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 the Physical Sciences …

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

The physical sciences, as an Institution for the advancement of knowledge, have failed to apply their discoveries to the human being as an element of the physical world they try to understand, therefore perpetuating the fallacy of our detachment from Nature and our ignorance about our relationship with the natural world.

This failure is mostly due to the complete exclusion of the human being from their physical theories. This is evident in the theories below, which using human terminology to describe their properties, exclude us altogether from them.

1 – Einstein’s mass-energy Equivalence, embodied in the symbol = in E=mc2, and reasserted in Einstein’s own words: “The mass content of a body is a measure of its energy content”, implies that disregarding their quantities, the contents of the fundamental complements of a ‘body’ – mass and energy – must remain equivalent yet interchangeable and adaptable as the body unfolds in its relationship with environments.

Is this not basically what we do in our everyday life? Do we not consume energy sources from the environment (foods, oxygen), store them as volume and weight, and then release them back as action, motion, while keeping these transactions, this increasing, decreasing, consuming, releasing, in relative equilibrium – one a measure of the other – as we develop in relationship with environments?

We tend to identify the equivalence of energy and mass with the physics of atomic interactions, but we never think that it also applies to us.

2 – Niels Bohr’s Complementarity, embodied in the particle-wave duality of Light, implies that objects in Nature have multiple properties that appear to be unconnected yet are indivisible. Light, for instance, is particle-like in its fundamental unit, the photon, and wave-like in the patterns photons make as they interact with environments – aurora borealis, the rays of the sun. These properties may appear to be unconnected, but they are indivisible; one cannot exist without the other.

Similarly, we experience our duality in our particle-like sense of individuality and the wave-like moods, traditions, and evolution of our species. But although these properties may appear unconnected, they are indivisible; one cannot exist without the other. Yet we identify Complementarity with the properties of Light but not with us.

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 the physical sciences on Reductionism, have us going around in a blind circle believing in the illusion that we can understand Life, our Universe, by reducing everything to their minutest particle-like properties, while leaving aside the wave-like complement that makes them whole; this is like trying to understand a picture by focusing on one of its pixels, or a human brain by isolating one of its neurons.

Physical 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 evident in the state of our world: We make great scientific advances but have a horrendous humanitarian and environmental record.

As Light cannot be without photons, Humanity cannot be without us. Either complement cannot exist without the other. Accepting this fact of our reality will throw us into a whole new era of wonder.

Revised July 2020   

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