Pro-Nature or Pro-Choice?
The argument between the ‘Pro-Life’ and ‘Pro-Choice’ factions might take on a very different complexion if the notion of ‘choice’ were to be examined more closely.
In particular, the notion of human ‘control’ over ‘population’ could be exposed as an artefact of science confusing ‘idealised models’ for ‘reality’. Human beings are not ‘in control’, not when they are understood as being ‘a strand in the interdependent, mutually supportive ‘web-of-life’. When they/we label insects as ‘pests’ and attempt to ‘control their population’, we are spitting on the web and in so doing, we spit on ourselves. When they/we identify and label bacteria as ‘pathogens’ and attempt to ‘control their population’, we are spitting on the web and in so doing, we spit on ourselves (keeping things in ‘resonant’ balance is another matter). As Pasteur said, in refuting his own ‘germ theory’ which labeled microbes ‘pathogens’, and as Hippocrates had said before him, when one lives in a web of interdependencies within a dynamic space (Nature) that one is merely an inclusion in (man did not invent it but was invented by it), the issue is not ‘control’ but ‘sustaining balance and harmony’.
Similarly, in ‘the new physics’ (relativity, quantum theory), ‘local material systems’ are understood as developments within a resonant energy-charged space. Ernst Mach’s principle of the relativity of space and matter contends that; ‘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.’ This is the relationship between ‘field-flow’ and ‘flow-features’ as is easily understood in the familiar case of a collection of storm-cells in the flow of the earth’s atmosphere. Because of their interdependence (mutual inclusion in a common dynamic spatial flow), it is not possible (it is madness) for one group of ‘cells’ (who unilaterally declare themselves to be independent of and ‘superior’ to ‘the rest’) to control ‘their population’.
As man discovered with his program of elimination of insects he considered ‘pests’, one cannot ‘eliminate’ the insects without at the same time modifying the interdependent web of relationships that man is also included in, as is implicit in Mach’s principle cited above. As the aboriginals say, when we spit on our fellows, we spit on ourselves. The problem with the proposition that ‘we can control the human population’ is that it implies that ‘some of us’ can do this without impacting ourselves, so that we could notionally refine and purify ‘the human race’ by a program of elimination of our ‘inferior’ brothers. This is like saying that we could eliminate phytoplankton (with our chemical effluents) with impunity since they are inferior marine creatures that we do not interact with. However, phytoplankton feed on sunbeams (convert the energy of the sun to nutrients by way of photsynthesis) and plankton feed on phytoplankton and fish feed on plankton and man feeds on fish; a web of mutually supportive interdependencies referred to as the marine food web.
The problem with the notion of ‘population control’ is with how WE DEFINE the human organism; i.e. in such a way as to impute the power of ‘choice’ to him, … to think in terms of man having the power to ‘choose to control the population’ or not, as if the ‘population’ were a specifiable number of discrete units of local independent material objects comparable to widgets coming out of the factory of nature which could be accepted or rejected according to the preference/choice of some of the earlier arrivals who appointed themselves as quality control stewards. But ‘the population’ is not given by ‘the number of currently emergent units’; it is an attribute of the parenting space which is continually sourcing/gathering them and regathering them.
The idealised definition of the human organism as a ‘local, independently-existing material system with its own locally-originating, internal process-driven and internal knowledge and purpose-directed behaviour’, is foundational to the Darwinian notion that the organism is ‘what evolves’ (e.g. rather than the web-of-life or ‘ecosystem’ evolving as in the cultivation of multi-species microbial communities). There is no suggestion in this definition, of the mediating role of the resonant-energy charged space of nature within which the organism can be understood as a dynamic flow-form, where, if we act to change or eliminate selected forms, the dynamic spatial medium that is continually parenting all forms is changed, and with it, all dynamic forms that are included in the dynamic spatial medium aka ‘Nature’.
By confusing the idealised model of an organism (as a local, independently existing material system with its own local agency) for ‘reality’, we open the door to the madness of ‘social Darwinism’ as articulated by biologist/philosopher contemporaries of Darwin;
“The human state, as an embodiment of race, an organic unity, … must reach an ever higher level of perfection… through the destruction of the less well-endowed individual, for the more excellently endowed to win space for the expansion of its progeny. …. even the most careful selection of the best can accomplish nothing, it is not linked with the merciless elimination of the worst.” — Alexander Tille
“Sentiment should never be allowed to usurp the place of reason in these weighty ethical questions (deliberate elimination of inferior humans by superior humans).” – Ernst Haeckel
There is a problem here with the very concept of ‘choice’ as a ‘power’ that a human organism is ‘allegedly’ equipped with. What can ‘choice’ mean if ‘habitat’ and ‘inhabitants’ are bound together in a ceaselessly innovative coevolutional unfolding? If there is truth in Heraclitus observation;
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” – Heraclitus
Ernst Mach (philosophical mentor on ‘relativity’ to both Albert Einstein and Henri Poincaré) is not the only contemporary philosopher to suggest that we DO NOT move forward as though through a ‘fixed space’, the condition that is foundational to the notion of ‘choice’. Other philosophers such as Joseph Campbell have also understood that ‘our motion’ is not strictly ‘ours’ but is more realistically spatial-relational transformation. This suggests, as in Mach’s principle, that we are dynamic inclusions in the resonant energy-charged medium of space whose movements must be seen in the larger context of the transformation of spatial-relationships; i.e. the movement of wind, flag, mind of the Buddhist parable. The graceful swaying of tree boughs and the transformation of the windflow are simultaneous and mutually reciprocal; they do not happen in a one after the other tit-for-tat time sequence or ‘feedback loop’. In the words of Joseph Campbell;
“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.” — Joseph Campbell
The movements of ‘friendly drivers’ in the flow of the busy freeway are individually and collectively orchestrated by the opening of spatial possibility. As they move into emerging openings, so do they open up spatial possibility that others may move into. There is no delay between their occupying of new space and their releasing of formerly occupied space, it is one simultaneous dynamic; i.e. it is the transformation of space. When we move forward, we, at the same time, transform the space we are included in which is the source of the spatial possibility that allows us to move forward; i.e. that allows our assertive potentialities to blossom. One can find Mach’s principle in this real-life experience, which is a more comprehensive understanding of ‘dynamics’ than dynamics rendered in terms of the ‘local agency’ (actions/interactions) of ‘locally-existing material systems’.
If ‘our behaviour’ is not simply ‘ours’ but is inextricably bound up in the transformation of space, it is nonsense to attribute to ourselves ‘first cause’ creative sourcing of ‘our own behaviour’ as is assumed in ‘choice’ and in ‘control’.
Philosophically, the notion of an individual being able to ‘choose’ amongst alternative courses of action associates with the concept of ‘free will’. ‘Free will’ has always been controversial and for a very good reason; it is apparent from our experience that we are included in something more powerful than ourselves; i.e. we are included in a ceaselessly innovative spatial dynamic that is inherently more powerful than ourselves. If the space we are in floods, we drown, if it burns, we burn with it, if it is oxygen-starved, we suffocate, etc.
We have no choice in such matters, unless one wants to call it a choice of whether to shout and scream or run around like a cat with its tail on fire, or to suicide or to do injury to others as a kind of ‘compensation’ for our powerlessness to extricate ourselves from the dynamic of nature that we are inextricably included in.
One doesn’t have to be coming from ‘religion’ or ‘the Bible’ to be critical of ‘pro-choice’. There is an unnatural ‘arrogance’ in the notion of man feeling that he has the right to do whatever he/she chooses to do with his/her body, or what’s in his/her body. After all, the bacterial families/communities in the human body are important to the persisting of our lives even if they do feed on excrement and produce smelly greenhouse gases.
As the aboriginals acknowledge, ‘the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth’, … ‘when we spit on the earth, we spit on ourselves’.
When we identify some or other brothers as ‘pests’ and shoot them or spray them with poison, we attack the ecosystemic web-of-life in which we are but a strand. When we deplete the cod or salmon fisheries, we deplete our friends who collect in themselves nutrients like plankton (which in turn collect in themselves nutrients like phytoplankton (which in turn collect in themselves nutritious sunbeams by way of photosynthesis)). This ‘food web’ is an amazing nutrient collection and cycling system which ‘is working on man’s behalf’. We train cormorants to fish for us because they can catch fish better than we can; i.e. they extend our human reach in the collection of nutrients. Fish do the same. Depleting a fisheries is like consuming an inclusionally nested network of trained cormorants. By so doing, we reduce the nutrient-collecting reach naturally available to us that was implicit in the ecosystemic web-of-life that humans came ‘bundled into’.
Humans have an ‘ego problem’ and it is spelled ‘F R E E W I L L’ and/or ‘C H O I C E’. These notions imply ‘first cause’ creative sourcing of behaviour, an absolute or God-like power of ‘first cause’ origination of actions. This abstract notion is bundled into popular, mainstream ‘science’ which characterizes humans as notional ‘local, independently-existing organisms, notionally equipped with their own locally originating (internal process-driven and internal knowledge and purpose-directed) behaviours.
As Nietzsche observed, ‘science’ is ‘anthropomorphism’; i.e. we impute this same ‘local being’ and ‘local agency’ to organisms, cells, DNA, whatever; i.e. we impute internal know-how and purpose as ‘first cause’ sources of ‘behavioural direction’ to these notional ‘local, independently existing material systems’. Of course, as John Stuart Mill observed, the notions of ‘local being’ and ‘local agency’ derive only from ‘common belief’ in definitions. We see something and then we name-label it and define it, and as Mill says; ‘Every definition implies an axiom, that in which we affirm the existence of the object defined’.
Do we ‘really’ believe that a ‘hurricane’ is a local system with its own locally originating behaviour? The hurricane is the result of turbulence in the spatial flow of the atmosphere, not the cause of the turbulence. The sun heats the flowing fluid of the atmosphere differentially (more at the equator and less at the poles) and brings it towards the boil, and the ‘boils’ or ‘whorls’ that form in it, emerge into existence to transport thermal-energy from thermal-energy-rich equatorial regions to thermal-energy-poor polar regions.
BUT, … the whorl or hurricane attracts our visual attention and then we say; a storm-cell ‘is forming’, ‘it is intensifying’, ‘it is now a hurricane called Katrina’, ‘it is moving towards the Gulf Coast’, ‘it is wreaking destruction on New Orleans’, ‘it is weakening’, and then ‘it is dissipating’.
If there were a ‘Pasteur’ or ‘Béchamp’ amongst the meteorologists, they would similarly remind us that ‘the storm-cells are nothing, the terrain is everything’; i.e. the proliferation of ‘storm-cells’ are the RESULT of imbalances in the flow-field pressures of the fluid space known as ‘the atmosphere’ in which the ‘storm-cells’ are inherently included dynamic flow-features. The storm-cells are the visual features which attract our attention so that we name-label and define them, imputing and declaring them to be ‘local, independently-existing material systems, notionally equipped with their own locally originating (internal process-driven) behaviours.
That is just how science ‘models’ the visual storm-cell feature in the flow and science models it ‘anthropomorphically’ by imputing it to have a God-like power in its interior, of ‘first cause’ creative sourcing of ‘its behaviour’.
However useful this anthropomorphic model is, IT IS NOT REAL, and to confuse such idealisation for reality in such cases (to take the God-like internal power to be ‘real’), is ‘superstition’.
Such simple scientific modeling, if confused for ‘reality’, is ‘superstition’.
[[N.B. Newton contended that the harmonies of the celestial/world dynamic were the handiwork of God and that his scientific models were making use of mathematically framed descriptions which fell well short of capturing the harmony-imbued ‘reality’ of Nature.]]
Of course, if you are a scientist ‘in the ranks’ and overtly state this, you are ‘expelled’ from the profession by the ‘high ranking’ gatekeepers, particularly in biology where the dissenter is labeled a ‘creationist’ and expelled on the grounds that he is ‘mixing’ religion into his ‘science’ (see Ben Stein’s film ‘Expelled’). One has to have some ‘stature’ of the ilk of Einstein’s to say things like;
“As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.”
The point is that science’s contention was not, in Newton’s case, that the world dynamic could be rendered in terms of ‘local, independently-existing material systems, notionally possessing their own local agency’. He only intended it as a ‘poor-boy model’ of dynamics that was nevertheless a very useful ‘idealisation’, but not a model that we should confuse for ‘reality’. As we know from ‘the new physics’, matter is ‘made of wavefield resonance’ (spatial energy-charging) in the same vein as the storm-cell in the flow; i.e. the flow is the reality while the ‘local, apparently independent (they are NOT REALLY independent) material systems are secondary features. There can be no ‘first cause’ sourcing of dynamic behaviour originating from within these secondary features, but for purposes of SIMPLE MODELING and the utilities that we gain from them, as Kepler says; ‘Choosing not that which is most true, but that which is most easy’, delivers insights on some of the simpler mechanical systems attributes of this type of model.
Darwin’s theory is based on such a simple model of the ‘organism’ as a ‘local system with its own local agency’.
Our experience is that our behaviour is orchestrated by ‘tensions’. When we sit quietly in the classroom, the absence of action is not directed from out of our ‘local internal purpose, but is orchestrated by the ‘tensional field’ we are included in. As in earthquake theory, the tensional field is the parenting source of the movement of material. The tensional field is invisible, and non-material (it is ‘spatial-relational’) but it is REAL and it is the ‘first cause’ while the movement of local material systems is secondary. Because our Western cultural imprinting has us put what is visible into an unnatural precedence, we ignore the tensional fields and we focus on ‘the movement of ‘local material objects/organisms’.
The following ‘plate tectonics’ diagram shows the fluid nature of the earth. The tensional fields derive from the dynamical balance sustaining space-earth ‘habitat-inhabitant’ relation. If we could illustrate the invisible and non-material tensional fields in the resonant energy charged (spring-loaded) earth space, we could see the spatial intensity distribution of the fields of tension/extension. Where there is no evident motion there is still transformation (organic carbon to diamonds and petroleum etc.). Where we see movement, our habit is to see it in terms of ‘things moving’ (i.e. in terms of the dynamics of ‘local material systems’). The ‘continent’ is that portion of the convection cell flow that is ‘currently at the surface’ (this is continually changing) and since it is of interest to us short-lived humans, we can name-label it and define it and thereby axiomatically affirm its existence, as we do with hurricanes. As a result, we no longer have to understand motion in terms of nonlocal, unbounded spatial-relational flow, but we can instead re-render it in the abstract terms of ‘the movement of material objects’.
By the same token, to say that the ‘organism’ or ‘cell’ has its own locally originating, internal-process driven and internal knowledge and purpose directed behaviour (e.g. to say that a ‘cell’ has its own local, internal purpose-directed chemical-gradient seeking behaviour), is to speak of idealized ‘models’, not of ‘reality’.
Popular opinion has absurdly elevated an idealised mechanical model, Darwinism, based on ‘reproduction’ (i.e. ‘repetition’) and ‘chance variance’ to the alleged level of ‘reality’. The notion of ‘reproduction’ as being a ‘repetition’ of the same thing is in basic logical contradiction to the very notion of ‘evolution’; i.e. if the inhabitant is to the habitat as the hurricane is to the atmospheric flow, then the offspring cannot emerge into the same world and it is not the same organism as the parent (its identity is not ‘absolute-in-itself’ but takes meaning from the habitat it inhabits)
“No man [inhabitant] ever steps in the same river [habitat] twice, for it’s not the same river [habitat] and he’s not the same man [inhabitant].” – Heraclitus
Contrary to Darwin’s approach, Lamarck’s theory of evolution presumed only ‘one physics’ and assumed that ‘fields’ were the primary influence; the thermal energy field, electromagnetic field, gravity field, ‘les fluides incontenables’ (fluids that contain but which cannot themselves be contained). These field influences that are ‘everywhere at the same time’ were left out of Darwin’s model. Instead, in Darwin’s theory we are asked to believe that evolution proceeds from local internal processes and local internal purpose (biochemical machinery that is making more of the same) with the assistance of ‘chance variations’.
As ‘dissenting’ evolutionary biologists point out, the simultaneous mutual support in ecosystemic webs (the soil web, the marine food web) evolve and develop without being broken apart by evolution, as if by individual organisms and organs. This is sometimes referred to as ‘irreducible complexity’ which hard-core Darwinists tend to label ‘creationism’, a politically effective tactic to ‘expel’ those scientists who find, in their scientific inquiry, the shortfalls of Darwinism.
‘Hard’ Darwinists are not only believers in the progressive refinement of a species by the natural elimination of inferior, ‘less fit’ members, but have the same sort of belief in the evolution of scientific ideas by progressive refinement through repetition with chance variation that produces ‘fitter’ variants that eliminate those that are ‘inferior’. Of course, they consider the ‘superior human variants’ to be the appropriate stewards and gatekeepers of the ‘superior scientific variants’. Racial contamination is, with the Darwinists, as much to be feared as the contamination of refined scientific thinking by inferior thinking such as they construe ‘religious’ thinking to be. Heaven help us if we ‘contaminate’ eons of progressive racial refinement by mixing back in the inferior variants, and if we ‘contaminate’ centuries of progressive scientific theory refinement by mixing back in inferior theoretical variants such as ‘creationism’.
In developments within the post-Darwinist biologist community, Douglas Caldwell’s experiments with evolution in multi-species microbial communities have exposed the over-simplistic idealized nature of the Darwinian ‘organism-as-locally-existing-material-system-with-its-own-local agency’, by showing the mutually supportive ‘interdependencies’ as in a ‘ecosystem web’ as being fundamental to the evolution of microbial communities. These experiments opened the door to observations that would be impossible in studying humans; i.e. a human lifecycle (70 years = 600,000 hours) compared to a microbe lifecycle (1 hour) would mean that studying a microbial community in a laboratory study of 2 years in duration, translates into 17,000 microbe generations, the equivalent of studying the evolution of human communities for a period of more than one million years.
It has often been suggested that the Darwinian model was preceded by ‘Social Darwinist’ theory and that Darwin organised his ‘data’ according to that pre-existing bias. Caldwell’s word-count analysis of Darwin’s ‘The Origin of Species’ validates the notion that Darwin ‘mined’ his collection of data and observations to find support for an a priori bias to the ‘survival of the fittest’ mechanism.
The simultaneous mutually supportive interdependencies of ‘web-of-life’ organisation inherent in nature are ‘not found’ because ‘not looked for’.
Ok, to go back and close the loop as to what this has to do with ‘free will’ and ‘choice’;
The confusing of the scientific model of the human organism (as a local, independent material system with its own locally originating, internal purpose-driven behaviour) with ‘reality’, has become part of the Western culture-imprinting of youth.
The notion of human ‘free will’ and ‘choice’ are bundled into this ‘cultural imprinting’.
In the Amerindian aboriginal culture and in some Oriental cultures (Buddhist, Taoist, Veda), it is understood that the ‘local agency of the material system’ is visual illusion (Maya) as in the Buddhist proverb of ‘wind, flag, mind’; i.e. ‘which moves first, the flag or the wind?’. The answer is that ‘wind, flag, mind’, all move at the same time.
This is the same point as in the example of the storm-cell; i.e. ‘does the storm-cell stir the flow of the atmosphere or is the storm-cell stirred by the flow of the atmosphere?’. The paradox is only apparent since we, the observer, have selected out the visual form and by name-labeling and defining it, have axiomatically affirmed ‘its own local existence’ and ‘its own local agency’. This is a mental model that should not be confused for ‘reality’. Our experience informs us that our developing assertive potentialities and the opening of spatial possibility are a dynamic unity which WE break apart into two pieces and, in our Western scientific cultural imprinting, discard the ‘opening of spatial possibility’ aspect, investing all of the sourcing of the dynamic into the ‘asserting’ of the local ‘animate’ material system, the scientific model termed ‘the organism’. Hence, the proposition that ‘the farmer produces the crops’ is accepted as ‘reality’, without having to mention the complex fertility of the soil and the creation of nutrition from solar irradiation by way of photosynthesis, complex integrated dynamics that arrived before man and played a role in creating man. ‘The crops produce the farmer’ would be more realistic.
‘Free will’ and ‘choice’ that associate with this scientific model of the organism (which attributes the sourcing of the behaviour of the organism to local internal biochemical processes that drive the organism, and local internal knowledge and purpose that direct it), ignores the inherent-in-nature conjugate influence of the ‘opening of spatial possibility’.
For example, consider the ‘choice’ made by a trio who visit a secluded sandy cove on a rugged coastline. They walk around the rocky promontories to get to the cove and head shoreward to the point where the cove truncates against sheer vertical cliff. Perhaps there is one girl and two prospective suitors and an argument ensues, perhaps on moral and ethical issues. The drama that plays out between them, they would term ‘reality’ (the actions/interactions of local material systems notionally equipped with their own local agency, as in the ‘scientific model’). But the ‘reality’ of this interpersonal drama is in fact a ‘secondary reality’ since the tide is coming back in and bringing the surf with it. At high tide, the sandy cove is a raging surf-filled basin whose surface is now ten feet above the ‘sandy beach’. The reality is that if they don’t make it out of the sandy cove and past the rocky promontories on either side of the cove before the incoming tide reaches the outermost points of the rocky promontories, the trio will be trapped and likely drowned.
But will they be too caught up in the SECONDARY ‘reality’ of the ‘actions/interactions’ of local material organisms, notionally equipped with their own locally originating (internal process driven and internal knowledge and purpose-directed) behaviours?
Our experience is that animals that don’t claim ‘free will’ and ‘choice’ for themselves implicitly allow their individual and collective behaviours to be orchestrated by the dynamics of space they are included in (i.e. they would not be distracted by ‘competition’ for a female to the point that they let themselves be trapped by the incoming tide’). An animal ‘trio’ would move out of the sandy cove before it was too late and ‘more sensibly’ continue their interaction on high ground. We are, sometimes, such animals. Our ‘primordial self’ is said to be such an animal. The wildgeese that let their individual and collective behaviour be orchestrated by the resonances in the air turbulence, organising them into a ‘V’ flying formation are such animals. Bikers riding in a group similarly let their individual and collective behaviours be orchestrated by resonances in the turbulent airflow they are included in. As friendly drivers on a busy freeway, we let our individual and collective movements be orchestrated by the spatial-relational dynamics we share inclusion in.
Mach’s principle of space-matter relativity (the ‘new physics’) says that; ‘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’.
We all understand this. It is something we experience. But we leave it out of our popular Western scientific model and instead model dynamics by rendering them in terms of ‘local material systems with their own locally originating behaviour’. Darwin employed this model as if it were ‘reality’, and it is our culturally-imprinted habit to continue to do it. But it is just a ‘model’ that should not be confused for reality. The reality is that the unfolding of our asserting potentialities and the opening of spatial possibility are one dynamic that WE, NOT NATURE, split into two parts, the Western cultural convention being to invest everything in the ‘unfolding of our assertive potentialities’ and to ignore the opening of spatial possibility.
The trio may have ‘chosen’ to visit the secluded sandy cove but they can’t give sole credit for the sourcing of their behaviour to ‘themselves’. This would be like the farmer claiming that ‘it was him’ that ‘produced the foodcrops’. They couldn’t have done it unless the dynamics of space that they were included in, opened the spatial possibility for them to do it. Thanks to the simple scientific model of the human organism as a locally existing material system with its own local agency, they consider the drama of their actions, the moral issues etc. to be ‘reality’. That is, one of the male suitors may be so fully committed to rescuing the girl from the other male’s deemed-inappropriate intentions, and the other may be so fully committed to carrying out his inappropriate attentions, that they lose touch with the ‘primary reality’, the dynamics of the space that they are included in and, and find themselves engulfed in the flood tide. That is, thanks to their cultural imprinting, they may relegate to secondary status the spatial orchestrating of their individual and collective behaviours (contrary to animals whose ‘reality’ spontaneously acknowledges the PRIMACY of the orchestrating influence of the dynamic space they are included in).
The scenario could be likened to a sailboater who acknowledges that his form (windfilled form of his sails), his drive power and his steerage/direction derive from the dynamics of space that he is situationally included in. In this mode, the sustaining of balance and harmony within the turbulence of winds and currents is ‘primary’ while his ‘destination’ is ‘secondary’. By ensuring sustained balance and harmony in his continuing-in-the-now voyage, he experiences continual unplanned ‘discovery’.
Then, he acquires the new technology of an ‘onboard engine’ that he uses as a supportive accessory to safeguard against ‘going on the rocks’. Later, he acquires a more powerful engine that makes the form, power and steerage/direction that he derives from the dynamic space he is situationally included in ‘redundant’. In this inverted primacy, he becomes the very model of the ‘local, independently-existing material system with its own locally-originating (onboard process-driven and onboard knowledge and purpose-directed) behaviour and he can go swiftly and directly to any destination ‘he chooses’. The dynamics of nature that he was formerly ‘taking direction from’ now appear to be ‘obstacles’ that stand in the way of him attaining his destination, that he must power his way through. The sense of balance and harmony in the voyage of the continuing present and the associated wonder, awe and innocence of ‘discovery’ is replaced by a sense of urgency, of being condemned to being ‘nowhere’ in the abyss between a point of departure and the ‘next planned destination’. The growth of personal power can lead to such ‘degeneracy’.
But from whence comes this ‘belief’ in the over-simple ‘powerboater’ model of man that robs him of the harmonies and discoveries that associate with his ‘sailboater psyche’?
The ‘believers’ in the simple ‘de-spatialized’ model of the organism as a local, independently-existing material system with its own locally-originating, internal biochemical process-driven and internal knowledge and purpose directed behaviour, will say that ‘wildgeese’ cooperate and that it is ‘team play’ or ‘group behaviour’ that has them fly together in such a manner as to go farther and faster for less expenditure of energy than they could ever do in solo flying mode. This notion of ‘cooperation’ amongst ‘local material organisms with their own locally originating agency’ implies that their behaviour derives from a ‘first cause’ behaviour-sourcing wellspring within them. There is no place in this view, to acknowledge that their individual and collective behaviour/organisation, rather than being internally sourced, is orchestrated by the dynamics of space that they are included in.
There is nothing ‘visual’ to contradict the over-simple scientific model of the organisms because the dynamics of space that are doing the orchestrating of the behaviours, are ‘invisible’ and ‘non-material’. In the case of the storm-cell, it is the invisible and non-material transforming pressure field with its inherent balance-seeking ‘ethic’ that is the primary source of the dynamic.
Meanwhile, as mentioned (I repeat myself here since I intuit that Wittgenstein is correct when he claims that we must survey and survey again these spatial connections to be able to assimilate the ‘synoptic’ view rather than just acknowledge it for the moment and then immediately forget it), our experience goes beyond our visual sensing and imaging capability. We can feel tensions and pressures and we can let our behaviours be orchestrated by them. The biker knows when the air turbulence he is in subsides, when his jowls and his jacket stop flapping as violently as they were, and when a small twist of the throttle gives him more acceleration than that he gets when the turbulence is greater. His experience of letting his relative spatial positioning be such as to co-cultivate ‘sweet-spots’ in the common ‘slipstream’ is ‘real’ enough even though the outside observer may credit the formation to the ‘intentions’, ‘free will’ and ‘choice’ of he and his biker friends. This ‘free will’ and ‘choice’ based direction of the behaviours ‘works’ in the sense that it ‘explains’ the visual imagery after the fact (like Newton’s laws explain celestial dynamics after the fact), but it misses the true sourcing origins of the behaviour; i.e. the behaviours are orchestrated by the dynamics of space the bikers are included in (the celestial harmonies are orchestrated by the dynamics of space the planets are included in, the source of the harmonies being ‘Nature’ or ‘God’).
Science habitually uses visual, material evidence. But webs of spatial relations are invisible and non-material. Understanding how a human works, when the human is seen as a local, material system with his own local agency, is like understanding how a hurricane works, when the hurricane is seen as a local material system with its own local agency. The fish that is part of the food web that humans are also included in, that features supportive interdependencies such as the fish collecting nutrient plankton and the plankton collecting nutrient phytoplankton, are not ‘seen’ when one models the human organism as a ‘local system’ with ‘inputs’ and ‘outputs’. Fish then become one of the ‘inputs’ that fuels the engine of man-the-machine as the organism is conceived in the scientific model. In the scientific model, ‘ecosystems’ are understood in terms of a collective of ‘local independently-existing things that interact ‘cooperatively’ with one another’. The orchestrating role of the dynamics of space is removed in this local-material-object-dynamics way of viewing and the ecosystemic dynamic is seen instead to originate within the system.
‘Free will’ and ‘choice’ exalt the human organism and impute God-like powers of first cause creative sourcing of behaviour to him, which recalls the Old Testament;
“God said to them, … Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” — Genesis 1:28
The trio on the beach that claimed that it was their ‘free will’ and ‘choice’ that brought them there, will contend, until they drown, that they have ‘free will’ and ‘choice’, … it’s just that their ‘choices’ are not looking quite so good at the moment. In fact, ‘bad Karma’ comes to mind, perhaps from their arrogant refusing to give credit to nature for opening up the spatial possibility for them to visit the sandy cove, taking ‘ the space of nature’ (the resonant-energy-charged medium that is parenting them and opening up the spatial possibility for them to assert into) for granted and attributing their going to the sandy cove fully to themselves.
‘Free will’ and ‘choice’ are attributes that are available, according to our Western cultural imprinting, not just to the human organism but to every notional ‘local system with its own local agency’. The ‘sovereign state’ is a case in point. It is a ‘secularized theological concept’ which, as with the scientific model of the human organism, depends on ‘common belief’. Anyone can bring a sovereign state into existence if they stimulate sufficient common belief. Flags and anthems will help, as well as the temptation to own a stake in the real estate that will, if there is sufficient common belief, ‘exist locally’ thanks to the believers imposing notional imaginary boundary lines to ‘define it’, boundaries that are chosen to be defendable by the size of the army the believers can muster. The stakeholders that support the persistence of ‘common belief’ in the ‘existence’ of the sovereign state perpetuate that belief by bearing arms and driving off and/or killing the ‘unbelievers’ or ‘making believers out of them’.
The scientific model of the’ organism’ as a local material system with its own local agency is, like the ‘sovereign state’, a ‘secularized theological’ concept (God-like powers of ‘first cause’ creative sourcing of behaviour are notionally infused into the interior of a notional locally existing material system) that is only valid as long as it has a group of common believers to defend it. The same is true of Darwinism.
Darwinism is persisting for the same reason as sovereign states do, thanks to the bullying action of their ‘common belief’ based supporters, those who have a stakeholder interest in believing in it.
Pro-life versus Pro-choice, and ‘Creationism’ versus ‘Darwinism’ are both influenced from the use of an over-simple model of the ‘human organism’ as a local self-sufficient first cause source of dynamic behaviour.
At the historical juncture where the credibility of the Christian/Islamic/Judaic ‘creation myth’ was collapsing and something ‘better’ was needed to give ourselves a sense of ‘where we have come from’ and how we relate to the ‘universe’ (the entirety of the continuing ‘creation’), we might have embraced the evolutionary theory of Emerson and Lamarck which would have put us ‘on the same page’ as ‘the new physics’, the ‘aboriginal creation myth’, the Buddhist and Vedantic understanding etc. That is, it could have united East and West and civilized and primitive under a common understanding, and it still can. Meanwhile, ‘social darwinism’ with its notion of ‘racial purification’ was reinforced in Darwinism as the notional ‘way of nature’ became, by hook or by crook, the popular preference and has been incorporated in our cultural imprinting of youth (As Einstein observes; ‘common sense’ is the collection of prejudices we acquire by age eighteen’).
Instead of acknowledging the conjugate habitat-inhabitant relation as in ‘the new physics’ of relativity and the understanding that we are ‘strands in a mutually supporting interdependent ‘web-of-life’, we are currently stuck with a popular ‘common belief’ that we human organisms are ‘self-replicating machines’ which evolve through the combination of ‘replication’ and ‘random chance variation’. This Darwinist theory avoids having to give any sourcing role to the dynamics of ‘space’ or ‘field’, as would have been the case with the approach taken by Lamarck and Emerson.
If we ‘correct course’ and accept that the ‘first cause’ of the evolutionary world dynamic is ‘field’ (an invisible and non-material tension of the type that orchestrates our behaviour if we are honest about it), then the notions of ‘choice’ and ‘random chance’ are put into their proper perspective, as simple ‘idealisations’ that should not be confused for reality.
‘God’, the ‘Creator’, by being equivalenced with ‘field’ must be understood as the aboriginal understood ‘the ultimate source’ as ‘The Great Mystery’. To the pioneers of ‘the new physics’ such as Erwin Schroedinger, it is fully appropriate to concede that physics ‘bottoms out’ in a ‘great mystery’. Shroedinger was insistent on the point that the material dynamics that our Western scientific culture is confusing for reality, is ‘illusion’ or ‘appearances’ (‘schaumkommen’).
The shift in our self-view from a ‘sailboating psyche’ where we acknowledge that our individual and collective behaviour is orchestrated by the dynamic space we are included in, … to a ‘powerboating psyche’ where we see our individual selves as the ultimate source of our own behaviour, … shifts us from the natural ethic of putting our behaviours in the service of sustaining balance and harmony, to the idealized ethic of controlling our individual and collective behaviours with a purpose to continually purify and refine them, by eliminating inferior behaviours and rewarding and nurturing superior behaviours.
The associated ‘destination-oriented’ behaviour imposes a burden upon us, to keep things moving ‘in the right direction’, rather than letting go of the immense hubris of this God-like status and accepting instead that we are included in a dynamic, the universal spirit of which inhabits us and creates us (Emerson, Lamarck).
As with our ‘secularized theological’ notion of ‘the sovereign state’, the notion of the local material organism with its own locally originating behaviour is based on nothing other than ‘common belief’ and sustained by ‘force’, the ‘tensional field-force’ that we feel in the classroom, that is intensively explored in Jules Henry’s ‘Culture Against Man’;
“It is Henry’s contention that in practice education has never been an instrument to free the mind and the spirit of man, but to bind them.
“In order not to fail, most people are willing to believe anything and to care not whether what they are told is true or false. Only by remaining absurd can one feel free from fear of failure.”
“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.”
A culturally-imprinted, self-centre-driven, destination-oriented approach to life is the legacy of an over-simple science highlighted by Darwinism. It underlies the contention that arises in the ‘Creationism-Darwinism’ debate and again in the ‘Pro-Life-Pro-Choice’ debate. Newton was a scientist and at the same time a devout Christian and he overtly cautioned, in his Author’s Preface and in his summarizing Scholium in ‘Principia’, that the laws of material dynamics based on the notional ‘local independent existence of material objects with their own local agency’ were mathematical ‘idealisations’ that should not be confused for ‘reality’.
“… 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. . . . This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.” — Newton, Scholium in the ‘Principia’
“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; but I hope the principles laid down will afford some light either to this or some truer method of philosophy.” Newton, Author’s Preface in the ‘Principia’.
By ignoring Newton’s cautions, Western science with its over-simple model idealisations that it confuses for reality, has been culturally imprinting us with the notion that our lives are self-directed (we must make our own choices) and modified by ‘random chance’. This is the destination-oriented powerboating way of thinking. The dynamics of space thus become obstacles that stand between us and our destination (either that or resources that we can exploit in attaining our destination.).
This is a far cry from seeing ourselves as inclusions within a dynamic spatial unity, as sailboaters that derive our form, our power and our direction from the spatial dynamics in which we are included, where we put our movements in the service of sustaining balance and harmony in the ceaselessly innovative unfolding present, an unfolding that we can open ourselves up to ‘discovery’ of, in innocent wonder, respect and a sense of ‘the sacred’. Instead, we have become prone to regard the actions/interactions of our notional local, independent self-directed, goal-oriented selves as the ‘primary reality’.
‘Creationism versus Darwinism’ and ‘Pro-life versus Pro-choice’ debates are ‘signalling’ to us that our present challenge is to cure ourselves of this Western cultural imprinting.
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