The hurricane as a figure-and-ground non-duality

My feeling is that the popular habit in Western society, the society I grew up in, is to confuse ‘appearances’ for reality and in using this ‘pseudo-reality’ to guide our individual and collective actions, to make a real mess of things.  David Bohm calls this ‘incoherence’.

I am not saying that as a family, or as lovers, or even as a small community, that things aren’t ‘as good as they can get’ with everything pretty much in balance and harmony.   People have experienced this even in times of war where they are in the midst of death and destruction.   Nevertheless, just as it is said that ‘butterflies flapping their wings in Beijing can lead to thunderstorms in Texas’, our tiny influences that go unnoticed can transform how things unfold everywhere.

We can’t really see how everything is connected and relationally influencing everything.  We did not notice, when killing sea otters for their fine, warm pelts, that the kelp forests in the Pacific Northwest went into decline, along with all of the ecosystem participants that depended on those kelp forests for protection and sustenance.  That is, we did not notice that sea otters kept the sea urchin population down which otherwise consume the kelp and put the kelp forests in decline.

The world is relationally complex far beyond our knowledge.  Our actions may be designed to do certain things that we model in a simple logical manner, like the removal of a Saddam, who we see as the cause of bad effects, … but our actual interventions generate unanticipated ‘externalities’ as we intervene in an interconnected relational world, the physically real world of our actual experience [not our logical model of the world which is in terms of independent things-in-themselves that do stuff].  That is, the physically real world of our actual experience is a transforming relational continuum.

The people who are having a swell time and don’t want to change anything may have sea otter pelts in their closet and without knowing it, could be contributing to transformation they are totally unaware of.   As Mach’s principle says;

“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”.

When we ‘flap our wings’, the unfolding relational dynamic transforms, but in what manner it does generally eludes us.

What is being suggested in this essay is that there is a major ‘disconnect’ between what Western society ‘thinks it is doing’ and how the physical reality of our actual experience is transforming thanks to our ‘interventions’ that we see in a simple logical sense; interventions which are often engendering massive unanticipated ‘externalities’ [e.g. the rise of ISIS associated with the elimination of Saddam].  This ‘disconnect’ lies between the logical ‘semantic reality’ that we employ as an ‘operative reality’ [e.g. ‘Saddam is the fountainhead author of many bad outcomes and we must eliminate him’] and the physical reality of our actual experience in that our interventions are not limited to a simple surgical excision of Saddam, but induce transformation of relations in unforeseen, complex relational webs of interdependences that we are unaware of, as we launch our well reasoned and well planned interventions, as with the connection between sea otters and kelp forests.

Together, ‘we’ are the source of ‘unintended externalities’ arising from our well-reasoned and well-planned actions.  The gap between our well-reasoned plans and the unplanned ‘externalities’ we engender in our implementation, David Bohm terms ‘incoherence’ and he, too, worked to try to increase the awareness of this inadvertent, self-inflicted suffering.

‘Incoherence’ is particularly insidious because our response, when we discover that we have engendered unplanned ‘externalities’, is to prepare more well-reasoned plans to correct for the unintended externalities, doing so with the same flawed approach which is responsible for engendering unintended externalities.

This ‘flaw’ that is sourcing ‘incoherence’ in our society is very basic, … so basic that although it has been spoken of, and warned of, many times over the past century, it remains unaddressed.

The problem is that in the physical world of our actual experience, the forms we see, including human forms, are not ‘real’ in a physical sense, they are only ‘real’ in the sense of ‘appearance’. Just as our senses of vision and tactility allows us to ‘see and touch’ a storm-cell (e.g. tornado, hurricane), there is nothing there but ‘context’ without ‘content’.

If we think of space as an energy-charged plenum, we can understand the local visible and tangible relational form as a ‘dimple in the plenum’ that is purely relational like a stationary pattern in a flowing stream.  The purely relational pattern persists as a local, visible, tangible feature (e.g. a whirlpool) even though it is ‘made of flow’ or ‘stream’ – ‘lines’ and there is no local physical ‘thing’ [there is only relational context and no content].  As Schroedinger says, ‘things’ are ‘variations in the structure of space’ [‘space’ = the energy-charged, relationally transforming plenum].

The atmospheric flow is a transforming relational continuum which inductively gathers and regathers relational forms within itself.  The simultaneous rushing in and rushing out or energy-venting ‘is the cell’, as is the nature of convection cells [they are verbs (convectings) although we impute noun/being status to them by referring to as them as ‘cells’].

The relational feature is a ‘storming’ within the transforming relational flow-field, an ‘activity’ or ‘verb’ rather than a ‘noun’ [all relational context and no being-based content].   But as Nietzsche pointed out, we make a ‘double error’ which notionally transfers the authorship of the development and behaviour of the storming, from the transforming relational flow-continuum, to the form as if it were a thing-in-itself responsible for its own development and behaviour; i.e. instead of ‘the storming’ understood as a transforming relational feature within the transforming relational flow-continuum, we endow it with ‘being’ or ‘thing-in-itselfness’ and say; “the storm is storming” as if there is a local ‘ghost in the storming’ there that is the local author of its own development and behaviour;

“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 human and other forms we see are like the storm-cell, they are ‘appearances’ that we perform this ‘double error’ of grammar on, so as to speak of them as local ‘things-in-themselves’ notionally equipped with their own powers of authoring their development and behaviour.  This is the noun-and-verb language-and-grammar based mistake that leads to incoherence [the spawning of social-relational dissonance].

“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 we investigate and are able to affirm this along with Nietzsche, Mach, Bohm and Schroedinger, as I have been able to, we are not only on the path to resolving a massive source of relational dissonance in our society, we are in effect affirming many of the understandings of non-dualist cultures including the indigenous aboriginal culture, Taoism, Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta.   In the first case, this affirmation was what prompted Bohm’s co-author on this topic, F David Peat, to write ‘Blackfoot Physics’ since the ‘science’ of indigenous aboriginals replicates the findings of modern physics which are being affirmed in this essay. [Note also that indigenous aboriginal language architectures are ‘timeless’ and have a relational rather than being-based foundational structure as in noun-and-verb language architectures.].

Instead of the relational form (e.g human, storm-cell) or ‘inhabitant’ being regarded as separate from the habitat as in Western dualism, the form and the transforming relational flow-plenum are a non-duality, as with the storm-cell and the flow of the atmosphere.

In the same sense, in the findings of modern physics, the relational influence that is ‘everywhere at the same time’ that we call ‘field’ is primary, and matter, secondary [a condensate of field].

Fields of force are the primary reality, and ‘matter’ a secondary or derived phenomenon” —Michael Faraday

This is a difficult thing for many of us to assimilate, even on a trial basis, because so many of the things we have been taught reinforce the dualist belief in ‘independently-existing things-in-themselves’ that we perceive as fully and solely responsible for their own actions, and that is how we speak of forms; e.g. ‘Katrina is ravaging New Orleans’.

For Nietzsche and Emerson, human forms are ‘vents’ that transmit influences from the ‘vast and universal to the point on which their/nature’s genius can act’.   The child soldier is a vent through which relational tensions flow so that the ‘innocents’ that he attacks in his community may be the source of the violence he is venting.  To acknowledge that human forms are all relational context and no content is ‘to go beyond good and evil’ where the ethic becomes the cultivating, restoring and sustaining of balance and harmony, without attempting to determine and eliminate the ‘causal author of bad behaviour’.  The rebelling slave who violently attacks the slave-master is a vent for relational tensions which the slave-master has contributed to.

There is no justification in modern physics for regarding the human individual as an independently-existing thing-in-itself that is fully and solely responsible for its own behaviour, as built into Western justice and Western [Newtonian] science.

But there is justification for assuming that tensions in the relational social matrix, that everyone is contributing to, can violently vent through particular individuals who are in no way the full and sole fountainhead authors of the violent energy [e.g. the child-soldier].

With the introduction in hand, to this view that “The World is all context and no content” [everything is in a relationally transforming flux], it seems time to describe in more detail, how we ‘fool ourselves’ by starting with our perception of a ‘storming’ and coming away with the notion that we have seen a storm and observed it ‘growing larger and stronger’ and watched it ‘ravage New Orleans’ and later ‘move overland and dissipate’.

How does this magic happen?  How do we get ‘items of content’ out of ‘all relational context with no content’ as in field/flow?

I have the sense that a ‘voice note’ may be helpful in homing in on this ‘magic’ which Wittgenstein calls “the bewitchment of our understanding by language”.

If you start the following audio track which has the voice narrative at roughly the same time as the video just below it [click the little fullscreen mode icon in lower right], the audio narrative and the video of the 2008 hurricane season should be adequately ‘in synch’ for the explanation of how we extract content from pure relational context [i.e. how we upgrade relational forms to ‘things-in-themselves’] in both Western science and Western society generally.

Note: there is no need to read the captions under the video while listening to the audio narrative [you can read the captions, if interested, separately].


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If you have finished listening to the audio narrative and watched some of the video, you will have heard the keypoints that were as follows;

1. The universe is a transforming relational continuum and we are included in it as a relational form.

2. The universe is ‘all relational context, no [thing-in-itself] content’. This is another way of saying that field is primary and matter is ‘appearances’ as in ‘relational forms’ within the transforming relational field-flow.

3. Repeated observations and measurings of forms give the sense of a persisting thing-in-itself identity of the local form but that is not the case; i.e. our every observation and measuring of the form is of a different form since the form is inductively actualized, continually, by the epigenetic influence it is included in; i.e. by the influence of the transforming relational field-flow it is situationally included in.

4. Mathematically, our repeated measurements give us absolute fixed coordinates that map the shape and visible limits of the forms as if it were in 3 dimensional space; i.e. dx/dt, dy/dt, dz/dt, … little grid cells that we can use to construct a thing-in-itself from our measurements of the continual succession of epigenetically induced forming. The ‘succession’ is actually not in terms of multiple new forms but the succession of our observations and measurements of a relational feature [appearances] within the content-less transforming relational context. Thus, the ‘thing-in-itself’ comes to life thanks to our observations and measurements even though there is no ‘thing-in-itself’ in the physical reality of our actual observing experience.

Try this out for yourself; i.e. observe a storm-cell.  Do you not find yourself thinking that ‘it is moving to the right’ and ‘growing larger’?   And doesn’t this come from a kind of ‘outline’ of its form that you map, repeatedly?  If you can hold these mapped outlines in memory, you can measure its area and volume and its change in position or ‘motion’ in space and time.  What is this if not differential and integral calculus?  You could do this for a transient fog bank that grows and shrinks with the ambient temperature; i.e. there is no need for the presence of any item of content with persisting identity.  Your observations and measurements will create the item of content.  This recalls Einstein and Infeld’s comment in ‘The Evolution of Physics’ which speak to the possibility of a pure field physics; i.e. a physics of all relational context, no content;

“We cannot build physics on the basis of the matter-concept alone. But the division into matter and field is, after the recognition of the equivalence of mass and energy, something artificial and not clearly defined. Could we not reject the concept of matter and build a pure field physics? What impresses our senses as matter is really a great concentration of energy into a comparatively small space. We could regard matter as the regions in space where the field is extremely strong. In this way a new philosophical background could be created. Its final aim would be the explanation of all events in nature by structure laws valid always and everywhere. 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. There would be no place, in our new physics, for both field and matter, field being the only reality. This new view is suggested by the great achievements of field physics, by our success in expressing the laws of electricity, magnetism, gravitation in the form of structure laws, and finally by the equivalence of mass and energy.” — Einstein and Infeld, ‘The Evolution of Physics’

Whether we are observing clouds, fogbanks, thrown stones or transforming fields, our mapping and measuring of form, combined with differential and integral calculus, will deliver ‘things-in-themselves’ where no such things exist; i.e. where there is only relational context and no content.



The world is all context and no content. Matter and material forms are ‘appearances’ as Schroedinger says and everything is in flux as Heraclitus says [and Nietzsche and Emerson also affirm]. Space is an energy-charged transforming relational plenum as Bohm says.

While ‘isness’ or ‘being’ is to be eschewed, the meaning here is that; ‘making the assumption that the world ‘is’ all context and no content’ avoids the conflict between ‘content-based semantic reality’ and the physical reality of our actual experience; e.g. our experience is that we cannot carry a storm-cell off in a box, whistling and rattling and thumping against the walls of its container as we transport it.

Science*, logic and reason all build their interpretations on the supposed ‘reality’ of material content. Noun and verb Indo-European/scientific language-and-grammar constructs reduce [for convenience and economy of thought (Mach)] the transforming relational continuum to a collection of notional independently-existing things-in-themselves, by the manner described in the audio narrative where successive observational measurements ‘create’ a local thing-in-itself where none exists.  Using language to ‘create content’ may be convenient in that it delivers ‘economy of thought’ but it can be ‘confusing’.  As humans in an indigenous aboriginal culture, we would be happy in thinking of ourselves in inhabitant-habitat non-dualist terms, as a strand in the one web-of-life wherein relations are the basis of things and things are NOT the basis of relations.

“The life we are reaching out to grasp is the we who are reaching out to grasp it” — R.D. Laing.

Laing’s quote captures what it feels like to be a ‘vent’ that transmits influence from the nonlocal to the local; i.e. a participant in a mutually dependent ecosystem where the participants are not —‘fully developed’ and coming together to act in a collaborative manner. Instead, their mutual dependence comes in the form of inductive influence that actualizes their co-development and orchestrates and shapes their individual and collective behaviour.

The physical world of our actual experience is all context, no content.  There is no content that ‘lives on its own’.  Content is ‘appearances’.


* “Science” commonly refers to the systematic study of natural phenomena [e.g. by observation and experimentation] and/or to a systematic body of knowledge [chemistry, physics, biology].  Since ‘science’ delivers ‘understanding’ of the natural world we live in, and since it uses the languages of geometry and mathematics to do so, we should be careful, in our taking of understandings from science, as to the influence of the language used in this process.  For example, scientific observational instruments can deliver pre-lingual empirical data as in the video of the fluid dynamics of the earth’s lower atmosphere [2008 Atlantic hurricane season] viewed earlier.  Our accessing and reflecting on these data can deliver understanding, pre-lingually, through our experience-based intuition.  When/if our observations affirm the finding that the world is a transforming relational continuum wherein ‘everything is in flux’, this recalls the Taoist aphorism that “The Tao that can be told is not the true Tao”.

“Science” can deliver observations and understandings in multiple languages, some of which may be capable of carrying more nuances than others.  As Mach and Poincaré have pointed out, we tend to employ the most simple languages in sharing scientific understandings [“Euclidian language being simpler than non-Euclidian language in the manner that a polynomial of degree one is simpler than a polynomial of degree two”. (Poincaré)].

“Finally, our Euclidean geometry is itself only a sort of convention of language; mechanical facts might be enunciated with reference to a non-Euclidean space which would be a guide less convenient than, but just as legitimate as, our ordinary space ; the enunciation would thus become much more complicated, but it would remain possible. Thus absolute space, absolute time, geometry itself, are not conditions which impose themselves on dynamics ; all these things are no more antecedent to dynamics than the French language is logically antecedent to the verities one expresses in French.” – Henri Poincare, Science and Hypothesis

Given that we commonly opt to use a simple language for the convenience and “economy of thought” [Mach] that it delivers, not only our understanding but our intellectual sense of ‘what is real’ may be impacted by our language choice [the fact that our intellectual understanding of our common living space can be at odds with the physical reality of our actual experience is a core theme of this essay.].

“The fact of the matter is that the ‘real world’ is to a large extent unconsciously built up on the language habits of the group . . . We see and hear and otherwise experience very largely as we do because the language habits of our community predispose certain choices of interpretation.” – Edward Sapir

For example, ‘being’-based languages allow us to interpret the world in terms that ‘things are the basis of relations’, while ‘relation’-based languages allow us to interpret the world in terms that ‘relations are the basis of things’;

“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


Whatever sort of intellectual representations we come up with to facilitate our understanding of the natural world of our actual experience, they will never be more than ‘fingers pointing to the moon’ which are ‘not the moon’;

“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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IMPLICATIONS of living in a world that is all relational context and no thing-in-itself content

1. People are vents that transmit influence from the vast and universal to the point on which their/nature’s genius can act.

The violent actions of the child-soldier, the terrorist, the rebelling slave are ventings or ‘genetic expression’ inductively actualized by epigenetic influence immanent in the transforming relational continuum in which they are uniquely, situationally included.

This view is ‘at odds’ with Western moral judgement based justice which considers people to be independently-existing things-in-themselves that are fully and solely responsible for their own behaviour.   But the slave-master knows, intuitively [deep-down, from his own experience] that the relational tensions between slave-masters and slaves is the source of eruptions of violence that ‘vent’ through slaves that are most sensitive [can’t bear to witness how their parents and children are treated] and whose unique situational inclusion within the transforming relational dynamic becomes most difficult.

This implication explains why indigenous aboriginal communities employ ‘restorative justice’, … a ‘beyond good-and-evil’ approach to social relations management which orients to the cultivating, restoring and sustaining of balance and harmony without having to determine causal responsibility for outbreaks of conflict.

Because people are ‘vents’ for non-local influence, just as there is no assumption that people are fountainheads of ‘bad behaviour’, neither are they the fountainheads of ‘good behaviour’; i.e. Western society not only punishes on the basis of assuming that people are independently-existing things-in-themselves who are fully and solely responsible for their cause-and-effect actions and results, but it rewards on that basis as well.  This delusion is important to those who see themselves in the dualist ‘little sagacity’ terms of the ‘ego-self’.  For those who see themselves in the non-dualist ‘big sagacity’ terms of the natural Self [Atman = Brahman], their actions and results derive from the relational dynamics they find themselves uniquely, situationally included in.

That is, they see themselves like sailboaters that derive their power and steerage [actions and results] from the relational dynamics they are situationally included in, rather than like powerboaters that derive their power and steerage from their own internal components and processes [there are no powerboaters in the physical reality of our actual experience, it is a ‘limiting’ concept or abstraction].   For example, the inhabitant and habitat are a non-duality in the manner of the storm-cell in the flow, but if we think of the cell as having less and less dependency on the habitat for supplying power inputs and accommodating steering outputs, … the limiting view will be the dualist view in which the inhabitant is seen as an independent machine operating in an empty void.

This limiting dualist view is the default view of noun-and-verb Indo-European/scientific language-and-grammar; e.g. “Katrina is growing larger and stronger”, … “Katrina is moving overland and dissipating”.   As the video showed, the primary dynamic is the relational transforming plenum, … all context without any thing-in-itself content.  The reifying of relational forms by semantically name-labelling and defining them as things-in-themselves is convenient and it delivers ‘economy of thought’ [Mach] but it is not ‘real’ in the sense of the physical reality of our actual experience.

2.  Science, logic and reason commonly deliver interpretations within a semantically constructed artificial world that re-renders dynamics by treating local forms or ‘appearances’ NOT as ‘vents’ of nonlocal influence but as if they were local things-in-themselves; … fountainheads of causal agency with full and sole responsibility for their own behaviours.

Western mainstream science and reason [in everyday use] employ binary logic such as purports the existence or non-existence of material objects and organisms.  This would have us assume that ‘forms’ are ‘things-in-themselves’ rather than ‘appearances’,  in contradiction to the findings of modern physics;

“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

For example, ‘reason’ would have it that Saddam is a local thing-in-himself that is fully and solely responsible for ‘bad causal actions and results’.  Science is commonly seen as being capable of developing weapons/technologies that can ‘eliminate’ rogue politicians like Saddam. In other words, science makes use of the dualist ‘being’-based concepts of ‘construction’ and ‘destruction’ rather than acknowledging, as in the non-dualist view of Mach et al, that in the physical reality of our actual experience, there is only transforming relational context and no thing-in-itself ‘being’-based content.

Science and ‘scientists’ tend to be ‘on board’ the proposition that technology can be developed, for example, to ‘eliminate Saddam’ since much of science’s use of language makes dependent use of the assumed conceptual ‘existence’, and thus ‘construction’ and ‘destruction’ of material things-in-themselves.  As we have seen, the intervention aimed at eliminating Saddam will achieve its logical objective, but will at the same time engender massive ‘externalities’ since the real physical intervention is an engaging with the transforming relational continuum.  The transforming web of relations that vented through Saddam and his regime is retransformed by the intervention; i.e. that is the actual physical nature of the intervention.

The rise of ISIS is an unanticipated ‘externality’ engendered by the intervention.  It was unanticipated since the physical reality of our actual experience is of inclusion within a transforming relational continuum whereas our scientific reality is a ‘semantic reality’ commonly constructed from logical propositions [Saddam is a local causal agent responsible for damaging actions and results who must be eliminated].  Saddam was never the purported local fountainhead source of damaging actions and results but a vent for violent energies deriving from the transforming relational continuum.  The assumption of cause-and-effect is an artefact of being-based language used in science and society in general.

Western society, as Nietzsche ‘complains’, puts reason/science into an unnatural primacy over experience-based intuition.   Thus we attribute to a pharmaceutical remedy, the power of ‘eliminating a headache’ although it engenders a long list of ‘externalities’ or ‘side-effects’.  Evidently, the logical reasoning is given precedence over the physical reality of our actual experience.  Those raised in Western society tend to grow up preferring the simplicity and certainty of science/reason/logic in spite of the inherent subjectivity and incompleteness that is the price we must pay for it.   That is, we use logical propositions to construct remedial interventions in terms of things-in-themselves based semantic realities, though our actual interventions transpire within a transforming relational continuum.

Scientific reasoning seems to ‘get us what we want’ [it answers the questions as we pose them, in an inherently subjective and incomplete manner that confuses thing-in-itself based semantic reality constructions for ‘reality’].  Can science develop a pesticide that eliminates mosquitoes or a weapon that eliminates Saddams?  To science, a mosquito is a ‘thing-in-itself’; i.e. an independently-existing machine-like-local system, rather than a complex of relations within a transforming relational continuum that is all relational context with no thing-in-itself content.  The logical intervention to eliminate a thing-in-itself, is, in the physical reality of our actual experience, a transformative intervention within the transforming relational continuum.  Since the transforming relational continuum is too vast to be known and understood by us, the logical intervention is an inherently subjective and incomplete way of perceiving the far more relationally complex actual physical intervention with the result that such interventions engender unanticipated and unaddressed ‘externalities’.

One can say that binary logic based ‘science’ and ‘reason’ incorporate a dualist worldview wherein ‘dynamics’ are portrayed in terms of independently-existing things-in-themselves and what they do, these ‘things’ being ‘appearances’ that are semantically reified and used in the construction of ‘semantic realities’ that Western society employs as ‘operative realities’ to guide behavioural actions and interventions.  This is a source of ‘incoherence’ in the relational social dynamic as manifests in the engendering of unintended ‘externalities’.  Western logic-based science and reason thus succeed in their logical initiatives; e.g. to cure the headache, eliminate the rogue politician or the evil terrorist, put a man on the moon etc. without ever fully knowing the ‘externalities’ their reasoned interventions are engendering in the process.

By comparison, ‘Blackfoot physics’ or ‘indigenous science’ [F. David Peat] is a science that acknowledges that the world is all relational context without thing-in-itself content.

Richard Atleo aka Umeek, a hereditary chief of the Nuu-chah-nulth [Nootka] people, in his book, ‘Tsawalk’, shares this same understanding, observing;

“The material universe is like an insubstantial shadow of the actual substantial Creator. In this worldview, the highest form of cognition, of consciousness does not occur in the insubstantial shadowlike material realm, but in the realm of creation’s spiritual source’. … The Nuu-chah-nulth saw the material world as a manifestation of the spiritual.” — Umeek

In terminology used by Einstein, the ‘Creator’ or ‘Great Spirit’ would be the epigenetic influence immanent in ‘field’ that inductively actualizes ‘genetic expression’, the material world.

The ‘advances of science’ allow us to observe ourselves and the world in many new and different ways; e.g. as in the video of satellite sensing of vapour distribution in the atmosphere.   The pitfall appears to be in putting what we see into words, using noun-and-verb Indo-European/scientific language-and-grammar, which reconstructs dynamics in terms of notional independently-existing material things-in-themselves and their notional ‘causal actions and results’.   The semantic realities we construct on this basis are ‘leading us up the garden path’ and giving rise to social-relational ‘incoherence’.

“The fact of the matter is that the ‘real world’ is to a large extent unconsciously built up on the language habits of the group . . . We see and hear and otherwise experience very largely as we do because the language habits of our community predispose certain choices of interpretation.” – Edward Sapir



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’

We were not forced to impose our language on our observations, as in the 2008 hurricane season video; i.e. we were not forced to create thing-in-itself content where it did not exist, but it is our Western cultural habit to do so, and our language architecture leads directly into this trap of using ‘appearances’ as the basis of semantic realities that become ‘operative realities’ guiding our actions which then conflict with the physical reality of our actual experience.

We are in great need of a non-being-based ‘relational’ language architecture that is capable of remediating the disconnect between our commonly employed being-based semantic realities and the physical reality of our actual experience.

“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. 

What is needed, Bohm argued in his book Wholeness and the Implicate Order, is a new sort of language, one based on processes and activity, transformation and change, rather than on the interactions of stable objects. Bohm called this hypothetical language the “rheomode.” It is based primarily on verbs and on grammatical structures deriving from verbs. Such a language, Bohm argued, is perfectly adapted to a reality of enfolding and unfolding matter and thought.  

David Bohm had not known when he wrote of that concept that such a language is not just a physicist’s hypothesis. It actually exists. The language of the Algonquin peoples was developed by the ancestors specifically to deal with subtle matters of reality, society, thought, and spirituality.  

A few months before his death, Bohm met with a number of Algonkian speakers and was struck by the perfect bridge between their language and worldview and his own exploratory philosophy. What to Bohm had been major breakthroughs in human thought — quantum theory, relativity, his implicate order and rheomode – were part of the everyday life and speech of the Blackfoot, Mic Maq, Cree and Ojibwaj.” – F. David Peat, ‘Blackfoot Physics’

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