244 – And then we wonder why …

For millennia, the human-animal has slaughtered its own kind under the justification that it is a necessary, and therefore rightful act to reign control over those who do not fit our doctrines, or destroy those who we contrive as an ‘enemy’ … the ‘scapegoat’ whose livelihood we deem expendable and want to either conquer or vanish from the face of the earth.

Animals, insects, microbes slaughter each other in predatory killings in which they kill more prey than they can immediately eat, usually to procure food for offspring, or to gain valuable killing experience, or to eat later when hunger comes again.

But not us. Our predatory killings are instigated by hate, and then we normalize and popularize them, oftentimes as heroism, through available means like pamphlets, books, political and religious discourse, movies, television, and, currently, through electronic devices which are not only widely available but highly desirable by younger generations, so parents, without a second thought, allow and even encourage children at impressionable ages to play extreme violent ‘games’ where the greater the slaughter and destruction, the greater the feeling of being better, stronger, successful.

And then we wonder why we grow to believe that to be successful is to be violent, destructive and heartless; why we have grown to be the only species we know of that uses its high degree of ‘intelligence’ to devise the cruelest forms of torture and destruction with the purpose to send others – generally the vulnerable and defenseless – into inhumane levels of poverty and degradation?

And then we wonder why we are a civilization where there is so much hate, where we always are in the midst of conflict, always at war, always killing our own – oftentimes by the hundreds and thousands – without a hint of remorse?

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243 – As Everything in Nature, We are a Synthesis of Three Complementary Properties …

There is nothing that empirically proves our profound interrelatedness with everything in Nature than a verified scientific theory, and Niels Bohr’s Complementarity principle gets close to do that for me. I highlight close because the theory does not include a property that is essential for the complete understanding of all evolving systems in Nature.

The most well-known example of Complementarity is the phenomenon of Light as a synthesis of particle-like and wave-like duality. Light manifests as particle-like in its components (photons) and as wave-like in the patterns photons create as they interact with environments. Light is not one or the other; it is both. But Light is also a component of the Universe, and as such, it is universal-like as the manifestation of the common blueprint[i] that maps the development of all the components of our Universe. Therefore, for the principle of Complementarity to provide a complete understanding of Light, it must include the universal-like manifestation: Light is particle-like and wave-like and universal-like.

As all evolving system in our Universe – light, hydrogen, cells, solar systems, galaxies –  human beings are a synthesis of three complementary properties: We are particle-like as individual components of a system (humankind) AND wave-like as the patterns we create as the species affects and is affected by environments AND universal-like as we reiterate the common blueprint that maps the development of all universal components and endows us with a degree of freedom in adaptation.

It is, of course, evident that each complementary property can be explored with the exclusion of the others. The particle-like property of a photon, or a human being, or any evolving system in Nature, can be isolated and studied with the exclusion of the other complementary properties. But by doing so, we forgo the essence of the system we are trying to understand.

In the generation, organization, and bonding together of the components of our bodies, we, like any evolving system in Nature, have no choice; these processes are relatively pre-determined by the demands of the environments in which we exist. But in the way we adapt, self-regulate, and self-perpetuate, whether we do it instinctively or by our own determination, we become pro-active participants in the evolutionary processes of a species. And as we unfold, transforming ourselves and our world, we re-assert the universal mandate that endows us all with a degree of freedom to choose.

The principle of Complementarity proves how profoundly interrelated everything in Nature is. Whether it is an atom, a cell, a human being, a solar system, a galaxy, we are all synthesis of three complementary properties: we are all particle-like and wave-like and universal-like, not one or the other but all at the same time. And I believe that we will be more rational and understanding in our relationship with Nature when we accept this about us.

[i] Self-organize, self-generate, bond, self-regulate, adapt, self-perpetuate, transform.

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242 – It is Entirely up to Us …

That something can be pre-determined and free at the same time seems paradoxical to our intellect … most of us believe that nothing can be two things at the same time. Yet everything in Nature, including us, unfolds by following a pre-determined process (fertilization, prenatal development, birth, childhood, youth, adulthood, old age, dissipation), which endows us with a degree of freedom to choose – whether right or wrong – how we transform ourselves and our world, how we adapt to changing environments, how we forge our destiny.

And so, for those of us privileged enough to have the option to choose, what we do with it is entirely up to us.

The crux of how we make our choices is to do it with the knowledge that pre-determination lays ahead, inescapably waiting for the time when the significance of what we do with our life     becomes the measure of our transcendence[i].

[i] Merriam-Webster Dictionary: Transcend: to rise above or extend notably beyond ordinary limits

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241 – Where do we find Truth? …

Our organic senses don’t tell us the whole truth about what we are,

they are too limited for that,

but so are the people who believe their senses are the whole truth.

 

To find the truth,

we have to go beyond what our senses can sense,

yet it is in ourselves.

 

We are universal beings,

nested between the worlds of the microcosm and the macrocosm

where a keen sense of awareness is growing

… becoming conscious of itself,

conscious of the Force of Life bringing together the worlds of the endlessly finite and the infinitely infinite,

creating everything,

creating us.

 

It is in that Force where Truth is. And in us it is

to be found,

to be sensed,

to be understood,

to be loved,

to Be.

 

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240 – As Everything in Nature, We are Autopoietic Systems …

There is nothing that empirically proves how interrelated we are with everything in Nature than a verified scientific theory, and Humberto Maturana and Francisco Valera’s Autopoiesis does that for me.

The word Autopoiesis comes from the Greek ‘auto’ meaning ‘self’, and ‘poiesis’ meaning ‘creation: Self-creation.

Autopoiesis is a property of naturally evolving systems – molecules, cells, planets, galaxies – that allows them to recreate themselves by generating their own components and by conserving their own boundaries    while developing into the fundamental configuration of the species to which they belong.

Like any other evolving system in Nature – like a cell, like a galaxy, like our own Earth – human beings are autopoietic systems. We recreate ourselves by generating our own components and by conserving the skin that enfolds us and exchanges information with environments so we can adapt with a degree of flexibility, while at the same time developing into the fundamental configuration shared by everyone in our species.

The theory of Autopoietic Systems proves how the universal power of self-creation profoundly interrelates us with everything in Nature. And I believe we will be more rational and tender in our relationship with Nature when we understand this about us.

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239 – How can we? …

How can we, the lucky ones, the people with ‘residual incomes’, who know full well now that what we are doing to the environment can be the end of us – all of us – continue doing it as if we are untouchable?

How can we?

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238 – As Everything in Nature, We are Dissipative Structures …

There is nothing that proves our interrelatedness with everything in Nature than a proven scientific theory, and Ilya Prigogine’s Dissipative Structures does that for me.

Dissipative Structures are systems that interact openly with environments and are powered by a continuous consumption and release of energy sources (dissipation). This continuous dissipation renders the system vulnerable to environmental fluctuations (i.e. changes in energy sources), which may force the system to restructure oftentimes into greater levels of complexity. But greater complexity demands greater consumption of energy sources, which then makes the system more vulnerable to internal and external fluctuations. Amazingly enough, this increased vulnerability is a source for the constant transformation of Nature.

Like everything in Nature – molecules, cells, planets, galaxies – we are dissipative structures; we power our selves, our self-generation, our adaptation, by consuming and releasing energy sources (dissipation).

From the moment we are conceived, we ignite the primal dissipation process, consuming energy sources (foods, air), and releasing them as motion, action, force. And even though the process makes us totally dependent for our sustenance on the environment, that we do it on our own, on our own power, is an amazing accomplishment. But that we turn this dependency, this vulnerability, into growing more resilient, more adaptable, more ingenious, more insightful, more self-reflective, more open to possibilities, is truly amazing.

This primal dissipation process is one of the foundations of the evolution of Nature. It is embodied in everything – molecules, cells, human beings, planets, galaxies – and it is how, even if we are dependent on environmental laws, everything we do is a possibility not only for our transformation but for the transformation of our world. We are catalysts for Transformation.

The theory of Dissipative Structures proves how profoundly interrelated everything in Nature is – we survive and develop through the same process as everything in Nature – and accepting this fact will catapult us into a more rational understanding of ourselves and our relationship with Nature.

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237 – Guidelines for the Education of Every Child on Earth …

“If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going”. Maya Angelou

When a parent comes to regret the outcome of hurtful personality traits in a child under their guidance, the natural excuse we give is “I did my best”, “I didn’t have a manual”.

It is true. Most parents try their best, but in our cultures we do not give them guidelines for the critical job of raising a child, especially in their early years when children are more vulnerable, impressionable, and totally dependent on adults.

And even though we have some guidelines that have been passed on from generation to generation (Tolerance, Honesty, Compassion, the understanding of the difference between Right and Wrong,), there are critical guidelines that are not even considered.

And even though the “Golden Rule” (Treat others as you would like others to treat you) is the foundation at the core of most teaching, I believe we have nothing like a universal set of guidelines for Education’. And the lack of something like this is at the roots of our chaotic, selfish, aggressive, greedy, destructive world.

There is a desperate need for a universal Dictum that encompasses ancient and new guidelines, like the ones below, that are based on facts we all know to be true:

  • Make the child aware that Life is the primal source from which we are engendered and into which we return.
  • Teach the child the value of organized religions to bring people together to help others, but because the core beliefs of organized religions are based on dogma, they inhibit freedom of thought. Therefore, with this in mind, give children the freedom to follow, or not, a religious belief.
  • Challenge them to create a vision of what they want to be in the future; a vision perhaps of becoming someone whose actions transform the future, like those of Aristotle, Mandela, Einstein, Mozart.
  • Teach the children that we are a part of Nature, and as such, totally dependent for sustenance on the environments we inhabit, yet we also are, like no other creature we know of, conscious of being alive with a degree of freedom to transform ourselves and our world.
  • Teach children that being alive is the most beautiful phenomenon in Nature and that we are one of its luckiest manifestations – one that is evolving amid incredible challenges into a supple, intelligent, self-conscious human being with the capacity to see and feel our own beauty.
  • Teach the children that they have the power to make the world as happy and kind as they want it to be, and set them free.

I believe that with guidelines like the ones above, children can grow not only greatly aware of the significance of their presence in the world, but also well prepared to face the world their ancestors have created, and transform it with gentleness and care.

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236 – A Cell, a Human Being, the Earth, the Galaxy …

At first look, it may be difficult to see a relationship between a cell, us, the Earth, the Milky Way, other than we are all in the same Universe. We obviously have different structural organizations, exist in different magnitudes, adapt according to the different environments in which we exist.

But without disregarding our differences, we are in fact more closely related than we think we are. Cells, human beings, the Earth, the Milky Way, everything in Nature, come into existence imprinted with the same set of properties – a universal blueprint – that links us together by mapping the steps we all must follow in order to survive.

We all come into existence by becoming 1 – a component of a larger system that not only regulates us, but that we can transform, and 2 – a congregation of smaller systems that we not only regulate but that can transform us.

We all develop a preordained yet supple form of existence through a constant counterbalance between the energy we consume and the energy we exert to adapt and survive.

We are all created with the innate power to self-organize, self-generate, self-regulate, self-direct, self-perpetuate, while transforming ourselves and our world.

But of all these universal properties, it is the power for transformation which is the harbinger inducing Life to know itself.

Can we ever acknowledge this about us – that although imprinted with the same universal properties as everything in Nature, we are one of those beautiful creatures in which those properties have begun to induce Life to wonder about the wonder of itself?

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235 – A Dream …

I was somewhere out in deep space observing from afar a desolate Mars-like planet. My position, as if I was standing on the Moon looking at Earth, was stationary, but I was much closer to the planet than the Moon is to Earth; so close in fact that I could hear the tremendous roar of the planet as it revolved around its axis.

Like the Earth, the planet revolved from West to East, but an entire revolution lasted only an hour. This means that from my position I got to see the same topography every hour. As the planet rotated with symmetrical precision, I was also able to discern fading patterns, barely visible signs on its surface left by eons of gravitational and evolutionary processes. But there was nothing else. No telling signs of activity.

Hour after hour, I witnessed the same unchanged surfaces appear and disappear as the planet rotated in front of me. But suddenly I noticed something different, something entirely new. A little dark spot had appeared on the equatorial belt of the planet in the West. I noticed it immediately because it stood out from the dullness and monotony of its surroundings. At first, I could not believe my eyes and thought it was my imagination. But then the little spot continued to move towards the East with the rotation of the planet until it disappeared behind the horizon in the East. I sat there, flabbergasted, hardly able to wait and see if it was going to reappear again in the West. And lo and behold, exactly half an hour later, there it was again. Without any doubt now, the little spot was a feature of the planet.

After a few more rotations, I noticed that the spot was not only a bit bigger, but it was also changing into the shape of a teardrop. I realized that the reason for the change in shape was that it was beginning to move towards the West, and because its direction was counter to the rotation of the planet, a comet-like tail was beginning to trail behind it.

Now, used to its presence, I noticed that its color was a brilliant emerald-green, and that the tail was fanning out covering more and more surface. The spot was strikingly beautiful in contrast to the barren background of the planet.

In several more rotations, it grew into a continent-sized triangle, intensely green in its westward arrowhead, and faintly lighter in its fan-like tail. It was now clear that what started as an insignificant spot was transforming the entire planet.

As it continued to expand, covering now more than half the surface of the planet, it reached a point where the arrowhead touched its tail. Then something incredible happened: The emerald-green triangle covered the entire planet; and its counterforce towards the West, grown greatly, began to slow down the rotation of the planet towards the East. Within a few more rotations, the planet came to a standstill. And then, slowly, very slowly, it began to rotate towards the West.

A critical mass was reached. A barren world had been transformed. And a beautiful emerald-green planet reigned brilliantly in the immensity of space.


As I pondered the significance of my dream, our capacity to transform ourselves and our world came to mind; a capacity that, for instance, prompted our exponential growth with the advent of the Industrial Revolution, and with it, the waste with which we have polluted the environment that has supported our evolution for millions of years. We have thrown out of balance the chemical equilibrium of the environment, and, as a result, we are now facing a crisis that, although it was created unintentionally at the beginning, is now threatening our survival.

Scientific warnings have been loud and clear for decades on the dire impact of our actions on the environment, but for the sake of greed and selfishness, we have paid no heed. Even now, when the signs of environmental upheaval are bearing upon us, a great number of us, especially in the industrialized nations, seem incapable to accept the fact that We Are The Culprit.

We have reached a point in our evolution when there is no other choice but to face the consequences of what we have created.

In the evolutionary history of the Earth, catastrophic events have thrown the planet out of equilibrium, demanding long periods of time to adjust or change. The planet always did. But will we?

My hope is that, if we can find no solution to our crisis, those who may survive the aftermath of Nature’s response to our onslaught, come together, globally, with a vision of a new paradigm based not on the greed, deceit, conflict, and destruction of our current one, but on Knowing that in the scheme of Nature, we are nothing more than another one of its myriad manifestations. But because we have had the chance and the challenge to evolve amid one of Earth’s relatively stable periods, we have developed into the beautiful, ingenious and intelligent organism able to envision paradigm shifts with the power to transform our world – we did it with the Industrial Revolution, unfortunately initiating the changes that ultimately polluted our environment, or when we first saw the picture of Earth taken from space, awakening to the beauty and fragility of our planet, and courageously initiating the environmental movements transforming the way we understand Nature  – just as the ‘spot’ in my dream transformed its world.

It is just a dream. But dreams do come true.

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