35 – On Dissipative Structures (Part II)

The Theory of Dissipative Structures gives us an insight into a Universal Order embodied in every Natural System in our Universe, including you and me.

As Natural Systems we must consume and release energy sources to support a continuous form of existence, but because we are dependent on a steady and sustained dissipation of energy sources, we are always in flux, always transforming. Therefore, environmental fluctuations or the availability of resources or opportunities to move up the evolutionary ladder, inevitably influence our unfolding.

Minor fluctuations may be surmounted without noticeable impact on the structural integrity of the System, but if the disturbance is significant, a part, or the entire System may have to be re-organized.

During a major fluctuation … like the asteroid impact that killed the dinosaurs during the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, or the plague that devastated Europe in the 1300s … the System is shaken up, and in order to cope with the new order novel ways to adapt are introduced. The old set of connections, the elements of the old pattern come into contact with each other in original ways and create the new connections necessary to adapt to the demand. If the System is successful in reorganizing, it is transformed into a higher level of complexity. But if it fails, the System will degenerate and may ultimately disappear.

• When a solar system congregates into a star and planets and moons and so forth, it creates an energy-based network of connections that links them all together at many points and in many ways into a relatively stable, cohesive, and dynamic System.
• When a species congregates into groups of organisms with basically the same fundamental characteristics, it creates an energy-based network of connections that links them all together at many points and in many ways into a relatively stable, cohesive, and dynamic System.
• When a human being congregates into groups of atoms and molecules and cells, it creates an energy-based network of connections that links them all together at many points and in many ways into a relatively stable, cohesive, and dynamic System.

But because the connections can only be sustained by a steady and dependable dissipation of energy sources, the System is vulnerable and is thus challenged when energy sources change. Examples of this are Famines created by changes in food supplies during natural disasters, or the disruptive destruction of wars, or when we lose our jobs and have to cut down on our energy consumption.

Thus depending on the scale and impact of the challenge, the System may have to recoil, or it may use the challenge as an opportunity to evolve into a higher level of complexity, or it might be driven to disappear altogether.

If a new level of stability is accomplished, the System is transformed into a more powerful and more complex organization. But this higher level of complexity demands ever greater sources of energy and will ultimately make the newly re-organized System more unstable, more dependent on the environment, and more vulnerable to internal and external fluctuations.

Notice the paradox, the more complex or intricately connected the System is, the more vulnerable and unstable it becomes. So increased complexity means increased vulnerability and instability. Amazingly enough, this very instability is the key either for the disintegration and ultimate demise of the System, or as a medium for the System to achieve higher levels of complexity and order.

The human species has grown into a multi-billion, techno-advanced, highly diversified, incredibly complex yet unstable and vulnerable System; our astonishing growth is clashing with the limited resources of the earth. And by not taking decisive action to address the impact of our growth on the environment that gives us Life, we are rapidly reaching a threshold from where we may not be able to recover.

Indoctrination into the subservient acceptance of a Paradigm that 1 – Shields our educational systems from teaching us about the impact of overpopulation 2 – Perpetuates the unsustainable economic doctrine of insatiable Consumerism 3 – Allows corporations to devastate natural resources 4 – Silences visionary, inquiring and dissenting minds 5 -Promotes beliefs that incite division and hate and inhibit rational inquiry into our symbiotic relationship with Nature, is driving us into our own destruction.

Like our species, or the earth, or the solar system, or the Milky Way, we are highly complex creations of Nature; each one of us is a one-of-a-kind organization of interconnected elements driven to unfold into relatively pre-determined and shared configurations. And although totally dependent on energy sources for our subsistence, we are all endowed with the dynamism to transform, not only ourselves, but the world around us. Like our species, or the earth, or the solar system, or the Milky Way, We are Catalysts for Transformation.

Accepting the Fact that we embody a Universal Order will catapult us into a more rational and beautiful understanding of ourselves and of the world that gives us Life.

So this is our plight: Whether we can move beyond our destructive Paradigm, or whether we allow it to destroy us.

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