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 profound and 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, creation and dissolution, the Source unfolds into higher and higher orders of complexity and order. And because the progression of the Source is relatively measurable, its ingenuity self-evident, its self-determination palpable, some of us call it God, but we tend to call God what we cannot understand; some others call it Nature, but Nature is the manifestation of the Source into myriad creations; some others call it the Big Bang, but that was merely the birth of one of many universes.

And even though the Source is thriving within us and all around us – in the pulse of primal blood in our veins, in the 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?

Infinitesimally small from the dimension of the stars and vastly immense from the dimension of the atoms, we are manifestations of the transforming Source imprinted from the moment of origin with its universal mandate to self-generate, self-organize, bond, adapt, self-regulate, transform, so its onward movement is renewed and perpetuated; and yet we are also infused with a mostly instinctive yet highly self-determined degree of freedom to choose, to act, to transform, to see beyond immediacy. And thus we are self-determined 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, at which time we begin the inexorable process of dissipation back into the ancient Source from which we initially emerged. But dissipation back into the Source is not an end but the transformation in which

what we have imagined,

what we have created,

what we have destroyed,

what we have taken,

what we have given,

what we have done, or not, to change ourselves and our world, will transcend in equal measure into higher levels of complexity and order of the self-transforming Source.

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

How far into the future we will transcend, depends on the significance of what we do with our lives.

Revised April 2020   

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.

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 its origin led me to the Greek philosopher Anaxagoras, who said that in Nature “Everything is in everything”. And 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 their ideas, I came to the realization that, as human animals, we are constituent parts of Nature, insignificant forms of Life from the perspective of the Universe, yet significant from the perspective of the world of the atomic particles, the molecules, and the cells from which we are made. And so, by trying to understand the world within us, I began to understand the connection between the world of the microcosm, and the world in which we experience, and the world of the macrocosm in which everything exists.

Spiritual leaders and great thinkers 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 reaffirmations of the physical sciences that we are separate from Nature by not including us in their theories, and the assertions of organized religion that we are a “special” creation, is about impossible for us to perceive our Oneness, our unity with Nature.

But 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 organized and interconnected 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 growth, action, and motion in equivalent measure with the energy consumed [Relativity]. We are syntheses of complementary properties manifested as particle-like in our individuality and wave-like in the evolutionary process of a species and universal-like in the universal blueprint that maps our development, not one at a time, all at the same time [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 our survival; disturbances in the sources challenge our development and may incite/demand not only physical but also perceptual transformations [Dissipative Structures]. We are self-bounded systems self-perpetuating by the generation of our own components while preserving a fundamental structural configuration [Autopoiesis]. We are self-governing systems bound together through the reiteration of a master plan – a universal blueprint[1] – 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 proven by the few scientific theories mentioned above. They describe the steering process of a master plan – a universal blueprint – that unites everything in Nature, including us, in inciting the progression of the evolutionary movement towards Complexity and Order.

Science and Religion are the two most powerful forces influencing how we understand ourselves and 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?

“Everything is in everything.”

Revised April 2020   

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.

[1] Self-organization, bonding, self-generation, self-regulation, adaptation, self-perpetuation, transformation