Is Calculus Taking Science (And Us) On A Mad Joyride?
Differential calculus plays an important role in the mathematical foundations of science. The notion of ‘change’ as ‘difference’ not only shapes our scientific models and solutions, but seems to ‘bleed through’ and shape our social behaviours.
See this? It’s called a ‘deviation’ or ‘difference’ in the measured behaviour of something (e.g. temperature, pressure etc.);
Mathematically, ‘differences’ come in two ‘black and white’ types; i.e. the ‘amplitude’ of the property being monitored over time is EITHER ‘increasing’ OR ‘decreasing’ if the property is changing at al. Another way to say this is that the ‘differential’ can have EITHER a positive OR negative sign. There is no argument, when we ‘differentiate with respect to time’, as to when something is ‘going up’ or ‘going down’. If its measured magnitude is greater at present than it was a moment earlier, then it is ‘increasing’ and if its measured magnitude is less at present than it was a moment earlier, then it is ‘decreasing’. There is no ambiguity here because ‘time’ is a ‘convention’ that goes forward only, and not backward. This simplifies things compared to ‘cyclic’ change (the ‘wave’ view of nature) where, when something increases (e.g. climatic temperature), we are never sure whether it might not be a ‘short cycle increase’ within a ‘longer cycle decrease’, or if a decrease, whether it might not be a ‘short cycle decrease’ within a ‘longer cycle’ increase.
[Note: When understood in terms of ‘space’, ‘change’ does not proceed ‘unidirectionally’. When we understand things in terms of ‘space’ (continually transforming spatial relations, as in ‘field’ and/or ‘flow’), rejuvenation and degeneration are two sides of the same coin (things are continually gathering and regathering into new things) so that only if our attention clings to forms that have gathered (and refuses to let go) to the point that we block ourselves from seeing the simultaneous innovative regathering, does it appear to us as if change is advancing in one direction only, that we call ‘the forward march of time’. ‘Time’ is not a primary property of the universe but rather an idealisation that forms in the mind when we think of ‘change’ in the ‘linear’ terms of ‘an absolute beginning’ and ‘an absolute end’, rather than in spatial-relational transformational terms; ‘the only thing that doesn’t change is change itself’. ].
But the very next question that follows our observation of ‘change’ as a simple ‘difference’ over ‘time’, is, ‘what is the source of this change’? This is where science, and society, splits itself into two ways of understanding the source of change. Popularly, we conceive of ‘change’ in our western acculturated society in the same way as it has been built into the foundations of (classical) Mathematical Physics, in terms that the present condition of things depends only on the immediate past. Thus, if something has changed between now and a moment ago, we say that it is because of a local ‘causal mechanism’ acting on the way things were a moment ago, changing them into what we observe them to be in the present. This is the familiar ‘causal’ model of ‘change’ that dominates in our modern society and it ties to the notion of ‘change’ as ‘difference’ with respect to ‘time’. This is captured in the familiar ‘derivative’ in Newton’s (and Leibnitz’) calculus which, arguably, already permeated our western way of mentally modeling the world dynamic prior to being formalized mathematically.
This ‘differential-based’ ‘causal model’ doesn’t explain things like ‘earthquakes’, ‘avalanches’, ‘glaciation’ and all those phenomena (ostensibly all phenomena, when we suspend making the above simplifying assumption that ‘the present depends only on the immediate past’) that imply the natural precedence of ‘field’ over ‘matter’. That is, ‘tensions’ can build continuously in a spatial-relational sense to ‘threshold’ levels where there is conversion (sometimes rapid and violent) of spatially accrued potential energy into kinetic energy (the energy of matter in motion). In the case of earthquakes, the movement of the rocks is directed by the spatial-relational configuration of the tensional field. In this case, the present depends on the remote past as well as the immediate past, so that the simple ‘causal model’ no longer works (it is too simple); i.e. in the case of ‘earthquakes’ we cannot ‘explain things’ in terms of LOCAL causal agents that act in the immediate past to bring about the present state of things.
What comes out of such inquiry is two models of ‘change’, one more simple than the other in a particular way. The (simplified) model depends on a ‘LOCAL causal agent’ (LOCALLY originating behaviour) that operates on the present ‘state of things’ to construct the immediate future. The (un-simplified) model depends on a ‘NONLOCAL non-visible causal agency’ or spatial influence (‘field’) that is continually charging and discharging allowing, the remote past to directly influence the present (e.g. stress builds spatially to the point that ‘movement’ arises spontaneously as stress-relieving spatial-relational reorganization). Once things are in motion, the simple model serves us well once again, but it does not address when, where and how invisible stress becomes the nonlocal source of (stress-relieving) reorganization.
The ‘simplified reality’ of the sort that is implicitly built into ‘differential calculus’ seems to be taking us on a joyride by allowing us to mistake ourselves for causal agents capable of ‘making a difference’, notionally infusing us with the power of constructing from the present, the immediate future we desire (ignoring the invisible stresses that are continually reorganizing the habitat that we inhabit).
Sure, we can be practitioners of ‘the ends justify the causal means to get there’, but there is always a price to pay in terms of the stresses we infuse in the process, stresses that are busy sourcing reorganization (if not revolution) as we persist in our ‘its the destination not the journey’ undertaking. Will we ‘make’ our five-year plan, or will ‘mutiny’ reorganize our carefully architected machinery for us?
How does this all play out in practice? That is, on what basis do we use one or the other of these two notions of change; one simplified by the assumption that the present depends only on the immediate past and the other which accepts that the present depends on the remote past (spatial stress fields that are charging and discharging). This ‘split’ in our choice of models not only divides science into two different fields of inquiry (the simplified standard , and ‘nonlinear dynamics’), but crops up in the ‘social psyche’ as well, fuelling much debate and even physical ‘conflict’.
The ‘law’ makes the same simplifying assumption as classical mathematical physics does; i.e. that the present depends only on the immediate past, so that in our inquiry into a ‘disturbance’, we can expect to find a local causal mechanism that acts on the immediate past so as to transform it into the observed present. The ‘long arm of the law’, as an adjunct to the justice system, was developed to respond to ‘undesired change’ or ‘disturbance’ (activity contrary to the ‘National spirit’) by identifying and dealing with the ‘causal mechanism’ responsible for the ‘undesired change’. In pre-revolution France, the law identified, as a ‘disturber’, one ‘Jean Valjean’ (one of two central characters in Victor Hugo’s ‘Les Miserables’) who ‘caused’ a disturbance by robbing a bakery, because, he said, ‘he could no longer bear to hear starving children crying’. Thus, according to the scientific models embraced by the justice system, the ‘disturbance’ (the ‘departure from the peaceful ‘norm’) was due to a ‘causal mechanism’ and that ‘causal mechanism’ originated with and/or within, this fellow, Jean Valjean. Inspector Javert was the second central character who embraced the bare-bones (simple/causal) model of justice. Javert was committed to finding ‘causal agents’ responsible for disrupting those activities representative of ‘the spirit of the people’ (‘normal operation’ of a society) and bringing the ‘disturbers of the peace’ ‘to justice’.
Not having psychiatrists and psychologists available to the courts at that time, they were unable to ‘push the causal model deeper down into the individual’, as we tend to do today (as part of rehabilitation), continuing downward and inward to the ‘ultimate internal sourcing’ of the disturbance; i.e. biochemical imbalance and/or memory of some trauma experienced in infancy etc. etc., ostensibly the deeper ‘local, internally-originating’ source of the offensive ‘abnormal’ behaviour. In fact, the ‘science’ of ‘jurisprudence’ in that era (and even in our era) was not completely free from theory that, amongst the ‘local causal mechanisms’ to choose from in explaining the ‘departure from the norm’, was ‘evil’, a local root cause source(ry), that, purportedly, can lurk invisibly in the interior of some of our brothers (as were previously called ‘witches’, ‘warlocks’, ‘the possessed’ etc.);
“. . this is the first precept of the law, that good is to be done and promoted, and evil is to be avoided. All other precepts of the natural law are based on this — Thomas Aquinas, on ‘Natural Law’
It is evident, then, that this simple ‘causal model’, which derives from the simplified reality (the present depends only on the immediate past) deployed in mainstream science, blocks our inquiry into the deeper and more primary source of ‘change’ which originates in the remote past; i.e. the accruing/intensifying spatial relational ‘tensions’ that reach thresholds where the accrued energy is often suddenly, violently released and thus constitutes a nonlocal source of spatial-relational reorganization (earthquakes, avalanches, riots etc.). There is no way of predicting either the timing of these ‘eruptions’ or their magnitude. Common experience recognizes these ‘nonlinear dynamics’ in such aphorisms as ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’. The fact that we presently lack adequate theory for such ‘complexity’ does not impinge on the ‘reality’ of it.
The point is, that we ‘flip-flop’ between understanding ‘change’ in one or the other of these two ways; (a) the causal model that assumes that the present depends only on the immediate past, and (b) the ‘un-simplified’ model of ‘change’ wherein we acknowledge that the present may be directly influenced by the remote past. We refer to the latter (b) in science, using such labels as ‘nonlinear dynamics’, ‘complexity science’, ‘chaos theory’ and ‘self-organized criticality’. None of these modes of inquiry are ‘mainstream’ in the scientific thinking of the general public though they are intuitively pervasive (the dog is blamed for biting the innocent person but the person is blamed that repetitively taunts the dog and ultimately gets bitten), and none are comprehended in inquiry that seeks to address social complexity; e.g. in systems of law, though they are implied in the understandings of ‘justice’ which precede law;
“The justice which in itself is natural and universal, is otherwise and more nobly ordered, than that other justice, which is special, national, and constrained to the ends of government. …There cannot a worse state of things be imagined, than where wickedness comes to be legitimate, and assumes with the magistrate’s permission, the cloak of virtue . . . . The extremest sort of injustice, according to Plato, is where that which is unjust, should be reputed for just.” – Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), lawyer, magistrate, mayor (Bordeaux) who said ‘The journey not the arrival matters.’
Historically, in our western social dynamic, politics embraced the simple causal model perhaps because there is an implication that if local causal agents can convert the immediate past into the present, then it follows that we can be the causal agents that create the immediate future from the present. If we look at the causal model in reverse, it suggests that the immediate future depends only on the present and given the value we place on bringing about ‘the future that we desire’, it can convert us into proponents of ‘the end justifies the means’. Such an approach will be at the cost of infusing major tensions into the system (our operating/living space) during the passage from the present to the immediate (desired) future so that the philosophy effectively inverts to; ‘The arrival not the journey matters’. This can in turn lead to putting our natural ‘lives-in-the-now’ and those of our children and grandchildren ‘on hold’ as we enslave ourselves, individually and collectively, to the desired future that we have committed to bring about. Our society applauds those heroic efforts where the carefully laid plans of man, threatened by unruly winds of change, are rescued (often at huge ‘cost’) by a tenaciously committed determinism
Machiavelli’s following comment exemplifies this simple way of thinking;
“fortune is a woman and it is necessary if you wish to master her, to conquer her by force.” — Machiavelli
Of course there is but one ‘fortune’ and her suitors are many though she can occupy herself with only one at a time, a situation that can lead to considerable conflict.
Meanwhile, if the present depends only on the immediate past then the immediate future depends only on the present, and in light of this way of thinking it is not hard to understand why Marie Antoinette and ‘those in power’ (the self-appointed ‘masters of fortune’) would interpret the increasingly frequent ‘eruptions’ of ‘disturbance’ in the social dynamic in the simple causal model terms where the present depends only on the immediate past, a view wherein it is a foregone conclusion that a local causal agent is responsible for the ‘outburst’ (is where the buck starts and stops), and thus to impute full and sole (first cause) responsibility for the disturbance to Jean Valjean and/or his internal processes and drivers. To portray him as an ‘evil’ man because he has no respect for the laws of the land is to invite ourselves to believe in ‘invisible/occult causal forces’ that are LOCAL in character (inhabiting his interior). Meanwhile, to portray the land as being permeated by rising (oppressive) tensions that spontaneously source stress-relieving spatial reorganization is to invite ourselves to believe in ‘invisible/occult causal forces’ that are NON-LOCAL in character.
What is our preference? We must choose our preferred flavour of occultism. LOCAL causal agencies that operate on the immediate past to produce the present state of affairs (or operate in the present to produce the immediate future), … or,… NON-LOCAL invisible causal agency deriving from the remote past and directly influencing the present?
Obviously, if one is amongst those ‘in power’, like Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and thus trying to operate the simple causal model in reverse, Machiavellian style, believing that the ‘immediate future’ depends only on applying causal agency in the present (the ends justify the means) then invisible tensions may well build. But rather than blaming the continuously rising tensions for the increasingly frequent ‘violent eruptions’ as in ‘nonlinear dynamics’, those in power will impute local sourcing to the disturbances; i.e. the ‘evil causal agency’ that inhabits the interior of those such as Jean Valjean. However, if you live on the other side of the tracks, in the slums that surround the Palais de Versailles where you are under the thumb of the rising tensions of oppression that invisibly inhabit the social space, you will opt for the un-simplified model of disturbance and acknowledge that nonlocal invisible causal agency (rising tensions) deriving from the remote past is directly influencing the present..
After all, the assumption that the present depends only on the immediate past was a deliberate assumption that was consciously built into the foundations of science (mathematical physics) to simplify reality, notionally dividing real-world dynamics up into small, local differences, so that problems formulated using the simplified reality would be more amenable to solution. That is, the solutions would apply to the simplified reality rather than to the actual reality, and thus there would be agreement between predicted solutions and results since everything would be envisaged to take place within the simplified reality. That is, the whole formulation of the problem, the solution and the experimental validation would all ‘use’ the ‘simplified reality’ so that the whole process of inquiry would be a kind of ‘petitio principii’ into which the ‘real’, ‘un-simplified world’ remained outside of the entire exercise.
For example, Nobel laureate in Medicine (1937) Albert Szent-Györgyi, while suffering from ‘pneumonia’, reasoned, as in the situation with Jean Valjean, that the disturbing agents (bacteria) were not the ‘cause’ of the illness but rather the ‘result’ of the ‘illness’, the ‘illness’ being seen by Szent-Gyorgyi as ‘imbalance’ in the system. There are over 100 different ‘gangs’ of potential disturbance-makers (bacteria and viruses) that can be found in this pathogen attack or that pathogen attack ‘holding the smoking gun’ when the patient succumbs to pneumonia and while the ‘pathogenic bacteria’ will be listed as ‘the cause of death’, Szent-Györgi reasoned that the primary cause was imbalance which incited (provided fertile ground for) the proliferation of one or other of these ‘disturbance-makers’. He took large doses of vitamin C, recovered, researched the role of vitamin C in the body, and received a Nobel prize for his work. If his research orientation had been anti-biotics (a severe law and order enforcing system), he might have stayed with the simple causal model which implies that the disturbances originated with the ‘pathogen’ (pathogen: – ‘an agent that causes disease’). This being the model, it follows that the solution is to eliminate the pathogens. The validity of this theory can be tested by developing and administering a remedy (an ‘anti-biotic’) that will kill the pathogens to see if this stops the illness. If the illness ceases following the administering of the anti-biotic, it may be assumed that the theoretical (causal) model is correct, but it might also be that the system was all the while striving to regain balance and that the eliminating of the trouble-makers took an energy-draining load off the system so that it was better able to restore its own balance.
Here we have the familiar split in ‘political’ view between those who would seek to ‘keep the peace’ by alleviating tension-creating imbalances and those who would seek to ‘keep the peace’ by implementing a strong law-and-order capability. As in the case of pneumonia where there are over 100 different gangs of disturbers that may become active when/as imbalances arise, the ‘imbalance’ provides the parenting medium (fertile conditions) for the proliferation of the disturbers. Restoring of health equates to the restoring of balance which nature (the body) must do. The squelching of the current disturbance may contribute to the restoring of balance, but it is not the ‘equivalent’ of ‘restoring balance’.
The law-and-order approach, as well, increase the tensions and imbalances in the system (i.e. courses of antibiotics can debalance the body and open the door to other ‘opportunistic’ infections/disturbances). If one holds unflinchingly to the law and order model, as more and different gangs of disturbers come into play, the view will continue to fail to acknowledge the primary role of tensions associated with imbalance, and one will proceed on the basis that pathogenic force originates locally, with the pathogenic causal agents, so that the action deemed appropriate will be to increase the severity and thoroughness of application of the law and order system.
In the ‘simplified world view’, dealing with causal agencies is ‘all she wrote’, but in the ‘un-simplified world view’, the agents of disturbance are the ‘result’ rather than the ‘cause’ of the ‘dis-ease’, the ‘cause’ being non-local tensions associated with systemic imbalance..
To recap, the simplified reality that is used by Mathematical Physics, and which is the popular reality of choice for ‘mainstream’ scientific inquiry, is the reality described by Poincaré in ‘Science and Hypothesis’ where we assume that local visible material bodies and their movements are ‘what the world dynamic is made of’. Following Newton, we assume that material objects are ‘locally existing’ and that their motion derives either from externally applied ‘forces’ and/or from internally sourced forces (e.g. from chemical or biochemical processes or atomic reactions). The key point in this simplified reality is that ‘motion’ must have a ‘local source’, meaning ‘local’ in both time and space.
“It is therefore, thanks to the approximate homogeneity of the matter studied by physicists, that mathematical physics came into existence. In the natural sciences the following conditions are no longer to be found: homogeneity, relative independence of remote parts, simplicity of the elementary fact; and that is why the naturalist is compelled to have recourse to other modes of generalisation.” – Henri Poincaré
Mathematical physics, with its simplified reality wherein the present depends only on the immediate past works fine for ‘local mechanical systems’, but is inherently inadequate for addressing ‘natural complexity’.
What has been happening in our modern society is that this simplified model of reality, as built into Mathematical Physics, has become so familiar it is being used as a matter of habit and applied to natural complexity that it is unable to deal with. For example, in the example of Les Miserables which is used as a ‘reference template’ throughout this essay, the primary source of the ‘disturbance’ involving Jean Valjean is the persisting tensions in the living space which reach threshold levels where something ‘snaps’ in order to relieve the tensions (Jean Valjean steals a loaf of bread). If we are constrained to the ‘simplified reality’ then we are constrained to the assumption that the source of the disturbance is ‘local’ and originates within Jean Valjean. In the unsimplified reality of our natural experience, we understand that human beings in a spatial situation where tensions continue to build, are not unlike rocks in a spatial situation where tensions continue to build; i.e. a threshold is reached where ‘something gives’ in order to relieve those tensions. That is, there is no reason to assume that social dynamics, which are ‘as complex as it gets’, should not manifest nonlinear dynamics of the type where the present is NOT solely dependent on the immediate past (the simplified reality), but is also directly effected by the remote past (the spatial-relational accruing of potential energy associated with tensions).
Our experience validates that this type of nonlinear behaviour where spatial imbalances/tensions are the nonlocal sources of spontaneous spatial reorganization, does indeed manifest in social dynamics. The fact that we do not yet have ‘competent theory’ to explain it does not mean that ‘it does not happen’. When Erwin Schroedinger is suggesting that a ‘living cell’ is an ‘aperiodic crystal’ and that there is just one physics (not yet fully developed) that re-unifies the inanimate and animate realms, when ‘quantum entanglement’ has been proven, and when relativity is saying that fields are the fundamental medium from which material is hatched (suggesting that the web-of-life of the Amerindian belief tradition is ‘on target’), then a new understanding of ‘the human organism’ is overdue since it makes no sense to continue to ‘render’ humans in the simplified reality that portrays them (us) as ‘local, independently-existing material systems with our own locally originating, internal biochemical process-driven and internal knowledge and purpose-directed behaviour (i.e. virtual local automatons that act/interact in absolute fixed and empty [euclidian] space). At a minimum we must acknowledge that we evolved within and are born into a ‘web’ of relations where, for example, we eat fish which eat plankton which eat phytoplankton which eat sunbeams etc. etc. We can’t just ignore this elaborate ecosystemic web of interrelations that we are included in by using the jargon that comes with local mechanical systems models; i.e. statements like ‘humans eat and excrete’ (local systems have inputs and outputs). But we do because our habit is “choosing not that which is most true but that which is most easy.” (Kepler).
Nonlinear dynamics such as earthquakes and avalanches (and individuals who cannot extricate themselves from stressful situations ‘going postal’) are not subject to the simplification-driven constraints of Mathematical Physics (the present depends only on the immediate past). For example, spatially non-homogeneous tensional fields can develop so that motion of matter arises when friction or other bonds holding things ‘together’ reach a threshold breaking stress (this is ‘nonlocal causation’). Once the matter is in motion, the laws of motion developed for the simplified reality apply, so that the phenomena can once again be addressed within the simplified reality where causation derives from local material objects governed by externally applied or internally-originating forces. But fullblown, un-simplified ‘reality’ includes earthquakes and avalanches and many other ‘nonlinear dynamic phenomena’ as well, and their workings do not reveal themselves to inquiry that is conducted by starry eyed researchers who, when they look out into the unsimplified reality, see the simplified reality that is so much more accommodating to them in the manner it delivers understanding to them and eases the formulation of problems and devising of solutions.
The long and short of it is that;… the identifying and dealing with Jean Valjean as the ‘first cause’ source of the disturbance would only be appropriate if the simplified reality that associates with the causal model is valid.. If the reality is, as we intuit it is, that the root-source of the disruptions is invisible NONLOCAL (spatially-distributed) tensions accruing over the remote past and directly influencing the present, then Louis and Marie’s use of the simple causal model and the single-minded remedial tool of ‘law-and-order’ may be seen as the problem rather than the solution (may exacerbate the tensions that are the truly primary source of the eruptions).
Ok, those are the choices in the social sphere, but how about for those working within science itself? The same Machiavellian option applies. There is science (applications of science) that simplify reality so that it is easier to find solutions to problems formulated in terms of the simplified reality;
“fortune is a woman and it is necessary if you wish to master her, to conquer her by force.” — Machiavelli
By making simplifying assumptions, we domesticate nature and as with a domesticated woman, we confuse the more complex unsimplified reality for the simplified reality. (Of course, beneath her seemingly compliant behaviour is a wild woman who ‘runs with the wolves’).
For those who would like to believe that the ‘unfolding world dynamic can be ‘conquered by force’, there is ‘mainstream science’ with its linearizing assumption that ‘the present depends only on the immediate past’. But as with the example of Louis and Marie, operationalizing these simple solutions based on a simplified model of reality does not happen in the simplified reality since THERE IS NO OTHER SPACE FOR OPERATIONALIZING SOLUTIONS BUT THE SPACE OF THE ONLY REALITY AVAILABLE TO US, THE UN-SIMPLIFIED NATURAL REALITY, and in this un-simplified reality, such operationalizing of solutions based on a simplified reality may spawn more problems than it is resolving. For example, a program to eliminate the increasing numbers of Jean Valjeans, may bring on a revolution; i.e. a situation where increasingly frequent ‘disruptions’ (‘departures from the norm’) ensue in proportion to efforts to eliminate ‘disruptions’.
‘Differences’ — FROM THE NORM —- don’t have to be directly attacked and eliminated, they can also be addressed by adjusting the ‘norm’ so as to reduce the tensions and imbalances that engender disruptions. After all, ‘the norm’ is a probability and statistics based ‘mathematical device’ that launders out ‘NONLOCAL’ influences (in time and space) so that we can see things simply in terms of LOCAL differences. E.g. the averaging of the earth’s surface temperature curve gives us a norm that allows us to say, on a LOCAL basis, whether things are currently (locally in time and space) ‘warming’ or ‘cooling’. By shrinking/extending the averaging window, we are generally able to change ‘warming’ to ‘cooling’ and vice versa.
Similarly, the averaging of the kinetic energy of molecules gives us a norm for ‘thermal energy’ that allows us to specify ‘how hot it is LOCALLY’ and thus dispense with the NONLOCAL influence of ‘thermal field’ (e.g. the hurricane is spontaneous spatial reorganisation deriving from ‘tensions’ (pressures) associated with imbalances in a continuous thermal field, an energy-charging/discharging field which is more intense in the equatorial regions and less intense in the polar regions (the spontaneous spatial reorganization starts here, not in the interior of the storm-cell/hurricane).
NONLOCAL differences are otherwise known as ‘field configuration’ which is the source of spontaneous spatial reorganization. By reducing NONLOCAL spatial-relational sourcing to LOCAL causal sourcing by ‘taking local differences’, we make it appear as if ‘change’ is locally perpetrated by way of ‘what things do’ when the fact is that it can be more generally seen as being nonlocally sourced by spontaneous spatial reorganization. We, all of us, are inextricably included in this spontaneous spatial reorganization.
John Lennon has put it this way;
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
But many continue to see things in terms of the ‘simplified reality’ of ‘differential calculus’ and put it this way;
“You can create the future of your dreams. This may seem far fetched for most people, but what they do not seem to realize is that their present is the future they created by their past actions or inaction. You are where you are today because of the decisions and actions you took yesterday.”
These different understanding as to the nature of change lead to very different world views and to very different social dynamics, as will continue to be explored in this essay.
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Examining Physics, Biology, Medicine, Psychology and Geology/Climate in the context of;
The ‘simplified reality’ that is implicitly built into ‘differential calculus’ seems to be taking us on a joyride by allowing us to mistake ourselves for causal agents capable of constructing from the present, the immediate future we desire.
The evolution of physics requires special attention since it contains within it, the story of how we have created ‘two realities’ out of one (the original and a derivative); the ‘derivative’ being a simplified reality based on local sourcing of dynamics which is a mathematical reduction (thanks to calculus) of the un-simplified dynamics of nature where the primary sourcing of dynamics is non-visible, non-local and non-material (energy-field based). Thus, in this section, the brief development of the ‘two realities’ in the introduction will be put in context with the evolution of physics and the role that mathematics came to play in ‘simplifying the complex reality’ of nature in order to facilitate formulating ‘easier questions’ that were resolved with ‘easier answers’.
Physicists, starting with Kepler and Newton, ‘hit the wall’ in their attempts to explicitly (logically/mathematically) describe nature’s dynamics. Their response was to ‘back off’ trying to describe the full-blown interdependent complexity of nature and to describe, instead, the secondary, visual aspects.
This ‘full-blown complexity’ stemmed from the fact that everything seemed to move under the influence of everything else. Kepler expressed this in the terms that space was characterized by ‘harmony’ that was beyond ‘the harmony of one thing moved with other things’ and said that it was more as if the spatial harmony was a ‘volume of unity’ (‘Harmonies of the World’, 1619), attributing this to God. Newton made much the same observation, also attributing the simultaneous mutual influence of all of the celestial bodies (as in ‘gravity is everywhere at the same time’) to God and taking care to warn the reader of ‘Principia’ that the laws of physics that he had formulated described features that had established themselves within the overall harmonious flow, but which in no way addressed the continuous unfolding of these dynamics and how things gathered into patterns such as the orbital patterns of the earth and mars, and/or were regathered into new persisting dynamic patterns.
Newton commented specifically on ‘hitting the wall’ with respect to being not only unable to describe the movement of bodies moving under one another’s simultaneous mutual influence when the number of such bodies rose to ‘three or more’, he stated that “an exact solution to the problem of three bodies exceeds, if I am not mistaken, the force of any human mind.”. Meanwhile, he objected to the notion of ‘action at a distance’ as was suggested by this mutual interdependence in the celestial motion, calling it ‘absurd’ and leaving the door open to the notion of ‘ether’ and/or ‘field’ as the primary ‘substrate’ of the universe. The interim approach in physics, was thus to reduce the inherent ‘NONLOCAL orchestrating of nature’s dynamics’ to mathematical descriptions that employed a notional LOCAL direction. The ad hoc notion of ‘force’ was invented to facilitate breaking out local ‘dynamic features’, explaining them in terms of ‘local, externally-applied forces and/or ‘local internally-originating forces’. In this manner it is possible to explain a convection cell such as a hurricane in terms of local external and internally originating forces without going back to its origins as the atmosphere is heated by solar irradiance and begins to come towards the boil, a story that implies the orchestration of the entire interdependent celestial dynamic.
Later on, Faraday’s solution to the description of electromagnetic fields which in turn opened the way for Maxwell’s equations, restated the natural precedence of ‘field’ over ‘matter’, implying that the source of orchestration started with the field (nonlocal influence) rather than with ‘local forces’ originating in ‘charged particles’ (the charged particles themselves being condensations or ‘flow-features’ in the field).
Relativity with its ‘energy-matter equivalence’ did with the ‘gravitational field’ what Faraday had done with the electromagnetic field; i.e. it put the nonlocal influence of field into sourcing/orchestrating precedence over ‘local’ material body dynamics. As Einstein and Infeld explain in ‘The Evolution of Physics’, the material bodies can be understood as ‘secondary features’ rather than primary ‘movers and shakers’; i.e. they can be understood as local concentrations of energy within the flow of the field.
How the mathematics was deployed to reduce the ‘nonlocal’ orchestrating of dynamics in nature to ‘local’ sourcing is nicely described by Henri Poincaré in ‘Science and Hypothesis’, in the chapter ‘Hypotheses in Physics’, in the section entitled ‘Origin of Mathematical Physics’ (three and a half pages in length). Poincaré notes that dynamics that are ‘nonlocal’ with respect to ‘time’ are forced to seem as if they are local in time by mathematically ‘building in’ the assumption that the present depends only on the immediate past (the ‘causal’ model’). Thus, for example, if the ambient temperature ‘goes up’ from what it was a moment ago to a higher level, the assumption is that there will be a ‘causal mechanism’ to explain why this happened. But it could be that a sheet of ice deposited many years ago has finally finished melting and that it was all the while keeping the temperature down. This is a case where something that occurred in the remote past ‘reaches out from the remote past’ to directly influence the present. If we believe in the causal model, we will be searching for the local-in-time culprit who did the dirty work, as if it originated locally-in-time.
If we find a correlation between a rise in CO2 levels and the rise in temperature, we may conclude that the increase in CO2 concentration is the ‘cause’ of the increase in temperature and, starting from this ‘conclusion’, go back and make up some piecemeal story as to how the CO2 causes the temperature to rise (e.g. by enabling the air to hold more of the sun’s heat). This local sourcing explanation ‘keeps the causal model ‘whole’’ (i.e. it satisfies the mathematics-imposed condition that the present depends only on the immediate past) while ignoring the real nonlocal-in-time origins of the phenomena (the unsimplified reality that the present is directly influenced by the remote past; i.e. because great lumps of ice were deposited a long time ago, our temperatures have been moderated by the ice-box effect, but when the ice finally melts the temperature, the ice box temperature will rise in accordance with the ice-deposition-and-melting cycle and NOT because of some present causal mechanism).
But going back to the notion the ‘greenhouse gases capture and hold more heat, … what are our assumptions in regard to the dynamics of ‘heat’?
As Poincaré shows in the same discussion as referenced above, ‘heat’ is another phenomena we use mathematics to ‘localize’; i.e. we say it is the activity of the molecules. But elsewhere (in physics) we have said that molecules are expressions of fields and in modern research such as Quantum Loop Gravity, we find that all there are, at the base of it all, are ‘fields’, so ‘whats with this description of ‘heat’ as local activity of the molecules’? As Poincaré points out, the assumptions of symmetry and the ‘law of large numbers’ ensures that we ‘cover our tracks’ in this mathematical ‘spatial-localizing’ of ‘heat’ that is the same sort of mathematical simplification as the ‘time-localizing’ of the ‘temperature anomaly. (We might therefore attribute the mathematical simplifying of reality not only to differential calculus which launders out nonlocal-in-time influence but in its partnership with statistics which (by way of the ‘law of averages/large numbers) launders out nonlocal-in-space influence).
The fact is, the atmosphere heats up in a non-uniform fashion and it is the nonlocal differences that induce the emergence of convection cells, so why not understand this in terms of a ‘thermal energy field’ that orchestrates the movement of the molecules, rather than explaining ‘heat’ as a ‘local thing’; i.e. as the local excitedness (kinetic energizing) of the molecules. This is like the situation Newton referred to; i.e. the ‘laws’ of ‘thermal dynamics’ that govern the ‘local excitedness’ of the molecules in no way explain how the ‘local excitedness’ came to be there.
At the end of this discussion of how we use mathematics to localize the sourcing of dynamics in both time and space, Poincaré makes the astounding conclusion that this approach taken by mathematical physics is fine for mechanical applications but it too over-simplified for general use in our inquiry into nature! He says;
“It is therefore, thanks to the approximate homogeneity of the matter studied by physicists, that mathematical physics came into existence. In the natural sciences the following conditions are no longer to be found: homogeneity, relative independence of remote parts, simplicity of the elementary fact; and that is why the naturalist is compelled to have recourse to other modes of generalisation.”
There is nothing ‘homogeneous’ about ‘field’ and there is no ‘relative independence of remote parts, nor simplicity of the elementary phenomenon. All of these attributes, which enable a notional ‘local sourcing’ of dynamics are available to our mental modeling only when we shift our grounding reference from the nonlocal, non-visible, non-material realm of ‘field’ to the local, visible, material realm. Since we can see ourselves like the notional ‘local causal agents’ of our mathematically simplified science (mathematical physics) as being the cause of what happens in the local, visible, material realm (the ‘secondary aspect’ of the world that we/science notionally promote to ‘primary’status), we open the door to this ‘causal agent management style’. It is a simplified reality, but it appeals to Louis and Marie because it puts them in control of the flow of wealth and power. In this simplified reality, material causal agents are deemed responsible for the changes in a present that depends only on the immediate past, full stop (full story). Thus, the source of the emergent disturbance surrounding the robbery of the bakery is Jean Valjean and/or his internal processes and purpose, full stop (full story).
The message is; those that see themselves as ‘causal agents’, truly responsible for the changes for the good (‘good results of their causal actions’) in the land, see only ‘causal agents’ as being responsible for whatever changes unfold in the universe. The notion of nonlocal, non-visible, non-material ‘fields’ as the orchestrating source of change is not even on the radar screen. That’s not to say that Louis and Marie didn’t ‘get it’ (deny the reality of oppressive tensions in one’s living space), but it is to say that it was (initially, prior to the revolution) more convenient for them to ignore it in order to continue to live in the lavish and privileged manner in which they had become accustomed to living. Having persuaded many of their cohorts and some of the people as well as themselves, that they were deserving causal agents that were personally responsible for much good in the land (France was then one of the most wealthy and powerful nations in Europe). Strangely enough (or not so strangely), when Louis and Marie were removed as heads-of-state; i.e. when the heads of the heads of state were removed, the wealth and the power of the nation did not disappear along with the causal agents notionally responsible for them.
The suggestion was that instead of France being understood as a local machine whose present condition depends only on its immediate past (that its behaviour was animated by the unflagging activity of its local causal agents), it could be more realistically understood in the terms that it’s present was directly influenced out of the remote past, in the same sort of manner that the storm-cell is the result of currents that gather in the extended space that it is included in, so that the emerging turbine/power-house ‘takes over centre stage’ and becomes the ‘star attraction’, giving the impression that ‘it is its own local/self-contained ‘source’ of its dynamism (even though the parenting medium or ‘flow-field’ it emerges from is never left behind, but continues to permeate this child it created as it engenders more yet from recycled others.). This ‘field’ medium view of space seems to parallel the Amerindian/aboriginal view, being made of one’s ancestors who are the flow they form in, coming out of the dark fluid background (backstage) to take a whirl at being a centre-stage attraction for a while before returning to the dark fluid background..
To conclude this section on Physics, in the context of our having developed ‘two realities’, one of which is simplified mathematically (by differential calculus which launders out the nonlocal-in-time influence, in cahoots with statistics which launders out the nonlocal-in-space influence), it seems evident that people who believe in the simplified reality can identify themselves with the ‘local causal agents’ that this simplified reality purports to be responsible for ‘change’.
In the unsimplified reality, the unfolding present is directly shaped by influences that originate remotely in time and space, the cycles of solar flares, the wobbles in the earth’s orbits and the ice ages, the meteor collision and ensuing volcanics. The dynamics of the universe condition the dynamics of the inhabitants at the same time as the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the universe (Mach’s Principle of space-matter relativity). Thus ‘fortune’ is primary while local causal results are secondary, in the manner that the sailboat derives its power and steerage from the dynamic habitat it is included in and that while the sailboater can talk about successively achieving his arrival at his ‘planned destination’, the implicit proviso is that he has had to extract his power and steerage from the habitat-dynamic he is included in (i.e. his ultimate source of power and direction is intrinsically ‘nonlocal’).
So, the source of power and motive direction does not ‘really’ originate in the central regulating authority or in the centre of the storm-cell. This is an impression that arises when the nonlocal, non-visible, non-material dynamic sourcing of nature is simplified so that we imagine the present to depend only on the immediate past and the immediate spatial ‘locale’.
The would be believer in the simplified reality who sees himself as a ‘causal agent’ that is responsible for determining the unfolding present is thus implicitly prone to the political ideas of Machiavelli. Note that the familiar proponent of the self as a local causal agent claims that walking this talk is ‘nature’s way’. But in Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’, where ‘fortune’ is seen as a ‘woman’ that ‘must be taken by force’, ‘cruelty’ to others is the recipe for doing this since cruelty breeds fear and fear becomes the instrument of control; i.e. backing off the cruelty feels as if a favour is being given (the carrot and the stick are dual faces of the same coin). Even in a democracy, freedom is defined as a ‘privilege’ granted to those who are willing to follow the rules of the state. The state ‘speaks softly but carries a big stick’.
Again, the source of power and motive direction does not ‘really’ originate in the central regulating authority or in the centre of the storm-cell, but in the simplified model of reality that is supported by the mathematics of differential calculus and statistics, the primary nonlocal, non-visible, non-material source of dynamics is ‘laundered out’ and replaced (in the simplified reality) by ‘causal mechanisms’ that are ‘local’ in time and space.
The evolution of physics is being relived in the evolution of our social dynamic with the possible difference that we are forgetting that the simplified reality is a practical device for formulating easier questions which enable easier solutions. Newton and Kepler held God in reserve, as an answer to the non-local, non-visible, non-material sourcing influence that their scientific formulations based on local causal mechanisms could not address. However, modern man, in seeing himself as a ‘local causal agent’ that acts in the present to construct a desired state of the immediate future, is ascribing to himself God-like powers. This belief that he has God-like powers of local causation capable of over-powering ‘dame fortune’ is otherwise known as ‘ego’. Ego has appropriately been said to be an acronym for ‘edging god out’.
Bishop Berkeley was on target with his criticism of calculus in his treatise – ‘The analyst: or a discourse addressed to an infidel mathematician’;
“And what are these fluxions [derivatives]? The velocities of evanescent increments. And what are these same evanescent increments? They are neither finite quantities, nor quantities infinitely small, nor yet nothing. May we not call them ghosts of departed quantities?”
The ‘present-that-depends-only-on-the-immediate-past’, the simplified version of that which was parented by the continuously unfolding-enfolding non-local, non-visible, non-material mysterious spacetime-continuum of nature, by being rendered ‘local’ thanks to the ‘differentiation’ operation, has undergone the evacuation of ‘the great mystery’ and is then in need of ‘local Gods’ aka ‘local causal mechanisms’ to take responsibility for its creation. ‘E/M’ has been quick to step up to the plate and claim paternity; (‘E/M’ should not be confused with ‘electromagnetic field’ (e/m); it stands for ‘Egotistical Man’)
* * *
If ‘PHYSICS’ is a special field of inquiry due to it being the prototype for developing the tools of inquiry that would later be applied to all sciences, ‘BIOLOGY’ is a special field of inquiry due to it being the prototype for developing an understand of ‘ourselves’, the biological organism we call ‘man’.
Herein lurks the danger that the approximations associated with the ‘simplifying of reality’ in the development of tools of inquiry within physics, are finding their way into our impressions of ourselves.
For example, Newton ‘kept separate’ in his understanding, the un-simplified dynamics of the universe with its manifest harmonies, a dynamic unity which Newton claimed was divinely ordained, and which his laws could describe only in a piecemeal fashion, as the following quotes from his ‘Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica’ make clear;
“This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.”
“… and the planets and comets will constantly pursue their revolutions in orbits given in kind and position, according to the laws above explained ; but though these bodies may, indeed, persevere in their orbits by the mere laws of gravity, yet they could by no means have at first derived the regular position of the orbits themselves from those laws.”
“I wish we could derive the rest of the phaenomena of nature by the same kind of reasoning from physical principles; for I am induced by many reasons to suspect that they all may depend upon certain forces by which the particles of bodies, by some causes hitherto unknown, are either mutually impelled towards each other, and cohere in regular figures, or are repelled and recede from each other; which forces being unknown, philosophers have hitherto attempted the search of nature in vain;”
The ‘physicists’, in evolving their tools of inquiry, used mathematics to reduce nonlocal phenomena to local. The ‘simultaneous mutual influence’ manifest in the ‘harmonies of the world’ of Kepler and Newton suggested that the world was ‘one beast’ with many ‘limbs’, much as in the more recent ‘Gaia Hypothesis’. ‘The ‘new physics’ of relativity and quantum wave dynamics provides a solution in the terms that the universe is fundamentally composed of ‘fields’ (e.g. Quantum Loop Gravity) while the moving matter we see is secondary to the ‘field flow’.
Be that as it may, the differential calculus developed in mathematical physics, to simplify the world dynamic by repositioning the sourcing of dynamics from the nonlocal expanse of space, to notional ‘local systems’ has us convert the ‘single beast’ of the atmosphere-skin of the earth with its ‘summer boils’ (hurricanes) that originate nonlocally from non-uniform thermal field flow with the purpose to restore thermal balance, … to notional local, independent systems, notionally equipped with their own locally originating, internal process driven and directed behaviours. Ignoring the fact that these ‘boils’ are the children of a persisting dynamic medium ‘seems reasonable’ to us because we can ‘see’ the hurricanes but we cannot ‘see’ the medium per se. Thus, the simplifying of these nonlocally sourced dynamics is transformed mathematically, to local sourcing thanks to simplifying assumptions (unrealistic as they may be) that ‘the present depends only on the immediate past’ (the effective simplification of a time-derivative) and the assumption that the elementary phenomena is spatially localized (e.g. ‘heat’ is assumed to be the local energizing of molecules rather than a property of a nonlocal ‘field’ that is, like gravity and electromagnetism ‘everywhere at the same time’ [Any presence of spatial trends or ‘spatial frequencies’ in ‘heat’ is ‘laundered out’ by the ‘law of large numbers’ aka ‘the law of averages’].
Thus, in physics, the mathematical tools we use to simplify the reality and thus simplify the formulation of questions and answers, opens the door to establishing ‘sets’ of multiple instances of the same thing (e.g. ‘hurricanes’) and thus to do away with the nonlocal parenting medium (the flow of the atmosphere) without which, the ‘local systems’ would not exist. The ‘genus’ of local systems and the associated membership qualifications is established by lifting the multiple instances of VISUAL FLOW-FEATURES out of the parenting flow and generalizing their parts and properties.using differential calculus that localizes dynamics in time and probability and statistics which localizes dynamics in space. Voila, a ‘hurricane’ that is now a ‘local system in its own right’ with its own locally originating, internal process driven and directed behaviour (implicitly moving within and behaving relative to a notional absolute space, rather than relative to a continually transforming medium). No longer does it emerge and head north from the equatorial regions to the polar regions to rebalance induced imbalance in thermal energy distribution, that for which it was called into existence by its parenting medium, but it is instead given a name and a generalized definition based on its local parts and properties, and reconceived of as a ‘local system in its own right’.
Well, we know that this is over-simplification and as Newton would say, … the equations which describe local dynamic phenomena and drop out the nonlocal/global interdependence are not ‘reality’. The fullblown reality of Nature is a sacred space that “could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.”
What’s at stake here is not simply a religious belief in God or not, it is whether or not we ‘go with’ the simplified reality of ‘local systems with their own local internally-originating behaviour’ as ‘all she wrote’, or whether we continue to acknowledge the un-simplified reality where dynamic phenomena are non-local, non-visible and non-material (‘field-based’) in origin.
In BIOLOGY, what’s at stake here is our impression of ‘ourselves’. Are we the sailboater whose power and steerage derives from the dynamic medium we are included in (as in the unsimplified reality), or are we, really, the powerboater who is equipped with his own onboard power and steerage?
Evidently, BIOLOGY is popularly equating ‘the simplified reality’ with ‘reality’ (the natural world) and insisting that ‘that’s all she wrote’ (e.g. Richard Dawkins is ‘preaching’ that God is Delusion; i.e. that the parenting medium is delusion, and that cells and organisms really are local systems with their own local internally driven and directed agency.
‘Houston, we have a problem!’
When the current edition of ‘Western Civilization’ passes into the geological record, I am sure that future generations will be incredulous when they read that Darwin’s theory of evolution, which absolutely ignored the influence of ‘fields’ on evolution, could ever have survived for 150 years and more. And perhaps because the pro-Darwinists were able to popularize a joke about Lamarck’s notion that a giraffe, originally with a neck like a gazelle, when he stretched his neck to nibble on the higher leaves in the trees, would not only retain his stretched neck, but pass it on to his children and grandchildren.
Whatever the reason, Lamarck’s very reasonable notion that fields (‘les fluides incontenables’ [fluids that can contain but cannot themselves be contained’] played a fundamental role in evolution was eclipsed by Darwin’s mathematical notion that the wonderful forms in nature are local, independently existing systems that arrive ‘mechanically’, by ‘random chance variation’. Allegedly, those random variants that ‘happened to fit well’ in the environment are the ones that proliferate and persist due to their superior ‘fitness’.
Darwin’s theory, or something mechanical like it, is where one has to go if one equates the simplified reality deriving from the mathematical tools of inquiry of physics, with ‘reality’ (nature).
Due to the popular ‘confusion’ on that point, t’was not to be that Lamarck’s core theory would prevail; i.e. his proposition that there was only ‘one physics’ (‘one method of nature’) that applied to all things (so that the world did not need to be split into ‘the inanimate’ and ‘the animate’).
Reflecting on it today, what comes to mind is that ‘ego’ and ‘racial supremacism’ (incorporated in the notion of the ‘superior’ and ‘inferior’ hierarchy of Augustine of Hippo and others, God, Angels, Man, superior animals, inferior animals, plants, minerals) were already popular stage-setting ideas in the nineteenth century and furnished a ‘socket’ for Darwin’s ‘natural selection’ to plug into; i.e. the thinking of the time was that ‘it is natural for wealth and business to rule since the ability to accumulate wealth in a competitive environment is the best evidence of being fit to rule’. That is, this ‘selection of the fittest’ process was already accepted and was being supported by arguments that it was ‘nature’s way’ (propagated mostly by the ‘superior classes’ and the ‘superior races’ who were also the gatekeepers of knowledge [intellectual beliefs] and education.).
‘Rags-to-riches’ was an idea that many people in the ‘inferior ranks’ dreamed would come true for them. If it did, the differential calculus where ‘the present depends only on the immediate past’ would inevitably (mentally) come into play, even if the riches derived from an inheritance from one’s grandfather who had got it from his grandfather. The ‘selection process’, meanwhile, was more realistically based on ‘culture’ where wealth, violence and membership-or-not in the exclusive privileged classes constituted the ‘selection process’.
Also foundational to Darwinism is the notion that the universe is largely ‘dead’ (inanimate) and spottily infected with ‘life’ (the animate realm) which arrived late on the evolutionary scene; i.e. the evolution of the inanimate world went on for a long time, it was said (biology continues to insist on it) before the lightning bolt hit some muddy inorganic soup and ‘life commenced’. As far as ‘how life began’, ‘the check is in the mail’ say the biologists; i.e. ‘we are working on it; we are very close to the ultimate answer, and we shall be presenting the solution in the very near future’ (or, ‘its just a matter of time’).
Physicists such as Erwin Schroedinger (the formulator of quantum wave dynamics) have suggested that resonant-energy-charged space (‘field’) is more basic than ‘matter’ which Schroedinger calls ‘schaumkommen’ (appearances based on our visual sense which orients to ‘local features’ and discards the experience of ‘resonance’ which, as in acoustic wavefields is ‘everywhere at the same time’). Schroedinger called the ‘gene’ an ‘aperiodic crystal’ (a resonance-based crystal that keep searching for wave-dynamical stability or standing-wave status without getting there);
“In the light of present knowledge, the mechanism of heredity is closely related to, nay, founded on, the very basis of quantum theory.” – Erwin Schroedinger, ‘What is Life’.(1944).
The check is in the mail for something else; the reconciliation of physics, chemistry and biology. Schroedinger was jumping the gun a bit, in trying to render ‘life’ in terms of ‘resonance’ (cells as aperiodic crystals) but his published essay ‘What is Life’ was credited by Francis Crick, one of the discoverers of ‘the double helix structure of DNA’, as providing a theoretical description of ‘what biologists should be looking for in their search for genetic material’. And his co-discoverer, James Watson, changed his professional ambition from ornithology to genetics after reading “What is Life” in 1946.
There is nothing ‘local’ about ‘resonance’. The source of resonance is ‘blowing in the wind’, just listen to a wind-harp. The nonlocal phenomena called ‘wind’ (the child of the parenting pressure-field medium) blows on through while the melody lingers on.. Resonance orchestrates matter, not the other way around. Flow orchestrates convection cells, not the other way round. The nonlocal orchestrates the local. Field orchestrates matter since ‘field’ is the parenting medium in which matter emerges and moves so as to satisfy imbalances in ‘field’. For example, resonances in turbulent airflow orchestrate the flight of wildgeese and bring them into an efficient ‘V’ flying formation (the organisation and movement of the material bodies is secondary to the flow-dynamic). This is not an ‘either/or’ statement. As Mach’s principle of space-matter relativity would put it; ‘The dynamics of the habitat condition the dynamics of the inhabitants at the same time as the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat’.
At the bottom of it, the fields within which resonances emerge are spatial-relational (non-local, non-visible, non-material). To Schroedinger, then, there was no ‘local God-like causal mechanism’ hiding in the interior of a ‘living cell’ as the central regulatory authority of the sovereign state of Deoxyribonia.
Moving along, what do biologists mean when they say that the conditions ‘on earth’ were/are ‘perfectly suited’ for the emergence of life? In a biological theory that conceives of ‘life’ coming along after the inorganic baby’s nursery has been prepared and decorated, how could you go wrong in suggesting the ‘the conditions were perfect’? Are there planets sitting around with their ‘baby nurseries’ all decorated and outfitted, patiently awaiting the ‘new arrival’ called ‘life’? What if ‘life’ emerged out of the substance of the planet before the planet was ready for it? That would be embarrassing
Biology (today’s popular version) claims that ‘life’ is a ‘local causal mechanism’, the source of the locally originating behaviour that characterizes a ‘living cell’. It is the ‘sovereign state’ notion all over again, which we bring into ‘local being’ by way of a ‘declaration of independence’ and the appointment of a central regulatory authority. (As John Stuart Mill observed; “Every definition implies an axiom, that in which we affirm the existence of the object defined’). The notional local sovereign entity, as law historians say, is a ‘secularized theological concept’ that depends on ‘common belief’. Biology’s notion of a ‘living cell’ pretty much follows the same sort of idealizing, though how many might be inclined to think of the cell as an ‘aperiodic crystal’ that arises from non-local, non-visible, non-material ‘resonant energy charged space’ is not easily discovered since biology ‘polices’ its foundational notions such as the ‘animate’ – ‘inanimate’ split very diligently. Such reconciling of physics and biology is beyond the allowed scope of inquiry in peer-reviewed biological publications. Meanwhile, ‘fields’ and their influence on cell development are occasionally coming into the limelight;.
Recently, “biomedical researchers have found that exposure to the microgravity environment of space causes men and women of all ages to lose up to 1% of their bone mass per month due to disuse atrophy, a condition similar to osteoporosis. It is not yet clear whether losses in bone mass will continue as long as a person remains in the microgravity environment or level off in time. The mystery, for the moment, is what signals permit bone tissue to adapt to a weightless or an Earth (1 g) environment.”
Now, if the cell were conceived of as an ‘aperiodic crystal’; i.e. made of energy-field resonances, then the gravity field intensity would be automatically incorporated in the ‘crystal resonance’ and we wouldn’t have a ‘mystery’ in regard to how ‘gravity’ signals to the central intelligence agency within the cell, to back off with the calcium. However, in the extant biological model, there is this notional tiny central intelligence agency/regulatory authority or ‘brain’ in the cell that receives information signals from the environment and processes and interprets them so that it can decide what it needs to be. Sure, … I would put such bullshit down as an answer on an exam paper too, if the stakes were that my family would have food, shelter and clothing, … or not.
I recall one of my high school biology labs where we looked at fern spores under a microscope. They looked pretty dried up and ‘dead’ to me. Without water they would apparently stay that way for ever, Water seems to play an amazing and important role in ‘life’ even though it is relegated to that inferior class called ‘inorganic minerals’ that are servants and slaves to the ‘organic life-forms’ (what kind of prejudice is that?). Then, when drop a drop of water lands near them, they’ve got this arcuate clicker/snapping structure on them and the humidity gradient orchestrates their alignment up the gradient and the snapping structure has them move ‘upstream’ like spawning salmon. In biology, these things are imputed to have ‘chemical gradient sensing’ and ‘chemotaxis’ capabilities. This implies that this ‘cell’ is a ‘local, independently existing’ system with its own locally originating, internal process driven and internal purpose-directed behaviour that acts/interacts in an absolute space (otherwise its movement would be ‘relative’ rather than ‘absolute’) Water, what credit does it get? Well, biology proposes that without water there could be no life, so ‘water’ is said to be one of those things that brings other things to life but which cannot itself be brought to life. That sounds surprising like the Russell paradox form of Goedel’s theorem of the incompleteness of all finite systems of mathematics; The barber that cuts the hair of all those who cannot cut their own hair, cannot cut his own hair. Goedel’s theorem proves that there is flaw in our popular ‘mathematical’ way of thinking. Water gets short shrift from biology. The living human body, at birth, is about 75% water but water is still considered to be an ‘outsider’ as far as ‘life’ goes. When water with its electrically-bipolar makeup is present, the notional local animator of the mix of water and minerals called ‘life’ is able to do its thing, apparently. No-one has ever actually seen this local animator called ‘life’, we can only imply its local internal presence where we see matter-in-motion in a characteristic ‘living dynamic’ (all of the parts moving as a whole). There are only two choices for the source of such whole-and-part animation, inside or outside, unless one admits to ‘field’ that is everywhere at the same time, then inside and outside are just two aspects of the same thing (i.e. ‘field’ or ‘flow’).
Ok, the local internal positioning of the causal agency called ‘life’ fits the ‘simplified reality’ wherein the present depends only on the immediate past; i.e. the difference between the immediate past and the present condition of the ‘local organism’ is therefore due to its own local causal agency. We thus close the tautological loop in our definitions.
But to tell the truth, the fern spores looked a lot like little sailboats to me. When a blast of wind comes up (in this case a blast of humidity), the sailboats, when left to themselves, turn promptly up into the wind like weather-vanes. Their orientation is a ‘map’ of the flowlines (gradient) of the flow-field. Resonance comes into play here, as with the wildgeese ‘V’ formation and the orchestrating source of the behaviour is ‘nonlocal’.
Now, the sailboat derives its power and steerage from the flow/field it is included in, but we say that the spore is a local independent organic-being, a ‘living cell’ with its own local internally-originating behaviour; i.e. it has its own local, internal process based power-drive (chemotaxis) and its own local, internal centre of direction (chemical gradient-sensing intelligence and regulatory capability). I don’t know about you, but I feel sure that Schroedinger would be calling ‘bullshit’ at this point re all this stress on ‘schaumkommen’ which inevitably implies ‘localness’..
Again, in physics it is standard practice to say ‘the earth rotates’ (this implies that the earth’s movement is ‘its own’ and that it moves relative to absolute space) and ‘the earth moves in an ellipse around the sun’ (an ellipse is a planar figure but the movement of the planets are like silk worms spinning a cocoon). When we articulate this sort of local geometric imagery in physics, we know that we are talking about simplified models of reality. But when we speak in these same ‘simplified reality’ terms in biology; i.e. when speaking of ‘life’ and ‘organisms’, we are evidently prone to thinking; ‘hmmm, since I am an organism, these biological models of organisms are describing ‘who I am’. They are telling me that I am a local, independently-existing machine, equipped with its own locally originating, internal power driven and internal purpose directed behaviour.
This imputes to the believer, his own absolute creative power, like a God. This gives the believer one helluvan ego. When I plant and harvest a crop of corn, I know that the present result depends only on the immediate past, and the difference between the two is a ‘causal agent’. I am the causal agent responsible for the production of corn, so I say. The Amerindian believes he is only a strand in an interdependent web of life, like the sailboater, someone whose power and steerage derives from the spatial flow he is included in. To him, the corn is ‘his sister’. He sings and dances to celebrate her.
To conclude this section on ‘biology’, the dominance of the ‘simplified reality’ is alive and well in biology. The ‘living cell’ is distinguished from the ‘crystal’ not by its aperiodic resonance, but by a local causal agent that inhabits it called ‘life’. Darwin’s theory insists that the individual limbs and organs of organisms evolve by ‘random chance’ variations (a mathematical concept from probability and statistics). The random chance variance of ‘wings’ has been the good fortune of several different phyla, … who would think? (i.e. ‘what are the odds’)? As critics have noted, pigs do not yet fly, but according to Darwinism, it is not too late. It could happen by and by. There certainly is a resonant relation between ‘wings’ and the flow of the atmosphere but there is no room in Darwinism for the dynamics of the habitat influencing the unfolding shape of its inhabitants, … not this side of ‘relativity’, in any case. The source of new features on the ‘old models’ must come from inside the ‘lineage’as it moves forward with the ‘march of time, reproducing itself in forms garnished with random chance variation, with natural selection allowing those lineages that have suffered ‘fortuitous accidents’ like ‘the spontaneous random chance development of wings’ to persist.
Many wouldn’t believe this stuff, but like most scientific knowledge, ‘it works’ in a kind of internally consistent tautological looping way.. Biologists explain the flock-flying of birds and the school-swimming of fish in terms of locally originating, internal purpose-directed behaviours of these ‘organisms’. It would not be allowed to propose that the dynamics of space orchestrate the dynamics of the inhabitants of space, as in Mach’s principle (the new physics). Some biologists have proposed this to deal with what is called ‘irreducible complexity’ wherein the overall dynamic cannot be deduced from the dynamics of the parts, meaning that the parts could not develop by way of Darwinian evolution since the overall dynamic of multiple parts imposes itself backwards to orchestrate the dynamics of the individual parts. Those who propose it tend to be ‘accused’ of being ‘creationists’-disguising-themselves-as-scientists and kicked out (an increasingly common occurrence that prompted the making of the Ben Stein film ‘Expelled’).
The same assumptions as have been made in physics, the localizing of the source of change in both time and space (the ‘simplified reality’), also permeates the foundational models of biology; i.e. the ‘living cell’ and ‘the living organism’. Whereas in physics, the models are used mainly to ‘understand something mechanical’ and to ‘do something mechanical’, in biology they tend to reflect back and suggest to us (catastrophically) ‘who we are’ and ‘how we should conduct ourselves’..
When biology and physics are eventually ‘reconciled’, there will be no way to preserve the notion of first cause origination of behaviour in the organism, not if the (inherently spatial-relational) concept of ‘resonance’ as something more fundamental than matter makes it through the reconciliation.
* * *
Inquiry into mental attitudes and behaviours is implicit in the birth of this treatise. It examines the influence on mental attitudes of the mathematical concept of ‘the derivative’ (the present depends only on the immediate past) which has been infused into scientific understanding of the world; i.e. into scientific understanding of ‘life’ and ‘living’and thus into ‘biological forms’ known as ‘organisms’, including ‘the human organism’. Thus, ‘psychological inquiry’ describes ‘where this essay is coming from.
The discussions of Physics and Biology etc. are thus not simply in terms of ‘what they are’ and ‘how they have evolved’ but beyond that, how they are affecting our current or mental attitudes and behaviours.
The distinction I would like to make here is that while the structure of this essay and its headings makes it appear as if Psychology is a ‘discipline’ or ‘subject area’ that can be studied as the third in a series of subjects (objects of interest), mental attitudes and behaviour are at work throughout everything we do; i.e. ‘psychology’ is like one of those ‘fluides incontenables’ (Lamarck), the stuff that can contain but which cannot be contained (aka ‘field’). Mental attitude and behaviour is the source of these serial words being laid down in this treatise. In reality, ‘psychology’ is ‘subject-and-object’ at the same time. In the simplified reality where the present depends only on the immediate past, ‘psychology’ is reduced to inquiry into ‘behaviour’ and ‘what mental attitudes behaviour comes from’.
There is no way to understand ‘earthquake’ like phenomena if we reduce psychology to ‘behavioural dynamics’ and ‘mental attitudes’ that motivate behaviour.
My experience is that I am included in a spatial ‘field’ of tensions and every word and sentence that comes from the tip of my tongue, … or rather from the tips of my fingers as they tap-dance over the keyboard, is a little ‘earthquake’ that speaks of the field of tensions I am included in. My behaviour is not coming from a little ‘ghost-man’ called ‘the psyche’ inside of me telling me how to behaviour, it is coming from the spatial field of tensions I am included in. To be sure, that field of tensions is not separate from me. As Mach’s principle says, it conditions me at the same time as I am conditioning it, but it is ‘bigger than me’; i.e. something bigger than me is the source of my attitude and behaviour. I agree with Schroedinger that ‘there is just one consciousness’, but that goes farther than where I want to go at the moment. Yes, I seem to have ‘choice’ with respect to what I call ‘my behaviour’, but that’s only when I, you, we, … assume that there is such as thing as ‘I’ which is capable of sourcing its own behaviour. I can speak of hurricane Katrina as if she is a thing that is capable of sourcing her own behaviour (‘Katrina is strengthening’, ‘Katrina is moving north’, ‘Katrina is wreaking destruction’, ‘Katrina is weakening’, ‘Katrina has passed away’).
By pointing to something commonly visible, name-labelling and defining it, we ‘create’ a synthetic ‘locally existing entity’ by way of common belief. The unsimplified reality is that the flow-feature we call ‘Katrina’ is like an ‘earthquake’. The atmosphere is continually under tension from the gravity field and it is under more tension still from its non-uniform exposure to solar thermal energy. The ‘convection cell’ is the unleashing of accruing tensions/pressures in the atmosphere, just like the ‘earthquake’ is the unleashing of accruing tensions/pressures in the lithosphere and the ‘tsunami’ is the unleashing of accruing tensions/pressures in the hydrosphere.
The popular brand of ‘psychology’ uses name-labels and definitions to ‘go backwards’ from ‘behaviour’ (action, movement) to explain it ‘causally’ and because the ‘non-simplified reality’ of a field of tension which is non-local, non-visible and non-material is too complex, we simplify the situation and assume that ‘because behaviour as a visible feature is local’, why not assume that the ‘motivating/causal force’ is ‘local’. Once we make the motivating force ‘local’, we have to come up with all sorts of spooky ideas, about ‘what lurks in this little ghost-like man with the ‘attitude’ called ‘the psyche’ that inhabits our local material selves and is the creator, producer and director of ‘our behaviour’ (don’t forget, is there really something ‘local’ called ‘katrina’ that has ‘its own locally originating behaviour’? — Sure, by common belief, there is, but since our experience is that spatial-relational change is, in non-simplified reality, the only persisting dynamic, there is no way to break the ‘behaviour of a local entity’ out of the fluid-dynamic continuum of the ‘Nature’ of our experience.
This is what Emerson talks about in his essay ‘The Method of Nature’ wherein he conceives of the local flow-form aka ‘organism’ as not only inhabited by the spatial-relational dynamic of the continuum, but created by it.
All I am saying is that the dynamics of our non-simplified experience are spatial-relational in origin; i.e. by all evidence, as the example of ‘Katrina’ shows, the dynamics of our non-simplified, experience-based reality derive from non-local, non-visible, non-material agency (‘field’). By ‘common belief’ we simplify and reduce this reality to a pseudo-reality based on notional ‘local objects/organisms/systems suggested by word-labels and definitions, that are notionally equipped with their own locally originating, internal motivation driven behaviour that notionally act/interact in an absolute space (if we didn’t impose the absolute space then they couldn’t possible have ‘their own behaviours’).
I will immediately acknowledge the difficulty in talking about you and I and us and our behaviours and motivations if we assume that we are not ‘locally existing’ entities. But I would suggest that this difficulty derives from ‘the limitations of language’ and not from the limitations of our understanding.
In any case, if ‘fields’ are fundamental in Nature (the world we share inclusion in) then we are going to have to deal with the fact that, since fields are like fluids before there are any ‘local lumps’ in them, there are no ‘locally existing objects/organisms/system’ in a fluid-dynamic;
“So [since the problem of certainty in identity such as A=A is handled, in Euclidian geometry, by invoking the notion of invariable solids] “objects” are implicitly assumed to be invariable bodies. Therefore the axioms of geometry already contain an irreducible assumption which does not follow from the axioms themselves. Axiomatic systems provide us with “faulty definitions” of objects, definitions that are grounded not in formal logic but in a hypothesis — a “prejudice” as Hans-Georg Gadamer might say — that is prior to logic. As a corollary, our logic of identity cannot be said to be necessary and universally valid. “Such axioms,” says Poincaré, “would be utterly meaningless to a being living in a world in which there are only fluids.” — Vladimir Tasic
Is it impossible to conceive ourselves starting from ‘features in a flow’ instead of starting from ‘local material object’? As Emerson discovered, they will call you a ‘transcendentalist’ if you contend, as he does in ‘The Method of Nature’ that there is firstly ‘the flow of Nature’ which not only inhabits organisms but which creates them.
This doesn’t say that we should not construct a reality by pretending as if the flow features are local objects in an absolute space, it only says that we should NOT FORGET that this reality based on words and definitions which are based on ‘nothing other than common belief’ is a ‘simplified reality’ that must not be confused for ‘reality’ the ‘field’ or ‘fluid-dynamical reality’ that is the persisting parenting medium that gathers and regathers itself into visible flow-features’.
Just as the ‘new physics’ shows us, a lot more of our experience becomes understandable when we suspend starting from a world view in terms of local objects with locally originating behaviour.
So, ‘motivation’ by a little ghost-man psyche inside of us is ‘not it’. Who can say that they did not feel that their behaviour was shaped, in their elementary school days, by a ‘tensional field’ aka ‘fear’? As anthropologist Jules Henry observes in ‘Culture Against Man’, little Boris is taught to ‘fear failure’. His classroom is permeated with ‘fear-field’ and the behaviours of the kids are like little earthquakes erupting from and shaped by the ‘field of fear’. If they resist being shaped by the fear-field, they are diagnosed as having an ‘attention deficit disorder’ by those who are ‘expert in psychology’.
So, ‘Psychology’, the ‘learned scientific discipline’ also, implicitly, embraces the assumption that ‘the present depends only on the immediate past’. That is, psychology STARTS from ‘visible behaviour’ and its inquiry goes backwards in time to try to determine ‘the causal mechanism’ in the immediate past. Well, the cover-all-cases arm-waving answer to that is ‘motivation’. ‘Motivation’ is a not a real thing, it is a ‘fill-the-gap’ concept to ‘keep hanging together’, the model of the organism as a local, independently-existing material system with its own locally originating behaviour. ‘Motivation’ and/or purpose (fed by knowledge and a dual-lobed intelligent central processing unit) serve to direct the behaviour that becomes visible and ‘visible observations’ thus provides a commonly agreed upon, ‘factual’ data base.
Nobody actually ‘sees’ Boris’ fear of failure, the ‘fear field’ that Boris and the other students live in while in school, the fear-field that shapes his behaviour and without which he and the other children would be ‘doing their own thing’ at which point the fear field would be intensified by bringing in their parents and claiming that the child was ‘mentally ill’ and had an ‘attention deficit disorder’ which would require him/her to talk ‘calming drugs’ to numb his sensing of the fear-field, the basic tool of the western educational system.
“School is an institution for drilling children in cultural orientation. …American classrooms, like educational institutions anywhere express the values, preoccupations,and fears found in the culture as a whole. School has no choice; it must train the children to fit the culture as it is. …Since education is always against some things and for others, it bears the burden of the cultural obsessions. …It thus comes about that most educational systems are imbued with anxiety and hostility, that they are against as many things as they are for. … The function of education has never been to free the mind and the spirit of man, but to bind them…acquiescence, not originality. …Schools are the central conserving force of the culture.” – Jules Henry, Culture Against Man
Who amongst us would claim that the ‘fear-field’ is not a real influence on us? Who would claim that our behaviour could be reasonably well explained by a positive force within us called ‘motivation’?
‘Motivation’ is ‘ad hoc’ to keep the assumption that ‘the present depends only on the immediate past’ looking viable. ‘Motivation’ plays the same role in psychology as the the ad hoc notion of ‘force’ played in Newtonian physics; i.e. it allows visible features in the flow to be synthetically ‘broken out of the flow’..
Question: ‘Why did Katrina move as she did?’ Answer: ‘She was directed to do so by her internal motive processes’.
The pattern is evident, once we have declared the flow-feature to be a local object with its own local internally driven and directed behaviour;
Question: ‘Why did he move as he did?’ Answer; ‘He was directed to do so by his local internal motivation’.
In other words; ‘He heard a voice and he obeyed the voice’.
Sound like ‘schizophrenia to you? It does to me.
‘Motivation’ is an ‘internal voice’ that we listen to and obey, according to ‘psychologists’. It is one of the pieces of the puzzle that explains how local, independently existing material systems called organisms, equipped with their own inboard power and steerage, behave the way they do.
In this ‘mechanical model’ of the ‘human’ that breaks him out of the flow and treats him as self-standing, self-driven machine. ‘Psychology’ even conceives him as having several gears in his driven train/transmission.
The motivational gears are; (1st) physical needs, (2nd) safety and security, (3rd) loving and belonging, (4th) self-esteem, (5th) self-actualization. (-Abraham Maslow)
This is, of course, if there really is a little ghost-driver-man inside of us called ‘motivation’ who is shifting these gears for us. And if there is, there is no need to even mention the alleged ‘primacy of fields’.
As far as I am concerned, this five-gear transmission is as phony as the local powerboat-machine with its local inboard engine and steering, that this drive-train/transmission is supposed to be part of.
But this is what they teach in ‘psychology’ and if they share at all what Jules Henry had to say about education, they give it short shrift.
That is, most people come out of an education in ‘psychology’ believing in ‘motivation’ as something ‘real’ and ‘fear-fields’ as abstraction.
Some of see it in the inverted orientation, where the tensional fields are ‘real’ and the notion of ‘motivation’ is abstraction. The more one gathers power and influence, however, the more one believes that ‘my motivation was responsible for ‘my success’ and ‘personal achievements’ (there are no ‘personal achievements’ in a fluid-dynamic world, the dynamic space we are included in conditions us as our dynamic conditions it and the twain are one in the manner that convection cells and parenting flow are one).
Louis and Marie are not only convinced that their internal motivation is responsible for the wealth and power in France, they listen to this internal voice called ‘motivation’ and give it more credence than the angry crowds in the courtyard, complaining that they have nothing to eat. If the world is seen as a dynamic determined by local internal power-driven machines with their own internal voices directing them, then where do we look to make changes when the world dynamic is going nuts? We look to the ‘little ghost-like motivation’ fellow inside of us, we listen to him and obey him. The voice tells us that we must blame the problems in the world on those who do not have our work ethic and intelligence, who are not motivated as we are, and thus cannot get out of first or second gear, (physical needs and safety and security needs) and get into ‘loving and belonging’ and beyond.
Of course, if we wanted to go with ‘the new physics’ we would assume that ‘the universe is friendly’, that is a world of thingless connectedness as quantum physics would suggest and that we start off in ‘top gear’ and instead of behaviour being ‘driven from within’, it is invited from without. What meaning would there be in ‘our behaviour’ if we were not included in natural context that gives it meaning?. How would motivation direct our behaviour in the absolute fixed and empty space that we use as a reference frame to create the notion of ‘local individual behaviour’, if we were there in empty space all by our lonesome? Sure, we can conceive of having a rocket pack strapped on our ass, but that is just a mechanical sense of motive-drive which has no meaning unless it is ‘conjugated’ with a ‘habitat’. Behaviour, in order to have meaning, must be in terms of a conjugate habitat-inhabitant relation. Jules Henry spent years observing classroom dynamics. The following came from one of his observing sessions;
“Boris had trouble reducing ’12/16′ to the lowest terms, and could only get as far as ‘6/8’. The teacher asked him quietly if that was as far as he could reduce it. She suggested he ‘think’. Much heaving up and down and waving of hands by the other children, all frantic to correct him. Boris pretty unhappy, probably mentally paralysed. The teacher, quiet, patient, ignores the others and concentrates with look and voice on Boris. She says, ‘Is there a bigger number than two you can divide into the two parts of the fraction? After a minute or two, she becomes more urgent, but there is no response from Boris. She then turns to the class and says, ‘Well, who can tell Boris what the number is?’ A forest of hands appears, and the teacher calls Peggy. Peggy says that four may be divided into the numerator and the denominator.
Thus Boris’ failure has made it possible for Peggy to succeed; his depression is the price of her exhilaration; his misery the occasion for her rejoicing. This is the standard condition of the American elementary school, and is why so many of us feel a contraction of the heart even if someone we never knew succeeds merely at garnering plankton in the Thames: because so often somebody’s success has been bought at the cost of our failure. To a Zuni, Hopi or Dakota Indian, Peggy’s performance would seem cruel beyond belief, for competition, the wringing of success from somebody’s failure, is a form of torture foreign to those non-competitive redskins. Yet Peggy’s action seems natural to us; and so it is. How else would you run our world? And since all but the brightest children have the constant experience that others succeed at their expense they cannot but develop an inherent tendency to hate, to hate others who are successful, and to be determined to prevent it. Along with this, naturally, goes the hope that others will fail. This hatred masquerades under the euphemistic name of ‘envy’.”– Jules Henry, ‘Culture Against Man’
You don’t hear Jules Henry’s name too much today. He wrote this back in the sixties when psychologists were trying to break out of their narrow self-imposed inquiry framework. Henry’s Chapter 9 ‘Pathways to Madness: Families of psychotic children’ suggests that ‘upstream’ from the ‘little-ghost-man’ called ‘motivation’ that allegedly directs behaviour is the spatial-relational (‘field’) dynamic called ‘culture’. This implies that the present is directly influenced from the remote past. As Henry says;
“Psychosis is the final outcome of all that is wrong with a culture. Coming to intense focus in the parents, the culturally ills are transmitted to their children, laying the foundation for insanity.”
[Henry footnotes this comment with a statement where he explains that “there is no question of blame, but rather of fundamental causation.”]
My own observation is this. By imputing this little ghost-like feller called ‘motivation’ to reside inside of the notional ‘local organism’ and to be one of the components of the local powerboating machine (the ‘steering component’) we ‘truncate’ our inquiry into the originating or causal sourcing of behaviour. We say, ‘there’s a defect in the steering component’ which means, of course, that ‘there’s a defect in the organism where the organisms is seen as a local, independently existing machine with its own locally-originating behaviour’. Since this defect is not in all machines we say that machine ‘has a weakness’ in it, … a ‘tendency to break under stress’.
But what comes BEFORE ‘breaking under stress’?
How about ‘compliance’? … ‘compliance’ that is visible and is otherwise known as ‘behaviour’.
Only if we employ the reality-simplifying assumption that ‘the present depends only on the immediate past’ do we conclude that ‘motivation’ is the causal mechanism responsible for ‘behaviour’.
In the reality of our multitude of Boris-like experiences, we acknowledge (if we are honest) that our behaviour derives from ‘compliance’ with the stress-fields we are included in. Why do we abandon our innate way of engaging with the world that derives from our unique situational (spatial-relational) inclusion in it (e.g. Mary-Jane’s braid is continually dropping down onto my desktop and narrowly missing my ink well, … perhaps I could improve its aim). R.D. Laing, another psychologist/psychiatrist commenting on Henry’s findings, answers the question this way;
“Children do not give up their innate imagination, curiousity, dreaminess easily. You have to love them to get them to do that. Love is the path through permissiveness to discipline; and through discipline, only too often, to betrayal of self.”
But Henry’s argument is that behaviour is shaped by fields of tension; e.g. in nature by thermal fields that induce us to migrate towards the equator in winter and towards the poles in summer, and in culture by fear-fields. It would seem as if our Western culture has the habit of using fear-fields to shape individual and collective behaviours within the culture, while imputing the source of behaviour to be ‘motivation’ that resides internally within you. I can remember, as a child, whenever I capitulated to pressure and became compliant and won a track and field race or scored a high mark in an examine, others would explain this in terms of my ‘motivation’, my ‘desire to win’, to become whatever I wanted to become.
There was no effing way that I was going to be left to my own devices to answer the call of nature inviting me to take my place in the scheme of things. Just as in the track and field events, the crowds lined up so as to form the channel or gauntlet that you were to run. The hotdog stand was way over there, through the crowd and they would make it impossible for you to run to it, unless you first ran their gauntlet and collected a blue ribbon.
My behaviour in the present did not depend only on the immediate past, the notional ‘causal-agency-for-all-seasons’ called ‘motivation’, I was being directly influenced in the present from out of the remote past, by the fields of tension that form and transform and that are the ‘field’ based underpinnings of ‘culture’.
Like Boris, I didn’t attend ‘Fairfield Elementary’, we both attended ‘Fearfield Elementary’ and our graduation report card that explained our good marks in terms of ‘being strongly motivated’ was that same old cultural dodge, since they knew very well that our good marks came from ‘being highly compliant’, having realized that our natural rebellion against having to sit all day in these fear-fields was futile at our young age.
In refusing to be overt about our behaviour being compliant rather than motivated, the acculturated adults that had been through this before us were ‘playing a game’. As Laing said;
“They are playing a game. They are playing at not playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me. I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game.” – R.D. Laing
This ‘game’ that Laing speaks of is the game of pretending that the ‘simplified reality’ wherein the present depends only on the immediate past’ is ‘the true reality’ rather than a human invention developed for our own convenience which obscures the real ‘field-based’, non-visible, non-local, non-material origins of behaviour, and thus opens the door to manipulation via these fields whose behaviour-inducing/shaping powers we deny and/or ignore.
The imbalances in thermal field intensity in the atmosphere is the source of convection currents we call hurricanes. The field continues to inhabit that which it has created during the visible life-cycle of the field-flow-feature. But it is more convenient to portray the the hurricane as a ‘local system in itself’ whose present behaviour depends only on its immediate past. This is achieved by ‘differentiation’ which splits the cell out of the flow and imputes it to have its own local existence and its own locally originating, internal motive power driven behaviour.
Though it is simply complying with the tensions in the thermal field, we instead impute to it its own ‘motivation’ and then contend that it is fully and solely responsible for its own behaviour.
This is the general psychological game-play in the western culture. We are not content to allow children to comply with natural fields of influence they are each uniquely situationally included in (which fractally shape their flow-feature emergent selves). Culture is a device by which we as collectives develop our own behaviour-shaping fields that pull children away from answering the call to take their place in the natural scheme of things.
We are thus induced, by the love of our parents and of our culture, to NOT answer the call, the sort of call that induces the convection cell to do what it was born to do, to cultivate and sustain harmony in the natural spatial dynamic we are included in. Instead, we are pressured by fear-fields (withdrawal-of-love-fields) to ‘be motivated’ to ‘do good deeds’ according to our culture, to become one of the icons of our culture like the founding fathers, who managed plantations and who were fair to their slaves, embracing them and even conceiving children with them who would grow up to be fine highly motivated slaves thanks to the blessed infusion of white genes.
If slaves (or members of an ‘inferior class’) can be ‘highly motivated’, it must surely be within a narrow gauntlet whose constraining limits are meanwhile, most of the time, ‘invisible’. The situation is similar that of a dog with an electric collar that has to ‘run the electric gauntlet wherein he is given a jolt whenever he gets too close to the invisible constraining limits. By and by we start talking about him in the same old terms of his behaviour being driven by his internal motivation, ignoring the fact that, upstream in the origination of ‘what he does’ is his compliance with a culturally-contrived tensional field that is shaping his behaviour. In this case, he cannot let his behaviour be orchestrated by the tensional fields that call him to take his place in the natural scheme of things. By reverting to the model where his behaviour is understood to depend only on the immediate past; i.e. on the ‘internal driver called motivation’, we can hold the slave or the member of an ‘inferior class’fully and solely responsible for his own behaviour.
We, in the western culture, all start out like Boris, and/or like the slave, caught between a rock and a hard place. In order to be seen as ‘highly motivated’ and ‘a high achiever’, we must first be ‘compliant’ and let our behaviour be shaped by the ‘fear-field’. If we feel the ‘call to take our place in the natural scheme of things’ too strongly so that it interferes with our fear-field compliance, psychologists will diagnose us with a ‘mental illness’ such as Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity-Disorder (ADHD) and administer drugs to subdue our natural curiosity and render us more compliant to cultural fear-of-failure field behaviour shaping. Before we know it, the stress-relieving convenience of ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’ takes over and we become ‘celebrity-worshipping flag-suckers’ who wish to emulate the ‘ascent’ of the successful icons of the culture.
Life-long internal conflicts are clearly likely here where we feel that ‘something is missing’ in our culturally-shaped lives. Our achievements in terms of cultural values may diminish in value to us, over time, and we may thus feel a hollowness that recalls Bishop Berkeley’s description of the ‘derivative’; i.e. that achievement in the sense of motivation-driven behaviour (present behaviour driven by the immediate past) is like the ‘ghost of a departed quantity’. The ‘departed quantity’ being the flow that we are included in, that beckons us ‘in the now’ of our experience to acknowledge our conjugate habtitat-inhabitant relation’. The antidote to the ‘despair’ that associates with this belated understanding would seem to be a good dose of ADHD, natural imagination and curiousity, as described by Mary Oliver;
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things. — Mary Oliver, ‘Wildgeese’
In conclusion, ‘PSYCHOLOGY’ is a word that points to inquiry into how we understand our own attitudes and behaviours and those of others. Such inquiry not only ‘inhabits’ this essay, but has created it. That is, ‘psychology’ is one of those ‘fluides incontenables’ (‘fields’) that can contain objects in it, but which cannot itself be contained.
Insofar as we ignore ‘field’ by imputing behaviour to originate from invisible voices (‘motivation’, ‘purpose’, ‘instinct’) within field-flow-features reduced to ‘local objects/organisms’, we promote ‘schizophrenia’ as a general cultural madness. That is, we promote the development of an internal God-like voice that tells us ‘what to do’ and who ‘cannot be disobeyed’ since it is called ‘motivation’ and it is the source of our behaviour (how, then, could it be disobeyed? So long as we have ‘behaviour’, motivation is deemed to be the cause of it.).
To be ‘highly motivated’ results in being ‘a high achiever’, and not one of those ADHD types that co-cultivate APPARENT chaos and disorder by “Not giving up their innate imagination, curiousity, dreaminess, which translates into NOT responding to the love of parents and culture, and NOT melting in the love so as to walk the path out of permissiveness into discipline, and through discipline, to betrayal of self.”
[Of course, such ‘disorder’ is the same sort of organisation as seen in a rain-forest ecology or, as we say, ‘in the wild’. To call it ‘disorder’ while we call pulling individual plants out of their mutually supportive dynamics in an ecosystem and planting the same varieties side-by-side in linear rows in a rectangular tilled field ‘order’, invites us to revisit our acculturated way of valuing different forms of organisation.]
The ‘simplified reality’ based the assumption that ‘the present depends only on the immediate past’(and only on the immediately neighbouring space), when confused for ‘reality’ (the unsimplified experience), amounts to ‘insanity’, does it not?
When will psychology, the accredited practitioners of which have written a Bible called the DSM, put this in their ‘teachings’? The ‘S’ in DSM stands for ‘statistics’, a type of mathematics which allows us to reduce phenomena that are ‘nonlocal’ to ‘local’. Nonlocal thermal fields that induce energized activity are thus replaced by the excited behaviour of local molecule collectives with a spread of behaviours ranging from extremely excited to calm and whose statistical average provides a local ‘norm’ against which the behavioural departures can be measured. In the way, the original spatial-relational shape of the thermal energy field, the true nonlocal source of influence, is laundered out by ‘the law of large numbers’ (law of averages) so that the phenomenon now APPEARS to be ‘local’. Once it is ‘local’, we can make the assumption that this local behaviour depends only on the immediate past and only on the immediate neighbouring molecules. The reality of culturally cultivated fields of tension, wherein the present is directly influenced by the remote past, is thus entirely avoided by mathematics-based ‘localizing’ of phenomena, which engenders concepts such as ‘motivation’ which are presented as if real and infused in the mental attitudes of people that shape their behaviour, … by the discipline of ‘psychology’.
If you are seen as ‘crazy’ in the view of a psychologist and his mathematics-based reference tests, be thankful for it; you well may be sane in a natural sense. And if he tells you that you are ‘normal’, … that is the time to get worried.
* * *
Could ‘medicine’ be suffering from the use of the ‘simplified reality’ where we assume, as in differential calculus, that the present depends only on the immediate past?
Allopathic medicine is based on this same assumption that is foundational to differential calculus. As was the case with the regime of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, when there are deficiencies in the ‘living space’, trouble breaks out as attempts are made to restore balance. The ‘pathogens’ or ‘criminals’ holding the smoking gun in the immediate wake of the disturbance are identified as the ‘causal mechanism’ of the disturbance. The unsimplified reality is that the imbalance-engendered stresses in the living space set the stage for the ‘earthquake-like’ disturbances, impact the present from the remote past. This is quietly acknowledged in both the socio-political sphere and in medicine, but stress is non-local, non-visible and non-material and does not present the commonly accepted ‘grounds’ for action in the western mental attitudes. That is ‘seeing is believing’ in the west and stress from rising imbalance is not visible until a disturbance arises in the direction of resolving the imbalance.
That the proliferation of pathogens is the result of imbalance in the system rather than the cause of it is only occasionally acknowledged (Pasteur, on his deathbed conceded that Antoine Béchamp had been right and that ‘le microbe n’est rien, le terrain est tout’ (the microbe is not the cause of health and/or disease, the condition of the terrain is).
More popular is the notion that the bacteria have ‘locally originating, internal purpose-directed behaviour’ (bacteria can be ‘good’ or ‘bad’); that ‘bad bacteria’ or ‘bad people’ like Jean Valjean are ‘attacking the established system’.
The logic here is expressed in terms of the actions/interactions of local objects; i.e. the condition of the ‘living space’ (such as stresses of imbalance therein) does not come into this brand of logic, the same brand as in Newtonian physics where space is a non-participant (space becomes not only a participant, but the primary active medium in ‘the new physics’ of relativity, quantum wave dynamics).
The logical response, in the latter ‘allopathic’ case, is to smoke out and eliminate the ‘causal mechanisms’ that are deemed responsible for the disturbance, full stop. That is, the primary orientation of western medicine (not to mention politicians) is to ‘go to war’ against the causal agents responsible for disturbing ‘normal behaviour’. ‘Behaviour’ implies visible movement but change is not constrained to visible movement. The grains of popping corn just sit there quietly as the temperature continues to rise, appearing unchanged on the basis of visible appearance, but they are changed by the thermal energy field they are situated in and the stresses it is inducing within them. And by the time that one of them ‘explodes’ and makes a disturbance, the rest are not far behind. Unless the non-visible, nonlocal, non-material conditions of space are addressed that are upstream from the disturbances, the disturbances, however expeditiously/efficiently addressed, are going to escalate, perhaps to the point of revolution where the new majority will be white and puffy and the hard yellow ones that used to dominate will be the new ‘minority’.
A minority of scientists ‘inside’ of the medical profession have long argued for the mental modeling ‘flip’ that this requires; i.e. to acknowledge that the causal model is a simplified reality and the re-ground medicine in the primary reality wherein the present is directly influenced by the remote past. One of these was Nobel Prize laureate for medicine (for his work on ascorbic acid (vitamic C)) Albert Szent-Györgyi.
Szent-Györgyi believed that medicine was dysfunctionally orienting to fixing symptoms, symptoms which were being continually engendered by something which was going wrong ‘upstream of those symptoms’. In this sense, he saw doctors behaving like Louis and Marie’s police force, dealing with the Jean Valjeans who would never have become a disturbance, if the living space had not become oppressive. Szent-Györgyi’s personal experience was as follows;
“The discoverer of vitamic C, Albert Szent-Györgyi, who received the Nobel prize for his work, said that instead of being sold in drugstores by the milligram, vitamin C should be sold in grocery stores by the pound. Some years previously he had developed pneumonia and was dying despite receiving the best medical care. Thinking about his plight, he realized he was exhibiting many of the same symptoms as his laboratory animals that had scurvy. He had always taken 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C every day, but with the stress of his illness, it was obviously not enough. He immediately increased his intake to 8,000 milligrams, and within three days, he was well and back working in his laboratory. Szent-Györgyi believed that if he had not increased his vitamin C intake, he would have died. He was certain that his death certificate would have listed his cause of death as pneumonia, when in reality it would have been scurvy, with pneumonia merely being an opportunistic infection.” — O.T. Bonnett M.D. ‘Why Healing Happens’
Szent-Györgyi’s view was that deficiencies of nutrients ‘debalanced’ mutually supportive/interdependent processes and engendered conditions favourable for the unbalanced proliferation of processes that were normally kept in balance. It is recognized that there are over 100 different bacteria and viruses that can lead to pneumonia; i.e. there are over 100 ways to cause disturbances in a living space that is ‘out of balance’. Disturbances can create crisis situations and in a crisis situation, it may be necessary to ‘go to war’ against the causal agents of the disturbance, but in order to suspend the engendering of disturbances, it is necessary to address the spatial imbalances.
Western medicine embraces the ‘causal model’ wherein it is assumed that the present depends only on the immediate past. If a person has pneumonia, the film footage (observations of visible movement) will be slowly backed up to search for the ‘causal mechanism’ that should be standing there, holding the smoking gun. When the causal mechanism is identified, the medical response is to eliminate it. That is, if one eliminates the cause, if follows that one will eliminate the effect. But if the cause is not primary but secondary, as in the case of a system deficient in vitamin C, many different causal agents may be apprehended and eliminated without bringing an end to the outbursts. Researchers looking at the same ‘facts’ seek to fit the facts to their models of ‘what is ‘really’ going on’.. Szent-Györgyi interpreted the same facts in a less ‘simple’ way than most. Feeling that his model was ‘more general’, his advocacy was for medicine to shift to this non-simplified reality wherein the present condition was being directly influenced from the remote past (a model wherein ‘le terrain est tout.’)
He undoubtedly knew that medicine’s orientation to the allopathic model (which assumes that present disturbances depend only on the actions of causal agents in the immediate past) was deeply entrenched and that the needed ‘flip’ was unlikely (his peak of influence was in 1937 and it hasn’t happened yet). While his advocacy and his difficult-to-spell-and-pronounce name are largely forgotten, his quote on how research is where we see the same facts in a new light has remained;
“Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought” — Albert Szent-Györgyi
The phrase ‘the terrain is everything’ invites us to revisit the age-old argument of the origin of life since both life and health seem to be bound up in the condition of the terrain. We haven’t left the argument behind, that life did and continues to arise from inorganic dynamics. Erwin Schroedinger, the discoverer of quantum wave dynamics, is not stupid, and he suggests that life is an aperiodic crystal (crystals form in many different shapes). All of the ingredients are in the very basics of the universe, ‘resonant energy-charged space’ that is capable of precipitating matter.
The notion of ‘life’ as a phantom force that has spottily (very sparsely) ‘infected’ some of the dynamic systems in the universe, has always sounded a bit like superstition. It recalls the ‘deux ex machina’ in the story/play. Something that is just made up to make the story hang together. Schroedinger doesn’t buy and neither did Lamarck and others. The ‘aperiodic crystal’ seems more plausible. Sure, we all believe in the ‘independent existence’ of the sovereign state and its ‘locally originating, internal process-driven and internal knowledge and purpose directed behavour’, and the imaginary line boundaries that give it grounding, but as law historians point out, the ‘independent organism’ known as the ‘sovereign state’ is a ‘secularized theological concept’. It’s ‘reality’ depends on nothing other than ‘common belief’. Anyone can create one anywhere. All that is needed is to gather together enough believers in the project with enough power to do violence, to make believers out of others who refuse to buy in. As we know, in the overt colonizing era, the device for doing this was to offer an interest in the ‘real estate action’ (sovereign states claim absolute ownership of the land within the imaginary-line boundaries they have invented) to desperate people (“your [the world’s] tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”) in exchange for them swearing an oath to bear arms and give their lives, if necessary, to sustain belief in this imaginary construct. Not all of the people within the boundaries of the colonies have ‘bought in’; i.e. many of the indigenous Amerindians who live on the ‘border’ between Canada and the U.S. continue to say ‘the border crossed us’, we do not ‘cross the border’.
‘Health’ and thus ‘medicine’ takes on a different complexion when we suspend the notion that ‘life’ is a ‘ghost in the machine’ as western medicine and western biology would have it.
The debate was alive in France in Pasteur and Béchamp’s era and the questions they were struggling with have still not been resolved by science. The following excerpts from the book ‘Béchamp or Pasteur? – A lost chapter in the history of biology’ by E. Douglas Hume (1923) gives the flavour of these continuing questions;
“It was nothing to them [the general public] that among the learned reports of the Academy of Science, treatises were to be found, by a professor working at Montpellier, that clearly explained the why and the wherefore of the intricate chemical changes that go by the name of fermentation. But, on the contrary, more or less everyone had heard, so widely had the subject been ventilated, of the controversy as to whether life, in its lesser forms, sprang invariably from antecedent life, or whether chemical combinations could produce life independently of parents.”
“But to pause for an instant and consider his [Pasteur’s] noted lecture at the Sorbonne— what after all was there in it? He had merely ascribed to the germs of the air a mysterious quality—life—that he denied to the component parts of more complicated animal and vegetable beings. For the origin, the source of his atmospheric germs, he provided no explanation, neither has any since been found by his innumerable followers, for whom the description ‘life is a germ and a germ is life’ was soon to evolve into ‘disease is a germ and a germ is disease’, and infinitely more lugubrious axiom.”
The debate within medicine in Pasteur’s era and continuing on into the early twentieth century was between those who thought, as Darwin had, that ‘present life’ had to engendered by ‘previous life’ (life in the immediate past) and others such as Béchamp (and in his final days) Pasteur, that life was continually rising up out of the inorganic ground via ‘chemical changes’ and that the ‘more complicated forms’ depended on the basic chemical processes, being interdependent ecosystemic networks of them.
The fact that the basic forms of life persisted (the bacteria and smaller-sized forms that arguably came from inorganic chemical changes) was seen by some as supporting the idea that the more complex forms where like complex crystal growths based on them; e.g;
“We may, therefore, well recognise that the lower the forms of life—the nearer they are to their source—the greater is likely to have been the similarity among those that have been produced in different age, just as the lowest forms are now practically similar in all regions of the earth. How, otherwise, consistently with the doctrine of evolution, are we to account for the fact that different kinds of bacilli and micrococci have been found in animal and vegetable remains in the Triassic and Permian strata, in Carboniferous limestone and even as low as the Upper Devonian strata? Is it conceivable that with mere lineal descent such variable living things could retain the same primitive forms through all these changing ages? Is it not far simpler and more probable to suppose, especially in the light of the experimental evidence now adduced, that instead of having to do with unbroken descent from ancestors through aeons of time as Darwin taught, and is commonly believed, we have to do, in the case of Bacteria and their allies, with successive new births of such organisms throughout these ages as primordial forms of life, compelled by their different but constantly recurring molecular constitutions to take such and such recurring forms and properties, just as would be the case with successive new births of different kinds of crystals?” — H. Charles Bastian M.A. M.D., F.R.S., F.L.S., ‘The Origins of Life’.
The argument in itself appears strong. That is, why insist that living forms must have antecedents of living forms that can be traced back in a lineage all the way to the ‘primordial living forms’ that emerged one hot, lightning-stimulated summer day about one billion years after ‘the earth formed’? Why not assume that bacteria are continually being born from inorganic chemical changes, and that more complex forms such as humans derive from eco-networking of these lower-level ‘aperiod crystals’ as Schroedinger calls them in his essay ‘What is life’?
That sounds crazy, right? But that is what was being proposed by scientists in Pasteur’s era and supported still in 1923 when the above book was written and the scientist-proponents were willing to junk Darwin’s theory in the process (heredity would still be fully covered by the manner in which the smaller cellular forms were ‘networked’)
So, does that ‘sound too crazy to believe’ because (a) our acculturation/education won’t allow it, or (b) it just doesn’t fit the full collection of scientific evidence?
In the modern era, scientists are trying to understand the rapid ‘Phoenix-like’ rising up of ‘life’ around deep sea volcanic vents. Some of the ‘life-forms’ that live around the vents thrive in temperatures of 40 to 50 degrees centigrade (115 – 140 degrees Fahrenheit). Photosynthesis is not involved. The process from which the basic life forms around vents is termed chemosynthetic. The facts, still being gathered include the following;
“The 1993 Alvin expedition to the East Pacific Rise was one in a series of dives to the area. The site was first visited in 1989, and scientists observed vent organisms thriving there. But when Alvin returned in April 1991, its flabbergasted occupants witnessed the birth of a hydrothermal vent. A recent volcanic eruption had spread glassy lava across the ocean floor, and the researchers measured temperatures up to 403 C – the hottest ever recorded at a hydrothermal vent. The scientists dubbed the site Tube Worm Barbecue, because the worms they brought back to their ship had charred flesh.
“The most spectacular sight down there was this massive blinding snowstorm of bacteria,” says Rich Lutz, a marine ecologist at Rutgers University, who led the expedition. On the ocean floor, the bacteria formed mats several inches thick, but the scientists saw no other living things. Since the eruption, scientists have been able to watch several stages of colonization at the site. When they returned in March 1992, only a few bacterial mats remained. In their place were colonies of Jericho worms and a variety of small crustaceans. The scientists named the area Phoenix, because new life had arisen from the ashes of the eruption. The scientists first observed the giant tube worms at Phoenix in December 1993.” —‘The Creatures of the Thermal Vents’
The arguments over whether ‘life’ has to have an antecedent of life in the immediate past (i.e. In Darwin’s theory, life can come only from life, except in the singular instance of the ‘original exceptional creative moment of origination of ‘life-on-earth’, all else being ‘heredity’), or, whether ‘life’ derives directly from inorganic dynamics with complex forms being ecosystemic networks of the more basic inorganic forms, … [these arguments] have not gone away.
How, scientists puzzle, does the large variety of more complex forms discover and populate these needle-in-a-haystack seafloor vents? It is very difficult to comprehend how they could be roaming the inhospitable expanses of the ocean floor and finding the vents so quickly.
If it weren’t for our being so thoroughly brainwashed with Darwinism, we might be able to give fair and open-minded consideration to the idea of Béchamp, and Lamarck (and Schroedinger’s ‘aperiodic crystals’), that life is continuously sourced from inorganic ‘chemical change’ at the lower levels (bacteria) and that more complex forms build as ecosystemic networks. In this case, we can avoid the seemingly arbitrary split between the ‘inanimate world’ and the ‘animate world’ and having to have two different ‘physics’, one for each world (the ‘second physics’ being called ‘biology, wherein ‘fields’ have no influence on biological evolution (CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT???, ..even though astronauts in a microgravity-field environment lose 1% of bone mass per month and strange life-forms develop in the thermal fields around deep sea vents).
Masses of bacteria quickly appear around the vents, ‘chemosynthetic bacteria’ which don’t need ‘living antecedents’, but what about the more complex forms, how do they ‘get there so quickly’, i.e;
“Compared to the surrounding sea floor, however, hydrothermal vent zones have a density of organisms 10,000 to 100,000 times greater.
Hydrothermal vent communities are able to sustain such vast amounts of life because vent organisms depend on chemosynthetic bacteria for food. The water that comes out of the hydrothermal vent is rich in dissolved minerals and supports a large population of chemo-autotrophic bacteria. These bacteria use sulfur compounds, particularly hydrogen sulfide, a chemical highly toxic to most known organisms, to produce organic material through the process of chemosynthesis.
The ecosystem so formed is reliant upon the continued existence of the hydrothermal vent field as the primary source of energy, which differs from most surface life on Earth which is based on solar energy. … The chemosynthetic bacteria grow into a thick mat which attracts other organisms such as amphipods and copepods which graze upon the bacteria directly. Larger organisms such as snails, shrimp, crabs, tube worms, fish and octopuses from a food chain of predator and prey relationships above the primary consumers. The main families of organisms found around seafloor vents are annelids, pogonohorans, gastropods, and crustaceans with large bivalves, vestimentiferan worms,
… Some theories indicate that life originated at hydrothermal vents from inorganic precursors.” — Wikipedia
Elsewhere there is discussion as to how the recognizable forms discovered the bacteria to feed and thrive on them and there are theories that these familiar forms may have arisen locally in situ (without genetic antecedents) as is the acknowledged case with the bacteria (confirming the hypothesis of Béchamp et al in the late 19th century).
At a minimum, it is acknowledged that some of these forms seem to have formed directly from the chemosynethic bacteria; i.e. the worms are like ‘biofilms’;
“Tube worms form an important part of the community around a hydrothermal vent. The tube worms, like parasitic worms, absorb nutrients directly into their tissues. This is because tube worms have no mouth or even a digestive tract, so the bacteria live inside them. There are approximately 285 billion bacteria per ounce of tubeworm tissue. Tubeworms have red plumes which contain hemoglobin. Hemoglobin combines hydrogen sulfide and transfers it to the bacteria living inside the worm. In return the bacteria nourish the worm with carbon compounds.” —Wikipedia
Ok, this has been a lot of discussion about ‘the origin of life’ which questions the Darwinian view but what does this have to do with ‘medicine’ and ‘health’.
The point is that Darwinian notion that a life-form must have an antecedent life form; (that heredity is first cause, rather than second cause) is the same ‘differential calculus-like’ assumption coming up all over again. Darwin’s argument goes; ‘the present organism depends only on (the actions of causal agent organisms in) the immediate past’.
Are there any ‘loopholes’ in this ‘same old’, ‘same old’, calculus-like logical argument?
Is it not like the argument that found Jean Valjean fully and solely responsible for a disturbance; i.e. ‘the present disturbance depends only on the immediate past’?
‘Complexity’ is another approach to scientific understanding where we let go of the ‘causal mechanisms’ and employ ‘geometric mechanisms’ instead. Poincaré had to develop ‘topology’ in order to describe the dynamics of the solar system and the weather. Could ‘life’ not be as complex as ‘the weather’? In the case of the weather, we do not have to insist that the ‘present depends only on the immediate past’, as the ‘butterfly effect’ attests, so why should we have to hang on to it in ‘evolutionary biology’? I am not arguing to get rid of ‘heredity’, just to explore how it might be ‘second cause’ rather than ‘first cause’ as was the case with Jean Valjean’s disturbance.
‘Topologically’, the ‘worm’ is like a toroidal biofilm through which chemical nutrients flow. Since ‘flow’ is more fundamental than the structures that form from it, we could say that the worm is a ‘flow feature’.
We accept that hurricanes are flow-features so that their shape and behaviour is ‘second cause’ rather than ‘locally originating first cause’, but how about the worm. The ‘chemosynthetic bacteria’ derive from the ‘flow’ so how about the toroidal structure? Electromagnetic fields have toroidal structure (the magnetic field wraps around the electrical flow like pastry around a sausage on a sausage roll. Could Lamarck have a point where he claims that biological structure is inductively shaped by ‘les fluides incontenables’ the flow of that which can contain but which cannot itself be contained; i.e. ‘fields’.
If so, humans are topologically toroidal too; i.e. the digestive tract is a long flow-hole around which biomatting can form. This flow-hole or toroidal topology could be seen as primary and the development of organs and limbs could be ‘disturbances’ that are ‘second cause’ in nature, rather than ‘first cause’.
After all, what is an ‘arm’ other a part we have broken out of the overall ‘gestalt’ of the human form and given a name and a definition to. To say that ‘an arm develops’ or that ‘a wing develops’ is nonsense in the same sense as Poincaré said that ‘the earth rotates’ is nonsense. Both of these statements depend on our imposing a notional ‘absolute space’ which we know is ‘idealisation’ rather than ‘natural unsimplified reality’.
The human embryo is not like a little adult with all its organs and limbs in place that simply grows larger in gestation and infancy. Thus, the differential model where the present depends only on the immediate past ‘doesn’t work’. The embryo undergoes ‘metamorphosis’ where there is no centre of responsibility for ‘arm production’ any more than there is a centre of responsibility for ‘gill slit production’. The development of the human organism seems to be filling in a virtual form such that the form in the immediate present DOES NOT DEPEND on the form in the immediate past, but depends on a virtual form that is waiting to be ‘fleshed out’. That’s why Plato came up with his notion of ‘ideal forms’, but Aristotle unfortunately trashed that one, insisting that ‘forms and particulars don’t exist separately; “all particular acorns possess the form of the oak tree”.
So, according to Aristotle and Western medicine, the image of the finished product lurks within the seed-core of the developing ‘life-form’.
“Aristotle argues for the priority in substance of actuality over potentiality in two ways. (a) The first argument makes use of his notion of final causality. Things that come to be move toward an end (telos) — the boy becomes a man, the acorn becomes an oak — and “the actuality is the end, and it is for the sake of this that the potentiality is acquired … animals do not see in order that they may have sight, but they have sight that they may see … matter exists in a potential state, just because it may come to its form; and when it exists actually, then it is in its form” (1050a9-17). Form or actuality is the end toward which natural processes are directed. Actuality is therefore a cause in more than one sense of a thing’s realizing its potential. As we noted in Section 11, one and the same thing may be the final, formal, and efficient cause of another. Suppose an acorn realizes its potential to become an oak tree. The efficient cause here is the actual oak tree that produced the acorn; the formal cause is the logos defining that actuality; the final cause is the telos toward which the acorn develops — an actual (mature) oak tree.” — Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Western science mocks Plato and supports Aristotle. That’s interesting, because there’s no suggestion there that the evolution of forms will be shaped by the fluid dynamics of the space they develop within. Some biologists call forests the ‘lungs of the planet’ and they call trees ‘the fountains of the forest’; i.e. the spatially-sourced niche need that is inductively pulling them into shape, according to ‘relativity’, would be‘primary’ rather than any ‘information’ encoded in their ‘genetics’. Sure we can claim that ‘the internal genetic code is responsible for the ‘final product’’, but that sort of logic comes from the principle of ‘causality’ which has a fundamental flaw in it, the familiar articulation of which is known as ‘Rubin Causality’ after Donald Rubin (Harvard School of Medicine);
“The fundamental dilemma of causality, according to Rubin, is that, if we use an experimental unit (a bacterium, e.g. ) to show that “X causes Y,” we cannot use that same unit to show that some “non-X does not cause Y.” We solve this dilemma [statistically] by assuming that all units are more or less the same.”
There is another fundamental flaw in causality that associates with the experimental set-up. We have to be sure that the environment is not influencing the results.
This fundamental dilemma is that, when we repeat the experiment to validate that it is always true that ‘X causes Y’, things don’t usually start off or end up ‘exactly’ the same. E.g. if we replicate the experiment of dropping sandgrains on a sandpile, most of the time ‘X’ will cause ‘Y’ but not always. Sometimes there is an avalanche. In the real world, there is no way to keep the space the experiment is carried out in, from influencing the experiment and there is no way to ascertain the initial conditions exactly nor the ‘results’ exactly. There can be a ‘sensitive dependence on initial conditions’ (‘butterfly effect’, ‘self-organized criticality’). We solve this dilemma [statistically] by assuming that if we repeat the experiment a sufficient number of times, environmental influences will average out.
We could summarize these difficulties with ‘X causes Y’ in the terms that, while we must replicate the experiment to show that the relation is generally true, we can’t be certain that the initial conditions are the same, nor that the conditions at the end of the experiment are the same, neither can we assume that the materials used in the experiment behave the same way.
The assumption that the present depends only on the immediate past (foundational to mathematical physics) so that we can deduce what operated on the immediate past to bring about the present is a fine idea, though it is not practically realizable. If we rely on this, we discover that the real world is not really like that; e.g. when we predict that the gust of wind ‘X’ will bend the airplane wing ‘Y’, the wing drops off due to metal fatigue; when we predict that taking the drug X will change the mood to Y, the patient dies because he already had the drugs P and Q in his bloodstream (this is called the ‘cocktail effect’ and it is unpredictable). In general, the present is directly influenced by the more distant past and the local is directly influenced by the nonlocal (e.g. gravity, electromagnetic/thermal fields are ‘everywhere at the same time’.).
In other words, the ‘derivative’ in calculus only works by assuming that nature is more simple than it really is. The derivative ties to the causal model and when we ‘model’ with it, we take ourselves into an ‘over-simplified reality’; i.e. we make ourselves over into shadow-boxers.
Using differential equations we can split the hurricane out of the atmospheric flow it is included in and describe it as a local causal agent, an ‘X’ that causes ‘Y’.
Though our life experience is always in the continuing present and the unfolding present never pauses, we like to represent it by a time sequence of visual images (film, video) that can either be interpreted in terms of ‘life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans’ or as a cast of characters who are busily creating their own desired futures, … or both. If a tsunami comes along and carries the cast of characters off as they are in the middle of an intricate ego-driven social intrigue then we have no choice but to give precedence to the john lennon outlook and demote to secondary relevance the ‘American dream’ where we maintain that we can become whatever we desire to become.
So, how ‘do we’ extract particular features out of something continuous like the spontaneous spatial reorganizing that we are included in and re-render them as if they were stand-alone entities?
Statistics is a mathematical device for ‘localizing’ that which is inherently ‘nonlocal’ such as a thermal field. We just average our measurements over a large region, e.g. of a ‘thermal field’ and re-present the measurements as ‘departures from a reference datum’. ‘Hot spots’ are now local anomalies when they started off nonlocal ‘field’ configuration. The ‘boil’ that is a spontaneous spatial reorganization nonlocally induced by nature’s innate balance-seeking agenda becomes a local vortex that we reference to ‘its own centre’. ‘Set theory’ then gives us the ability to collect together and generalize, on the basis of their similar differences, a collection of vortices (hurricanes, storm cells), creating a notional genus along with membership qualifications, and pretty soon we have reduce one to many and removed-from-view the nonlocal field of influence that remains the parenting medium into which these purportedly ‘local features’ will be re-assimilated, …. no, … NOT ‘re’-assimilated since they never REALLY dis-assimilated, except in our mathematical treatment of them.
It is, of course, easier to talk about ‘hurricanes’ (but our noun and verb language is inherently limited in its architecture which deals in ‘fixed identity objects’) and what they do, as if they were ‘local, independently-existing systems with their own locally-originating internal process driven/directed behaviours that act/interact in absolute space, and speak about them as if a particular ‘X’ was causally responsible for ‘Y’. As Kepler said, in science, we are in the habit of “choosing not that which is most true but that which is most easy”.
If primary cause is attributed to space (field stimulated spontaneous spatial reorganizing), as in the non-simplified reality of our experience, then every X is unique and its uniqueness derives from its unique situational inclusion in the ceaselessly innovative spatial-relational unfolding continuum we know as ‘nature’. In which case, the ‘causal principle’ breaks down since we can no longer assume that the X’s are ‘more or less the same’, as enables us to construct the genus ‘hurricane’ and describe membership in terms of commonalities amongst a multiplicity of unique flow-features. Some people ‘believe’ that hurricanes as local system are ‘real’ while others believe they are ‘idealisations’. According to Poincaré, the former (Cantorian realists) are screwing up while the latter ‘pragmatic idealists’ understanding is consistent with our real-life experience (wherein the nonlocal sourcing of spatial reorganization is primary). [Henri Poincaré, ‘Dernieres Pensées’ Ch V. Mathematics and Logic]
In any case, the causal model is what prevails today in popular applications of reasoning and so we are stuck with accepting all kinds of related ‘simplifications’, including ‘Darwinism’ wherein the influence of space is no longer ‘primary’ and ‘heredity’ based on Aristotelian ‘telos’ takes over, in our mental models, as ‘primary cause’. As was noted in the book ‘Béchamp or Pasteur’, scientists become popular with the people and it is their popularity that sways what people believe rather than diligent inquiry into the popular scientist’s reasoning. Once the popularity of the ideas has a foothold in the general population, it is infused into the politicians as well and the science becomes ‘politicized’ so that scientists themselves cannot dislodge flawed models.
Our mental models of ‘Health’ and ‘Medicine’ pivot from whether or not we hold the differential calculus-like causal model to be ‘primary’ or whether we acknowledge the natural primacy of spatial-relational influence. Is health that which Hippocratus held it be, being in balance with the dynamics of the space (nature) that we are situationally included in (different for the worms around the deep sea vent than for the worms on the earth’s surface), or is health the ‘state of normality’ and ‘illness’ the ‘departure from the norm’ due to some ‘causal mechanism’ such as ‘the attack of a pathogen’?
We can’t resolve ‘what is health’ without, in a consistent way, resolving ‘what is life’. Western science claims that ‘the acorn’ possesses within it, knowledge of the form of the potential oak tree. This is the notion that ’X causes Y’ which underpins ‘genetics’; i.e. which gives ‘heredity’ first cause status, so that for every new life form there must be an immediately preceding antecedent which ‘caused it’ (Darwinism borrows from the abstractions of probability and statistics and throws in a bit of random chance to try to make it better fit ‘reality’).. On the other hand, if relativity and spatial field based influence are given their proper (primary parenting medium) due, there is no need to assume that the knowledge of Y is contained in X. In fact, there is no need to consider X to be ‘real’. The feature in the flow is a visible image that is not ‘primary’as in ‘real’ but is idealisation that is formalized by the mathematical tool of probability and statistics (all Xs are more or less equal) which allows us to define the genus X and to define the membership in the genus X in terms of common features, arms, legs, head, etc. or ‘leaves’, ‘branches’, ‘boughs’ and ‘trunk’ in the ‘fountain of the forest’ (the toroidal flow of water from earth to sky that attracts a biofilm to clothe it). There are many different trees but they all have this same ‘fountain of the forest’ geometry, which relativity and quantum theory would say is ‘primary’, rather than the ‘acorn’ that allegedly contained the encoded information of the potential form of the tree and the ‘purpose’ or self-actualizing power to causally it achieve it.
Since my livelihood is not dependent upon maintaining my ‘membership’ in the medical discipline, I can say, with relative impunity, that WESTERN MEDICINE as a belief system, has its head up its arse (Crazies can still do a lot of good, whether its M.D. crazy or M.M. crazy (Medicine Man)). Of course there many alternative medical practitioners who would echo that, and also M.D.s in good standing like O.T. Bonnett, not to mention researchers like Szent-Györgyi, however, the power in our society is in the hands of the politicians who are in partnership with ‘industry’ and what is nourished with money is what ‘survives’ and fluorishes, and science and its theories is no exception.
I will give one final example that illustrates that, in spite of the good that medicine achieves, how it screws up unnecessarily.
Clostridium Difficile is a bacterium which is normally innocuous yet it is said to be ‘responsible’ for thousands of deaths every year. It is said to evolve into particularly ‘lethal’ ‘superbug’ strains that resist all known anti-biotics. Only people who have been on a course of anti-biotics succumb to this bacterial infection. Medical personal, visitors, hospital workers are not attacked by ‘c. difficile’. It is a very painful disease, the symptom being ‘acute colonitis’ which may last for 18 months at the end of which time the patient dies.
Dr. Tom Louie, head of infection control at Foothills Hospital has a cure for it which has been 100% successful on the 38 cases in which he had applied the cure at the time of his interview (November 13, 2007). His cure is not accepted by the medical profession because it doesn’t fit the causal model that is foundational in Medical Research.
Dr. Louie reasoned that ‘health’ in the digestive tract is ‘balance’ with respect to the processes in operation by the 500 or so bacterial strains in the gut. He further reasons that the course of anti-biotics that makes people susceptible to the out-of-control proliferation of c.difficile by throwing out of-balance these mutually interfering bacterial processes (bacteria consume and excrete within a common space). Using heavy-duty anti-biotics to kill off c.difficile cannot restore the missing strains that co-produce the dynamic balance in the gut, therefore Dr. Louie’s solution is to restock the gut with the missing strains of bacteria wiped out by the initial ‘normal course of bacteria’ which introduced the susceptibility to c.difficile proliferation. This approach has been 100% successful but it is still not accepted by the medical profession (Dr. Louie had to apply the treatment in the patient’s home with the help of professional nursing staff since it was not permissible to do it in the hospital). Thousands continue to die of c.difficile proliferation, unnecessarily, because the treatment does not fit the causal model of the medical establishment.
The standard treatment is to continue to apply the latest and greatest anti-biotics to try to kill off the out-of-control c.difficile whose raging proliferation is producing toxic excreta that is the source of acute colonitis. The CBC interview with Dr. Louie (and showing the Medical Research ‘gatekeepers’ refuting the treatment was taken off the internet fairly quickly, presumably from pressure by the medical establishment, but the story is still accessible at http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2007/11/13/fecal-transplant.html
Clearly, the attack of c.difficile is like the attack of Jean Valjean, born of imbalances in the ‘living space’ rather than by a ‘causal agent purpose’ residing in the interior of the c.difficile.
It is highly likely that there are many other ‘cures’ ‘waiting in the wings’ that are being blocked because Western Medicine is clinging to a model of life and health based on a differential calculus-like simplification of reality wherein the present depends only on the immediate past.
* * *
Current debates on ‘global warming’ are bringing to the surface the over-simplicity of our assumptions on change; i.e. the assumption built into differential calculus that the present depends only on the immediate past.
Our models of ‘temperature change’ that we use in fancy climate simulations that are number-crunched on supercomputers, are not far away from our model of temperature change around a range-top burner. Turn up the causal power source and the temperature rises accordingly; i.e. the present depends only on the immediate past, and the ‘model’ of the ‘causal agencies’ responsible for the ‘difference’ in temperature between the immediate past and the present, however complex, boils down to a net ‘causal agency’ that operates on the immediate past to deliver the state of things in the present.
Our conceptions of ‘time’ and ‘the present’ are tied up in these models.
For example, people used to have ‘root cellars’ to keep potatoes, vegetables and grains cool year round to preserve them. At some latitudes, tubs of water would be kept in the root cellars to moderate the effect of periods of freezing in the winter (the temperature would not drop below freezing until all of the water in the tub froze). The ice that formed in the tub later served to moderate hot periods in the summer.
The implication is that the temperature one measured in the root cellar at a particular time did not simply depend on the immediate past (it was not the result of yesterday being a warm day) but was directly influenced by the remote past (by the week of bitter cold several months before).
On a larger scale, there is the thickening and thinning of perennial ice sheets near the poles and the growth and shrinkage of snow cover on the peaks of mountains. For a number of years, the snow cover on a nearby mountain may shrinks and grow and then totally vanish and remains only on the very highest mountains. This means that several ‘vintages’ of ice deposit have melted and thus have contributed to the moderating of the present temperature. That is, the present temperature is influenced directly from the remote past as constituted by several ‘vintages’ of past deposition of ice.
Imagine if one mapped the age of ice exposed at the surface in the manner that a geologist maps the outcropping of rocks of different ‘vintages’. Since deposition (precipitation) and melting (exposure to the sun) are non-uniform, the outcropping of different vintages of ice, on a geological map where different ages were assigned different colours, would look much like a geological outcrop map. Now, if one wanted to calculate the extent to which each ‘ice deposition event’ in the remote past was contributing to the ‘present temperature’, one would have to integrate the areas of the various ice-outcrops.
What is clear is that the warming and cooling periods are stimulated by influences much in the same way as earthquake phenomenon where spatial tensions store and release energy as if space were elastic like springs being charged and discharged.
So, what do we mean by ‘the temperature right now is….(such and such)’. Should we question the nature of ‘temperature’ or should we question the nature of ‘now’?
One sense of ‘now’ anchors to the timing of our taking the measurement but as concerns the temperature, we cannot say that there is some thing called ‘the globe’ that has that temperature, like the burner on the rangetop. What we measure ‘now’ is the composite of direct influences out of the remote past.
In the same way, ‘toxicity levels’ of non-biodegradable chemicals that we measure ‘now’ is the composite of direct influences out of the remote past (years of dumping these chemicals into the environment). At low concentrations, they were non-toxic, but after accumulating over time, they reach a concentration threshold level where they poison and kill flora and fauna. Their present effect is not simply dependent on the immediate past but is directly influenced from the remote past, in the same sort of ‘tension-building’ manner as the earthquake, as in ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’ aphorism aka ‘nonlinear dynamics’.
Questions not only arise here with respect to the ‘causal model’ but with respect to our concept of ‘time’ as being a linear progression from the past through the present into the future. When we take a taxi to the airport to catch a plane to London, our experience is being directly influenced from out of the remote past (by the invention of many different technologies). What we call ‘the present’ is not really a picturable ‘state of affairs’. That is, we can ‘take a picture of it’ just as we can take a picture from a satellite of the snow/ice cover on the surface of the earth, but it does not show the outcropping snow/ice vintages, the long arms of the past that reach forward and directly influence the present.
This intrinsic blurriness with the ‘present condition’ (it seems to be a ‘composite’ of direct influences out of the remote past) is typically handled in science by establishing a ‘baseline’ or ‘norm’, a ‘fixed reference’ against we can measure fluctuations as ‘departures from the norm’. We can then make statements like ‘we are in a warming period’ (relative to the reference baseline or ‘norm’ we have established). Meanwhile, the baseline depends on our observational time-window and if we extend it or shrink it, our ‘period of warming’ can ‘invert’ and become a variance within a period of cooling. For many people, the observational time-window of their own experiential life-cycle establishes the baseline for them to classify periods of warming and cooling, though this is not the case for geologists and climatologists whose baselines can be calculated over hundreds of thousands of years and thus include the very long periods (thousands of human generations long) of cooling and warming as manifest in ‘ice ages’ and intervening warmer periods.
From this point of view, it seems ludicrous to think that people could get excited about a prediction of ‘global warming’, and to further believe that human actions in the present will causally determine global temperature in the immediate future. This notion, of course, derives from the mental model that the present derives from the immediate past, and thus that our CO2 gas emissions of the immediate past are the cause of a current ‘bump’ (differential) in our measurements of global temperature.
Those who have become so accustomed to using the ‘causal model’ that they tend to regard it as ‘the way nature works’ are thus shocked to hear a geologist such as Marina Leibman, Chief Scientist at Russia’s Cryosphere Institute make statements such as the following;
“There is no global warming caused by human activity, first because greenhouse gases do not affect climate. They do not affect climate. That is a physical theory, it is an invented horror – it does not exist.” … “While politicians and public … compare “today” with “yesterday”, geologists (science community which I belong to) always think in terms of geological time, events lasting thousands and millions of years. Such a viewpoint takes a lot of imagination in addition to knowledge. Not that effective as something Global and Hazardous, we call it in Russian “Strashilka” (a scarecrow).” – Marina Leibman
In other words, Marina cannot use the model that the present depends only on the immediate past because it is too simple and cannot deal with the general case in geology where the present is directly effected from the remote past (long cycle phenomena such as the deposition of permafrost will continue to influence the present out of the past for a long time to come).
Poincaré, in ‘Science and Hypothesis’, reminds us that the causal model built into the foundations of Mathematical Physics, is fine for understanding machine-like systems, but it is too simplified for ‘the naturalist’ who, he says, ‘must resort to other methods of generalization’.
Mathematical physics distinguishes itself from the raw study of nature because of the foundational role it gives to calculus with its infinitesimal differences, used to capture ‘local changes’ in some or other physical property; i.e. ‘local’ in ‘time’ and in ‘space’ in spite of the fact that in nature, phenomena are nonlocal in both ‘time’ and ‘space’
N.B. ‘Nonlocality in time’ has been discussed above using the example of ice deposition/melting cycles. Nonlocal spatial influence is reduced to ‘local influence’, in mathematical physics, for example, by reducing the spatial shape of a ‘thermal field’ to the notion of the local ‘kinetic energy’ of excited molecules. The law of large numbers allows one to establish a ‘local baseline’ for the kinetic energy level and to ‘drop out’ the longer period ‘spatial frequencies’ associated with the spatial shape of the thermal field. The result is that one can then speak about ‘how hot it is right here’ just as one can speak about ‘how hot it is right now’ when in fact, thermal amplitudes are directly influenced from remote regions of ‘time’ and ‘space’.
This is a philosophical point relevant to how we understand the world dynamic that tends to be overlooked; i.e. we apply the mode of inquiry of mathematical physics (the physics of ‘local mechanics’ and not ‘the new physics of thingless connectedness).
As Poincaré reminded us, it is nonsense to say that ‘the earth rotates’; i.e. there is no ‘local system’ called ‘the earth’ that is capable of ‘locally originating’ behaviour such as ‘global rotation’ or ‘global warming’etc. The dynamics of the ‘earth’ do not ‘belong to the earth’; i.e. the ‘earth’ is not really a ‘local system’ but is included within a more complex celestial suprasystem. In the case of ‘temperature’, solar irradiance cycles, planetary orbital wobble cycles, ice sheet precipitation and melting cycles etc. are all simultaneously influencing the ‘temperatures’ that are measured on the earth. What we measure when we measure the temperature is the sum of all these nonlocal spatial-relational cyclic dynamics and we lose the ‘phase and periodicity’ information in the process (that which relates the observed phenomena to remote regions of space and time).
Just as it is nonsense to say; ‘the earth rotates’, it is nonsense to say that the graph of global temperature represents ‘the earth warming and cooling’ (it represents the measurements). As Einstein once commented, ‘time’ is what it says on our watch. One could also say; ‘temperature’ is what it says on our thermometer.
There is no denying that it is CONVENIENT to say ‘the earth warms and cools’ as if the earth were a LOCALLY controlled mechanical system like the burner on the range top, with a dozen or so knobs for a single burner representing causal influences that either raise or lower the temperature, a model in which it ‘holds true’ that the present depends only on the immediate past (the sum of the causal influences). In this ‘causal’ model, all of the knobs have immediate effect on temperature so that turning up the knob marked ‘CO2 concentration’ and leaving the other knobs alone (the ‘ceteris paribus’ or ‘all other things being the same’ principle that allows science to break out the effects of one variable/influence at a time) will, according to the model, cause an immediate rise in temperature. This causal model assumes that the ‘present temperature’ is the sum of a multiplicity of causal influences, each of which, when it varies, acts on the temperature to raise or lower it, in the immediate future.
Everything is ‘visible’ and straight forward in this simple model in which we say we can isolate the effects of multiple variables (causal agencies). There are no ‘surprises’; each knob does what it is supposed to and the overall effect is the sum of the individual effects.
This model of the system of the earth, then, is simpler than the system of plumbing in a hotel where, in the shower, there are two knobs, one ostensibly to cool the flow of water and the other to warm it. In practice, there is a time delay due to the ‘buffering’ effect of the heat capacity of the pipes so that one has to wait a several seconds for the full effect of adjusting the hot water knob to ‘actualize’, and if one is impatient and the periodicity of one’s fiddling with the knows is shorter than the periodicity of the response deriving from the adjustments, one will experience cycles of scalding and freezing. The complexity of this system is further compounded at 8:00 a.m. when multiple (e.g. 50) others are adjusting the knobs (valves connecting to one common system) in response to temperature variations they are experiencing. What is the chance that one person’s knob-turning is going to cause the result he intends/desires? In a system where three or more agents are moving under one another’s simultaneous mutual influence, there are no exact solutions. While the causal model no longer applies, Mach’s principle does; ‘the shower system dynamics condition the dynamics of the shower-takers at the same time the dynamics of the shower-takers are conditioning the shower-system dynamics’.
The same can be said about pharmaceutical drugs. Each drug is likened to ‘turning a knob’ and raising or reducing the release of serotonin or etc. etc. But when you take multiple drugs (when their period of influence overlaps in the common space of the body), then the general result is a ‘cocktail effect’ where, not only, is the overall result NOT equal to the sum of the knob-turnings, but the combination of relatively innocuous, by themselves, drugs, can be lethal when taken together.
Still, the idea of being able to isolate the influence of particular ‘causal agencies’ appeals to our causal-model-conditioned minds, so that when we hear that ‘present increases in CO2 concentration result in increases in global temperature’, it has a certain appealing born of its ‘mechanical simplicity’.
This appeal has a huge impact on individual and collective human behaviour since, if the present depends only on the immediate past, we can ‘run this backwards’ and engineer causal agencies that, when applied to the present state of affairs, causally deliver the immediate future that we desire. If the temperature in our home falls, we can engineer a furnace that will operate on the present cold state of affairs and causally deliver the immediate ‘warm’ future that we desire. Or, similarly, if the peace in our community is disturbed, we can engineer a ‘peace-keeping system’ that will operate on the present disturbed state of affairs and causally deliver the immediate ‘peaceful’ future that we desire.
This model ‘works’ but it has been called ‘single loop learning’ (Argyris and Schon) as contrasted with ‘double loop learning’. That is, the local issues that we are addressing may be rooted in something deeper and it is important to bring to the surface the deeper origins of the local dynamic. In organisational dynamics, when Fred makes a presentation in support of his proposal, George may oppose the idea because he is still carrying a chip around on his shoulder from that occasion, in the remote past, where Fred shot his (George’s) brilliant plan down in flames, or because Fred ‘stole George’s girl’. That is, there may be residual ‘tensions’ that have accrued in the remote past that are directly influencing the present dynamics. Argyris’ solution requires an extraordinary degrees of honesty and tolerance. It involves taking notes on a two column sheet. In one column you write down what is actually said by yourself and others, and in the other column you write down what you were thinking and feeling at the time.
Clearly, the ‘tensional field’ generally takes precedence over the visible dynamics. ‘What actually happens’ is the tip of the iceberg. Jean Valjean’s causing a disturbance where the disturbed present depends only on the immediate peaceful past is only the tip of the iceberg. The judge and prosecutor are unlikely to use Argyris’ two column method for ‘double loop learning’. If they did, in one of the columns on the judge and prosecutor’s sheets (not the one that records what they actually said) might appear;
“I feel your pain, Jean Valjean. Our society, in spite of how affluent and powerful it is overall, has developed such extremes of imbalance within it, that many are dying of starvation and from exposure to the elements that comes with homelessness, at the same time as others are living in lavish extravagance and comfort. As Michel de Montaigne said;
“The justice which in itself is natural and universal, is otherwise and more nobly ordered, than that other justice, which is special, national, and constrained to the ends of government.”
But our jobs, as Judge and Prosecutor, are to enforce the laws of the land, to serve the ends of government, and what we may deem to be natural and universal justice has no place in these courts, for to condone justice that is unlawful could lead to lawlessness in the land. Meanwhile ‘lawfulness’ in these time, in no way serves to define ‘justice’.”
When we ‘go with’ the simple causal model, we are in the realm of ‘single loop learning’ which admits only to that which visibly happens in the present and which denies the direct influence of the remote past which persist as ‘tensional fields’, whether in the form of ice deposits or the persisting weight of old insults and injuries. Classical economics lives in this same rational dream world where ‘good or bad news’ is assumed to be immediately and fully dealt with by the investor in his trading dynamics (the ‘rational investor assumption’) without accruing any persisting residiual ‘tensions’. The current charge that ‘classical economics not only doesn’t work, it is dangerous’ comes from the evident fact that residual tensions do accumulate in the investor and build to a threshold so that his present behaviour is directly influenced from the remote past and he goes on a selling spree that results in market collapse. Not only did the ‘economic experts’ not predict what was going to happen, they do not know, even after the fact, ‘why it happened’. That is because the collapse is like that which occurs in an avalanche; it derives from dominos falling this way and that way so as to drive local situations beyond their collapse thresholds in a cascading fashion that is not governed by ‘theory’. The after-the-fact ‘theory-based-explanation’ will be nothing other than ‘analytical backfill’.
The NONLOCAL, non-visible, non-material dynamics of tensional fields accruing over space and time, while they are the parenting medium for LOCAL, visible, material dynamics, are not describable in terms of the ‘causal model’ wherein the present depends only on the immediate past.
That being said, there is still this ‘impression’ that science can predict what is going to happen in the future; e.g. how a hurricane is going to develop and where it is going to move.
It is worth taking a closer look at how intrinsically NONLOCAL phenomena are reduced, approximately, to ‘local phenomena’.
In this regard, we can observe that the meteorologist is a shrewd user of differential and integral calculus. When the skin of the atmosphere, exposed to the relentless thermal infusions of the summer sun breaks out in ‘boils’, the meteorologist comes up with a name for each of the boils; e.g. ‘Charley, Ivan, Frances, Jean’, … inferring (intentionally or not) that they are the cause of ‘departures from the norm’. By explaining them as if they were local individual systems with their own locally originating internal-process-driven behaviours (the ascending and descending winds and the condensation and evaporation as described by three coupled differential equations), we come away having left behind the question of ‘what is the norm that these ‘local disturbances’ are departures from’, and are now ‘believing’ that hurricanes ‘really are’ local systems in-their-own-right. But what about ‘the continually morphing ‘skin’ of the earth’s atmosphere that unfolds continuously and falls away continuously like the skin of the snake’?
Is this ‘one NONLOCAL system ’ with ‘four visual-attention-getting features’, or is it ‘four LOCAL systems’? Or, is it ‘both one (supra-)system and four systems at the same time’? Presumably, how we think about this will be shaped by how scientists present it.
Like the pre-revolution French social dynamic, it is ‘one thing and many things at the same time’; i.e. it is the parenting medium which, when differential energy stresses arise within in it, seeks to restore balance in itself, and the gathering and dissipating disturbances or ‘boils’ (convection cells that seek to ‘turn things around’ and play ‘Robin Hood’ with the thermal energy, robbing the rich regions and giving to the poor regions)’ Those ‘disturbances’ arise not from ‘a LOCAL creative power that resides within themselves’ but from the intrinsically NONLOCAL parenting medium, the overall spatial-relational dynamic as it moves to restore balance (its ‘purpose’ is to sustain balance). The disturbances are not only animated by the innate tendency in nature’s dynamics to restore balance but they are created by it.
The funny thing is, this ‘double loop learning’ look-see inverts the whole mental model/picture so that the ‘source’ of the disturbance is no longer seen as being situated within the disturbance; it is now seen as deriving from the NONLOCAL spatial dynamics or ‘energy-field-flow’ dynamic. In order to preserve the notion of a LOCAL disturbance, science uses the mathematics of ‘probability and statistics’ (as it did to reduce the nonlocally transforming thermal field shape to the local notion of ‘kinetic energy’, hiding the ‘nonlocality’ in the law of large numbers). That is, using probability and statistics and the ‘law of large numbers’ the whole mess will be reduced to an average dynamic so that the four features can be expressed as ‘departures from the norm’. The norm being a static, non-participating fixed reference, the four visual-attention-getting features are now converted into four local systems. The ‘departure from the norm’ is the essence of a ‘differential’. While ‘mountains’ are visual-attention-getting features of the (suprasystem) of the celestial dynamics in which the earth is an included feature within which nests a convecting fluid lithosphere (‘fluid’ in geologic time), it is common to reduce mountains from the non-local system to local systems by defining them in terms of their ‘departure from a sea-level datum’, thereby converting them into a multiplicity of ‘local features’. The sea level datum is established statistically by averaging out the various measures of gravity around the earth and coming up with a geometric datum that would represent the average value of gravity. The mountains that are rising up and subsiding as interdependent features within one unbounded terrestrial-celestial dynamic, are thus converted to stand-alone items, departures-from-the-norm of an imaginary sea-level datum.
We really always knew about this technique of reducing nonlocal phenomena (spatial stresses) to ‘departures from the norm’.. We knew that Jean Valjean was only superficially the ‘local causal mechanism responsible for ‘the disturbance’ in the social dynamic. Instead, ‘the social dynamic’ was its own source of the disturbance that Jean Valjean found himself ‘in the middle of’. The disturbance was therefore NOT ‘really’ ‘a departure from the norm’, the disturbance seen as a ‘local system’ is an invention that is made possible by the invention of ‘the norm’. As it is for ‘boils’ arising in a differentially charged-with-thermal energy atmospheric ambiance, so it is for ‘boils’ arising in a differentially charged-with-power/privilege/affluence social ambiance. In order to focus in on them as ‘local systems in their own right’, science uses probability and statistics to re-render them as ‘departures from the norm’.
Physics recognizes that ‘earthquakes’ are disturbances in the lithosphere that arise like ‘boils’ in the atmosphere and that they are unpredictable in the timing of their emergence and unpredictable in their size/magnitude.
It is useful to note that physicists as humans, are limited in the speed with which they can explain what is going on; i.e. the speak and give interviews slowly relative to the time in which an earthquake transpires (a few seconds);
Because of the short duration of the earthquake (1-2 minutes) relative to the time it takes the physicist to give an interview on tv, the inherent unpredictability of this behaviour comes to the fore; i.e. if the physicist knew there was going to be an earthquake today, he would have told us.
For the meteorologist, the same unpredictability is there, but the duration of the phenomenon is longer. So, while the meteorologist may have predicted that there would be lots of hurricanes this season and it turned out that there were few (or vice versa), we still give him credit for his sciences ability to predict because the duration of phenomena is a lot longer (i.e. it is usually about 8-12 days or about 10,000 times as long as an earthquake). This gives the meteorologist an advantage over the earthquake seismologist; i.e. it appears as if the meteorologist is predicting hurricanes. In fact, he is not predicting ‘hurricanes’ but rather ‘the behaviour of the hurricane’ thanks to having privileged first access to the satellite photographs, pressure and temperature data etc.
Hurricanes make a powerful impression on us and we are enthralled as we listen to the meteorologist each evening as he predicts what sort of behaviour may unfold from ‘the developing hurricane’ (it is now ‘one of those LOCAL things; i.e. ‘a departure from the norm’ thing).
The earthquake seismologist may be envious of the meteorologist but he doesn’t get equal time on the evening news evening after evening. Not only did the earthquake come and go before he had a chance to get access to the news cameras, but the different phases of the shock transpire in time windows that are too small relative to the cycles that humans are built to tune into. Imagine how differently it could be if earthquakes were ‘slower’ and had a life-cycle more like hurricanes;
The narrative might go as follows;
Earthquake seismologist: This evening, our sensors have picked up the arrival of the P-wave from what will likely prove to be magnitude 9.0 earthquake which we have called ‘José’. Over the next week or so, in the region of Port-au-Prince close to José’s epicentre which we now know to within a hundredth of a degree of latitude and longitude, we can expect to see the arrival of the different phases of Josés development; the S-waves, followed by the Love wave and then the most powerful wave train, the Rayleigh wave, after which, things will ‘return to normal’ apart from possible ‘after-shocks’. Each evening, for the next week or so, we will be here to guide you through José’s development, telling you what to expect and telling you also something about the nature of the different phases of José’s development, from infancy through adolescence to adulthood and old age (degeneration and dissipation).
Ok, let’s review ‘what we have here’.
We say that ‘life happens in the unfolding now’ but ‘whose now’ is that? Our ‘now’ relates to our natural frequencies and cycles, the time it takes us, shaped and equipped as we are, to observe change, to speak and reflect on change that is currently unfolding etc.
The meteorologist (like the earthquake seismologist) orients to the ‘departure from the norm’, personifies it with a ‘name’ and publicly attempts to ‘predict ITS behaviour’ even though he was neither able to predict the timing of its emergence nor its magnitude ‘before the fact’; i.e. he was in the same predicament as the earthquake seismologist and his predictive powers were limited in the same way. The difference is primarily in regard to the space-time scale of the phenomena relative to our human interest. What is a chair to us is not the same thing to a spider; i.e. our scale and geometry is naturally ‘matched’ to some phenomena and not others.
Thus GEOLOGY, in its particular manner of inquiry, takes the scientist well beyond those naturally preferred attention spans and scales of human beings. However, the public at large tends to be more interested in linear phenomena that can be controlled in the near term, than in nonlinear phenomena involving changes that escape our control either because they transpire over periods of time longer or shorter than we are able to deal with due to the our human make-up. Our ancestors may have been ready to adapt to change, to migrate with the reindeer as the reindeer tracked down the accessible lichen etc. etc. but we have become accustomed to using technology to control our surroundings so that they adapt to us (e.g. instead of adapting to the cooling of the air in winter by putting on furs, we use technology to warm the air so that we don’t have to adapt. When fresh fruit is ‘out-of-season’ in one hemisphere, instead of adapting our diet, we use technology to bring it in from the other hemisphere etc. etc.).
GEOLOGY brings out a fact that seems worth reflection on. The general case is that the world dynamic is complex and the ‘single-loop learning’ that comes from confusing local visible dynamics for reality (not acknowledging the deeper dynamics-sourcing primacy of non-local fields/tensions deriving from remote regions of time and space) can easily induce inappropriate ‘single-loop learning’ responses from us which can exacerbate and perpetuate those ‘disturbances’ seen as ‘departures from the norm’ that we seek to attenuate/eliminate.
That the ‘differential’ and ‘causality’ based modeling approach built into Mathematical Physics is inadequate for dealing with the complexities that are the general case in nature is well known (e.g. as documented by Henri Poincaré in ‘Science and Hypothesis’ etc.). In using the simple causal model, not only do we neglect to take into account the primary sourcing influence of the parenting energy-field medium in our modeling of phenomena, we neglect to account for it in our causal models where we operate on the present to (ostensibly) causally bring about a desired immediate future. That is, our causal actions that seek to eliminate Jean Valjean sources of disturbance not only fail to acknowledge the primary role of spatial tensions in the living space, but also fail to acknowledge that the actions taken to eliminate the disturbances may exacerbate those same spatial tensions so that the spawning of more frequent and more intense disturbances is the net result. “Fixing the blame does not fix the problem” as the saying goes. (One can always find a local someone or something to blame).
CONCLUSION: – ‘EDUCATION’ INFUSED WITH ‘CALCULUS’ IS OUR ‘UNDOING’
In the previous reflections on PHYSICS, BIOLOGY, PSYCHOLOGY and MEDICINE, the following ‘understandings’ prevail;
1. We find it convenient to think of ‘change’ in the generic terms of differential calculus where we assume that ‘the present depends only on the immediate past. Riding on the back of this over-simplistic (relative to nature’s complexity) concept is the notion that ‘causal agency’ is responsible for the changes that transform the immediate past into the present.
2. Our Western system of Justice makes use of this simple model in (1.) and in the event of a disturbance in the social dynamics that go on in our living space, seeks out the ‘causal agent/s’ responsible for the disturbance, as in the example of Jean Valjean. This system of justice seeks to ‘keep the peace’ by removing the causal agents that are the source of disturbance. This approach is consistent with the assumption that the present depends only on the immediate past, but it is NOT consistent with the reality that the present can be directly influenced by the remote past. That is, in the actual complex dynamics of nature, tensions can build in a ‘network of spatial relations’ (stress-field). The stress-field, which is non-local, non-visible and non-material, is a reservoir for the accruing of potential energy in the manner that a spring can be loaded with energy by compressing or extending it, and a threshold is eventually reached where the tug-of-war between persisting structural form and reformational stress is won by the latter, and reformation ensues sometimes with an explosive conversion of potential to kinetic energy. That is, the present is directly influenced by the remote past. (e.g. earthquake and avalanche phenomena)
3. While the ‘natural’ reality is that the present is directly influenced by the remote past, the simplified view that the present depends only on the immediate past has us searching for ‘causal agents’ in the interval between the present and the immediate past, to hold responsible for operating on the immediate past to bring about the present. The ‘Jean Valjeans’ are taken to be the full and complete explanation, in these causal model terms, for the outbreak/social-disturbance. Once they are sought out and dealt with, ‘the case is closed’, as far as the Justice system is concerned even though these disturbances may be like the stress-relieving ‘tremors’ that augur the imminent arrival of ‘the big one’ (the ‘earthquake’ or in the case of social space dynamics, the ‘revolution’).
4. The Justice system sits below the political legislative system (the political leader appoints judges and has the power to dismiss the highest court in the land.). Political leadership that is insensitive to rising imbalances in the managed living space opens the door to the accruing of rising stress which is non-local, non-visible, and non-material, but it can be felt; i.e. it is like living in a pressure cooker; one experiences the rising imbalance, but one is not allowed to move so as to correct it. The justice system ‘makes examples’ of the Robin Hoods and the Jean Valjeans to discourage people from taking the job of relieving tensions by restoring balances. The Justice system suffers from its own form of Goedel’s theorem, the incompleteness of finite systems of logic, the Russell’s paradox expression of which would be; ‘The overseers that oversee the behaviour of all those who cannot oversee their own behaviour, cannot oversee their behaviour’. The fact that the highest overseer in the justice-administering hierarchy cannot oversee himself is an ‘incompleteness’ found in all hierarchical oversight systems; i.e. in all finite systems of mathematics. There is thus no way to address ‘unfairness’ that is infused from the very top of the hierarchy, the case in point being the assumption that ‘the present depends only on the immediate past’.
As has been pointed out in the previous sections of this essay, the assumption that ‘the present depends only on the immediate past’, the assumption that is the essence of a ‘derivative’ in calculus, is pervasive in the understandings that come to use through (popular/mainstream) PHYSICS, BIOLOGY, PSYCHOLOGY and MEDICINE.
Meanwhile, GEOLOGY does not avoid the fact that the present is directly influenced by the remote past; i.e. that earthquakes ‘do happen’. What this ‘admission’ amounts to, is the acknowledging that the prima materia of change is ‘space’; i.e. energy-charged space that is the parenting medium of the movement of material bodies. Geology is thus in agreement with ‘the new physics’ on this.
Were we to let PHYSICS, BIOLOGY, PSYCHOLOGY and MEDICINE be revised by an acceptance that ‘the present is directly influenced by the remote past’ as in GEOLOGY with its ‘earthquakes’, ‘avalanches’, ‘snow-melts’ and other exemplars where spatial energy charging and discharging takes precedence over the dynamics of material bodies, the understandings we glean from these sciences would be radically revised. The old understanding would not ‘go away’ but they would now be seen as secondary features in a more complex and comprehensive context; e.g. Jean Valjean as the causal agent of a disturbance; i.e. as the change agent that converted a peaceful immediate past into a chaotic, disturbed present, would be understood, anew, as having a behaviour that was orchestrated by the dynamics of the space he was living in, moving so as to reduce the rising imbalance that associated with rising tensions in the living space.
His individual behaviour, and later on, the behaviour of a collective majority, was orchestrated by the dynamics of the living space they were included in. These spatial dynamics are the unfolding now-continuum that we, each and everyone, are situationally included in that is otherwise known as ‘reality’.
In nature, the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioned by the dynamics of the habitat at the same time as the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat. Ernst Mach formulated his principle of the relativity of space and matter to acknowledge this ‘reality’.
The implications are profound.
Given Mach’s principle we would no longer say that Jean Valjean’s behaviour came solely from his internal purpose. We would say instead that he experienced, like the sailor in the storm, being included in a spatial dynamic that was not of his own making (that was bigger than his personal dynamics), but nevertheless was open to his influence. Like the friendly driver in the flow of the freeway, he could move so as to open up possibility for others to move, to cultivate and sustain a harmonious flow. He could put the sustaining of harmony in precedence over the rules of the road, breaking the rules and bashing into another car to prevent it from killing a child on a bicycle.
When the many move under one another’s simultaneous mutual influence, there is no way to solve for ‘who is responsible for exactly what action’ (the ‘three body problem’). But even though the ‘reality’ of having ‘one’s own behaviour’ vanishes (i.e. it is exposed as a simplifying, real-world-complexity-bypassing, mathematical concept that requires the invoking of an absolute space frame in place of relative motion), this is not to say that we fully ‘at the mercy’ of the storm we are in, … that we have no influence on the complex spatial dynamic that we are uniquely situationally included in. Our dynamics condition the dynamics we are included in; i.e. the movements of a tree conditions the airflow (spatial dynamic) the tree is included in. There is no ‘time-delay’, the mutual influence is simultaneous, as in ‘field effects’ (e.g. ‘gravity is everywhere at the same time’ is it in this context faster than the speed of light).
But here comes the ‘killer’ that snuffs the life out of this more comprehensive and realistic understanding of the world dynamic and how our individual and collective dynamics relate to the world dynamic.
Its name is ‘education’.
Recall that western education had its roots in ‘the academies’ of Plato and Aristotle and that Aristotle’s teachings have had a profound influence on our ‘beliefs’ as to how the world is and how it works. The Church declared that Aristotelian thinking was ‘the correct thinking’ and ‘discouraged’ (to put it mildly) non-Aristotelian thoughts and writings. (Descartes destroyed all copies of his non-Aristotelian ‘Treatise on the World’ in 1633 when heard of Galileo’s condemnation by the Church).
Aristotle taught a lot of things that ‘stuck’ for a long time;
Why have men more teeth then women?- By reason of the abundance of heat and blood which is more in men than in women. – Aristotle
Aristotle maintained that women have fewer teeth than men; although he was twice married, it never occurred to him to verify this statement by examining his wives’ mouths.
Bertrand Russell, , Impact of Science on Society
According to Aristotle, heavier bodies fall to earth faster than lighter bodies, in proportion to their difference in weight.
Students coming out of ‘the academies’ (Aristotelian education was all there was) continued to propagate this for one thousand years until Galileo reasoned that, if it were true, a body of one pound weight would fall to earth ten times more slowly than a body of ten pounds weight, therefore, one could fasten a rope between the two bodies so that the lighter body could slow the fall of the heavier body (i.e. it ‘didn’t make sense’ to Galileo but hundreds of thousands of graduates of ‘the academies’ over 1000 years, accepted it and regurgitated it as ‘the truth’).
Well, there is one more of Aristotle’s fallacious legacies that is yet to ‘fall’ which continues to be propagated by graduates of today’s academies, and that is the notion of ‘Telos’ or ‘final cause’.
While space opens up possibility for the emergence and blossoming of assertive dynamic potentialities; i.e. in the flow of the freeway (of life) the opening of a receptive space elicits our assertive movement into it, we conveniently drop reference to the orchestrating role of spatial dynamics and describe what we have observed in terms of ‘local material bodies’ notionally equipped with their own locally originating, internal process-driven and internal knowledge and purpose directed behaviours. This notion of spatial ‘niches’ inductively orchestrating individual and collective behaviours is similar to Plato’s notion of ‘ideal forms’ that exist before ‘particular forms’ imperfectly ‘flesh them out’. Aristotle disagreed with Plato and argued that the ‘final form’ is available to the producer of the form prior to its production; e.g. the acorn has within it the ‘oak tree form’ prior to becoming an oak tree. The acorn’s behaviour is directed by its ‘purpose’ ‘to become an oak tree’. In this way, we can render the dynamics of space neutral to the development; i.e. we can assume that space is simply an absolute fixed and empty container within which acorns grow fulfill their ‘purpose’ by growing into oak trees. This allows us to make statements which imply locally originating behaviour such as ‘the earth rotates’ as if the earth ‘knows what to do and does it’ which is ‘nonsense’ as Poincaré points out, of the same source as ‘men have more teeth than women’.
That is, ‘purpose’ is an Aristotelian concept that continues to be propagated by the graduates of western ‘academies’. It is embodied in the ‘science’ of ‘genetics’ and into ‘Darwinism’, cornerstones of belief which supports its pervasive use in Western thinking.
Without the opening of spatial possibility, there is no assertive material movement. In plate tectonics, it is not that ‘continents drift’ (‘continents’ are idealisations based on the visualizing of where the convecting lithosphere flow meets the earth’s surface. Rather than continents drifting, ‘ocean basins’ open and close (Tuzo Wilson). Or as Lao Tsu suggests, the valley is in a natural primacy over the mountains; it persists while the mountains continually rise and fall.
‘Purpose’ is another one of those ‘differential calculus-like’ concepts that fits between the present and the immediate past to explain the transformation in the gap PURELY IN FORWARD-MARCHING ASSERTIVE TERMS.
To the old native on the pacific northwest coast, the flood and ebb of the tide orchestrates the individual and collective dynamics of the coastal people. But the graduate of the western academy insists that his behaviour is locally originating and based on knowledge-informed purpose. When the clam-diggers are sucked out onto the intertidal flats almost as if they were part of the receding waters of the ebb tide and retreat to higher ground with the advancing waters of the flood tide, when the western academy graduate is asked ‘why everyone has gathered together at the same time and place’, he will insist that it is his/their individual purpose informed by their knowledge, and he will pull out a computer and show a map along with tide tables that gives the where and when of low tides. He will insist that this ‘knowledge’ informs his ‘purpose’ of ‘digging clams’ and that this is what is going on in the internals of everyone else there; i.e. that everyone is thinking the same way (‘great minds think alike’) and that this explains the congregating.
Well, if one accepts this Aristotelian ‘purpose’ based view, that what is about to unfold is already encoded in the buds that visibly manifest the unfolding, then there is no way to get to the notion that what takes precedence in shaping the unfolding dynamic of individual and collective is the opening of spatial possibility.
Plato would have said that the unfolded form was a kind of spatial potential that the material fleshing out imperfectly filled in, very much like the opening of spatial possibility in the flow of the freeway that is imperfectly filled in by our moving our vehicle into it. The opening is the actual spatial relational form, while our moving it to fill it is ‘not the whole story’; i.e. the transformation of spatial relations is a bigger story that includes our filling-in movement (our movement is simultaneously helping to open up possibility for others to move.
Practically speaking, it is easier for us to notionally ‘plunk down’ and absolute space reference frame over the top of this mess and conceive of our movement relative to the absolute space reference frame rather than relative to the opening of spatial possibility. Then we can describe our movements in terms that imply that the movements originated ‘from us’, from our internal purpose as informed by our knowledge of how to drive. In this view, the primal behaviour-orchestrating role of the opening of spatial possibility has completely disappeared from view and the dynamic re-rendered as if they are driven out of the interior of the individual part(icipant)s.
This view is the view preferred by the EGO (‘Edging God Out’). The ego wants to claim ‘I did it my way’, to insist that he is fully and solely ‘causally’ responsible for his ‘good progress’, that ‘he’ and ‘only he’ is responsible for his movement from ‘A’ to ‘B’. The primary role of the spatial possibility provided by nature is totally eclipsed in this view.
But just as nature opens up spatial possibility that is primary in orchestrating our individual and collective behaviour, so do we as a social collective, as we move under one another’s simultaneous mutual influence, open up spatial opportunity for one another, OR NOT!. The unfriendly driver in the flow of the freeway may confine another rather than opening up spatial possibility for him to move into.
Do continents move or do ocean basins open and close? Do vehicles move or do spaces open and close? The same dynamic can be understood both ways, but which more closely matches nature’s dynamic? Should we make material objects and their movements ‘primary’ in understanding the unfolding dynamic or should we make transforming spatial relations ‘primary’ in understanding the unfolding dynamic?
Here we are again at the gist of the disagreement between Plato and Aristotle in regard to ‘forms’..
Which is ‘more primary’? … ‘the spatial-relational flow of the atmosphere’ (the thermal-field-induced (spontaneous) spatial-relational reorganization, … or the flow-feature (convection cell) we reify and call ‘the hurricane’? Do ‘weather cells’ determine the unfolding weather pattern or are ‘weather cells’ the children of a ‘parenting medium’ they never ever split themselves out of (i.e. ‘WE split them out by ‘differenting’ our field of vision).
As a society that is experiencing rising dysfunction thanks to our confusing of a simplified reality based on a belief that the present depends only on the immediate past, we are going to remain ‘mired down’ in this dysfunction so long as the graduates of our academies continue to confuse the idealisation of ‘knowledge-informed purpose’ as the internal behaviour sourcing drive/direction of individual behaviour, for ‘reality’. The notion that the acorn has within it ‘the encoded knowledge’ of ‘how to make an oak tree’ along with the ‘purpose’ to do so is ‘idealisation’ that should not be confused for ‘reality’. To confuse it for reality and apply it to ourselves and so ‘believe’ that our behaviour is driven from our interior, by knowledge-informed purpose, is to infuse dysfunction in the world, by way of our behaviour.
If we believe that our behaviour is fully and solely driven from our internal knowledge-informed purpose, as with the acorn and the oak tree, then insofar as our behaviours are guided by such beliefs, we will not be in ‘friendly freeway driver mode’ where we let our individual and collective behaviours be orchestrated by the opening of spatial possibility (for movement).
‘Purpose’ is an invented Aristotelian concept (otherwise known as ‘final cause’ that is infused in things to inform their development) that satisfies a notional theory; i.e. the notional theory that the genesis of biological unfoldings derives from the interior of local, independently existing material systems called ‘cells’ and/or ‘organisms’, as if the parenting energy-charged space that precipitated them was a passive (non-participating) frame for their centre-stage actions.
‘Encoded knowledge-informed purpose’ is what keeps the notion of ‘locally originating, internally sourced behaviour’ hanging together. This synethic notion satisfies the imputed ‘reality’ of the ‘derivative’ of differential calculus and the causal model wherein ‘the present depends only on the immediate past’. (the purpose-driven causal agent is the answer for the difference between the immediate past and the present. This gives us the notion that man has the power to causally construct his own desired future; i.e. that we can integrate a great number of these notional purpose driven causal results so as to construct a desired future, in the same sort of Aristotelian manner as the acorn is seen as being able to construct the oak tree (a view that occludes the primal role of the opening of complex spatial possibility) .
In other words, this Aristotelian notion is what holds at bay, the understanding that the opening of spatial possibility is the primal orchestrator, not only of individual and collective behaviour, but of their genesis.
When the graduate of the academy that participates in the clam-digging answers the question ‘what brought you here’ the same way as the old indian, then we will know that we have overcome one of the most deeply infused and most profoundly influential of Aristotelian fallacies; i.e. when the graduate acknowledges that his behaviour is orchestrated, on a first cause basis, by the dynamics of the space of nature that he is included in, and that the notion of ‘his own (locally originating) behaviour’ is an illusion or idealisation that is achieved by mentally imposing a notional ‘absolute space frame’ over himself which has the effect of imputing ‘absolute motion’ to his own individual/personal movements, an absolute motion that can only be ‘made sense of’ by notionally infusing within his notional ‘self’, ‘purpose’ that is informed by ‘knowledge’, … THEN we will know that we are on the road that leads out of deep dysfunction.
The old indian, meanwhile, understand his developing skill in gathering clams in terms of cultivating his manner of engaging with the dynamics of nature that he, as a strand-in-the-web-of-life, is included in. And the old indian’s sense of justice is not in terms of identifying the causal agent responsible for a disturbance (departure from the statistical norm) that is understood as deriving from ‘evil purpose’, but in understanding the ‘dark winds’ that blow and disturb a man’s spirit so as to engender in him unpredictable behaviour (to turn him into a living, walking ‘earthquake’)..
In the delusional view where man’s behaviour can only come from the local interior of his ‘self’, sourced by knowledge-informed purpose, this is view of the social world dynamic animated by ‘good or evil internal purpose’ whose operating theatre is an absolute fixed and empty containing frame rather than a world orchestrated by the opening of spatial possibility.
Thus, while the western educational academies continue to perpetuate the Aristotelian fallacy that the ‘final cause’ is encoded in the causal agents of the unfolding world dynamic, that the acorn is infused with ‘purpose’ to achieve the oak tree, we shall continue to veto the changes in understanding that come from ‘the new physics’, from ‘geology’ and elsewhere that tell of the primacy of field-induced, balance-seeking, spatial-relational reorganization over ‘local causal differences’.
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