Archive for the ‘Self-Reflection’ Category

119 –The Profound Meaning of the Greatest Insight …

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

Since postulated in 1905, we have been mesmerized … and rightly so … by the mathematical prowess of Einstein’s E=mc2. With E=mc2 Einstein quantified the universal equilibrium between energy and mass, opening the doors to technological advances and a greater understanding of the physical world. But the profound meaning of this greatest of insights has been outshined.

“The mass of a body is a measure of its energy content”. * These were Einstein’s own words on explaining E=mc2. If we could look at the equation from the point of view, not of the contents, but of the body, the physical system that, amidst development and change, measures the content of its mass so it is always in relative equilibrium with its energy content, we then would realize that we are looking at the primordial act of Self-reflection in Nature.

The capacity to self-reflect, although mostly instinctive, is tangible to us: As the mass of our bodies (the combination of bones, muscles, blood, neurons, nerve connections) increases or decreases as we develop and change, the energy required to keep us in action and motion increases or decreases in relative measure (more mass = more energy, less energy = less mass). We do this mostly without thinking. Our bodies know instinctively how to do this balancing act on their own. The big difference with us is that we can not only affect this ongoing balancing act within us, but that we can also affect it in the natural world in which we exist.

I have always wondered if Einstein knew the profound meaning of his insight. With Relativity he discovered the key to a universal law that not only unifies everything, but that also encourages the onward movement towards complexity and order so evident in Nature. But I don’t think he fully realized the immensity of what he had discovered.

The innate capacity of a body … any physical system … to self-reflect upon its own contents and keep them in relative equilibrium    is the key to Existence. Although outshined by its mathematical prowess, this is the profound meaning of one of the greatest insights of the human mind.

*Highlights mine

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109 – Self-reflection (Part III) …

Monday, September 1st, 2014

How incredible it is for a mind to be aware of its capacity to reflect upon itself.

Whichever way our Universe had its beginning, it was born with an absolute, non-negotiable rule: If anything coming into being within its realm was to exist as an ongoing process, it will have to find a way to keep its fundamental complements … mass and energy … in relative equilibrium.

This is the universal rule Einstein encapsulated in E=mc2. In his own words: “The mass of a body is a measure of its energy content”. Which in other words means that the mass of a body (its weight, its volume) must be in relative equilibrium with its energy content (its motion, its force). But the true significance of the rule rests not in the equilibrium between the contents, but on the fact that the body must continuously sustain that equilibrium as it changes, develops and evolves. And a sustained equilibrium between two contents cannot be achieved without a degree of self-reflection.

Equilibrium can be thrown off by internal and external events, but the body must restore it if it is to remain functional. The body begins to disintegrate once this self-reflective process is no longer feasible.

And thus, for instance, for a body like ours to remain functional while we develop and evolve, the content of our mass must always reflect the content of our energy. This is primordial self-reflection. Our bodies do it instinctively … mostly without our awareness … which is why we feel hunger and sleepiness when the energy exerted during activity needs to be replenished; this is why we feel unwell when we cannot bring our bodies back into equilibrium.

And so it is for solar systems or atoms or cells: In order to remain functional as they develop and evolve, their mass content must remain in relative equilibrium with their energy content. Once this primordial self-reflection cannot be sustained, they disintegrate back into their environments.

Although mostly instinctive, self-reflection is inherent in Nature. And we are no exemption. The big, big difference is that as far as we know, we are in the process of developing one of the greatest gifts Nature can bestow upon its creations: Conscious self-reflection.

Revised February 2018

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89 – Self-reflection and E=mc2 …

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Although Science has still to recognize it, Einstein’s greatest discovery was to capture in an equation the universality of self-reflective equilibrium in Nature. E=mc2 proves it.

Although the physical aspect of the equation has been proven through methodological scientific experimentation, its self-reflective aspect has yet to be explored.

In Einstein’s own words: “The mass of a body is a measure of its energy content” *, and vice-versa, I add. In other words: Notwithstanding size, nor level of complexity, nor environmental changes, for a body to be viable throughout the extent of its life, its mass content must remain relatively equivalent to its energy content. Once this equivalence cannot be sustained the body disintegrates.

The essence of e=mc2 lies not in the quantities of its fundamental elements … energy and mass … since they obviously vary according to the development and dynamics of the system(s), but on their sustained equivalence, their equilibrium amid consumption and dissipation. This sustained equilibrium is the essence of the symbol = (equal) in the equation.

When a ‘body’ … a naturally evolving system like the earth, our species, a cell, an atom, our own body … enters an existential arrangement in which the success of its development is totally dependent on a sustained equilibrium between the consumption and dissipation of its mass and energy contents, there’s got to be, whether instinctive or self-determined, a degree of self-reflective equilibrium.

As every naturally evolving system in Nature, we know this from personal experience: we fuel our development by consuming energy sources (foods, oxygen) to release them in equal measure as action, power, waste. We cannot survive without this instinctive self-reflective process.

Self-reflective equilibrium is the essence of Einstein’s insight. It is the foundation of self-perpetuation that fuels the unfolding of the evolutionary process that creates the phenomenon of Continuity in Nature. This is how immensely complex systems like galaxies, planetary systems, us, have developed.

E=mc2 is one of the most beautiful insights into the nature of our Universe, but because we continue to perceive ourselves as separate from Nature, we fail to see the beauty of the equation in us. Our capacity to self-reflect is obvious to us, but not the instinctive self-reflection of our bodies: As we grow and change, our consumption and dissipation of energy sources increases in relative measure to our increase in mass. Think of what happens when we go on a diet, or when we want to build muscle, or when we get sick and lose mass and ‘lack’ energy.

As our bodies consume and release energy sources to stay alive, so does Humankind. But we have come to a point in our evolution in which the demands of our exponential growth are overwhelming the environment that gives us life. We are out of equilibrium, and it seems we don’t want to reflect upon its potential consequences.

* Highlight mine.

Revised January 2018

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66 – Self-Reflection …

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

One of Humanity’s greatest insights into the nature of our Universe is Einstein’s E=mc2: “The mass of a body is a measure of its energy content”. And although the implications of his insight are still incomprehensible to most of us … shame on Science … the equation holds one of the foundations for the existence of naturally evolving systems: The capacity for self-reflection.

The symbols in the equation that most capture our attention are E for Energy, and mc2 for mass times the speed of light squared. But its essence is found in the symbol = for equivalence. This symbol represents the fact that 1 – no system in Nature can exist for long without a sustained equivalence of its fundamental elements (energy and mass) and 2 – that sustained equivalence between two elements can only be achieved through a degree of self-reflective equilibrium. In other words, an increase in mass must reflect an equivalent increase in energy, and a decrease in energy must reflect an equivalent decrease in mass. Nothing in Nature we know of exists without self-reflective equilibrium.

Self-reflective equilibrium is mostly instinctive in Nature. Without regards to size or level of complexity, naturally evolving systems (atomic compounds, plants, animals, planets, galaxies) develop and self-preserve through the continuous equilibrium of their fundamental elements. But because everything in Nature tends toward complexity and order, the capacity for self-reflective equilibrium is evolving beyond pure instinct and into conscious self-reflection. This is self-evident in us: As naturally evolving systems, we have developed a brain capable of being conscious of our own capacity to self-reflect.

Whether conscious or instinctive, self-reflective equilibrium is the Universal Law of Equivalence Einstein encapsulated in e=mc2: “The mass of a body is a measure of its energy content”.

The implications of this Universal Law are monumental, yet they are not currently part of our collective Knowledge:

  •   Our Universe has evolved into the high levels of complexity and order evident in Nature, through a progression of stages of relative equilibrium between its mass and energy contents.
  •  But a sustained equilibrium between two contents, whether it is instinctive or self-determined, can only be attained through a degree of self-reflection.
  •     Self-reflection is a property of Life.
  •     Therefore, our self-reflective Universe is Alive.

We have come to perceive Reality under a Paradigm that inhibits reflection upon the Fact that life cannot exist for long without abiding by the Universal Law of Equilibrium. Our exponential growth and our level of consumption under this Paradigm have thrown our species out of equilibrium with the chemical balance of the environment that supports us. As a result, we have reached a critical point where our environment may not able to continue to foster our evolution.

We live in a Universe that has allowed us to be the recipients of conscious self-reflection, yet most of us unquestioningly accept the domination of a Paradigm intent on the obliteration of self-reflection. Why?

Revised January 2018

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