Transcending Science and Religion (Transcending Theory)
‘Theory’ is a way of understanding how the world works which in turn shapes our behaviour and how we relate to and engage with one another and with our shared living space.
‘Theory’ can be either religious or scientific and the theories of our culture are infused into us early on in our lives. As B. F. Skinner observes; “Society attacks early, when the individual is helpless.”. That is why children who grow up in a culture that embraces particular religious theories (God created nature in the form of a collection of local material beings) and scientific theories (the earth occupies the centre of the universe) tend to believe in the same theories, and to infuse into their children at an early age, these same theories. As in the examples in parentheses, there tends to be overlap in these religious and scientific theories; e.g. the ‘absolute being’ of ‘local material bodies’. Since the world is evidently ‘evolving’, there have been different religious and scientific theories that try to reconcile a world undergoing continual ‘becoming’ and a world portrayed in terms of a ‘collection of material beings’.
‘Theory’, in our culture, the dominant culture in the world today, which might better be termed ‘capitalist-authoritarian’ than ‘Western’ (the latter term becoming ambiguous with the rise of Chinese and Indian capitalism-authoritarianism), is predominantly ‘Aristotelian’.
At the very base of the prevailing ‘capitalist-authoritarian’ theory lies the same ‘anthropocentric’ assumption that lies at the base of the monotheist religious theory of Christianity/Islam/Judaism; i.e. that we must manage ourselves and organize our communities on the basis of ‘what people do’, the goodness and productivity of their behaviours. This ‘theory’ that dominates in our culture, gives the ultimate foundational role in the world dynamic to ‘being’ rather than to ‘becoming’; i.e. the world is conceived of in terms of a collection of ‘local material beings’ that move and interact with one another within an otherwise empty space. Space is a non-participant in this Aristotelian world view; i.e. it is conceived of as an absolute fixed, empty and infinite ‘operating theatre’ within which all of the action associates with the movement interaction of local material objects and organisms. This view portrays the universe as ‘inanimate’ (dead) for the most part and only rarely and locally ‘infected with life’ or ‘animate’ material systems such as ‘organisms’ and ‘cells’.
This view of the world is anthropocentrist and while it may be nonsensical [it derives from how our ego sees our ‘self’, as a local system with its own locally originating, internal process driven development and behaviour], it is the popular theory of both religion and mainstream science, theories that shape our individual and collective behaviour.
Again, the notion that form, behaviour, and organization originates within human beings is delusion. Darwinism and genetics; theory alleging the locally originating, internal process-driven evolution of form, are delusional, as Nietzsche bluntly states in his ‘anti-Darwin’ notes in ‘The Will to Power’. And once again, to be more precise, these theories are ‘total fictions’ but ‘useful fictions’ and the ‘delusion’ is not in using them as tools, but in confusing them for ‘reality’.
Underlying these theories is the Aristotelian notion of ‘intrinsic final cause’ which places the ultimate source of causation in the interior of the developing entity; thus the reason that the acorn develops into an oak tree, according to Aristotle, is that ‘it has what it takes’ in its own interior, it pushes forth out of itself because of its innate built-in ‘purpose’ to ‘become an oak tree’. Belief in this notion of inbuilt ‘telos’, which is bluntly mocked by Nietzsche, is foundational to our modern capitalist-authoritarian approach to organizing our social dynamic.
Plato, Aristotle’s mentor, didn’t agree with this theory which explained evolution of form in terms of inbuilt purpose. Plato believed that the world was held in place by a heavenly ‘vortex’, that the evolutionary force was ‘outside-in rather than (or as well as) ‘inside-outward’ as Aristotle believed.
Thus there is controversy over theory that is foundational to our current capitalist-authoritarian social dynamic.
[[Note the relationship between the three figures in the composite figure at the head of this essay. The satellite photo on the left implicitly shows the ‘ecological’ or ‘coevolutional’ (spatial-relational) view where the different hurricanes develop and move under one another’s simultaneous influence per Mach’s principle; “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”. In this picture we understand that the spatial-flow-plenum of the atmosphere is the parenting medium and the hurricanes are ‘ripples’ in the common spatial plenum. But by the time we have moved to the second time-lapse series of photographs to study the life cycle of a particular specimen, we have left behind the ecological dimensionality and are interpreting dynamics in terms of the ‘local being’ and ‘doer-deed’ dynamics in absolute space and time (x,y,z,t reference frame space). The third picture takes us back to Aristotle’s ‘acorn-to-oak-tree’ (apple-seed to apple-tree) notion of ‘intrinsic final cause’ which alleges the ‘powerboater’ nature of the evolving organism; i.e. casting it as a ‘local system with its own locally originating, internal process and purpose-driven behaviour’. Of course, he is ignoring the ecological dimensionality by starting with the ‘life-cycle view’, an error that has also been built into Darwinism and into the mainstream biological sciences in general, not to mention psychology and the social sciences [economics, political science]. One might say that the dimension of ‘time’ that associates with change to a ‘being’ is a fictional dimension that obscures the ecological dimensionality associated with coevolving forms within a spatial plenum.]]
Some might label me ‘anti-capitalist’ and ‘anti-authoritarian’, but this would confuse me with others, since I know that there are people that interpret these terms literally; i.e. they see ‘anti-capitalists’ and ‘anti-authoritarians’ as people who would like to attack and eliminate ‘capitalists’ and ‘authorities’. I am not one of these simply because I believe that such a view is ‘more-of-the-same’ Aristotelian nonsense which presumes that ‘capitalist behaviours originate from within capitalists, from inbuilt purpose’, and that ‘authoritative [top-down controlling] behaviours originate from within authorities, from inbuilt purpose’. My understanding of the sourcing of behaviour is like Nietzsche’s, that it is rooted in ‘becoming’ and derives from the dynamic spatial plenum that we are included in, and which we are gathering features in.
Did Jean Valjean’s criminal behaviour (stealing a loaf of bread because he could no longer bear to hear starving children crying as they were put to bed hungry) come from his internal criminal purpose? No, it came from the growing gap between the wealthy/privileged and the poor/underprivileged in French society of that pre-1848 revolution era that inspired Victor Hugo’s ‘Les Miserables’. This sort of ‘Robin Hood behaviour’ is nature’s way to seek the restoring of balance. For example, when one region (equatorial) is enjoying thermal energy surplus and another (polar) is suffering thermal energy deficiency, a convection cell emerges like a spinning witch’s broom to sweep energy from the regions of surplus into the regions of deficiency. Robin-Hood responses are immanent in the dynamics of Nature, and humans (themselves gatherings within the dynamic spatial plenum of Nature) can ‘feel it’ when they live within such surplus/deficiency gradients and some, like Jean Valjean, let their behaviours be orchestrated by the imbalances they and others are experiencing in the dynamics of the living space they share inclusion in.
This notion, that the behaviour of an individual is orchestrated by the dynamics of the living space that he is situationally included in, contradicts Aristotle’s theory that ‘the behaviour buck stops’ with the internal purpose of the individual. Our western justice system would agree with Aristotle since Aristotelian theory has been built into its design. Courts do not include themselves in their inquiry. They represent ‘the moral authority’ of the state. The basis of authoritarian systems is that those on top control the behaviours of those beneath them. The law and the courts are ‘above’ the people they are judging. Can you imagine a court where the judge and prosecutor take off their robes of authority, admit that they too are involved, and everyone ‘just works it out’ in a reasonable fashion? One has to go back to stateless societies such as were evolved in the Amerindian culture to see understandings of behaviour that do not assume that the behaviour originates fully and solely from internal processes (intellection and purpose).
The demand of modern physics that ‘the tools of inquiry be included in the inquiry’ equates to the suspending of the notion of ‘moral authority’. To bring the observer inside what he is observing and thus suspend the split between the ‘morally authorized’ and the ‘morally judged’ is the way of the Amerindian tradition but certainly not the way of the sovereign state.
The ‘observer effect’ of modern physics brings the observer inside the spatial plenum that he is observing and puts him in the same position as the storm-cell in the spatial plenum of the atmosphere; i.e. the dynamics of the flow-plenum are influencing his dynamics at the same time as his dynamics are influencing the dynamics of the flow-plenum [Mach’s principle]. This view that behaviour originates in the dynamics of the living space and orchestrates individual and collective human behaviour violates the Aristotelian theory and since Aristotelian theory is built in our mainstream scientific theory, it also violates the theory of our biological sciences which claims that an organism (such as a human organism) is a ‘local system with its own locally originating, internal-process driven behaviour’ that moves about and interacts with other such local systems within an absolute, fixed, empty and infinite (euclidian) operating space. The theory is that wherever space is not occupied locally by some material object or organism, it is empty.
Modern physics, meanwhile, contradicts mainstream science by theorizing that space is an energy-charged plenum and material entities are secondary ‘ripple’ features in the plenum. This comes close to taking us back to Plato’s vortex notion wherein the earth on the inside, is held together by what it is included in; i.e. ‘the heavens’.
This is all very fine, but how does this Aristotelian ‘reduction of reality’ to local entities in themselves, which is in effect a reduction from ‘nonlocally orchestrated becoming’ to ‘locally manipulated being’, play out in our community dynamics?
Consider a healthy and harmonious community that has, for many years, been successfully following a plan for ‘sustainable living’. At the end of the year, they gather in the town hall and bring in an accountant who provides a breakdown of who has contributed what to the community’s economy, so that the entire ‘community domestic product’ has been accounted for. The proud and successful residents of the community commit to another ‘five year plan’ and agree that they should all raise their production targets by 20% to make their community even more affluent; i.e. to achieve ‘economic growth’. They fully believe that this growth is ‘in their control’.
An interested journalist from another community, who sometimes attends these meetings, comes back for the annual meeting three years later and finds the town hall and the town in a terrible state of disrepair. In the town-hall meeting, the people look ragged and depressed, they argue with one another over who is holding the system together. The town is in Oklahoma and dustbowl conditions of the 1930s have arrived replacing fertile green fields with gravel plains and dust-dunes. Most of the people are gone, their movements having been orchestrated by the movements of the greenery within the dynamics of the habitat. While the view presented by the accountant was that all of the production of the community could be traced back to the individual/individuals responsible for it, it now appeared as if that the behaviours of the farmers and community members in general did not start from the human individuals. That is, it appeared that the view of a community in terms of the dynamics of the humans that lived in the community, the anthropocentric view of community, was not an adequate view of community. An old Indian in the region had suggested that ‘humans do not produce corn’. When humans see that corn grows, this orchestrates their behaviours, that they then call ‘farming’, but humans do not produce corn, the earth does. Meanwhile the accountant had credited farmers with being the source of the production of crops, in keeping with the Aristotelian tradition, which insists that behaviour is locally originating and thus that production of the community originates within the community, rather than being orchestrated by the spatial dynamics the community is included in, like ‘climate’ that keeps green-fertile zones and brown-infertile zones moving about like mice, and so orchestrating cat-like behaviours on the part of humans.
One could say that humans (organisms) are like sailboaters whose drive-power and steerage derives from the dynamics of the space they are included in so that their behaviours are orchestrated by the spatial dynamics they find themselves uniquely, situationally included in, while the Aristotelian and mainstream scientific theory would say that humans (organisms) are like powerboaters whose power-drive and steerage are in-board and whose behaviours are thus locally originating, internal-process-driven behaviours (as if the space they are in is a passive, non-contributing reference frame).
A second example is one in which an aboriginal community of a few hundred commits to continuing on with their traditional ways of living which have proven very successful over thousands of years. Then, a million or so Europeans move in all around them so that they are in the eye of a doughnut-shaped population whorl. The aboriginals, because the living space they share inclusion in is radically transformed, find that their behaviours are inevitably being orchestrated by the dynamics of the transformed dynamics of the space they share inclusion in.
Clearly, the behaviour of the aboriginal community is not a ‘locally originating, internal process driven behaviour’ as the Aristotelian theory claims.
In fact, Mach’s description in terms of a conjugate habitat-inhabitant relation would seem to fit very well “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.”
Nietzsche’s anti-Darwinist model (which parallels Mach’s) also fits well; i.e. “a process of diffusion, in which endosmosis predominates over exosmosis”.
One can relate ‘the dynamics of people’ to ‘exosmosis’ and ‘the dynamics of space’ (the dynamic suprasystem the local system/community is included in) to endosmosis, and our experience then validates the reality of this Niezschean/Rolphian view of evolution as “a process of diffusion, in which endosmosis predominates over exosmosis”.
‘Endosmosis’ is where there is flow from the outside to the inside of the cell while ‘exosmosis’ is where there is flow from the inside to the outside of the cell. We are back to Plato and Aristotle’s argument again; i.e. is the cell held in place by ‘endosmosis’ as Plato would argue, or by ‘exosmosis’ as in Aristotle’s theory? Our Aristotelian theory based biological sciences allow only one possibility, that the ‘cell’ has locally originating, internal process driven behaviour; i.e. that ‘exosmosis’ prevails over ‘endosmosis’; i.e. that the cell corresponds to the ‘powerboater’ analogue and not to the ‘sailboater’ analogue. (Some [a tiny minority of] researchers within the biological sciences are attempting to oust the Aristotelian model; e.g. http://www.brucelipton.com/excerpt-chapter-one/
[Disclaimer: While Bruce Lipton is in my view, on target in his support for Lamarck and in arguing the need for medicine to upgrade from Newtonian physics to quantum physics where ‘field shapes matter’ rather than vice versa, his ideas on ‘programming the subconscious are radically retrograde and go back to inventing locally originating sources for behaviour via the deus ex machina notion of ‘programs in the subconscious’. While teaching how to input your own programs into the subconscious with a super-learning techique called EFT may be a good way to make a living, it is delusion-squared in my view. My guess is that shifting our sense of our identity from ‘centres-of-doing’ to ‘centres-of-experience’ is a tough leap to assimilate and thus, Lipton, on arriving at the jump off point, balked and ended up inventing an enhancement to our ‘centre-of-doing’ view of self that deepens our ‘Ding-an-sich’ ‘being-based’ view of ourselves by adding more inboard powerboating gear.]
Jean Baptiste Lamarck’s theory of evolution paralleled Nietzsche/Rolph’s. Lamarck attributed evolution to ‘les fluides incontenables’ (‘fluids that can contain but which cannot themselves be contained’) such as thermal fields, gravitational fields, electromagnetic fields, and Lamarck insisted that there was ‘just one physics’ (one physical phenomenon that did not recognize a split between the ‘animate’ and ‘inanimate’ realms). As Lipton says;
“Not only did Lamarck present his theory fifty years before Darwin, he offered a much less harsh theory of the mechanisms of evolution. Lamarck’s theory suggested that evolution was based on an ‘instructive,’ cooperative interaction among organisms and their environment that enables life forms to survive and evolve in a dynamic world. His notion was that organisms acquire and pass on adaptations necessary for their survival in a changing environment. Interestingly, Lamarck’s hypothesis about the mechanisms of evolution conform to modern cell biologists’ understanding of how immune systems adapt to their environment as described above. … One reason some scientists are taking another look at Lamarck is that evolutionists are reminding us of the invaluable role cooperation plays in sustaining life in the biosphere. Scientists have long noted symbiotic relationships in nature. …Suffice it to say that after four months in paradise, teaching in a way that clarified my thinking about cells and the lessons they provide to humans, I was well on my way to an understanding of the New Biology, which leaves in the dust the defeatism of genetic and parental programming as well as survival-of-the-fittest Darwinism.”
Once we have succeeded in holding at bay the fictional binary-theory of a world of ‘local material being’ versus ‘void space’, then we can explore, once again, the notion that the evolution of form and behaviour is not one-sidedly inside-outward as Aristotle would have it, but having both an outside-inward and inside-outward origin.
As Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), lawyer, magistrate, mayor (of Bordeaux) pointed out, we could not achieve what we do without being fed ideas and nourishment from the populated habitat in which we are included (endosmotically). However, our cultural habit is to describe ourselves in this one-sided inside-outward (exosmotic) way where we talk about ‘our achievements’ as if they are the doer-deed products of a ‘local system with its own locally originating, internal process-driven behaviour’, even though they would be impossible without the outside-inward (endosmotic) flow of support. As Montaigne addresses this cultural habit of egoistically speaking as if we are all exosmosis and no endosmosis (as if everything flows from us, from our [powerboater] inboard power and steerage);
“Let him hide all the help he has had, and show only what he has made of it. The pillagers, the borrowers, parade their buildings, their purchases, not what they get from others. You do not see the gratuities of a member of a Parlement, you see the alliances he has gained and honors for his children. No-one makes public his receipts, everyone makes public his acquisitions [achievements].”
Not only does Montaigne show how we do this in our material transactions; i.e. how we one-sidedly view ‘economy’, he points out that we do the same when it comes to ‘ideas’;
“Let the tutor make his charge pass everything through a sieve and lodge nothing in his head on mere authority and trust: let not Aristotle’s principles be principles to him any more than those of the Stoics or Epicureans. Let this variety of ideas be set before him; he will choose if he can; if not, he will remain in doubt. Only the fools are certain and assured. For if he embraces Xenophon’s and Plato’s opinions by his own reasoning, they will no longer be theirs, they will be his. He who follows another follows nothing. He finds nothing; indeed he seeks nothing. We are not under a king; let each one claim his own freedom. Let him know that he knows, at least. He must imbibe their ways of thinking, not learn their precepts. And let him boldly forget, if he wants, where he got them, but let him know how to make them his own. Truth and reason are common to everyone, and no more belong to the man who first spoke them than to the man who says them later. It is no more according to Plato than according to me, since he and I understand and see it the same way. The bees plunder the flowers here and there, but afterward they make of them honey, which is all theirs; it is no longer thyme or marjoram. Even so with the pieces borrowed from others; he will transform and blend them to make a work of his own, to wit, his judgment. His education, work, and study aim only at forming this.”
Our cultural habit of building an ‘identity’ for ourselves on the basis of ‘what we do’, our ‘doer-deed achievements’ is totally undermined once we suspend our belief in one-sided Aristotelian thinking. It is useful to revisit how we ever got to seeing ourselves in terms of ‘local beings’ rather than as gatherings within the energy-charged plenum of space, the latter ‘becoming’ view of ‘self’ being in terms of conjugate habitat-inhabitant relations (i.e. by “a process of diffusion, in which endosmosis predominates over exosmosis”.
One thing to bear in mind about ‘identity’ and ‘doing’ is that the picture changes considerably once we suspend the notion of local ‘beings’ and thus suspend the notional ‘split’ between the ‘animate’ and ‘inanimate’ realms. This split arose because in a world seen as being composed of a collection of ‘local material beings’, there are those ‘beings’ which manifest behaviours that are internal process driven (‘living organisms’) while the majority of ‘local beings’ are seen as lacking in internal process driven behaviours and thus deemed ‘lifeless’ (made of ‘inanimate’ matter). In the view where space is understood as an energy-charged plenum which gathers (and re-gathers) within itself ‘flow-features’ in the manner of storm-cells gathering in the flow of the atmosphere, the ‘local being-based’ notion of ‘doer-deed’ dissolves. That is, there is just one evolutionary dynamic and it is the spatial-relational evolution of the energy-charged plenum. The flow/plenum may engender many whorls and the whorls may condition the flow at the same time as the flow is conditioning the whorls, but as with the wind, flag, mind Buddhist parable, when we try to respond to the question, which moves which, when we open our mouth to answer, we are wrong. The dynamics of the many children and the dynamics of the parenting medium are in conjugate habitat-inhabitant relation. What we know is that the local visible rotating pinwheel of ‘the hurricane’ (we have no justification to impute local being to it, apart from our own convenience) is indeed ‘visible’ while the rotating flow-fields which are engendering a multiplicity of ‘hurricanes’ are invisible and nonlocal. That the visibility of the flow-feature is ‘local’ does not imply that the flow-feature is local in a behavioural sense (‘doer-deed’ sense).
Now, ‘who are we’, now that we have lost our ‘local beingness’ within the evolutionary flow? How are we to understand our own ‘identity’?
The analogue of the storm-cell is useful here since in our culture, we knowingly ‘reduce’ the identity of storm-cells that we acknowledge to be ‘ripple-in-the-flow’ features to ‘local beings’ with ‘doer-deed’ behaviours, just as our Aristotelian theory has us do to ourselves.
Imagine that we are observing several contemporaneous hurricanes from satellite photography or from continually mapping the spatial distribution of surface air-pressures and wind velocities. Each storm cell looks like a rotating pinwheel that is doing its own thing (gathering form, dissipating, strengthening, weakening, heading north, heading west etc.) These can be viewed as the local centres of ‘exosmosis’. But we know that their predominating origin is the invisible nonlocal rotating flow field (the common, conjugate endosmotic relation) and that the ‘rotating pinwheel’ images (centres of exosmosis) that we see are secondary to the rotating flow field (endosmotic spatial plenum) i.e. the several storm-cells (centres of exosmosis) are ripples on the back of the same beast (endosmosis). But our Aristotelian theory would have us develop a ‘category’ for these multiple ‘rotating pinwheel’ forms based on similarities in their VISIBLE APPEARANCE (e.g. their spiral arms, their central eye, their ‘wall clouds’ around the eye, their extreme low pressure in their centres etc. etc.).
Once we have established the ‘category’ or ‘set’ of ‘local beings’ that we are calling ‘hurricanes’, we can differentiate them by the measured differences in their similarities, as we do with the category ‘humans’. Humans have two legs and two arms, a head and so on; i.e. an anatomy composed of local parts. In the case of the hurricanes, we have their wind velocities that put them into five different sub-categories, we have their size in terms of the diameter of the visible ‘rotating pinwheel’ and the intensity of the pressure minimum in their eye-centre. In addition to this, because we see them as ‘local beings’, we impute to them their own ‘location’ and ‘trajectory’ and in fact their own ‘life-cycle’ which ranges from one day to thirty-one days while the average is nine days.
By the time we have given the hurricane a ‘category of being’ and all the other attributes that relate to it, such as its own life-cycle and history of doer-deed activities, then we have pretty much forgotten about the multiple hurricanes being simultaneously mutually influencing ripples on the back of the same beast (coevolutional flow-features within a common spatial flow-plenum). That is, we have artificially lifted them out of the One evolutionary dynamic and re-animated them as notional ‘local beings’ with their own ‘locally originating, internal-process driven behaviours’. The influence of space, which is actually the parenting plenum/medium, is no longer needed to be taken into consideration; i.e. the notion of conjugate endosmotic-exosmotic diffusion, or of a conjugate habitat-inhabitant relational dynamic, is no longer needed because we have reconstructed the physical phenomenon in the Aristotelian powerboater terms of local system with their own locally originating, internal power and steerage driven behaviours.
Such an identity, the implied ‘powerboater’ identity, is commonly called ‘the ego’. It is foundational to Aristotelian theory, which is in turn foundational to (much) religious theory as well as to our mainstream (pre-relativity/quantum) science theory.
If we suspend imposing ‘categories’ of ‘being’ on our experiencing of the world and reductively re-casting the world dynamic in those terms, then our own identity reverts to a ‘gathering’ in the unfolding evolutionary dynamic; a gathering that is uniquely situationally included in the ceaselessly innovative, spatial-relationally unfolding spatial plenum. Furthermore, in an evolving spatial plenum, the flow is the thing that continually gathers and regathers and since there is no boundary between ‘being’ and ‘non-being’ but only the ‘continuing present moment’, we unfold from the flow and infold into the flow. In other words, the past and the future are enfolded in the present moment, as is the relationship of whorls in a fluid-flow. As Nietzsche says in Thus Spake Zarathustra;
“Two paths meet here; no one has yet followed either to its end. This long lane stretches back for an eternity. And the long lane out there, that is another eternity. They contradict each other, these paths; they offend each other face to face; and it is here at this gateway that they come together. The name of the gateway is inscribed above: ‘Moment.’“ – Nietzsche
Our ‘identity’ then, once we suspend the fictional notion of ‘local being’, is that of a ‘conditioner’ or ‘co-evolver’ (see Bruce Lipton’s discussion of evolution referenced above) of the energy-charged spatial plenum in which we are uniquely situationally included. This is the ‘identity’ that has been assumed in the Amerindian philosophy (Mitakuye Oyasin – ‘We are all related’, ‘man belongs to the Earth [spatial plenum]’, … ‘the Earth does not belong to man’ [the space we inhabit is not passive, it is our parenting milieu]. As Ralph Waldo Emerson also says, our ‘local being-ness’ is only visual appearance, like the persisting local image of the cataract which is really a feature within the continuous flow, thus the flow not only inhabits the organism (flow-feature) but creates it.
Our Aristotelian theory is ‘breaking down’ in many different ways, not the least of which is in rising suspicions as what ‘capitalism’ and ‘authoritarianism’ may be doing to us. Meanwhile, as discussed above, it is our ‘ego’ that holds the Aristotelian theory in place since Aristotelian theory of one-sided inside-outward (centrally-controlled) development of form, behaviour and organization is nothing other than our egotist sense of self which we have infused into the foundations of our world view.
The recent Egyptian and Tunisian protests that have down the authoritarian regimes that have prevailed there, signals a rejection of that notion of ‘justice’ wherein a ‘moral authority’ above imposes ‘moral laws’ (laws of the land) on the people below. As Michel de Montaigne, a much loved sixteenth century magistrate says;
“The justice which in itself is natural and universal, is otherwise and more nobly ordered, than that other justice, which is special, national, and constrained to the ends of government. …There cannot a worse state of things be imagined, than where wickedness comes to be legitimate, and assumes with the magistrate’s permission, the cloak of virtue . . . . The extremest sort of injustice, according to Plato, is where that which is unjust, should be reputed for just.” – Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592)
This system of justice, which our dominant culture has propagated throughout the world through the Aristotelian theory based institute of ‘the sovereign state’ (the land and population of the world is now partitioned into 195 such sovereign states all suffering from this same flawed ideal of ‘justice’ whereby the state assumes a moral authority that prevails over all those who reside within the self-declared and violence-backed imaginary boundary lines of the state. This form of organization is based on the binary notion that the ‘inside’ of the sovereign state is mutually exclusive of the ‘outside’; i.e. that the state possesses ‘local being’ within the imaginary boundary lines, though not outside them. As historians of law have pointed out, this is a ‘religious’ concept;
“All significant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts, not only because of their historical development … but also because of their systematic structure.” (Bartelson, Jens. A Genealogy of Sovereignty 1995)
“State sovereignty “is a ‘religion’ and a faith.” … “The skillfully drawn borders that cartographers have provided for us are … spiritual and philosophical abstractions representative of a form of quasi-belief. They are … not detached maps of reality as proponents would have us believe. These geographies reflect an ardent desire to make (or impose) sovereignty a physical reality as natural as the mountains, rivers and lakes…. “.” – Lombardi, Mark Owen. “Third-World Problem-Solving and the ‘Religion’ of Sovereignty: Trends and Prospects.”
[quotes cited by Peter D’Errico, law professor emeritus, University of Massachusetts in ‘Native American Sovereignty: Now you see it, now you don’t’ ]
Thus, it is our cultural habit to see the ‘sovereign state’ in the same Aristotelian theory (powerboater) based manner as classical biology sees the ‘organism’, as a ‘local system with its own locally originating, inboard power and steerage driven behaviour’. Even though we know that sovereign states are like octopuses whose tentacles and suckers wrap around the planet drawing nutrients (petroleum, minerals, cheap labour) from the global habitat into themselves, but all the while talking in the manner described by Montaigne; “The pillagers, the borrowers, parade their buildings, their purchases, not what they get from others.” The voice of the sovereign state is the collective ego speaking. As Einstein observed; “Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.”
When we read philosophical investigations such as those of Montaigne and Nietzsche, we can understand what is being said but ‘how easy is it to shift out of the ego based identity that our Aristotelian theory based culture automatically imposes on everything, including ourselves? For example, the corporate employer, when it asks for our resumé, does not want to hear us go on about all the help we got from the peopled habitat in which we were situationally included, they want to hear our resumé in terms of ‘what we did and what we can do’ because a corporation is an Aristotelian organization just like classical biology’s ‘organism’ that sees itself in the powerboater terms of a ‘local system with its own locally originating, internal process driven behaviour’ that interacts with (competes with) other such powerboater systems within an absolute fixed, empty and infinite (passive) operating space.
Community (naturally evolved community) never functioned in powerboater mode like the corporation. The green valley orchestrated the arrival of settlers and the new dynamic of valley and people opened up new possibility which orchestrated the behaviour of the sons and daughters of the settlers and orchestrated the arrival of more settlers. The participant in the community developed and grew by drawing ideas and nutrients from the community/habitat in which he was situationally included, at the time as the community drew ideas and nutrients from him. The dynamics of community followed Mach’s principle; “The dynamics of the community [the populated green valley] condition the dynamics of the members at the same time as the dynamics of the members are conditioning the dynamics of the community”. The natural community did not evolve as in the anthropocentric view wherein every human member throws himself body and soul into the doer-deed project of bringing about a ‘desired future’. The natural community is a gathering in the spatial plenum which evolved more as “a process of diffusion, in which endosmosis predominates over exosmosis”.
So, why do our universities continue to teach Aristotelian theory with its ‘being’ based ‘doer-deed’ dynamics as if it were ‘really’ how the world worked? Aristotle wasn’t perfect. His idea that “material bodies fall to earth with a speed proportional their weight” persisted for a thousand years until refuted by Galileo and as Bertrand Russell commented;
Aristotle maintained that women have fewer teeth than men; although he was twice married, it never occurred to him to verify this statement by examining his wives’ mouths. –Bertrand Russell, , Impact of Science on Society
Kepler may have come close to the answer as to ‘what’s wrong with our universities’ and how physics can contradict itself on the nature of ‘space’ in his observation;
“As regards the academies, they are established in order to regulate the studies of the pupils and are concerned not to have the program of teaching change very often: in such places, because it is a question of the progress of the students, it frequently happens that the things which have to be chosen are not those which are most true but those which are most easy. And by that division in things which makes different people form different judgements, it so happens that certain people are in error contrary to their own opinion.” – Johannes Kepler, ‘Harmonies of the World’
Insofar as most of us recognize that the Aristotelian model of the organism as a local system with its own locally originating inboard power and steerage driven behaviour is ‘fiction’ but continue to employ it as if it were ‘true’, we are all ‘in error contrary to our own opinion’.
Since it is the ‘ego’ that is at the base of all of this, what does it take to ‘let go of the ego’?
Evidently, it is akin to the process a worm goes through in becoming a butterfly, one has to let oneself go into the darkness and let one’s existing being degenerate in order to open the way for the new self to emerge. This has been referred to as ‘the dark night of the soul’ since at the time one’s present identity degenerates and falls away, there are no guarantees that a new and more beautiful identity is going to come out of the darkness and use a sky-hook (endosmosis) to pull itself into place. There is huge ‘fear’ of falling into a state of total chaos and disorder, to become unravelled, a babbling idiot. The same fear is there in the collective that would like to let go of their top-down authoritarian organizational scheme (that of the sovereign state). Will a beautiful Phoenix arise out of the ashes, or will there just be ‘ashes’ if one lets go of the authoritarian system that one believes has been ‘holding everything together’ Aristotle-style (the Platonic heavens-vortex source of form, behaviour and organization has been purged from our popular belief system).
Of course, when we are young, we have much less problem in letting go our established understanding so that it can be subsumed from the outside in by a more comprehensive understanding. The trouble is that letting go of the fiction of Aristotelian theory is to let go of the established cultural foundation, what we take for ‘reality’, so it really is like ‘changing tires on the vehicle’ while we are speeding down the freeway in it; i.e. the necessary ‘letting go’ really does involve a ‘dark night of the soul’ where we fear that if we let go of our Aristotelian rationality, that will be ‘all she wrote’ and we will make ourselves into babbling idiots waiting for something in the heavens to reinvent us, that never comes.
If we are to evolve and let go of our Aristotelian religious and scientific being-based foundations, what would it look and feel like?
In order to get a glimpse into this, we can review the experience of the Amerindian Iroquois five-nation Confederacy and their ‘Great Law of Peace/Harmony’ which avoided top-down authoritarian structure and moral authority issued judgments and control;
“To Engels, Morgan’s description of the Iroquois [in Lewis Henry Morgan’s Ancient Society and The League of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois] was important because “it gives us the opportunity of studying the organization of a society which, as yet, knows no state.” Jefferson had also been interested in the Iroquois’ ability to maintain social consensus without a large state apparatus, as had Franklin. Engels described the Iroquoian state in much the same way that American revolutionaries had a century earlier: “Everything runs smoothly without soldiers, gendarmes, or police, without nobles, kings, governors, prefects or judges; without prisons, without trials. All quarrels and disputes are settled by the whole body of those concerned. . . . The household is run communistically by a number of families; the land is tribal property, only the small gardens being temporarily assigned to the households — still, not a bit of our extensive and complicated machinery of administration is required. . . . There are no poor and needy. The communistic household and the gens know their responsibility toward the aged, the sick and the disabled in war. All are free and equal — including the women. “ — Bruce E. Johansen, Forgotten Founders
After centuries of bloody wars, these Amerindian peoples (Iroquois five nations) followed the myth of the Peacemaker, Dekanawidah. Dekanawidah is like the musician who knows how to transform dissonance into harmony, to make a sour note become part of the follow-on harmony, to tame an awkward action or remark by the transforming power of humour. In the Peacemaker myth, Dekanawidah undoes the kinks in the crooked mind of the evil sorcerer Adodarhoh, who has been a prime obstacle standing in the way of peace and harmony and makes him the keeper of the eternal fire of the five nations.
Dekanawidah gives us a model for participating in the world on the basis of ‘becoming’ rather than ‘being’. His profile in the modern era is that of a Nelson Mandela who negotiates with others would call ‘the evil white racist colonizers’ and vow to never negotiate with. Like Dekanawidah, he sees these Adodarhoh types as brothers whom a darkness has descended up, who are firstly ‘brothers’ as in the ‘Mitakuye oyasin’ tradition. Dekanawidah understands that evil behaviour is not born in the interior of the individual (as in Aristotelian thinking) but derives from the spatial dynamics that not only inhabit the individual but gather him into emergent form. The sour chord relative to the prior sequence can be ‘made good’ by the sequence of chords not yet played. The present moment does not depend on the past, it is the moment of confluence where the already defined out-thrusting of assertive actuality is in coniunctio with the opening of spatial possibility, and Dekanawidah and Mandela understand this while those who base their understanding in ‘being’ do not.
Meanwhile, Winston Churchill, from the mid 1930’s on, predicts that war with Germany and the evil Nazis and their evil leader Hitler, is inevitable. Unlike Mandela, he insists that there will be no negotiating with the devil, because evil behaviours are born in the interior of evil beings and there is nothing to be done but to purify the world of such evil. The ‘being-based’ view can lead only to purification while the ‘becoming’ based view understands that behaviour derives not from the interior of ‘beings’ but from spatial dynamics. In 1919, on the signing of the harsh ‘Carthaginian peace’ of the Treaty of Versailles, cartoons appeared in the newspapers predicting another war in 21 years when the newborn Germans, living in punishment and humiliation for what their fathers had allegedly done, would be of military age.
Harold Nicolson, a British delegate at Versailles, declared the treaties ‘neither just nor wise’, and called the delegates ‘very stupid men’. But Winston Churchill believed that the treaty was the best that could be achieved, and that ‘the wishes of the various populations prevailed’, a tough attitude of the type, it could be argued, that keeps the military-minded continually employed, making them, at the same time, both heros in vanquishing ‘evil others’ and cultivators of ‘evil others’ in a continuing cycle.
The non-negotiating stance of Churchill and those coming from the Aristotelian ‘purificationist’ view prevailed and set the stage for a purificationist good-versus-evil war. The holocaust occurred in 1941-1945 and 80 million people were killed in the 1939-1945 war, years after Churchill had been presenting the view of inherent evil originating in the people of Nazi Germany and its leader, Adodarhoh, … or rather, Adolph Hitler. ‘Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the waves’ was part of the infantile disease of Europe, the ‘measles of the world’, that Einstein spoke of. The imposing of order by a notional ‘moral authority’ is the operating principle of the sovereign state. Our culture celebrates purificationist beliefs such as those of Winston Churchill or Ronald Reagan and George Bush. It is the essence of the Aristotelian theoretical approach. At the same time, we celebrate the unbelievable success of Nelson Mandela.
We know where the being-based world view leads. It leads to ‘purificationism’ rather than to ‘transformation’. It is the way of Darwinism, competition and ‘survival of the fittest’ that as a growing minority of biologists like Bruce Lipton claim, is a fiction that in no way reconciles with biological/ecological reality.
It is the philosophy of Dekanawidah/Mandela that can open the way to community wherein “Everything runs smoothly without soldiers, gendarmes, or police, without nobles, kings, governors, prefects or judges; without prisons, without trials. All quarrels and disputes are settled by the whole body of those concerned.”
Mandela opened that door though the persisting Aristotelian organizational schema of the sovereign state may temporarily close it again for a while. What is needed is a community of Dekawidahs/Mandelas, and that was the role of the ‘Peacekeeper’ myth in the long-lasting (1500 years) Iroquois five-nation confederacy. Perhaps it is what is emerging in the apolitical uprisings against top-down authority in Egypt and Tunisia.
Presently, we have the world divided up into 195 sovereign states; i.e. capitalist-authoritarian communities like the Oklahoma town (prior to the dustbowl era), that believe that the future of their community depends only on themselves. We have a full-blown case of the infantile disease called ‘statism’. The Darwinist leader-led states promote belief in the notion that they are ‘local systems with their own locally originating, inboard power and steerage driven behaviours’ that can become whatever they want to become if they are fully committed to it and throw themselves body and soul into the project. This is our today’s community we are talking about, our today’s political systems which, because of the Aristotelian theory based belief in the inside-outward origination of form, behaviour and organization, are staunchly capitalist and authoritarian.
As a global collective, we are fearful of what might happen if we back away from imposing top-down moral authority controls on ‘ourselves’. We know about the inversion of view that modern physics suggests, where empty space populated by local material being is inverted and space becomes an energy-charged plenum in which those ‘local beings’ are now ripples in the plenum induced by invisible nonlocal influence, as with storm-cells in the flow-plenum of the atmosphere. Cells that are born in the service of cultivating, nurturing and sustaining balance and harmony in the dynamic spatial plenum. We are in the position of the worm that has to let its present self degenerate in order for a beautiful new self to arise from the ashes and we are in doubt as to what will happen to us if we let our existing ‘world order’ fall away, if the Phoenix does not arise from the ashes. As François Lurçat (professor emeritus in physics at the University of Paris) observes in ‘Le Chaos et L’Occident’ (Chaos Theory and the West);
“This dream of domination [implied by ‘determinism’] has henceforth lost all legitimacy and persists for no other reason than our ‘mental inertia’. An historical epoch has come to an end and we struggle to conjecture what is going to succeed it. Isn’t the need truly well overdue for us to draw on the lessons of the past and recognize where we now are? I would say that a problem is posed to us by allowing ourselves to remain within the framework fixed by this work: to understand the findings of 20th century science. By ‘to understand’ I intend this; not to constrain our understanding to the step-by-step reasoning of physics, but to be able to put these findings into the context of an interpretation of the world. From this point of view, it is necessary to recognize, in my opinion, that we have not understood (Not ‘we’, the specialists, but ‘we’ the educated public). ‘Chaos’ and also ‘relativity’ and ‘quantum mechanics’, for example, remain for all practical purposes impenetrable to the educated view. It is necessary, I believe, to acknowledge with Emmanuel Levinas that we are participating in the end of a certain way of understanding. Will we know how to recognize this? Will we know how to discern the characteristics of another way of understanding, larger and less constraining? Therein lies another story that is in the process of unfolding.”
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This culture that predominates in the world, call it ‘capitalist-authoritarian’, or whatever, is a mode of understanding oneself, others, and the world as a whole, that is based on ‘being’, and by ‘doing-authored-by-beings’ – a ‘doer-deed deterministic’ view of the world.
One first identifies ‘beings’ on the basis of visual appearance and then develops an understanding of ‘them’ based on ‘what they do’, how their form changes, and their behaviour, and the way they interact and organize in ‘space’ and ‘time’. ‘Beings’ have life-cycles and thus we can understand ‘beings’ in the historical terms of what they have done and what they have experienced over their life-cycles. That is, we understand ‘beings’ not only as centres of origination of form, behaviour and organization, but also as ‘centres of experiencing’.
If we were to accept the view in modern physics that ‘space is an energy-charged flow-plenum in which flow-features gather and are regathered, as in the analogue of the (storm-)cell, then it would follow that, ‘before all else’, these forms, these ‘cells’, are ‘centres of experience’. Their ‘local being’ would then be, as Nietzsche says ‘total Fiktion’. But of course this ‘Fiktion’ would also be a ‘useful Fiktion’ since it enables us to talk about these forms and compare their ‘experiences’. More than this, it brings to us the possibility of a ‘world described by theory’, since theories require word based propositions that treat of ‘things that be’ and their interactions.
As a ‘centre of experience’, the hurricane feels/experiences ‘influence’ (in-flow, endosmosis) of the invisible, nonlocal fields (pressure field, thermal field, gravity field) in which it is situationally included. ‘The Germans’ from 1919 to 1939 (in the wake of WWI) were feeling the unhelpfulness and antagonism of their European neighbours. In the case of the aboriginal community that became surrounded by millions of European colonizers, their experience as a ‘centre-of-experience’ was no longer so richly supported by the now transformed habitat in which they shared inclusion. In the picture of multiple contemporaneous hurricanes [first figure, left hand side] there is an evident sense of individuals as ‘centres of experience’ that are reforming, moving and organizing under the influence of one another and the common flow-plenum in which they share inclusion. What is being ‘felt’ by these ‘centres of experience’ are the invisible, nonlocal fields of influence they find themselves included in. What is ‘seen’ are the visible, local changes in form, behaviour and organization.
We can see the behaviours and organization in the aboriginal community changing together with transformation of a habitat now augmented by a halo of millions of European colonizers. The aboriginals tell us that their desire is to sustain their old ways of doing things but that this is impossible in the transformed habitat. To say that the behaviour of their community is a locally originating, internal process and purpose driven behaviour, would be nonsense. It would similarly be nonsense to impute purely local origination to the behaviour of the German community in the 1919 – 1939 interval.
It thus becomes clear, moving to the middle and right hand pictures in the composite first figure, that if the observer orients to the life-cycle (heredity) of the organism/cell/collective, their is a ‘switch’ from understanding the entity as a ‘centre-of-experience’, to understanding it as a ‘centre-of- doing’, where the evolution of form, behaviour and organization is now deemed to originate within the entity. In this switch from ‘centreof-experience’ to ‘centre-of-doing’, we lose the ecological (coevolutional) understanding of the development of form, behaviour and organization. We recognize in this, Montaigne’s critique of how we understand ‘economy’, in terms of what an individual or group ‘produces’ without accounting for what he/it receives from the habitat he is included in, in the manner that the Oklahoma community accounted for their prosperity by allocating it entirely to the doer-deed productive behaviours of the human members of their community, until the dustbowl conditions arrived and made nonsense of that ‘accounting’.
Everywhere in our Aristotelian culture where we establish the ‘identity’ of the ‘cell’ or ‘organism’ or ‘collective’ ‘as a centre-of-doing’ into an unnatural primacy over establishing its ‘as a centre-of-experience’, conflict arises. True, ‘Germans’ are a collective or category or set that we call a ‘race’ (Darwin refers to ‘the favoured races’) because ‘their members all look alike’ and because ‘their members have similar doer-deed habits’ and this continues through generations of Germans that rise up from the soil and are recycled by the soil in the region that we name after them, ‘Germany’. But that is just the local, visible, material aspect that associates with the ‘life-cycle-of-a-centre-of-doing’ view, the ‘acorn-to-oak-tree’ ‘telos-driven’ view of Aristotle which denies the living space the ‘centre of doing’ is situationally included in of any primary role in shaping the ‘identity’ of the thing. That is, we purge from the ‘identity’ of the organism/system/collective any primary role for its ‘ecological/coevolutional-centre-of-experience’, in the shaping of its form, behaviour and organization.
Our justification for this radical omission, this insult to our experience, seems to be that we trust most of all our visual sensing, which keys to apparent local material presence, more than our experience which informs us of the invisible, nonlocal fields of influence in which we are included.
The ‘German race’ that the Treaty of Versailles authors, in their self-appointed, excluded-observer, moral-authority judging roles, to punish, was a mere definition, a notional category, a genus and a set of members, a definition and word-label based idealized ‘box full of beings’ that, in reality, was continually being replenished and filled with a flow of new babies growing into men and women. It was like Emerson’s ‘cataract’; something that appears ‘to be a thing in itself’ while in fact being a visual flow-feature that we objectify using definitions and language. As John Stuart Mill observed; “Every definition implies an axiom, that in which we affirm the local existence of the object defined.”.
The German babies were born with ‘original sin’, the sins of their fathers, imposed by the moral authority of militarist politicians such as Churchill, sins that isolated into a ‘holier-than-thou’ realm, the self-appointing, self-anointing moral authorities who sat in judgement, a binary-thinking mutual exclusion that rests dependently on putting the view of organisms and collectives as ‘centres of doing’ into an unnatural primacy over viewing them as ‘centres of experience’.
Could we understand ourselves as ‘centres of experience’ firstly, and thus acknowledge our inclusion within an ecological/coevolutional [spatial plenum based] becoming, and acknowledge at the same time that our understanding of ourselves as ‘centres-of-doing’ is a ‘total Fiktion’ albeit a ‘useful Fiktion’ (so long as we use it as a tool without letting that tool ‘run away with the workman’ as Emerson suggests that it has)?
In order to do this, we would have to accept the natural primacy of the invisible, nonlocal field-dynamics of the energy-charged flow-plenum over the forms that gather within the plenum, as the Amerindian tradition did and as modern physics would also have it, where ‘material forms’ are ‘ripples’ in the energy-charged space-plenum. We would have to understand ourselves firstly as ‘centres of experience of invisible, nonlocal fields of influence’ defined by our situational inclusion within the energy-charged space-plenum, and only secondly (in a ‘useful Fiktion’ sense) as ‘local, visible material centre-of-doing systems’. (as ‘sailboater-centres-of-experiencing’ rather than as ‘powerboater-centres of doing”)
Heredity, a derivative notion that rests dependently on the ‘life-cycle’ view, is then seen as ‘useful Fiktion’ that is secondary to ecological coevolution as it transpires in the energy-charged space-plenum. That is, the fact that we can see the different emerging and developing material forms and track their life-cycle development through successive generations does not require that we impute the evolutionary force to be something ‘locally originating’ within the form, as with Aristotle’s notion of ‘telos’, the will of a ‘centre-of-doing’ to compete, to dominate, to survive. The evolutionary force of the ‘centres-of-experience’ in an energy-charged plenum is evidently to put oneself in the service of restoring balance and harmony within a ceaselessly innovatively unfolding spatial-relational dynamic. Is this not the will of a Dekanawideh/Mandela and doesn’t the manner in which their behaviour brings resonant approval within us confirm that this same will resides within all of us, and indeed within storm-cells and all things in nature?
That Nietzsche called it ‘will to power’ came about because of his sense that this will arises continually within us (within things) in association with something that degenerates leaving an unsatisfied niche need. If our vision degenerates, our hearing wants to rise to the occasion and make up for it, restore overall [i.e. ‘OVERALL’ IN THE SENSE OF PLENUM-PERVADING] balance and harmony. If our brother or sister dies who has been caring for another, we step in to sustain balance in this balance-sustaining-induced web of relations. In the unfolding universe, new forms emerge, like convection cells, to continually restore balance. The endosmosis of the habitat engenders the exosmosis of the inhabitant, or rather they co-engender one another as in Mach’s principle. We cannot simply start from ‘local material being’, as Aristotle and Darwin do and impute internal will to material forms, leaving only a notional internal ‘will to survive’ to explain the development of their form, behaviour and organization. The spatial plenum invited them into becoming to fill a need. As Emerson implies, life is this relation between ‘centre-of-experience endosmosis’ and ‘center-of-doing exosmosis’ but that we tend to transfer our thought from ‘life’ to a focus on our ‘acts’;
“Whilst a necessity so great caused the man to exist, his health and erectness consist in the fidelity with which he transmits influences from the vast and universal to the point on which his genius can act. The ends are momentary: they are vents for the current of inward life which increases as it is spent. A man’s wisdom is to know that all ends are momentary, that the best end must be superseded by a better. But there is a mischievous tendency in him to transfer his thought from the life to the ends, to quit his agency and rest in his acts: the tools run away with the workman, the human with the divine.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘The Method of Nature’
Who are we then, if we emerge as a centre-of-experience in the experience-permeated spatial plenum? Certainly not simply the products of our parents who, themselves emerged to fill some unfolding need. The sense of ‘deep ecology’ comes to mind in a manner that is not entirely unlike astrology; i.e. that the present need that invites us into emergent becoming is rooted in the deep and distant ecological past bidding us to take on form and behaviour unique to our situational inclusion in the plenum yet inhabiting material bodies that are repetitive in their material form and organization. We may be ‘old souls’ or ‘young souls’ depending on the historical development of the balance-restoring need. Every hurricane is born into its familiar visible, local, material, rotating pinwheel form [that we use to categorize these ‘cells’ and view them as multiple independent units], yet the ‘pinwheel’ simply bookmarks what we can’t see, the ‘centre-of-experience’ that is continually emergent ‘in the moment’, drawing from the unbounded past and future; living in a ‘moment’ that Nietzsche describes as the gateway of outer (the opening of [endosmotic] energizing spatial possibility) and inner (the blossoming of [exosmotic] creative, material potentiality).
“Two paths meet here; no one has yet followed either to its end. This long lane stretches back for an eternity. And the long lane out there, that is another eternity.”
What comes forth from the moment, as the musician knows, does not depend solely on the past, the note that first breaks the silence is a discordant note which is ‘made good’ by the musician’s follow-on chords that transform the discordancy into harmony (the musician does not purge and disown, as in the common politics of purificationism). The way of the musician is the way of Dekawanidah and Mandela. The nations of the world were like the contemporaneous hurricanes, working their ecological influence on their brother, South Africa’s notional (to some) ‘evil racist white colonizer collective’. Had Mandela’s view of ‘collectives’ been in terms of ‘centres-of-doing’ he could have assembled an alliance of ‘the good centres-of-doing’ to back him and the ANC in a purificationist initiative to purge South Africa of its evil white racist ‘centre-of-doing’, but as it happened, he chose to see these collectives as ‘centres-of-experience’ that were capable of harmony-restoring coevolution. One might say that he let ‘endosmosis’ (the sailboater ethic) prevail in its conjugate relation with ‘exosmosis’ (the powerboater ethic).
It is necessary, I believe, to acknowledge, as a cultural collective, that we are participating in the end of a certain way of understanding, a way that has had us impute an unnatural precedence of ‘centre-of-doing’ identity to nature’s forms (organisms, cells, collectives) over their/our ‘centre-of-experience’ identity. As François Lurçat also mused; will we know how to recognize that this shift is needed? Will we know how to discern that there is another way of understanding, a way that has us acknowledge the natural primacy of our [as cells, organisms, collectives] ‘centre-of-experience’ identity over our ‘centre-of-doing’ identity after more than two millennia of getting it, as a culture, upside down? Therein lies another story that is in the process of unfolding.