Archive for the ‘Vision for a New World’ Category

192 – What is it about us? …

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

It is very easy for us to recognize that as human beings we are highly ingenious, adaptable, resourceful, intelligent, aware of our own awareness. With ingenuity we have extended our vision and our imagination by creating instruments that allow us to see the microscopic and the faraway and immense components of our Universe; with our adaptability we have populated just about every continent and sizeable island on the surface of the planet; with our resourcefulness and intelligence we have transformed natural materials to speed up time travel, to extend our life-span, to create a world-wide web of communications; with the awareness of our own awareness we have come to realize the power within us to transform ourselves and our world.

But somehow, although the signs are becoming more and more evident and menacing, it is not easy for us to recognize that our exponential growth and voracious consumerism are driving us into an unprecedented and violent confrontation with the atmosphere in which our lives, and the lives of myriad other organisms, depend. The dominant, destructive, aggressive, visionless role of our species, has driven us to become like a ravenous and unstoppable virus overwhelming the organism that gives it nourishment.

In this state, where we can witness without trepidation the environmental crisis we are bringing upon ourselves, it is, of course, about impossible for us to see the beauty of a Universe that over eons of time and through incredible struggles has created a niche for Life to begin to be aware of itself. We inhabit that niche. And we are breaking its equilibrium.

What is it about us that we are able to recognize our intelligence, ingenuity, adaptability, resourcefulness, and yet, with self-imposed blindness, avoid recognition not only of the destructive impact of our actions, but of the consequences on the beauty and fragility of the niche in which we have been able to attain a high level of conscious self-awareness?

Centuries ago, even if it was contrary to the perception of our organic senses, the incorporation into our understanding of Reality of the fact that it is our planet that orbits the Sun and not the other way around, catapulted our perception into a more accurate vision of our Universe. In a similar way, the incorporation into our understanding of the empirical facts that our most basic components are atomic particles, and that in great measure they are mostly made of energy, will bring us to accept the fact, even if it is contrary to the perception of our organic senses, that we are made mostly of energy. Energy is a physical substance. We absorb it from the environment and convert it into power and transformative forces. That is how we develop and empower our bodies. That is how we fuel our daily activity. That is how we pump our hearts and energize every single component in our organisms. That is how our ideas can change minds and start movements that can become a force around the world. That is how, with the power of our convictions, we can move multitudes. That is how we give boundless flight to our imagination.

Energy fills us and radiates from us. This is evident in the common experience we call magnetism when we focus our eyes on a person and make her or him feel us and look at us.

What is it about us that with our highly developed levels of ingenuity, adaptability, resourcefulness, intelligence, conscious self-awareness, we cannot yet accept the self-evident fact that it is the energy in us, the energy that we radiate, that gives us the unequivocal power to transform not only ourselves but also our world. Accepting the force of this power within us will set in motion a worldwide comprehension of the damage we are inflicting on our source of life. It will change the course of our evolution.

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191 – Aren’t we among pioneers? …

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

“One cannot live with sighted eyes and feeling heart and not know or react to the miseries which afflict this world.” Lorraine Hansberry

One of the most significant mass extinctions on Earth was the Great Oxygenation Event (also known in scientific media as Oxygen Catastrophe, Oxygen Holocaust, Oxygen Revolution, or Great Oxidation), which began approximately 2.45 billion years ago and was induced by the appearance of free oxygen (O2) in the atmosphere. Although the causes are not completely clear, the current evidence is the exponential growth of a bacteria (Cyanobacteria) that developed into coordinate macroscopic forms as early as 2.3 billion years ago (approximately 200 million years before the event) and produced oxygen through photosynthesis. The increased production of oxygen set Earth’s original atmosphere off balance. Oxygen was toxic to some living creatures at that time on Earth, and it wiped out most of them. *

The evidence that by disturbing the balance of the atmosphere, we are positioning ourselves … the Human species … to be the next biological organism to cause a mass extinction on Earth, is more and more incontestable by the day.

In early civilizations, man learned to avoid responsibility for his cruel and destructive actions by blaming someone or something else … there was always a vulnerable group, an individual, or a catastrophic event to blame … with the avoidance of responsibility, introspection about the consequences of his actions was blunted – practically obliterated. And thus, in a male-dominated civilization, we have become the cruelest and most destructive species on Earth.

The mass extinction of wildlife due to our exponential population growth, overconsumption, and poaching, is already on its way.

Extreme climate change, melting Arctic sea ice, rising ocean levels, constant conflict, unimaginable levels of cruelty, migrations, severe droughts, fires, flooding, will continue to accelerate under the pressures on the environment of our exponential growth and an aggressive economic system that demands more and more consumption.

There is no turning back from the damage we have already done. There are, perhaps, ways to ameliorate the impact of what we have set in motion. But that we must face the consequences of our actions is not a question any longer.

The survivors and descendants of the mass extinction 2.45 billion years ago were, as is obvious, adaptable, oxygen-breathing organisms from which we eventually evolved. The populations that might survive the mass extinction of our own creation will have to adapt to a rarer, harsher, more volatile environment, and, hopefully, evolve with the knowledge that, as the destiny of a fertilized human ovum is to build … cell by cell … the pathways to the self-reflective mind, our destiny has always been to know that we are building blocks in a majestic and ingenious universal plan. Aren’t we already among pioneers in conscious self-reflection?

*Data taken from Wikipedia

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189 – The Universe in Me …

Monday, January 15th, 2018

When I think about myself as the communal activity of myriad components in my body, I cannot help but contemplate the fact that I am just a partial owner and operator of my own Self. I am a partial owner and operator because at the moment I was conceived, the driving force of the primordial being most of us understand as ‘the subconscious mind’ was introduced into my life. This being is the one who knew how to generate, organize and build the entire structure of my body out of two miniscule cells; it is the one who knows how to decipher the input my body gathers from the environment and transforms it into the self-reflective mind with which I try to understand myself, make sense of the world, and feast on the boundless reaches of the imagination.

And even though my relationship with this primordial being is what has given me the physical experience of a unified Self traversing through Life, I only have the heavily dogmatic teachings of organized religion to explore it. Because for the most part, science claims that the primordial power of our instincts is a ‘self – less’, spontaneous phenomenon. But how can something as complex as the brain of the human animal, in which trillions of synaptic connections create a mind that tries to understand itself, can be something spontaneous, something that happens by chance? And so, I must rely solely on intuition:

The being we call the ‘subconscious mind’ is the universal force manifesting in my instincts, desires, fears, needs; mandating me to become, self-organize, bond, self-generate, adapt, self-perpetuate, and yet endowing me with a degree of freedom to transform myself and, perhaps even the world. The being we call the ‘subconscious mind’ is the Universe in me, and I am made to see it.

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188 – Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? VII

Monday, January 1st, 2018

 

Update on my ongoing quest to answer what I believe are the most profound questions posed to the human mind. These questions are the title of the beautiful Gauguin painting shown above.

Where do we come from?

 Like cells created by the self-organizing, self-generating, self-transforming processes of our bodies, we are created by the self-organizing, self-generating, self-transforming processes of the phenomenon we call Life. But Life is just the progression of a phenomenon that, amid trial and error, creation and destruction, inexorably evolves toward greater levels of complexity and order.

And because for us the progression of this phenomenon is self-evident and relatively measurable, its self-determination tangible, its power to create and destroy explicit, yet it continues to remain beyond our comprehension, some call it God, Allah, Shiva, etc., etc. But we tend to create deities when there is something we cannot comprehend.

And although the evolution of this phenomenon is the cause and the reason of our existence, what it is, how it might have been engendered, what its purpose might be, we cannot yet comprehend – perhaps we never will.

What are we?

 I do not know. But what I do know is that we have evolved into one of the most beautiful and complex manifestations of the phenomenon we call Life; that we have grown self-conscious of our insignificance in the scheme of the Universe and our significance in the scheme of the atomic elements; that we are participants in the universal mandate to Become, Self-organize, Bond, Re-generate, Adapt, Self-perpetuate, Transform; that we are co-creators and promoters of the constant renewal and perpetuation of Life.

And although we know that there are physical laws that regulate our internal and external environments, we also know that we possess a degree of freedom to transform ourselves and our world. 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 in our existence, we begin the inexorable return to the environment from which we emerged.

But in equal measure to what we have imagined,

what we have created,

what we have destroyed,

what we have taken,

what we have given to the world,

we may re-emerge upon more complex levels of existence.

Think of Einstein – how his ideas live among us, opening new visions and challenging our understanding of Reality; or Darwin – how his theory of Evolution lives among us, stimulating research in the origins of Life; or Mandela, or Gandhi – how their courage lives among us, inspiring pacifist rebellion against the destructive tyranny of unaccountable power; or Socrates – how his method of inquiry lives among us, stimulating the intellect to the study of itself; or Gauguin – how his profound questions live among us, daring us to wonder and find answers. These individuals live among us in the progression of our evolutionary processes, in the greater reaches of our perception, in the heightened insights of conscious self-reflection; they live among us, challenging and transforming our understanding of the unfolding phenomenon from which we emerge, helping us move forward in the transcendental process of Becoming. And because of what they accomplished with their lives, we are more daring in our visions of the future, more curious about our origins, more aware of what is right and what is wrong, more self-conscious about the struggles and the wonders of existence.

WHERE DO WE COME FROM? Out of a self-generating, self-organizing, self-transcending Being whose unfolding we call Life.

WHAT ARE WE? Self-conscious sources of transformation.

WHERE ARE WE GOING? Into the future, but in equal measure to what we do with of our lives.

 TRANSCENDENCE IS A MEASURE OF THE SIGNIFICANCE OF EXISTENCE.

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187 – There is an Order within Me …

Friday, December 15th, 2017

Out of trillions of cells that make up my mature body, about 96 million die every hour … every hour … and my body, every hour, creates other 96 million to take their place. This self-balancing feat preserves the number of cells needed for me to be a functional, dynamic, thinking, inquisitive, determined, mindful, introspective human being.

This precise dance between death and renewal within me is done without my awareness, yet it is what keeps me alive.

My body is made of many types of cells; each type highly specialized not only in what it is to do, but how it is to do it.

Although I am educated enough to know a bit about the creative evolutionary process of the earth which has taken eons to bring us to be what we are today, I cannot fathom how trillions of cells, each one driven to accomplish what it must accomplish, can generate an intellect capable of understanding our evolutionary process, yet is unable to sense the amazing cellular processes going on inside its own body.

Some of my cells are replaced quite often, while others can last my entire lifetime; most of my cells blindly follow instructions, while others have the capacity to choose. This level of rigidity and suppleness is what builds and constantly renews the complex structure of my body; it is how my temperature and heartbeat can be adjusted in accord with the changes not only inside of me, but around me.

Without my awareness, every single cell engendered by my body is imprinted with a unique set of features … the color of my eyes, the type of my blood, the pigment of my skin, the traits of my temperament … which will identify me as a unique individual amid billions of other individuals like me, each one with their unique set of features, their unique level of rigidity and suppleness.

There is an Order within me, self-evident, perceptible, measurable, yet it remains beyond the awareness of my senses. Perhaps this level of awareness is the next wrung up in our evolutionary ladder: To be aware, to sense, to feel the Order within us   and all around us. We are made for that.

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186 – The Loneliest Being in the World …

Friday, December 1st, 2017

My mind is the loneliest, most wondrous being in the world; traversing beyond boundaries, while my body traverses within boundaries.

My mind has grown out of experiences weaved through happy and sad moments, fears and dreams, emotions and feelings, anxieties and accomplishments; what my body is able to see, taste, hear, touch; what I love to remember, what I wish I could forget. My mind is the compound of all I have suffered, of all I have lived, of all I have learned, of all I have wanted, of all I have loved, of all the little battles I have lost, and the big ones I have won.

Born when two other minds became one … ovum’s and sperm’s … I inherited a mind of my own. But it didn’t come alone; it brought some very powerful baggage of its own.

Endowed with ancient Knowledge, my mind taught me how to build and organize an extremely complex yet supple body, how to perceive and adapt, how to talk, how to cry, how to laugh, how to dream, how to imagine, how to love; how to admire the beauty of Nature and tremble at its destruction and creation; how to survive the madness of anger, of hate, of deceit, of cruelty. And how to move on, even when humiliated, belittled, unwanted, hurt, scared, so I could live to be awed and loved, so I could learn to look inward … at the order and wonder of me … and come to see the magnificence and beauty of the Order we are all made to see, yet most of us cannot yet see:

An Order immensely greater than mine, yet a bit like mine. Beautiful yet grotesque, mysterious yet intelligible, destructive yet creative, physical yet immeasurable, fragile yet resilient, deliberate yet spontaneous, gentle yet merciless, breathtaking yet coarse, bold yet meek.

An Order with a mind a bit like mine. Unfathomable, yet open to comprehension. Intangible, yet always present; busily prolonging Order so there is Life. The loneliest most wondrous Being in the world, whose presence in me is music I can only hear.

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185 – State of Humankind …

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

I am disheartened by the troubling state humankind has reached after millions of years of evolution and ‘progress’ … is it ‘progress to get to be technologically advanced yet ignorant about what we are doing to ourselves and to our world? … our institutions of commerce, governance, religion, education, are dominated by such a level of greed for control, power, possessions, that they are blind … are they really? … to the obscenity of not only what they have created, but what they stubbornly perpetuate. They are the creators, the promoters, the instigators of an economic system based on greed, deceit, division, aggression, conflict, consumerism, nihilistic individualism; they are the creators, the promoters, the instigators of an economic system so destructive and corrupt, that it is overwhelming the natural resources of the earth and demeaning the value of life.

The warning signs of the impending catastrophe this economic system is bringing upon us are loud and clear, yet the increasing levels of consumption, and the exponential population growth it demands, continue their devastating march without a hint of introspection from those leading the parade.

What is it about us, a species threatened by an unprecedented catastrophe of our own making, that the profits of corporations seem more important than the survival of humankind? Have we lost our minds, we, supposedly the smartest creatures on earth?

I believe that the dominance of greed in human nature began to take a hold on us during the called Agricultural Revolution; a time in our evolution when early humans were congregating in increasingly larger populations, which pressed them to make the transition from hunting and roaming, to agriculture and settlement. This transition permitted the buildup and storage of goods, which then became not only a source of relative stability and security, but also of profit and control.

A degree of greed is obviously necessary for survival, but it has become so abnormally dominant in modern man that we accept it as essential to what we deem as ‘economic progress’. This acceptance has made us blind not only to its consequences, but also to be able to recognize it as the root of genocides, the exploitation of the vulnerable, the cruelty toward animals, the obscene levels of inequality that throw millions of human lives into displacement, poverty, despair.

How to even begin to think about a way to reverse the virulence of greed among us? How, when humankind is so prone to avoid self-reflection upon our own History for understanding?

To re-orient human nature toward a different path seems a monumental, if not impossible task … a miracle! … yet science can do it with a single swoop of the Knowledge accumulated throughout its history: In the same way scientists are using the advancements in communications to spread the warning signs of an environment in crisis, they can spread the Fact that, like atoms, cells, planetary systems, we are, each and all of us, constitutive, subordinate, vital, adaptable parts of Nature, and as such, those beautiful theories … like Relativity, Evolution, Quantum, Autopoiesis … they have devised to describe Nature, also describe us. But what is even more important, is that they can re-assert the Fact that the great majority of humankind, the great majority of us, do not want a world dominated by greed, do not want a world that threatens the high levels of ingenuity, dexterity, conscious self-awareness, which have taken us millions of years and an excruciating history to attain, with a world without peace, with a world without compassion, with a world perhaps even without us!

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181– What do I really Love?

Friday, September 15th, 2017

I love humankind. I love the incredible beauty, complexity, dexterity, ingenuity of the human being; its boundless capacity for love, for tenderness, for compassion, for imagining the unimaginable and, oftentimes, making it real. I love its capacity to see patterns in Nature, to feel awe in the presence of beauty, to create out of its hands and mind beauty as never heard or seen before. I love what it can do with its own body, shaping it, making it stronger, healthier, pushing it into challenging environments, making love, slowly, not just to impregnate like most animals, but to feel pleasure and give pleasure. I love its desire to travel around the earth to experience other cultures, other ways of living, other ways of learning. I love its capacity to evolve out of the bonding of two cells, already knowing how to self-organize into the most amazing creature we know of in Nature, already possessing the gift of language, the urge to survive, the need for love, the want for learning, the curiosity to look at itself and wonder about its roots, about its destiny.

Yet I cringe at the capacity of the human being to reach the most atrocious levels of cruelty, intolerance, hate, deceit, destruction; its capacity to kill, not for sustenance like most animals, but out of hate, barbarism, greed, envy, and, oftentimes, horribly killing in the hundreds and thousands without a hint of remorse, but instead with pride in the repugnance of its actions. I cringe at the capacity of the human being to use fear and deceit to incite the destruction of other cultures, other set of beliefs, for the sole purpose of appeasing its own fears.

I do believe that human beings are born with certain inherited, latent capacities … language, sensuality, curiosity, love … but no one, absolutely no one, is born with the capacity to be cruel, hateful, destructive; these capacities are incited through continued and premeditated oppression, brutality, torture, abuse, ridicule, humiliation; and these capacities are more damaging and lasting when incited in the vulnerable and impressionable human mind during the formative years of early childhood.

Yet I marvel at exceptional human beings; those who go through unbearable emotional and physical experiences and, seemingly out of nowhere, muster the courage to turn themselves instead into creators of incredible forms of beauty: Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Milton’s Paradise Lost, Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, Mandela’s untiring search for justice. These individuals have shown us that great beauty sometimes comes from pain.  But they are so few, when compared with the innumerable ones throughout our history who, attaining a degree of power, lash out what was done to them on the vulnerable, the powerless, the innocent.

There is no escape from the Fact that modern human beings are a consequence of a primordial evolutionary process, a consequence of an ascending universal force that has brought into Life the miracle of conscious self-reflection. We are the recipients of this miracle. And so I do believe that the destiny of humankind is not to incite hate and oppression, but to propagate and deepen the knowledge of the incredible beauty of what we have come be, what we have come to possess.

Believing in this is what I really love.

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176 – The Saddest Thing …

Saturday, July 1st, 2017

Anyone who has witnessed the eyes of a human being at the moment of death, can attest to have seen the departure of Life from the body, leaving in place the indescribable unknown we all must face in our return to where we came from. But experiences like this, instead of reaffirming how encompassing, transient, fragile and implausible Life is, only reinforce the illusion of our sense of individuality, our distance from each other, our separation from the natural world, thus veiling the reality we have not been able to grasp – refuse to grasp – that we are immersed in an environment that connects us all as participants in the unfolding of the organism we call humankind.

Life is energy in motion; never at rest. It has its own sparkle, its own impetus, its own power to constantly self-renew. We are immersed in a living atmosphere in which we participate in a constant process of consumption and dissipation that perpetuates self-renewal. But when this process cannot be sustained, when the power to self-renew is no longer there, we die – of old age, injury, disease, lack of oxygen, starvation.

Our consumption and release of energy sources make a relative impact on the atmosphere that supports and dictates our lives. But because we have made Consumption a god to service a few … it is the measure of success, the measure of happiness, the measure of power, the measure of control … and since this god demands a growing number of consumers to unendingly consume, we have runaway population growth. We have populated every habitable niche on the surface of the planet, and our level of consumption, our intake and release of energy sources, is altering – rapidly and severely – the chemical balance of the environment in which our lives depend.

Our current world population is at seven and a half billion. And with the worldwide number of daily births at 360,000, which more than doubles that of daily deaths at 151,600, * we are projected to reach eight billion by 2023. The chart below shows clearly the speed of our exponential growth.

Population
Years passed Year Billion
1800 1
127 1927 2
33 1960 3
14 1974 4
13 1987 5
12 1999 6
12 2011 7
6 2017 7.5
6 2023 8
United Nations Population Fund 2011 estimate. Two last lines are updated with current information.

The beneficial environment that for millennia has supported our evolution cannot sustain this kind of growth, and it is already showing signs of distress. We are watching these signs, stupefied – they are so ominous some of us prefer to be in denial.

What do we think Life is? We take it for granted because even if we know how implausible it is that we are alive, we are that implausibility. We are the most beautiful and ingenious creature we know of. And so, to see that for the benefit of a few we are destroying ourselves by destroying what gives us Life, is the saddest thing.

*Source: Population Reference Bureau & The World Factbook, 2011 Estimate (Central Intelligence Agency)

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175 – An Inescapable Conclusion …

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

Some of our own physical properties are incomprehensible to us: How, for instance, two cells can come together knowing in advance the astonishing process of creating an organism able to reflect upon itself; or how billions, trillions of minute elements can bond, oftentimes fleetingly, into a cohesive organism that can adapt to its constantly changing world; or how can a microscopic double helix encode the relatively pre-determined yet supple line of ascent of the entire species.

But, on the other hand, there are some physical properties that have become self-evident as we develop higher levels of comprehension:

The fact, for instance, that we are utterly unique … there is no one with my exact composition in the entire Universe … while simultaneously being a common member of a species.

Or the fact that we thrive in a body that regulates itself, while simultaneously being regulated by the environment in which we exist.

Or the fact that we are controlled by primal instincts that determine our development and our ultimate disintegration, while simultaneously being liberated by a relative degree of freedom in adaptation.

Or the fact that we imprint every cell we create in our bodies with our specific characteristics … eye color, skin pigment, blood type … while simultaneously we are imprinted with the same characteristics for the extent of our lives.

That these properties are self-evident lead us to an inescapable conclusion: As there is a physical connection between our every cell and us – the organism that creates, imprints and endows them with a relative degree of freedom in adaptation – so there is a parallel physical connection between every one of us and the organism/system/Universe that creates, determines and endows us with a relative degree of freedom in adaptation.

The impact on Humanity of incorporating into our understanding of ourselves and our world the physical connection that unites us all, will liberate us from the devastating divisiveness of intolerance.

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