Archive for the ‘Self-Reflection’ Category

197 – Self-Reflection is Innate in Nature …

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

Why is it so difficult for the human mind to comprehend the premise that self-reflection is innate in Nature? How else can anything on its own power attain stability, cohesion, balance, form, if not with introspection about itself?

Think about a tree. To grow on its own power into a cohesive and functional form, a tree must attain relatively constant equilibrium between its intake of energy from the environment and the energy it exerts to produce its physical structure. It cannot exist otherwise.

Or our solar system. To develop on its own power into a cohesive, functional and relatively stable system, our solar system must attain constant equilibrium between its force of attraction and its force of resistance. It would collapse otherwise.

Or ourselves. To develop on our own power into a cohesive, dynamic, and relatively stable organism, we must attain constant equilibrium between our level of activity and our intake of nutrients. We collapse otherwise.

Any two forces, elements, or quantities that develop as a unit, cannot attain relatively constant equilibrium … one always measuring the other … without a degree of self-reflection. This capacity, although mostly instinctive, is innate in Nature.

Yet we … the human animal … have evolved the capacity of conscious self-reflection, to be aware of our capacity to reflect upon ourselves and our world. But this level of self-reflection is just a small step up on the ladder of our ongoing evolutionary development.

So how, I wonder, would we be like when, and if, we come to possess higher degrees of conscious self-reflection than the germinal one we possess today? Would we be able to perceive our connection with everything in Nature through the fierce power of Life in us to self-generate, adapt, and survive? Or would we perhaps be able to reflect upon our genesis and trace the making of our destiny to evolve a mind … atom by atom, cell by cell, connection by connection …that perceives the Order that created it?

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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 achievement was to capture in a simple equation, E=mc2, the universality of Self-reflective Equilibrium in Nature.

The physical aspect of the equation has been thoroughly proven through methodological scientific experimentation, but 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”. * In other words: Notwithstanding size, nor level of complexity, nor environmental fluctuations, for a body to be viable, the contents of its fundamental complements (mass and energy) must be in relatively sustained equilibrium – one a measure of the other – throughout the extent of its existence. Without this sustained equilibrium, the body dies.

The essence of e=mc2 lies not on the quantity of the fundamental complements of the body (system), but on the sustained equilibrium of its contents. This sustained equilibrium is the significance of the symbol = in the equation.

When a ‘body’ enters an existential arrangement in which the success of its development is totally dependent on a sustained equilibrium between the contents of its two fundamental complements, there’s got to be, whether instinctive or self-determined, a degree of Self-reflection: if mass is reduced so is energy, if energy is increased so is mass.

As every naturally evolving system in Nature, we know this from personal experience. We fuel our development by consuming energy sources from the environment (foods, oxygen, water), we then convert them into the mass of our bodies (weight, volume, density), and release the stored energy in equivalent measure as motion, action, ‘waste’. What is released is a measure, a reflection, of what has been stored; we cannot exist without this mostly instinctive self-reflective equilibrium.

In this degree of self-reflective equilibrium rests the essence of Einstein’s insight. Self-reflective Equilibrium is the foundation of Self-organization; it is what fuels the evolutionary process that generates the phenomenon of Progressive Continuity in Nature. This is how immensely complex systems like galaxies, planetary systems, us,    self-organize, self-generate, and develop.

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 self-determined capacity to self-reflect is obvious to us when we, for instance, go on a diet to lose weight, or when we want to build muscle, or when we get sick and ‘lack’ energy; but it is not obvious in the instinctive self-reflection of our bodies when we increase our consumption and dissipation of energy sources as we grow, change and develop.

As all naturally evolving systems in Nature, our bodies must sustain equilibrium between the energy we consume and the energy we dissipate to stay alive. So does humankind. But as a species, we have reached a point where we are consuming and releasing more energy sources than the Earth can produce and absorb. We are out of equilibrium, and we don’t want to reflect on the consequences.

* Highlight mine.

Revised August 2019

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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: Their 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 the essence of the equation is found in the symbol = for equivalence. This symbol represents the fact that 1 – no naturally evolving system in Nature can exist without a sustained equivalence of its fundamental elements (energy and mass), and 2 – that sustained equivalence between the contents of 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.

Although self-reflective equilibrium in Nature is mostly instinctive, nothing we know of, without regards to size or level of complexity, can exist without it.

Whether conscious or instinctive, self-reflective equilibrium is the Universal Law of Equivalence encapsulated by Einstein in e=mc2. But because everything in Nature tends toward complexity and order, the capacity for self-reflective equilibrium is evolving beyond pure instinct into conscious self-reflection. This is self-evident in us, whom, as living systems, have become aware not only that we are alive, but that we are conscious of a mind able to reflect upon itself and the world in which it exists.

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

  •   Our Universe has evolved into self-evident levels of complexity and order through progressive stages of equilibrium between its mass and energy contents; energy converting into mass and mass into energy in myriad sizes and configurations, but always in equilibrium as it unfolds into complexity.
  •   But sustained equilibrium between two contents amid constant change can only be attained with a degree of self-reflection; one content always a measure of the other.
  •   And self-reflection demands decision-making. There is a simple logic on Einstein’s own explanation of its equation: “The mass of a body is a measure of its energy content”. If, as a body changes, one content is to always remain a measure of the other, the body must reflect upon them, and act.
  •   And being able to be conscious about this process, we are among pioneers.

We 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 level of consumption 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 be able to continue fostering our evolution.

We are the recipients of conscious self-reflection, yet most of us unquestioningly accept the domination of a Paradigm intent on its obliteration. Why?

Revised February 2019

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