179 – I Am One of Their Ascendants

The way I think, the way I speak, the way I breathe, the way I walk, the way I love, the way my body is organized, the way I understand and perceive Reality, the way I produce the energy to power my constant transformation, all are the result of the ongoing evolutionary process in which I am embedded; the ascent of an amazing species that, amid a relatively propitious period in the planet’s own evolution, has populated every inhabitable niche on the surface of the earth, and was born to the awareness of self-awareness.

Through this ascent, the human brain has come to develop the complex neuronal connectivity that endows me with a high degree of intelligence, dexterity, a level of inquisitiveness rare in Nature, and the awareness of my own awareness.

But the insecurity, fear, trauma, abuse of a dysfunctional upbringing, and the oppression of an educational system heavily tilted towards dogma and indoctrination to control the young, vulnerable mind, stunted the development of my intelligence to be able to understand and perceive the world that exists beyond the limitations of my organic senses. The combination of these two harmful factors forced the natural defenses of my body to numb not only my feelings, but also my empathy; the wisdom of Nature to halt the complete annihilation of my rebel mind, allowed me to feel nothing, to care for nothing. It has taken me a lifetime to get my feelings back, to awaken my compassion.

It is heartbreaking to realize that I am not an exemption, that the history of my upbringing is accepted as ‘normal’ in most of our cultures.

But the force of a legacy passed along in the lessons of flourishing civilizations and the wisdom of great thinkers, eventually overcame the traumatic events of my upbringing, awakening in me an insatiable need to understand what I am.

I was born with the soul of a rebel, the hunger of a questing mind, the capacity to perceive patterns that sustain the creative order of Nature. And so in my quiet ways I fought any so called ‘authority’ wanting to dictate, oftentimes forcefully, the way I think, live, love, and understand Reality. And so I devoured books, especially those that opened my mind to new horizons and dared question the status quo. And so I learned to love science, philosophy, poetry, music, especially classical music, because they fed my uncanny capacity to perceive balance and beauty out the chaotic world we have created.

My rebelliousness, the hunger of my mind, my capacity to perceive patterns, have taken me, as someone said, to places I would not know how to get to. They have helped me feel my participation in the magnificent order, equilibrium, and astonishing beauty of our Universe; they have helped me clearly see that I could not have attained a highly evolved level of perception without the heritage of innumerable generations of thinkers, lovers, dreamers, rebels, pioneers, wanderers, visionaries, untiringly seeking knowledge through the mysteries of the mind, tenaciously wanting to unravel the Source that engenders the boundless creativity and beauty of the evolutionary process we call Life.

I am one of their ascendants.

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178 –A Touch of Wonder …

One day, reading in the living room I hear a thump in the enclosed patio. I run out afraid a bird has hit a window. I am right. A little hummingbird lays unconscious on the cement floor just outside the patio.

I carefully pick it up, weightless and limp but alive; it is breathing. I hold it in the palm of my hand for what seems a long time. Then, abruptly, it opens its eyes … did not move … just lay there, catching its breath.

It fluffs its feathers as if shaking off whatever knocked it down, and straightens up. I can feel its tiny feet as it stands on my hand, looking around, checking things out.

And then … and then … the wonder:

The little hummingbird flies up like a tiny helicopter to the level of my face, and hovers there, staring straight into my eyes, looking at me with those tiny black beads, one first, then the other, as if wanting to remember.

I cannot help but smile; I am making eye contact with a tiny miracle.

Then it takes off, like a little jet plane, out of sight in seconds, leaving me awestruck.

I take a deep breath realizing I hadn’t been breathing. This little miracle took my breath away, making me feel the joy of being alive with the intensity of a moment I will never forget.

Moments like this compensate, and make me forget … not erase … the moments – especially those that hurt others –  I created with my stupidity and my mistakes when I was trying to survive; learning that Life is not always wonderful, but that it is constantly offering me its wonders.

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177 – The Universal Language …

Upon genesis, everything in Nature is infused with the self-propelled universal process of Becoming: Self-organizing, bonding, self-generating, adapting, self-perpetuating, transforming. This process is written in the ovum and the sperm that created me. And from the moment those two cells became One, a Self was infused with the process of creating what ‘I’ will be.

Not knowing that I have known from the start, I instinctively followed what everybody else has followed before me; creating the language through which I instruct every cell I engender within me, with the common makeup of the human species, and with that makeup, my cells recreate and recreate the uniqueness of me until the day I die.

This language … this intimate conversation between what I create and what creates me … is the most important thing there is; my life depends on it.

This language … this conversation … is how my body unfolds and creates my mind; is how species are created and evolve; is how solar systems form and bind together; is how spiral galaxies keep myriad stars spinning in a synchronized dance within their arms; is how billions/trillions of galaxies, and all their contents, create a Universe that can engender me, like everyone else – unique – yet Oh, so common.

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176 – The Saddest Thing …

Anyone who has witnessed the eyes of a human being at the moment of death, can attest to have seen the departure of Life from the body, leaving in place the indescribable unknown we all must face in our return to where we came from. But experiences like this, instead of reaffirming how encompassing, transient, fragile and implausible Life is, only reinforce the illusion of our sense of individuality, our distance from each other, our separation from the natural world, thus veiling the reality we have not been able to grasp – refuse to grasp – that we are immersed in an environment that connects us all as participants in the unfolding of the organism we call humankind.

Life is energy in motion; never at rest. It has its own sparkle, its own impetus, its own power to constantly self-renew. We are immersed in a living atmosphere in which we participate in a constant process of consumption and dissipation that perpetuates self-renewal. But when this process cannot be sustained, when the power to self-renew is no longer there, we die – of old age, injury, disease, lack of oxygen, starvation.

Our consumption and release of energy sources make a relative impact on the atmosphere that supports and dictates our lives. But because we have made Consumption a god to service a few … it is the measure of success, the measure of happiness, the measure of power, the measure of control … and since this god demands a growing number of consumers to unendingly consume, we have runaway population growth. We have populated every habitable niche on the surface of the planet, and our level of consumption, our intake and release of energy sources, is altering – rapidly and severely – the chemical balance of the environment in which our lives depend.

Our current world population is at seven and a half billion. And with the worldwide number of daily births at 360,000, which more than doubles that of daily deaths at 151,600, * we are projected to reach eight billion by 2023. The chart below shows clearly the speed of our exponential growth.

Population
Years passed Year Billion
1800 1
127 1927 2
33 1960 3
14 1974 4
13 1987 5
12 1999 6
12 2011 7
6 2017 7.5
6 2023 8
United Nations Population Fund 2011 estimate. Two last lines are updated with current information.

The beneficial environment that for millennia has supported our evolution cannot sustain this kind of growth, and it is already showing signs of distress. We are watching these signs, stupefied – they are so ominous some of us prefer to be in denial.

What do we think Life is? We take it for granted because even if we know how implausible it is that we are alive, we are that implausibility. We are the most beautiful and ingenious creature we know of. And so, to see that for the benefit of a few we are destroying ourselves by destroying what gives us Life, is the saddest thing.

*Source: Population Reference Bureau & The World Factbook, 2011 Estimate (Central Intelligence Agency)

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175 – An Inescapable Conclusion …

Some of our own physical properties are incomprehensible to us: How, for instance, two cells can come together knowing in advance the astonishing process of creating an organism able to reflect upon itself; or how billions, trillions of minute elements can bond, oftentimes fleetingly, into a cohesive organism that can adapt to its constantly changing world; or how can a microscopic double helix encode the relatively pre-determined yet supple line of ascent of the entire species.

But, on the other hand, there are some physical properties that have become self-evident as we develop higher levels of comprehension:

The fact, for instance, that we are utterly unique … there is no one with my exact composition in the entire Universe … while simultaneously being a common member of a species.

Or the fact that we thrive in a body that regulates itself, while simultaneously being regulated by the environment in which we exist.

Or the fact that we are controlled by primal instincts that determine our development and our ultimate disintegration, while simultaneously being liberated by a relative degree of freedom in adaptation.

Or the fact that we imprint every cell we create in our bodies with our specific characteristics … eye color, skin pigment, blood type … while simultaneously we are imprinted with the same characteristics for the extent of our lives.

That these properties are self-evident lead us to an inescapable conclusion: As there is a physical connection between our every cell and us – the organism that creates, imprints and endows them with a relative degree of freedom in adaptation – so there is a parallel physical connection between every one of us and the organism/system/Universe that creates, determines and endows us with a relative degree of freedom in adaptation.

The impact on Humanity of incorporating into our understanding of ourselves and our world the physical connection that unites us all, will liberate us from the devastating divisiveness of intolerance.

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174 – Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? VI

Update on my ongoing quest to answer what I believe are the most profound questions posed to the human mind. These questions are the title of one of the most beautiful and enigmatic paintings by Paul Gauguin.

Where do we come from?

Like cells in our bodies, we emerge out of a living 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 clouds of ice and dust into solar systems, from cells into human beings, from stars into galaxies, from nervous systems into the wonder of the mind. And because the progression of this phenomenon is relatively measurable, its determination tangible, its power to destroy and create self-evident, yet it remains incomprehensible, some of us call it God, but we tend to call God what we cannot comprehend.

And although the unfolding of this phenomenon is the archetype of our genesis … the coming together of elements into our self-organizing organisms; the flow of ancient instincts in our blood; our primal urge to bond, to re-generate, to survive; our boundless ingenuity in adaptation, our reflective contemplation of self-reflection … what this phenomenon is, how it might have been engendered, what its purpose might be, we cannot yet comprehend – perhaps we never will.

What are we?

I do not know. But I do know that we are incredibly complex and beautiful manifestations of the living phenomenon; insignificant in the scheme of the Universe and significant in the scheme of the atomic elements; promoters of its universal mandate to Become, to Self-organize, to Bond, to Re-generate, to Adapt, to Self-perpetuate, to Transform; participants in the renewal and perpetuation of its onward movement.

And even though our actions and reactions are limited by physical laws that regulate our internal and external environments, we nonetheless have evolved the capacity to be self-conscious of our degree of freedom to transform ourselves and our world … and thus we are self-conscious sources of transformation.

Where are we going?

Limited by 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 we begin the inexorable return to the environment from which we emerged.

But in equal measure to what we have imagined,

to what we have created,

to what we have destroyed,

to what we have taken,

to what we have given to the world, we may re-emerge into a more complex form of existence.

Think of Einstein – how his ideas live among us opening new visions and challenging our understanding of Reality; or Darwin – how his theory lives among us stimulating research on the origins of Life; or Mandela, or Gandhi – how their courage live among us inspiring pacifist rebellion against the destructive tyranny of unaccountable power; or Socrates – how his method of inquiry lives among us stimulating critical thinking and the awakening of the intellect to the study of itself; or Gauguin – how his profound questions live on his beautiful painting, daring us to find answers. These individuals live on in us, changing and challenging our understanding of the unfolding phenomenon from which we emerge, helping us move forward in the transcendental process of Becoming. Humanity is better because of the significance of their lives.

WHERE DO WE COME FROM? We emerge out of a self-generating, self-organizing, self-transforming Being.

WHAT ARE WE? We are self-conscious sources of transformation.

WHERE ARE WE GOING? We transcend into the Future in equal measure to the significance of our lives.

Imagine how different our world will be when these manifest Facts become the foundation of what we teach our children.

Imagine

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173 – On Vacation …

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

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172 – The most beautiful Universal Pattern we cannot yet perceive …

Human beings can perceive many universal patterns … the periodic table of the atomic elements, the preference of galaxies for spiral and globular shapes, the double helix of the DNA molecule, the Fibonacci sequence, e=mc2 … but we cannot perceive the Universal Pattern I believe is the most beautiful of all … not yet.

Although in plain sight, the pattern of a universal blueprint that creates order and induces a movement towards greater and greater complexity remains beyond our powers of perception. And to think that all we need to perceive it, is to look at the similarities between our own Becoming and that of everything else in our Universe.

If we look for similarities between an atom, a cell, an animal, a tree, a planetary system, a galaxy, you and I, we can see that upon genesis, as we become supple manifestations of existence, we all follow the same fundamental sequence of events: We organize, generate, bond components into a cohesive body/system capable of sensing, responding and adapting with a degree of flexibility to the changes in our internal and external environments. As we encounter and surmount challenges, this flexibility is the key to survival and the catalyst for our transformation into greater complexity.

Becoming through Self-organization, Self-generation, Bonding, Adaptation, Self-perpetuation, Transformation, comprises the pattern of a Universal Order that ensures the progression of the creative process of Evolution toward the levels of complexity we see in ourselves and in our Universe.

And when we are able to perceive this pattern, we will not only perceive the beauty and magnificence of a higher symmetry, but we will also see how it connects us all.

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171 – The Human Condition …

The overall behavior and perceptive capacity of homo sapiens … what we sum up as the Human Race … are controlled in manifold degrees by a set of paradigms, or belief systems, which limit our capacity to comprehend the fact that we are on a downward spiral towards self-destruction.

These paradigms are:

A socio-political paradigm in which Intolerance, Division, Conflict, rule the decision-making of those determining our destiny.

An economic paradigm in which Greed and Aggression are the fundamental forces driving the consumption and production of resources in the industrialized world.

A scientific paradigm in which the physical sciences shy away from systematic enquiry on phenomena, like our capacity to wonder or to adjust our primal emotions, because these essential elements of our existence can neither be measured nor reduced to equations.

A learning paradigm, the most damaging of all, in which the overriding agendas of dominant education systems are the standardization of Human nature and the promotion of the destructive concept of corporate hegemony.

A set of belief systems in which what is beyond the reach of the human intellect is anthropomorphized into idols, or ‘divinities’, possessing our darker characteristics … intolerance, cruelty, revenge, misogyny, hate … which then make us feel vindicated when we are the perpetrators.

It is obvious that under the dominance of these paradigms we are inciting rising levels of poverty, greed, irrationality, conflict, despair; we are consuming and destroying natural resources faster than the environment can replenish and mend them; we are altering the chemical proportions of the environment that sustains our evolution.

Although these paradigms were developed in our struggles to survive amid challenging environments, they are self-imposed human inventions that should have been overcome long ago as we began to realize their destructive potential. But that they are instead perpetuated by the greed of the powerful to control and tax the vulnerable … oftentimes with horrendous cruelty … is not only unforgivable, it is the cause of our downward spiral into self-destruction.

There are no easy solutions for the human condition, and turning around forces of such proportions is a monumental task, but it is our survival.

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170 – On Field Theory …

According to Van Nostrand’s Scientific Encyclopedia, Field Theory was developed to study actions that result from interactions propagating through the dimensions of space and time (electromagnetism, gravitation).

Although the theory is mostly based on mathematical equations, the fundamental premise of the propagation of an action through a medium can perfectly be applied to species, animal relations, the human being, development of organisms, ideas that turn into action, Life.

The propagation of an action can be described in two different yet complementary ways: 1- Action with contact, and 2- Action at a distance.

Action with contact describes how a body, whether alone or not, can modify the structure of the space around it without transporting the location.

Action at a distance describes how a body, whether alone or not, can be determined by the forces acting upon its interactions as it moves through a medium in space/time.

These actions propagate through a medium, and their propagation can potentially create a Field.

The main objective of the Theory is to study how these Fields are created and transformed into ‘forces’ that propagate through a medium, and how these forces are determined or modified by the medium. Action with contact is a self-initiated force that can modify but not change the location of its surroundings. Action at a distance is a force that although propagating, is nonetheless determined by internal and external forces.

Galileo’s understanding of Reality is a good example of the Theory; his understanding was a self-initiated force that impacted the Field of human knowledge without having to move the physical environment in which he existed [action with contact]. But even though the force of his understanding ultimately changed the way we understand Reality, it was delayed by the dogmatic force of the church [action at a distance].

These two forces … our force to affect and the forces that affect us … are complementary (one cannot exist without the other), and together they determine the extent and significance of our actions. When I focus on a goal, I can initiate an action with which, as a driving force, I create a Field, say, of a belief, or the study of a new idea, or a political faction. But although the pursuit of my goal may be turned into a powerful force that can travel through space and time, its outcome will ultimate be determined by conducive or limiting forces acting upon me.

By describing the actions of a body in which the body is the driving force … the ‘operator’ … of a Field, we have to designate it with the attribute, whether instinctive or self-determined, of Purpose, i.e., an entity, quantity, or quality that purposefully affects or changes the existing state of any given system.

What this simply implies is that Field Theory does not only apply to forces like magnetism or gravitation, but also to forces like that of a species or a human being. When we decide to do something, to affect something, to accomplish something, to transform something with a sense of directions and purpose, we become the driving force, the ‘operator’ of a field of action.

To describe Galileo as the ‘driving force’ that ultimately changed the way Humanity perceives Reality, we must include his interactions with, and his dependency upon the existing forces within which his own force was being created. Galileo was the Field Operator, the force behind his actions, but the ultimate outcome of his determination to expand the field of human knowledge was subjected to internal forces [health, mental capacities, etc.] and external forces [the domination of the church, weather, etc.] acting upon him and limiting his determination. Galileo was imprisoned under house arrest for the rest of his life, but the force of his argument ultimately triumphed and changed the way we understand Reality.

When directing, or being directed by the power of ideas and actions, we are transformed into forces pregnant with the potential to unleash unimaginable transformations as demonstrated by a Galileo, an Einstein, a Gandhi, a Hitler. Although limited, and sometimes assisted by their internal and external environments, these individuals unleashed forces that, when measured by their impact or significance, transcended into how we think and act today.

This is what Erich Jantsch calls Self-transcendence, the reaching out beyond the boundaries of one’s own existence.

Our evolution has taken us to levels of discernment that allow us to see the difference between the two forces … the forces within, and the forces that shape us … so we can anticipate and face difficulties with ingenuity and a degree of control. But once again, we can only do this through the intimate relationship with our internal and external environments.

Our lives are fields in the flow of Existence, and even though the power or weakness of the field is oftentimes determined by forces beyond our control, when given the chance we achieve feats that reach beyond our own existence: This is the inherent power within us!

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