215 – We don’t have a Vision for Humankind …

Businesses, Governments, Religious organizations, Education Systems, Individuals, all tend to have a Vision, a goal – what needs to be achieved, what we want to be, where we want to go. A Vision is a Promise for the Future for the company, the country, the church, the university, the individual. But amazingly enough, there is not a Promise for the Future of humankind.

The Future projected in Movies, Media, Science Fiction, Religion, is oftentimes a portend of horrible cruelty, darkness, deceit, violence, implausibility – always, for some reason or another, a Future in which we are at war with one another.

A worldwide focus on Division – we versus the other – is not only separating us but incapacitating thoughtful discussion about a Vision for humankind other than profits, power, control; about a Vision that unites us all in our individuality and our diversity. The closer we came to achieve something of that ilk was with the concept of the United Nations, but that dream got buried under politics and the reassessment of supremacism and authority by the stronger nations. It is now but a vestige of what we dreamt it to be.

We do not consider Diversity a source of ideas to achieve the equilibrium between ourselves and Nature so desperately needed in this time of unprecedented environmental crisis. Diversity is instead seen as a threat to our norms, beliefs, ways of life.

Diversity is a part of Life. It is the driving force behind the creativity of Nature. We all have a mind, yet each mind is different    with its own dreams and aspirations.

I believe, sadly, that in a world dominated by Division and Intolerance, what we need to unite us as a race is either a species-changing discovery – for instance, finding an advanced civilization on another planet – or the threat of forthcoming danger – a meteorite on its inexorable way to hit the planet, a supervirus, the decimation of millions in industrialized nations by climate change.

A consensus of the Future based on our perception of global events is that advanced civilizations are doomed by socio-economic disruptions, the conquest by another power, the consumption and growth that overwhelms the environment that supports them. The examples of the Roman Empire and Easter Island reinforce this claim; they are unequivocal models for the kind of shortsightedness afflicting our civilization today.

Leading us to this shortsightedness is the deceptive idea that in order to save ourselves we need to ‘save the planet’. Earth doesn’t need to be saved; the planet, as it has done innumerable times in its past, will restore equilibrium, albeit of a different order, once the damage we have inflicted is repaired. It is we, the human species, not the Earth, who need to be saved.

The essence of our Diversity is that Life will always be an unequal struggle for survival – there will always be the adventurer and the demure, the go-getter and the straggler, the activist and the inactivist. But when we see the incredible odds of the journey that has taken us out of Africa and into our current state of affairs, it is impossible not to see our determined and creative progression toward complexity. Each one of us is a player in the continuation of this progression. Each one of us holds the potential to start a transformation. Have we not evolved – step by step, human by human – from simian-like creatures into the awareness of our own power to transform ourselves and our world?

Instigating Division and Conflict, the power of a few individuals led humanity into a world of constant conflict, terror, destruction, intolerance. But we are changing; we now know not only that what we have created is destroying us, but that the ever-expanding level of our interconnectedness is making us keenly aware of the power of organized demand for change. But as with any demand for change, we must have a Vision.

Perhaps the reverse of the Vision we created through Division. A Vision where acceptance of our Diversity impels us into a world of tolerance, peace, love, knowledge; a Vision of the ascendant power of the human mind to understand itself and the Universe from which it draws Life.

“That which is in opposite is in concert, and from things that differ comes the most beautiful harmony” Heraclitus

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214 – Imagine if you will …

In my previous post I said that we have nothing to compare the vastness nor the majesty of our Universe, but I realize now that it is not true. The perception of attributes like ‘vast’ and ‘majestic’ is relative to the dimension from which it is perceived.

Dimensions are spheres of reality. For example, a human being is a vast universe if perceived from the dimension of an RNA molecule, and an RNA molecule is a microscopic particle if perceived from the dimension of a human being; the Universe is vast if perceived from the dimension of a human being, and a human being is a microscopic particle if perceived from the universal dimension.

To have an idea of the relativity of Perception, let’s imagine if you will, how a human being would be perceived from the dimension of one of our RNA molecules. For the purpose of this exercise, let’s agree on arming our molecule – at par with a highly intelligent and technologically advanced human being – not only with the advanced communications skills the molecule already possesses, but with the capacity to reflect upon itself and the world in which it exists.

How that world came into being; why does it seem to be without an end; why does it, like a living organism, progresses self-determinedly toward complexity and order? These are questions beyond comprehension for the molecule, and so in an effort to make some sense of them, it makes conjectures based on its limited knowledge. An explosion? Infinite expansion?  Chance?

But as indefinite as these questions might be, there is an undeniable connection, an uncanny relationship between the vast world beyond the immediate environment in which the molecule is embedded and the inner world from which it is composed; a connection that brings the vast and the immediate worlds together into a synthesis: A creature that must abide by rules that ensure its survival yet is endowed with the power to overcome them; a creature that is a catalyst for transformation.

Now, let’s read the last paragraph once more, but replacing the molecule with ourselves:   there is an undeniable connection, an uncanny relationship between the vast world beyond the immediate environment in which we are embedded and the inner world from which we are composed; a connection that brings the vast and the immediate worlds together into a synthesis: A creature that must abide by rules that ensure its survival yet is endowed with the power to overcome them; a creature that is a catalyst for transformation.

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213 – Life can only come from Life …

Know thyself and thou will know the Universe. Thou shall likewise know that according to Law, the nature of this universe is in all things.” Pythagoras

I wonder what will happen to us, the human race, if we come to accept the premise that the Universe is alive as we are.

There are facts about our Universe that can only be understood thus.

The fundamental substance of our Universe (what it is fundamentally made out of) is energy/mass – energy condensing into mass and mass dissipating into energy – and its elemental composition is atomic.

Atoms are generated through interactions between matter and energy in which they organize into systems that conform to and influence environments. But the viability of an atomic system depends entirely on its capacity to regulate its energy content in equilibrium with its mass content, and vice versa: one always a measure of the other. [1]

I believe our Universe could not have come into existence in a vacuum; its energy could not have condensed into mass, nor its mass conform to be a measure of energy without the influence of an external force – pressure, incitement, or perhaps reiteration! Like everything it encompasses, like everything in Nature, our Universe needed not only a constant source of energy to grow, but an environment to interact with and unfold into. We have nothing to compare the vastness nor the majesty of our Universe, but we have some empirical insights into its nature: we know, for instance, that two of its mayor players are energy and matter; we also know that either through reiteration, or survival instinct, or creativity, our Universe began to regulate the contents of its own fundamental substance in a process that would lead into complexity and order.

Although mostly unaware of self-regulation in us, we do it all the time: we consume energy sources from the environment (foods, oxygen), and dissipate the energy as growth, motion, action, re-generation. But our existence depends entirely not just on our capacity to consume and dissipate energy, but on the steady process that regulates them and keep them in equilibrium. As we grow in activity and weight during our infancy and youth, our body demands increasing amounts of energy, and as we grow older and stabilize weight and reduce the vigor of our activity, our body demands lesser amounts of energy; we eat and rest to replenish spent energy, and we use the energy until it needs replenishment again in an ongoing cycle of consumption and exertion, but whether we do it by instinct or self-determination, we regulate the process to remain in equilibrium: one content always a relative measure of the other. This is self-regulation, and without it life is not viable.

Although self-regulation does not explain the genesis of Life, it shows us Life’s purpose in a deliberate action: regulating our own components with the deliberate purpose to grow and survive into complexity amid the fluctuations of internal and external environments, is not possible without a degree of Self-reflection, and Self-reflection with a deliberate purpose, is, I believe, something only Life can do.

We don’t produce energy, we regulate it and transform it, and as we condense energy into mass and liberate mass back into energy with the purpose to grow and survive, we are challenged by change, and change impels us, oftentimes through dramatic interactions, towards complexity.

We do this because we are alive, and so does our Universe.

Life can only come from Life.

[1] I use Matter and Mass interchangeably because both terms refer to properties of the same phenomenon.

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212 – My mind …

How can we ever stop being amazed, mystified, awed by our minds, by what we can do with them?

How can myriad neurons – billions of them – independently and communally bond together to become the phenomenon of the mind; a phenomenon that allows me to project outward into the world, and inward into myself, into my own experience, into my own existence?

How can myriad neurons build, and constantly fine-tune, a network of connections that stores my experiences with varying degrees of accuracy and importance, creating a phenomenon that responds to the world according not only to the perception of my senses, but to the influence of my culture, my upbringing, my fears, desires, dreams, metabolism, environment?

The mind is a form of energy that can be redirected, focused, expanded, manipulated; a form of energy that can be wrought by music, anger, fear, death, love, beauty; a form of energy that can objectify visions, ideas, concepts. But because our experience of the mind is intangible and immensurable, it is difficult for us to accept the fact that it is as physical a force as the one synchronizing the beats of our hearts, or the force carrying oxygen to every niche in our bodies.

We don’t know of any other creature that possesses a mind with a degree of conscious self-reflection as developed as ours. We can perceive degrees of self-reflection in other animals, but whether it is conscious, we do not know. The capacity of the human mind to reflect upon itself is a major step forward in the evolution of Life, an achievement in its unequivocal movement towards greater levels of complexity and order. But although this is an amazing insight about the nature of the human mind, it does not bring us any closer to understanding the intangible yet incontestable presence of our conscious mind.

It therefore continues to be baffling to try to understand how myriad neurons can create a phenomenon so utterly individual in its experiences, so unique in the physical connectivity of its neurons, and yet, like the wonder of murmurations, how it dances with its kin creating patterns and rhythms of increasing complexity.

I wish I could understand how is it that my mind can reach so far beyond the grasp of my senses, when I know it is limited by what I am, by what I know, by what I perceive; how is it that my mind is so present in me, such part of me, when I know it is older than old and greater than itself; how is it that my mind creates itself moment by moment, day by day, when I know it is being aided not only by what is immediate, but what is eternal; how is it that my mind can converse and connect with other minds, when I know it is inscrutable amid the beauty and uniqueness of its own music.

– this is why I feel so lonely when I am alone with it, yet I know it is the greatest possession to connect with the world ever given to me.

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211 – Inheritance of Order …

Life manifests in innumerable forms of order and complexity. I am one of them.

I came into Life when an ovum and a sperm fused into a zygote that, with the combined information of the two cells, began to generate, organize, and build the mesmerizingly complex organism of my body; an organism that not only projects a mind capable of reflecting upon itself, but adapts to changing environments with a sense of its own continuity.

The information the original cells brought into my life was already encoded with knowledge acquired across thousands of years of human evolution (my capacity to comprehend symbols, discern patterns, give meaning to words, be awed by beauty, enchanted by love), plus the addition of the latest evolutionary updates to the generic lineage of homo sapiens: the ease, for instance, in our assimilation of the fast-paced advances in technology.

But my origin does not go back to the fusion of the two cells, nor to the ascendance of the first humanoids in Africa, my origin goes back to the beginnings of Life and the inheritance of Order.

Nothing evolves into complexity without a degree of Order.

When the Universe was begotten and began to grow, a creature beyond what our imagination can even fathom came alive knowing how to follow a primordial Order to self-generate, self-organize, bond, thrive, grow, persevere through whatever harsh or plainly miraculous event came next, and then bequeath the lessons learned onto progeny.

The yearning of Life in me, living in me, thriving in me, urging me to self-generate, to self-organize, to persevere, and to bequeath what I have learned, is my inheritance of that primordial Order that, out of seeming chaos, has evolved to awaken in me the awareness of my own awareness.

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210 – Billions like one, one like billions …

Doesn’t it make you wonder why your body grows into the same common shape as those of billions of other human beings, yet with peculiar differences that make you utterly unique? Aren’t you at least a bit curious to know why?

It is easily understood that you and I are common in the sense that we share the same fundamental shape with billions of other human beings (four extremities; a head with a brain, two eyes, two ears, a nose, and a mouth; a skeleton that allows us to stand erect, sexual organs, a nervous system, an all-enveloping skin, a pulsing heart), and that we are utterly unique, for instance, in the peculiar ways we sense and understand reality, feel emotions and respond to them, fall in and out of love, dream, reason, think. This is because Perception is based on our individual experience of our bodies, our environment, our upbringing, our interaction with others, our tendencies, our opportunities (or none), our schooling (or none). We are also utterly unique in the sense that the components that make up our bodies (atoms, molecules, cells, nervous system, neural connections), are exclusively ours and not someone else’s. There is no other body in the entire world exactly like yours or mine.

But what is not easy for us to understand is that we are both, unique and common at the same time. Our intellect is not trained to consider this duality in our nature. These two properties complement each other and one cannot be fully understood without including the other.

Duality in Nature is universal. Everything is a unique component of something greater than itself; a natural phenomenon from which we receive a shared structure and upon which we can affect change. For instance, we know that Earth is the unique component of a Solar System from which it receives its spheroid shape and upon which it pioneers the phenomenon of self-conscious life; or, if you are a cat person as I am, you know that a cat is a cat wherever or whenever you see one, but there is no other cat in the entire world like the one sitting on my lap, staring at me with those beautiful oval eyes as if he can see something in me I cannot see myself; or if you know that Light is made up of the tiny pockets of energy we call Photons, and that propagating in waves through space and time they give us, among other things, vision.

And so we are complements of something greater than us, something that makes us common like billions and unique among billions; something which can very well exist without each one of us, but without which we cannot exist.

We are complements of the organism we call Humanity; an organism that is alive and evolving and surging because of the actions and interactions of each and all of us; an organism that determines our shared common mold yet can be transformed by the unique potential of a human action, or a unique idea of a human mind.

Remember you are all people and all people

are you

Remember you are this universe and this

universe is you *

*Selected lines from Joy Harjo’s “Remember”

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209 – What the previous post (208 – Beauty) means personally to me …

When I was trying to find Beauty in me against a world constantly telling me otherwise, the greatest affirmation came with the understanding that 1 – I am a system embedded in other systems and composed of other systems, 2 – I have a mind with the capacity to reflect upon universal patterns, and 3 – patterns are the genesis of complexity, order, and beauty.

When this understanding was cemented in my brain, it provided a lens through which I discerned the beautiful pattern of development that sanctions the unfolding of Universal Order.

An Order that came alive in me the instant an ovum and a sperm fused together and began the process of my Becoming. A process that, evolving across eons of time and self-succeeding generations, follows a non-negotiable yet supple pattern of development that drives all systems in Nature to self-organize, bond, self-generate, adapt, self-perpetuate, and transform. This is the universal pattern that meticulously organizes the cells I generate, bonding them together into the preset yet adaptable structure of my body, and giving me a relative degree of freedom to transform not only my life, but Life itself.

This is the greatest beauty in me, I am Life transforming itself.

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208 – Beauty …

Where is our sense of Beauty gone that we cannot see our reflection in the Beauty of our Universe?

Beauty, as we can see it with our naked eyes, with our telescopes, with our microscopes, is rooted in patterns of behavior and structure that create physical fields of energy in space and time and are driven by a universal tendency toward complexity and order. This tendency is self-evident in the complexity and order of rainbows, language, numbers, spirals, planetary orbits, light, the DNA molecule, inheritance of traits, natural selection, Life, and ultimately, the Universe itself.

Salient scientific theories of the past two centuries – like Relativity (equilibrium), Bell’s Theorem (entanglement), Quantum Theories (freedom) – have discovered underlying patterns of a beautiful Universal Order, that is not only unfolding into complexity, but its progression can be measured with relative precision. This beautiful Order is rooted on a pattern of development that is universal and encompasses the Becoming, Self-organization, Bonding, Self-generation, Adaptation, Self-perpetuation, Transformation of all organic and inorganic systems in Nature. The beauty of this Universal Order is that it charts development yet allows a degree of freedom in adaptation.

Upon conception, each one of us follows the same pattern of development our Universe follows. And like our Universe, we are a link in an ongoing sequence of events with a degree of freedom to create our own sequence of events – physical fields of energy in space and time in which we are the operator, the driving force, the catalyst for transformation.

This is what the Universe is. This is what we are, you and I – reflections of something extraordinarily beautiful: Life transforming itself.

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207 – How do we get back on track?

The progress we were making early in our evolution towards developing an intellect capable of understanding, not only our relationship with our own selves but our relationship with the Universe from which we are nurtured into Life, was derailed by Greed – unreasonable, unsatisfiable, destructive, and selfish greed for power and material possessions that has thrown us into an environmental crisis of global proportions.

For reasons that elude Reason, as humankind assured its survival when becoming the dominant species on Earth, the pace and essence of trying to understand our self-reflective intellect and our relationship with the Universe from which we are engendered, was somehow trampled by Greed – Contention overruled Nurture.

It so that the great majority of our schools teach children not the arts of Understanding ourselves, but those of Craving.

This is at the root of humankind’s monumental paradox: It has taken us eons of evolutionary time to grow consciously aware of our capacity to reflect upon ourselves and our presence in the world, and yet we allow Greed to kill it.

How do we get back on track? How do we sever ourselves from what clouds our Reason? How?

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206 – On vacation …

If everything goes as planned, I will be posting again on October 15th.

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