Archive for January, 2015

118 – Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? III

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

This is an update on my attempt to answer what I believe to be the most challenging questions posed to the human mind: Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? These questions were immortalized by Paul Gauguin on one of his most beautiful and enigmatic paintings (The painting can be seen in the Pictures page. See posts 78 and 95 for previous attempts.).

Where do we come from?

We emerge out of a primordial and transforming Source; a self-organizing, self-reflective phenomenon whose onward movement we call Evolution. But Evolution is just the self-generating process with which … amid trial and error, formation and dissolution … the primordial Source unfolds into higher and higher orders of complexity and order. And because the progression of the Source is relatively measurable, its ingenuity evident, its self-determination palpable, some of us call it God, but we tend to call God what we cannot understand; some of us call it Nature, but Nature is just its creative manifestation into myriad components; some of us call it the Big Bang, but that was merely the birth of one of many universes.

And even though the Source is thriving inside of us and around us … in the pulse of primal blood in our veins, in our inborn urge to bond and reproduce, in the compelling instinct to adapt, in the boundless creativity of Life, in the selective self-organization of galaxies into spiral and globular shapes, in the constant birth of solar and atomic systems out of recycled forms of energy and mass, in the self-reflecting contemplation of self-reflection … we are not developed enough to comprehend it – yet.

What are we?

We are manifestations of the Source (infinitesimally small from the dimension of the stars and immensely immense from the dimension of the atoms), mandated to obey from the moment of origin its universal blueprint … self-generate, self-organize, bond, adapt, reproduce … so its onward movement is renewed and perpetuated; and yet it infuses us with a certain degree of freedom … mostly instinctive but highly self-determined … to choose, to act, to transform, to see beyond immediacy. Therefore we are sources of Transformation.

Where are we going?

Driven mostly by primal instincts and limited by internal and external environments, we forge ahead, pregnant with possibilities, transforming ourselves and our world until we no longer can, to begin the inexorable process of dissolution back into the ancient Source from which we initially emerged. But this process is not an End but the Transformation in which, in equal measure to

what we have done,

what we have imagined,

what we have created,

what we have destroyed,

what we have taken,

what we have given,

how we have changed ourselves and our world … the significance of our Legacy … will, or will not transcend into higher levels of complexity, into the beginning of a new chapter in other realms of the self-organizing, the self-transforming and … since its onward movement towards complexity is evident … the self-imagining Source.

Think of the Socratic Method – still stimulating critical thinking and illuminating ideas; think of Mandela’s courage – still inspiring a pacifist rebellion against the tyranny of unaccountable power; think of Einstein’s E=mc2 – still challenging our understanding of reality. The deeds of Socrates and Mandela and Einstein live on. The measure of their contribution to Humanity transcended their lives and is with us, encouraging us, challenging us, transforming us.

How far into the future our Legacy will live depends on how significant what we do with our life is.

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117 – Can we look not at what Separates us but at what Unites us …

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

Early in my life, I was introduced to the concept that “Everything resembles everything”. The search for the origin of this concept led me to the Greek philosopher Anaxagoras, who said that in Nature “Everything is in everything”. The search for the meaning of his words led me to study the theories of some of Humanity’s great thinkers. As I began to understand the philosophical thought behind the prowess of their theories, I came to the realization that, as human animals, we are constituent parts of Nature; forms of Life insignificant from the perspective of the Universe, yet significant from the perspective of the world of atomic particles, molecules, cells, from which we are made. And so, by trying to understand the world within us, I began to understand its interconnection with the world in which we exist and from which we come to be what we are.

Spiritual leaders and great philosophers have told us in many ways throughout the ages that we are One with the Universe, and although this Truth sounds wonderful, it feels alien, detached, inscrutable to most of us. The main reason for this detachment is that between the reaffirmation of science and religion that we are separate from those worlds, is about impossible for us to perceive our Oneness, our unity with Nature.

Through proven scientific theories [in brackets below] and the lessons of ancient philosophies, our connection with all of Nature is apparent.

See it for yourself.

As atoms, and galaxies, and everything else in Nature, we are congregations of components cohesively connected as a unified whole [Bell’s Theorem]. We are, at the most fundamental level, contents of energy and mass in relative states of equilibrium – we consume energy, convert it into mass, and then exert it as the power of action and motion in equivalent measure to the energy consumed. [Relativity]. We are syntheses of complementary properties manifested as particle-like in our individuality and wave-like in our participation in the evolutionary process of a species and universal-like in the sharing of a universal blueprint that maps our self-organization, self-generation, bonding, self-regulation, adaptation, self-perpetuation, and transformation [Complementarity]. We are open, learning systems with a relative degree of freedom in adaptation yet ultimately determined by our internal and external environments [Evolution]. We are transient manifestations of existence completely dependent for our development on energy sources for survival, and disturbances in the sources challenge our development and may incite/demand not only physical but also perceptual transformations [Dissipative Structures]. We are self-bounded, self-generating and self-perpetuating systems infused with the innate capacity to make and regulate our own components while preserving a fundamental structural configuration [Autopoiesis]. We are relatively self-governed systems bound together through the reiteration of a universal blueprint – a master plan – that maps with a degree of flexibility our development (Mandelbrot Set). We are dynamic forces with the capacity to manipulate and be manipulated by the movement of Evolution and transcend into higher levels of complexity [Quantum Field Theory]. We are catalysts for transformation. As the world can change us, we can change the world.

These are some of the fundamental properties of naturally evolving systems enfolded in the few scientific theories mentioned above. They describe the steering process of a master plan – a universal blueprint – that inciting creativity through adaptation, fuels the progression of a movement towards Complexity and Order; a progression without which we would not be able to self-reflect upon the meaning and power of our own capacity to self-reflect.

Science and Religion are the two most powerful forces influencing our understanding of ourselves and of the world from where we come into existence; shouldn’t we demand of them to focus not on what separates us, but on what unites us?

Reviewed August 2019

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 or on the same icon on the barcode.