247 – As Everything in Nature, We are Evolving Systems …

There is nothing that empirically proves how profoundly interrelated we are with everything in Nature than a verified scientific theory, and Charles Darwin’s Evolution does that for me.

The word evolution comes from the Latin evolutio, meaning “to unroll like a scroll”.

What we perceive as the progressive movement of Evolution is the universal will to live converging in us and all around us. Evolution is the engine of change, and change incites choice, and choice demands reflection.

Evolution is the universal process through which evolving systems unfold toward higher levels of complexity and order. This process can be directed from within (instinct, self-determination) or from without (pre-determination, environmental fluctuations). The fundamental model of the process is based on self-generation, self-organization, self-regulation, and bonding; and its dynamic for self-perpetuation is based on a degree of freedom in adaptation. Evolution is a living, transformative process that can be violent, greedy, destructive, cruel, chaotic, ugly, yet also tender, nurturing, organized, thoughtful, creative, beautiful. Evolution creates to destroy and destroys to create.

As the unit of Evolution, evolving systems are vulnerable to the fluctuations and demands of their internal and external environments, but this vulnerability is decreased by bonding with larger, more established systems. But to belong, to adapt, to fit in, to accept the instituted generational characteristics and values of other systems, demands self-reflection. And to reach a degree of self-reflection where the system knows that it not only belongs to a manipulative system but that the system itself can be manipulated. This, I believe, is the fundamental aim of Evolution.

Whether it is an atom, a human being, a species, a galaxy, the above mentioned evolutionary properties apply equally to all evolving systems in Nature.  We all come into existence with the fundamental purpose to perpetuate a universal evolutionary process that inherently tends to unfold toward complexity and order. Transmitted from generation to generation, this process is based on creation, organization, regulation, bonding, and transformation with a degree of freedom in adaptation, a degree if freedom to make choices. And whether our choices are instinctive or self-determined, this degree of freedom to choose, to decide, rends us all vulnerable to the fluctuations of our internal and external environments, yet it makes us stronger by belonging, by adapting, by accepting, and by doing so, we heighten not only our chances for our survival but the survival of the universal process with which we unfold.

The theory of Evolution proves how profoundly interrelated everything in Nature is. And I believe that we will be more rational and understanding in our relationship with each other and with Nature when we accept this about us.

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246 – What has happened to Us? … 

Isn’t it terrible to see what we do to each other?

How we train the disadvantaged, the poor, to kill for our benefit,

how we send millions of us into poverty, humiliation, agony, despair,

without a place to live,

without a meal to eat,

without a bed to rest,

as we bask in disregard and luxury.

 

Isn’t it terrible to see what we do to the poor children of the world?

How we steal their future by robbing them of an education,

how we close our eyes and unburden our intelligence to avoid seeing their plight,

their hunger,

their deaths,

so we can enjoy our comforts – oftentimes in obscene excess – without a bit of guilt.

 

Isn’t it terrible to see what we do to animals?

How we destroy their environments,

their livelihoods,

their homes,

how we submit them to slow, painful, horrific deaths,

without caring nor feeling a thing for their suffering.

 

Isn’t it terrible to see what we do to Nature?

How we think of her as a ‘slave’ so we can ravage her beauty,

her nurture,

her balance,

without seeing that it is ourselves we ravage.

Where has our compassion gone? Our intelligence? Where is all the knowledge?

It was heartbreaking to read that our dominant economic ideology is based on the premise that “the share of national wealth distributed as wages must be kept as low as possible to prevent the cost of labor from reducing national wealth”. [1] Have we become so irrational, so utterly selfish, so compassionless, that we believe this inhumanity to be the best way to create a better world!!!?

What has happened to us?

[1] Excerpt from “What Kind of Country Do We Want? by Marilynne Robinson. New York Review. June 11, 2020

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245 – As Everything in Nature, We are a (body/system[e=mc2]) …

There is nothing that empirically proves how profoundly interrelated we are with everything in Nature than a verified scientific theory, and Albert Einstein’s Relativity does that for me.

In 1905, in his famous paper “Does The Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content,” Einstein’s great insight into the nature of our Universe came into life: “The mass of a body is a measure of its energy content.

To comprehend the essence of Einstein’s insight, we must consider:

1 – that mass and energy, which are interchangeable yet different forms of the same thing, constitute the contents of the fundamental substance of evolving bodies, or systems in our Universe,

2 – that as an evolving body converts energy into mass and mass into energy to propel its development, the contents fluctuate,

3 – that as the contents fluctuate, the survival of the body depends, whether by instinct or self-determination, on its capacity to sustain them in relative equilibrium, one content always a measure of the other, and

4 – that for an evolving body to be capable of sustaining its fundamental contents in equilibrium as it changes and develops, it must possess a degree of self-reflection.

As every evolving system in Nature, the human body survives through a process in which it consumes energy sources from the environment, converts the consumed energy into mass, and releases the stored energy as motion, action, creation, transformation. But the key to the continuity of this process is to keep it in equilibrium as we develop and adapt to changing environments (we breathe in and breathe out to energize blood cells [oxygenate], we rest and sleep to re-charge spent energy). And this process, although mostly instinctive in us, is not possible without a degree of self-reflection.

Without disregarding the mathematical prowess of the equation, the essence of Einstein’s insight rests not on the quantities of energy and mass in a body, but on the fact that self-reflection is innate in Nature.

Self-reflection is implicit in the equal sign in e=mc2. “The mass of a body is a measure of its energy content” is not possible without the capacity of the body, whether it is an atom, a cell, a human being, a planetary system, a galaxy, the Universe itself, to reflect upon its own contents. Therefore I believe that the equation is more precise as (body/system[e=mc2]).

Our intellect, if we let it, is capable of comprehending that we are embedded in a dimension that renders us infinitesimally small from universal dimensions and infinitely vast from atomic dimensions, that we are all evolving systems made up of evolving systems and parts of evolving systems, that we are all profoundly interrelated through the innate search for equilibrium.

The theory of Relativity proves how profoundly interrelated everything in Nature is. And I believe that we will be more rational and understanding in our relationship with each other and with Nature when we accept this about us.

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244 – And then we wonder why …

For millennia, the human-animal has slaughtered its own kind under the justification that it is a necessary, and therefore rightful act to reign control over those who do not fit our doctrines, or destroy those who we contrive as an ‘enemy’ … the ‘scapegoat’ whose livelihood we deem expendable and want to either conquer or vanish from the face of the earth.

Animals, insects, microbes slaughter each other in predatory killings in which they kill more prey than they can immediately eat, usually to procure food for offspring, or to gain valuable killing experience, or to eat later when hunger comes again.

But not us. Our predatory killings are instigated by hate, and then we normalize and popularize them, oftentimes as heroism, through available means like pamphlets, books, political and religious discourse, movies, television, and, currently, through electronic devices which are not only widely available but highly desirable by younger generations, so parents, without a second thought, allow and even encourage children at impressionable ages to play extreme violent ‘games’ where the greater the slaughter and destruction, the greater the feeling of being better, stronger, successful.

And then we wonder why we grow to believe that to be successful is to be violent, destructive and heartless; why we have grown to be the only species we know of that uses its high degree of ‘intelligence’ to devise the cruelest forms of torture and destruction with the purpose to send others – generally the vulnerable and defenseless – into inhumane levels of poverty and degradation?

And then we wonder why we are a civilization where there is so much hate, where we always are in the midst of conflict, always at war, always killing our own – oftentimes by the hundreds and thousands – without a hint of remorse?

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243 – As Everything in Nature, We are a Synthesis of Three Complementary Properties …

There is nothing that empirically proves our profound interrelatedness with everything in Nature than a verified scientific theory, and Niels Bohr’s Complementarity principle gets close to do that for me. I highlight close because the theory does not include a property that is essential for the complete understanding of all evolving systems in Nature.

The most well-known example of Complementarity is the phenomenon of Light as a synthesis of particle-like and wave-like duality. Light manifests as particle-like in its components (photons) and as wave-like in the patterns photons create as they interact with environments. Light is not one or the other; it is both. But Light is also a component of the Universe, and as such, it is universal-like as the manifestation of the common blueprint[i] that maps the development of all the components of our Universe. Therefore, for the principle of Complementarity to provide a complete understanding of Light, it must include the universal-like manifestation: Light is particle-like and wave-like and universal-like.

As all evolving system in our Universe – light, hydrogen, cells, solar systems, galaxies –  human beings are a synthesis of three complementary properties: We are particle-like as individual components of a system (humankind) AND wave-like as the patterns we create as the species affects and is affected by environments AND universal-like as we reiterate the common blueprint that maps the development of all universal components and endows us with a degree of freedom in adaptation.

It is, of course, evident that each complementary property can be explored with the exclusion of the others. The particle-like property of a photon, or a human being, or any evolving system in Nature, can be isolated and studied with the exclusion of the other complementary properties. But by doing so, we forgo the essence of the system we are trying to understand.

In the generation, organization, and bonding together of the components of our bodies, we, like any evolving system in Nature, have no choice; these processes are relatively pre-determined by the demands of the environments in which we exist. But in the way we adapt, self-regulate, and self-perpetuate, whether we do it instinctively or by our own determination, we become pro-active participants in the evolutionary processes of a species. And as we unfold, transforming ourselves and our world, we re-assert the universal mandate that endows us all with a degree of freedom to choose.

The principle of Complementarity proves how profoundly interrelated everything in Nature is. Whether it is an atom, a cell, a human being, a solar system, a galaxy, we are all synthesis of three complementary properties: we are all particle-like and wave-like and universal-like, not one or the other but all at the same time. And I believe that we will be more rational and understanding in our relationship with Nature when we accept this about us.

[i] Self-organize, self-generate, bond, self-regulate, adapt, self-perpetuate, transform.

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242 – It is Entirely up to Us …

That something can be pre-determined and free at the same time seems paradoxical to our intellect … most of us believe that nothing can be two things at the same time. Yet everything in Nature, including us, unfolds by following a pre-determined process (fertilization, prenatal development, birth, childhood, youth, adulthood, old age, dissipation), which endows us with a degree of freedom to choose – whether right or wrong – how we transform ourselves and our world, how we adapt to changing environments, how we forge our destiny.

And so, for those of us privileged enough to have the option to choose, what we do with it is entirely up to us.

The crux of how we make our choices is to do it with the knowledge that pre-determination lays ahead, inescapably waiting for the time when the significance of what we do with our life     becomes the measure of our transcendence[i].

[i] Merriam-Webster Dictionary: Transcend: to rise above or extend notably beyond ordinary limits

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241 – Where do we find Truth? …

Our organic senses don’t tell us the whole truth about what we are,

they are too limited for that,

but so are the people who believe their senses are the whole truth.

 

To find the truth,

we have to go beyond what our senses can sense,

yet it is in ourselves.

 

We are universal beings,

nested between the worlds of the microcosm and the macrocosm

where a keen sense of awareness is growing

… becoming conscious of itself,

conscious of the Force of Life bringing together the worlds of the endlessly finite and the infinitely infinite,

creating everything,

creating us.

 

It is in that Force where Truth is. And in us it is

to be found,

to be sensed,

to be understood,

to be loved,

to Be.

 

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240 – As Everything in Nature, We are Autopoietic Systems …

There is nothing that empirically proves how interrelated we are with everything in Nature than a verified scientific theory, and Humberto Maturana and Francisco Valera’s Autopoiesis does that for me.

The word Autopoiesis comes from the Greek ‘auto’ meaning ‘self’, and ‘poiesis’ meaning ‘creation: Self-creation.

Autopoiesis is a property of naturally evolving systems – molecules, cells, planets, galaxies – that allows them to recreate themselves by generating their own components and by conserving their own boundaries    while developing into the fundamental configuration of the species to which they belong.

Like any other evolving system in Nature – like a cell, like a galaxy, like our own Earth – human beings are autopoietic systems. We recreate ourselves by generating our own components and by conserving the skin that enfolds us and exchanges information with environments so we can adapt with a degree of flexibility, while at the same time developing into the fundamental configuration shared by everyone in our species.

The theory of Autopoietic Systems proves how the universal power of self-creation profoundly interrelates us with everything in Nature. And I believe we will be more rational and tender in our relationship with Nature when we understand this about us.

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239 – How can we? …

How can we, the lucky ones, the people with ‘residual incomes’, who know full well now that what we are doing to the environment can be the end of us – all of us – continue doing it as if we are untouchable?

How can we?

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238 – As Everything in Nature, We are Dissipative Structures …

There is nothing that proves our interrelatedness with everything in Nature than a proven scientific theory, and Ilya Prigogine’s Dissipative Structures does that for me.

Dissipative Structures are systems that interact openly with environments and are powered by a continuous consumption and release of energy sources (dissipation). This continuous dissipation renders the system vulnerable to environmental fluctuations (i.e. changes in energy sources), which may force the system to restructure oftentimes into greater levels of complexity. But greater complexity demands greater consumption of energy sources, which then makes the system more vulnerable to internal and external fluctuations. Amazingly enough, this increased vulnerability is a source for the constant transformation of Nature.

Like everything in Nature – molecules, cells, planets, galaxies – we are dissipative structures; we power our selves, our self-generation, our adaptation, by consuming and releasing energy sources (dissipation).

From the moment we are conceived, we ignite the primal dissipation process, consuming energy sources (foods, air), and releasing them as motion, action, force. And even though the process makes us totally dependent for our sustenance on the environment, that we do it on our own, on our own power, is an amazing accomplishment. But that we turn this dependency, this vulnerability, into growing more resilient, more adaptable, more ingenious, more insightful, more self-reflective, more open to possibilities, is truly amazing.

This primal dissipation process is one of the foundations of the evolution of Nature. It is embodied in everything – molecules, cells, human beings, planets, galaxies – and it is how, even if we are dependent on environmental laws, everything we do is a possibility not only for our transformation but for the transformation of our world. We are catalysts for Transformation.

The theory of Dissipative Structures proves how profoundly interrelated everything in Nature is – we survive and develop through the same process as everything in Nature – and accepting this fact will catapult us into a more rational understanding of ourselves and our relationship with Nature.

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