Solstice: to celebrate as an ‘experience’ or as a calendar ‘event-in-itself’?
Interrogating the phenomenon of ‘Solstice’ is a means of sharing a personal understanding of how Western society has become ‘disconnected’ from the natural harmonies of the world and how this is sourcing ‘incoherence’ [Bohm] and dysfunction in the global social dynamic.
In a nutshell, the problem of incoherence derives from noun-and-verb language-and-grammar-infused ‘being’ into our mental modeling of the world. In the physical reality of our actual experience, there is no ‘being’ or ‘things-in-themselves’ and therefore there is no ‘birth’ and no ‘death’ and no ‘creation/construction’ and no ‘extermination/destruction’ since there is no ‘being’. Everything we experience, derives from the transforming relational continuum in which we are situationally included.
Since there are no ‘beings’, there are neither ‘good beings’ nor ‘evil beings’ and moral judgement of ‘human beings’ makes no sense; i.e. the globally pervasive Western system of moral-judgement-based retributive justice makes no sense. In the body of this Solstice article, the at-first-glance paradox of claiming that there is no such thing as ‘death’ is resolved and affirmed by understandings coming from everyday actual experience wherein we can see that ‘relations are the basis of things’ rather than ‘things being the basis of relations’.
In the relational view, which is supported by relational language architectures but obfuscated by our noun-and-verb language, the only possible dynamic is the transformation of relations; i.e. there are not ‘beings’ in a flow; not ‘new beings’ and not the extinction of ‘existing beings’. There are no ‘beings’ period. A transforming relational continuum is continually gathering and regathering relational forms within itself, and as far as the visual and tactile senses of the observer can determine by sensing and measuring them, they define local entities.
But as we well know, while the sensing and measuring of storm-cells allows us to define them by their ‘common properties’; e.g. wind velocities, pressures, width, length and height etc., this does not obviate the physical reality wherein the storm-cell-as-relational-feature and the atmosphere as transforming relational plenum are a ‘non-duality’. And similarly in the case of any ‘inhabitant’; i.e. the description of ‘inhabitants’ by way of their common properties and dimensions, does not preclude the physical reality wherein the inhabitant and habitat are a ‘non-duality’.
It is noun-and-verb Indo-European/scientfic language-and-grammar IN PARTICULAR that reify relational forms in a transforming relational continuum [a figure-and-ground non-duality], imputing ‘independent being’ to them. The natural relational ground is in this case replaced by the abstract, idealized notion of an absolute space and absolute time measuring/reference frame that serves as ‘operating theatre’ for the now subjectized form to reside, operate and interact with others in, in place of the transforming relational continuum of the physical reality of our actual experience.
This personal rejection of any/all ‘reality’ associated with binary logical entities associated with ‘is’ or ‘is not’, ‘birth’, ‘death’, ‘creation’, ‘destruction’, ‘truth’, ‘falsehood’, ‘good’, ‘evil’, … ‘binaries’ which pretty much define Western society and its ‘politics’ and ‘moral values’ is not easily shareable in standard English because English is one those language that creates RE-PRESENTATIONS of the physical relational dynamics of our actual experience based on ‘being’, ‘things’ that are declared to ‘exist independently’ [to come to exist and to cease existing]; e.g. ‘humans’ and ‘nations’ and ‘organisms’ and ‘material objects and systems’.
For those that are able to ‘see this other, beyond birth-and-death, beyond-good-and-evil ‘relational worldview’ in spite of the limitations of noun-and-verb language, … the most difficult-to-swallow concept will be the one enunciated by Heraclitus;
ἁρμονίη ἀφανὴς φανερῆς κρείττων.
“Invisible connection is stronger than visible”..
The visible connection between the fur trapper who kills the sea otter for its warm pelt, and the otter, seems very strong and factually ‘certain’ to us, while the connection between the otter and the kelp forest ecosystem seems much more obtuse and uncertain, yet there is no doubt that the killing of the sea otter, a so-called ‘keystone species’ in the kelp forest ecosystem, will tend towards collapsing the entire ecosystem and bringing down its mutually sustaining members. In this situation, while we can speak of sea otters ‘being killed’, there can be no death of an ecosystem participant since there is no ‘being’ to support the notion of a binary ‘living/dead’ toggling action, there are only relational forms in a transforming relational complex. The invisible connection is stronger than the visible.
The relational basis of the ecosystem is the primary physical basis and the visible and tactile sense information that is given RE-PRESENTATION in our being-based noun-and-verb language-and-grammar that depicts otters as ‘things-in-themselves’ that self-author their own actions is over-simplification. Such semantic over-simplification is convenient in that it delivers ‘economy of thought’ [Mach] in the same manner as when we give a storm-cell figure in the atmospheric ground-flow a name-labelled subjecthood that notionally endows the subject with internal powers of authorship of its own development and behaviour.
The ambient surroundings or ‘operating theatre’ for our ‘figure’ is no longer the transforming relational groundflow of its physical figure-ground non-duality, but is replaced by a notional absolute space and absolute time measuring/reference frame-come-idealized operating theatre. Once we semantically liberate the figure of the otter from its figure-ground non-duality, we may logically ‘kill him’ with the assurance of ceteris paribus [all other things remaining the same], or so it appears. However the physically real impact will be the decline of the kelp forests and mutually dependent relational ecosystem since the separation of figure and ground was nothing other than semantic contrivance. Likewise, the semantic contrivance of the isolating of Saddam as a ‘thing-in-himself’ and the logical proposition of eliminating him was instead, in physical reality, the collapsing of the [mutually supporting] matrix of social-relational ecosystems in which he was included.
When presented with the pelt of the sea otter, or the hanging corpse of Saddam, it is easy to conclude that ‘death’ or the ‘extinction of being’ is a ‘fact’ or affirmable ‘truth’ and logic, science and reason, which are based on the concept of ‘material being’ would support this. However, logical truths are inherently subjective and incomplete, while physical reality as in figure-and-ground non-dualities within a transforming relational continuum, transcend semantic realities constructed from ‘subjectizing’ figures after semantically liberating them from their figure-and-ground non-dualities and animating these idealized ‘subjects’ with verbs and predicates to depict them as ‘independently-living-beings’ who are fully and solely responsible for their own development and behaviour.
This article explores the origins of the incoherence and social dysfunction that is developing in our global social dynamic by our choice of going with the ‘visible connections’ while ignoring the ‘invisible connections’.
* * *
Johannes Kepler wrote of the harmonies inherent in the world that manifest in the motions of the planets. He called this work ‘The Harmonies of the World’. They seem to be more ‘fundamental’ than the mechanical rhythms we have constructed from clocks and calendars since we actually experience them rather than authoring and controlling them.
When the calendar days flip over the number that shows up is the same number as showed up the day we were born, it is time to dance and celebrate, … so is our custom, and it is a custom that reminds me of Mike Myers SNL ‘Sprockets’ comedy sketch and his abruptly announced line “Now is the time on Sprockets venn vee dahnce”.
In birthdays, too, there is an ‘intellectual cue’ that announces that ‘it is time for us to dance’, and that cue comes from the flipping of calendar page numbers, when our special number comes to the top of the deck. It seems to emphasize the divisiveness associated with the notional binaries of ‘birth’ and ‘death’. There is no sensual drift from experiencing shortening days and cooling nights to a magic point of reversal where our senses experience a shift to lengthening days and warming nights, an experience wherein we are totally and inextricably immersed in an epigenetic influence that inductively actualizes our responses and reminds us that we are all in this one world together, where we can tune in together [the two leggeds and four-leggeds, the crawling, finned, winged and rooted ones and the stone people] to the source of harmonies that vent through us all, … if we, as humans who intellectualize a lot, are not too distracted by our anthropocentric logical, temporal constructions.
How are we to understand the ‘events’ of ‘birth’ and ‘death’; i.e. as ‘events’?
As philosophers like Ernst Mach have pointed out, we use the tools of logic and geometry to help us ‘make sense’ of the world dynamic we are included in, and in a three dimensional world of things-in-void, ‘birth’ and ‘death’ is problematic; i.e. how do new things come into this space and how to old things escape from this space. The mind may conceive of a mystical ‘fourth dimension’ beyond nature where new souls await birth and old souls retire to after death.
‘The space of sight and touch is three-dimensional ; that, no one ever yet doubted. If, now, it should be found that bodies vanish from this space, or new bodies get into it, the question might scientifically be discussed whether it would facilitate and promote our insight into things to conceive experiential space as part of a four-dimensional or multi-dimensional space. Yet in such a case, this fourth dimension would, none the less, remain a pure thing of thought a mental fiction.” – Mach, ‘The Science of Mechanics’
Mach goes on to discuss non-Euclidian spaces in which it is possible for forms to gather and be regathered by the transforming of relations within the same space. Birth and death are no longer ‘events in themselves’ that concern the entities that are arriving and departing, but concern the entire transforming relational continuum and everything within it.
A birth or death is then no longer a personal event-in-itself but a relational transforming that effects everything.
As we know from experience, ‘fields’ such as gravity and electromagnetism are ‘everywhere at the same time’. ‘Lightning’ is a phenomenon that is inductively actualized by the epigenetic influence of the field in which it is included, in the manner of a storm-cell in the atmospheric flow field, but our habit is to semantically depict such events as ‘events in themselves’. As Nietzsche observes, this habit of imputing ‘being’ to relational activity is an ‘error of grammar’;
“Our judgement has us conclude that every change must have an author”;–but this conclusion is already mythology: it separates that which effects from the effecting. If I say “lightning flashes,” I have posited the flash once as an activity and a second time as a subject, and thus added to the event a being that is not one with the event but is rather fixed, “is” and does not “become.”–To regard an event as an “effecting,” and this as being, that is the double error, or interpretation, of which we are guilty.” – Nietzsche, ‘Will to Power’, 531
The flash and/or the storm that is inductively actualized within an energy-charged field [plenum] tends to be perceived as, and semantically captured as, an ‘event-in-itself’ rather than as a relational transformation of the energy-charged plenum. The birth and death of a storm-cell does not require a hidden ‘fourth dimension’ for making entries and exits, such as the ‘backstage’ that serves as the source of newly entering characters and the receptacle for characters being retired. The transforming relational plenum that is Nature is the source of newly entering forms and the receptacle for exiting forms. Birth and death are not ‘events-in-themselves’ concerning only those forms that are making their entry and exit, they involve everyone and everything in the transforming relational continuum.
The solstice pertains to the relational transformation we experience inclusion in. If we were a storm-cell, we would experience birth and death in the same manner, rather than ‘events-in-themselves’ that concerned only those forms ‘making their entry’ or ‘making their departure’. The Western ‘logic’ of birth and death is radically subjective and incomplete, focusing as it does on the figures in the ground without acknowledging the non-duality of figure-and-ground.
‘Birth’ is celebrated as a one-time ‘event-in-itself’, something that ‘happened in the past’, … something to ‘mark on a calendar’ so that it can trigger repeated celebrations of the new entrant and mark his progress along a time-line from birth to death; i.e. from his entry into the three dimensional world of vision and touch and his departure from it, as if from the backstage waiting room of a ‘fourth dimension’.
How different the phenomena of ‘birth’ and ‘death’ are perceived by those who see themselves as ‘included strands in the web-of-life’ or ‘storm-cells in an energy-charged flow-field that is everywhere at the same time’, since their understanding is that they are ‘one with everything’ in the transforming relational continuum, an inhabitant-habitat non-duality.
For me, personally, there is much more to this than the relative values one attaches to human contrived temporal signposting and the harmonies of nature; i.e. my understanding is that we, that is, our popular belief tradition in Western society, has anchored our very existence and ‘sense of self’, of ‘who we are’, to an unnatural measuring/reference frame.
My experience-based intuition informs me, as it informed Emerson, that the visible forms in this world, that we [Western culture using Indo-European/scientific noun-and-verb language-and-grammar] impute binary EITHER ‘is’ OR ‘is not’ ‘being’ to, are NOT who we ‘really’ are.
Based on our understanding of the world as a world wherein ‘relations are the basis of things’ rather than ‘things being the basis of relations’ which is not only coming from modern physics but also from our pre-modern, ‘indigenous’ belief traditions, it is impossible to ‘kill a human being’. This is because there is no such physically real entity as a ‘being’. The notion of a ‘being’ derives from an EITHER ‘is’ OR ‘is NOT’ binary logical proposition as has been built into our noun-and-verb Indo-European/scientific language-and-grammar. To say ‘I am’ or ‘I exist’ is a ‘far-from-natural-experience’ intellectual idealization wherein one chooses one of two branches in a binary logical proposition. There is no backup or ‘justification’ provided, in exercising this logic, for why we should be able to assume that the world of our relational sense-experience can be broken down into a basis of binary logical propositions such as EITHER ‘is’ OR ‘is not’.
In the modern world, we assume that humans are ‘independently-existing material beings’ or ‘human beings’ for short, and that our development and behaviour derives from our internal processes; e.g. from an internal centre of ‘intelligence’ and ‘purposeful will/intention’. Western religious beliefs [as in Christianity, Islam and Judaism] have made this the basis of a system of ‘Justice’ to ‘manage’ and ‘govern’ social relational dynamics. That is, once we have accepted the assumption that a human is an ‘independent being with internal process driven and directed behaviours’, we can assume that this being is fully and solely responsible for his own actions and the results of his actions. This makes possible the moral judging of each individual ‘being’s’ behaviour and the establishing of a system of rewards and punishments based on individual behaviour.
Because we have a language which imputes being to any relational dynamic, even a storm-cell, we can even DECLARE a local relational grouping of people to be an INDEPENDENT NATION, endowing the group with ‘being’ and powers of jumpstart authoring of its own actions as in the subject-and-attribute conceptualizations of noun-and-verb language.
Since nations, also, can be assumed to be independently-existing material beings that are fully and solely responsible for their own behaviours, Western moral judgement based retributive justice can be applied, also, at the level of ‘nations’ assumed to be ‘independent’. This has been useful in the current era of global colonization by the European colonial powers since the colonization of Africa and the Americas would have been very difficult if moral judgement had to be applied to each and every individual in these vast regions. Hence, the ‘granularity’ of control over the behaviours of the indigenous residents had to be ‘increased’, and if possible, employing those being enslaved to ‘keep the peace’ in the colonized regions, employing the European concept of moral judgement based retributive justice;
“The emergence of the sovereign state was … the necessary instrument of Europe’s colonial expansion.” Camilleri, Joseph A. “Rethinking Sovereignty in a Shrinking, Fragmented World.”
This arrangement has ‘stuck’ and has become the global operating standard.
An important aspect of Western moral judgement based justice is the notion that since ‘beings’ are the source of good and/or bad behaviours, the elimination of beings that are sourcing ‘bad behaviour’ and the bad consequences of ‘bad behaviour’; i.e. eliminating ‘bad beings’, can improve the net ‘good actions’ and their ‘good consequences’ in the world.
All of this hinges on the logical proposition of the ‘existence’ of the relational forms that show up on our visual sensing ‘radar screen’, a sensing capability that misses out on a lot of physically real, experientially affirmed dynamics, such as the relations among the relational forms we visually sense as ‘local closed forms’ that appear to be ‘things-in-themselves’.
But, based on our own experiences, each of us is included in a matrix of relations with family and friends that has a dynamic that is ‘greater than the sum of the parts’ and that modern physics suggests, points to ‘relations being the source of things’, rather than ‘things being the source of relations’. For example, there is the suggestion that space is not empty, but is an energy-charged relational plenum or ‘field-flow’ where relations are the source of the local, visible, material entities within it. Einstein argues that since energy-charged ‘fields’ are in a natural primacy over ‘matter’ [matter is a condensed state of the electromagnetic field] and since there is energy-matter equivalence, it no longer makes sense to make ‘matter’ or ‘being’ as is implied by the ‘existence of matter’, the basis our intellectual model of the structure of the world;
“By the principle of Occam’s razor, physicists and philosophers prefer ideas that can explain the same phenomena with the fewest assumptions. In this case you can construct a perfectly valid theory by positing the existence of certain relations without additionally assuming individual things. So proponents of ontic structural realism say we might as well dispense with things and assume that the world is made of [relational-spatial] structures, or nets of relations.” – Meinard Kuhlmann, ‘What is Real’, Scientific American, August 2013
This view has been reinforce by many of those who have explored the depths of physical phenomena;
“Space is not empty. It is full, a plenum as opposed to a vacuum
, and is the ground for the existence of everything, including ourselves.” — David Bohm
Fields of force are the primary reality, and ‘matter’ a secondary or derived phenomenon” —Michael Faraday
“What we observe as material bodies and forces are nothing but shapes and variations in the structure of space. Particles are just schaumkommen (appearances).” – Erwin Schroedinger
If there are no ‘beings’ or ‘independently-existing’ ‘things-in-themselves’, who or what are ‘we’ and how is our being-based Justice system working, … or is it not working?
Will killing ‘bad people’ on the assumption that ‘bad actions’ with ‘bad consequences’ stems from ‘bad beings’ or ‘bad nations’ really improve the balance of good and bad in the world? If there are no ‘beings’ but only ‘relations’ at the sourcing bottom of it all, we should have to re-orient to the beyond good-and-evil ethic of restoring balance and harmony in relations.
The point is, that it is impossible to kill a human being or to eliminate any ‘independently-existing two-legged, four-legged, crawler, finned or winged one, rooted one or stone one.’
If we try to destroy a notional being, given that it is a relational form in the transforming relational world-continuum that we have used noun-and-verb language to merely impute ‘being’ to, … what we will actually be doing is to transform relations in the relational plenum that is continually gathering and regathering relational forms.
For example, if, in our blindered self-serving anthropentrism we kill sea otters for their valuable pelts, we engender what we are now calling ‘externalities’ [unanticipated and unaddressed results of our logic-driven actions. That is, sea otters play a ‘keystone’ role in their ecosystem. As marine biologists observe;
“Without sea otters to control the urchin population, the giant kelp forests would disappear and the entire ecosystem would collapse”.
But when Western humans are ‘after something’, they are thinking in terms of such things as ‘sea otters’ being ‘independently-existing organisms’ because that’s what they look like when they come up on shore and what do we know about them? We know, for example;
“With up to a million hairs per square inch, otter fur was prized for its softness and warmth—the warmest in the animal kingdom. For comparison, we only have about 100,000 hairs on our heads”
That is, we know about their ‘common properties’ because that’s how we classify ‘independently existing entities’; i.e. we measure their properties and analytically break down their ‘being’ into its internal components and processes, as if its development and behaviour were entirely attributable to its ‘local visible, material being’; i.e. as if it were an inteligence and purpose driven and directed ‘machine’ rather than a relational form within a transforming relational world-continuum.
We don’t only do that to biological forms, we do it to all physical phenomena including storm-cells. We depict them by measuring their common properties, as far as their local, visible, tangible aspect is concerned so that we can treat of them in subject and attribute terms [although Nietzsche calls this ‘a great stupidity’]. That is, even though storm-cells are inductively actualized ‘genetic expressions’ of epigenetic fields of influence [the transforming relational plenum of atmospheric field-flow], we speak of them using noun-and-verb language as if they were subject-and-attribute beings with internal process driven and directed development and behaviour’; i.e. we ‘personify’ them or ‘anthropomorphize’ them;
“Katrina is growing larger and stronger” … “Katrina is heading towards the Gulf Coast”, … “Katrina is ravaging New Orleans”, … “Katrina is heading overland and dissipating”.
Language facilitates our own synthetic creation of ‘things-in-themselves’ by reifying relational forms in the transforming relational continuum.
So we have taken the relational form that we have given the name ‘sea otter’, … to be a local, independent ‘being’ definable in terms of its locally measured ‘common properties’, including its highly [anthropocentrically] desired warm furry pelt.
What about the complex of ecosystem relations that are mutually engendering and sustaining the diverse forms within the ecosystem?
When we observe an otter or a person as a local, visible, material entity ‘right there in front of us’, what do we know about the relational web that he/it is a strand in? What about the planets? We tend to measure their common attributes and discuss them as it made sense to discuss them ‘on their own’. Are planets or stars ‘things-in-themselves’ or are they energy ‘ventings’ in the transforming relational continuum? Are we justified in speaking of them as if they are the basis of the relational dynamics they are included in, as in Newton’s laws? Kepler imagined otherwise, and so does modern physics;
“[In nature]… “the individual parts reciprocally determine one another.” … “The properties of one mass always include relations to other masses,” … “Every single body of the Universe stands in some definite relations with every other body in the Universe.” Therefore, no object can “be regarded as wholly isolated.” And even in the simplest case, “the neglecting of the rest of the world is impossible.” – Ernst Mach
Yet it is popular to believe, in Western society, that the relational forms we know as ‘humans’ or ‘animals’, are ‘inhabitants’ that are ‘independent’ of the ‘habitat’ as is the prevailing ‘dualist’ understanding of Western culture, as contrasts with the inhabitant-habitat non-dual understanding of cultures with relational languages.
If the inhabitants ‘really are’ independent of the habitat, then we can avoid the relational interdependencies captured in Mach’s principle of inhabitant-habitat non-duality;
“The dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat at the same time as the dynamics of the habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants” – Mach’s principle
If the inhabitants are ‘independent beings’, then it ‘stands to reason’ that our logical propositions such as eliminating those beings that are the source of ‘bad actions’ that result in ‘bad consequences’, will bear fruit by increasing the relative proportion of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ people, that are the sources or ‘good’ and ‘bad’ consequences’.
However, our experience in attempts to kill ‘bad people’ can be likened to our killing of sea otters; i.e. while the logical proposition is validated; i.e. the relational form that we have been calling an ‘independent being’ can be cremated, chopped up and fed to fishes or whatever, our intervention to do so engenders ‘externalities’ as described by Mach and McLuhan as relations are transformed [the transforming relational medium is the message, rather than the logical content of the message].
The logic of ‘Katrina is ravaging New Orleans’ is both subjective and incomplete since it fails to acknowledge the transforming relational plenum in which the foreground figure of Katrina is ‘doing her stuff’; i.e. we conceptually extract the relational figure from the relational plenum by imposing an absolute space and absolute time measuring/reference frame over her, and making believe it is her ‘operating theatre’ such that we can get rid of her essential relational essence [relational influences such as ‘field’ are non-local, non-visible, non-material] by making her into a ‘category of thing-in-itself’ defined by her ‘local common properties’.
She could, by our measurements of her, be a ‘tropical depression’, a ‘tropical storm’ or ‘a category 1,2,3,4 or 5 hurricane’ just as the sea otter could be a four-legged mammal with very warm fur and various internal organs and genes and other ‘common properties’ that give logical support to its ‘independent thing-in-itself’ status. We know that the unfolding development of a storm-cell is induced by epigenetic influence and that the local, visible, tangible ‘genetic expression’ is how this epigenetic influence makes itself manifest. That is, the inductive influence of ‘fields’ are purely ‘relational’ and relational influence is non-local, non-visible and non-material. The venting of energy within a relational field-plenum gives rise to local, visible, material forms in the manner of storm-cells in the transforming relational atmosphere-plenum. These forms within the plenum are relational features and NOT things-in-themselves. They are like sailboaters rather than powerboaters since they derive their power and direction from the non-local field of relational influences they are uniquely, situationally included in.
Why can’t we understand the world as a holographic plenum, as Bohm and others say that our physical investigations suggest? Why do we persist in believing that local, visible, material forms are ‘things-in-themselves’. Whorf has given us a good reason why; i.e. our language RE-presents relational forms within an abstract absolute space and absolute time measuring/reference frame, rather than acknowledging that all forms are relational features within a transforming relational continuum, as Mach, Schroedinger, Einstein et al have also affirmed? In this case, it would impossible to ‘kill a sea otter’ just as it would be impossible to ‘kill a human’ because there is no ‘isness’ in a holographic continuum, … no ‘being’ and no ‘binaries’. If we, as relational forms intervened so as to ‘kill’ a sea otter and/or a ‘Saddam’, our intervention would amount to a transforming of relations rather than an absolute extinction of a notional ‘living being’.
The sea otter and/or the Saddam, can be likened to the purely relational form in Bohm’s holographic universe and to a ‘thrown stone’ in Einstein’s ‘field-based’ view of the world;
“Space is not Euclidian’ … “Space is a participant in physical phenomena” … “Space not only conditions the behaviour of inert masses, but is also conditioned in its state by them.”, …”Relativity forces us to analyze the role played by geometry in the description of the physical world.” . . . “A thrown stone is, from this point of view, a changing field, where the states of greatest field intensity travel through space with the velocity of the stone” —Albert Einstein.
Killing a relational feature within an ecosystemic web of relations is like poking an eye out of a many-eyed unum or a strand out of a many-stranded ‘web-of-life’. ‘Extinctions’ are an absolutist concept superimposed on the transforming relational continuum. As Emerson observes in ‘The Method of Nature’, organisms are relational features that serve as ‘vents’ that transmit influence from the vast and universal to the point on which their genius can act. A volcano is a vent which exposes the non-duality of inner and outer while the notional ‘extinction’ of a venting volcano is a subjective and incomplete logical view that blinds the perceiver to the physical reality of the transforming of relations in the overall transforming relational plenum in which the volcano is a transient relational feature.
From the perspective of a vent or volcano, there is no common ‘objective reality’ out there that is ‘undergoing change or evolution’. The vent or volcano IS an agent of transformation, just as the storm-cell in the transforming atmosphere is an agent of transformation. The sailboater or venting agency derives its power and direction from the relational dynamics it is included in. Even as its dynamics are being conditioned by relational dynamic it is included in, it is at the same time conditioning those dynamics. The transforming atmospheric plenum ‘stirs up storm-cells’ as the same time as the ‘storm-cells are stirring up the atmospheric plenum. In other words, what is going on is relational transformation and the local, visible, material ‘cells’, rather than being ‘things-in-themselves’ are relational features or ‘agents of transformation’.
One can’t ‘eliminate’ a relational form in holographic universe because there are no ‘things-in-themselves’ to eliminate’ in a transforming relational continuum. The ecosystem is a mutually dependent ‘web-of-life’ that inductively actualizes the relational forms within its relational complex. ‘Living’ is a verb that applies to the entire world unum/plenum, not an ‘adjective’ reserved for notional ‘independently-existing ‘noun-subjects’. As with the descriptions of the world of Mach, Schroedinger et al, Nietzsche sees the world as a Heraclitean field of flux;
“And do you know what “the world” is to me? Shall I show it to you in my mirror? This world: a monster of energy, without beginning, without end; a firm, iron magnitude of force that does not grow bigger or smaller, that does not expend itself but only transforms itself; as a whole, of unalterable size, a household without expenses or losses, but likewise without increase or income …” –Nietzsche, ‘The Will to Power’, 1067
We who believe that ‘killing’ is a binary toggle that takes that which ‘is’ and renders it ‘is not’, or who at least have been brought up and educated to believe that this is the case, have to deny the indigenous aboriginal relational worldview where we understand ourselves as strands in the web-of-life and/or as relational forms in a holographic universe. Creation and destruction are a non-duality in the relational worldview, and that non-duality is ‘transformation’. Our experience informs us that we cannot construct a house in the forest without destroying some forest, or, if we suspend using word labels to reify relational forms in the transforming relational continuum, … Our experience informs us that relational transformation is the only possible dynamic.
The storm-cells that the relationally transforming atmosphere-plenum is giving birth to which develop, mature and ‘die’ cannot be understood out of the context of the transforming relational continuum in which they are uniquely, situationally included (as the confluence of relational influences). It is the ‘isness’ in noun-and-verb language-and-grammar that they owe their birth and death to. If we remove the ‘isness’ in English, we get ‘E-Prime’ in which the birth and death of ‘things-in-themselves’ are no longer possible since such a language becomes ‘relational’ like the indigenous aboriginal languages and Bohm’s Rheome language and these languages ‘do not support’ the concept of ‘being’ as in ‘things-in-themselves’.
The relational forms we observe in the transforming relational continuum become ‘things-in-themselves’ thanks only to the descriptive/conceptualizing powers of noun-and-verb language-and-grammar. As Whorf explains;
“It is sometimes stated that Newtonian space, time, and matter are sensed by everyone intuitively, whereupon relativity is cited as showing how mathematical analysis can prove intuition wrong. This, besides being unfair to intuition, is an attempt to answer offhand question (1) put at the outset of this paper, to answer which this research was undertaken. Presentation of the findings now nears its end, and I think the answer is clear. The offhand answer, laying the blame upon intuition for our slowness in discovering mysteries of the Cosmos, such as relativity, is the wrong one. The right answer is: Newtonian space, time, and matter are no intuitions. They are receipts from culture and language. That is where Newton got them.” – Benjamin Whorf, ‘The Relation of Habitual Thought and Behavior to Language’
From a personal point of view, when we encounter another human or a sea otter, we can scrutinize them with a crow’s eye gaze to discern who they are ‘in themselves’ based on having them right here before us. Our so-called ‘left lobe’ analytical mode of inquiry may ‘kick in’ and insist we ‘look inside them’ to ‘find out what makes the tick’ since Western logic, reason and science have taught us to see ‘forms’ in terms of ‘independently existing entities with internal process driven and directed behaviours, in keeping with the beliefs taught by Western religions; e.g;
“Man is rational and therefore like God; he is created with free will and is master over his acts.
1731 Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one’s own responsibility. By free will one shapes one’s own life. Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude.
1732 As long as freedom has not bound itself definitively to its ultimate good which is God, there is the possibility of choosing between good and evil, and thus of growing in perfection or of failing and sinning. This freedom characterizes properly human acts. It is the basis of praise or blame, merit or reproach.” – Vatican Archives, The Catholic Catechism.
Why would we look beyond the form as a local thing-in-itself given the teachings of Western religions and Western science?
Our experience-based intuition gives us some reasons to explore the ‘epigenetic influence’ that each of is uniquely situationally included; i.e. every one of us is included in a complex matrix of relations; parents, partners, children, friends and lovers, employers, regulators, enforcers, bears and wolves, rodents and roaches, fleas and microbes. Conceptualizing a sea otter or a Saddam as a ‘thing-in-itself’ whose behaviour is purported to be fully and solely internal process driven and directed is a convenient modeling device which delivers ‘great economy of thought’ [Mach], enabling social relational management by way of moral judgement based rewards and punishment, but it is not to be confused for the physical reality of our actual experience, which, as we all know from experience, is where the unfolding relational situations we find ourselves included in inductively actual our assertive actions. Situational influence is in a natural precedence over the purported ‘purposeful drive’.
So why should we not, in an encounter with a sea otter or a Saddam, orient our inquiry to the web of relations in which they are situationally included?
As it turns out, those cultures with relational languages rather than being-based languages do exactly that. As Bohm discovered, as documented in F. David Peat’s ‘Blackfoot Physics’;
The problem with English is that when it tries to grapple with abstractions and categories it tends to trap the mind into believing that such categories have an equal status with tangible objects. Algonquin languages, being for the ear, deal in vibrations [waves] in which each word is related directly, not only to process of thought, but also to the animating energies of the universe.
[in modern physics] It is impossible to separate a phenomenon from the context in which it is observed. Categories no longer exist in the absence of contexts.
Within Indigenous science, context is always important. Nothing is abstract since all things happen within a landscape and by virtue of a web of interrelationships. The tendency to collect things into categories does not exist within the thought and language of, for example, Algonquin speakers.
This leads to a profoundly different way of approaching and thinking about the world. For, in the absence of categories, each thing is mentally experienced on its own merits, and for what it actually is. Rather than indulging in comparison or judgment, Indigenous speakers attempt to enter into relationship with them.” –Blackfoot Physics, F. David Peat
In other words, there is no ‘good reason’ why we should not come to understand a sea otter or a Saddam on the basis of the complex of relations they are situationally included in, relations that, as discussed, are more basic to their essence than ‘thingness’ or ‘isness’ [which comes from noun-and-verb language architecture]. Relations are the basis of things. It is not the other way around, ‘things are the basis of relations’, as is the error of grammar that we users of noun-and-verb language commonly make [Nietzsche].
Summaries: what are the attempted ‘sharings’ in Experiencing or Celebrating Solstice?
It is impossible to eliminate a sea otter or a Saddam. Showing off the pelt of the sea otter or the hanging corpse of the Saddam could only affirm their ‘elimination’ if they were ‘things-in-themselves’ to begin with. If relations are a natural precedence over things, then the only possible dynamic is a transformation of relations. The ecosystem [within supra-ecosystem within supra-supra-ecosystem within the transforming relational continuum aka ‘holographic universe’] is the physical reality that we experience while the local, visible, material [relational] forms that are continually gathering and being regathered within ecosystem are ‘appearances’ or ‘schaumkommen’ [Schroedinger]. The local, visible, material storm-cell that we depict as a ‘thing-in-itself’ is ‘appearances’ in the same sense as an image in a holographic space. Relations are the basis of those local, visible, material ‘things’. Storm-cells and flow are a non-duality.
The fact that storm-cells ‘run around seemingly on their own’ does not make them ‘independent existential entities’ as in ‘cells’ and ‘flow’ as a duality. And so it is as well for the sea otter and for Saddam; i.e. inhabitant and habitat are a non-duality which is another way of saying that relations are the basis of things; … ‘things are not the basis of relations’; i.e. ‘things’ are ‘pragmatic idealizations’ concretized by the ‘isness’ endowing property of noun-and-verb language-and-grammar.
Logically speaking, if someone kills a tree in the forest, this can be confirmed by doing a roll call or inventory and confirming that the subject tree is indeed ‘gone’, but is it not more ‘realistic’ to assume that complex of relations that constitutes the forest have been transformed, rather than conceiving of a tree in the forest as an independent part of a sum-of-the-parts system, which has been ‘eliminated’?
It is popular in Western culture to ‘eliminate’ things to satisfy our own anthropocentric pursuit of pleasure and profit, such as sea otters, and (b) things we don’t like because we morally judge them as being being-based sources of bad actions that bring on bad consequences, such as mosquitoes, rats and Saddam. In all cases we find that the binary logic of elimination does not work in a relational space. Although we may fulfill our logical goals, because logic is inherently subjective and incomplete, we at the same time engender ‘externalities’, developments that our logical propositions did not anticipate nor address such as the decline of the kelp forests associated ecosystem members in the case of ‘eliminating’ sea otters, and the development of ISIS in the case of ‘eliminating’ Saddam .
Is it not evident to our experience-based intuition that our mission of elimination did not transpire in a notional ‘absolute space and absolute time measuring/reference frame’ as was the case in our subjective and incomplete logical formulation, but that our intervention transpired in a transforming relational continuum? This is McLuhan’s precise point in observing that the relational ‘medium is the message’. We cannot ‘create anything’ in a transforming relational continuum. We cannot construct a factory in the continually relationally transforming valley community, we can only transform our relations with one another and the habitat; i.e. we live within an inhabitant-habitat non-duality where the dynamics accord with Mach’s principle.
As in the case of missions to ‘create a desired new thing-in-itself, missions to kill and eliminate undesired things-in-themselves such as ‘bad people’ or pests such as rodents, roaches, mosquitoes, microbial ‘pathogens’ turn out to be no more than exercises in transforming relations. There are no known cases in the physical reality of our actual experience, where logically targeted ‘things’ have been either ‘created’ or ‘eliminated’ without, at the same time, transforming relations within the relational suprasystem within which these ‘things’ reside, operate and interact.
In the wake of our eliminatory mission we discover that, as Heraclitus warned;
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” – Heraclitus
Living in a transforming relational continuum, it is impossible for an agent of transformation NOT to transform himself at the same time he transforms the relational continuum he shares inclusion in. The storm-cell that grows large and powerful [or the man] may get an inflated ego which informs him that he is now ‘sufficiently strong and powerful’ to determine what becomes of ‘the world out there’, but such a goal eludes him because his actions to redefine what’s ‘out there’ are simultaneously redefining ‘what’s in here’. As Muhammed is said to have said;
“It is only the lesser, outer jihad that is going on ‘against the demons in the world out there’, the greater, inner jihad is going on ‘against the demons in the world in here’.
[Lesser outer jihad (al-jihad al-asghar); a military struggle, i.e. a holy war
Greater inner jihad (al-jihad al-akbar); the struggle of personal self-improvement against the self’s base desires]
Lastly, It is possible to ‘celebrate’ the winter solstice by looking up its time of occurrence as measured by calendar and clock based reference frames and determining that, in the year 2016, in the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice falls on December 21 at 10:44 GMT.
Like a birthday, it may be celebrated as a milestone in the continually advancing of linear time; i.e. ‘here’s another one to add to the tally”.
Or, it may be experienced as something we are all included in; i.e. cycles of rest and dormancy and cycles of renewal and growth, as in the non-duality known as ‘harmony’, … something we can feel/experience but which we cannot see. As Heraclitus puts it;
ἁρμονίη ἀφανὴς φανερῆς κρείττων.
“Invisible connection is stronger than visible”..
The sea otter is connected with the kelp forests although we cannot see the connection. We are all connected with one another [the terrorist with the colonizer] although we cannot see the connection.
The solstice is a word that refers to a rhythmic relational experience. The solstice is not merely ‘a local event thing’ that we can look up and find the coordinates for. To speak of the solstice as a ‘thing’ is an ‘error of grammar’. This ‘error of grammar’ has become an addiction for users of noun-and-verb language as Nietzsche points out in his example ‘lightning flashes’.
The imputing of ‘isness’ to relational activities, such as ‘storming’ and ‘lightning’ tends to blind us to the epigenetic influence that inductively actualizes such ‘genetic expression’ giving us the sense that we may ‘understand’ and ‘celebrate’ or ‘feature’ the phenomenon as an ‘event-in-itself’ that is local in space and time. 9/11 has epigenetic roots that draw from ongoing Euro-American colonizing activity and growing resistance. Meanwhile, in the case of 9/11 we are guilty of making the same ‘double error’ [subjectizing a relational activity] as in Nietzsche’s example ‘lightning flashed’.
The imputing of ‘being’ to relational phenomena as in noun-and-verb Indo-European/scientific language-and-grammar delivers convenience and ‘economy of thought’ for discursive sharing. However;
“We … should beware lest the intellectual machinery, employed in the representation of the world on the stage of thought, be regarded as the basis of the real world.” – Ernst Mach
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[Note: The currently popular Gregorian calendar (one of dozens of different culture architected calendars), is a reminder of how our numerical timing instruments animate and orchestrate us in a manner that puts us out of synch with natural harmonies; i.e. the Gregorian calendar was a ‘fix’ for the Julian Calendar due to the fact that calendar-based celebrating of the birth of Christ [December 25th] was shifting continuously towards the celebration of Christ’s death/resurrection at Easter which was referenced to the vernal Equinox. Ten calendar days had to be removed and the length of the year adjusted to remove the relative shifting between the man-made calender and the natural harmonies that include not only man but all creatures.]
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