Humility Quiz: How Humble Are You?
Humility Quiz: How Humble Are You?
Give what you think is the most comprehensive, least superficial answer to the following questions.
1. Do you believe that the 1906 San Franscisco earthquake was caused by;
(a) shifting movement of the San Andreas fault plane faces?
(b) invisible tensions in the subsurface rocks along the coast, which was relieved by movement at a weak point, the San Andreas fault?
2. Do you believe that a hurricane is;
(a) a local rotational current in the atmosphere?
(b) a ‘boil’ that is the result of invisible pressures in the sun-heated ocean/atmospheric flow?
3. Do you believe that the French revolution was caused by;
(a) polarized opposition of social classes; i.e. an angry and violent proletariat that waged civil war against the bourgeoisie and won?
(b) invisible pressures associated with severe taxation, food shortages and strong regulatory controls that would not relieve the pressure?
4. Do you believe that children’s speaking and behaving patterns in elementary and high school classes;
(a) derive from internal purpose and free will and only secondly from social regulation?
(b) are shaped firstly by invisible tensions such as fear of punishment for failure and avoidance of looking stupid in front of their peers?
5. Do you believe that Afghans join with the Taliban because;
(a) they are a bitter and angry people that hate the Americans and their allies..
(b) they are reacting to invisible tensions in their homeland living space between locals and foreign meddlers/occupiers?
6. Do you believe that wheat fields are primarily the result of;
(a) the farmer tilling, sowing and irrigating the fields?
(b) invisible flows such as solar-powered thermal flows and air/water cycles coupling with photosynthesis and the ‘soil food-web’?
7. Do you believe that a meal of fresh fish is the result of;
(a) the fisherman catching fish and the marketing, distributing and selling of fish?
(b) invisible processes in the marine food web wherein photosynthesis, bacteria, algae, plankton co-sustain persisting fish populations?
8. Do you believe that the positioning of the riders in a group of bikers on the freeway (or wildgeese in flying formation) is;
(a) in a ‘V’ because the participants deliberately choose this riding pattern?
(b) in a ‘V’ because of the invisible ‘V’s in the turbulent slipstream around each of them that are mitigated as they move into a joint ‘V’ formation?
8. Do you believe that the man who flew his plane into an IRS office building in Austin, Texas did so because;
(a) he decided to take revenge for what he saw as his unfair treatment by the government?
(b) after feeling under persisting invisible tensions that he couldn’t extricate himself from, he finally ‘broke’ and went postal? (earthquake analogy).
9. Do you believe that the dynamics of changing material forms (e.g. organisms) and the movements of dynamic forms are;
(a) the result of the collisions and interactions of material particles
(b) the result of invisible energy-field-charged space that precipitates matter and conditions its behaviour?
10. Do you believe that rises and falls in the stock-market and economic boom and bust cycles are;
(a) the result of supply and demand fluctuations in the production of goods and services
(b) the result of invisible tensions felt by investors that bring them to their ‘selling’ and ‘buying’ trigger-thresholds (avalanche analogy).
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Second (Final) Question Series;
If you chose more (b) answers than (a) answers, this would suggest that you believe that what we can see and measure plays less of a role in determining what goes on in the world, than invisible, non-material forces (in general accord with the natural primacy of energy-field-flow as in relativity and quantum physics).
This ‘level of humility’ can be compared to that of the ‘sailboater’ relative to the ‘powerboater’. The sailboater understands that his form (the form of the sails), his power and his steerage/direction all derive from the dynamic space he is included in, while the powerboater thinks that his form is his own ‘onboard’ fixed form and that his power and his steerage are fully his own (inboard). The latter would perhaps like to develop his powerboat into a ‘Titanic’ that would have ‘dominion’ over the dynamics of the space he is included in, an anthropocentric powerboating-trip that, as in the condition called ‘schizophrenia’ comes from listening to a voice in one’s head; e.g;
“God said to them, … Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” — Genesis 1:28
Thus, the first set of questions determines whether our humility level is that of
The Sailboater: one who acknowledges that one’s behaviour is secondary to (relative to) the invisible-tensions forced (spatially-forced) dynamics of the space he is included in. This level of humility associates with a romanticism where, by putting the cultivating of habitat-inhabitant balance and harmony first (putting in first priority keeping the ship and crew in one piece which equates to orienting first to the quality of the journey), the sailboater may discover new and exotic lands that he never knew existed and have experiences that he never knew were possible. His cup is never full (he is open to learning more about himself, to be transformed in an unpreconceived way by his engaging with the world). He sees himself as included in a continually transforming (non-homogeneous) space.
The Powerboater: one who believes that he is fully and solely responsible for his own behaviour; i.e. that where he goes and what he does originates from within him, from his internal processes and purpose. He sees himself as driven by his own ‘mission, vision, values (and morals), strategies, goals and objectives. He is destination oriented. He knows where he is going and he is determined to get there at all costs (e.g. he views those things that ‘come into his path’ as obstacles he must overcome, rather than things to seek to be in balance and harmony with). His cup is full to the brim (he is full of himself) and those that come into his path must give way to him or suffer the consequences. He sees himself and others, according to their visible aspects, as fixed local forms acting and interacting within a homogeneous (empty, non-participating) space.
Moving on to the next ‘level of humility’;
Give what you think is the most ‘naturally intuitive’ and least ‘intellectually-idealised’ answers to the following questions;
1. The diverse dynamics forms in the common dynamic space of nature are related by;
(c) competitive and cooperative interactions amongst locally-existing individuals, where ‘cooperation’ and ‘competition’ push forth from the ‘local internal purpose’ of the individual. (This is termed ‘locally-forced’ behaviour). These locally-forced behaviours are primary in nature.
(d) mutual interdependence as in an inclusionally nested eco-logical or ‘spatial-forcing’ sense; e.g. the sun and climate move the exposed patches of vegetation around, the reindeer follow them, men follow the reindeer, and bacteria and fleas follow the men; i.e. the ‘celestial dynamics’ or the ‘dynamics of the habitat’ orchestrate individual and collective ‘inhabitant-dynamics’ (referred to as ‘spatially-forced’ or ‘celestially-forced’ behaviour). The notion that human behaviour ‘pushes forth’ from the internals of the local individual , as in ‘competition’ and ‘cooperation’ is ‘secondary’ rather than ‘primary’ (i.e. ‘spatial-forcing’ of individual and collective behaviour is in a natural precedence over ‘local-forcing’ of individual and collective behaviour). In fact, ‘local forcing’ is ‘idealisation’ based on visual appearance that we tend to ‘confuse for reality’.
2. In the following figure, the interdependent relationships of the diverse dynamic forms implies that;
(c) we are to the animals that feed off the vegetation as ‘predator’ is to ‘prey’ and as birds are to insects; i.e. the food ‘chain’ is linear in that a higher level depends only on the next lower level. In nature, the behaviour of organisms is ‘locally-forced’ as in ‘predator-prey’ dynamics.
(d) animals help us to extract nourishment from our living space that we could otherwise not tap into, as do plants and arthropods nourish animals (and as phytoplankton nourish fish which nourish men) etc. etc. in a ‘web’ of inter-dependencies which is fuelled by conversion of solar energy into food (photosynthesis); i.e. the food chain is not a hierarchical ‘predator-prey’ chain that runs up and down and has a top to it (namely ‘man’) but is instead a ‘web’ of interdependencies, thus if we destroy the grass or the balance in the soil or if we destroy the chemistry of the oceans, we destroy our source of nourishment (animal flesh, fish flesh). We must let the cultivation of balance and harmony orchestrate our behaviour (sustainability and resilience are attributes of the web of interdependencies). In nature, the behaviour of organisms is firstly spatially-forced or ‘celestially-forced’. Local-forcing of organismic behaviour is ‘idealisation’ based on visual appearance that we tend to ‘confuse for reality’.
3. The continuing survival of human populations depends primarily upon;
(c) man’s intelligence and knowledge as he applies them to the capture, extraction and management of nature’s resources; his ability to adapt to changes in the environment so that he can continue to extract the nourishment and resources he needs even in times of intense competition when resources become scarce.
(d) the persistence of value-exchange networks (webs) that give man indirect access to the most basic solar-powered source of food production (photosynthesis). As with the cormorants that Chinese fishermen train to fish for them, these food web partners of man can reach and tap sources of nourishment in space that man can neither see nor reach. Man’s health and sustainability depends on the health and sustainability of the full web rather than simply ‘what he eats’. In order for what he eats (and otherwise depends upon) to remain in good supply, what he eats eats must remain in good supply and what he eats eats eats must remain in good supply and etc. etc. Man’s awakening to the fact that while man does not feed on bacteria and protozoa and insects (or phytoplankton and krill) and that they are ‘out of sight’ of his aware engaging and ‘his knowledge-based management powers’ does not mean that they are unimportant to man and that he can let his clumsy management practices which focus on what ‘he can see’ and what ‘is of value to him’ (e.g. ‘clumsy practices’ such as his chemical discharges etc. that APPEAR relatively innocuous to him and to the animals, fish and crops THAT HE CAN SEE AND ‘MANAGE’ AND FEED ON) kill them with impunity. In short, the continuing survival of humans depends on their caring for what they cannot see and do not AWARELY (intelligently or otherwise) engage with. There must be an awareness that ‘local-forcing’ of behaviour is ‘idealisation’ based on visual appearances that we are ‘confusing for reality’‡
If you chose more (d) answers than (c) answers in this second part of the humility quiz, this suggests that you believe that the health of yourself, your family and your community depends upon (is ‘interdependent with’) an interdependent web of dynamic ‘players’ in nature that are beyond the range of your visual senses and beyond the awareness/reach of your everyday engagements with the natural world; i.e. you are an ecosensist who sees herself as ‘a strand in a web of interdependent peers’ (the health and harmony of the interdependent web is the primary imperative) rather than a ‘predatorial machine’ that occupies the top rung in an up-and-down (superior-to-inferior) ‘feeding hierarchy’ where ‘staying on top’ as in a ‘dog-eat-dog’ world view is the primary imperative.
While the first part of the humility quiz dealt with the source of man’s form, power and steerage (whether these are sourced onboard and ‘locally-forced’ or whether they derive from the dynamics of the space man is included in; i.e. are ‘spatially-forced), the second part of the humility quiz addressed the nature of man’s relations with fellow men and fellow organisms, cells, gases, fluids and minerals etc. and whether the view of man/self is one in which acting on the basis of what he knows and what he can see is sufficient for sustaining a healthy persisting place in the world or not.
The two parts of this ‘humility quiz’ are brought together by the question;
Would you recommend that we continue to organize and manage our social dynamic FIRSTLY on the basis of what we can see and measure? In other words (if we invert the perspective); Should we continue to chase after the ‘shadows’ of invisible primary cause, as is our current practice? (the material dynamics that we can see and engage with, as some of us have agreed in this humility quiz, are secondary appearances (‘maya’ in vedic philosophy); ‘idealisations’ (there are no ‘local agents’ or ‘local agency’ in nature) that must not be confused for ‘reality’.
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The above questions divide the respondent into one of three groups based on respectively different views of relations of ‘self’ to ‘collective’ to ‘space’ (the resonant energy-charged continuum);
1. Those who believe that ‘local-forcing’ best characterizes the world dynamic (more (a)’s than (b)’s)
2. Those who believe that ‘spatial-forcing’ best characterizes the world dynamic (more (b)’s than (a)’s) but elects to manage the social dynamic as in (1.).
3. Those who believe that ‘spatial-forcing’ best characterizes the world dynamic, who feel that our ‘top-down’ organisational approach needs to be subsumed with an ‘interdependent peer-to-peer value exchange network’ (more (d)’s than (c)’s).
If hurricanes were humans, the three groups would see the following picture in the respective contexts described below (beneath the picture);
Group 1. (Imagine that there are just four separate white hurricanes on a homogenous black background). There are four hurricanes in this picture. Each hurricane is a locally existing dynamic figure with its own locally originating (internal-process-driven) behaviour. This group sees the power of the hurricane as being ‘locally-forced’ (‘locally-sourced’). By analogy with social systems, this group believes that the emergent features (akin to ‘humans’ in the social realm), are locally existing dynamic figures with their own locally originating (internal-process-driven) behaviours.
Group 2. (Imagine that there are four bubbles rising up in a continuous soap film as if out of local grains of yeast). There is an atmospheric flow here which has been pressured up by solar powered thermal flows and gravity tamp. The invisible tensions are being relieved by the emergence of convection cells wherein matter moves from hot highly pressured spatial situations to less-hot, less-highly-pressured spatial situations in continuing cycles so as to bring the common flow-space of the atmosphere towards thermal and pressure balance. By analogy with social systems, this group believes that the behaviours of the emergent features are animated by tensions in the common flow-space (in the sense of being ‘pushed around’ by the flow), but that each emergent feature has its own local internal process drive. Therefore, this group would put ‘visual, material individualism’ first and have social organisation and governance systems orient FIRST to the protection of individual dynamics, relegating ‘balancing’ to a ‘secondary‘ (trickle-down) role, a prioritization that is inverted with respect to nature.
Group 3: (Stop imagining and use your natural intuition to see ‘what is really’ going on here). There is an atmospheric flow here which has been pressured up by solar-powered thermal flows and gravity tamp. The invisible tensions are being relieved by the emergence of convection cells wherein matter moves from hot highly-pressured spatial situations to less-hot, less-highly-pressured spatial situations in continuing cycles so as to bring the common flow-space of the atmosphere towards thermal and pressure balance. By analogy with social systems, this group believes that the emergence of tension-creating inequalities/imbalances is primary, and that the apparently local dynamic forms are ‘secondary’, having been ‘born’ to the purpose of restoring balance and harmony in the common space they share inclusion. This group would acknowledge that ‘material individuation’ is secondary rather than primary. Meanwhile, there is an ‘individuality’ that is invisible and non-material that derives from the primary invisible and non-material nature of the dynamic. (e.g. the sailboater who discovers new and exotic lands and experiences by orienting first to the sustaining of balance and harmony is evolving a unique and particular experience profile that he is not ‘forcing out of himself, locally’ by internal knowledge and other internal biases; i.e. he takes these biases along on the trip with him as secondary support tools, allowing them to be continually updated by his actual experience).
The three ways of seeing the relationships between space, the collective and the individual in the above photograph thus gives rise to three different ‘world views’ based on differing senses of self;
- We are planted on earth as individuals by God (as in Genesis in the Bible)
- We have evolved from the dynamic space we are included in but with our own internal-process-driven local agency (Darwinism)
- We are all emergent dynamic forms in a common ground-flow, strands-in-the-web whose individuality is ‘spatially-sourced’ (approx. Larmarckism/Amerindian traditional view‡‡ )
- In view 1. one believes that behaviour is locally-forced from within the individual (internal processes and moral codes) and can be inspired by God and/or Satan
- In view 2. one believes that behaviour is locally-forced from within the individual as shaped by both ‘nature’ (genetics) and ‘nurture’ (environmental influence).
- In view 3. one believes that both behaviour and being/becoming (emergence) is spatially-forced, thus the individual does not need internal moral direction since he assumes ‘he’ is an interdependent strand in the web and that his ‘reason for being/becoming is to cultivate and to sustain balance and harmony. This is the ‘aboriginal view’ wherein, for example, the ‘Great Peace’ of the Iroquois is also translated as ‘the ‘Great Harmony’‡‡‡.
We are most familiar (in our Western culture) with the first two ‘views’ where we assume ‘local figures’ with ‘their own local agency’ and ‘view 3.’ is something very different for one who has been ‘imprinted’ by Western acculturation. That is, where the individual’s behaviour is seen as ‘locally (internally)-forced’, we assume that there is an internal ‘directive program’ for driving his behaviour and thus, if his behaviour is to be ‘moral’, there will have to be an internal moral code. However, if his behaviour is ‘spatially-forced’ and the reason he has ‘emerged’ is to ‘bring balance and harmony to the world’, then he doesn’t need to have an internal moral code to direct his behaviour, he puts his movements in the service of cultivating balance and harmony. We know how this differs from ‘doing good work’. We experience it in the busy flow of the freeway, often by backing off so that others will have more room to avoid collision etc. When we ‘back off’ or move relative to the flow so as to help reshape the habitat-inhabitant spatial relations to make the continuing dynamic safer, we ‘null out’ or ‘subsume’ with our relative movement, the embryo of what might have become an accident, before it gets a chance to unfold in to an accident. Thus a small difference does not live to become a major difference in the unfolding of the dynamic; i.e. ‘nothing happens’. (the ‘reverse-butterfly-effect’?).
On a long trip we might contribute many times to ‘nothing happening’ (where something nasty might otherwise have happened). Furthermore, the three-body problem says that it is impossible to solve for individual behaviour in the general case of collective dynamics (i.e. a solution for individual behaviour is not possible when three or more ‘things’ move under one another’s simultaneous mutual influence [the general case]). When we contribute to nothing nasty happening (no collisions), we are thus ‘cultivating and sustaining balance and harmony’ in the dynamic space we share inclusion in. Only a collective (team, community etc.) can ‘win a prize’ for cultivating balance and harmony and this is not directly available to our visual senses but it can be felt (absence of conflict and collision can be felt). It is something ‘we do together’ not something that an individual can do on his own. If there are thousand of driver miles of accident-free driving on busy roads, we can be sure that there were many moves by many people that were such as to subsume (absorb, buffer) the emergence of collisions but sincethe ‘result’ is that ‘ nothing happened’ there is no individual to give a prize to, for being a ‘do-gooder’ (for authoring some visible good act), yet everyone deserves to get a prize for co-cultivating balance and harmony. Such behaviour, which is NOT from local internal moral-purpose forcing, is ongoing in life in general, and is not confined to the flow of the busy freeways. It is the essential ’cause excitatrice’ of Lamarck which cultivates resonant order rather than chaos and conflict.
The point of this elaboration on view 3. is that there is no need for an internal moral code to direct one’s behaviour if one’s movements are understood as being spatially-shaped and in the service of relieving emerging tensions/pressures by cultivating balance and harmony. The internal moral-purpose directed behaviour is a concept that associates only with views 1. and 2. where we see ourselves as the authors of local, internal process, knowledge and purpose-driven behaviour. Moral codes can, of course, be used as guidelines that we take along on the trip with us, just as the sailboater takes along knowledge and other biases on the trip with him, but allows his behaviour to be FIRSTLY orchestrated by being in the service of sustaining balance and harmony in the conjugate habitat-inhabitant relation.
End of Quiz Key
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Epilogue: Why does ‘science’ (the community of scientists) reject the natural primacy of spatial-forcing over local-forcing?
Science is a system of beliefs that has been developed and is maintained by a community of human beings, therefore it is subject to the foibles of human beings. Nietzsche has put his finger on a couple of these foibles; ‘anthropomorphism’ and ‘will to power’, and Schroedinger, in experiencing a rejection of his finding/contention that spatial-forcing is in a natural primacy over local-forcing at the fundamental level (a rejection , over local-forcing, has confirmed that these foibles do indeed continue to predominate in our Western culture dominated society.
While both Heisenberg and Schroedinger came up with mathetical formulations of quantum theory, they disagreed as to where the ‘reality’ lay. As Heisenberg said;
“The more I think about the physical portion of Schrödinger’s theory, the more repulsive I find it. [...] What Schrödinger writes about the visualisability of his theory ‘is probably not quite right,’ in other words it’s crap.”
“Despite the differences, Schrödinger published a proof in 1926, which showed that the results of matrix and wave mechanics are equivalent; they were in fact the same theory. According to the Copenhagen Interpretation, the wave and particle pictures of the atom, or the visual and causal representations, are “complementary” to each other. That is, they are mutually exclusive, yet jointly essential for a complete description of quantum events.”
Meanwhile, Schroedinger insisted that ‘matter’ was not a peer to ‘waves’ but was ‘schaumkommen’;
“What we observe as material bodies and forces are nothing but shapes and variations in the structure of space. Particles are just schaumkommen (appearances).
… Let me say at the outset, that in this discourse, I am opposing not a few special statements of quantum physics held today (1950s), I am opposing as it were the whole of it, I am opposing its basic views that have been shaped 25 years ago, when Max Born put forward his probability interpretation, which was accepted by almost everybody. (Schrödinger E, ‘The Interpretation of Quantum Physics’).] — source: http://www.spaceandmotion.com/Physics-Erwin-Schrodinger.htm
Heisenberg and Einstein also disagreed on the relative importance of what the visual senses allow us to ‘see and measure’;
“Heisenberg: “One cannot observe the electron orbits inside the atom. [...] but since it is reasonable to consider only those quantities in a theory that can be measured, it seemed natural to me to introduce them only as entities, as representatives of electron orbits, so to speak.”
Einstein: “But you don’t seriously believe that only observable quantities should be considered in a physical theory?”
“I thought this was the very idea that your Relativity Theory is based on?” Heisenberg asked in surprise.
“Perhaps I used this kind of reasoning,” replied Einstein, “but it is nonsense nevertheless. [...] In reality the opposite is true: only the theory decides what can be observed.”
(translated from “Der Teil und das Ganze” by W. Heisenberg)
This question of ‘the whole and the parts’ (Der Teil und das Ganze) is tied up, fundamentally, with the question of the relative precedence of ‘spatial-forcing’ and ‘local forcing’ (whether one should understand particles as flow-features that emerge from the resonant-energy-charged medium of space in the manner of convection cells emerging in fluid-flow, or whether one should ‘start with’ the notion of particles (e.g. electrons) and develop a ‘locally-forced’ understanding based on the dynamics of particles).
This was the issue that Schroedinger, the formulator of ‘quantum wave dynamics’, found himself a lone dissenter on;
“I don’t like it, and I’m sorry I ever had anything to do with it.” – Erwin Schroedinger [referring to the accepted interpretation of quantum mechanics founded on the notion of the ‘reality’ of local particles (local-forcing)]
As Geoff Haselhurst observes;
“Erwin Schroedinger made a profound discovery in 1927 by showing that the discrete energy states of Matter could be determined by Wave Equations. Unfortunately, the following year, Max Born stumbled upon the mathematical relationship that the square of these equations described a probability function for where the ‘particle’ could be found. Thus rather than realising that matter was made of waves (the obvious conclusion), for the next seventy years humanity [science] went down the path of assuming the particles were real, and the waves were merely probability functions (or perhaps more correctly, that neither ‘particles or waves’ are real, both are merely human constructions, logical tools of thinking that approximate reality). Nonetheless, we were left with the conceptual paradox of the particle-wave duality of matter and light, and the absurdities that must inevitably follow from such contradictions. “
That is the SCIENCE ‘story-to-date’ in regard to discoveries which forced scientists to deal with the basic ambiguity as to put ‘spatial-forcing’ in precedence over ‘local forcing’ in understanding ‘dynamics’, or to KEEP ‘local-forcing’ in precedence.
But, since what science decides at this philosophical level is determined by way of the acculturated practices of a human socio-political community, the pathway to understanding is not constrained to looking over the shoulder of the scientists and second-guess their interpretations, but may proceed by exploring the socio-political dynamics of human community, to see what may be behind the ‘tilt’ towards keeping ‘local-forcing’ in a seemingly unnatural precedence over ‘spatial-forcing’.
In the above ‘humility quiz’ discussion, when we discuss ‘food webs’, and our ‘strand-in-the-web’ interdependent inclusion in them, the complaints of Nietzsche, that ‘science’ is ‘anthropomorphism’ come home to roost. Nietzsche spoke of the ‘prejudices’ that arise from our senses, our body and our situation in the non-homogeneous space of nature that cause us to focus on some things and not others. We focus on farming but not on what the participants in the complex ‘soil food web’ are doing that makes farming possible; i.e. the activities of the multispecies community that includes nematodes, protozoa, funghi etc., without which, there would be no ‘soil’ and without soil, there would be no ‘farmers’ as we know them. If man is insensitive to things he cannot see and insensitive to experiences of those in situations he does not experience, and if this has him proceed as if ‘they do not matter’, then this attitude on man’s part, which ignores the interdependencies he cannot see or is not experiencing, differs from the nematodes and protozoa (which allow their behaviours to be orchestrated by the dynamics of the space they are included in) and might be called man’s ‘will to power’, as Nietzsche termed it.
In any case, these interdependencies, where the participants keep emerging together like storm-cells in the atmosphere (where spatial-forcing is in precedence over local-forcing; i.e. where the habitat-dynamic is conditioning the inhabitant-dynamics and vice-versa at the same time, as in Mach’s principle), fly in the face of theories such as Darwin’s where evolution is portrayed as being ‘locally-forced’ by competition amongst the ‘local inhabitants’ operating in a notional passive, non-participating habitat; i.e. where habitat and inhabitant are deemed mutually exclusive rather than mutually inclusive. Nietzsche openly mocked Darwin’s theory and its ‘Darwinist followers’ for its views that ‘competition’, ‘natural selection’ (survival of the fittest) were ‘fundamental’. Being ‘infirm’ himself, his view was the weakness in one strand in a web of interdependencies brings out strength in another strand in a kind of spontaneously balancing ‘team-play’; e.g. when vision becomes weak, hearing becomes more acute, an example that recalls self-organisation such as the spontaneous pairing of the big, strong, brutish man with the small, weak and clever man, or pilot fish with sharks, or even grizzly bears with wolf-packs etc.
The point is not that the wolf-pack makes a kill to feed the grizzly (which one might be tempted to call ‘cooperation’), the point is, instead, that space is mediative, the wolf-pack conditions space in a way that nourishes the grizzly by dropping a fresh carcass into the shared space, just as the horse drops his ‘horse-apples’ that birds pick seeds from and flies feast on; i.e. the habitat-dynamic conditions the dynamics of the inhabitants at the same time as the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the habitat-dynamic [Mach’s principle]. As with convection cells in flow, the dynamics of the included ‘local’ forms are continually being conditioned by the dynamics of the ground-flow they are included in. The space that we experience inclusion in is not ‘an otherwise empty space’ inhabited by ‘locally existing inhabitants’ with their own ‘locally originating (internally-directed) behaviours’. Space is the dynamic medium (resonant-energy-charged fluid/field medium) that not only animates the dynamic forms that emerge within it, but creates them (i.e. ‘spatial-forcing’ is in a natural precedence over ‘local forcing’).
The issue of whether to comprehend space and spatial-forcing as being in a natural precedence over local material forms and local-forcing, as the fundamental source of the world dynamic, has arguably been largely suppressed by the dominance, in our Western culture, of ‘the will to power’, as encouraged in Genesis
“God said to them, … Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
The associated anthropomorphism, whereby we credit every living thing with the ‘first cause’ powers of behaviour that is notionally locally originating (internal process and purpose-driven) behaviour, which we have infused into our science (by way of the socio-political practices in the community of scientists that determine such things), … now permeates the very fundamentals of our science, by way of the notion of the REALITY of a material ‘particle’ to which we impute ‘its own local agency’.
By equating ‘what we see’ with reality, we impute the sourcing of the world dynamics to arise from the dynamics of the material systems that we see. Thus, we see the farmer ‘producing crops’ but we don’t (and can’t) take up board and lodging for a few weeks in the homes of nematodes and protozoa to better understand the role of these ‘members of the production team’ and how they are faring, because they, being out of sight and out of mind, are not considered ‘members of the production team’. Regardless of the manner in which focuse our attention on ‘OUR’ visual sensing and experience, these others in the interdependent web condition the space we share inclusion in, which in turn conditions our behaviour (we become farmers because of the manner in which they condition the space we all share inclusion in). Without the nematodes, protozoa, funghi and bacteria, there would be no soil in our living space and without soil in our living space there would be no farmers and no vegetation. It is absurd to seek to understand the ‘farming dynamic’ starting from the ‘locally-forced’ dynamics of the farmer.
Nevertheless, it is the acculturated practice of the mind to start with material things, ‘species’ such as man, and to conceive of the world dynamic as if it were ‘locally-forced’ by these material systems. Science could only get to the fundamentals of this anthropomorphist world view, by descending down and in to the most basic of ‘material-systems’, which it did. When it ‘got there’, it discovered a ‘wave-particle’ ambiguity. The concensus was to ‘go with the ambiguity’ and not choose a ‘precedence’ of one relative to the other.
The lone dissenter amongst the modern physics cognoscenti was Erwin Schroedinger, who contended that ‘waves are real’ and ‘particles’ are ‘appearances’, in the manner that atmospheric flow is real and storm-cells are ‘appearances’ in the flow that APPEAR to have ‘local existence’ and ‘local agency’, though this is due to our human visual senses reporting on what they are able to report on (not much, compared with the whole complex mutli-scale scheme of nature). The invisible and non-material pressure fields that are the primary (spatial-forcing) sources of the dynamic forms and their behaviour, are ignored in the process (of our confused equating of visual imagery with ‘reality’).
Man’s mind is filled with information that is coming to him through his visual senses, which he (being of a Western mindset) confuses for ‘reality’. Man does not have the experience of the protozoa and the nematode, yet they are and have been part of the ‘team’ prior to our arrival, and the arrival of human consciousness (primed as it is by visual sense information). So, it seems absurd to propose that consciousness started with ‘human consciousness’ with its spatial size and spatial-situational experience based prejudices. As Schroedinger says in ‘The Oneness of Mind’;
“There is obviously only one alternative, namely the unification of the minds or consciousnesses. Their multiplicity is only apparent, in truth, there is only one mind. This is the doctrine of the Upanishads. And not only of the Upanishads. The mystically experienced union with God regularly entails this attitude unless it is opposed by strong existing prejudices; this means that it is less easily accepted in the West than in the East.
… I should say; the overall number of minds is just one. I venture to call it indestructible since it has a peculiar timetable, namely mind is always now. There is really no before and after for mind. There is only a now that includes memories and expectations. But I grant that our language is not quite adequate to express this, and I also grant, should anyone wish to state it, that I am now talking religion, not science.
… The world is given but once. Nothing is reflected. The original and the mirror image are identical. The world extended in space and time is but our representation (Vorstellung). Experience does not give us the slightest clue of its being anything besides that—as Berkeley was well aware.
Sherrington says: “Man’s mind is a recent product of our planet’s side.”
I agree, naturally. If the first word (man’s) were left out, I would not. It would seem queer, not to say ridiculous, to think that the contemplating, conscious mind that alone reflects the becoming of the world should have made its appearance only at some time in the course of this “becoming” should have appeared contingently, associated with the very special biological contraption which, in itself, quite obviously discharges the task of facilitating certain forms of life in maintaining themselves, thus favoring their preservation and propagation: forms of life that were latecomers and have been preceded by many others that maintained themselves without that particular contraption (a brain). Only a small fraction of them (if you count by species) have embarked on ‘getting themselves a brain.’ And before that happened, should it all have been a performance to empty stalls? Nay, may we call a world that nobody contemplates even that? When an archeologist reconstructs a city or a culture long bygone, he is interested in human life in the past, in actions, sensations, thoughts, feelings, in joy and sorrow of humans, displayed there and then. But a world, existing for many millions of years without any mind being aware of it, contemplating it, is it anything at all? Has it existed? For do not let us forget: to say, as we did, that the becoming of the world is reflected in a conscious mind is but a cliché, a phrase, a metaphor that has become familiar to us. The world is given but once. Nothing is reflected. The original and the mirror image are identical. The world extended in space and time is but our representation (Vorstellung). Experience does not give us the slightest clue of its being anything besides that—as Berkeley was well aware.
… Most painful is the absolute silence of all our scientific investigations toward our questions concerning the meaning and scope of the whole display [the physical world picture]. The more attentively we watch it, the more aimless and foolish it appears to be. The show that is going on obviously acquires a meaning only in regard to the mind that contemplates it. But what science tells us about this relationship is patently absurd: as if mind had only been produced by that very display that it is now watching and would pass away with it when the sun finally cools down and the earth has been turned into a desert of ice and snow.”
This concludes the Epilogue: Why does ‘science’ (the community of scientists) reject the natural primacy of spatial-forcing over local-forcing?
Nietzsche’s answer would likely be ‘man’s will to power’ which boils down to ‘ego’ or ‘lack of humility’, and ‘anthropomorphism-infused science’. Schroedinger’s answer, as we know, is that scientific man is confusing visible appearances for ‘reality’ and missing the point that space, the resonant-energy-charged wave medium, is the invisible and non-material mother of those ‘appearances’ (visible, apparently ‘local’ material entities, that we notionally equip with ‘their own local agency’).
Currently then, what prevails as ‘popular belief’, that ‘local-forcing’ is in precedence over ‘spatial-forcing’ (a social dysfunction-breeding illusion/delusion), is held in place by the ego-driven power-mongering of Western man, in combination with a socio-political process in the community of scientists that has chosen to preserve ‘anthropomorphism’ in the foundations of science.
To be fair to Einstein and others, Einstein said; “only the theory decides what can be observed”, and also, “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.”
This is equivalent to saying; “Scientific understanding should not be confused for reality”.
And as Poincaré observed: Science gives us models that we use to ‘correct our experience’ (clearly a recipe for getting out of touch with our real-world natural experience).
It is this author’s hope that very soon, we will collectively revisit these basic issues that profoundly influence our world view, acknowledge the stranglehold that ego has employed in the inversion that has put ‘local-forcing’ into an unnatural precedence over ‘spatial-forcing’, and within the continually recycling flow of social dynamics, begin to re-launch social dynamics based on the restored natural precedence of ‘spatial-forcing’ over ‘local-forcing’.
* * *
‡ Excerpt from ‘Cultivation of Microbial Consortia and Communities by Douglas E. Caldwell, Gideon M. Wolfaardt, Darren R. Korber, Subramanian Karthikeyan, John R. Lawrence, and Daniel K. Brannan, Manual of Environmental Microbiology. 2nd Edition. ASM Press, Washington D. C. 2002. Edited by C.J. Hurst et. al. pages 92 to 100.
“It is normally assumed that the recombination of genes generates innovation and that this innovation is then judged as useful or not through natural selection. Genetic information presumably serves as a blueprint that controls the features of organisms and their communities. However, studies of bacterial associations in continuous culture (Schiefer, G.E. and D. E. Caldwell, 1982, Synergistic interaction between Anabaena and Zoogloea spp. in cardon dioxide limited continuous cultures. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 59, 3373-3377) suggest that innovation also flows in the reverse direction, from the structure [sic] of the community to the structure of the nucleic acid. In this situation, it may be the structure and architecture of the community that serves the initial blueprint.”
‡‡ [Comment on Lamarckism/Amerindian view, ABC Radio Newsbeat 13/03,1999] — -Dr Elizabet Sahtouris is a Greek American philosopher with a broad ranging background. She describes herself as an evolutionary biologist, business consultant and futurist. She’s also a consultant to the United Nations on indigenous people.
Dr Sahtouris gave a talk in Sydney this week on native culture’s knowledge of living systems and evolution and how that relates to the way industrial cultures are globalising economics and politics. That’s a lot to wrap your mind around so to begin with I asked her what she understands indigenous people know about living systems in evolution.
Elizabet Sahtouris: It’s my experience that indigenous people have a much more integrated view of the relationship between humans and other species and landscape than our western culture does. We have historically separated ourselves from not only from spirituality so that we don’t regard nature as sacred, but we have treated it literally as an object, objectively as a resource for humans which we can control and use to our benefit. We are now discovering that we have caused so much damage in our ecosystems that we literally threaten the survival of our species.
So I have been learning from indigenous people how they function in a more integrated way. For instance, one of my native American friends pointed out that when the white man does science he isolates a bit of nature, takes it into a laboratory and studies it for the purpose of controlling it. Whereas when the Redman as the Indians in North America call themselves, goes into, he goes into nature to do science because his goal is to integrate with it. So there are many areas in which we need to learn how to relate with other species in ways that aboriginal people know very well.
Alexandra de Blas: But how can we bring that to the way industrial cultures are now globalising economics and politics?
Elizabet Sahtouris: What we lack is a basic understanding of living systems and the recognition that we, as humans, are a living system embedded within others. And that there are certain principles that nature’s worked out over four and a half billion years of evolution that we would do well to understand and follow. For example, what would happen if you did world economics in your body which is an evolved living system that works well. Imagine that the heart/lungs system is kind of the northern industrial organ and that it’s mining the body for raw materials from which to make blood which are found in bones all over the body. And they’re then brought up to this northern system and the blood is purified, oxygen is added and it becomes a useful product.
And now the heart distribution centre announces the body price for blood today is so much who wants, and you ship the blood to those organs that can afford it. And the rest of it either has to be chucked out as surplus or bottled until someone can afford it. And you can see very quickly that in the living system of your body this kind of economics simply wouldn’t work. That the body would fail very quickly. Now, in our families we don’t see people starving three children to overfeed a fourth child and in our bodies we understand why there has to be reciprocity among all parts and so forth. But we have trouble making the leap to our national and international economics as living systems.
So at present we have a very top down organisation in world economics where the world trade organisation is a small handful of people that dictates to all its member nations exactly what they may import, what they may export and not necessarily in the interests of those member nations. Yet the member nations signed away their sovereignty to belong to this organisation whose rules can literally overrule national laws. So what we have is an imbalance in the system where the power’s at the top and the nations and the local communities have been disempowered.
Alexandra de Blas: Acknowledging that that is the case, what does one do? What must we actually do?
Elizabet Sahtouris: Yes, what we most need now is to strengthen our local systems to make our communities more self sufficient and to ensure that our nations can meet their own interests and not only the interests of those who control world trade.
Alexandra de Blas: You are critical of Darwin’s theory of evolution. Why do you take issue with his idea of survival of the fittest?
Elizabet Sahtouris: Well it’s interesting that when the theories of evolution first came out in Europe that Darwin’s Theory was adopted by the Western capitalist system and quite politicised while the Lamarckian system was adopted by the Eastern Communist block as their way of explaining evolution. And I’d like to say both sides took only a fragment of what we need to put together. We have a lot of evidence over the past 50 years that Lamarck who said that species change themselves depending on the environment in which they live, actually was right. That nature is too intelligent to proceed by accident. We now know that DNA re-arranges itself depending on what’s going on in the surrounding ecosystem. That species only change under pressure. That the greatest crises in the history of evolution has led to the most creative change.
Alexandra de Blas: You tend to sweep back and forth across disciplines, selecting interesting ideas from a variety of fields. But isn’t there a danger of losing your scientific and academic credibility and falling more into the realm of a storyteller? Storytelling is a valid pursuit but it’s not science.
Elizabet Sahtouris: Somebody has to integrate the separate findings of science into a coherent story for a culture. When a culture has no story it has no vision and doesn’t know how to bring itself into the future. So you could call me a philosopher of science who does indeed weave together the findings of science into a coherent story. Actually science has been telling us a story. It’s been telling us a story of a non-living universe in which life happens by accident. Our physicists and our astronomers are now bumping into data that is forcing them to see the cosmos as primarily conscious. Consciousness as the source of evolution rather than the product of evolution. This has been creeping up in science for 50 years since quantum theory was first proposed and now we have 50 years of evidence that life is intelligent from its initial bacterial stages and that the universe is permeated by non-material energies which are actually causing the creation of the physical world.
We originally projected our invention of machines onto the cosmos and now we’re learning how the cosmos really works.
‡‡‡ “Besides signifying the Great Harmony/Cosmic Kinship and the Peace Messenger’s message or constitution, Kayanerekowa–the Great Peace–also refers to the two historical forms that it has taken in Iroquois and Mohawk history.
1) The Great Harmony (or Cosmic Kinship)
a) Introduction :
I once asked the respected elder Sakokwenionkas (Tom Porter) of the Mohawk Nation: how would you translate in English the word Kayanerekowa. He thought briefly and said: “The closest I can find is simply: “The Great Nice” i.e. the Great Splendour (i.e. the whole cosmos and all its life forms: humans, animals, earth, sun, moon, planets, galaxies, rivers, mountains, trees, winds, etc., etc. seen and expressed in terms of the great kinship: grandmother the moon, the grandfather the sun, uncles the winds, each human clan expressed in terms of the bear clan, the turtle clan, the wolf clan, etc. And it is the “Law of Peace” not because somebody legislated and announced it one fine day, but the way things are. It is the proper nature of everything.
… the government is not a central, statist, coercive government in the Western sense. Each one of the five (now six) Nations are physically distant from each other. Each has a distinct homeland and is profoundly independent from the others, although they all constitute one Longhouse and are bound together as a single bundle of arrows. They each have as well their own Longhouse, their own Fire, their own Peace Chiefs, but the latter also sit together in a common Longhouse, each with their respective functions, yet with no king or commanding chief. None of the Peace Chiefs either alone or together are commanders. It must be made crystal clear that these Peace Chiefs are named by the Iroquois people through the Clan Mothers of clans abiding by the Great Law of Peace, of which the Rotiiane are held to be the official interpreters, in consort with Clan Mothers, elders, faith-keepers, ancestors, etc. Hence such a “government” can never form a self-perpetuating body which would continue to exist over against or in spite of the people.”
— by R. Vachon, written with the help of two highly respected Mohawk elders; Kaientaronkwen (Ernie Benedict) and Sakokwenonkwas (Tom Porter).