Something's Missing; Why Force

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Something's Missing; Why Force

By Norm Hirst

Throughout my life I have encountered experiences that made me feel there was something missing. I remember reading Ayn Rand novels. I found her heroes appealing. But I felt there was something missing. I remember working on artificial intelligence. I felt there was something missing. While most of my colleagues believed computers could be more intelligent than humans I believed the something missing would prevent their ever having any real intelligence. Hype to the contrary today, computers are not in any way equal to the intelligence found in life; nor will they ever be.

In our previous article, “Why War?” I concluded that our misunderstanding of life and living processes has led us to the use of force as a means of control and management of life processes leading to calamities such as war. I believe all our social institutions are failing because force to control prevents normal living processes from working. There are effective alternatives to solving living problems that don't require force. I warned against politicians who want to get tough on this and that such as crime. I pointed out that the U.S. has the highest percentage of its population in prison along with the toughest sentencing. In research, we discovered that tougher sentencing increases recidivism; a seemingly paradoxical conclusion until one understands how life works.

So now I want to continue the theme. What is missing? What do we need to know to solve problems without destroying life?

The dominant Western worldview has no room for life! It is a world focused on nonliving matter governed by laws that require force. It is a view of mechanisms, cause and effect, and determinism. It can be understood through reductionism, i.e., breaking everything down to the smallest particles to see how they go together. Physics is said to be the most fundamental science from which all else can be derived.

What is left out of that picture (what is missing) are living energy and living entities! Living entities can initiate acts. In acting they add an uncontrollable quality that cannot be calculated through any physical laws of force. Living entities do not passively await an external force to do something. For life there is no cause and effect. No determinism. Life is wholistic from bottom to top. Using reductionism destroys knowledge of our living organization and how best to work with it; the very aspect we should be trying to understand. Physics as we have known it can no longer be considered the most fundamental science. What now?

Physics may no longer be the most fundamental science; but let us give thanks to physics for what it has provided. It has provided technology by which the internal workings of living organisms can be observed as they live. How living organisms work is unlike anything ever imagined. Biologists used to think that the molecules in the cells of our bodies were moving by being jostled about. Sometimes two molecules would become attached. It was presumed that their shapes were like locks and keys; when they collided they stuck together. Imagine the surprise when it was observed that the molecules were sending signals looking for partners, and when they detected a partner they would move together. Everything in the body is living and acting as an ensemble.

In the human being there are 75 trillion cells living and acting in a pure democracy. Due to coherence conditions they have maximum freedom. All the cells are functioning in unison as what is now being described as a jazz band. As long as we are alive this internal jazz band is playing our personal theme in 72 octaves.

Every living entity, each cell, molecule, you and me, society, Gaia and the universe, functions as artists in creating its own life; jazz artists! There are no written parts to be played. Every living entity is connected to the wholeness, oneness, of life. Through such connection there is great awareness possible within from which to determine action, more than can be experienced through traditional senses.

In contrast psychologist Eleanor Rosch, who in 1996 characterized the current state of human knowledge and what I would call the world of technology, or machine world, as follows:

"In the analytic picture offered by the cognitive sciences, the world consists of separate objects and states of affairs, the human mind is a determinate machine which, in order to know, isolates and identifies those objects and events, finds the simplest possible predictive contingencies between them, stores the results through time in memory, relates the items in memory to each other such that they form a coherent but indirect representation of the world and oneself, and retrieves those representations in order to fulfill the only originating value, which is to survive and reproduce in an evolutionarily successful manner”.

In keeping with current discoveries, she now speaks of primary knowing.

..."primary knowing" arises by means of "interconnected wholes, rather than isolated contingent parts and by means of time-less, direct, presentation" rather than through stored "re-presentation." "Such knowing is open rather than determinate, and a sense of unconditional value, rather than conditional usefulness, is an inherent part of the act of knowing itself," said Rosch. Acting from such awareness is "spontaneous, rather than the result of decision making”, and it is "compassionate…since it is based on wholes larger than the self."

The missing element is primary knowing!

In life we are jazz players. We are actors. The world is our jazz band. Ideally we “listen”, not through our ears but may I say through our souls tuning in. The new science of axiological psychology has very recently been announced. That means psychology based on value theory. It’s diagnostic instrument, the Hartman Value Profile, tells a most amazing story.

Without determinism, living organisms choose their acts based on value processes. There are three kinds of values. We have discussed these in previous articles. They are

  • Intrinsic, primary knowing
  • Extrinsic, conceptual, abstracted from experience
  • Systemic, relational, mentally created order

Unfortunately the value profile shows that many folks don’t “listen” well. With the prevalence of force they hardly ever had a chance.

To know what could be and to know what is in today’s world is heart breaking. Is anyone really free to create his or her own life? While participating in a Health Fair, Skye asked people if they thought they were healthy. If they said yes, she asked them to what they attributed their health. Without exception their response was that they had always followed their own interests.

Part of the Hartman profile shows how people value them selves:

  • Intrinsically, how much they value their own unique being, unconditional love in primary knowing
  • Extrinsically, how much they value what they are contributing to the world.
  • Systemically, how much they value the theory they have created for who they should be.

In the U.S. culture, the typical response I have seen, shows the intrinsic valuation is rejected while their systemic is over valued as a means of compensation for the rejection of the intrinsic. They are driven to achieve while seeing their unique identity as irrelevant. No matter what they achieve they will find difficulty in finding meaning. For example note in the financial industry where it is typical for successful young 35 year olds to retire with lots of money (systemic) only to seek out philanthropy (intrinsic) to find meaning.

Regarding values in the world, it is not uncommon to see the intrinsic (life) rejected while compensated by the extrinsic (practical) and systemic (thought forms). This is a troubling situation. There is, in life, a natural value hierarchy. Coherence laws of life require life to take priority. Unfortunately the hierarchy has become inverted leaving life out of the picture.

Words cannot describe intrinsic value. As I told Skye, "If I could tell you why I love you it wouldn’t be love." To speak of my love I would have to go to poetry and metaphor. To act in concert with my intrinsic feeling, I would choose to be there for her through any context or situation, the same as she would do for me. Unfortunately it seems people today mistake reality for what can be said or thought about as words in the mind.

When ideas in the mind trump every thing and we wind up in violence and mass killing, as in war; we have gone terribly wrong. We are committing crimes against others, all life, and ourselves. In today’s conditions, both in our environmental life support and our possession of weapons from Hell, we are likely to terminate all life.

Well, you might ask, what are we to do when confronted by a dangerous enemy? Remember, the whole world is our jazz band. The dangerous enemy is a construct of our minds. There is a vast variety in life and life requires such variety. However, given primitive thought, what is perceived with such (concepts and theories) minds, we would feel differences as threatening. Those differences are different ways of acting and they cannot be understood. "They don’t act like us. They must be hostile." It becomes a mutually agreed upon truth as each side plays its part.

But life creates differences for a purpose. It can all be transformed into more advanced jazz, if we tune in with our souls. Or, as religious leaders have been saying for centuries, try love.