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 our 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 the progression of the Source is the fundamental origin of our existence, what it is, how it might have been engendered, what its purpose might be, we do not know.

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, Self-organize, Bond, Re-generate, Adapt, Self-perpetuate, 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 Primal 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 those 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 because the significance of their accomplishments transcended into our lives, we are 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.

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 and order in the unfolding of the Primordial Source.

Last updated January 1, 2018. Post 188

Note: New posts are usually published on the 1st and 15th of the month. To subscribe to the Blog, click on the RSS feeder (orange icon) on the left column of the Home page, down below the Archives.

204 – How terribly sad that would be!

I cannot but to be stunned by how, without apparent concern, our political and economic leadership 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!

Note: New posts are usually published on the 1st and 15th of the month. To subscribe to the Blog, click on the RSS feeder (orange icon) on the left column of the Home page, down below the Archives.

203 – Undividedness …

The Universe is us, as we are the Universe.

Of all the animals on Earth, we are the only ones devoid of a sense of undividedness from the Medium – what we call Nature – in which we are embedded, the Medium that provides us with sources of sustenance yet also makes us a source of sustenance (food chain). But since humankind has evolved into the dominant species on Earth, we have no significant predators other than viruses, and ourselves.

The innate capacity to perceive an undivided connection with Nature is annihilated as soon as we open our eyes, when we begin to be shown the world and all its contents as separate from us, opposite to us, conflicting with us.

The loss of a sense of oneness with Nature makes us insolent, apathetic, and turns us into the deadly creatures who, now in such great numbers, are ravaging our environment, precipitating mass extinctions, taunting Nature, sowing our own demise.

Rilke put the significance of this loss within the lines of his insightful poetry: Who shows a child as he really is? Who place him among the stars and puts the measuring stick of separation into his hands? … Murderers are easy to understand. But this, though: death, all of death, even before life has begun, to hold it all so gently and without rancor, this is beyond description. *

We do this to ourselves and our progeny because most of us do not know the difference. Our sense of separation from Nature was reaffirmed by Rene Descartes in the seventeenth century, and his erroneous claim that the mind is a separate entity from the body has since dominated our perception of the world.

This error should have been corrected in the first half of the Twentieth Century with the introduction of Niels Bohr’s Complementarity. The premise of the theory is that all properties (like mind and body, particle and wave, light and dark) exist in pairs, and that although the properties may seem mutually exclusive, they are nonetheless complementary manifestations of the same system. But due to the reticence of the physical sciences to apply the findings of their theories to the physical systems of our bodies, the concept of complementarity in Nature has not been commonly assimilated in human perception. And thus, Descartes’ misconception continues to dominate how we perceive the world, perpetuating the erroneous sense of separation that inhibits our innate sense of undividedness from Nature.

But our sense of undividedness, although inhibited in most of us, is not dead; it is dormant and can be re-awakened. And for those of us who can perceive it, it haunts us with the beauty of its possibilities and the damaging impact of its inhibition. And so, we rebel against a culture dominated by a mistake a man made centuries ago; a culture that even though is beginning the feel the pangs of its treatment of Nature as something separate, persists on dividing the indivisible.

Ah! To know, to see, to sense that the Universe is us as we are the Universe, is the pinnacle of perception.

*Rainier Maria Rilke – excerpts from the Fourth Elegy

Note: New posts are usually published on the 1st and 15th of the month. To subscribe to the Blog, click on the RSS feeder (orange icon) on the left column of the Home page, down below the Archives.

202 – This is not what we are, but what we are turned into …

The human animal is, to me, the most beautiful creature in Nature. There is nothing as beautiful as the sight of two human beings in love with each other. There is nothing as beautiful as a mother’s face at the first sight of her newborn baby. Nothing as beautiful as a human mind trying to understand itself and the universe in which it lives. Nothing as beautiful as the search for tenderness and love in the eyes of a baby. Nothing as beautiful as the breathtaking sights of a fiery sunset or a graceful rainbow. Nothing as beautiful as human altruism, compassion, understanding, acceptance, love.

Yet the human animal is the cruelest creature in Nature. There is nothing as cruel as the torturing of another one of us with the purpose of degrading, humiliating, inflicting as much physical and emotional pain as possible. There is nothing as cruel as the bending of human ingenuity to create ever more powerful weapons of mass destruction. There is nothing as cruel as the plundering of pristine and delicate environments for the profits of greedy corporations. There is nothing as cruel as the enslaving of the human mind to serve the destructive machinations of Greed. There is nothing as cruel as a starving child in the midst of obscene wealth.

We are the most beautiful creatures in Nature, yet we are the cruelest. What a baffling conundrum we are!

Nothing is born cruel in Nature. Nothing. But in cultures dominated by a Paradigm that incites the alienation from and the frantic control over Nature, the human mind, especially in the impressionable and easily manipulated infancy when it is totally dependent on others, can be thrown into a survival mode in which it turns against its inherent instincts … love, empathy, tolerance … to become instead not only contentious, intolerant, cruel, but worse, the instigator of these destructive trends on its progeny.

This is not what we are, but what we are turned into.

Note: New posts are usually published on the 1st and 15th of the month. To subscribe to the Blog, click on the RSS feeder (orange icon) on the left column of the Home page, down below the Archives.

201 – Presence …

Although I don’t actually feel it, my body is constantly changing: Cells die and are replaced with new ones that already know the functions of those they are replacing; my heart constantly pumps re-oxygenated blood to revitalize every niche in my body; my brain and nervous systems constantly adjust to meet emotional and physical changes.

These are but a very few of the many amazing feats my body is constantly accomplishing. But there is another one: A mysterious, astonishing feat, yet so fundamental I could not exist without it. I refer to the process through which the combination of the myriad components of my body collectively generates the Presence, the Persona, I project into the world.

And as astonishing as this is, there is something even more astonishing about me: Of all the living species I know of on Earth, I … homo sapiens … have become self-conscious of that Presence to an extent that I can trace its development, not only through my own personal history but through the evolutionary history of the species. But somehow I have become incapable of taking responsibility for the impact my Presence makes on the world. And as a consequence, I am facing an impending environmental upheaval of terrifying proportions.

Is it not astonishing? It has taken homo sapiens eons of grueling evolutionary processes for me to become conscious of my Presence in the world, but because I don’t want to take responsibility for what it is doing to the world, I might be wiped out, without a trace, from the face of the Earth.

Note: New posts are usually published on the 1st and 15th of the month. To subscribe to the Blog, click on the RSS feeder (orange icon) on the left column of the Home page, down below the Archives.

200 – Notice

Due to unanticipated circumstances, I will no be posting on July 1st.

Note: New posts are usually published on the 1st and 15th of the month. To subscribe to the Blog, click on the RSS feeder (orange icon) on the left column of the Home page, down below the Archives.

199 – Beautiful and Horrific …

As a species, our history is both beautiful and horrific.

Of all the animals on Earth that we know of, the human animal is the only one capable of reaching the most extreme opposites in the spectrum of behaviors: We can be intelligent, thoughtful, creative, altruistic, compassionate, wise, gentle, excruciatingly beautiful. And we can be greedy, selfish, intolerant, destructive, corrupt, barbarous, cruel, deceitful, grotesquely oblivious to our own monstrosities.

I believe it is extremely important in our education to acknowledge both sides … the beautiful and the horrific in us; the terrifying reaches of our inhumanity and the beautiful summits of our humanity … together they tell us how we have come to be what we are.

From a chimp-like humanoid to the evolving creature we call Homo Sapiens, we have adapted to every habitable niche on the surface of the planet; we have learned to manage the resources of the Earth to feed our exploding population growth; we have overcome the limitations of our organic senses to explore the immensity of the universe and the microscopic world of the atomic particles; we have evolved sophisticated languages to talk about life, love, wisdom, happiness;  we have the capacity to reach extraordinary heights of altruism during catastrophic events; we have developed amazingly complex technologies to create, among other things, a hand-held gadget that connects us with the rest of us; we have become aware of the amazing beauty of our own awareness.

But we have allowed greed to become the driving force behind our economic, religious, and political paradigms. A selfish, reckless greed for power and possessions that has overtaken us, blinding us to such levels of irrationality that knowingly, we … the most thoughtful, creative, altruistic, compassionate, wise, gentle, excruciatingly beautiful animal on Earth … send millions of us into abject poverty and desperation, and we, with full knowledge of what we are doing, devise weaponry capable of wiping life off the face of the Earth.

Most behaviors that drive us to commit horrible things … selfishness, blindness, intolerance, corruption, destructiveness, cruelty, deceitfulness … stem from our greed. Recognizing this may be a first step in understanding why we, Homo Sapiens (wise!!!), have come to create a world where in the midst of obscene wealth millions die of starvation; a world where the profits of the war machine are of more consequence than the millions killed by the ravages of manufactured conflict; a world where the horrors committed in the name of greed make it difficult for us to see how beautiful we are.

Note: New posts are usually published on the 1st and 15th of the month. To subscribe to the Blog, click on the RSS feeder (orange icon) on the left column of the Home page, down below the Archives.

198 – What have we created? …

What have we created that when faced with of a society where the future is a bleak promise of constant conflict, destruction, intolerance, hate, cruelty, division, irrationality, deceit, inequality;

where half the population struggles to make ends meet while the other half struggles not to notice, and there is no time left to hear the young cries of distress;

where opioids and weapons of war are abundant and easier to get than a six-pack of beer;

where suicide is the third leading cause of death in young people between the ages of 10 and 24; *

where prostituted educational systems brainwash young minds to believe that it is right to promote the deadly corporate agenda pillaging the earth, stealing their future, obliterating hope;

a society so accomplished and resourceful, so promising, yet so distraught by intolerance, by our terrifying silence about the ravages we cause, the pain we inflict, that a seventeen-year-old in Texas, a nineteen-year-old in Florida, a fifteen-year-old in Kentucky … to name just a few of the kids behind dozens of school shootings … can come, with horrific premeditation, to the decision that the only alternative is to kill as many people as possible?

What have we created?

Note: New posts are usually published on the 1st and 15th of the month. To subscribe to the Blog, click on the RSS feeder (orange icon) on the left column of the Home page, down below the Archives.

*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

197 – Self-Reflection is Innate in Nature …

Why is it so difficult for the human mind to comprehend the premise that self-reflection is innate in Nature? How else can anything on its own power attain stability, cohesion, balance, form, if not with introspection about itself?

Think about a tree. To grow on its own power into a cohesive and functional form, a tree must attain relatively constant equilibrium between its intake of energy from the environment and the energy it exerts to produce its physical structure. It cannot exist otherwise.

Or our solar system. To develop on its own power into a cohesive, functional and relatively stable system, our solar system must attain constant equilibrium between its force of attraction and its force of resistance. It would collapse otherwise.

Or ourselves. To develop on our own power into a cohesive, dynamic, and relatively stable organism, we must attain constant equilibrium between our level of activity and our intake of nutrients. We collapse otherwise.

Any two forces, elements, or quantities that develop as a unit, cannot attain relatively constant equilibrium … one always measuring the other … without a degree of self-reflection. This capacity, although mostly instinctive, is innate in Nature.

Yet we … the human animal … have evolved the capacity of conscious self-reflection, to be aware of our capacity to reflect upon ourselves and our world. But this level of self-reflection is just a small step up on the ladder of our ongoing evolutionary development.

So how, I wonder, would we be like when, and if, we come to possess higher degrees of conscious self-reflection than the germinal one we possess today? Would we be able to perceive our connection with everything in Nature through the fierce power of Life in us to self-generate, adapt, and survive? Or would we perhaps be able to reflect upon our genesis and trace the making of our destiny to evolve a mind … atom by atom, cell by cell, connection by connection …that perceives the Order that created it?

Note: New posts are usually published on the 1st and 15th of the month. To subscribe to the Blog, click on the RSS feeder (orange icon) on the left column of the Home page, down below the Archives.

196 – I am a Presence in the Universe

I am a presence in the Universe,

A catalyst for transformation.

Aware of my own awareness

I trace the making of my destiny,

And knowing where I must go

I set my mind free.

Note: New posts are usually published on the 1st and 15th of the month. To subscribe to the Blog, click on the RSS feeder (orange icon) on the left column of the Home page, down below the Archives.