White Rock, July 20, 1999
What the coral reef ecology 'knows' about structure and organization, the western world desperately needs to re-learn. When we build structural grids to promote societal order, we build them in an exclusionary and 'impermeable' manner so that we trap ourselves within our own matrix, while the reefal ecology builds inclusionary, 'permeable' structures. In the coral reef, the living ecology 'contains' the structural matrix and it is the living ecology which evolves while the matrix 'follows' on an 'as-needed' basis. In our western culture dominated modern society, people and community are 'contained' by the techno-structural matrix, and it is the techno-structural matrix which evolves while people 'follow' on an 'as-needed' basis. The more the matrix extends and refines, the more tightly we are trapped and the more dysfunctional we become. The answer is not a 'better regulatory matrix' as advocated by green and ethical and feminist movements, ... what is needed, instead, is an inversion of our regulatory processes which puts the relational and inclusionary back into a natural primacy over the rational and exclusionary, ... transforming ourselves in the process from 'the contained' into the 'containing'.
Today, we lack a clear and consistent view of what we are doing to ourselves, and the result is, as Laing says, a 'frenetic passivity'. While everybody knows the ship is leaking and the Captains are lying, ... those who have made 'successful' passage through the system are out on the golf course and in their fishing boats, trying not to think about how badly the societal 'ship' has deteriorated on their 'watch'. At the same time, the words from money managers and investment counsellors yield a consistent message, ... that the aging 'haves' in the community, having successfully navigated the complexifying passage, are now facing a new and unpreparedfor challenge, ... the challenge of finding sufficient funds in the economy to support their significantly augmenting longevity.
Against this backdrop, rising numbers of youth, faced with running a cultural gauntlet of conformity and self-betrayal, ... a gauntlet which tightens as the techno-structural matrix globalizes and its pore-spaces contract, are going into depression, drug and alcohol abuse, or opting out via suicide. No icons have been left standing in the domain of societal regulation to inspire youth and few places of honour and respect are being maintained to cultivate the leadership needed for cultural transformation. Instead, our educational institutes remain competitive playing fields for the biased development of rational intelligence and win/lose competitive skills, giving lip service to the role of relational intelligence essential to the transformation of self-and-community. This primacy of the rational over the relational is the stuff that our inverted techno-structural entrapment is made of, ... that puts the evolution of the techno-structure into the primacy and reduces us to supportive resources, stifling our own ontogenetic evolution.
Modern physics tells us that our containing space and its material contents are 'co-evolutional' and that space-time is curved and self-referential, ... the domain of inclusionary logic and non-rational systems, ... the investment sciences know this, but social regulatory sciences in business and government do not, what is going on?
No, this is not a judgemental tirade against the evils of out-of-control materialism, ... it is simply the continuing beginnings of trying to find a way of giving youth an eagle's eye view of the origins and nature of dysfunction in our aberrant and inverted materialist-rationalist culture. Youth needs penetrating vision to bring order and coherency to their purpose, ... to catalyze their metamorphosis into the warriors for societal transformation that they must become, ... that we must help them become.
Many claim to understand 'what is wrong' with our society in the crisp and clear terms of rationalism with its underpinnings of the absolute knowledge of right and wrong, but such claims fly in the face of the nature of the beast. The 'boundaries of our thought', ... the intrinsically 'fuzzy' nature of our conceptualizing processes, tell us that it is not a question of right or wrong, but one of purposive adaptation. This essay, which 'builds' on the ideas developed in 'The Boundaries of Thought', aims to provide a more conventional backdrop to the 'fuzzy boundaries' view, ... to shed light on the battle between advocacy for 'better' controls to 'solve our problems' versus advocacy for increased permeability for the flow of relational intelligence, ... greater access for individual, intuitive input into community regulatory process. The systems and perceptual geometries developed herein are towards the provisioning of a 'handbook' for 'warriors for transformation', ... towards better equipping those youthful members of the community who can see through the facade of pretense and denial and recognize the degenerate state of the regulatory framework of the society they are inheriting, and who have the desire and energies to do something about it.
This essay aims to show how the bulk of today's change initiatives, including those which would target our becoming 'more helpful and less hurtful', as advocated by Riane Eisler and others, miss the mark because they answer the wrong question. The question is not one of optimizing the regulatory structure and its goals, but of inverting it. The dominator society does not emanate from a meanness of the heart, but from an acute perceptual deficiency.
. . .
Iluminating the blurriness of perceptual boundaries and the inappropriateness of putting explicit rules into the primacy of regulatory structures in complex (real world) environments requires a bit of background. The following synopsis reconciles historical developments in regulatory thinking with our current understandings of complex systems behaviors and their regulatory requirements. 'Regulatory' is used here in the sense of either 'order-inducing' (ecological hierarchy) and/or 'order-imposing' (control hierarchy), ... polar opposites with respect to information flow primacies.
Our 'dominator society', as it has been termed by Riane Eisler, is directly linked to the blunt exclusionary notion of Parmenides that things either 'exist' or that they do not, and that there can be no intermediate states. This optional and approximative euclidian space and linear time based way of thinking has a profound effect on our conceptualization of the world, since it currently stands between our sensory perceptions and our mental models of the world. The encoding and decoding processes by which we move between sensory perceptions and conceptual modelling have become transparent over time, to the point that we no longer question them. Obsolescence in these encoding and decoding processes is at the root of our western cultural propensity for building 'dominator' type control structures as a means of bringing order to our society. The assumption that our reality is, at its basis, built up from detached and independent matter implies a purposelessness to every 'thing', ... and once we assume that everything is purposeless, it follows that we must IMPOSE order on 'things' if we are to bring order to our world.
If, on the other hand, we were to assume a purpose to the behavior of 'things', we might first seek to understand that purpose, rather than to simply ignore its existence, .... and to INDUCE the order we desire as a complementary adjunct to pre-existing natural purpose rather than to bluntly IMPOSE our desired order, on the basis of our particular 'game'. The inclusionary induction of desired order respresents an aware and consciously orchestrated intervention while the exclusionary imposition of desired order represents a blindered and unconscious intervention. But there is no room within the Parmenidian model for 'purpose', and the pre-quantum atoms of Democritus were just 'dead things' without the 'environmental awareness' endowed on today's matter by 'quantum connectedness' and 'quantum entanglement'. Thus, if we take the Parmenidian 'thing and void' model for a given, as we have done and persist in doing in our culture, it follows that to avoid sitting around contemplating our navel, we must invent some kind of out-of-the-box purpose or 'deus ex machina'. This homo-centric approach to purpose leads to the development of 'culture-laden' perspective (Cilliers), ... to a selective viewing of reality modulated by the 'hot buttons' and 'sacred cows' of the culture doing the viewing. Where sub-cultural differences in perspective arise, this non-relativistic self-defining of purpose means that 'God is always on our side'.
The notion of 'things' having natural 'purpose', ... a notion embraced in aboriginal cultures, .... has historically 'spooked' the people of the western culture since once one accepts the default of inert matter, 'things' which manifest non-causal, seemingly purposive behaviors outside of accepted doctrine are then seen as 'irrational' or 'occult', ... as being 'possessed' by an invisible 'evil force' which makes them behave as they do. This was the challenge of the scientists of sixteenth and seventeenth century (Bruno, Descartes, Galileo, Kepler), to find ways to explain things in purely 'causal' terms, avoiding the notion of any innate 'purpose' in nature. Bruno was burned at the stake in 1600 for resisting this culturally-imposed constraint and Galileo came close to the same fate (i.e. the relegating of earth to a secondary, non-central role in the cosmos implied, prior to doctrinal adjustment, an innate 'purpose' in nature outside of God's creation, ... and it was necessary to reframe the creation interpretation to reduce this rogue purpose to the doctrinally correct monopolar attractor). Descartes burned his non-Aristotelian work-in-progress, 'Le Monde' in 1633 after Galileo was incarcerated by the Vatican and came out, instead, with his highly conformant 'Methode' in 1637. Kepler, who, in his position as imperial mathematicus enjoyed the protection of Emperor Rudolph II and who was heavily into describing 'harmonic purpose' in nature, narrowly missed being served papers for occult practices (Kepler, while a Lutheran, held the pantheist belief that God was 'geometry', the harmonic purpose in nature). Newton, a highly religious 'puritan' christian, developed an ingenious suite of 'mathematical principles' of nature which reduced all 'purposive' (attractor-pulled) phenomenal behaviors to linear and inanimate terms.
Many 'nonlinear' scientists of the era protested the narrowing of science brought on by Newton's works (as Kepler most certainly would have, had he lived long enough; ... he died in 1630 while Newton's 'Principia' was published in 1686). Leibnitz' 'monadism', a nonlinear theory which assumed that matter was intrinsically aware and purposive, was eclipsed by the spectacular success of Newton's ideas and following. The exclusionary logic of Parmenides/Aristotle played an important role at this juncture since competing theories were seen in an 'either/or' rather than inclusionary context. Descartes and the followers of Newton had held that the rational method was sufficiently complete and powerful to unveil all of nature's secrets, a popular view which dominated and killed off the more comprehensive lines of scientific investigation of that era, a setback to science which it is only today beginning to recover from.
If the word 'purpose' relative to the behavior of 'things' sounds out of place to you, ... it is likely because we normally confine the word 'purpose' to animate or conscious life, if we do not think of it in the ultimate philosophical sense of 'why are we here?'. But 'purpose' fills the general need for a word for environmentally-aware, self-directed behavior, and this usage can also tie to the notion of 'fields' (i.e. electromagnetic, gravity, strong attractor and weak attractor fields), and modern science's assertion that these fields not only 'pull and push' things around, ... but that 'things' themselves are 'precipitates' of these fields. Since the latent energy and latent ordering patterns of space create their own material emissaries (space is a participant in physical phenomena, as Einstein says), such material IS where it is going, ... and so it is reasonable that it appears as if it knows where it's going, ... as if it 'has its own purpose'. That is, the co-evolution of the space-time container and its material content, ... the co-evolution of implicit field and explicit matter, implies that the 'thing' and the space that it is moving through are two aspects of the same system.
The notion of intangible latent-order-and-energy filled space 'mysteriously' manipulating things, is in no way consistent with the notion of things-in-their-own-right manipulating each other through causal transactions, as in the binary, exclusionary worldview of Parmenides and Aristotle. Meanwhile it is the exclusionary logic of Parmenides and Aristotle which is 'built in' to the encoding and decoding processes which support our western conceptualization (Aristotle had other views as well, such as 'final cause' which fit well with the notion of 'attractors' but which our culture didn't bother to carry forward). Though we rationally accept the 'purposiveness' of matter associated with 'quantum connectedness' in an 'explicit knowledge' sense, we have not yet assimilated this notion as 'implicit understanding' and we continue to put the exclusionary 'matter and void' view into primacy in our conceptualization processes. The limitations of our language, which is based upon independent, labelled 'things' is a major impediment to our assimilation of inclusionary encoding and decoding processes.
An incompatibility in worldviews arises from the differing beliefs that things are purposeless versus the belief that things are pulled by 'purpose'. That things can have their 'own purpose', in the sense of being pulled by their own 'container-attractor- alter-ego', is clear from quantum physics; i.e. quantum entanglement, the Einstein- Podalsky- Rosen effect etc. Such purpose is co-evolved between the 'thing' and its 'environment' and is thus related to the 'thing's' evolutionary history, and since field strengths are a function of space-time separation, ... the uniqueness of locality (space-time trajectory) of a co-evolving thing and its containing environment induces a uniqueness of purpose in the 'thing', ... a situation implied by phase-space attractor geometry.
The point here is that the notion of unique purpose, associated with the evolutionary history of a thing, is fully consistent with modern physics. Again, it may seem less 'spooky' to describe things in the technical language terms of 'space-time trajectories', 'attractors' and 'attractor basins', ... to avoid confusion with the notions of 'innate purpose' within the 'thing-in-itself' reminiscent of 'animism' or 'divine matter' and other notions which our culture has previously rejected. In fact, 'purpose', as intended in this essay, ... as a source of thing-behavior distinct from 'cause', ... is not 'innate' in the 'thing' at all, but being the result of 'co-evolutionary' experience, is as much a derivative of the containing space as it is of the 'thing' which is contained within the space.
Modern physics thus provides a new way to conceptualize the age-old problem of the 'trinity', the 'two and the one', the manner in which opposing entities come into unity, how conflict is resolved in nature, the 'dialectic' and so on. Unity is achieved by the notion that the latent energy and order of space precipitates matter, a secondary form of energy, and that space and matter co-evolve, ... a self-referential geometry which guarantees the ultimate harmony of 'whole-and-part' since the part IS the whole though in a different and transient 'material' form. Since function can be seen as a characteristic of the primary 'latent order and energy' domain rather than the secondary, material domain, its evolutionary progress becomes manifest in the increasingly complex and enfolded functionality of newly emerging organisms or 'things'. In this view, the domain of matter is a secondary domain which serves to catalyze evolution in the primary domain (i.e. the latent energy and order in space). As for us humans, we are clearly of both domains at the same time, even though we tend to think of ourselves in purely material terms (i.e. molecules continually flow through us and swirl into place around the needed functions which seem to have their primacy in space rather than being the derivative of matter).
The topological relationship between the 'ether' (space-time fields) constituting the 'container' (environment) and the 'contents' ('things' precipitated by the container-fields), ... is one of an inclusionary, volumetric notion of 'outer' and 'inner' which is important to the encoding-decoding processes which operate between sensory perception and conceptualization. In order to mentally assimilate this outer-inner topology, we must be able to visualize things as if we are 'immersed' in the containing space. For example, if we think only in the Parmenidian or 'voyeur' (exclusionary) terms of 'things' and their interactions (i.e. post-enlightment 'perspective'), we do not come up with any 'outer-inner' topology to use in our conceptualization, ... and restrict ourselves to a 'pseudo-volumetric' view of space in which we are 'outsiders' (a quantum physics 'no-no'). This can lead to cultural differences in perspective as pointed out by Donald Kunze and others). For example, the indigenous redman, ... the near-extinct traditional redman, that is, ... uses this inclusionary 'outer-inner' topology in his encoding- decoding as did the pre-enlightment european, while the present day western whiteman tends to use the Parmenidian exclusionary pseudo-volumetric topology in his encoding-decoding.
The persisting western, post-enlightenment voyeur view, incorporated in this basic encoding-decoding, that the world is a world of purposeless things, has us thinking that we must garner the desired order in our world by imposing regulatory 'controls'. Furthermore, this exclusionary assumption suggests that things exist in a fully space-detached 'in their own right' mode, and as a result, questions pertaining to 'connections' between the 'thing' and its containing 'ether', in terms of co-evolutionary history, never arise; i.e. it is assumed that all such connections are generalizable and can be handled 'after the fact'. This latter suggestion flies in the face of 'quantum entanglement' effects and the co-evolving of a unique evolutionary history between the 'thing' and its container, which depends on the unique space-time trajectory of the 'thing' relative to the container-fields.
Henri Laborit, the independent-thinking French biologist quoted in 'The Boundaries of Thought', recognized both the inclusionary topology of 'spheres-englobing-spheres' and their implicit-explicit-implicit (container-to-contents-to-container) inter-relationships. He postulated that these inter-relationships were regulated by bidirectional informational exchanges between the outer and inner spheres, ... a permeable, inclusionary notion which can be visualized in terms of 'currents within currents'; i.e. a topology exemplified by, for example, a local current within the 'Gulf Stream' which is itself a north atlantic scale vortex. In this view, all 'things' or 'subsystems' are fractal aspects of the whole, so it makes no sense to think in terms of a thing being 'detached' or existing in its own independent right (i.e. as being complete in itself and therefore having no 'purpose' relative to its containing whole).
From this Laboritian 'quantum-connectedness' vantage point, then, it makes no sense to impose hierarchical controls on 'things', ... to 'colonize' things out of the context of the inclusionary whole, ... a whole which contains and includes the observer, as well. This is why Laborit opens his book 'Eloge de la Fuite' (in praise of 'flight', where 'flight' is intended in the sense of 'running with the wind' or 'going with the flow') with a poetic description of how a sailing vessel must, in a stormy containing environment, sail relative to (in harmony with) the forces of wind and sea, rather than imposing a pre-planned trajectory, dominator-style, on nature's elements.
In our post-enlightenment western culture, inclusionary topologies and the reasoning based on them have come to 'seem strange' to us, even though they are the natural basis for reasoning, which we use to 'bootstrap' our sense of 'self' in infancy, ... to differentiate our 'self' from the whole, and, subsequently, to differentiate a myriad of different 'vortices' within the overall swirl that we are immersed participant-contituents of and in. In fact, while we may initially accept the reality of this inclusionary geometry, wherein we are 'immersed' in a shared space-time container with 'the rest of the world', we come to assume, through the process of acculturation and education, that 'inclusion' is somehow a 'lesser' notion than the principle of 'exclusion', the independent 'existence' of things and empty void which prevails in regions not occupied by 'things'.
To a large extent, this flawed inversion in reasoning primacy, ... of putting 'exclusion' before 'inclusion', ... is encouraged by language, since a language based on detached and distinct noun-labels has no way of directly conveying 'inclusion', and all indirect expression of inclusion falls short of being 'inclusion' (i.e. inclusion is a fundamental notion and cannot be developed via exclusionary notions). If we speak of what the 'Serbs did to the Albanian-Kosovars' or what the 'Arabs did to the Isrealis' etc., ... the distinct (exclusionary) name-labels tend not to induce the notion of Arab and Israeli being part of a containing unity, as in vortices within the same mother current.
'Inclusion' in our language, rather than being true inclusion as in the case of a vortex within another vortex in ocean currents, ... tends instead to be seen like a 'conglomerate' wherein many different constituents occupy a conjoint volume, ... constituents seen as 'things in their own right' and where the whole is the sum of the parts. This 'pseudo-inclusionary' view, ... a view which is 'co-opted' by exclusionary logic, differs fundamentally from the true inclusionary view, ... in seeing things in terms congruent to vortices within vortices in the ocean where the whole and the part are one-and-the-same system and what differentiates the part from the whole is simply the ordering pattern.
This point on 'inclusion' is belabored since it is the unaware co-opting of the notion of 'inclusion' by 'exclusion' which is at the root of dysfunction in our society. Inclusion in its fundamental meaning is the general case where the material content of the containing space is, to some degree, a constituent of itself, of its own containing space (as in a vortex within a vortex). As the independence of the 'content' from the 'container' rises, the notional 'co-evolutional inductance' of the latency of space decreases to the point of 'exclusion' where only 'matter' and 'void' remain, ... thus 'exclusion' is a special case of inclusion, ... the case where the independence of the 'thing' becomes absolute and the co-evolutionary inductive connection between the thing and its containing space goes to zero.
Twentieth century science, ... deterministic chaos, relativity, quantum mechanics, has shown us that our 'container', the 'ether' (as Einstein continued to refer to it), or 'energy field', is in the primacy over the 'contents' or 'things' which are precipitated and induced into order within it. This reality precludes the building of models (i.e. precludes the building of realistic models) 'from the bottom up' (from the sum of the parts). For example, as Kepler argued, and modern physics accepts, resonant effects, such as are given by Kepler's third law (R**3 = k*T**2 where R is the mean orbital radius, T the orbital period and k, a constant which holds for all planets in the system) describing the overall whole-and-part harmony of the system of sun and planets, are co-properties of the container and the parts, rather than resonant effects deriving solely from the properties of the parts. How could a thing-in-itself 'know' how to harmonize its motions with nine other sister-things unless it were not a 'thing-in-itself' but a thing which was 'co-resonating' with its container?
Newton co-opted Kepler's third law using exclusionary logic, and reduced the notion of gravitational attraction to a computational recipe (F = G*M1*M2/(r**2)) which involved only two bodies at a time. As Newton said in his introduction to 'Principia', ... while he could predict the relationships of force, mass and acceleration 'after-the-fact', he was at a loss to describe the means by which the planets came together and stayed together, and after looking briefly at the problem of three or more bodies (in Propositions 65 and 66 in the 'Principia'), said that an exact solution for three bodies "exceeds, if I am not mistaken, the force of any human mind." What Newton intended here was that an exact solution for three bodies "exceeds, ... the force of any human ratiocinative faculty", a mode of intellection based on conceptualizing reality in terms of (a) a euclidian spatial ensemble of 'things' separated by void, and (b) an independent 'linear' time dimension. Inclusionary logic, used implicitly by Kepler, was foreign to Newton since it invoked the 'occult' notion of 'animism', ... innate purpose in matter (a notion which was nevertheless embraced by Newton's contemporary, Leibnitz).
Kepler had pointed out that the type of harmony involved in the system of sun and planets was 'simultaneous' (i.e. it was harmony of whole-and-part) rather than of a 'localized harmonic' nature; i.e. "Furthermore, a great distinction exists between the consonances of the single planets which have been unfolded and the consonances of the planets in pairs [three bodies, including the sun]. For the former cannot exist at the same moment of time, while the latter absolutely can;" ... "For if the ratios of the journeys [orbital periods] are harmonic, all the other affects which the planets have will be necessitated and bound up with the journeys, so that there is no room elsewhere for establishing harmonies."
The point that Kepler is making is that the harmony of sun and planets is a 'top-down' harmony of the overall system (of the container) and that this harmony is in a primacy over all other, 'local' harmonies since no 'bottom-up', 'sum-of-the-parts' harmony could predominate over this 'top-down' container-based harmony. And the point that Newton was making is that his theory cannot explain simultaneous harmonies of three bodies or more. Such fundamental principles which have major philosophical ramifications are conveniently passed over by mainstream science, just as the whole field of nonlinear dynamical systems issues has been passed over for the three hundred years prior to this last quarter of the twentieth century. The point is that this multibody whole-and-part harmony, which 'contains' the Fibonacci spiral (found in all forms of life on earth, ... for example, it is the familiar spiral in the ammonite, the sunflower, and in the paramecium-like tubules within the interior of a neuron), ... cannot be explained by working upwards from the 'behavior of things', yet fits without a problem into the modern physics theory wherein both 'things' and 'thing-behaviors' are precipitated or induced by the etherial container; i.e. where space and things are quantum-connected in an inclusionary sense.
There is an enormous body of evidence, then, indicating that whole-and-part systems behaviors are induced by the enveloping container, rather than being 'caused' by the behaviors of the parts. This is readily seen in the system of atmosphere, oceans and earth, which are topologically in an 'inclusionary' configuration of spheres englobing spheres and represent a system of whole-and-part 'co-evolutionary' dynamics. A change in one system effects all others at the same time, since all three systems co-occupy the same space.
In the system of a local vortex within a regional current within the Gulf stream, ... an 'inclusionary' situation, ... a change in one simultaneously effects the whole and the others since they are all one system. In other words, the linear time based notion of cause and effect is a perceptual choice based on where we position our notional 'thing-boundaries'. If we see all of space-time as one unified flow in an inclusionary sense, then the notion of cause and effect cannot exist, ... it cannot exist in the sense that 'things' then take on the aspect of turbulent features within the flow, and such features are container-and-content interference effects; i.e. they owe their identity to the containing whole and that identity cannot be fully detached, ... a detachment which is nevertheless essential to view a part as independent, and to answer questions of the type; 'what caused this effect?'
What we see here is a very different, 'non-rational', co-evolutional, inclusionary space-time way of looking at natural systems which fits both modern physics and traditional aboriginal philosophies. That is, 'the wind which was always there' as the aboriginal traditions say, precipitated the earth and the seas, ... and disturbances which 'effect' one domain 'effect' the other domains as well. It seems worth noting that language starts to give out on us here, in trying to carry forth the inclusionary notions; i.e. a more correct version of the preceding sentence might be '... and disturbances which manifest within one domain must also be seen as manifest within the other domains as well'. The problems with language arise as a result of the relativistic blurriness of subject and object (discussed in a recent letter to *Complexity*); i.e. we cannot fully isolate one 'thing' from another nor from the speaker because of their co-evolutionary relationship with their common containing space, ... we cannot therefore fully satisfy the conditions necessary to conceptualize reality in causal terms.
Continuing on in spite of this basic limitation of language, ... We cannot fix problems in one domain without taking into account the effect of our actions in the other areas propagated through the common co-evolutionary space-time container. The same holds true if we look at man as being a part of community and community being a part of nature, ... all three being part of an inclusionary co-evolutionary system, ... 'inclusionary' not in the sense of a conglomerate of interacting parts, but in the sense of a whole-and-part system of co-evolutionary container and contents, as in the simultaneous harmony of the planetary system which was a source of wonderment to Kepler .
By now, in this essay, you may be visualizing this sphere-within-sphere topology (it may help to think in terms of lithosphere- englobed by oceanosphere- englobed by atmosphere), and realizing that however it is 'drawn' or 'pictured', it can be perceived in two very different ways, ... on the one hand, as a golf-ball with three distinct and independent layers of material, the outer layer encasing the middle and the middle encasing the inner, ... or, on the other hand, in terms of a 'living', inclusionary system whose layers are co-evolutional, where heat flows from the lithosphere induce ordered currents in the oceanosphere and thermal currents in the oceanosphere induce ordered currents (westerlies, spiraling hurricanes) in the atmosphere, and where these currents are continually transmuting and descending and rising (upwelling and subducting) within and across these nominal 'components' of the system, ... not to mention being fed more energy by the sun whose different wavelengths of radiation penetrate and are absorbed differentially by all three spheres and by thermal and radiational dissolution processes within the lithosphere, ... the whole and parts of this system evolving irreversibly over time.
The inclusionary view, wherein the latent (invisible) containing ether (ordering energy in space) is the mother of the contents and their dynamics, solves the problem of how the whole system 'hangs together', a question which the fragmented calculations of Newtonian science cannot answer, as Newton himself pointed out. With the 'inclusionary' model in mind, ... the search for an understanding of 'ocean current's' leads on out, through the permeable 'non-boundaries' (inclusionary thresholds) to the search for an understanding of the evolution of the cosmos, and it is an approximation to even think in terms of 'the ocean' as a 'thing' whose behaviors are 'its own' (out of the context of its space-time container). Yet we define 'ocean' in terms of its properties and behaviors, ... a tautological definition out of the context of its dynamical relationships with its englobing container in and of which it is an inherent constituent. In this inclusionary, open systems view of things, isolating the 'boundary' between oceanosphere, lithosphere and atmosphere, i.e. 'the coastline' becomes a real problem, and that problem relates to our way of thinking since while it was convenient to notionally isolate rock, water and air as 'things in themselves' or as closed, independent systems, they are in reality dependent aspects of their englobing systems. There can be no absolute separation between one thing and another since all components are involved in a common 'dance' which is induced by attractors in the common (inclusionary) englobing container.
And as Aristotle noted, there can be no discrete boundary which marks the point where one thing becomes another and this comes as no surprise if one is thinking in 'inclusionary' or 'complex systems' mode since the whole idea of a discrete boundary is underpinned by 'exclusionary' reasoning, wherein, for example, the space occupied by the oceanosphere is NOT co-occupied by the atmosphere. The notion of a discrete boundary between the oceanosphere and the atmosphere comes from the Parmenidian exclusionary, absolutist notion of the existence of 'things' and the alternative of void, ... a 'void' which implies an empty, inert container rather than the modern physics notion of an 'ether' full of latent energy and field attractors etc.
If we want to understand natural systems in a 'complex systems' context, then, ... it seems we must allow for the components to be both independent and interdependent at the same time, as a vortex within a current within the oceanosphere or atmosphere. The hurricane, as a vortex within an ordered flow, seems to be independent and to move unpredictably according to 'its own whim', but this is a 'thing' oriented way of perceiving the hurricane. The hurricane can also be regarded as a 'function' of its containing space, ... an entity which is continually falling apart and coming together (Rashevsky, Rosen, Mickelucky), as is the human body from the point of view of 'relational biology'. The reification and language-labelling of 'hurricane', constitutes a 'sleight of mind' which seems to, by the naming process, lift the phenomenon out of all its englobing dependencies and give it an independence free from any 'quantum entanglements' or other relationships with its englobing space. As Dienes and Perner suggest ('A Theory of Implicit and Explicit Knowledge'), the conversion from something we know implicitly to something we know explicitly is attitudinally achieved, ... i.e. we simply say 'I know what a hurricane is'. Once we have falsely 'liberated' the 'thing' from its mothering space by this perceptual-linguistic attitudinal device, we are ready to see and use such 'things' as being purposeless-in-themselves, ... passive constituents in a game of 'cause' where they move only when acted upon by other 'things'.
Thus we have at our disposal, the option to use the true volumetric 'inner-outer' topology in our encoding-decoding; i.e. the 'immersed' perceptual mode, ... or, ... the option to use the pseudovolumetric transactional topology; i.e. the 'voyeur' perceptual mode. Where the former leads to 'top-down' or more precisely, 'container-in' oriented inquiry, the latter leads to 'bottom-up' inquiry; i.e. .... The lady smiles, ... what caused the smile? The biochemists or biophysicists can always dig down and give you an answer in physico-chemical terms, ... 'analytical backfill' which is fundamentally incomplete. But what about the attractors in her space-time container?, ... she sees a man who fits a description of a character in a story her grandmother used to tell her, ... and she smiles. Was the smile not engendered by co-evolutionary effects involving subject, object and container, ... a simultaneous harmony of whole-and-part similar to that which is manifest in Kepler's 'archetype of sun and planets'? Did it not surface, ... or to avoid the 'causal' term 'because', ... was it not the manifestation of the continuing 'playing out' of a co-evolutionary history, what Vygotsky terms 'geneticheskii'?, ... the upwelling of another beautiful pattern in a never-beginning, never-ending story?
The man kills, ... what caused the criminal behavior? The girl becomes 'schizophrenic', ... what caused the madness? No, we do not want to believe that the englobing containers of family, community and society induce such phenomena, ... we look for cause in the Parmenidian sense, ... in the closed systems 'thing-behavior' terms of biochemistry, and biophysics and genetics. We should not be surprised that we find 'correlates' between 'thing-properties' and 'thing-behaviors' because this is how we fabricate the notion of 'things', ... reifying and labelling them to give them an identity in their own right, out of the context of their englobing space-time container and evolutionary history.
We, the englobing collective, first induce the criminal or schizophrenic behavior, then we reify and label it so that it appears to exist in its own right, ... a 'defective thing in itself', out of the context of its 'geneticheskii' or co-evolutional history. Once the behavior is reified and thought of in terms of a defect in its own right, as a function of biochemistry and genes, ... we can attack it statistically, correlating it with genetic structure or chemical balances. From this point, we can perhaps begin eliminating the offending genes from the gene-pool at the time of conception,... or develop chemicals which will lobotomize or otherwise neutralize the apparently internal, 'in-its-own-right' defect.
This co-opting of the inclusionary 'immersed' view by the exclusionary 'voyeur' view discards the notion of outer-inner, container-content induction effects and substitutes a 'bottom-up' causal notion, reframing the phenomena in terms of an internal defect. When an individual is subjected to a container field which induces a psychosis, ... he is diagnosed as having an internal defect in his mental apparatus, .... as 'being defective', and the community rallies around him to empathize with him and support him in his suffering, ... confirming with all of these actions that the defect is indeed 'inside of him'. He willingly takes the drugs which chemically lobotomize him, to prevent his defectiveness from hurting those around him whom he loves, and who are so kind and loving themselves to accept and comfort him in his defectiveness.
This co-opting of inclusionary 'immersed' perception by exclusionary 'voyeur' perception seems to crop up frequently in our culture. The same general geometry as above can be identified in the relationship between whites and aboriginals. It constitutes a purification process, in which we, the 'good ones', look out on the world in flatspace 'voyeur' mode, never questioning the 'goodness' of our collective judgemental perception as it excises 'impurity' from its ranks, ... seeing that impurity as 'impurity in its own right', out of the context of the englobing space in which we are all constituent-participants, ... a behavior-inducing space which cannot be understood causally, anymore than 'el nino' can be understood causally, ... being interwoven with the co-evolutional history of the whole.
In terms of the invisible attractors which reside in the containing space of 'community', we know that 'how things are done around here' emanates from an evolutionary history of relational circumstances, many of which have long been forgotten or discarded, as the story of the five chimpanzees demonstrates. Relational circumstances, the co-evolutionary dynamics between container and contents, are discarded in the process of reifying and labelling 'things', as discussed in the prior paragraphs. The remembering of our history in terms of iconic people and events destroys the container-content interference patterns in the same manner as indicated by Feynman's formulation of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle ("one cannot design equipment in any way to determine which of two alternatives is taken without, at the same time, destroying the pattern of interference").
The reifying of 'things' out of the context of their englobing container deprives one of the implicit meaning emanating from the common co-evolutionary reference base; i.e. a description of Churchill owes its meaning to his relational interplay with his container, and a description of Hitler owes its meaning to his relational interplay with his container, but as soon as we use the names Churchill and Hitler in the same sentence, we destroy the container-based interference information. For example, ... "Churchill out-manoeuvered Hitler in North Africa" now implies that Churchill is a 'thing in itself', ... a causal agent, and likewise for Hitler. As long as we didn't have to identify both Churchill and Hitler relative to the same space-time transaction, we didn't have to destroy the interference information. The problem here is that part of the container-based definition of Churchill emanates from Hitler and vice versa, so that the notion of 'Churchill' already contains the notion of 'Hitler', and we can't really treat them as independent entities since they are determined by their environment, ... a common environment. This parallels the electron slit experiment where, as long as we didn't have to identify both electrons in the same space-time transaction, we didn't have to sacrifice the interference information.
We might reword Feynman's uncertainty principle as follows; "Since a space-time container and its contents have a co-evolutionary relationship and since space-time is a unity, ... wherever two discrete 'contents' are identified in the context of the same space-time experiment (transaction), the pattern of their interference is destroyed."
What is happening here is that we switched from 'immersed mode' perception which we used to define each entity, to 'voyeur mode' perception to rationally examine their interaction. This suggests that an examination of the interaction of two or more 'things' puts us into 'voyeur mode' and 'invokes' rational intellection. In order to stay in immersed, relational mode, then, we cannot inquire into systems on the voyeur basis of the interaction of 'things', but must 'navigate' the complexity in immersed mode; i.e. we must 'tune-in' to the system as in Jantsch's 'evolutionary level', or in terms of boundaries, we must descend into and become the boundary between the outer and inner.
Sharing the true volumetric experiencing of outer-inner dynamics demands techniques which can convey implicit knowledge (experience) as opposed to explicit knowledge (e.g. structured knowledge as in formal teaching and books), hence the oral tradition and myth (geometric form) of the aboriginals wherein one enters into the story.
Returning to the confusion over 'cause' and 'purpose', ... 'El nino' becomes the 'cause' of strange weather rather than being seen as the manifestation of a continuing, purposive co-evolution of interwoven lithospheric, oceanospheric, atmospheric and cosmic systems, ... and politicians become the 'cause' of our strange societal weather rather than being seen as the manifestation of a continuing, purposive co-evolution of interwoven individualistic, dynastic, ethnic, nationalistic and cosmic systems. Old feuds are still being fought, old stories are still wandering about within and across the various systems 'boundaries', transforming as they go, and becoming manifest in many different ways like el nino. Though our western culture with its absolutist views of exclusion and independence would have us deny it, we ARE of these currents just as the hurricane is of the ever-swirling atmosphere. We bootstrap our sense of 'self' from this swirling whole as infants, ... not only do we breathe the dust of our ancestors, we act out the thoughts of our ancestors without ever knowing 'why'. How else could our culture manifest the behaviors that it currently does, without the influence of its evolutionary history?
The world is, by all available evidence and common sense, a permeable 'open systems world' in which the components, while having a measure of independence of the type enjoyed by a vortex within an englobing flow, are subject to the pulls and currents of the englobing space-time container in and of which they are constituent-participants. There are no absolutes in such a world, ... everything is relative, ... and everything effects everything else, ... that is, every upwelling in space-time, since it is an inherent part of the space-time whole, 'effects' everything else.
Questions such as 'what caused the lady to smile?', ... need never be asked because 'cause' is simply a notional belief which collapses with the belief in 'purpose' or 'attraction', as Nietzsche says. The ocean currents swirl because they are pulled by attractors in their atmospheric container, and the lady's smile is pulled from her by attractors in her space-time container. In this inclusionary view, the container precipitates the 'things' within in it and 'pulls' their behaviors into being. And the container for any region of space time is what envelopes it, as in the inclusionary succession of lithosphere, oceanosphere, atmosphere, cosmosphere, ... the container is ultimately whole 'curved', self-referential, evolutionary, space-time story-continuum.
The aboriginals, Celts and all mythopoeic peoples (the whole world collective prior to about 1000 B.C.) held the evolving space-time container in a primacy over its contents, the sustained evolving implicit whole being constituted by the 'flow-through' of seasonally explicit parts. The implicit 'flow' being constituted by seasonally explicit upwellings, ... as in the Heraclitean candle where the sustained 'flame' is constituted by the seasonally explicit flow of incandescent parts. In this 'attractor-pulled' or 'purposive' rather than 'causal' view, 'reality' is the 'flow of life' which is the seasonally explicit passage of the parts.
Our western 'rational-over-relational' culture, as ably argued for by Parmenides (by the 'attractors' of his space-time container), shifted its foundations from this mythopoeic relativistic 'quantum flow', to a new base of absolute and fully independent, inert and purposeless 'things'. Parmenides insisted that we must put this divine and abstract voyeur base, the underpinning of our 'dominator society', in a primacy over our lowly, immersed space 'common sense', . The same aberrant 'rational-over-relational' approach is being argued for today and is seen as the way out of our problems, rather than as being the source of them. We are substituting rational rules and voyeurism for consciousness and immersed or 'shared space' belonging, ... and complaining about the growth of bureacracy and the decline of individual freedom at the same time. And what does our absolutist Parmenidian heritage tell us to do to correct this death spiral? .... to impose new and better rules, ... to improve upon our rules and regulatory control structures, ... to steepen the death spiral.
Riane Eisler, coiner of the term 'dominator society', in a discussion after Paul Cilliers' "Complexity, Ethics and Justice" presentation at the systems sciences meeting in Asilomar, resisted Cilliers' view that we must cease putting 'eternal propositions' in the primacy over relational assessments. Eisler argued that we must regard 'helping' and 'hurting' as eternal and absolute modulators of our behavior (things which must always or never be done), underscoring her point by stating that there could never be any justification of such behaviors as female genital mutilation. This was in response to Cilliers' point that 'it is often necessary to be nasty to be ethical'.
The essential difference between the 'two sides' of this argument is that the belief in the primacy of absolutes goes hand-in-hand with putting explicit, causal, problem-solving, regulatory structure into the primacy while the belief in the primacy of relativity goes hand-in-hand with putting the cultivation of implicit purposive fields (as in natural ecologies) into the primacy. To pressure someone to agree that certain things must never be allowed is to force them to drop anchor in the domain of binary logic and judgement, and it is the primacy of binary logic (rational over relational) which leads to control structures within which female genital mutilation has been perpetuated. This bears out Goedel's theorem in that finite systems of logic can come into conflict with themselves. As in the Churchill/Hitler example, the point here is that we switch from 'immersed mode' to 'voyeur mode'. Immersed mode is relational and experiential while voyeur mode is rational and intellectual. Whether or not one says that one will 'never' allow female genital mutilation is simply a 'causal' abstraction, though an emotionally loaded one. Immersed purposive experience is something else. Since the belief in cause collapses with the belief in purpose, we must take care that we don't devote all our resources to the mechanical elimination of FMG without addressing the purposive attractor pulls which are engendering it, ... lest we put ourselves into a perpetual state of eliminating FMG.
If I believe in 'absolute wrong' such as in the perpetration of female genital mutilation, ... then I believe in absolutes, ... in 'things in themselves' and 'acts in themselves', ... in the primacy of 'contents' over 'container'. From this vantage point, I can identify things in terms of 'problems'. A 'problem' is something within a system which is seen to exist as a source of dissonance in its own right; i.e. this view is in fundamental conflict with the view that tangible 'things' and 'acts' are 'vortices within the space-time flow', ... living children of the containing space-time field. This 'in its own right' container-independent notion of a 'problem' is thus viewed as something which can be 'eliminated'. All one need do to eliminate the problem is to determine and eliminate the 'cause' of the problem, ... the 'perpetrators' of genital mutilation in this case. This notion of absolutes, ... of 'absolute wrong' leads on to purificational control systems and attempts to clean up the 'contents' of the 'container' without accounting for the primal role of container-based attractor fields.
Riane Eisler, in attempting 'to be nice' would inflict us, inadvertently, with the disease of social dysfunction-breeding control structures, through her intervention. The pre-Pasteur surgeon, in attempting 'to be nice', inflicted people, inadvertently, with disease, through her intervention. The message is, as Cilliers observes, ... that all perspective (voyeur perception) is innately limited. It is innately limited because what is explicitly manifest does not take into account the engendering attractor pulls of the englobing space-time field which is co-evolutional with the contents. If we pursue regulation of the system based on the explicit and manifest 'cause' of 'problems', we are by this intervention eclipsing 'purpose' as the operative organizing principle. Purpose is an intrinsically self-referential thing, ... as Laing says, ... "the life we are reaching out to grasp is the 'we' who are reaching out to grasp it.", and as the poet Rumi says, "... our longing is its own answer". In other words we are our own space-time container and it is us.
In this vein, as Lev Vygotsky, Jules Henry, Laing and others have shown, it is not what one explicitly says which shapes a child's 'becoming' but what one does. It is well established in psychology that the child 'models' 'attractors' in its containing environment, call them 'heroes' or 'authority figures' or what you will. In spite of an obvious problem in the current era with the health of the 'container' and its attractors, we persist in focusing in on the notion of 'cause'. In commenting on a fifteen year old murdering his parents in Springfield Oregon, a local rabbi says; "We must teach goodness the way we teach history, chemistry and trigonometry; if we don't, evil will triumph." This remark stresses the rational-over-relational and fails to address the purposive attractors which can induce aberrant or harmonious behaviors.
And so we come back to this basic difference in perception, a CAUSAL option which visualizes the behavioral patterns of society being the RESULT of the structured imposition of 'explicit' good, and the PURPOSIVE option which visualizes the behavioral patterns of society as being 'pulled' into being by implicit, whole-and-part relational interference.
We seem to be at a crossroads. Our western way of putting imposed rule and control structures into a primacy over individual consciousness doesn't seem to be working out. In many cases it is leading to the 'tyranny of the majority' and in other cases these rule-based systems seem to be 'out-of-control', ... both exposures are predicted by Goedel's theorem. There is much finger-pointing and many claim to know 'who' or 'what' is the CAUSE and are proposing new and enhanced rule structures as a means of 'solving the problem'. There are all manner of 'isms', ... believers in a 'better way' who hope to come to power and implement their more systemic or ethical or moral or religious schema, and resolve society's current problems. Their common attribute is that they do not question the primacy of the explicit and rational over the implicit and relational, a primacy which appears to be inverted with respect to nature. In fact there is no way, if we want to be consistent with the findings of relativity and quantum physics, that we can retain rational models for societal regulation.
'The Boundaries of Thought' essay was an attempt to share an examining of the question --- if our thoughts are inherently fuzzy and relational, how can the world of our perceptions be more definite and explicit than our thought? This 'sleight-of-mind' appears to derive from the Parmenidian encoding and decoding routines our culture has embraced, which lie between our sensory perception and our conceptualization. Vygotsky has spoken well on this subject, and current systems researchers continue to validate the concept of the primacy of implicit container over explicit content, ... the primacy of the implicit whole over the component part. In the case of the human individual 'part' within the container of 'community', the individual is guided by his view of the whole and his behaviors are seen by others as part of the whole, ... thus the individual is to the whole community as a vortex is to the flowing river, ... not an exclusionary independent part which 'causes' change, but an inclusionary part which is 'whole' and 'part' at the same time. The notion of a boundary as being 'discrete' in this case, is misplaced and is an artifact of 'voyeur perception'. Instead, the boundary as experienced in 'immersed' perceptual mode will be an interference pattern, a continually changing interference pattern which never 'bottoms out' with respect to the detail it presents to our perceptions. It is an exemplar of 'the rationalist's nightmare' and the continuing pursuit of imposed structural controls would seem to lead us right into it.
In order to avoid the ambiguity inherent in immersed, relational view, we flip to voyeur rationality and destroy the pattern of interference in the process. But voyeur rationality is simply an intellectual exercise. Sure, we can convert such exercises into rules and laws, but to enforce them we must immerse ourselves in the domain of relational experience. When we are in this domain, we will see the meaning of things as provided by the implicit container, ... we will see the patterns of interference we destroy in voyeur rationality mode. Do we override this inclusionary information and stick to our voyeur approximations, ... our intellectual abstractions? If we do, ... by means of the co-evolutional relationship with the container, we stir things in an unknown way and induce new behaviors in the container which may elicit further voyeur rule structures.
In the face of intensifying dysfunction, it seems we have the choice of turning over the regulatory controls to those who 'know a better way' and will put a stronger, better hand on the rudder, ... or, ... we can follow Laborit's advice and pull the rudder of control out of the water, pull down its supportive mainsail, ... and raise the jib of purpose. In other words, we can stop playing voyeur intellectualizing games and generating techno-structure grids to contain and control ourselves, ... and instead immerse ourselves in the issues so that we contain and control the technostructure and put it into the service of purpose.
* * *
 "As the essence of movement consists not in 'being' but in 'becoming', so too the form or figure of the region which any planet traverses in its movement does not become solid immediately from the start but in the succession of time acquires at last not only length but also breadth and depth (its perfect ternary of dimensions); and, gradually, thus, by the interweaving and piling up of many circuits, the form of a concave sphere comes to be represented --- just as out of the silk-worm's thread, by the interweaving and heaping together of many circles, the cocoon is built." (Johannes Kepler, 'Harmonia Mundi', 1618).
Cortez, Colorado, July 23, 1999
A few hours ago, I was in Bluff, Utah, heading south towards Arizona to pick up an east-west highway and veer back east towards Santa Fe. I went into the food mart attached to a gas station to pay for gas, when a Navaho (Bluff is in a Navaho reserve) with a 12 pack of beer under his arm (it is Friday night) and sounding as if the weekend might have started earlier in the afternoon, asked me, ... 'where are you going?' For a fleeting moment, I thought it might be a philosophical question which would have meant that I would have had to have bought a 12 pack too, and stayed on in Bluff for the night, ... but I responded as if his intent was geographic, and said, ... "I'm going to Santa Fe, and then on to Dallas", ... whereupon he replied, ... "... you're going the wrong way, .. you have to go back up the road and turn right at the junction." And I said, ... "but I was going to cross the Arizona boundary and then pick up hwy 64 and go through Farmington." The Navaho said, in a friendly but intellectually unequivocal tone, "unh-unh, ... you must go back by Four Corners and Cortez and then on to Santa Fe."
I thanked him for correcting my course, and when I went out to my car, turned around and drove back the few hundred yards to the junction for Montezuma, Aneth and Cortez, ... wondering why I was following his instructions, which had seemed so compelling. I decided to make the best of it and stay the night at Four Corners, since it seemed appropriate to my researches on 'boundaries and containers'. The sun had just set when I reached the Four Corners, the only place in the US where four state boundaries meet at one point (Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico), ... but when I got there, I realized it was still in the middle of the desert, ... the Navaho reservation, ... and there was just a simple monument there which had been closed for the night, ... the only other thing was a deserted patch of dirt which advertised that there were native markets there at certain times.
Ok, I'm not going to get mystic about it, ... but it was a rather emphatic punctuation mark to add to my studies on the conflict between western abstraction of boundaries and natural boundaries (e.g. where sea meets shore).
What I also wanted to mention in this epilogue concerns the fractal, container-content, co-evolutionary induction model which emerged from all the bootstrapping and was articulated in my 'container' essay. A lot of things came into my mind as I was driving down from White Rock, ... things that Thomas Merton had said, and also that Johannes Kepler and Vygotsky had said, ... common geometries with different renderings. What was going through my mind was the 'meaning of time' (or lack thereof), and the fractal scaling of this 'container' model. If the bootstrapping impression were on target, the model would have to scale at all levels, from the atom, through the molecule, through the cell, through the organ, through the organism, through the ecology, through the solar system, through the galaxies, up to and including the full cosmos. That's what made me think about something that Kepler had said which had stuck in my mind, ...
Kepler had argued that the solar system or 'system of sun and planets' as he called it, ... was an archetype for the relationship between 'harmony' and 'structure' and this archetype, he argued was sufficiently broad to cover human intellection; i.e. 'intuitive intellection' which he related to the ability to understand harmony (we are beginning to call this 'relational intelligence') and 'ratiocinative intellection' which he related to the ability to understand structure. If Kepler is correct in his assertion that the solar system is an 'archetype' for the relationship between 'harmony and structure' and if nature is fractal, as many suggest it is, ... adding this to the fact that Vygotsky's model of thought and language has the same sphere-englobing sphere geometry, and so does Laborit's model of biology, then the whole notion of the 'container' model gets rather more interesting.
Anyhow, what Kepler said about the relationship between 'container and contents' was the following;
"None the less, however those things may be [the difficulty of 'dwellers of the earth' to perceive how the planets appear from the sun] this composition of the six primary spheres [spheres of revolution of mercury, venus, earth, mars jupiter, saturn], cherishing it with their perpetual revolutions and as it were adoring it (just as, separately, four moons accompany the globe of Jupiter, two Saturn, but a single moon by its circuit encompasses, cherishes, fosters the Earth and us its inhabitants, and ministers to us) and this special business of the harmonies, which is a most clear footprint of the highest providence over solar affairs, now being added to that consideration,  wrings from me the following confession: not only does light go out from the sun into the whole world, as from the focus or eye of the world, as life and heat from the heat, as every movement from the King and mover, but conversely also by royal law these returns, so to speak, of every lovely harmony are collected in the sun from every province in the world, nay, the forms of movement by twos flow together and are bound into one harmony by the work of some mind, ..."
Kepler is clearly speaking of a 'one-to-many' outward and a 'many-to-one' inward geometry in association with his 'archetype for harmony and structure' [a container-content geometry rather than a sum of parts geometry], ... and this geometry re-emerges in Vygotsky with respect to 'self' and thought, and in Laborit with outward-inward-outward informational exchanges in all biological systems, from the molecule to cell to organ to organism to ecology.
What does this have to do with 'Four Corners?'. What it suggests is that while natural systems arguably have a sphere-englobing sphere 'inclusionary' geometry, rational systems have a 'exclusionary' flatspace geometry. While the atmo-sphere can include the ocean-osphere, if we envision them in terms of co-centric spheres, ... an ambiguous situation, ... Arizona cannot include Utah, since 'things' are exclusionary and unambiguous (normally we think of 'atmosphere and oceanosphere in exclusionary terms, as well). In other words, if the world is container-content interaction-based, then our current breed of linguistic 'things' cannot deal with it, since they are unambiguous and exclusionary. We make them this way 'attitudinally' by saying 'I know what this 'thing' is.' When we make this statement, we are converting an inclusionary and ambiguous (arbitrarily selected) sub-pattern of the whole into an exclusionary item which we will say has a discrete boundary. In order to delineate that boundary, we have to strip time and space apart (take a snapshot and ignore the 'thing's' historical evolution). Our 'thing-based' language and our 'thing-based' science therefore locks us into these inappropriate assumptions of euclidian space and linear time, which lead to unnatural and abstract boundaries between things.
Moving on to one of the last diary entries of the Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, ... "He was visiting a Buddhist shrine at Polonnaruwa where there are huge statues of the Buddha. Merton, barefooted, approached the Buddhas through the wet grass:
"Then the smile of the extraordinary faces. The great smiles. Huge and yet subtle. Filled with every possibility, questioning nothing, knowing everything, rejecting nothing ...
Looking at these figures I was suddenly, almost forcibly, jerked clean out of the habitual, half-tied vision of things, and an inner clearness, clarity, as if exploding from the rocks themselves, became evident and obvious ... The thing about all this is that there is no puzzle, no problem, and really no "mystery." All problems are resolved and everything is clear, simply because what matters is clear... everything is emptiness and everything is compassion. I don't know when in my life I have ever had such a sense of beauty and spiritual validity running together in one aesthetic illumination... I know and have seen what I was obscurely looking for. I don't know what else remains but I have now seen and have pierced through the surface and have got beyond the shadow and the disguise."
Merton's statement is far more ambiguous than Kepler's, but there is nevertheless this same sense, it seems to me, as in Rumi's poems; i.e. 'longing is its own answer', ... the longing you feel for someone is the love which fills you, ... 'the emptiness is the compassion',... what you 'reach out for' is given back to you at the same time. It is only materialism which says that you must 'touch it' or 'possess it' for it to have meaning.
Vygotsky, in speaking to the formation of concepts, speaks of this same 'outer-and-inner' reciprocity, as in Merton's outer 'emptiness' and inner 'compassion', but in the more reserved terms of an art-critic turned psychological researcher;
"A word relates to consciousness as a living cell relates to a whole organism, as an atom relates to the universe." ... and, ... "These findings led us to a hypothesis of two different paths in the development of two different forms of reasoning. In the case of scientific thinking [rational thinking], the primary role is played by 'initial verbal definition' [thing-definition], which being applied systematically, gradually comes down to concrete phenomena. The development of spontaneous concepts [implicit understanding] knows no systematicity and goes from the phenomena upward towards generalization." That is, the two types of reasoning are reciprocal, many-to-one and one-to-many, and complementary.
The 'feeling' that Merton got would be different than the feeling that Kepler or Vygotsky or Laborit (or you or I) might get in 'tuning in' to this outer-inner co-evolution model. We latter folks are 'pulling in a fish net' and getting an opportunity to progressively visualize the fish caught in the net, ... and to ultimately look through the fish's eyes, while Merton seemed to struggle with the spiritual problem until breakthrough suddenly came.
The Aboriginal (traditionalist) has always known about this container model and sees 'containing place' as determining the 'person' and vice versa. An example is given by David Wagoner's poem 'Lost', ... an except of which is as follows;
Stand still. The trees ahead
and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here.
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger.
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
Once again, the container and content seem to have a reciprocal, co-evolutionary relationship.
In this model, the notion of a 'mistake', 'problem' and the notion of 'time' all vanish, and this is what Merton was perhaps saying; i.e. all we have is an unpredictably evolving whole wherein the notion of 'cause', ... essential to 'mistake' and 'problem' does not exist. And just as we cannot isolate a 'thing' from the whole, except by approximation, we cannot isolate 'time' from the whole space-time continuum. What we perceive in terms of 'time' is actually the growth of space-time complexity, and this is simply 'evolution', or in the case where we focus on an entity, 'ontogeny'. If we can 'tune-in' to evolutionary flow, and become immersed in it, ... we will not be aware of any 'passage of time'. This is this state of compassion that Merton and also Janis Joplin talks about, ... i.e., to Janis, if you 'love', then tomorrow never happens, it is all the same day.
And to a Navaho indian who loves nature and the land, 'Arizona never happens, nor does Utah, Colorado or New Mexico, ... not in the sense of the abstraction of sovereign boundaries, at least.
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