Immanent Impetus -Thomas deJong 'Suddenly'


The dam is about to break [my opinion] that will lead to a radical transformation [reformation?] of Western culture; i.e. it won’t be ‘Western culture’ as we have known it any more.

The ‘breaking point’ is cropping up all over the place and it is topologically [spatial-relationally] the same everywhere.

The ‘breaking point’ is to do with our conceptualizing of where outside space and inside matter meet; i.e. where the membrane of a cell meets the environment it is included in, … and/or where the biosphere-membrane of the earth’s atmosphere meets the openness of the space it is experiencing inclusion in.

A century ago, Ernst Mach, a physicist who was a mentor to Einstein, Poincaré and others who were pioneering ‘relativity’ and ‘quantum physics’, was declaring that these two things, ‘space’ and ‘matter’ were not mutually exclusive, but were different forms of energy in conjugate relation; i.e. ‘the dynamics of space [field-flow] are conditioning the dynamics of matter [atomic activity] at the same time as the dynamics of matter [atomic activity] are conditioning the dynamics of space [field-flow]’.  This is a statement of ‘Mach’s principle’.

Mach’s view has been excluded from performance in the ‘Big Top’ of the cultural mainstream.  But views with Machean topology have multiplied and they have become like a swarm of furry little mice scurrying over and around the canvas of the Big Top and generally threatening to ‘take over’ but the culture is fiercely resisting/denying assimilation of these views.

Bruce Lipton’s struggle, within biology, is just one of the cases where cultural denial of space-matter relativity manifests, and it is an interesting one to explore since the question of the relation of ‘mind’ and ‘matter’ is inextricably implicated, … or more accurately, our understanding of ‘mind’ and ‘matter’ is inextricably implicated.

In Lipton’s discussion, we don’t have to go with his overall interpretation which perhaps cantilevers his core proposition into speculative territory, we can simply examine his core proposition;

As Lipton observes, the cell membrane [includes a] skin-like barrier which separates the external environment from the internal cytoplasm. The membrane includes receptors and effectors which look like olives in a bread and butter sandwich. Receptors are the cell’s ‘sense organs’; when a receptor recognizes and binds to a signal, it responds by changing its conformation.


[With the new views of quantum physics] it can now be recognized that receptors respond to energy signals as well as molecular signals.

“Conventional medicine has consistently ignored research published in its own main-stream scientific journals, research that clearly reveals the regulatory influence that electromagnetic fields have on cell physiology. Pulsed electromagnetic fields have been shown to regulate virtually every cell function, including DNA synthesis, RNA synthesis, protein synthesis, cell division, cell differentiation, morphogenesis and neuroendocrine regulation. These findings are relevant for they acknowledge that biological behavior can be controlled by “invisible” energy forces, …

…Receptors “see” or are “aware” of their environment and effectors create physical responses that translate environmental signals into an appropriate biological behavior. The receptor-effector complex controls behavior, and through its affect upon regulatory proteins, these receptor-effector also control gene expression… The receptor-effector complexes provide the cell with “awareness of the environment through physical sensation,” which by dictionary definition represents perception. Each receptor-effector protein complex collectively constitutes a “unit of perception.”

…When new, heretofore unrecognized, “signals” enter the environment, the cell creates new perception units to respond to them. New perception units require “new” genes for the receptor-effector proteins. The cell’s ability to make new receptors and respond to the new signal with an appropriate survival-oriented response (behavior) is the foundation of evolution. Cells “learn” by making new receptors and integrating them with specific effector proteins. Cellular memory is represented by the “new” genes that code for these proteins. This process enables organisms to survive in ever changing environments.”

This is the core proposition that keeps cropping up and that is trying to get into the mainstream of our thinking.  It is one the furry mice that is scurrying over and around the canvas limits of the Big Top of our cultural mainstream.

Lipton’s description of the building block of evolution being the ‘unit of perception’, a two-sided, Janus-faced thing, is an overlay to Mach’s ‘sensa’; … it is a reconstitution of mind-and-matter as one dynamic with complex structure; i.e. ‘a unit of perception’ that has a ‘real’ and ‘imaginary’ component; i.e. the ‘real’ component is the visible, inside-outward production of proteins by the effectors [the ‘genesis’ part] while the ‘imaginary’ component is the invisible, outside-inward influence of the receptors in encoding the effectors [the ‘epigenesis’ part].

No more mind-matter split! [1]

But let’s not get too carried away with all of the Wittgenstein ladder detail of ‘receptors’ and ‘effectors’  and ‘sinks’ and ‘sources’ etc. etc.  These manifestations that we can observe under the microscope [and/or elsewhere] are continually changing, evolving.  There is no longer any solid ground in the sense of ‘what things-in-themselves do’, to look to for the source of the development of this thing that we see as ‘having its own behaviour’.

Sure, we can say and think of it ‘having its own behaviour’ but that thought is trumped in its pseudo-entirety by zooming out and acknowledging that ‘it’ is a continually transforming ‘dimple’ in a continually transforming relational spatial-plenum, in the manner of a storm-cell in the flow of the atmosphere.

If we continue to gaze at a biological cell, it is topologically equivalent to our continuing to gaze at a storm-cell in the atmosphere [to view gathering forms in radar or satellite imagery etc.].  We say that we ‘can see it change’, but THERE IS NO PERSISTING ‘IT’ except in our imagination that would have us impute ‘itness’ to a ‘local’ visual image; i.e. a ‘local’ visual image that is an inference of an underlying relational dynamic that is inherently ‘non-local’, ‘non-visible’ and ‘non-material’, … a ‘local’ visual image that persists due to the fairly long-lasting hanging-together of the underlying relational dynamic.

The underlying dynamic, ‘evolution’, or in other words, ‘the continually transforming relational spatial-plenum’ is not directly visible because it is ‘relational’ as energy transformation is wont to be; i.e. it is non-local, non-visible, and non-material and it MANIFESTS indirectly via forms that gather in its transformational flow, which, when we get right down it it, are ‘units of perception’, … wherein the dynamics of ‘the outside’ in coniunctio with the dynamics of the ‘inside’ become locally visible through the inside-outward assertive dynamical aspect [the visible genesis aspect].  The receptors — embodiments of outside-inward acquiescing influence, and the effectors —embodiments of inside-outward asserting influence, are dual aspects of ‘the unit of perception’ or the ‘sensum’.  Therefore, ‘sensa’ are the basic building blocks of the universe, not molecules, as was Mach’s view.

How could this happen?  How could the dynamics of the outside and the dynamics of the inside, in pushing against each other, generate ‘local being’?

In exploring this, we can inquire into the structure of the tornado or any convecting flow-cell in a fluid flow.  The flow has a toroidal form wherein it receives flow into itself and at the same time sources flow out of itself along an imaginary local axis [the notional ‘axis’ is defined by the centre of the convergence into the sink and divergence out of the source.  The tornado is an automorphic feature of the flow-space it is included in.  The upper ‘sink-hole’ [receptor] and the lower ‘fountain-source’ [effector] are conjugate aspects of the visible automorphism [of the flow].

The automorphism feature is not the ‘local being’ it appears to be.  The map is not the territory and the territory is not what you can see and touch; it is the evolutionary dynamic, the continually transforming relational spatial-plenum which is non-local, non-visible and non-material; i.e. it is the purely relational dynamic that transcends the visibly manifest material dynamics.

The capacity for automorphism immanent in the energy-flow is the source of ‘forms’ that appear to be ‘local’, ‘visible’ and ‘material’, … forms that lend themselves to concretization by a language that is architected to deal with dynamics in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’.  The tornado, … do you get that, how the letters   t o r n a d o  seem to speak to us of a local being that we can then suffix a linguistic qualifier to ; i.e.  m o v e s , to construct movement in these new terms of the action of a local thing-in-itself-‘being’; i.e. ‘the tornado moves’.  GONE is the understanding of motion in terms of the continuing transformation of the relational spatial-plenum whose automorphist dynamic not only inhabits the form it is engendering but creates it [the form only persists while it is being engendered by the automorphist powers of the flow-plenum it is included in].

The tornado is comprised of a conjugate receptor-effector relational dynamic.  This topology is said by some to be the basic topology of the universe which relates space and matter.  Every apparently local, visible material form is thus a ‘unit of perception’.  We perceive it as a ‘unit’ even though it is an automorphism within the energy-flow.

We see the planet earth as a ‘local unit’ but according to relativity and quantum physics, it is an automorphism within the energy-flow and thus a ‘unit of perception’ which rebel physicists like Mach would diagram as a ‘receptor’ [sink] – ‘effector’ [source] conjugate relation;


As with Receptor-Effector, so with Sink-Source


This is a ‘fractal archetype’ for the structure of the universe.  It is the ‘gyre’ that came to the poet Keats in a vision, and it is the double-torus of physicist Nassim Haramein and others [Haramein is to physics what Lipton is to biology];

As with Sink-Source and Receptor-Effector, so with Double Torus

It is a ‘unit of perception’, it is NOT a ‘unit of being’.   In mainstream science and in our Western culture in general, we have chosen to invent a re-presentation of dynamics wherein use these ‘units of perception’ as if they were ‘things-in-themselves’ and construct a dynamics in terms of these ‘things-in-themselves’ and ‘what they do’.

It is important to realize that when we conceive of space as a simple ‘container’ populated by ‘things-in-themselves’, we are objectifying visual forms that are ‘units of perception’, and that the world we construct in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’ is not ‘the world of our physical experience’ which is inherently relational and unitary, as understood in the sonar ‘holographic’ imaging of the whale or bat, but ‘flattened out’ by the line-of-sight ‘photographic imaging’ of human visual sensing, like a spherical spatial form is flattened out into a mercator projection. [Human line-of-sight visualization uses light intensity and drops out phase information needed for the full holographic voluminiferous-continuum view].

The language we use when re-presenting dynamics in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’ implies ‘Euclidian space’.  Non-euclidian space [2], which is purely relational so that dynamics in this space can only derive from transformation of spatial relations as there can be no such things as ‘local beings’ in a relational space, … is merely an option for our conceptualizing of ourselves and the world, the most common option because it is the most simple, as Poincaré points out [it is the simplest in the sense that a polynomial of degree one is simpler than a polynomial of degree two].  We don’t have to use Euclidian space as our conceptualizing space, but since our standard language constructs imply it, … if we switch to non-euclidian space aka ‘relational space’, there will be reverse implications on our language constructs.  As Poincaré further says;

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

Euclidian space is not antecedent to the truths of our real-physical-world experience that we should like to capture and share, but our common constructions of ‘dynamics’ in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’ is what gives an artificial sense of concreteness and controllability to the dynamics of world and self (habitat and inhabitant).  If we are to acknowledge our inclusion in a continually transforming relational space, this has implications in reverse in regard to our linguistic constructs that will give a ‘relational representation’ of dynamics.

The only ‘persisting things’ in a relational space are ‘resonance features’ with the ‘tornado topology’ or double-torus topology which are ‘units of perception’ rather than ‘units of being’.

So, for example, as Poincaré says and as he remarked, few people seem to ‘get this’, … it is nonsense to say ‘the earth rotates’.   To illustrate how confusing people found this, he had a public debate with Bertrand Russell on this which was never settled apart from them ‘agreeing to disagree’.  What Poincaré intends is that we are creating a notional ‘fact’ out of mere ‘appearances’ which in a changing environment arise from the relations amongst things, the relational invariant that persists as ‘things’ are continually coming and going like forms in a flow.  For example, after I have gone through how what we call a tornado is an automorphism within a relational energy-flow, a reductive statement of apparent fact such as ‘the tornado moves’ fails to capture the relational nuances of that discussion.

“What difference is there then between the statement of a fact in the rough and the statement of a scientific fact!  The same difference as between the statement of the same crude fact in French and in German.  The scientific statement is the translation of the crude statement into a language which is distinguished above all from the common German or French, because it is spoken by a very much smaller number of people.

The scientific fact is only the crude fact translated into a convenient language.

The statement of fact such as ‘the tornado moves’ is a nice crisp ‘fact’ that most people would agree on.  But the crispness comes from the notional ‘thing-in-itself being’ of ‘the tornado’ and the implication of ‘it moving’ is that it is located within an absolute fixed, empty and infinite ‘container’ or ‘reference frame’ so that ‘its motion’ and even its ‘change in form’ [development] are ‘measurable’ thanks to our mental understanding of ‘space’ as a fixed reference frame that contains the ‘thing-in-itself-being’ we call a ‘tornado’.

As discussed, we could understand ‘the tornado’ [or ‘human’ or whatever] as a relational feature within the energy-flow; i.e. as a ‘unit of perception’ rather than a ‘unit of being’ in which case we would now understand ‘space’ as a ‘flow’ or ‘continually transforming relational spatial-plenum’, … but at the same time, we would recognize the ‘convenience’ of being able to share our observations and experiences in this simple language of ‘what things-in-themselves do’ based on our mental modeling of ‘space’ as an absolute containing/reference/measuring frame that serves as a ‘theatre of operations’ for the ‘local units of being’.

Now, as Poincaré further writes, and as you can presumably see from this discussion, there are those that equate the convenient, simple RE-presentation of the ‘units of perception’ in the energy-flow in language-based terms of ‘things-in-themselves’ that are growing/developing/dissipating’ in-their-own-right, moving around and interacting  with ‘one’ and ‘other’ all within an absolute containing space that serves as a fixed measurement reference for their absolute location, their absolute motion and their absolute growth, shrinkage, and change in form, so long as they continue to be ‘visible’, … to ‘physical reality’.

Those who believe that such language-based RE-presentations or ‘statements of fact’ equate to ‘physical reality’ he terms ‘realists’.

Those who believe that space is a continually transforming relational spatial-plenum or more simply ‘a flow’ [of transforming energy] but at the same time acknowledge the convenience of linguistically treating ‘units of perception’ as ‘units of being’ [‘things-in-themselves’] he terms ‘pragmatist-idealists’.  By ‘pragmatic idealism’ he means that while we accept in discourse, this RE-presentation of dynamics in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves are doing’, we do not limit our understanding to such RE-presentations.

This ‘difference’ has major implications in the way we understand ourselves vis a vis others and the world we live in, and this difference implies two different modes of organization that have come to characterize two different ‘cultures’; i.e. the aboriginal and Western cultures.

The aboriginal culture [a ‘pragmatist-idealist’ culture] understands ‘conflict’ in the community as deriving from the relational web that constitutes community.  ‘Restorative justice’ practices in aboriginal communities do not function via law-based judgements applied to individual [thing-in-itself] behaviour since it is impossible, in the relational space [web-of-life] view, to isolate ‘individual behaviour’ from ‘community behaviour’.  The community therefore ‘assumes responsibility’ for conflicts as arise within it, and does not ‘pass off’ individuals to judgemental machinery that operates on the basis of absolute laws of individual behaviour, as if the relational dynamics of community were in no way influencing individual behaviour.

What is held in question here is ‘what is it that constitutes the physical phenomena of our amazing experience of inclusion in the unfolding of a relational world dynamic?  Is physical reality constituted by the amazing experience of inclusion in the unfolding of a relational world dynamic, or by the reduction of that part that we can visually observe to language that is constrained to RE-presentation in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’?

How could we, in our Western cultural variant, opt for the latter rather than the former as the ‘physical world’?

This ‘takes a bit of exploration/inquiry’, and it helps to go back to the origins of the notion of ‘owned property’ since this notion sets up the ‘disconnect’ between the natural world we live in, and we who live in it; e.g;

“God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” – Genesis 1:28

This ‘splitting apart’ of the ‘inhabitant’ from the ‘habitat’ and notionally setting up ‘man’, the ‘thing-in-itself inhabitant’,  as possessing his own God-like self-starting behaviour, serves to keep us trapped in a world based on visual images of ourselves and others ‘out there in front of us’ that we impute to be ‘things-in-themselves’ with their own locally originating, internal mind-directed behavours.

In other words, ‘property ownership’ in the disconnecting sense of the land being something separate from us that we can jump on and exploit at our own whim, traps us in the language-based ‘what things-in-themselves do’ based worldview.

Property-occupation in the aboriginal culture sense is very different from ‘property ownership’ in that it is understood in the sense of the baby in the womb.  The womb is where it lives and it is attached to that space and nourished by that space but in no way ‘independent’ of that space or desirous of exploiting that space [the ‘Oedipus complex’ of Western civilization].

The western culture, in its colonizing actions and its treating the land, the living space we are included in, as something separate from ourselves that we can own and exploit as we wish, insofar as we BELIEVE that, makes us into ‘realists’ in the above description, who also believe that we are ‘local, independently-existing things-in-ourselves’ as in Genesis 1:28 whose behaviours are directed from our local, internally resident ‘minds’.

The notion of ‘government’ based on pursuing the ‘common good’ derives, also, from this splitting apart of inhabitant from habitat by way of ‘property ownership’; i.e. ‘pursuing the common good’ is an anthropocentric ideal that is based on man created as a thing-in-itself so that the satisfying of his needs [the ‘common good’] is seen as an optimizing process in its own right, and the role that Western government is architected to fill.  This is evidently the recipe for ‘bio-catastrophe’; e.g;

 “In extending his living space in a manner that destroys the space of others, he destroys his own space. Not initially his inside space, his ‘self’, but his outside space, this real outside-of-self which nourishes his ‘inside-of-self’. The protection of this outside space now becomes the condition without which he is unable to pursue the growth of his own powers of being.” — Frédéric Neyrat,  ‘Biopolitics of Catastrophe’

Once we elevate our conscious thoughts, our reasoning minds, to absolute status; i.e. to local, behaviour-directorship status, we force ourselves to develop ‘an informed and knowledgeable basis’ from which to direct our behaviour.   This process essentially ‘short-circuits’ our natural ‘let go’ sourcing of behaviour where our inside-outward asserting behaviour is in conjugate relation with the outside-inward orchestrating influence of our situational inclusion in the continually transforming relational spatial-plenum.  But as Heraclitus observed; “The learning of many things does not teach understanding”.

“When you have broken the reality into concepts you never can reconstruct it in its wholeness.”

– William James

Real understanding is in not-knowing. All knowing dissolves in not-knowing, and it is in this not-knowing state that there is transformation.

 – Jean Klein

It is this state of not-knowing that we are in connection with the energized flow whose evolving form derives from what Emerson calls ‘the genius [mind] of Nature’ “that both inhabits and creates us”.

We cannot claim our ‘mind’ for ‘our own’ simply on the basis that our visible form, like the tornado, appears to be a local ‘thing-in-itself’ form and to ‘have its own local thing-in-itself’ behaviour.  These forms are ‘units of perception’ and not ‘really’ the ‘units of being’ that we abstractly make them into when we are talking about them.

When we use the words ‘mind’, ‘perception’ and ‘consciousness’, they evidently mean different things to us depending on what assumptions we make about ourselves; e.g. whether we ourselves are a ‘unit of being’ or a ‘unit of perception’.   This ambiguity was the topic of an open disagreement between Henri Poincaré and Bertrand Russell in the Journal `Mind`in 1905;

 ”Regarding geometry, I have had a long discussion with M. Russell, and I see that he persists in his opinion as I persist in mine; but there is one phrase that allows one to better understand the origin of our disagreement, ‘so that objects’, says M. Russell, ‘which we *perceive* as near together ..’ and he comes back to the word perceive several times in his writing. as for me, I never use the verb ‘to perceive’, nor the noun ‘perception’ because I don’t know what they mean. I don’t know if the perception is a feeling or a judgment, and I truly believe that amongst philosophers that use this word, some understand it in the first way [feeling] and others in the second [judging]. that’s why I avoid using it.” Henri Poincaré, in a letter to the journal ‘Mind’ in 1906 in response to Bertrand Russell’s critiques of Poincare’s ‘Science and Hypotheses’

Since ‘perception’ is at the core of this discussion, it would seem that some exploration of this ambiguity, between ‘perception-as-feeling’ and ‘perception-as-judging’ is in order. Further, our ‘perceptions of other’ are conditioned by ‘our perceptions of self’, so that if we understand ourselves as a ‘unit of being’ rather than a ‘unit of perception’, our perceptions of others will be in terms of defining and measuring them in terms of their local, visible, material ‘being’.

When we bring together our understanding of ourselves as the author of our understanding of others, we get a ‘strange loop’ relationship of the type drawn by M.C. Escher;


A unif of being defining another unit of being

This would appear to describe the ‘judging’ option; i.e. if we believe that ‘who we are’ = a local, visible, material thing-in-itself or ‘unit of being’, then our ‘perception’ of others will seek to define them as ‘local, visible, material’ things in themselves, and to understand their development and behaviour as being internally [inside-outwardly] driven and directed.  This disconnected voyeur view is not simply of ‘other’ by ‘self’, but also of ‘self’ by ‘self’.  In other words, in this view we deem our own behaviour to arise fully and solely from our own interior, making it feasible to have a social system of ‘justice’ wherein we judge the behaviour of ourselves and others relative to a code of behaviours of absolute, local, independently-existing thing-in-themselves individuals; e.g. a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ behaviour code.

Now, if instead of believing ourselves to be a ‘unit of being’, we understand ourselves to be a ‘unit of perception’, this once again elicits a ‘strange loop’ but it is no longer a case of one ‘thing-in-itself’ judging and defining a ‘thing-in-itself’.   A ‘unit of perception’ would be the non-manifest ‘feeling’ of the membrane or pure relational potential that stands between ‘outside’ and ‘inside’, or rather is the conjugate relation of the habitat-dynamic and the inhabitant dynamic. It would be how one storm-cell NOT sees but feels another storm-cell in the common flow of the atmosphere.  In eastern philosophy, this is described as the pregnant relational nothingness from whence all content forms, ‘sunyata’, context without content and thus the ‘pure feeling’ from whence ‘content’ (rational thought, judgement) emerges.

how a unit-of-perception 'sees' or rather 'feels'

These concepts are not easy to ‘grasp’ since they are not ‘rational’ concepts but such concepts are needed for an understanding that is capable of bridging the gap between the manifest [local, visible, material] and the non-manifest [non-local, non-visible, non-material]; i.e. that acknowledges the purely relational ‘immanent impetus’ that underlies and transcends the manifest ‘what things-in-themselves [units of being] are doing’ material dynamics.

The suggestion here is that the non-rational view wherein ‘nothingness’ or ‘sunyata’, this ‘pregnant middle’ or ‘immanent impetus’ [evolutionary force] is in a natural, transcendent primacy over the rational ‘what things-in-themselves do’ view.  In rational-analytic inquiry, we examine ‘what goes on’ after-the-fact and conveniently RE-present it as if it all proceeded in a forward in time causal progression.  Such RE-presentation is always possible and it makes it look as if what unfolded is ‘predestined’, in the same manner as people tend to think that their ‘genes’ predetermine how their physical being unfolds.  This is the impression one gets when we ‘exclude’ ourselves from participation in evolution and see evolution as something that is ‘happening to us’.  That is, we tend to think; “how will the world dynamic continue to unfold and how will I be affected by it?”   While it is true that we are not in control of what unfolds, it is not as if we have no role in the unfolding; i.e. as a strand in the web of life our dynamics can shake the web in such a manner that resonances may arise.  If one man repeatedly stands and sits in a football arena, it may trigger a wave that wraps around and around the stadium. [3]



The title of this essay; From ‘Design and Behaviour’ to ‘Intelligent Design and Intelligent Behaviour’ to…?

… draws attention to the ‘figure/ground/gestalt relational issues and the alternative of understanding ‘forms’ in the plural as ‘units of perception’ and/or ‘units of being’.  As ‘units of perception’, ‘cells’ and all ‘forms’, are ‘appearances’ that give us a sense of the ‘local, visible, material’, that we can concretize with language as ‘units of being’ or ‘things-in-themselves’.

That is, the title would have us assume that we are talking about ‘the design and behaviour’ of ‘local entities’.  In the case of forms such as humans and animals and plants as well, the designs of the forms and the behaviours of the forms seem to be the product of an extraordinarily ‘intelligent mind’ [a ‘rational’ intelligence rather than a purely relational, non-content-focused feeling].

In the plant world, this notion that the plant as a ‘local thing-in-itself’ is the source of its own behaviour implies that there is something in the local plant that is responsible for its behaviour; i.e. the model of a plant as a ‘thing-in-itself’ with ‘its own locally originating behaviour’ implies that there is something local in the plant’s interior that is responsible for its ‘plant behaviour’; i.e. this is the definition of a ‘mind’, the thing inside the local, independently-existing thing-in-itself that is responsible for its behaviour.

Research into plant behaviours such as is presented in David Suzuki’s ‘The Nature of Things’ episode entitled ‘Smarty-Plants: uncovering the secret world of plant behaviour’, leads the researcher into marvelling at the unbelievable intelligence in the relational aspects of plant behaviours.  E.g. how does the daughter plant choose its host plant?  The implication of ‘intelligence’ on the part of the plant derives from our modeling it, in the first place, as a ‘local, independently-existing thing-in-itself’ with its own locally originating, internal process directed behaviour’.   The internal centre of ‘direction’ of its behaviour is not the result of our investigation but is a requirement we ourselves carry into the investigation, and in the case of plants, we not only marvel at the intelligence of this ‘centre of direction’, we are having a hell of a job of imagining where it resides because plants don’t have central nervous systems as animals mostly do [without getting into how chickens can run with their head chopped off, and frogs can local and remove drops of irritants placed on their bodies after their heads are removed].

The fact is, that our DEFINING of a physical form as a ‘thing-in-itself’ forces us to invent a local internal centre of direction of the behaviour of the ‘thing-in-itself’, just as we do likewise to invent local internal centres of direction of development of the thing-in-itself form that we call ‘genes’.

But now we are finding out that ‘genes’ are ‘the memory’ of what has been transpiring, not the source of it;

“Cells “learn” by making new receptors and integrating them with specific effector proteins. Cellular memory is represented by the “new” genes that code for these proteins. This process enables organisms to survive in ever changing environments.” — Bruce Lipton

That is, the receptor-effectors are in conjugate relation, they are ‘units of perception’ that are the ‘current snapshot’ of an essentially relational, evolutionary process much like Lamarck envisaged it wherein the fields [les fluides incontenables] are exciting the matter in the field [les fluides contenables] and what we get to ‘see’ are the ‘material dynamics’ that we RE-present in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’ as if ‘they were doing it’.  In fact, the ‘automorphism’ belongs to the ‘flow’ [the continually transforming relational spatial-plenum] rather than to the local, visible, material forms.

What this says is that the continually unfolding relational experiencing that we are tapped into is ‘physical reality’ while our RE-presentation of the visible portion of it based on the ‘units of perception’, in the reduced terms of ‘what things-in-themselves [‘units of being’] do’, is psychical idealization.  This idealized RE-presentation is very useful but it is not the ‘physical reality’ that our experience is tapping into.   But this RE-presentation, when it is confused for ‘physical phenomena’, is the source of incoherence in our relational behaviour; i.e. we start assuming that the behaviour of the individual is coming fully and solely out of its ‘self’, the ‘self’ that we are understanding to be a ‘unit of being’ rather than a ‘unit of perception’.

To begin to explore the individual’s ‘mind’ in searching for the ‘source’ of his/her behaviour is part of the incoherence that ‘realism’ traps us in.  The individual form is a resonance feature in the flow; i.e. a ‘unit of perception’ and NOT a ‘unit of being’ notionally equipped with ‘a mind of its own’ or internal centre-of-direction of its ‘thing-in-itself’ behaviour.

We are ‘units of perception’ in the continuing flow [the continually transforming relational spatial-plenum], NOT ‘units of being’ and it is the ‘mind of Nature’ that not only inhabits but creates us [Emerson].  This alternative understanding [which leads to alternative forms of organization amongst men] effects our understanding ‘fractally’; i.e. everywhere we impute visible forms to imply ‘units of being’, we can impute them to imply  ‘units of perception’.

Evidently, we are in the process of sorting this out, and have been since 500 B.C. in the Western time-based historical view, when the intellectual adventure of Ancient man moved the explanations of the world dynamics ‘from the gods’ who were ‘everywhere at the same time and out of sight’ [like gravity and thermal and acoustic fields], to local visible forms that were imputed to ‘exist absolutely’ as ‘units of being’ rather than as ‘units of perception’, so that we searched ‘inside of them’ for the source of ‘their thing-in-itself’ development and for the source of ‘their thing-in-itself’ behaviour.

Within the thin blue film of the earth’s biosphere we tend to see dynamics in terms of the creation and destruction of ‘units of being’.  However, as Nietzsche and other philosophers have pointed out, in a finite and unbounded relational space, many things appear to be emerging and growing and dissipating and shrinking while the volume of the space remains the same, suggesting that what we are seeing are forms in a transforming energy-charged flow.  This view in terms of transformation of relational space resolves paradoxes related to the splitting apart of ‘creation’ and ‘destruction’ such as; ‘The construction of a new housing development is, at the same time, the destruction of a forest’; i.e. ‘creation’ and ‘destruction’ are conjugate aspects of the one dynamic of relational transformation’.  Relational transformation is something that ‘sneaks up on us’ since our focus in typically on ‘what things-in-themselves are doing’.  As John Lennon says; “Life is something that happens to us while we are busy making other plans”.

In the non-rational realm of feelings, we have this same tendency as with ‘creation’ and ‘destruction’, to split apart that which is transformative; i.e. as units of perception we feel an immanent impetus that we call ‘love’ that gives us positive impetus [attraction] and ‘hate’ that gives us negative impetus [repulsion], however these two apparent opposites can similarly be understood as conjugate aspects of the one dynamic of transformation of ourselves as ‘unit of perception’.  In restorative justice, the hate that defines the parents of the murdered son, for the murderer, can be a powerful agency of transformation if it is allowed to be; i.e. if the there is mutual reconciliation to the point that the murderer becomes like the adopted son of the grieving parents.  Such things do happen and the transformational force is very powerful.   No-one wants to get ‘stuck’ in a situation where they let themselves be defined by their hate.  This is like the old warning of mothers to children when they ‘make a face’ that is offensive, what if they were unable to let go of it?

Whatever dynamics we are observing, we have this option of understanding them, from the dynamics of atoms through to the dynamics of stars and planets, as the activity of ‘units of being’ [‘what things-in-themselves are doing’] or as the activity of ‘units of perception’ [flow-features in the continually transforming relational spatial-plenum]. In the former, we see ‘creation/construction/production’ and ‘destruction/demolition/dissipation’ as separate things; e.g. when we are constructing the new housing development we are not at the same time thinking of our destroying of the forest, and that is why John Lennon’s quote rings so true [“Life is something that happens to us while we are busy making other plans].  In the latter, we put ourselves in the purely relational zone that is ‘in the middle of the membrane, the not-yet either outside or inside but the pregnant mediating potential from which both of these spring.   The automorphism of the energy-charged spatial-plenum engenders a tornado as a dynamic figure that dances with its own dynamic parenting ground; these are not two things but conjugate aspects of the continuing transformation of relational space.

In the macro-fractal implementation of this substitution of ‘units of perception’ for ‘units of being’, the thin blue ecosphere-membrane of the earth invites us to understand the earth as a ‘unit of perception’ rather than as a ‘unit of being’.

How this changes our values and organizational dynamics, touched briefly upon herein, is a topic for another day and another essay.


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[1] The complex signal of Gabor’s ‘Theory of Communications’ which incorporates phase information [that human visual sensing does not use] that enables a holographical or ‘relational space’ view of dynamical behaviour, involves a ‘complex signal’ whose ‘topology’ or spatial-relational structure is similar to the receptor-effector ‘topology’.  In Gabor’s complex signal, the real and imaginary components have a relative phase lag of 90 degrees [the equivalent to multiplication by the square root of minus one or ‘the imaginary unit’].  The understanding of complex signal is what allows the holographic imaging of wavefields as in seismological and medical imaging applications, which make use of the conjugate relation of outside-inward moving and inside-outward moving wave energy [source-sink reciprocity].


[2] Non-euclidian spherical space has the same topological properties as the toroidal flow.  Consider a sphere whose surface space is filled with cars as if there were all in the flow of a spherical-space freeway.  Since there are no fixed reference points, the only reference is the spatial-relational configuration which one is included in.  This is a continually transforming relational spatial-plenum where ‘divergence’ and ‘convergence’ are always in conjugate relation with each other.  That is, ‘divergence’ is assessed by the relative separating of a subset of the inhabitants of this space.  But since the space is finite and unbounded, there can be no ‘growth’ in the space occupied and therefore no ‘net divergence’ or ‘net convergence’.  The ‘appearance’ of divergence/growth and/or convergence/shrinkage is all that we that can impute to the observation.  Similarly, in the spherical space of the earth’s biosphere, so long as it is a finite and unbounded space, ‘creation’ and ‘growth’ and ‘destruction’ and ‘shrinkage’ is impossible in a physical sense, there can only be ‘transformation’ in a relational space.  As Nietzsche said;


“And do you know what “the world” is to me? Shall I show it to you in my mirror? This world: a monster of energy, without beginning, without end; a firm, iron magnitude of force that does not grow bigger or smaller, that does not expend itself but only transforms itself; as a whole, of unalterable size, a household without expenses or losses, but likewise without increase or income …” –Nietzsche, ‘The Will to Power’, 1067


As Stuart Kaufmann observes from his research into ‘complexity’; “The structure of the organization is also the record of the embodied know-how …”.  We could apply this to the evolutionary dynamics of the ‘receptor-effector’ ‘unit of perception’, and again to the evolving world.  The visibly changing structure we can observe is the record of the embodied learning on the part of the ‘unit of perception’.   The inside-outward mushrooming asserting dynamics of the storm-cell in the atmosphere is in conjugate relation with the non-local, non-visible, non-material [relational] outside-inward informing dynamics of the flow it is included in.  Once again we see dynamic form as a ‘unit of perception’ whose visible organizational structure is the record of its embodied know-how’.  The same is true in the case of the plant; i.e. the organization constituting the plant does not imply an internal source but is instead the record of embodied know-how of the plant understood as a ‘unit of perception’ rather than a ‘unit of being’.


[3] Analytical inquiry delivers to us an RE-presentation of dynamics that are ‘after-the-fact’ and out of context of the relational space influences that shape what is unfolding.  For example, analytical inquiry will extract the trajectory of a driver in the flow of the freeway so that it can be displayed on its own, as if his movements were directed purely and solely from out of his own internal intellection and purpose.  In such a display, the influence of the web of relations that were orchestrating his behaviour are missing, yet these are the physical phenomenon; i.e. the physical phenomenon is NOT captured in the isolated RE-presentation of what the driver, as a ‘thing-in-himself’ was doing.  If, as we move into the flow of life we wait for a gap to open up for us, like the new driver who stops in the onramp and is then paralyzed by fear that ‘the waters of the Red Sea’ may not open for him if he steps into them; i.e. who hesitates because he cannot see his path laid out before him, then we are lost.

As Joseph Campbell says;

 “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” … “If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.”

as John Lennon says;

“Life is something that happens to us while we are busy making other plans”

and as Goethe says in ‘Faust’

 “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back– Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” —John Anster’s free translation of Goethe’s Faust