Archive for September, 2015

134 – Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? IV

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Gauguin

This is another attempt on my quest to answer what I believe are the most profound questions posited to the human mind.* The questions are the title of Paul Gauguin’s most enigmatic painting (shown above – click on picture to enlarge). In trying to answer the questions I am reaching a deeper understanding of what we are in the scheme of Nature, a deeper understanding of the Source from which we all emerge and into which we all ultimately return.

Where do we come from?

We emerge out of a self-creative primordial Source; a self-organizing, self-generating, self-perpetuating phenomenon whose onward movement we call Evolution. But Evolution is just the progression of the Source … amid trial and error, formation and dissolution … into higher and higher orders of complexity and order. And since this progression is measurable, its creativity evident, its self-determination discernible, its power tremendous, some of us call it God, but we tend to call God what we cannot understand. And since its movement can be manipulated and it can manipulate us, some of us call it Nature, but Nature is just its manifestations into diverse and myriad forms. And since we can only imagine its beginning as an explosion out of nowhere, some of us call it the Big Bang, but that was merely the birth of one of its many universes.

And although the Source thrives inside of us and all around us (in the pulse of primal blood in our veins, in our inborn urge to bond and re-generate, in the compelling instinct to adapt and survive, in the boundless creativity and ingenuity of Life, in the selective self-organization of galaxies into spirals and globular clusters, in the constant creation of solar and atomic systems out of recycled forms of energy and mass, in the self-reflective contemplation of self-reflection), what the Source is, what its purpose might be, we are not developed enough to comprehend it.

What are we?

Infinitesimally small from the dimension of the stars and enormously immense from the dimension of the atoms, we are manifestations of a primordial self-creative Source that imprints us all from the moment of creation with a universal mandate to bond, to self-organize, to re-generate, to adapt, to survive, thus ensuring our participation in the renewal and perpetuation of its onward movement.

And although our actions and reactions are mostly driven by primal instincts, we have nonetheless evolved a conscious awareness of a degree of freedom to choose, to see beyond immediacy, to transform ourselves and our world. And so we are a most amazing creation of a primordial Source that creates life to recreate itself. We are self-conscious sources of Transformation.

Where are we going?

Pregnant with the possibilities of a degree of freedom to transform ourselves and our world yet limited by our internal and external environments, we forge ahead until we no longer can; at which point we begin the transformation into our inexorable dissolution and potential transcendence into higher realms of the Source from which we emerged. But transcendence is impartially measured by

what we have imagined,

what we have created,

what we have destroyed,

what we have taken,

what we have given to our world,

and so, transcendence is measured by the significance of our lives.

Think of Einstein – opening new visions and challenging our understanding of reality; think of Mandela – inspiring pacifist rebellion against the tyranny of unaccountable power; think of Socrates’ Method – stimulating critical thinking and fueling the transformation of ideas; think of Gauguin – living on in his beautiful paintings, especially the one that keeps asking his profound questions. The deeds of these individuals, to name a few, live on in us; they transcended their lives transforming into higher manifestations of our collective humanity – still challenging us, encouraging us, transforming us, inviting us – their transcendence a measure of the significance of their lives.

WHERE DO WE COME FROM? We emerge out of a self-creative primordial Source.

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.

Transcendence is a measure of the significance of existence.

* Former attempts on Posts 78, 95 and 118.

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133 – The Failure of Natural Science

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Natural Science, as an Institution for the advancement of Knowledge, has failed to apply the discoveries of its physical theories to Humanity as part of the natural Order, perpetuating the myth that human beings are separate from Nature, and therefore sharing in great part the responsibility for our ignorance about our relationship with Nature.

This failure is mostly due to the complete exclusion of the human being from the physical theories. Let’s take a couple of theories and look at some of the human properties they describe but are never applied to us:

1 – Einstein’s mass-energy equivalence, embodied in the symbol = (equal) of the equation E=mc2 and elucidated in his own words: “The mass content of a body is a measure of its energy content”, implies that energy and mass are the same thing, increasing and decreasing content simultaneously in equivalent amounts … energy increases as mass increases, and energy decreases as mass decreases … while the body, the container, the system, continues a relatively stable relationship with its environment. Is this not, fundamentally, what we do in our every day life? You and I? Do we not … as the body, the container, the system … decrease our energy by exerting it in action and motion and force, and then increase it when it begins to run out with relatively equivalent amounts of foods and liquids and rest? Do we not inherently know how to keep these transactions … this increasing and decreasing … in measured equilibrium as we continue to develop our relationship with the environment? We tend to identify E=mc2 with the power of the atomic bomb, but do we not have the potential energy to change how groups, communities, countries, entire civilizations act and think?

2 – Niels Bohr’s Complementarity, embodied in the particle-wave duality of Light, implies that some objects have multiple properties which appear to be unconnected but are instead indivisible complements of a whole. Light is particle-like and wave-like, not one or the other, both at the same time. We can experience the wave-like property of Light in sunrises and electricity and aurora borealis; and with the appropriate instruments we can experience the particle-like property of Light in the activity and impact of individual photons. But although we may experience these properties as unconnected, they are indivisible; one cannot exist without the other. Similarly, we can experience our particle-like property … our individuality, the utter uniqueness of our minds … as we can experience our wave-like property … the movement of human history, the evolution of the species … but although they may have the appearance of detachment, they are indivisible; one cannot exist without the other. As Light cannot be wave-like streams without photons, Humanity cannot be a wave-like evolutionary force without us.

Light is a duality, and so are we. Light is photons and waves; we are individual human beings and the moods, the fears, the evolution of a species. Either part cannot exist without the other. Accepting this fact of our reality will throw us into a whole new era of wonder.

Without scientific insights into the physical nature of reality, we could not have achieved our level of technological advances. But the current, almost exclusive focus of Natural Science on Reductionism have us going around in a blind circle, believing in the illusion that we can understand Life, our Universe, by reducing them to their minutest particle-like properties, while leaving aside the wave-like complement that makes them whole; this is really like trying to understand a picture by focusing on one of its pixels.

Natural Science is, without question, incredibly ingenious and daring, but not enough to debunk the myth that we are separate from Nature. The consequences of this failure are obvious in the state of our world: Great scientific advances, but a horrible humanitarian and devastating environmental record.

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.