A Requiem for 'Here'

Montréal, 28 Février, 2000


According to Webster's, requiem means, amongst other things, a solemn chant, such as a dirge, for the repose of the dead, .. and secondly: something that resembles such a solemn chant.

This essay is a 'dirge for the dead', ... for the dead 'Here' which is continually and simultaneously dying and being reborn, who we have ceased paying our respects to.

Recollections come to mind, of standing in the central square of the Roman suburb of Eur and feeling the powerful sense of 'Here', ... the nobility of the architecture breathing out upon me, ... the breath of thinkers and artists and patrons of past millenia, ... gone, but not gone, .... and the audacious re-presentation of this nobility, ... the petulant whim of Mussolini, ... also gone but not gone.

When you tune deeply into 'Here', ... to its continuing fiery death and rebirth, ... you- the- observer dissolve along with the objects of your observations, ... and in this aitherial mindstate you feel a thousand ancient purposes flowing through you, illuminating limitless fields of possibilities, of which a tiny sampling represents the precipitate and explicit aspect of the world of 'Here', ... the world of those possibilities which died for us, ... giving themselves up to iconic sacrifice so as to service our consumptive and voyeuristic pleasures, ... opening themselves up to our penetration and to being filled with our presence.

. . . . . . . . . . Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.

. . . . . . . . . . Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.

. . . . . . . . . . These two spring from the same source but differ in name;

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lao Tsu, 'Tao Te Ching'

There are no 'laws' of science or 'principles' of philosophy which govern the duality of 'Here', ... 'Here' is the precipitate of dead possibility, and at the same time, a portal to the unseen, ... a portal to unimagined new possibility, ... 'Here' is the meta-death we call 'life'.

The imagery of Godfrey Reggio and Philip Glass's trilogy of Koyannisqatsi, Powaqqatsi and Anima Mundi join in this dirge, ... as requiems for 'Here' which bring out the noble manner in which 'Here' accepted everything which came its way, ... not like we who come in judgement, with our categorizations and exclusions, ... asserting 'this here is beautiful', ... 'this here is ugly', ... but instead, ever including, never refusing, and in this acceptance, 'Here' brings forth the nobility of an unfiltered authenticity which transcends beautiful and ugly, ... a geometry which could, if we let it, ... emerge 'here and anywhere' as Ginzberg's 'Howl' demonstrates, ... releasing an "unworldly love that has no hope of the world and that cannot change the world to its delight ..."

By accident of fate, we may have chanced to be born on the rich side of the world, and in our Powaqattsian co-resonant state, ... when we dissolve our discrete self and become the containing space within which our world story is enacted, ... where we become each and all of the players and their purposes, ... we do not feel guilt, ... and the arrogance of responsibility dissipates, ... but neither do we feel indifference. The intoxicating rhythms and audio-visual impressionism of art and architecture, in nature and in culture as in Powaqqatsi, can immerse us in hypnotic flow, where our unprotected awareness is massively invaded by, ... for example, ... swarms of ant-like, bare-footed, quarry-digging humans,... nobly and humbly offering their bodies and lives up for industrial consumption, ... to feed the pleasures of those born into other affluent roles. When this experiencing happens, subject and object become 'one' through our mediation, and we are filled with love and sorrow, ... nostalgia whose depths open ever further to the touch of the descending plumbline.

Requiems for 'Here' have no beginning and no end, ... they are the substance of 'Now', the harmonic lining within the boundary between past and future, ... the birth-death and death-birth of 'Here'. We cannot measure 'Here' nor put our hands on 'Now', ... we can only 'tune in' and 'tune out' of their dipolar resonance, ... their pure inductive power, .... their immaterial rustlings of interpenetrating purpose and possibility.

In the 'Now', we may catch a glimpse of 'Here' in its birth-death, death-birth dance, ... only to lose it again too quickly. It's elusiveness encourages us to build our lives upon lesser foundations, ... upon the abstraction of materiality, ... upon rational law which builds upon the precarious ground of abstract precipitates, ... the ghostly shells of a departed becoming, ... which know nothing of the mother space of possibility, ... but which come, instead, with dice for us to throw, ... blunt numerical informants in lieu of the rich story of how 'Here' dropped in on us, from out the skies of possibility.

When rationality falters, when the falseness of our material obsession no longer supports our continuing becoming, questions of 'Here' resurface with some measure of intensity, ... Why are we?, ... Where are we?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Wherever you are is called Here.

. . . . . . . . . . . And you must treat it as a powerful stranger.

. . . . . . . . . . . Must ask permission to know it and be known.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .The forest breathes. Listen. It answers.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .I have made this place around you.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .If you leave it you may come back again.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .saying Here. [1]

These are the story-words of the Northwest Coast Indians, ... where 'Here' is wherever you are, ... the powerful stranger which simultaneously dies and is reborn like a candle in the wind. His dead and empty material shell, idolized by our culture, attracts the rituals of possession and consumption. He is the Deus Absconditus of this requiem.

The impressionism of Reggio and Glass transports us directly into the realm of the poetic, without having to suffer a painful passage through zones of guilt and anger, ... and exposes the cannibalism we call 'the global economy' graphically and uncompromisingly, .... exposes our own cannibalism, ... yet letting us bear witness on ourselves from the safety of the inner lining between subject and object, ... between the cannibal and the cannibalized, immersed in a field of 'one-ness'.

So fascinated are we with our technologies of cannibalism that, as Mcluhan implies, ... we do not see the swirling winds of transformation lick at the footings of our unconscious becoming, ... we stand transfixed by our own constructs and emprisoned by our rational plans for more, ... seeing ourselves as lords and masters over the fields of possibility.

. . . . . . . . . ."Upon this age that never speaks its mind,

. . . . . . . . . . This furtive age, this age endowed with power

. . . . . . . . . . To wake the moon with footsteps, fit an oar

. . . . . . . . . . Into the rowlocks of the wind, and find

. . . . . . . . . . What swims before his prow, what swirls behind---

. . . . . . . . . . Upon this gifted age in its dark hour,

. . . . . . . . . . Rains from the sky a meteoric shower

. . . . . . . . . . Of facts . . . they lie unquestioned, uncombined.

. . . . . . . . . . Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill

. . . . . . . . . . Is daily spun; but there exists no loom

. . . . . . . . . . To weave it into fabric; undefiled

. . . . . . . . . . Proceeds pure Science, and has her say; but still

. . . . . . . . . . Upon this world from the collective womb

. . . . . . . . . . .Is spewed all day the red triumphant child."

Our blindness to the flickering death-birth of 'Here', ... and our mesmerization by the material-clockworks of human achievement, atrophies our powers to shape a single tapestry of our life-threads and those of our containing nature, and in its absence a delusion reigns which has us blithely sail towards a very different beachhead.

. . . . . . . . . . When Man is gone and only gods remain

. . . . . . . . . . To stride the world, their mighty bodies hung

. . . . . . . . . . With golden shields, and golden curls outflung

. . . . . . . . . . Above their childish foreheads; when the plain

. . . . . . . . . . Round skull of Man is lifted and again

. . . . . . . . . . Abandoned by the ebbing wave, among

. . . . . . . . . . The sand and pebbles of the beach, ---what tongue

. . . . . . . . . . Will tell the marvel of the human brain?

. . . . . . . . . . Heavy with music once this windy shell,

. . . . . . . . . . Heavy with knowledge of the clustered stars;

. . . . . . . . . . The one-time tenant of this draughty hall

. . . . . . . . . . Himself, in learned pamphlet, did foretell,

. . . . . . . . . . After some aeons of study jarred by wars,

. . . . . . . . . . This toothy gourd, this head emptied of all. [2]

What hand is on the tiller? and what hand is charting 'here' and 'there'. Like the children of alcoholics, ... the Québec youth see the problems of the adult in a manner in which the adult cannot, ... and though youth would resist launching their canoes into these same waters, ... those already navigating in them are the masters of the floodgates which fill or do not fill the flow-channels opening the way to change.

Indigenous youth, participating initially in 'Le Sommet du Québec et de la jeunesse', then pulling out, have highlighted the intergenerational and intercultural quandry of youth. Ghislain Picard, leader of the first nations representatives from Québec and Labrador, spoke of the decision to move camp and to continue discussions in a youth conference of their own making, ... observing that while Québec society often says they hear the indigenous peoples' views, rarely do the indigenous people get the impression that the society understands. "We have been together for 400 years, but do we know each other?", he asked.

Youth also struggles for a common view of 'Here'?

Elsewhere, francophone youth discuss 'le souper des riches', ... the meeting between Lucien Bouchard, the Premier of Québec, and the 'captains of industry' whose taxed revenues provide the 'float' and channels for the canoes which will move youth into the future, ... the youth objecting that the channels are being selected without their representation, ... that their future is being 'decided for them'.

M. Bouchard, doing as political establishments everywhere do and as the students had noted, ... was building the government's priorities around the competitiveness of industry and the encouraging of competition amongst youth which, in effect, selectively excluded the 'less performant' and put them 'out of play'. For Bouchard, the flinty game may emanate from the burden he feels he must bear, to protect 'le patrimoine', .... the Québec legacy which is, meanwhile, ... 'vivant, dynamique et immateriel', ... living, dynamic and immaterial. Elsewhere, and in the arts community, others were arguing that the sustaining of the legacy of the immaterial 'Here' cannot be 'engineered', ... that everyone must become a 'portageur' of this living heritage, ... that they must 'jouer, danser, conter and chanter' so that this heritage can continue to 's'enraciner' (take root), to evolve and be enriched by and from generation to generation.

Somewhere, some time ago, someone said something which implied that 'taking charge of things' was necessary, ... that things left to themselves would not 'grow' and be sustained, ... but would just sit there and do nothing, ... and be washed away or seized by those who did take control. This principle was established as a universal law.

. . . . . . . . . . "Every body persists in its state of rest

. . . . . . . . . . Or of uniform motion in a straight line

. . . . . . . . . . unless it is compelled to change that state

. . . . . . . . . . . by forces impressed upon it."

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (Isaac Newton, .. the first law of motion).

One may hear the requiem chorus rise to fortissimo at this point. In a living world replete with motion, the motion of animals, insects, plants and earth, air, fire and water, ... here was a new foundation for building a view of reality, ... which ploughed through all questions of relativity, of who or what was moving, ... by declaring the supreme reference base for the building of our view of the world, ... to be man's center of rational thought. From this referencing, when we say something is at rest, .... then it is, of course, at rest, ... and upon these determinations we build the mathematical principles of nature which enable us to predict and control that which immerses and contains us.

The kind of 'here' which is constituted by the inertial 'here' of Newton-Euclid is far removed from the humble and relativistic 'Here' of the Ojibway, which sees man's local frame as in a continuous tumble across the heavens, ... being blown by the great wind which was always there, ... neither is it the relativistic 'Here' of Kepler's simultaneous 'harmony of whole and part', which humbled man, his motion and his reference frame, by seeing them as a mere strand within a harmonious whole.

. . . . . . . . . . "So much for the authority of Holy Scripture.

. . . . . . . . . . Now as regards the opinions of the saints

. . . . . . . . . . about these matters of nature, I answer in one word,

. . . . . . . . . . that in theology the weight of Authority,

. . . . . . . . . . but in philosophy the weight of Reason alone is valid.

. . . . . . . . . . Therefore a saint was Lanctantius,

. . . . . . . . . . who denied the earth's rotundity;

. . . . . . . . . . a saint was Augustine, who admitted the rotundity,

. . . . . . . . . . but denied that antipodes exist.

. . . . . . . . . . Sacred is the Holy Office of our day,

. . . . . . . . . . which admits the smallness of the earth but denies its motion:

. . . . . . . . . . but to me more sacred than all these is Truth,

. . . . . . . . . . when I, with all respect for the doctors of the Church,

. . . . . . . . . . demonstrate from philosophy that the earth is round,

. . . . . . . . . . circumhabited by antipodes, of a most insignificant smallness,

. . . . . . . . . . and a swift wanderer among the stars."

The indigenous youth and the youth of Québec are both feeling the tremendous arrogance of this Newtonian-Euclidian legacy of an inertial 'here' which rejects relativity and instead asserts that 'here' will be wherever he with the loudest voice decrees it to be, .... and thence proceeds to build his rational structures on top of it, ... giving credence to La Fontaine's observation that 'La raison du plus fort est toujours la meilleure' ('The reasoning of the most powerful is always the best.')

Youth who use this dead and inert 'here' to locate themselves, ... will find no answers, ... and they know this and yearn for the humbling, sacred 'Here' of the indigenous people, of the pantheism of Kepler, ... and the Buddhists, Taoists and Celts;

. . . . . . . . . . Wherever you are is called Here.

. . . . . . . . . . And you must treat it as a powerful stranger.

. . . . . . . . . . Must ask permission to know it and be known.

The laws of physics, built upon the properties and behaviors of material entities, by providing the foundation for the management and regulatory practice of the western world, ... carry along with them, not only the supreme arrogance of anthropocentrism, but also the essential principle of colonialism, ... for whomever has the power to declare and occupy the centre of the inertial frame of reference, ... sets the standard by which all measurement must be referenced to.

The 'here' of Newton and Euclid is locally toxic to the relativity in nature, ... relativity which constitutes a 'giving way' and which opens the door to inclusion, diversity and the simultaneous harmony of whole and part. The Newtonian-Euclidian 'here' is what youth and the indigenous peoples hit against when dealing with western regulatory process. More than this, the occupation of the natural commons and the installation of the inert 'here' in place of the sacred 'Here' wipes clear the unbounded space-time history of 'Here', ....establishing a tabula rasa which is then filled in point by point, by the colonial occupiers at the decreed center, ... to take the place of 'la memoire culturelle collective' so that it will no longer need to s'enraciner (take root) but can be explicitly stated, revised and restated.

The 'here' in the eyes of the politician seems to be the pleasure-dream at the end of the rainbow, ... rather than the exploring of the 'Now' for the 'Here', ... always looking over and beyond the horizon, dictating the development of strategies to map one's way from 'here' to 'there' and so be the first to the material treasures and pleasures. The politician thus defines a reified and explicit 'here' which is measured in the anxious terms of how far it is from 'there'. And in their own anxiousness, politicians, along with parents and teachers, bring this strangely perverted sense of 'here' over to youth, ... to help them measure 'who' they are in the anxious terms of how far they are from 'who they are supposed to be', ... like the poor pool player who obsesses on how many balls he has left to sink rather than managing the opportunities in the 'Now' for the ensemble.

Though he is deprived, through his education, of a relativistic space-frame for describing what he implicitly knows and feels, ... youth senses implicitly that the 'here' of the politician is a radically different 'here' from the sacred 'Here' of his childhood;

"... and you just looked around at all the new and beautiful things. And after a while, the trader put some things out on the counter, sacks of flour and sugar, a slab of salt pork, some canned goods, and a little bag full of the hard red candy. And your grandfather took off one of his rings and gave it to the trader. It was a small green stone, set carelessly in thin silver. It was new and it wasn't worth very much, not all the trader gave for it, anyway. And the trader opened one of the cans, a big can of whole tomatoes, and your grandfather sprinkled sugar on the tomatoes and the two of you ate them right there and drank bottles of sweet red soda pop. And it was getting late and you rode home in the sunset and the whole land was cold and white. And that night your grandfather hammered the strips of silver and told you stories in the firelight. And you were little and right there in the center of everything, the sacred mountains, the snow-covered mountains and the hills, the gullies and the flats, the sundown and the night, everything --- where you were little, where you were and had to be." [3]

From living 'Here', ... in 'the center of everything', ... 'where you were and had to be', ... youth are being asked to 're-center' themselves within a far smaller, synthetic 'here', ... and in the process to banish 'who they are' to some 'other' who is always over the horizon, ... someone they must chase after like the shadow of their self, and who seems always to elude them, staying one step ahead and leaving them with the gnawing emptiness of the unfulfilled. This imposed 're-centering' is giving youth the feeling that it is a degenerate 'here' which is being foisted upon them which will 'jam' their 'tuning' capacities and keep them exiled from their sacred 'Here'.

Crouching over a campfire as the twilight settles in, ... one thinks of the youths still inside of each of us, encapsulated like geological layers of the earth, ... youth which came to us even as we ran in search of our self, over the horizon;

. . . . . . Young men, not knowing what to remember,

. . . . . . Come to this hiding place of the moons and years,

. . . . . . To this Old Man, Old Man, they say, where should we go?

. . . . . . Where did you find what you remember? Was it perched in a tree?

. . . . . . Did it hover deep in the white water? Was it covered over

. . . . . . WIth dead stalks in the grass? Will we taste it

. . . . . . If our mouths have long lain empty?

. . . . . . Will we feel it between our eyes if we face the wind

. . . . . . All night, and turn the color of earth?

. . . . . . If we lie down in the rain, can we remember sunlight?

. . . . . . He answers, I have become the best and worst I dreamed.

. . . . . . When I move my feet, the ground moves under them.

. . . . . . When I lie down, I fit the earth too well.

. . . . . . Stones long under water will burst in the fire, but stones

. . . . . . Long in the sun and under the dry night

. . . . . . Will ring when you strike them. Or break in two.

. . . . . . There were always many places to beg for answers;

. . . . . . Now, the places themselves have come in close to be told.

. . . . . . I have called even my voice in close to whisper with it;

. . . . . . Every secret is as near as your fingers.

. . . . . . If your heart stutters with pain and hope,

. . . . . . Bend forward over it like a man at a small campfire. [4]

Young people who receive messages from those older, in the language of science, ... and physics in particular, ... grow tired of hearing that 'this is the way it must be' from those who have spent lifetimes 'worshipping at the altar of science and rationality', those who have committed to an endless mission of 'control' which blinds, deafens and numbs the once sentient being to the music of 'Here' . While those other olders, who embrace the primacy of 'sharing' over 'should-ing', but have been banished from the power structures and therefore from the conversations which preoccupy youth, ... swim against swift currents in their struggle to share with youth ideas born of experience which they hope may help to reconcile and bring youth together, ... francophone youth with indigenous youth with youth in general that they might jointly cultivate a relativistic culture which will subsume the old, controlling ways.

But, it will be said, ... the pleasure dream at the end of the rainbow, ... which lies over the horizon, ... requires everyone to work harder and bring in more profits, ... profits which will come faster by consuming the products of our brothers in order that their efforts may thrive. The pleasure dream will come, ... so the chant goes, ... by making material and currency flow more swiftly through the veins and arteries of the global collective, growing healthy muscle tissue so that we can do even more of the same.

The Old Man had a different set of lyrics, meanwhile;

. . . ."Every secret is as near as your fingers."

. . . ."When I move my feet, the ground moves under them."

. . . ."I have become the best and worst I dreamed."

And so does the physics of relativity, ... which sees standalone 'things' as abstractions, ... shadows of a lately departed 'Here'. Relativity has us ask, ... 'if we stop moving and listen, ... do we really stop moving? ... or will what is 'out-there' come to meet us and re-emerge 'in-here' as the 'Old Man' suggests? Relativity has us ask, ... 'what if we suspend our compulsive over-the-horizon chase and tune in to the co-dynamics we have been ignoring, ... co-dynamics within which we are contained, ... re-commencing at a pace and in a manner more respectful of 'Here'? , ... in a manner which won't get us 'ahead of the beat', ... and thus lost in a synthetic silence devoid of all harmonic linkage?. Relativity has us ask whether it is not wiser to detach from our clock-drive so that we 'ne va pas plus vite que le violon'.

In spite of the questioning, we are persisting in keeping our focus on 'things' on the path ahead, ... things 'out there', ... 'things' and their material behaviors, ... things seen through the microscope, in ever-finer detail and ever-deepening silence, ... things seen in a stark, cold light which cries out for the moderation of the implicit.

. . . . . . . . . . Midwinter spring is its own season

. . . . . . . . . . Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown,

. . . . . . . . . . Suspended in time, between pole and tropic.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . If you came this way,

. . . . . . . . . . Taking the route you would be likely to take

. . . . . . . . . . From the place you would be likely to come from,

. . . . . . . . . . If you came this way in may time, you would find the hedges

. . . . . . . . . . White again, in May, with voluptuary sweetness.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . If you came by day not knowing what you came for,

. . . . . . . . . . It would be the same,

. . . . . . . . . . And what you thought you came for

. . . . . . . . . . Is only a shell, a husk of meaning

. . . . . . . . . . From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled

. . . . . . . . . . If at all. Either you had no purpose

. . . . . . . . . . Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured

. . . . . . . . . . And is altered in fulfilment.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .If you came this way,

. . . . . . . . . . Taking any route, starting from anywhere,

. . . . . . . . . . At any time or at any season,

. . . . . . . . . . It would always be the same:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . You are not here to verify,

. . . . . . . . . . Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity

. . . . . . . . . . Or carry report. You are here to kneel

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .At the source of the longest river

. . . . . . . . . . The voice of the hidden waterfall

. . . . . . . . . . And the children in the apple-tree

. . . . . . . . . . Not known, because not looked for

. . . . . . . . . . But heard, half-heard, in the stillness

. . . . . . . . . . Between two waves of the sea.

. . . . . . . . . . Quick now, here, now, always--

. . . . . . . . . . A condition of complete simplicity

. . . . . . . . . . (Costing not less than everything) [4]

We, the youth of Québec, know that the implicit 'Here' waits 'sempiternally' for us, ... along every path our material anxieties would have us scurry down, .... at the cost of not less than everything, ... when we have the humility to 'let go' of our material lives and self-declared centerings, and open up to the implicit.

We, the youth of Québec, know that though our eyes report only on the frontal surfaces of things, ... our minds forms a reality which is not one of flat cardboard people, thin facades and flatscreen TV imagery, ... but one of living, breathing volume which immerses and informs us, implicitly and seamlessly, of the wholeness of things, ... and brings into connection the explicit-material and implicit-field dual aspect of all things.

We, the youth of Québec, know that though we use the laws of physics, and though our bodies follow them, ... we, ourselves have transcendent power to selectively influence which possibilities will be precipitated into the world of material actuality, ... that we, our beyond-material selves, will never be 'governed' or our behaviors predicted by descriptive laws which treat of material properties and transactions, and we recognize our shared dreams as the beginning of new, unforeseen and unpredictable realities.

And we, the youth of Québec, know that physicists and scientists in general will eventually embrace a curved space 'circular causality', ... a relativistic worldview in which our awareness mediates between the synthetic abstractions of subject and object, ... where material 'things' are seen as 'Wittgenstein ladders', ... 'thought props' for our mind to help us share and understand the features and forms of our containing 'field' in which our participating and interpreting selves are included features. [5]

See Also, 'Epilogue', below, which follows references and notes.

* * *

[1] from 'Lost' by David Wagoner, from 'Who Shall Be the Sun', Indiana University Press, 1978

[2] Edna St. Vincent Millay, from 'Huntsman, What Quarry?'

[3] Kiowa writer Scott Momaday, .... from 'House Made of Dawn')

[4] 'Old Man, Old Man', David Wagoner, 'Who Shall be the Sun?'

[5] from T. S. Eliot, 'Little Gidding'

[6] As Schroedinger said, ... "the observing mind is not a physical system, it cannot interact with any physical system."

The point is that whatever the 'mind' is, there is no explicit requirement that it follow the MATERIAL laws of physics. The laws and equations of physics are based on perceiving the 'explicit', ... but the domain of the 'implicit' (relational interference) is also available to all constituents within a containing environment.

The skilled pool player uses the material laws of physics as a tool 'when he acts', but when he is in the process of determining how he shall act, he uses relational interference pattern information (reciprocal disposition information).

This 'feel' he gets from implicit 'possibility space' relational information, since it guides his actions, ... has a fundamental influence on the evolution of physical structure.

The notion that the mind is somehow the child of the material brain, ... conflicts with the notion that 'field' is in the primacy over 'matter'. Where field is seen as being in the primacy, it would be reasonable to associate 'mind' with 'field' which means that the 'mind' sees things (in non-euclidian space) from the perspective of 'reciprocal disposition', which is a purely relative, relational interference view, WITHIN which the subspace of material-causal transactions exists as a lesser, abstracted feature.

This is indeed the view of the pool player, who effectively dissolves his reified 'observer' status and becomes the 'eyes' of the field seeking to influence the configuration of 'possibility space' rather than representing a 'particular point of view', and rather than going after a particular material-causal transaction. That is, the 'materiality' of both observer and observed dissolve in the relativistic model, as described by Gerhard Grössing (Austrian Institute for Nonlinear Studies) in 'Die Information der Physik: Subjektal und Objektal', ... a short excerpt of which I have translated and appended.

Grössing asserts that there can be no path to the general theory of relativity from models formulated in euclidian geometry, which makes sense in that there is no way in euclidian space to dissolve the materiality of observer and observed and so avoid altogether, having material dependencies, ... although this is indeed possible in non-euclidian space where it opens the door to 'matter-independent' field theory.



The introduction from the Austrian Institute for Nonlinear Studies includes the following comment;

* * *

In this symposium, we intend to collect evidence for an arrow of time in the

fields just mentioned, i. e., quantum theory and evolutionary biology.

For, contrary to widespread belief, the solutions to the fundamental equations of

quantum theory do show time irreversible behavior due to a breaking of their

inherent symmetries. Similarly, irreversibility also characterizes laboratory

experiments and computer models of biological evolution. So, we are

confronted with the scenario that in both fields some fundamental laws may

be time-symmetric, while any concrete systemic behavior generally is not,

because it represents an emergent phenomenon.

* * *

Excerpt from 'Die Information der Physik: Subjektal und Objektal', by Gerhard Grössing

Mach und Einstein haben auf diese Asymmetrie in Newtons Physik hingewiesen: Während Raum und Zeit auf die Materie einwirken, gilt die Umkehrung nicht.

Mach and Einstein pointed out the assymmetry in Newton's physics: while space and time effected matter, ... the reverse was not true.

In der speziellen Relativitätstheorie gelingt der erste Schritt zur Integration dieser Umkehrung in die Naturbeschreibung: die Meßgrößen für Raum und Zeit sind nicht mehr absolut, sondern abhängig vom Standpunkt des Beobachters, also von einem Bezugssystem, das an die Anwesenheit von Materie gebunden ist.

The special theory of relativity succeeded in taking the first step towards integration of this reversal in the description of natural phenonemena: measurements for space and time are no longer absolute, but dependent upon the 'point of view' of the observer, and therefore on [dependent upon] a reference system bound to the presence of matter.

In der Allgemeinen Relativitätstheorie wird diese Anwesenheit schließlich zum zentralen Thema.

In the general theory of relativity, this [material] presence at last becomes the central theme.

Sie bewirkt die Krümmung der Raum-Zeit, und umgekehrt folgen die Trajektorien der Materie den Vorschreibungen der Riemannschen Raum-Zeit-Geometrie.

It brings about the curvature of space-time, and reverses the primacy of material trajectories relative to the dictates of Riemannian (curved) space-time geometry. [i.e. whereas space-time was a supportive concept for matter before, ... material trajectories now become a supportive concept for space-time]

Die Logik der Evolution (Symmetrie - Asymmetrie - Integration = Meta-Symmetrie, u.s.w.) charakterisiert auch die Entwicklung des Naturverständnisses:i) subjektivisches Schema in Aristotelischer Physik und Alchimieii) Asymmetrie zwischen Raum und Zeit einerseits und Materie andererseits in der Newtonschen Physikiii) Integration mittels wechselseitiger Beeinflussung von Raum-Zeit und Materie in der Allgemeinen Relativitätstheorie

The logic of evolution (symmetry - asymmetry - integration = meta-symmetry, and so on) also characterizes the development of our understanding of nature (i) subjective schema in Aristotelian physics and alchemy; (ii) asymmetry between space and time on the one hand, and matter on the other in Newtonian physics; (iii) Integration by means of RECIPROCAL influencing of space-time and matter in the general theory of relativity.

[The above sentence is key, in my explorations, but i have never seen it so succinctly put as this; i.e. the tying together of 'understanding' a la Vygotsky with physics, and evolution theory]

Hier läßt sich mit der Entwicklung des Kausalitätsbegriffs in der Naturbeschreibung anknüpfen, die nicht nur in der Allgemeinen Relativitätstheorie, sondern auch in der Quantentheorie in integrativen, zirkulären Zusammenhängen mündet:i) subjektivische "Begründung" durch eine Personifikation der Natur (Mutter, Geister, Gott, etc.)ii) "lineare", objektive Naturbeschreibung (z. B. von beobachter- unabhängigen Planetenbahnen in der Newtonschen Physik)iii) zirkuläre, ganzheitliche Kausalität (z. B. die Beziehung zwischen Raumzeit und Materie in der Allgemeinen Relativitätstheorie).

The way is opened, with the development of the causality concept in describing natural phenomena, which leads to the notion of integrative, circular co-dependency, not only in the general theory of relativity but also in the quantum theory; (i) subjective 'explanation' through the personification of nature (mother, spirits, god etc.); (ii) 'linear' objective description of nature (for example, observer-independent planetary orbits in Newtonian physics); (iii) circular, 'wholenesslike' causality (for example the connection between space-time and matter in the general theory of relativity)

Erst mit der zirkulären Kausalität wird auch ein wesentliches Charakteristikum der Quantentheorie verstehbar: nun wird nicht mehr (in metaphorisch erweitertem Sinn "linear" ) ein "Objekt" beschrieben, sondern es tritt der hermeneutische Zirkel zwischen "Objekt" und "Beobachtungsinstrument" ins Zentrum der Aufmerksamkeit (wobei die Trennung in diese beiden Bestandteile eher bloß als Gedankenstütze verstanden werden sollte).

Only with circular causality does an essential characteristic of quantum theory become understandable: now we can no longer (in the metaphorically extended sense of 'linear') describe an 'object', unless we put the hermeneutical circle between 'object' and 'observational instrument' in the center of our awareness (whereby the detachedness in these two components shall be understood merely as a thought-prop).

. . .

Kein Weg führt direkt von der Euklidischen Geometrie zur Allgemeinen Relativitätstheorie; letztere ist nur in einem logischen zweiten Schritt erreichbar, der den ersten Schritt einer Entwicklung Nicht- Euklidischer Geometrie voraussetzt.

There are no paths leading directly from euclidian geometry to the general theory of relativity; the latter can only be reached in a logical second step, for which the first step requires non-euclidian geometry development.


Epilogue to 'A Requiem for 'Here''

Montréal, 29 Février, 2000


When Taiaiake Alfred, in his 'Indigenous Manifesto' (Peace, Power RIghteousness) says that the first principle which must inspire and guide the actions of his people (and people in general), in bringing about a more just and harmonious future, is to "undermine the intellectual premises of colonialism", ... what does he mean?

I will tell you what I think he means, ... which is innately related to my essay 'Requiem for Here', ... and whether or not I have captured his meaning, I will invite his response and if I receive one, will append it to this epilogue.


Life (Nature), in terms of its basic geometric principles, is like the game of pool.

In pool, when you shoot the ball, you do two things at the same time; (a) you mechanically disturb one or more balls, and (b) you change the spatial configuration of the ensemble of balls.

Traditional science and the western culture focuses exclusively on (a)... on 'what we do', ... the 'properties and behaviors of things'.

When we go to meetings, ... we debate issues which correspond to 'which balls were moved', ... 'which balls should have been moved', ... 'which balls should we move' in order to achieve our goals.

We forget about the fact that any time we move anything, we change the spatial configuration which effects the possibilities of each and every ball in the overall ensemble in which our sphere of focus is immersed. These configuration changes are 'relativistic effects'. To deal with them requires another mindset which raises the question; "Why should I consider only those balls I am focusing on as 'moving'? If my reference frame were the whole configuration instead of my immediate 'problem' or 'need', ... then when I moved any ball, ... all balls would be seen as being in motion, relative to the configuration (relative to themselves).

The reason we forget about 'everything else' except the balls we are currently moving, ... a principle referred to as 'ceteris paribus' (all other things being equal), ... is because we are using the euclidian space convention, the simplest of all space conventions, and certainly not the preferred convention of young children and indigenous traditionalists.

The euclidian space convention says that space is infinite and void, ... therefore that space can be ignored and we need only consider 'things', the 'independent things' which 'populate' the void. Newton's first law goes even further and says that we can measure things with respect to an 'inertial frame', ... a frame in which things are seen to be 'at rest'. This, of course, will be 'our own frame' since what we see as 'being at rest' are those things which are at rest relative to us, .... those things which are 'moving with us', ... 'fellow travellers', you might say.

The non-euclidian (unbounded curved space) convention, such as can be thought of in terms of the the outer surface of a sphere and, the game of pool which emulates this outer surface of a sphere, is a frame in which space (the shape of the spatial configuration) cannot be ignored, ... where space is a full participant in the game. And, in non-euclidian space, when one thing moves, all things move, because the things are 'self-referenced' and therefore 'relative movement' is all that we can talk about.

In the non-euclidian space of relativity, then, we cannot just talk about 'things' and their properties and behaviors and forget about 'everything else', since anything which is done by any of the constituents, reciprocally transforms the spatial configuration in a way which effects all constituents. Movement of any constituent 'transforms the possibility space'. An awareness of the spatial configuration, ... one's 'reciprocal disposition', is what I refer to in the 'Requiem for Here' essay as the 'Here'.

The anomalous thing here is that since there is no such concept as 'reciprocal disposition' in euclidian space, there is no 'place to put' 'Here'. The child or indigenous person who feels strong respect and attachment for 'Here' (his reciprocal disposition or 'place' in the scheme of things) can scarcely even talk about it in our euclidian based language of 'things' and 'no-things' where the meaning comes from word structures and not the spaces in between the word-meanings (the relational interference information). So, in my essay, I was implicitly talking about two different 'deaths of Here', ... the one death is that 'Here' dies and is reborn as things move, as anything moves, ... but the sadder and unnecessary 'death of Here' is the death whereby we exclude the 'Here' from our awareness and conscious consideration, ... where we plaster and wallpaper over the access to where it 'lives'.

These two space conventions, euclidian (rectangular) and non-euclidian (curved) are equally 'correct' ways of framing our reality (Poincare et al), in that they are consistent within themselves. The euclidian convention, being the most simple of conventions in a mathematical sense (it is binary), is, however, 'incomplete' with respect to the more comprehensive nature characterizing ability of the non-euclidian convention. We can choose the one we want on the basis of how consistent it is with the experience we are wanting to reflect upon and inquire into.

Of course, our western culture, in its rational discussions, mainstream science, management and regulatory process, .... has opted almost exclusively for the euclidian convention. That is to say, ... when we formulate models and problems, ... we formulate them in terms of 'things' and their properties and behaviors, ... and we neglect 'reciprocal disposition', which is 'undefined' in the euclidian space convention. In business discussions, this is often articulated in terms of focusing on the 'hard facts' as opposed to the 'soft issues' or 'environmental issues'. Of course, there is no such thing as a 'hard fact', but that is another (related) story.

Now let's talk about 'colonialism' in terms of pool.

Imagine that you are the indigenous '3' ball in the corner, ... and you have a clear path over to the opposite corner pocket where you are going to pick up some venison. Suddenly, the '11', '14' and ''15' balls move in out of nowhere (the other far corner) into the center of the table and now block your path. A dialogue ensues;

'3' ball: I am happy to see you here on the commons, but also want you to know that I must cross through your present camp in pursuing and fulfilling my goal.

'15' ball: Our laws are based on 'good' behavior and 'bad' behavior. Please present your issues in that context.

'3' ball: Our indigenous laws are based on what is just and harmonious in a natural context. I do not seek to 'judge' you or your behaviors as being either 'good' or 'bad', ... I simply want to tell you that you have changed the configuration in a way that promises to infuse some discord into the whole within which both our peoples are included.

'15' ball: I understand that you are upset, .... but we came from Europe where it was very crowded and had become very discordant, ... to make a new life here, ... and that is just the way the world works. Because our civilization is more advanced than yours, ... as is evident from our literature, education, technology and powerful weaponry, it makes good sense for us to be the stewards of justice, ... thus you should bring your complaints to us in terms of 'behavioral justice'.

'3' ball: If your justice is based only on the cause-and-effect behaviors of the constituents, ... and not on how the constituents change the configuration of things, .... nor on how their actions transform the possibility space, ... then how will you ever bring justice to those who are excluded or blocked off from the pursuit and fulfillment of their life goals, .... how will you ever address those actions that 'don't happen' but which should happen if there is to be harmony in our community?

'15' ball: By the hazard of nature and nurture, ... there are some who come to be stronger than others, and some of the fruits which these strong ones harvest will be redistributed to the weaker and less fortunate through the good and just processes of our stewardship.

'3' ball: But I am not speaking of what we have on our plates in front of us, ... I am speaking of what we are immersed in, the 'Here', ... the sacred 'Here'. Your 'trickle-down' economics say nothing of the quality of the 'Here' which is not about what we 'have', ... not about the material wealth which we possess, but about what we are all immersed in, ... the commons of the 'Here' which both contains and includes us, which effectively 'is' us, as we are 'it', ... as water molecule is river and sandgrain, dune.

'15' ball: You will find much improvement on that front, through our technologies and medicine. You will be immersed within a large array of product offerings and services beyond your imagination.

'3' ball: But if I am in a straight-jacket and lashed to a post on a small lot, ... what do these goods and services do for the harmonies of my being a strand in the web of life, ... of dancing my dance of the 'Here', ... of being an included part of the 'Here' and a constituent-participant in its 'becoming'. The 'Here' is an implicit, living dynamic (vivant, dynamique, immateriel) which we, as included participants, also 'live', ... it is our song, our dance, our storytelling and our play. What we do as a people flows into our immersing container of nature and what nature does flows back into us, ... there is no boundary between our inhaling and exhaling breath and the wind which was always there, in which we are immersed.

'15' ball: And we shall provide a just framework for you, within which you can dance and chant and do all of these things, ... and have money in your pocket to spare.

* * *

And so forth.

Mathematically, the non-euclidian space convention transcends or 'contains' the euclidian convention. The euclidian space convention is the special case where self-referentiality goes to zero. In other words, in the euclidian convention, space is no longer a participant, and is instead seen as 'void'. In the non-euclidian convention, ... as can be visualized in terms of objects moving over the outer surface of a sphere (as things move on earth), the constituency of objects are their own 'container', ... they reference RELATIVISTICALLY to themselves

Management and regulation in the euclidian space convention is built up from a base of the behavior of material entities, a viewpoint which excludes the participation of space, and the notion of 'reciprocal disposition' or 'Here'. On the one hand, while management in the non-euclidian space convention is naturally based on cultivating 'opportunity' or 'possibility' and the harmonious movement of the constituents as they move towards the fulfillment of constituent purpose, ... constrastingly, management in the euclidian case is naturally based on 'purification' and 'exclusion', rewarding 'best practice, which implies judging what are good and bad behaviors, and punishing those which are deemed bad.

Behavioral feedback does not address 'what is not done', and on issues of harmony and aesthetics, as are apparent in the space-participating realm of the non-euclidian convention, what is not done is the implicit, inductive transformation of reciprocal space or 'the 'Here', ... the containing environment within which 'what is done' transpires. The inclusive imagery here is subtle for us who are accustomed to the euclidian paradigm; i.e. it is the imagery of the sandgrain moving over the dune which is at the same time, the dune. The sandgrain's causal behavior happens upon the topography of the dune, ... but as we watch the causal behavior of the sandgrain, ... the topography of the dune is being simultaneously changed, ... and it is this second, simultaneously transforming 'Here' feature, that we normally ignore as we focus on 'things' and 'cause'.

Colonialism, then, emerges naturally from management process based on the euclidian space convention, which is blind to the 'Here'. Colonialism is constituted by 'acting' out of the context of (i.e. 'ignoring') the reciprocal effects of the 'actions' on the 'possibility space' or 'Here' which is the container for those actions. Judging whether the actions are 'good' or 'bad' in themselves, ... is still a 'thing' focused exercise which is innately inadequate for taking into account the issues of 'reciprocal disposition' (the 'Here'). Monetary compensation in response to complaints formulated in euclidian terms does nothing for revitalizing the quality of the 'Here'.

'Colonialism', then, is a way of life, ... it is the way of life of our western culture, and it applies at all levels within our regulatory structures, including education.

'Colonialism' is fully describable in the terms and principles of physics, ... as has been the attempt in this epilogue.

The ways of colonialism are fully consistent with the ways of mainstream science, EXCEPT for the general theory of relativity (1915).

The effects of general relativity require non-euclidian space (relational self-interfering space as in the game of pool) in order for natural phenomena to be (more) fully understood. While, as individuals, we 'feel' the quality of the 'Here' (relational interference effects), since our sensory mode is well beyond the space conventions we are talking about (see Poincare, 'The Relativity of Space' from Science & Method (1897).), ... it is only when we want to manage, regulate, debate, ...when we formally invoke a space convention. Our choice in the west is the euclidian space convention which leads to 'judgement' as to 'good', 'bad', 'better', 'worse', 'best', 'worst' behavioral practices out of the context of their impact on 'reciprocal disposition'. In pursuing this management, we scarcely consider how what we are doing is transforming the possibility space in which we and our brothers are immersed constituents.

Beyond the work of Poincare and Einstein, ... modern scientific sources continue to validate these concepts as this following current quote from the Austrian Institute for Nonlinear Science by Gerhard Grössing indicates;

* * *

"Kein Weg führt direkt von der Euklidischen Geometrie zur Allgemeinen Relativitätstheorie; letztere ist nur in einem logischen zweiten Schritt erreichbar, der den ersten Schritt einer Entwicklung Nicht- Euklidischer Geometrie voraussetzt. "

my translation is;

"There are no paths leading directly from euclidian geometry to general relativity theory; the latter can only be reached in a logical second step, for which the first step requires non-euclidian geometry development."

* * *

In the terms we have been speaking in, ... the interference effects associated with the 'Here' (reciprocal disposition) are invisible to management regulatory and discussion techniques developed using the euclidian space convention, and only become visible if these techniques are developed using the non-euclidian space convention (i.e. frameworks which allow one to see relational interference effects, as have been developed by exceptional teams etc.).

Moving, for a moment, beyond colonialism to considerations related to the question of why the indigenous youth pulled out of the Quebec youth summit and made the following statement, as reported in 'La Presse';

"Ghislain Picard, leader of the first nations representatives from Québec and Labrador, spoke of the decision to move camp and to continue discussions in a youth conference of their own making, ... observing that while Québec society often says they hear the indigenous peoples' views, rarely do the indigenous people get the impression that the society understands. "We have been together for 400 years, but do we know each other?", he asked. "

Since the time of Parmenides and Aristotle, and up to and including the time of Kant, ... our culture believed that the euclidian space convention 'was the way our reality is', and it was Lobachevsky, Riemann and particularly Poincare who laid this to rest (but apparently did not put a wooden stake through its heart which still beats in our western culture), and said no, ... all geometries we come up with are our own fabrications which we impose on nature and some fit some of our observations better than others, and its on that basis, of what's most convenient to our inquiry, that we choose to use them.

The general theory of relativity (1915) said that we could not fully describe nature without including the notion of relativity, of describing things in terms of relational geometry without any dependency on 'things' ('things' are non-relativistic, man-imposed 'labels'). Avoiding a descriptive dependency on 'things' is, of course, impossible to do in euclidian space because euclidian space is a bivalent space in which there can ONLY be 'things' or 'no things' (void), and since it is rectangular, infinite and void, ... one can hardly use it to portray and discuss natural phenomena in a purely relational, 'thing-independent' manner.

Science today, is a derivative of the global economy. It is the rare scientist, like Henri Laborit, who chooses to do his research as an outsider, so as to avoid the restrictions which bind the researcher to euclidian science. Thus, the rewards and prizes (including Nobel prizes) and the research-financing, imply problems and solutions centered on 'things', and 'thing behaviors', ... particularly about cellular 'things' which might possibly lead to extensions of our lives (notwithstanding the quality of the 'Here'); i.e. the rewards and prizes are for euclidian scientific discovery (non-relativistic scientific discovery).

Meanwhile, Einstein, Bohr, Schroedinger, Bohm and others maintained that we 'had to include the tools of our inquiry in our inquiry'. In other words, we had to become aware of such things as our choice of space conventions, and their impact on our inquiry. This, however, is not being done, ... not in mainstream science, not in business, not in government and not in our educational system. The still-growing flywheel effect of the global economy, which drives management and regulatory process, even at the national government level, suppresses the advance of the new science of relativity, as the global economy is exclusively material-oriented.

So, returning to the difference of view between the indigenous youth and the francophone youth of Quebec, ... the former are coming from a culture where all things are seen as 'strands in the web of life' (this is equivalent, in terms of the dynamical geometry, to billiard balls on the outer surface of a sphere) which constitutes a non-euclidian space convention- based view of the world. The latter are coming from an 'invisible', unquestioned, undebated, fundamentally-limiting pre-assumption built into the foundation of their inquiry, ... the use of the euclidian space convention. Meanwhile, this is not the convention of their childhood, and they 'feel' what is happening to their 'Here', .... their much respected and appreciated 'Here', ... but there are no entries on the accounting books of their olders to even discuss this. Their olders assume that by adopting 'best practices' of good behavior, ... we will all somehow 'get there'. The indigenous youths are not so easily co-opted by monetary promises being traded for 'quality of the 'Here', ... and since the underlying 'tools of inquiry' are invisible to both (the influence of space convention choice on perception and inquiry is not taught), ... they part ways.

If someone were to get up in the middle of a government-youth debate and say; "We need to shift this discussion from the euclidian space convention to the non-euclidian space convention", ... what do you think those in power would say? Perhaps, after they stopped laughing, something like, ... the majority of the most respected authorities on science and philosophy in the world are using these same techniques we are using, ... what we are using represents a 'best practice'.

And if you were Giordano Bruno, burned at the stake in 1600 for his relativistic ideas, you might answer; "It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people"

Perhaps there was a bit of internal-conflict in his statement in terms of its judgemental aspect, ('low and base mind'), ... but it was bound to be annoying to be burned for theories which were so well validated by experience. Nelson Mandela, another leadership figure who implicitly embraces relativity, is a better (more resonant) model who lives on, ... a minority view which can hopefully help us grow a new paradigm.

* * *

Return-path: <taiaiake@uvic.ca>
Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 14:07:59 -0800
From: Taiaiake Alfred <taiaiake@uvic.ca>
Subject: RE: Epilogue to 'A Requiem for 'Here''
To: ted lumley <emiliano@sympatico.ca>
Reply-to: taiaiake@uvic.ca

good one.


-----Original Message-----
From: ted lumley [mailto:emiliano@sympatico.ca]
Sent: Tuesday, February 29, 2000 12:47 PM
To: Taiaiake Alfred
Subject: Epilogue to 'A Requiem for 'Here''

Epilogue to 'A Requiem for 'Here''

Montréal, 29 Février, 2000


When Taiaiake Alfred, in his 'Indigenous Manifesto' (Peace, Power
Righteousness) says that the first principle which must inspire and
guide the actions of his people (and people in general), in bringing about a
more just and harmonious future, is to "undermine the intellectual premises
of colonialism", ... what does he mean?

I will tell you what I think he means, ... which is innately related to
my essay 'Requiem for Here', ... and whether or not I have captured his
meaning, I will invite his response and if I receive one, will append it
to this epilogue.


Life (Nature), in terms of its basic geometric principles, is like the
gameof pool.

. . .snip

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