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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205 – Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? …

 

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 the above painting by Paul Gauguin.

Where do we come from?

As a cell emerges out of the self-organizing, self-generating, self-transforming processes of our bodies, we emerge out of the self-organizing, self-generating, self-transforming processes of the phenomenon we call Life. But Life is just a manifestation of a Primordial Source that, amid trial and error, creation and destruction, inexorably progresses toward greater heights of complexity and order.

But because the progression of this Source is evident, tangible, relatively measurable, its power to create and destroy terrifying and magnificent yet it remains beyond understanding, some of us call it God, Allah, Shiva, etc., etc. But we tend to create deities when there is something we cannot understand. And even though we do not know what it is, how it might have been engendered, what its purpose might be, we do know that we emerge out of a self-generating, self-transforming Primordial Source whose unfolding we call Life.

What are we?

As manifestations of the phenomenon we call Life, we have evolved the conscious self-awareness that 1 – we are insignificant in the scheme of the Universe and significant in the scheme of the atomic elements,  2 – that as everything in Nature, we obey a universal mandate to Become, to Self-organize, to Bond, to Re-generate, to Adapt, to Self-perpetuate, and to Transform, and 3 – that amid physical laws that regulate our internal and external environments, we possess a degree of freedom to transform ourselves and our world. We are sources of transformation.

Where are we going?

Regulated by our internal and external environments, yet pregnant with the possibilities of a degree of freedom in adaptation, we forge ahead until we no longer can, at which point we begin the inexorable return to the Primordial Source from which we emerged.

But equivalent to the significance of 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 into higher levels of existence.

As everything in Nature, the human being has evolved in transcendental steps. Each step builds upon the ones taken before. Each step has a degree of significance and affects our life and oftentimes the life of others. Some steps may affect immediate progeny, some may affect entire generations, and some may be so significant that may affect not only the course of our evolution but Evolution itself.

Think of Einstein – how his ideas live among us, opening new visions and challenging our understanding of Reality; or Darwin – how his theory of Evolution live among us, stimulating research in the origins of Life; or Mandela and Gandhi – how their courage live among us, inspiring pacifist rebellion against the tyranny of unaccountable power; or Socrates – how his method of inquiry live among us, stimulating us to reflect upon ourselves; or Gauguin – how his profound questions live among us, daring us to wonder and find answers. These human beings live among us in the progressive movement of our evolution, in the greater reaches of our perception, in the heightened insights of our conscious self-reflection; they live among us, challenging and transforming our understanding of the unfolding phenomenon from which we emerge, helping us move forward in the transcendental process of Becoming. And so, as these human beings have transcended into our lives, making us more daring in our visions of the future, more curious about our origins, more aware of what is right and what is wrong, more self-conscious about the struggles and the wonders of existence, so, as measured by the significance of what we accomplish with our lives, we may also transcend into the unfolding of future generations.

WHERE DO WE COME FROM? We emerge out of a self-generating, self-transforming Primordial Source whose unfolding we call Life.

WHAT ARE WE? We are sources of transformation.

WHERE ARE WE GOING? Measured by the significance of our life, we may transcend into higher levels of complexity in the unfolding of the Primordial Source.

TRANSCENDENCE IS A MEASURE OF THE SIGNIFICANCE OF EXISTENCE.

Last updated January 1, 2018. Post 188

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204 – How terribly sad that would be!

I cannot but to be stunned by how, without apparent concern, our political and economic leaderships are recklessly, insolently, deviously, and forcefully driving humanity to confront an unprecedented and catastrophic environmental upheaval.

Currently, a great majority of the world’s leadership is patriarchal and bending towards the regressive ideologies of Authoritarianism. And even though we are already facing the dawn of catastrophic events caused by the impact that under their leadership we have made on the environment, these madmen continue to re-enforce the unsustainable concepts of voracious consumerism and unlimited growth that have incited the crisis.

As I wrote in my previous post, I believe that the main reasons behind the crisis are 1 – the erroneous perception that homo sapiens is separate from and better than Nature, and 2 – the way that this perception gives us the ‘right’ to plunder Nature with complete disregard for the consequences of our actions.

In order for humanity to move away from this erroneous perception, it is imperative that science steps in once again in a manner similar to what Galilei did centuries ago, and dare tell us our true relation to Nature: That as neurons in our brains are deeply embedded and totally dependent on our bodies for survival, so we are deeply embedded and totally dependent on Nature for survival; and as we endow each neuron with the capacity to be a catalyst for transformation, so Nature endows each one of us with the capacity to be a catalyst for transformation. Nature is us, as we are Nature.

The claim that we need to ‘save the planet’ is well-intentioned, but it is misguiding: it shifts focus away from what we, as a species, have done to the planet. The planet does not need to be saved. It is we who need saving. Earth will go on as it has for eons of time, a bit changed for what we have done to it, but it will go on giving perhaps other species the opportunity we squandered.

Of all the creatures we know of, we seem to be the ones with the highest capacity for conscious self-reflection. We have accomplished much but still don’t know much about the universe that lives in us, nor about the universe in which we live and from which we come into existence. And if we wiped ourselves off the face of the Earth, we will never know how those two universes become one in each one of us.

How terribly sad that would be!

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