‘field’ reduces nature-vs-nurture to one dynamic
This blog was composed as a comment to a discussion ‘More on thinking backwards’ at http://healthvsmedicine.blogspot.com/2006/06/more-on-thinking-backwards.html but the comment exceeds the limit of 4096 characters, so I am posting the comment here and will put in a short comment with a link back to this post at the above URL.
Jump to ‘start of comment’ to bypass the following observation which is expressed in ‘philosophy of science’ terms.
Analytical thinking assumes that understanding can be reduced to a few basic principles by capturing the ‘most significant’ causal agencies and eliminating the ‘least significant’. Relational thinking assumes interdependency where ‘everything counts’ so that understanding emerges from ‘coherency’ when many different things are brought into connective confluence; i.e. articulating a relational understanding requires ‘more words’ than the presentation of analytical understanding.
The figure above is ‘extra’ and intends to ‘underscore’ the point that, as Mach’s principle suggests, an ambient field of influence (thermal/pressure field) that seems to act outside-inwards and the inside-outward push of apparently ‘locally originating assertive behaviour’ of ‘cells’ within the field, are in a conjugate relation, in the same manner as the ‘storm-cell’ in the ‘flow-field’ of the atmosphere. If we associate ‘cell-dynamics’ with ‘people-dynamics’, the suggestion is that people can ‘pressure up’ the ambiance they are included in so that it reflects back; i.e. ‘they put the squeeze on themselves’. An example of this occurs in crowd situations where closely spaced people start pushing away from one another (i.e. they try to enlarge the space they occupy). The space acts like a spring that is being loaded (compressed) by this inside-outward action and it will try to ‘unload’ (decompress) in an outside-inward fashion (as in a fluid dynamic or pressure-field).
This view in which ‘field’ is primary and the visible material dynamics are secondary or ‘relative’ (in accordance with the principle of relativity of motion) dissolves the apparent paradox of ‘nature’ versus ‘nurture’ wherein it is assumed that ‘what transpires’, transpires partly (in an ‘either/or’ sense) by the inside-outward influence of internal processes and partly by the outside-inward shaping influence of externally applied forces. That is, if one accepts that ‘field’ is primary, Mach’s principle follows wherein the ‘dynamics of the habitat are conditioning the dynamics of inhabitants at the same time as the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat’. If one mentally explores what goes on with a storm-cell in the ambient pressure/thermal field-flow of the atmosphere, one can easily validate Mach’s principle. It holds for all fluid-dynamics and the dynamics of ‘field’ are intrinsically ‘fluid’ dynamics. Conceiving dynamics in terms of the actions/interactions of local material objects as if transpiring in absolute fixed and empty space, does not ‘over-ride’ the reality of the natural primacy of ‘field’ over notional ‘local, independently-existing material objects/organisms/systems, notionally equipped with their own locally originating agency’.
* * * start of comment on ‘more on thinking backwards’ as it was originally intended/attempted * * *
‘Top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ thinking, may be the primary choices for our manner of ‘thinking’ but understanding (intuition) is not constrained to the ‘either/or’ of linear opposites. (i.e. ‘backward thinking’ may better connote what is being contended here)
Life is ‘bigger than’ the phenomena we observe ‘out there in front of us’. We are included in a spatial-relational unfolding that transcends ‘time-and-materials’. We can observe ‘bubbles’ ‘out there in front of us’ as they emerge on the surface of a pond and notice their coalescing into clusters. We can watch the shape of the individual bubbles transform from spheres to hexagons and recall how we felt when we were sardined in a crowd of demonstrators. The reductionist method starts off by assuming the local independent existence of local material objects/organisms/ and further assumes that ‘their’ transformation is caused by a combination of externally-applied forces and internal process driven forces. The scientific observer may come up with the ‘answer’ that the internal influence of the expansion of air in the bubble responsible for the growth of the bubbles while the growth is, at the same time, externally constrained by inertial forces as the bubbles coalesce and ‘pack themselves together’.
If we compare the individual bubbles to the community of bubbles, we find that the community dynamic is capable of a shaping influence that is not available to the individual. The individual cannot, using internal processes, create the hexagonal shape.(neither can an individual honeybee do this). Internal influences can be associated with ‘genetics’ or ‘nature’ in the ‘nature-versus-nurture’ paradox while external influences are like ‘environment’. In the case of the bubbles (and in general?) there is one dynamic, otherwise known as ‘field’, that is more comprehensive than the visible patterns in terms of ‘what visible things do’. The observer, if he is scientific, observes like a ‘voyeur’, as if he is not included in the dynamic he is observing. He will not admit, therefore, that the sun that is warming his back as he observes the transforming community/individuals, is the first-cause source of the dynamics he is observing.
When pressures build up in the community, they reflect back to transform the individuals and in the clustering, there are always a few whose situation within the spatial relations is like that of the pregnant woman next to the balcony railing in the soccer stadium when the riot breaks out; i.e. she becomes the ‘casualty’ (the runt in the litter, the scapegoat etc.) and one cannot identity a ‘causal agency’ in either a top-down or bottom up sense, because the first cause source of these dynamics is not ‘in the picture’, it was the alleged ‘dirty play’ of the Highland Bone-Crushers that led to their winning goal over the Lowland Widow-Makers that ‘heated things up’.
The scientific inquiry of the psychiatrist is constrained by the evidence he observes in front of him (not the evolving weirdo dynamics of the society he too is included in) so he orients to changing what he is able to change; i.e. internal biochemical driving processes. The psychologist is likely to work on the spatial relationships aspect so that the ‘client’ becomes more aware of the dysfunction in his relations with external others and may get out of a relationship or change jobs or move to a new community. None of this acknowledges the innate primacy of ‘field’ in the shaping of the ‘local material system’. Thermal fields, the gravity field, acoustic fields are ‘everywhere at the same time’. They include the observer (the battlefield psychiatrist) who has the behind-the-front-lines job of ‘diagnosing the individual’ and ‘treating the individual’ who is ‘having a break-down’. Is the ‘cause’ of the problem ‘a weakness’ in the individual (genetics) or is the ‘cause’ coming from externally applied force/influence?
The pregnant woman who was squeezed over the balcony in the crush of the crowd may testify from her hospital bed, that everyone immediately around her was trying desperately to protect her, but the uniqueness of her spatial situation (next to the railing) was key to what transpired. Therefore, it was neither her ‘weakness’ nor externally-applied force that constituted the ‘first cause’ of the ‘result’ (her near fatal injuries), and our inquiry into ‘cause’ fizzles out in ‘the sky’ in the same manner as the fizzling out of inquiry into clustering and hexagonalizing of bubbles; i.e. the causal source is neither to be found inside of the individual nor does it derive from the community dynamic, but instead from the energy field that is everywhere at the same time.
Our life experience affirms to us every minute of every day that we are included in ‘energy fields’ that orchestrate our individual and collective behaviours, that have us ‘hibernating’ in winter and rioting in urban ghettoes in hot ‘spells’ in the summer. Lamarck called them ‘les fluides incontenables’, dynamics-influencing fluids ‘that contain but which cannot themselves be contained’ (like the flow of the atmosphere relative to the flow-feature we call a ‘storm-cell’). Darwin substituted instead, ‘internal process drives’, complemented by ‘random variation’ and that’s our current popular ‘scientific model’. Lamarck’s model invokes ‘relativity’ and ‘quantum theory’ and was ‘ahead of its time’.
The dynamics of the energy field we are included in, according to Mach’s principle, conditions our dynamics at the same time as our dynamics condition the dynamics of the energy field. Understanding things in a ‘field’ context transcends understanding that limits itself to ‘what things do’.
Like the family of the woman who was squeezed out over the railing and like the family of the depressed person who ‘defenestrates’, we transfer the pressures of society to one another like bubbles in the cluster and there is going to be some of us who are more exposed by virtue of our unique situational inclusion in the unfolding pressure-driven dynamic. The family of the woman who was pushed over the railing (or who defenestrated) will be primary suspects as ‘causal agents’ in the case, and if the only choices are ‘nature’ (internal weakness) or ‘nurture’ (external influence), the family will insist that it was ‘the temporary infirmity’ that their daughter was suffering from that was the ‘cause’ of the tragedy. Was it the crowd of bubbles that caused the transformation of spheres to hexagons and produced some misshapen ‘runts’ in the litter, or was this transformation attributable to what was going on in the interior of the individual ‘cells’? This ‘top-down’ versus ‘bottom-up’ choice is too constraining and it obscures our more comprehensive understanding.
The bubbles observer is going to have to acknowledge that the sun that is warming his back (les fluides incontenables) is at the same time animating what he is observing ‘out there in front of him’, and so it is too for the psychiatrist and the family of the defenestrant. If they constrain their interpretation of ’cause’ to either (a) external forces and/or (b) internal processes, they, the observers and judges, remove themselves and their own experience from the inquiry and thus deny that they may be part of the problem; i.e. their behaviours condition the behaviour of the dynamic social space they are included in, at the same time as the dynamic of the social space is conditioning the behaviour of those included in it. They may have yelled out; ‘You effing Lowland Widow-Makers’ and helped to cultivate the ambiance (‘field’) that induced turbulence in the crowd which in turn squeezed them so that they squeezed their pregnant daughter who was least able to ‘hold her own’, over the railing. Of course, for those occurences that don’t fit such simplistic ‘what things do’ based scientific theory, science-believers call them ‘random chance’ (Darwinism) while religious believers call them ‘Acts of God’.
Nature can have a chuckle at these inventions of man that he uses to deny his own limitations in trying to explain ‘the way the world works’ (as if the world-dynamic were something out there in front of him revealing itself to his thinking powers without implying that both himself and those things he was observing are included in something more comprehensive still, that connects him to that which is ‘out there in front of him’, the target of his voyeur observations and scientific inquiry.).
Insofar as ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ inquiry may fall into and spin their wheels in the same ‘ruts’ of inquiry as ‘nature’ versus ‘nurture’, they too, will miss the point that ‘field’ is in a natural primacy over ‘things’ and ‘what they do’. ‘Backwards thinking’ is perhaps a less ambiguous term since by backwards thinking we do not have to find ‘material cause’ as popular science does, and we could then acknowledge that our individual and collective behaviour is shaped by ‘ambient social pressure’ (felt-pressure to do in Rome what the Romans do). That is clearly ‘what we feel’ even though it is ‘invisible’ and we know that we respond to ‘what we feel’ even if it is ‘invisible’ and thus that ‘invisible social pressure’ orchestrates our individual and collective behaviour (we can say that it is ‘just in our heads’ but it is nevertheless a feeling that is like a thermal field that orchestrates huddling and dispersing in warm-blooded animals whose dynamics are orchestrated to serve the sustaining of balance of inside-outward and outside-inward thermal energy flow.). But if our scientific inquiry only accepts visible material cause that appears to be due to ‘local material causal agency’ (also known as ‘what things do’ that derives from our observation of [secondary] dynamic phenomena), then we have to explain our behaviour in terms of internal processes and/or externally applied forces, neither of which are sufficiently comprehensive to comprehend ‘everywhere-at-the-same-time’ ‘fields’ that permeate the space we share inclusion in.
Backwards thinking would rightly (realistically according to our real-life experience) have us accept, as ‘reality’, ‘social pressure fields’ that orchestrate our individual and collective behaviour, even though scientific inquiry that starts from visual observation of the secondary phenomena of ‘local material agents’ (objects, organisms, systems) and ‘what they do’ constrains itself so that it can never get to such understanding. The psychiatrist, psychologist and family who themselves are complying with ambient dysfunction-infusing social pressures see themselves as ‘the support team’ for the individual that ‘defenestrates. In their ‘eyes’, they surrounded the defenestrant so as to protect him from the dangerous mob while they encourage him to ‘accept being normal like them’. Of course, all the while this is going on, they are all in a game-playing ambiance, cheering their Highland Bone-Crushers on to annihilate and humiliate those m-f’ing Lowland Widow-Makers in the good old Darwinian (field-denying) tradition that claims to be the scheme by which ‘nature works’ thus the reference for ‘the normal’ (local-independent-self-interest-driven-causal-agents-interacting-in-empty-space) way of behaving. The ‘normal’ way of behaving that induces rising ambient social pressures that reflect back on everyone included in that social space, as with the bubble-cluster, produces more and more ‘runts’ that are labelled as ‘defectives’ as it intensifies, ‘runts’ or ‘defectives’ who are spatially situated in the wrong place at the wrong time who are surrounded by supportive and protective ‘normals’.
Who amongst us CANNOT differentiate between an oppressive and a liberating social ambiance? Who amongst us ‘really’ believes that a ‘normality’ that complies with and nourishes an insane social dynamic is something for the non-compliant individual termed ‘deranged’, to aspire to? Why then should we understand things ‘scientifically’ in terms of our visual observations of ‘what things do’ which is necessarily secondary to the primary sourcing ambient field? Backwards thinking would have us accept the natural primacy of a spatial pressure field that orchestrates our individual and collective behaviour, ‘les fluides incontenables’ of Lamarckism that was sidelined by Darwinism, the latter erroneously promoting local material organisms allegedly equipped with their own ‘absolute first cause originating of behaviour/development’ to a false primacy (‘false’ as used here meaning ‘in contradiction to our natural life experience wherein our individual and collective dynamics are orchestrated by the spatial dynamic (‘field-dynamic’) we are included in. Our experience is that we disperse when we are in an intense thermal field and we huddle when in a weak thermal field, we rise and retire with the rising and the setting of the sun (i.e. the flooding and ebbing of a spatial luminance field). Descriptions of these dynamics that start off in terms of ‘what we humans do’ denies the ‘first cause’ role of the spatial dynamics that we are included in. The popular scientific interpretation of dynamic phenomena in terms of ‘what things do’ is invented by the observer by imposing an absolute space frame over the visual objects of his interest that he selects out of the field-dynamic so that he can impute to those visual objects (e.g. ‘hurricane Katrina’) ‘their own behaviour’ even though they are the products of the spatial fields they are included in. When we do this we erroneously promote ‘secondary cause’ (the spatial field dynamics are first cause) to ‘first cause’ (locally originating behaviour’) which is convenient for science since it makes terse and explicit use of our noun and verb language architecture, but it is, as Kepler observed, nothing other than a case of science “choosing not that which is most true but that which is most easy.”