Eco Consciousness - We're All United in One Big Organism
Eco Consciousness - We're All United in One Big Organism
By Norm Hirst
What is life?
The official definition has declared that something alive has three properties:
- It is carbon based
- It grows
- It can reproduce
But in my opinion, in the light of what we know today the old official definition is downright inadequate. Emergent knowledge brings up new questions and thinking on the properties of life?
Today there is the Gaia hypothesis that the earth itself is a living organism. I cannot imagine the earth producing little baby earths. So I guess Gaia must be wrong by the old official definition. In physics, it is believed that everything is subject to the second law of thermodynamics. In 1940 Erwin Schrodinger, famous for his contributions to quantum physics for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1933, contributed a book, “What is Life?” In it he said that life is not subject to the second law. Living organisms produce ektropy to cancel entropy. In any event we know today that living organisms are not subject to the second law. Why not define life as not being subject to the second law? That opens up enormous possibilities. Maybe Gaia is not wrong, the earth can be a living entity. Maybe the cosmos is a living entity.
An important question now is how much of our environment is actually living and what does it require of us?
Since life does not conform to all the laws of physics, as we have known them, I wonder if there are laws for life that supplement the laws of physics we have known. The discipline dealing with this question is a new kind of physics; biophysics. The discoveries in biophysics totally change my ideas about reality. For example Dr. Mae Wan Ho in her book, “The Rainbow and the Worm: The physics of Organisms” p90, points out that while thermodynamic analyses usually ignore space-time the thermodynamics of organized complexity applying to living systems depends on space-time heterogeneity. On page 91 she states, “There is always energy available within the system, for it is stored coherently and ready for use, over all space-time domains”. Think about this and biodiversity. Biodiversity is essential to the ecosystem. It needs biodiversity to manage its energy requirements. That hasn't been known until recently. People who think they are being practical seem to think the need to maintain biodiversity is just sentiment. Unknowingly such people take actions that reduce, interfere or minimize Gaia's biodiversity and they are making the ecosystem ill.
I have come to the conclusions that our worldviews and ways of thinking lead to many of the problems we face. In his book "The Turning Point", physicist, Fritjof Capra describes how all our problems such as terrorism, war, pollution, crime, unemployment, health care are facets of a crisis of perception which comes from mechanism. (Mechanism references processes that operate by cause and effect like cogs in a wheel). From such a mechanistic concept and worldview, a dynamic living reality cannot be perceived. I agree. I have been saying this for several years. Also, there are other perception crises generated in our worldview that keep us trapped.
So what is needed to think about our living world and a dynamic connected eco system? What can be our eco-logic?
The crisis of cause and effect thinking is that it has kept us focused on discrete things that are not connected, and have no independent volition. Yet, living organisms function as a collective whole, each aspect functioning freely with self-determination. Further crisis in perception is focusing on things as fixed and in static categories. Living organisms are constantly changing, creative and energetically flowing. The whole of reality is a world of energy flows and fields. We live in oneness connected by such fields. As philosopher/mathematician, Whitehead said…"The many become one and are increased by one." Instead of functioning by cause and effect, life functions as flowing events all connected and affecting the whole.
You are most likely aware of gravity as a force field. However, in life, there are many kinds of fields, fields of information quite different from force fields. Life's fields generate coherence laws by which we experience maximum freedom to know how to act from our own self-determination and how to function as a unit. However, these coherence laws can be violated bringing about a chaos that creates symptoms indicating a need for correction. The agreement that when driving in a car, all drive on the right side of the road functions like a coherence law. It enables maximum individual freedom while enabling everyone to function together.
Life is self-creating as revealed in the theory of autopoiesis. Being self-creating, it has to be self-referential. It has to know itself. In acting, it will discover conflicts and paradoxes. Old worldview thinking would have us believe we must resolve the conflicts. Old logics, as we have known them, require us to be consistent and to preserve truth. Such logics cannot be the logic of life. Life requires both poles of all categorical contrasts to be operational to know what to do. For example, to know strength, you must know weakness. Life resolves this contradiction through oscillation. Thus life is vibratory, ever changing. Life is creative, therefore it doesn't preserve truth.
The perceptions required for eco-consciousness cannot be based on common sense nor on notions of so- called practicality.
Turning to living reality we find many strange and miraculous happenings. For example a butterfly being born, trying to get out of its cocoon, involves a fierce struggle. A helpful person may decide to cut a hole in the cocoon so the butterfly can escape. When they do, the process stops and the butterfly dies. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
In his book “The Wisdom of Crowds” James Surowiecki provides examples of processes that defy current understanding, and at the same time they demonstrate that we are all connected.
- In 1968 the submarine Scorpion was lost. Based on its last position report the navy estimated it to be in a circle twenty miles wide and thousands of feet deep. The navy began searching but did not succeed. A navy officer, John Craven, had a different idea. He assembled a team including mathematicians, submarine specialists and salvage men. He then concocted explanations of what might have happened. He then asked each man for his best guess as to the most likely explanation. He then used some mathematics, Bayes’s theorem, to build a composite picture. That produced the group’s collective estimate of where the Scorpion was. The Scorpion was found 220 yards from where the group had said.
- Within minutes of NASA's Challenger explosion, seen on television, investors started dumping their stock in the four companies that built the shuttle. . By the end of the day three of the firms had recovered to within 3% of their beginning value. Only Morton Thiokol was down 12%. As we now know, Thiokol was responsible for the part that failed.
A group of people can be smarter than any individual member. This isn’t good common sense at all.
In his book “Energy Medicine in Therapeutics and Human Performance” James Oschman describes researched and documented performances that we would all agree are quite impossible. The list goes on and on. I will leave that until another article.
It is my strongest belief that through eco-consciousness we are becoming aware of the whole of realty as a living organism. The whole of reality includes the cosmos, the earth, the atmosphere, the oceans, and living entities all united in oneness. The consciousness is throughout the living reality. It's all one big organism and this living organism knows itself.
We're part of this knowing and we have access to it. Sensing inner process wisdom and connection in the fields that form us and that we form, we become fully alive and awake to this knowing. With each of us knowing ourselves not as things, separate or fixed, but as magnificent miracles of inner creativeness and intra-relatedness. We can lead the way with our understanding of oneness, connected to the organizing processes that work for us united in one big living organism.
Providing Research and Education
Discovering the Organizing Principles Within Life and Living Processes
50 years of empirical philosophical research forming a new science of life-itself...
...recognizing physics cannot provide necessary foundations for understanding that which is creatively living and self-determining
...discovering living energies, processes and patterns of a living universe of oneness...
...with research for living in oneness, the need for diversity for each being to contribute uniqueness and creativity
...discovering new kinds of understanding how to live together creatively in harmony with one another and all life.
...with applications for health and healing, insights for policy in government, education, environment, business, and understanding requirements for world peace.