Archive for April, 2016

148 – (System[e=mc2]) or simply (S[e=mc2]) …

Friday, April 15th, 2016

At the most fundamental level a body, or system, or phenomenon, is a single substance with dual contents: one is Mass, the other Energy.

A body grows and develops within a supportive environment through an instinctive process of assimilation, transformation and dissipation of energy sources … converting energy into mass and mass into energy. This process is inherited from primal ancestry, but it is subject to the rigors of a Universal Principle E=mc2 “The mass of a body is a measure of its energy-content”* … which demands (without regards to size or level of complexity) that the body attains, and sustains, relatively constant equilibrium between its mass and the energy it assimilates from, and dissipates back into its environment. No exemptions to this rule; nothing in Nature … nothing, not even us … can grow and develop without abiding by this Universal Principle. And if for any reason (environmental devastation, disease, age, catastrophic event) a body is rendered unable to sustain equilibrium between its fundamental contents, it either restructures or perish.

Let us apply the rigors of the Universal Principle to bodies/systems/phenomenon most of us are familiar with: The human body and the human species.

Engendered upon the union of ovum and sperm, each one of us instinctively begins our development within a supportive environment through the process of assimilation, transformation and dissipation of energy sources which are provided, at first, by nutrients in the womb, and thereafter by the resources of the environment at large. From the moment the first two cells merge and become one of us, we innately know how to abide, in order to survive amidst constant change, by the Universal Principle. And so, whether we do it instinctively or with self-determination, at every step of our development … from duplication of cells, to a mature, self-reflective being … we keep what we consume in relative equilibrium with what we put out; we must restructure if we fail to do so, or perish otherwise.

Our species has evolved within the supportive environment of the earth through the instinctive process of assimilation, transformation and dissipation of energy sources … converting energy into mass (population growth) and mass into the energy of evolutionary development. This process is under the equal rigors of the Universal Principle … E=mc2 “The mass of a body is a measure of its energy content” … which demands that as the species develops, we attain, and sustain … whether we do it by total instinct or by our determination … a relatively constant equilibrium between what we assimilate from the environment and what we dissipate back into it. If we, as a whole, are unable to sustain this equilibrium, we either restructure, or perish.

Whether it is a molecule, a cell, a tree, a human being, a species, a planet, a galaxy    the process of assimilation, transformation and dissipation in equilibrium with the intake and release of energy sources, is crucial to Survival. But Survival is not possible without the capacity of the body, system or phenomenon, to be in equilibrium with its environment.

And so, if survival in Nature is not possible without the actual physical action of a body, system, or phenomenon to attain … whether it is by instinct or self-determination … relative equilibrium not only between its mass and energy contents, but also with the environment in which its survival depends – would it not then be more accurate for E=mc2 to be represented as (System[e=mc2]), or simply (S[e=mc2])? Would it not the global acceptance of this knowledge bring in us the full realization of the fact that, our exponential growth, compounded by the unsustainable levels of our consumption, is changing irreversibly the chemical equilibrium of the environment in which our survival depends?

*Einstein’s September 1905 paper. Highlight mine.

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147 – Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? V …

Friday, April 1st, 2016

Update on my quest to answer the profound questions posed by Paul Gauguin on the title of one of his most beautiful and enigmatic paintings. The main change from previous updates* is the substitution of Source by Substance, which I believe better reflects the processes of unfolding and interacting and bonding and adapting  and transforming, not only in us, but in every physical system in Nature.

Where do we come from?

We emerge out of a living, self-determined, primordial Substance; a self-creative, self-organizing, self-generating, self-perpetuating, self-transforming phenomenon whose onward movement we call Evolution. But Evolution is just the transformation of the Substance … amid trial and error, creation and destruction … towards higher and higher orders of complexity and order. And because the transformation of the Substance is measurable, its creativity evident, its self-determination discernible, some of us call it God, but we tend to call God what we cannot understand. And because its movement can be manipulated and it can manipulate us, some of us call it Nature, but Nature is just the manifestation of the Substance into myriad supple forms. And because we can only imagine its beginning as an ‘explosion out of nowhere’, some of us call it the Big Bang, but that ‘explosion’ was merely the birth of one of many universes.

And although the Substance thrives in us and in everything around us … in the flow of primal blood in our veins, in our innate need to bond, in our urge to re-generate, in the compelling instinct to adapt and survive, in the boundless creativity and ingenuity of Life, in the self-organization of molecules into a double helix, in the congregation of stars into galaxies, 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 Substance is, how it might have been engendered, what its purpose might be, we cannot comprehend. Not yet – perhaps we never will.

What are we?

Infinitesimally small from the dimension of the stars and enormously immense from the dimension of the atoms, we are manifestations of the living Substance; heirs to its universal mandate to Become, to Self-organize, to Bond, to Re-generate, to Adapt, to Survive, to Transform, ensuring thus our participation in the renewal and perpetuation of its onward movement.

And although our actions and reactions are mostly driven by primal instincts, and although limited by internal and external environments, we are, as far as we know, the only manifestation of the Substance that has evolved the conscious awareness of self-awareness; the self-awareness of our degree of freedom to choose, to see beyond immediacy, to voluntarily transform ourselves and our world. And so, like the Substance itself, we are sources of Transformation.

Where are we going?

Limited by our internal and external environments yet pregnant with the possibilities of a degree of freedom to transform ourselves and our world, we forge ahead until we no longer can, at which point we begin an inexorable transformation, back into the Substance from which we initially emerged, and onward onto Transcendence as 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, we transcend in equal measure to the significance of our lives.

Think of Einstein – opening still new visions and challenging our understanding of Reality; think of Mandela or Gandhi – inspiring still pacifist rebellion against the tyranny of unaccountable power; think of Socrates – stimulating still critical thinking and fueling the generation of new ideas; think of Gauguin – living still in his beautiful paintings, especially the one that keeps asking these profound questions. These individuals … to name a few … live on in us and among us in higher orders of our collective humanity; their place among us, their transcendence, a measure of the significance of their lives.

WHERE DO WE COME FROM? We emerge out of a living, self-creative, self-determined Substance.

WHAT ARE WE? We are self-conscious sources of Transformation.

WHERE ARE WE GOING? At this point in the evolution of our collective humanity we truly do not know where we are going … we have no vision other than material gain … but as individuals we may transcend as measured by the significance of our lives.

TRANSCENDENCE IS A MEASURE OF THE SIGNIFICANCE OF EXISTENCE.

“All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,/And to die is different from what anyone supposed, and luckier.”

From Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

*Post 78, 95, 118 and 134.

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