37 – Autopoiesis …

There is a beautiful side in Human Nature that we are not allowed to explore because it would do away with Religion, as we know it.

Religion is beneficial in the sense that it brings people together to help other people, but it is poisonous when, in the words of Albert Camus, “to preserve its faith, it must deny the sun and humiliate free man”.*

Religious dogma denies Reality and opts for fantastic fabrications to attract and intimidate its followers, and it punishes the natural inquisitiveness of the human mind by ‘damning’ those who question its irrational fabrications.

The side of us that we are not allowed to explore has been partially explained in a beautiful way in Autopoiesis; the mostly unknown yet compelling Theory Humberto Maturana and Francisco Valera wrote in 1972.

Autopoiesis (from the Greek roots Auto, which means Self, and Poiesis, which means Creating) means Self-creating. An Autopoietic System ‘is a network in which the function of each component is to participate in the production or transformation of other components within the System’.

The properties of Autopoietic Systems can be summarized in terms of three criteria: Self-bounded, self-generating and Self-perpetuating.

• ‘To be Self-bounded means that the System’s extension is determined by a boundary that is an integral part of the network’: Think of the membrane of a Cell.
• ‘To be Self-generating means that all components, including those of the boundary, are produced by processes within the network’: Think of an entire human body produced out of two cells.
• ‘To be Self-perpetuating means that the production processes continue over time, so that all components are continually replaced while the System preserves its pattern of organization’: Think about the human species and how it preserves itself while constantly being replaced as we all come and go.*

Although composed of other systems that are themselves changing and constantly being regenerated, and although embedded within other systems that are on their own changing and being regenerated, the Autopoietic System maintains a basic design that is continuous, progressive and self-preserving.

Like atoms, or cells, or species, or planetary systems, we … all of us – without exception … are Self-contained inside a boundary … our ‘membrane’ … which defines the make-up of our bodies; and we are self-generating in the sense that we consume energy sources from the environment to generate and re-place and refine our component elements; and we are self-perpetuating in the sense that we not only find the way to build a continuous form of Existence in time and space, but are driven by a Primordial Force … what we call Desire and Sex and Love and Attraction … that incites the satisfaction of insisting urges within us, and thus the Species is perpetuated.

But because this Primordial Force is driven by the urge to feel Pleasure, and because Sex is the most electrifying expression of Pleasure, and because when consenting and in the knowing of what we are doing Sex can be the closest sensation we experience to touching and arousing and joining Universal Powers, Religion inhibits not only its exploration, but also the knowledge that we have come to be what we are because we are driven mostly by Desire, and not by the creation of gods imagined thousands of years ago by men with an archaic knowledge of Nature and a frantic need to control the rising inquisitiveness of the human mind.

The side of human nature we are not allowed to explore shows us that we are driven by Primal Forces that endow us not only with the sensation of Pleasure, but also with the capacity to create and refine a form of existence that can break away from its own boundaries and unravel the Order of Nature … and witness and question the damaging divisiveness of religious dogma.

Share the knowledge.

* Albert Camus’ The Rebel
* Excerpts on Autopoeisis are taken from F. Capra’s ‘The Web of Life’
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