226 – The New Paradigm (Part III) Humanity’s Destiny …

We came to transmit the shimmering

from which we came; to name it

we deal with a permanent voyage,

the becoming of that which itself had

become *

I believe the destiny of Humanity is to unravel the connection – the undeniable link – that exists between us and the Cosmos, and the Cosmos and us. A connection that induces our relationship with an Intelligence (a deity?) developing on an unwavering course towards ever more advanced spheres of complexity.

Throughout our history, the unraveling of our relationship with the Cosmos has been the quest of great thinkers, philosophers, poets, sages, and wise men and women of all venues of life. But the forces of myth, dogma, indoctrination, imagery, special interests, by imposing the image of man on our deities with some of our worst inclinations – ire, vengeance, bigotry, aggression, control, cruelty, genocidal punishment without regards for innocent life – make it very difficult to even imagine what a link with the Cosmos might be.

But aside the misleading imposition of the worst of man on a deity, there is certain truth in the ancient concept that we are created in the image of the Creator = the Cosmos from which we are created and without which we would not exist – because the concept does offer undeniable corroboration of some of our true likeness to the Creator:   We are not only made out of its atoms, its energy, its urge to adapt and survive, but are also infused with its mandate to follow a path of development it itself follows:   Like the Cosmos, upon Becoming, we self-generate, self-organize, bond, self-regulate, adapt, self-perpetuate, transform. This path of development is the common foundation linking all of Existence with the urge to evolve towards Complexity and Order.

I believe that Humanity’s destiny is to evolve into a paradigm based on the premise that in our connection with the Cosmos and the Cosmos with us, we are One.

*Lines from “Surge” by Etel Adnan

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225 – Life is a Property of the Cosmos

Although we need to be nurtured for a while longer after we are born, we begin to take control of our lives the moment we take our first breath – learning how to manipulate and be manipulated, how to awaken our senses to new environments, how to feel our power, how to challenge our limitations.

Although all these things are obviously critical for survival’s sake, at that early age in our lives they are pure instinct – we are born already knowing how to awake them into action. These instincts had to be learned by Life as it was itself emerging into Life. And then Life had to learn how to clone them on to us through eons of time and generation to generation. They had to be learned if we were to survive.

How, emerging on Earth in a primordial soup – as we currently believe – did Life learn on its own account to replicate itself and move with such determination toward higher and higher levels of complexity?

How does something learn to self-replicate?

I do believe that Life is neither a property of Earth nor that it was here that it had its beginnings. Life is a property of the Cosmos. Before the Universe began to form, Life was already present in the dynamic form of energy, which funneled momentarily into fleeting forms of mass under the force of primordial currents, until a moment when a form of mass and energy reached a state of equilibrium – one became equivalent to the other – and Life, sensing the promise of Continuity, replicated it.

What makes Life special on Earth is not that it exists at all; it is that the living planet has been a nurturing womb for the unfolding of us – the magnificent life-form growing not only conscious of our own awareness, but also conscious of the consequences of our presence in the unfolding of something immensely greater, self-determined, and wiser than us.

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224 – This is Transcendence …

How would we live, how would we behave, how would we understand ourselves and our world, if we knew, without doubt, that we are not only able to affect the Future, but that measured by what we do with of our lives we can continue to be a physical, living, dynamic presence in the unfolding of the Future?

We, each one of us, perform for humanity the basic functions the DNA molecule performs for us. Like the DNA molecule that carries the instructions for the development, functioning, growth, reproduction, of the organic system in which it exists, we also carry the instructions for the development, functioning, growth, reproduction, of the organic system we call humankind.

Although the length of the evolutionary process through which the DNA molecule developed into its current configuration is not clear, it is clear that the role of mutations, environmental stresses, catastrophic events, or the role of the individual constituent, played, and continue to play, a transformative factor in the evolution of the molecule. But even though these factors can often be harmful or neutral, they can also be catalysts for the adaptation and re-configuration of the molecule. And if the new configuration proves to be beneficial, it is adopted and transmitted to succeeding generations, with the source of the re-configuration becoming a physical, living, dynamic presence in its unfolding.

Our lives mirror our own DNA.

For us, for humankind, the transmission of information from generation to generation – inheritance – goes mostly unabated for long periods of time     until a natural or human factor demand Change, which can be expressed through a single or group of individuals     who compel us to alter, not only our organic configuration but the way we function as human beings.

Think about our simian ancestors who dared to leave the protection of the jungle to explore the open savannah – what they did with their lives was so transformative that it demanded the physical re-configuration, not only of our bodies but also of the way we function in the world. Think about Einstein, Darwin, Copernicus (to name a few), whose insights into the nature of reality were so transformative that demanded a re-configuration, not only of the neural connectivity of our brains but also of the way we understand ourselves and our world.

As with the molecule, the source of the re-configuration is and will continue to be imprinted as a physical, living, dynamic presence in our unfolding as individuals and as a species.

This is Transcendence.

To some degree or another, we all transcend through the impact of our Existing – parents in their progeny, teachers in their students, scientists in their insights – but those whose imprint make us change course as a species are, and will continue to be, a presence in our Becoming.

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223 – The Riddle of Life …

The riddle of Life is that we are Life, and yet seem unable to know what Life is.

Life is our true possession, the gift some of us are given to experience, to feel, to love, to seek happiness, to try to understand what is it that looks back at us when we see ourselves in a mirror; what is it behind our eyes that stops expressing, searching, being     the moment we die; what is it within us that makes us want, wonder, live.

It is about impossible for us to comprehend how trillions of cells can come together to generate the energy that gives the power to be a sentient being, and yet this is what they do. How do they do it? What makes them do it?

Life, at its most fundamental level, is a form of energy that creates the structural configurations of organic systems when encountering the promise of continuity. Life is a continuum; the unfolding of a primordial process that re-assembles with the knowledge of thousand generations into living forms, regulating and renewing their development, and endowing them with a degree of freedom to transform themselves and their world.

The riddle of Life is that, although we are beginning to understand the pre-determined processes that give us Life, it is still beyond us to know how, when, why, those same processes come together to give us the capacity to look at ourselves    and wonder.

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222 – How can a mind … ?

How can a mind that has evolved to such a degree as to be able not only to conceptualize the Universe, but to be awed by its splendor, its ingenuity, its order, its monumental power;     a mind that upon acquiring the knowledge of its insignificance in the scheme of the Universe, and its significance in the scheme of the atomic world, has grown intent on understanding the meaning, and the wonder, of being a central ground where both, significance and insignificance, fuse into One;     a mind that growing so ingenious as to devise smaller and smaller machines, and instruct them to carry sequences of logical operations to connect not only with hundreds of millions of other machines, but with the minds of their users;     a mind that, upon seeing photos of Earth taken from space, could not but be awed by the spectacle of the incredibly beautiful sphere – its home in the Universe – from which it comes alive with the power to discern patterns of complexity, order, beauty, meaning, and begin to understand what its Destiny is.

How can that same mind, in a few individuals holding power and wealth, come to be so tortured, so unhappy, that it believes the path to forging ahead is that of self-destruction?

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221 – It is hard to look out the window …

It is hard to look out the window, and see hummingbirds, begonias, bees, ferns, us, all in danger of disappearing

because of what we do.

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220 – The Power of the Human Mind (Part II) …

On post 218, I wrote about the power of the human mind to lead us astray into behaviors like intolerance, hate, contempt, while it also has the power to lead us into altruism, love, creativity, happiness. Both inclinations – one that makes us captive to the whims of others, the other that sets us free – are latent in us.

Unfortunately, although hate, intolerance, contempt, are not inherent in us, they are incited in our most vulnerable and impressionable years to oftentimes become dominant aspects of our personality; and Happiness, which is inherent in us, has come to be measured by the possessions and accomplishments of others.

But true happiness is not found outside of us. It is not found in the accumulation of material possessions, nor in seeking control over others by emulating the same behaviors that led us astray. These behaviors may give us a temporary thrill, but they are not true happiness.

Happiness is a subjective yet physical emotion; subjective in the sense that it is in the mind of the beholder, and physical because it affects and is affected by the body. Happiness is universally based on a sense of security, of acceptance, of having the freedom to pursue what we believe makes us happy; Happiness is, at the most physical/organic level, driven by a craving for Pleasure – the engine of Evolution – the innate need, even if it is for an instant of time, to experience something intensely gratifying yet rife with mystery; something so ephemeral that, try as we might to hold on to it, vanishes, irretrievably, leaving us bewildered and wanting. And thus Happiness is unique to each one of us because it depends on culture, belief, upbringing, age, imagination, feelings.

True happiness, if it is to be found, it is found not outside of us, but within.

I grew up in the midst of oppression, hate, cruelty, deceit, rape. All I knew was the loneliness of paralyzing fear. But somehow, in the wisdom of books and of two loving souls, I found the force to see that, if I was to find true happiness, it would not be by doing to others what was done to me.

It would be by looking for a setting where there was love, understanding, security, adventure, encouragement, and a bit of fun and enough space and peace to allow my mind to wonder about the things I love and want to understand;

It would be by knowing, intimately, the roar, the touch, the feel, the vision, the tenacity, of the creative force we call Life that, coming alive in me, knew how to organize and give shape to my body, and infuse it with a mind;

it would be by knowing, seeing, feeling, touching, the progression of the force of Life inside of me that, over eons of time, trial upon trial, generation to generation, wisely learned to take over the gestation of my body until my mind, slowly, woke up eager to be set free.

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219 – A Magnificent Order …

Although capable, the human mind has not been trained to see the most beautiful aspect of its existence, the Universal Order of which it is a manifestation – how, for instance, trillions of cells of different types and properties, bond together to generate a mind that not only can wonder about the wonder of itself, but about the world from which it comes into existence.

This magnificent Order is evident in instances like:

  • – the Periodic Table, which shows the frugal order of the chemical composition of our Universe (118 elements have been discovered or synthesized so far; 94 occur naturally and the rest are synthesized in laboratories or nuclear reactors).
  • – the hydrogen atom, the most abundant element, which encompasses the Universe from one end to the other with one electron and a proton in its nucleus.
  • – the incontestable progression toward complexity and order of a universal evolutionary process.
  • – the organization of most of the ~2 trillion galaxies that make up our Universe with a preference for spiral and globular shapes.
  • – the bonding of 30-37 trillion cells in a mature human body, which, notwithstanding their many types and specialties nor the changes in internal and external environments, carry the same information as in any other human being for building and maintaining an organism.
  • – E=mc2 “Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared (the speed of Light is 186,000 m/s or 300,000 km/s), which in Einstein’s own words – the mass of a body is a measure of its energy content” – embodies the fundamental core of existence: Order cannot arise without Equilibrium, nor Equilibrium without Self-reflection, nor Self-reflection without Order.

As a mathematical equivalence, e=mc2 is difficult to conceptualize by the non-scientific mind, but we can try by visualizing the proportions of the atomic world. And in the 1990 movie “Mindwalk” I found a great example to do just that:

Let’s imagine blowing up an orange to the size of the Earth – in an orange the size of the entire planet, an atom is the size of a little cherry you can hold in the palm of your hand; that’s how small atoms are. Therefore, when we bring the orange back to its normal size atoms are invisible to us, and we need powerful microscopes to see them. With our naked eyes we only see the patterns and structures they create (the seeds, the skin, the sections full of citrus, etc.).

Now let’s imagine blowing up a hydrogen atom to the size of the Pentagon building in Washington – in an atom the size of the entire building, the nucleus (the proton) is a tiny pebble in the center, the electron is a grain of sand orbiting the pebble in the outer edges of the building. These two components comprise the entire mass content of the atom (the building in our example), the rest is energy. And to calculate the energy content, we take the total mass content of the pebble and the grain of sand and multiply it by the speed of Light, squared. It is now easy to see that, regardless of the true size of an atom, their energy, especially when myriads are bonded together, is monumental. And whether it is a hydrogen atom with one electron or a gold atom with 79, the equal sign in e=mc2 mandates that, for them to be viable, each of its contents must remain an equivalent measure of to the other.

Although these examples are simplistic, they provide us with a glimpse at two important aspects of e=mc2 1 – the power contained within an atom is monumental; as incredibly small as they are, when bonded together they can be as destructive as an atomic bomb or as creative as an iPhone. And 2 – to be viable through internal and external changes, atoms must measure their contents and keep them in relative equilibrium, and this is not possible without a degree of self-reflection.

Take a deep breath – as you inhale you are taking air from the environment – your body, along with the foods you consume, distributes the oxygen to every cell, generating the power that allows you to work, move around, think – as you exhale you are breathing out carbon dioxide which is a source of energy for other organisms. You are a symbiont: by absorbing, synthesizing, and releasing energy sources, you create a presence in the world with the capacity to mold and be molded by environments.

This process is mostly instinctive; your body innately knows how to balance the intake and release of energy sources to give you power. But after a day’s work, energy is spent – you are tired, you are hungry, you must recharge – you eat, rest, sleep. This is instinctive self-reflection – the essence of the equal sign in e=mc2, you cannot exist without it.

At the most basic level, we are made out of atoms. Therefore, it follows that the power of 30-37 trillion cells bonded together into what we are is monumental. Alexander, Hitler, became consciously aware of this power and concentrated it into moving multitudes; Einstein, Darwin, into having a glimpse at the Universal Order; Pythagoras, Rilke, Rumi, into understanding our deep connection with It.

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218 – The Power of the Human Mind (Part I) …

It is uncanny to witness the power of the human mind to lead us astray into behaviors dominated by anxiety, irrationality, destruction, greed, fear, intolerance, abuse, hate, deceit, cruelty, addiction, violence, perversity, contempt for life.

Except for fear and greed, which are innate survival traits, the behaviors listed above are abnormal manifestations of human nature because nobody – absolutely nobody is born with them. These behaviors are learned, instigated, carved into us, especially during our impressionable formative years and oftentimes without intent, in such a way that they come to dominate not only our personality but our humanity. Once subjugated, we are robbed of our capacity to act of our own free will and become instead the perpetrators of someone else’s will – we lose ourselves under the illusion that we are acting of our own volition when instead we are beguiled by the prejudices, insecurities, beliefs, fears, hates, of others.

Punishment will not change these behaviors in us. It is a copout to think that imprisonment, torture, humiliation, degradation, can change behaviors deeply rooted in our humanity and that have already annihilated our benevolence and rationality. Instead, punishment exacerbates and makes them stronger.

In the short term, either by deceit or true intent, we may give the appearance to be changing under punishment, but the insidiousness of these behaviors requires an almost inhuman effort to prevail, especially, as is usually the case, when the individual is under environmental, societal, family, or economic stress. This is the main reason why recidivism is so prevalent in the incarcerated, the addict, the oppressor.

The only way abnormal behaviors can be changed is by acknowledging their roots – by accepting the fact that they are the result of ancient cultural imprinting.

When people commit crimes out of hate, for instance, they are innocent in the sense that when they were born there was not a hint of hate in them – hate was instilled later in life during their upbringing, institutionalized as it is by cultural paradigms that are soaked in dogma and incite division, intolerance, and an abhorrent contempt for Life. These behaviors will not change unless we look, not at the individual, but as our paradigms as their source.

Do remember this when judging others, because we, the privileged ones, to some degree or another perpetuate these paradigms.

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217 – Entanglement …

“Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon that occurs when pairs or groups of particles are generated, interact, or share spatial proximity in ways such that the quantum state of each particle cannot be described independently of the state of the other(s), even when the particles are separated by a large distance.” Wikipedia.

Doing my daily breathing exercises – deep inhaling and exhaling – makes me keenly conscious not only of how instinctive my breathing process is but how dependent my life is on it. My body, as it has been doing from the moment I took my first breath, takes in oxygen from the environment and, combining it with the foods I consume, convert it into the physical energy that empowers me as a cohesive being, to move around, to do things, to develop relationships, to think thoughts, to create a mind that not only lets me reflect upon myself and the world around me, but upon the world beyond the reach of my organic limitations.

The only way this process is realized is through the intimate interconnectedness – Entanglement – of every single component in my body; a level of connectivity so immediate and so thorough that to take a step in a specific direction, the particles in my brain know, instantly, how and when the particles in my feet will act – this is the only way I can go places, this is the only way I can be me, this is the physical force of Entanglement that gives the determined progression to my presence in the world.

The more I study the beauty and insight of theories like Entanglement which seek to understand the nature of our Universe, the more certain I am in my assertion that they not only explain the nature of atomic particles, but are also good enough to explain the nature of being human.

To illustrate this claim, let me apply the tenets of the above Wikipedia definition of Entanglement, not to pairs or groups of particles, but to us.

Entanglement is a physical phenomenon that occurs when pairs or groups of human beings are engendered (with species-specific DNA), interact (with conscious awareness of ourselves and others), or share spatial proximity (with the same need for oxygen and the chemical balance of  the Earth to be alive) in ways such that the state of each human being cannot be described independently of the state of another, even when we are separated by a large distance, i.e. one human being in the Sahara and the other in Antarctica.

Entanglement has been scientifically proved to be an incredibly ingenious assembling Force, possibly as primal as the Universe itself, and decisively not random since it is obvious that it progresses toward complexity and order – it conceivably began to manifest it power of self-organization with the early atomic particles as they began to assemble into increasingly complex systems.

And even though Entanglement has been proven to be a primal Force that, without regards to where on Earth each of us is    nor what the color of our skin is, connects us all with the shared characteristics of humankind; and even though Entanglement is proven to be a creative and organizing Force that assembles every single atom, every single cell, every single organ in our bodies into the magic of conscious self-awareness, it then makes me wonder why it is not a critical subject, not just in the Physics classroom but in those of elementary studies?

The knowledge that opens our perception to our intimate connection with the world, catapults us into higher levels of Humanity.

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