Darwin, to name a few, come to mind; the repercussions of their ideas, the reach of their visions, the significance of their actions, transformed the reach of human knowledge, creativity, destructiveness, activism, understanding, into the heights that continue to reverberate among us today, challenging the course we are taking with our lives.

Isn’t it amazing that Life is manifested in us and all around us … stumbling, ingenious, urgent, insatiable, promising … yet we have no idea what it is? …

Would it not be a challenge worthy of  our advanced intelligence to strive to understand the Force that, out of two microscopic cells, creates in us a form of Life aware of its own awareness?

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160 – What Makes Us So Blind? …

What makes us so blind that we cannot see we are making the wrong decisions: supporting constant conflict, creating scapegoats to sway judgment through fear, building more and more powerful weapons of mass destruction, allowing educational systems to focus on aggressive and irresponsible consumerism. These decisions, and others alike … as is plainly obvious … are driving us into a world consumed by hate, fear, greed.

With immense creativity we have been able to discern the structure of the Atom, the double helix of the DNA molecule, the economy of the periodic table of the chemical elements, the shape of the galaxy we are embedded in. But we remain in complete ignorance about how our organic brain induces a mind bent on comprehending itself; or why is music such an immanent and expressive part of us; or why is love a force that can make us incredibly happy and excruciatingly desolate; or how, engendered from the coupling of mere two cells, an organization of myriads and myriads of them can end up creating something as beautiful as Beethoven’s Ninth or Einstein’s e=mc2; or why, amid destruction and seeming randomness, is Nature incontrovertibly moving towards complexity?

Creativity is one of our most beautiful characteristics, but instead of making us wiser we have turned it into a distressing tool.

We have created a world where a great part of humanity is barely able to survive; where children are abandoned to the elements because parents cannot provide shelter or food; where fear is manufactured and used to induce violence and war; where deceit, corruption and oppression are used to create the horrendous levels of poverty and ignorance that annihilate the human spirit. We have created a world where there is so much cruelty, devastation, hate, injustice, inequality, deception, that Beauty is ever more and more difficult for us to see.

Why are we doing this? Why? Can we not see it is wrong?

What make us so blind?

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159 – On God & Evil …

Whether male or female or both, we have always needed the concept of a deity to explain natural events unexplainable at the time … thunder, lightning, the motion of the sun and the moon across the sky, the creative and destructive power of Nature, the mystery of Life … and throughout our history this primal need has been used to assert a fallacy: That the world was created to be good and predetermined by an omnipotent and omniscient god.

But this fallacy came up against insurmountable challenges: The destructiveness and cruelty of Nature where life is re-generated by killing other life, and our tenacious possession of Choice to make decisions.

And so to overcome the contradiction of Cruelty, Death and Choice under the goodness and predetermination of an all-powerful and all-knowing god, the devil was created: It was the devil, not god, who brought the choice to be cruel and to kill into the world.

It is understandable that this idiocy could be believed under the ignorance of medieval times, but today!!!

As highly evolved as we are today, we are capable not only of discerning and reflecting upon the unending creativity and astonishing beauty of Nature, but also of witnessing, and oftentimes experiencing its horrendous destructiveness and cruelty. And so the duality of Nature is in plain view to us: Nature is both, Creative and Destructive … God and Evil! … not one or the other.

Just look at yourself: destroying other forms of life to create your own.

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158 – How Will History Judge Us? …

The most fatal enemies against the evolution of the Human mind are Greed – it makes us self-destructive – and Dogma – it chains the imagination.

As I visit other countries, other cultures, other peoples, I see the lasting effects of totalitarian domination … the trail of destructiveness; the deep scars, oftentimes fresh, from their unimaginable levels of cruelty. But as horrible as the effects of their domination have been and continue to be … Crusades, Inquisitions, Fascism, Communism, Colonialism, Kleptocracy … their impact is, for the most part, localized to specific regions. That is, until now, when under the harbingers of unabated Greed and blind Dogma, totalitarian domination has thrown our entire civilization, knowingly, into full-fledged Anthropocentrism (the fallacy that we have higher value than all other organisms and that Reality is to be assessed, exclusively, through human perspective). The consequences of this fallacy are already being felt in parts of the earth and will ultimately affect every single Human being.

The Human being, as far as we know, is the only creature conscious of its own capacity to self-reflect … to be able to look at its past and hope for its future, to imagine visions never before imagined … but Greed and Dogma have turned this capacity into a growing force of unsustainable and destructive consumerism with which we have already, irreversibly, altered the chemical balance of the environment that has allowed, and promoted, our evolution.

Greed and dogmatism, and the men who let their lives be enslaved by them, have condemned our Civilization to face its own decimation as Nature realigns the delicate equilibrium we have so thoughtlessly upset.

How will History judge those who, knowing the dire consequences of their irresponsibility, did not give a damn?

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157 – On Fractals & The Mandelbrot Set …

Fractal, from the Latin fractus meaning “broken” or “fractured”, is the recurrence of a pattern or shape which is replicated at decreasing or increasing scales and used to conceptualize fractional dimensions in Nature (small sections of clouds, mountain ranges, lightning bolts, blood vessels, snowflakes, cauliflowers, that look similar to the whole). The recursive nature of fractals is also called Expanding Symmetry or Evolving Symmetry and is obvious, for instance, in a branch from a tree, which is a miniature replica of the whole, not identical, but similar in nature. If the replication of the pattern or shape is exactly the same at every scale, it is called a Self-Similar Pattern and is best illustrated in the magnifications of the Mandelbrot set.

Mandelbrot Set

Mandelbrot Set

 

The elaborate boundary of the Mandelbrot set reveals ever-finer detail at increasing magnifications, with each magnification incorporating smaller repetitions of the set. So the fractal property of self-similarity applies to the entire set and not just to its parts (the link at the bottom is a 2.14 Minutes YouTube video showing the recurrence of the set at increasing magnifications).

The Mandelbrot set has become popular outside mathematics, both for its aesthetic appeal and as an example of a complex structure arising from the application of simple rules. It is one of the best-known examples of mathematical visualization [1].

Along with Holography (see post 154), the Mandelbrot set is one of the best analogies of Self-similarity I can find in the natural sciences: Everything in Nature, including you and me, including the Universe, is similar to everything else in the way we all unfold according to a common blueprint: Become, Self-organize, Bond, Self-generate, Adapt, Self-perpetuate, Transform. This common blueprint endows every component … every one of us, every molecule, every galaxy … with the capacity to find ingenious ways to reproduce its supple mandate, thus perpetuating the recurrence of progressive cycles that begin with Becoming and always lead to Transformation. It is thus I believe that this common blueprint is the foundation for building cohesive structures that can adapt to changing environments and engender creative hierarchical orders of complexity.

The Mandelbrot set is a computer generated program in which we find the recurrence of identical repetitions, but ‘natural systems’ [2] are diverse, highly malleable, and completely reliant on a creative symbiosis with the evolutionary processes in which we exist; therefore, self-similarity in Nature is not identical like in the Mandelbrot set, but is instead an evolving symmetry towards greater and greater complexity.

Self-similarity in Nature goes both ways; recurring from the whole Universe all the way to atomic particles, and vice-versa. Everything begins by becoming, then on to self-organizing, bonding, self-generating, adapting, self-perpetuating, and ultimately, transforming. This kind of cohesion can only be achieved with a degree of communication we are not yet able to comprehend, even though it is constantly occurring in us. How else can we communicate our own blueprint (DNA) to every cell we create in our bodies? How else can they in return, as a combined whole, communicate to us what we are … the captain or our vessel … so we can follow primal instincts, yet be able to choose direction?

It is obvious to me that the common knowledge of self-similarity in Nature can help us understand a bit better our intimate relationship with Nature, what is not obvious is why this knowledge is not in every curriculum of our educational systems?

https://youtu.be/9G6uO7ZHtK8

[1] The information above has been abstracted from Wikipedia

[2] By ‘natural system’ I refer to ‘open systems’ which are generated by natural processes to interact freely while manipulating and being manipulated by environments, as opposed to ‘closed systems’ which are made by man to fit specific expectations.

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156 – On Vacation …

If everything goes as planned, I will be posting again on or around September 1, 2016.

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