Erich Jantsch’s three level model of cognition (three levels of reality) makes a lot of sense in both my pre-and-post-stroke impressions of ‘reality’.

The following is a brief review of how this model ‘makes sense’ (reconciles with our actual experience) in the context of the unfolding social dynamic of our times.

What may be difficult to accept is how far off our popularly accepted Western worldview is, from the physical reality of our actual experience.  This could also be expressed: … ‘What may be difficult to accept is how far off our popularly accepted Western worldview is from the indigenous aboriginal worldview.”  In other words, the indigenous aboriginal worldview is far closer to the physical reality of our actual experience than is the popularly accepted Western worldview, as elucidated by physicists David Bohm and F. David Peat in ‘Blackfoot Physics’;


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


‘Names’ impute ‘being’ to relational forms … which, however useful for ‘bootstrapping purposes’, is pure ‘abstraction’.  There is no ‘being’ in the transforming relational continuum of our real-life experience; e.g. naming a whorl-in-the-flow (hurricane) ‘Katrina’ and treating of it in language and grammar as if it were a ‘thing-in-itself’ that authors its own behaviour is pure abstraction.

In the indigenous aboriginal culture, ‘names’ are not intended to denote ‘being’ but are deployed in language and grammar as a poetic expedient so as to ‘bootstrap’ cognition of a purely relational, (flow-based) reality aka ‘the Tao’.   ‘Bootstrapping’ is ‘rediscovered’ in modern physics for the same cognitive purpose; i.e. to induce cognition of a relational reality through imputing the existence of ‘things-in-themselves’ (beings) and cognitively (with the help of grammar in language) setting them in relational motion so as to induce cognition of a purely relational reality.

Western ‘Newtonian’ science, which remains the dominant (popular) cognitive foundation for ‘Western reality’ (i.e. the popularly agreed on linguistically articulated reality), makes use of ‘names’ and ‘beings’ not  ‘poetically’ for ‘bootrapping’ a relational reality but for literally and rationally constructing a notional, ‘being-based reality’

The following note is an overview of how ‘rational reality’ is sustained in an unnatural precedence over relational reality in today’s Western society.

 “Act without expectation.” – Lao Tzu


As relational forms in a transforming relational continuum, we are well advised (as by Lao Tzu) to ‘act without expectation’.  In fact, ‘expectation’ derives from the ego and the abstract ego-based impression of ‘self’ as an independent self-animated ‘being’ as (psychologically-) instantiated by a ‘name’.


In the ‘real’ world of our relational experience, there are no ‘things-in-themselves’.  The abstract cognitive concept of a ‘thing-in-itself is the product of language, ‘conjured up’ by the uttering or scribing of a name.  That is, ‘naming’ conjures up the impression of the ‘persisting existence’ of a relational form, even though the form is a relational feature in a transforming relational continuum such as a ‘hurricane’ or ‘tornado’.  Once language cognitively ‘reifies’ a relational form by giving it a ‘name’ such as ‘Katrina’, the flow in which the form is a ‘whorl’ departs from our cognitive grasp leaving only the object of the naming.  Language proceeds by imputing an internal source of animation to the ‘named form’ as in ‘Katrina.


‘Katrina’ is growing larger and stronger and is heading for the Gulf Coast, … ‘Katrina’ is causing great destruction in New Orleans, … ‘Katrina’ is weakening and dissipating’.


It is ‘naming’ that allows such abstract personification of a storm (a relational form in the flow) to be understood in the abstract terms of ‘being’, of what is, in the physical reality of our actual experience, purely relational and fluid forming.


Without ‘naming’ relational forms in a flow, a situation where ‘everything is in flux’, as Wittgenstein points out, we would have to be silent witnesses to what is transpiring;


7 Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.

(Wittgenstein’s final proposition in Tractatus Logico Philosophicus)


‘Naming’ a relational form in the flow opens the way to ‘bootstrapping’ wherein we use the ‘name’ in grammatical language structures to ‘bootstrap’ a ‘being-based’ impression of relational forms in the transforming relational continuum.  While the ‘name’ cognitively conveys persisting ‘being’, it is the relational dynamics we conjure up in the mind with our grammatical animating of ‘beings’ implied by ‘names’ that induces [‘bootstraps’] a ‘cognitive impression’ of the relational reality of our actual experience.   As Wittgenstein describes this ‘bootstrapping’ approach which uses ‘being’ to invoke cognition of the transforming relational continuum that we experience inclusion in;


6.54 My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.) He must surmount these propositions; then he sees the world rightly. [the penultimate proposition in ‘Tractatus…’]


Researchers in modern physics such as John Wheeler have described this ‘bootstrapping’ in terms of ‘the surprise version of the game of Twenty Questions’; i.e. the cognitive impression of ‘being’ stimulated by ‘names’ or ‘nouns’ is used grammatically in conjunction with ‘verbs’ to deliver the cognitive impression of self-animating things-in-themselves’ or ‘organisms’.  That is, language gives the cognitive impression that relational forms in the flow have been ‘liberated’ from the flow so that they are understood as ‘independent beings’ capable of self-animation aka ‘organisms’.  Such abstraction notionally splits apart the transforming relational continuum into two (abstracted) separate entity types; i.e. the organic (living) inhabitant or ‘organism’ and the inorganic (mineral) habitat that the organic inhabitants ‘navigate within’.


In other words, this is the ‘cognitive impression that the ‘naming’ capacity of ‘language’ delivers by imputing ‘being’ to relational forms; i.e. it creates the cognitive impression of self-animating forms referred to as ‘life’ or ‘living forms’ along with ‘dead’ (inanimate) material forms such as ‘rocks’ or ‘minerals’.  ‘Naming’ similarly endows a whorl in the flow such as ‘Katrina’ with ‘being’ and language and grammar join in to impute internal sourcing of animation to the name-invoked ‘being’ as with the ‘organism’.


In the case of humans (relational forms in the transforming relational continuum), ‘ego’ is the source of the cognitive impression of ‘independent’ internally animated ‘being’.  Language and grammar take this and ‘run with it’.




One model that captures this understanding is Erich Jantsch’s three-levels-of-cognition mode from ‘Design for Evolution’; from lowest to highest;


level 3 (commonly termed nature in the nature-nurture dichotomy): ‘beings’ understood as internally animated things-in-themselves);

level 2 (nurture); understood as ‘beings’ with environment induced developmental and animated-behavioural-dynamics.

level 1  (flow-forms):  understood as relational forms in a transforming relational continuum


This model captures the essentials as discussed above, in distinguishing between linguistic abstraction (levels 3 and 2 the nature of beings and the nurture of beings) and experiential reality (the relational flow of level 1).  I would offer an abbreviation based way of calling this model up for use in cognitive duty (to aid in escaping the mind-trap of level 3 and level 2 cognition).


These two acronyms can trigger the appropriate cognitive modes;


ERU – Experiential-Relational Understanding

LBC – Linguistic Being based Cognition


The difference between LBC and ERU is a difference that parents quickly discern in differentiating between enrolling their children in ‘sex education versus ‘sex training.  That is, ERU is where our understanding opens up our awareness of our inclusion in a transforming relational continuum while LBC is where we can ‘picture’ ourselves as ‘independent self-animated beings’ directed by an internal ‘brain’ (cognitive instructions).


The philosophical problem raised in the David Suzuki ‘The Nature of Things’ presentation ‘Smarty Plants’ is ‘how are plants’ which we model as ‘beings’ without a brain, able to make such intelligent decisions?  The answer, which mainstream science is not ready to accept, is that plants are relational forms in the transforming relational continuum and they become understood as independent organisms or ‘beings’ aka ‘things-in-themselves’ with notional internally directed agency (actions and development), only by our giving them ‘names’ and animating them as things-in-themselves with their own internal sourcing of actions and development, within a language and grammar constructed pseudo-reality.


The ‘greater reality’ of modern physics wherein humans and plants are understood as relational forms in a transforming relational continuum and only by virtue of language and grammar invested with ‘being’ and ‘internal sourcing of development and behaviour’, … has not yet ‘overtaken’ the widespread Western confusing of Newtonian science linguistic (being-based) renderings of ‘reality’ for the ‘reality of our experience as relational forms in the transforming relational continuum; e.g. this excerpt from ‘Smarty Plants’ underscores the scientific believe in ‘being’ as conveyed by ‘names’ [Again; relational forms in a transforming relational continuum take on (in our cognitive) cognitively take on ‘being’ (persisting thing-in-itself existence) by being ‘named’.



  • Did you know that all plants forage for food in much the same way as a bear or a squirrel?
  • Did you know that plants that can “talk”?
  • Did you know that plants, like animals, can sense when they’re under attack and can actually defend themselves?
  • Did you know that some plants can “tag” insects for predation?
  • Did you know that the roots of an Eastern European invader called Spotted Knapweed can capture and hold territory by waging chemical war on other plants?
  • Did you know that there’s a parasitic plant that can actually identify and choose between two different plant hosts by sniffing out their chemical IDs?
  • Did you know that a plant that grows on the shores of the Great Lakes can identify its relatives and even help them out?
  • Did you know that some plants can tell which insect is eating it by the chemicals in the insect’s saliva?
  • Did you know that plants emit a chemical scream for help when they’re under stress, and that other plants can listen in on their SOS messages?
  • Did you know that “mother” trees can actually nurture their young?


The ‘problem’ of shortfall in name-based (‘being’-based) cognition similarly shows itself in a program on ‘Nova’ (‘Slime-mold smarts’) exploring nature’s complex dynamics;


“The slime mold Physarum polycephalum is a single cell without a brain, yet it can make surprisingly complicated decisions. In this animated video short, watch as a slime mold navigates through a maze and solves a civil engineering problem.” — Nova, ‘Slime Mold Smarts’


The notion of an ‘intelligent being’ requires the supporting notion of some sort of internal source of intelligence that purportedly directs the behaviour of the ‘intelligent being’.  Without such, the ‘intelligent being’ concept ‘doesn’t have a leg to stand on’.




That is, is it not time to restore ERU (Experiential-Relational-Understanding) to its natural primacy over LBC (Linguistic Being-based Cognition.  That appears to be the message of David Bohm, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ludwig Wittgenstein and others.


‘Bootstrapping’ induces ERU (relational understanding) that is ‘awakened’ by LBC (linguistic being-based cognition).  That is, ‘bootstrapping’ is a poetic ‘device’ that energizes a cognitive ‘leap’ to relational understanding.  This ‘leap’ bootstraps us into an understanding of our ‘self’ as a relational form within a transforming relational continuum.


”Do not forget that a poem, although it is composed in the language of information, is not used in the language-game of giving information. “ … “Philosophy ought really to be written only as a form of poetry.”



The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named is not the eternal name
The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth
The named is the mother of myriad things

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* * * start of postscript * * *


p.s. the language-based shift from ‘organizing’ as implying a relational dynamic to the nouns ‘organism’ and ‘organization’ induce a cognitive shift in the ‘foundation of understanding’ to the abstraction of ‘being’ wherein our experience-based knowing of relational forms in the transforming relational continuum is cognitively superseded by the abstract ‘rational’ notion of ‘things-in-themselves and ‘what things-in-themselves do’.


Investigations into ‘exceptionally performing teams’ demonstrate that ‘organizing’ is most universally beneficiall where those involved do not make the cognitive leap from ‘organizing’ to ‘organization’ and instead operate as a ‘whorl-like’ relational dynamic in a transforming relational flow-continuum, a relational dynamic that is suggested in Erich Jantsch’s choice of title ‘Design for Evolution’ and described as level 1 in his 3 level model of cognition.


This recalls the emergence of a shift in the societal cognitive approach advocated by one of the most influential philosophers (Parmenides) in the evolving of Western society’s standard way of ‘thinking about self-and-world’ in the 500 BCE era;


“Heraclitus had declared ‘being’ a perpetual ‘becoming’ and had correlated the two concepts with his ‘hidden attunement.’ Now Parmenides declared the two to be mutually exclusive, and only ‘being’ to be real.” — ‘The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man’, — ‘Frankfort et al’


One might sum this up in a more general way in the following terms;


While the mythopoeic worldview had been globally pervasive as the dominant and ‘inclusional’ way of understanding self and world until the 500 BCE era, the abstract concept of ‘being’, which had been used within language as an expedient to ‘conjure up’ (bootstrap) the cognitive impression of ‘becoming’, had until that time been understood as a useful abstraction akin to a vaulting pule, to stimulate a cognitive leap from ‘things-in-motion’ (a representation that language was directly capable of) to relational forms in a transforming relational continuum (beyond direct capture in ‘being-based language).  In the flow-based worldview of the Tao of Lao Tzu, there was ‘organizing’ as in relational becoming, but not ‘an organism’ or ‘an organization’ in the abstract sense of ‘being’.


In other words, up until about 500 BCE, the notion of ‘being’ as signalled by ‘named objects’ in language was a cognitive tool that was not meant to be ‘taken literally’, but understood as an expedient abstraction that facilitated ‘bootstrapping’ cognition of a relational understanding of the world (the world as ‘slow’); i.e.  the world as a transforming relational continuum.  Mythopoetic expression was not offered as a literal account of a mechanistic world of things-in-themselves and ‘what things-in-themselves were doing’ but instead to stimulate a cognitive leap to understanding the world in terms of thinglesness; i.e. the world in terms of a transforming relational continuum.


Western ‘scientific thinking’ began rising to popularity in Western civilization at this time as is clear from the above-cited declaration of Parmenides.  This ‘promotion’ of ‘being’ into an unnatural precedence over ‘becoming’ has the cognitive effect of ‘literalizing’ language designed for bootstrapping (poetic cognitive delivery) so that ‘organization’ and ‘organism’ take on a greater reality than the purely relational dynamic of ‘organizing’.  That is, the ‘organization’ and/or the ‘organism’ came to be understood as stand-alone constructive jumpstart source(ror)s of organizing rather than as the manifestation of induced relational coherency as with a whorl in flow.


In my exploring of ‘exceptionally performing teams’, it was clear that these teams deliberately let go of their own ‘being’ by putting themselves in the service of the relational matrix of suppliers, contractors, customers and the community in which they were included to the point that they let go of their own ‘being’ and were reborn as ‘relational becoming’ as in the level 1 reality of ‘Design for Evolution’.  For a brief discussion of ‘the workings’ of exceptionally performing teams, see   On the other hand, the notion of ‘being’ implies an absoluteness that is found in religious belief;


“God said to Moses, “ I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘ I AM has sent me to you.’”


Ego brings forth this same sense of absolute being and imputes possession of one’s own jumpstart powers of thought and action; i.e. the belief in ‘being’ and ‘ego’ spring from the same source as Nietzsche points out.  The absoluteness-of-being is cognitively invoked by the uttering of a ‘name’.  While mythopoetic culture employs names as expedients to bootstrap cognition of relational forms (e.g. ‘Dances with Wolves), rational culture uses a name (e.g. Rumpelstiltskin) to define pure abstract being (I am who I am) that is not dependent on relations; i.e. ‘a name’ does not imply a being that depends on relations with other beings but instead, a ‘thing-in-itself’ with magical powers of jumpstarting action without drawing on ‘all my relations’; i.e. ‘naming’ can ‘transform straw into gold’ or a pauper into a prince (a worker into a boss or a follower into a leader).


Ok, if one understand things in this manner or gets to an equivalent understanding in some alternative manner, as I suspect we all do (that has been the basis of my composing the distribution list), it seems to me that we are faced with the choice of assuming the role of either Mahavit or Atmavit or some variant or intermediate thereof.  That is, if we accept that Jantsch level 1 relational-form-in-the-flow reality is the operative reality while level 3 (fully developed being)  and level 2 (developing boing) as in the nature and nurture dichotomy, are the socially accepted realities, we have the choice of ‘walking the talk’ of the level 1 reality (Atmavit) or accepting it but nevertheless hanging in there with the nature or nurture majority (Mahavit).   T.S. Eliot opted for the latter for sentimental reasons (few are willing to step out of the culture one is raised in but would rather to remain ‘in good standing’ within it, although perhaps as an ‘agent of change’);


“T.S. Eliot studied Eastern religions in detail at Harvard, learning some Sanskrit and some Pali, and soon concluded that “their subtleties make most of the great European philosophers look like schoolboys.” For a young man disillusioned with his banal surroundings and desperate to break away from his family, there was something wonderfully aloof, impersonal and invulnerable about the Buddhist notion of the spirit, free of all attachments and desires. And by the time he was composing The Wasteland, which ends, of course, with the chant “Shantih shantih shantih,” he was genuinely considering a conversion to Buddhism. But the truth was, he wrote, “my only hope of really penetrating to the heart of that mystery would lie in forgetting how to think and feel as an American or European: which for practical as well as sentimental reasons, I did not wish to do.”

Schrodinger seems to have had the same problem. …” — Ned Beauman, ‘Great Mahavits’ January 4, 2010,

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