The Western Myth of ‘Random Chance’
Just where does the notion of a ‘random chance happening’ come from?
All of our experience testifies to the fact that Nature is continually gathering and regathering EVERYTHING in its ceaseless innovating. NOTHING is excluded from this continually unifying fluid-dynamic we know as ‘nature’.
The spacetime continuum we are included in is evolving as one dynamic entity, is it not?
We notionally divide transforming nature up according to OUR visual impression that there are ‘local, independently existing material objects/organisms/systems’ that APPEAR to us to have ‘their own locally originating (internal process-driven and internal knowledge, purpose and instinct-directed) behaviours’.
But in spite of that impression of the existence of local independence of material things, our experience is that nothing escapes from nature’s continual regathering of those things into itself as it is parenting the emergence of new local material forms.
One might ask why would ‘competition’ arise in nature since the over-arching dynamic reality is that of continual innovative reunification? Perhaps ‘competition’ is another case of mistaken APPEARANCES.
LOGICALLY, something has to ‘give’ since it is impossible to make sense out of the world being both, at the same time, a collection of independent objects with their own local agency and also a continuously unifying spatial continuum.
What does ‘give’, on reflective inquiry, is the notion of the ‘local independent existence’ of material things and what also ‘gives’ with it is the notion of ‘locally originating (internal process and purpose-driven) behaviour’ of those things.
‘Local independent material body existence’ and ‘local agency’ are ‘impressions’ or ‘appearances’ and we know full well how we synthetically ‘elevate’ these dynamic forms in the flow out of the flow to APPEAR to become ‘local things in their own right’. It is by notionally imposing a fixed reference frame over them so that we can imagine their dynamic relative to the fixed reference frame rather than relative to everything in the universe. Our understanding of the gravity field is that it is everywhere in the universe at the same time and that everything in the universe is influenced by it. We even design ‘inertial guidance systems’ based on this notion which clearly ‘work’ and thus ‘validate’ this universal interrelational influence notion that we call ‘gravity’.
As for local fixed inertial frames, those things upon which ‘local agency’ depends, there is no such thing in real world experience. They exist only in our imagination.
The new physics of relativity and quantum theory suggest that the universe is firstly characterized by ‘thingless connectedness’ where ‘matter’ is a visible concentration of energy within a continuous energy field, the entire field taking form and reforming under the influence of gravity which is ‘everywhere at the same time’. Persisting ‘standing wave’ forms in this energy field are visible and we call them ‘matter’ but far from existing ‘independently’, they are resonant energy and thus in a similar in their relation to space as a storm-cell is to the flow of the atmosphere. Because the persisting standing wave forms are ‘visible’, we tend to think of them as ‘local, independently existing bodies’. Such local independent existence is the product of our thought which does not agree with the realities of our experience. Nothing is separate from the continual innovative regathering flow of the space of Nature. That is, when we try to explain the world dynamic (the way the world works) starting from local material bodies and their notional locally originating (internally driven and directed) behaviour, it doesn’t work because such an explanation leaves out where the local bodies come from and where they go to. Clearly they come out of the dynamic space of Nature and they are regathered within it, but that is not ‘covered’ in models which are in terms of ‘what local material bodies do’.
For example, we can say that birds are local material systems called ‘organisms’ with locally originating (internally-driven and directed) behaviours so that when we see wildgeese flying in a ‘V’ formation, we say it is the birds that create this ‘V’ formation. And how could it be otherwise, because in our standard world view, we first ‘disconnect’ the birds from the natural space they are included in and re-render their dynamic behaviours as if they were ‘locally-forced’ out of their own interiors?
Well, we know that while what is most noticeable to us is the locally visible material bodies of the birds that they are virtually ‘swimming in air’ and we know that ‘air’ has its own particular way of behaving when we ‘poke it’ and no scientist of any capability would deny the fact that the turbulence in the fluid flow of air has a way of orchestrating the individual and collective behaviours of things moving through it. That is, it resists some shapes and speeds very strongly and it accommodates other shapes and speeds far more receptively. By its property of differentially spatially accommodating/resisting, it influences the shape and behaviour of things moving within it. That is, its spatial dynamic ‘organises’ the individual and collective behaviour of the wildgeese. This is no different from the tree boughs moving in the wind or the flag blowing in the wind, where the transformation of the shape of the tree/flag and the transformation of the airflow is simultaneous and mutual, so that we cannot ask ‘which moves first and which follows’.
The dynamic of wind-and-flag, wind-and-tree and wind-and-geese are all simultaneously mutually influencing. Just because flag, tree and goose appear to us as local, material bodies that inform our visual sense while the wind is, at the bottom of it all (beneath the mixture of gases that are brought into motion), a ‘pressure field’ and thus non-local, invisible and non-material, … this doesn’t justify attributing all of the sourcing of the motion to that which we humans can see, the local, visible, material flags, trees, geese. Humans can ‘feel’ as well as ‘see’ and when we are in a wind, we are aware that the wind tries to orient us as it does a weather-vane that always turns up into the wind because the parts of it that catch more wind orient down-wind while the parts that catch less wind orient up-wind. As we try to point to something in a gale, our arm doesn’t point exactly where we want it to. It’s as if the wind has us by the wrist and is trying to force us to point elsewhere. Where our wobbly arm is pointing is the net result of our intention to point somewhere and the wind’s tendency to re-orient our limbs. There is no way to know which is contributing how much to where we are actually pointing because the only information we can actually observe, is the net of the two.
However complicated it is to understand ‘trees being blown by the wind’. If we have a grove of trees, things become more complicated; i.e. the movement of the trees transform the airflow which changes the movement of the adjacent trees which changes the airflow and who is doing what to whom becomes very complicated because it is all happening at once.
Mach’s principle of relativity describes the relationship between the dynamics of space and matter this way; ‘The dynamics of space (wind) condition the dynamics of matter (trees) at the same time as the dynamics of matter (trees) are conditioning the dynamics of space (wind).
This brings us back to our habit of imposing a fixed reference frame. Here, we can pick out one tree in the blowing grove and make a video of it. The fixed viewing field of the camera lens serves as the fixed frame. We can slow the motion and measure the deflections of each limb and each leaf, down to the millimeter, and thus we can say that ‘the tree is moving in such and such a manner’ with great accuracy. We could similarly describe the movement of a group of humans struggling together to reach shelter in hurricane force winds.
The trouble is, it is no longer accurate (it never was) to assume that the movements the trees or the movements of the people are ‘their movements’. There is just one movement and that is the movement of nature. The movements of ‘things’ are movements we synthetically break out of the one-movement by imposing a fixed reference frame and measuring the movement of the visual material form relative to the fixed frame, when it is in fact moving relative to everything else in the universe.
This point was made by Henri Poincaré in his essay ‘Le Hasard’ which inquired into the nature of ‘chance’ or ‘random events’. Visualize a man who walks the same route from home to work every day. One day, he is passing by the corner of the white picket fence as he always does but happens to be there, this time, just as a tree breaks in the wind, and it falls and kills him. We say that it was a ‘random event’. We say that out of thousand of repeated trials, the probability of this happening was only one chance in a thousand.
This notion of random chance is our own contrivance. We created the notion of randomness by dividing out the action of this one man and making it appear as if he were capable of his own motion, as if he were a local, independently-existing material body with its own locally originating (internal process-driven and purpose-directed) behaviour. But the truth is that there is just one world dynamic and the man was included in all the while and there was no ‘repetition’ of his home to work trips because he was included in the continuously innovating space of nature. As Heraclitus put it; “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
The notion of this being a ‘random event’ is bogus. It is the artefact of our imposing of imaginary fixed reference frames. We use the fixed frame to artificially ‘isolate’ a dynamic form which is moving relative to the entire universe, and depict him instead, as if he is moving ‘in his own right’.
This is the same ‘device’ that Darwin used in alleging that ‘random chance’ in combination with ‘reproduction’ explained ‘evolution’.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ‘REPRODUCTION’ AND NO SUCH THING AS ‘RANDOM CHANCE’ IN NATURE.
These notions, ‘reproduction’ and ‘random chance’ are simplifications of convenience, idealisations that should not be confused for ‘reality’.
Emerson and others were ‘on target’ when they complained that;
“Darwin has deposed Providence and enthroned chance as the governing power of the universe.”
If a windblown tree seed lands on fertile ground on a windswept coast and takes root and grows and matures, it will, AS WE SAY ‘reproduce’ and the first few trees will be bent and gnarly from the wind and as the reproduction continues to the point there is a grove, the trees will give shelter to one another and will grow tall and straight. We call this ‘reproduction’ but ; ‘No tree ever raises up in the same forest twice, for its not the same forest and its not the same tree.’
Only if space were an absolute infinite void could we speak of ‘reproduction’.
As a matter of fact, that is exactly what we assume, that space is an absolute infinite void, when we impose a rigid reference frame so as to isolate a dynamic form and synthetically lift it out of its relation with the universe.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ‘REPRODUCTION’ AND NO SUCH THING AS ‘RANDOM CHANCE’ IN NATURE.
The man who was struck and killed by a falling tree was not the victim of a random act, but was in the powerful guiding flow of Nature’s providence, the unfolding spatial dynamic in which he was a situationally included participant. This was his place in the naturally unfolding scheme of things. What actually unfolds/happens in the continuing present is all that we can experience, all the rest is conjecture.
Our experience is that our behaviour is not always ‘deliberate’ and coming out of internal knowledge or purpose. When we drive friendly in the flow of the freeway, we let our movements serve the cultivating of balance and harmony.
Our behaviour in this case is not ‘vision, mission, values, strategies, goals and objectives’ (internal knowledge and purpose) driven.
What is driving it? What’s driving it is ‘feelings’, the same thing that is driving the wildgeese behaviour that orchestrates their individual and collective behaviours and manifests in their ‘V’ flying formation.
It is not simply ‘their feelings’ since they are being informed as to how to enter a dynamic space in such a manner as to least provoke turbulence and resistance in that space. Therefore, what we call ‘our feelings’ in this case are really ‘the universe’s feeling’s or the ‘universal spirit’ or ‘genius of nature’ that Emerson talks about.
Schroedinger argues that, in the world, there is just ‘One Mind’ and Emerson implicitly argues that, in addition, there is just ‘One Spirit’ (‘heart’) and these notions do indeed present themselves to us when we suspend our habit of imposing abstract framings on the world of our experience to break the world up into pseudo-independent parts. As Emerson’s friend Monclure Daniel Conway cites Emerson in his homage to Emerson (Emerson at Home and Abroad);
“God is “the universal spirit,” whose “essence refuses to be recorded in propositions.” The “universal essence, which is not wisdom, or love, or beauty, or power, but all in one, and each entirely, is that for which all things exist, and that by which they are.” “Spirit creates.” “That which, intellectually considered, we call reason, considered in relation to nature we call spirit.” … “Who can set bounds to the possibilities of man?” “Man has access to the entire mind of the Creator, is himself the creator in the finite.” “The reason why the world lacks unity and lies broken and in heaps, is because man is disunited with himself.” “When a faithful thinker, resolute to detach every object from personal relations, and see it in the light of thought, shall, at the same time, kindle science with the fire of the holiest affections; then will God go forth anew into the creation.”
The ‘universal spirit’ calls to us to take our place in the natural scheme of things. This involves letting ourselves serve that which is greater than us, the cultivating of balance and harmony as when we are driving ‘friendly’ in the flow of the freeway. The analogy presents itself in the flow of life we find ourselves situationally included in. Today, there are plenty of diversions, loyalty to a political cause or the pursuit of material gains. These diversions associate with our ‘locally originating, internal knowledge and purpose directed behaviours. If we put these ‘first’ then we never pay heed to the ‘universal spirit’, to putting our behaviours firstly into the cultivating of balance and harmony in the dynamics of space that we share inclusion on.
Our current world dynamic is putting political loyalties (corporate, national) and economics into an unnatural primacy over answering the call to take our place in the natural scheme of things. It is fluff or foam devoid of the ‘universal spirit’. It has no grounding in nature and is like a runaway carriage on a trip to who knows where. Many people recognize this and are working together to establish ‘transition communities’ that will kindle a re-grounding in nature, in the ‘universal spirit’. As these develop, people will have their own natural calling to answer. In times of emergency, they will not need to sit in fear of what may happen, but will be working the problem with their fellows. The superstructure of global politics and global economy will become gradually less and less relevant to ‘what counts’ in the lives of the re-grounded citizenry.
‘Random chance’ and its cohort ‘repetition’ are abstractions that some people (politicians and economists) feel are the antidote to Einstein’s contention that ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result’. Darwinism has convinced us that Nature plays this absurd game, but it is really all in man’s mind.
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