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View Diary: Eco-diary #3:  The human side of the issue (43 comments)

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  •  The limit of self absorbtion shown by Narcissius (3+ / 0-)

    is one of the deep psychic structures holding both the western religious and scientific world views together. In my view both are related to seeing human kind from the framework of an exclusively personal social point of view. I know that sounds strange at first but I see both systems of thought emerging from, and reflecting social needs.

    Once Christianity became the religion of the Roman state, and shortly before when it adopted the core set of beliefs that substituted a social hierarchy in place of direct mystical experience, see Beyond Belief, by Elaine Pagels, western religion has focused on social control through a social hierarchy descending from God, Jesus, the church, to the bishops.

    Science was allowed a hard won place in the legitimate social hierarchy as long as they stuck to the territory of materialism and created advantages for the folks in the higher rungs of the social hierarchy. Then we add our industrial economic system to the historic social paradigm in the same obsessively self/socially focused way we add an incredible scientific/technical power to our exclusively social systems perspective, ignoring all the interconnections that spread beyond this limited self focus. Now we have a problem, the effects of our our power have dramatically exceeded their limiting container, human social hierarchy, creating continued profound effects on the living system of which we are a part. Thus far, we have not been able to collectively recalibrate our sense of self  to include those areas and make an image of self that fits within the living biosphere and has a purpose within that expanded context.

    It is good that some of us see the necessity of some type of deep transformation of our way of seeing self and world. Clearly, Sagan is walking down this road, as are others. I think one of the big questions is whether the pace of the conversion of world view and human systems than extend and animate our world view, can change quickly enough to catch up to, and then pass, the technology powered social pyramid scheme held in place by our economic and political, as well as our scientific and religious systems.

    An ongoing diagnostic measure I watch is how frequent and easy is it for people to imagine and discuss different economic and political models. Almost all public discussion of dealing with human forced acceleration of climate change ignores discussion of our economic model, capitalism, and whether it should be replaced with something more well fitted to our existence as a biological entity wielding tremendous technical power not contained within our biology. Cyanobacteria did not have this problem to deal with, this problem seems new to the biosphere, so we don't have a lot of history to call on for reliable and repeatable models.

    I like the material you have written on complexity science and hope you will put some of that out on DKos. The idea that the whole is unquantifiable and more than the sum of its parts is, it seems to me, one of the things that Sagan is working with as he imagines new world views beyond the narcissistic limits which dominate our current social order. Thanks again Don, keep em coming.

    Love = Awareness of mutually beneficial exchange across semi-permeable boundaries. Political and economic systems either amplify or inhibit Love.

    by Bob Guyer on Mon May 12, 2008 at 06:32:06 AM PDT

    •  Are we the self awareness of the universe? (2+ / 0-)
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      Bob Guyer, linkage

      There's a question Sagan poses.  If the universe is self aware it may, in part,  be through a particular component.  That component could be we humans.  That is an interesting paradox since we are so arrogant as to believe we are somehow not part of anything else.  The narcissism then takes on an even more interesting character.

      The homeostatic regulation of the planet is, as in terrestial organisms, unconscious.  Homeostais in physiology is an interesting paradox in its own way.  Clearly circular in nature, it is outside the methodology of classical science.  Yet we teach about it as if it were a common type of scientific principle.

      Thus far, we have not been able to collectively recalibrate our sense of self  to include those areas and make an image of self that fits within the living biosphere and has a purpose within that expanded context.

       Yes, and that is the crux of the matter.  That is exactly why I have stopped drawing the reductionist lines between disciplines and areas of human experience.  It is all one big problem and piecemeal approaches are part of the problem, not of the solution.  It is complexity science as it must be done.  We  do not have that much time.

      An idea is not responsible for who is carrying it. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Mon May 12, 2008 at 10:39:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is all one big problem and time is short (2+ / 0-)
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        In her own Voice, don mikulecky

        Our activity has accelerated things to the point that the depth of our problem and the time that exists to solve it are moving in incompatible directions. I think this is one of the underlying, largely unconscious, dynamics that is creating the sense of urgency in people. Something is coming apart fast, we are part of the problem, and the problem is bigger than we can comprehend.

        As to the universe becoming conscious of its self through humans, that much is clearly true because we are conscious and part of the universe. I see consciousness present in other biological entities as well, even in quite advanced forms probably, just without a lot of industrial tool making to augment their consumption of resources and creation of practical and symbolic persistent material objects. I have experienced states of conscious that carry with them the self authenticating sense that consciousness is the underlying substance and context of everything, but don't assume that that is the ultimate take on reality one way or another. I tend to portray consciousness as an underlying aspect of universal reality, like gravity, that can become self reflectively aware under the right circumstances.

        I don't think we need an ultimate, nor could we reasonably achieve one, understanding of the nature of consciousness to proceed with re visioning our identity and systems to account for the value of being conscious creatures living as part of a complex living system. I have come to the conclusion, alway tentative theory open to revision for me, that the spiritual and religious insights lead to a conclusion that change of perception is sufficient for salvation are wrong. Expansion of consciousness into more inclusive states is a process that has no end and will necessarily vary widely over a population.

        What we need are new systems for managing our social and individual relationship with the rest of life in the context of having immense extra-biological power available to us. Some change of mind is necessary to get there, but not a specific collective level of universal awakening, as many of our spiritual traditions advocate.

        Love = Awareness of mutually beneficial exchange across semi-permeable boundaries. Political and economic systems either amplify or inhibit Love.

        by Bob Guyer on Mon May 12, 2008 at 12:00:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Focus on process not events (2+ / 0-)
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          Bob Guyer, linkage

          What we need are new systems for managing our social and individual relationship with the rest of life in the context of having immense extra-biological power available to us. Some change of mind is necessary to get there, but not a specific collective level of universal awakening, as many of our spiritual traditions advocate.

           What we are doing with our theories and our abstract ideas will never ammount to anything unless they initiate a process of attempting intelligent management and learning as we go.  The theories will modify as we learn,  No matter how bad the coming  changes are, this will be the  only way we will hope to salvage what we are selfishly trying to hold on to.  The irony is that it can no longer be selfish in the old sense.  It will be a collective selfishness that includes all life forms.

          An idea is not responsible for who is carrying it. It stands or falls on its own merits.

          by don mikulecky on Mon May 12, 2008 at 12:20:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yep, process, events are funny things, (2+ / 0-)
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            linkage, don mikulecky

            they really do happen, but aren't really a final something, they are just part of a larger ever changing play or flow of processes.

            Very nice diary, keep them coming, they help energize those of us who are moving out into new territory and it helps being others into the process of rethinking their underlying assumptions and their implications. I'll try to get into the discussion earlier next time.

            Love = Awareness of mutually beneficial exchange across semi-permeable boundaries. Political and economic systems either amplify or inhibit Love.

            by Bob Guyer on Mon May 12, 2008 at 12:32:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks you contribute a lot. Today's will be on (1+ / 0-)
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              linkage

              the homeostasis issue with some more details.  Also some insights from Rosen.

              An idea is not responsible for who is carrying it. It stands or falls on its own merits.

              by don mikulecky on Mon May 12, 2008 at 12:43:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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