Science is the tool of the Western mind and with it more
doors can be opened than with bare hands. It is part and
parcel of our knowledge and obscures our insight only when
it holds that the understanding given by it is the only
kind there is.
"Out of what is in itselt and indistinguishable, swarming continuum, devoid of distinction (sunyata), or emphasis, our senses make for us, by attending to this motion and ignoring that, a world full of contrasts, of sharp accents, of abrupt changes, of picturesque light and shade. Helmholtz salys that we notice only those sensations which are signs to us of things. But what are things? Nothing, as we shall abundantly see, but special groups of sensible qualities, which happen practically or aesthetically to interest us, to which we therefore give substantive names, and which we exalt to this exclusive status of independence and dignity."
"Every individual is at once the beneficiary and the victim of the linguistic tradition into which he has been born - the beneficiary inasmuch as language gives access to the accumulated records of other people's experience, the victim in so far as it confirms him in the belief that reduced awareness is the only awareness and as it bedevils his sense of reality, so that he is all too apt to take his concepts for data, his words for actual things." [TDOP Huxley 23]
"Indeed, to some extent it has always been necessary and proper for man, in his thinking, to divide things up, if we tried to deal with the whole of reality at once, we would be swamped. However when this mode of thought is applied more broadly to man's notion of himself and the whole world in which he lives, (i.e. in his world-view) then man ceases to regard the resultant divisions as merely useful or convenient and begins to see and experience himself and this world as actually constituted of separately existing fragments. What is needed is a relativistic theory, to give up altogether the notion that the world is constituted of basic objects or building blocks. Rather one has to view the world in terms of universal flux of events and processes."
Bergson was also aware of the spurios reality of "things" because, - as he himself pointed out - thought creates things by slicing up reality into small bits that it can easily grasp. Thus when you are think-ing you are thing-ing. Thought does not report things, it distorts reality to create things, and, as Bergson noted, "In so doing it allows what is the very essence of the real to escape." Thus to the extent we actually imagine a world of discrete and separate things, conceptions have become perceptions, and we have in this manner populated our universe with nothing but ghosts. Therefore the Madhyamika declares that Reality, besides being void of conceptual elaboration, is likewise Void of separate things.
The doctrine of mutual interpenetration and mutual identification of the Dharmadhatu represents man's highest attempt to put into words that non-dual experience of Reality which itself remains wordless, ineffable, unspeakable, that nameless nothingness. The Dharmadhatu is not entirely foreign to Western thought, for something very similar to it is seen emerging in modern Systems Theory, in Gestalt psychology, and in the organismic philosophy of Whitehead. As a matter of fact, Western science as a whole is moving very rapidly towards a Dharmadhatu view of the cosmos, as biophysicist Ludwig von Bertalanffy states: "We may state as a characteristic of modern sciece that the scheme of isolable units acting in one-way-causality has proved to be insufficient. Hence the appearence, in all fields of science, of notions like wholeness, holistic, organismic, gestalt, etc, which signify that in the last resort, we must think in terms of systems of elements in mutual interaction."
Much is known about the way the cerebral cortex, the outer rind of the brain, initially analyzes sensory messages. Yet investigations are only now beginning to suggest how the brain moves beyond the mere extraction of features-how it combines sensory messages with past experience and with expectation to identify both the stimulus and its particular meaning to the individual.
My own group's studies, carried out over more than 30 years at the University of California at Berkeley, suggest that perception cannot be understood solely by examining properties of individual neurons, a microscopic approach that currently dominates neuroscience research. We have found that perception depends on the simultaneous, cooperative activity of millions of neurons spread throughout expanses of the cortex. Such global activity can be identified, measured and explained only if one adopts a macroscopic view alongside the microscopic one.
There is an analogy to this approach in music. To grasp the beauty in a choral piece, it is not enough to listen to the individual singers sequentially. One must hear the performers together, as they modulate their voices and timing in response to one another.
From: February 1991 Scientific American, Vol 264, (2) Pgs.
WALTER J. FREEMAN is professor of Neurobiology at the University of California, Berkeley.
-FRITJOF CAPRA The Turning Point
All these natural systems are wholes whose specfic structures arise from the interactions and interdependence of their parts. The activity of systems involves a process known as transaction- the simultaneous and mutually interdependent interaction between multiple components."
GENERAL SYSTEMS THEORY
A system, after all, is any unit containing feedback structure
and therefore competent to process information. There are ecological
systems, social systems, and the individual organism plus the
environment with which it interacts is itself a system in this
technical sense. The circumstance that the family as a unit came
to be thought of as a system must lead back inevitably, I believe,
to considering the individual as a system.
It follows that the ways of thinking evolved by psychiatrists in order to understand the family as a system. . . .The polarization of opinion then will not be simply between practitioners of individual therapy and practitioners of family therapy but between those who think in terms of systems and those who think in terms of lineal sequences of cause and effect. . . .
The basic rule of system theory is that, if you want to understand some phenomenon or appearance, you must consider that phenomenon within he context of all completed circuits which are relevant to it.
PETER SENGE The Fifth Discipline
LUDWIG von BERTALANFFY Problems of Life
MARILYN FERGUSON The Aquarian Conspiracy
ERIC SOMMER Synergy: an Introduction:
PETER CORNING Synergy and the Systems Sciences:
Although it plays a significant role in most, if not all, of the scienctific disciplnes its importance is not widely appreciated because it travels under many different aliases, including emergence, cooperativity, symbiosis, coevolution, symmetry, order, interactions, interdependencies, systemic effects, even complexity and dynamical attractors. In this paper it is proposed that the term "synergy" be utilized as a pan-disciplinary lingua franca for co-operative effects of various kinds.
Although its role is often unappreciated, synergy can also be considered one of the core concepts of the systems sciences.
Synergetics: A metaphoric language for communicating experiences using geometric concepts.
Thinking is the tuning in/out of systems. Systems are spherical networks of interrelated points of interest. The density of points is a measure of a system's ``frequency'' -- super high frequency systems approach sphericity.
The minimal system with the fewest possible points is a tetrahedron -- four points make a primitive volume with an inside and an outside. The canonical tetrahedron has a volume of one.
2. In its broadest sense synergetics is Fuller's hypothesized coordinate system of Universe --- both its physical and metaphysical aspects. Fuller's system of epistemography and mathematical-physics attempts to disclose how Nature actually operates --- her ``operational mathematics.'' Fuller claimed that synergetics could be understood by children (though they probably couldn't comprehend his books on the subject). He published this material in his essay ``Omni-directional Halo'' (in No More Secondhand God), Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking, Synergetics 2: Further Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking, and Cosmography. Cosmography is probably the easiest to read for people unfamiliar with Fuller's prose style. An ``interleaved'' version of Synergetics and Synergetics 2 is available on the Web at http://www.servtech.com/public/rwgray/synergetics/synergetics.html.
From my own study of synergetics, I'm convinced that Bucky did in fact identify the coordinate system used by Nature. But I would add the caveat that he didn't get too far along in developing it. Fuller points to what the coordinate system is in broad strokes. He gives many penetrating insights and new discoveries, but the synergetics coordinate system needs a lot more development before it will be possible to replace the current (and inherently unrealistic) XYZ coordinate model.
Tip to students of synergetics: Build models. Ultimately, it is the only way to come to understand the material. See the section more tips.
KAFATOS and NADEAU
The Conscious Universe
Part and Whole in Modern Physical Theory
Menas Kafatos Robert Nadeau
From the Introduction
...We will also advance the hypothesis that the epistemological
situation we are obliged to confront in a quantum mechanical universe, in which
non-locality must now be viewed as a fundamental fact of nature, provides a new
basis for understanding the ability of the human brain to construct symbol systems,
or symbolic representations of reality. Drawing extensively on Niels Bohr's
definition of the logical framework of complementarity, which we regard as
fundamental to understanding the actual character of physical reality in a quantum
mechanical universe, we will advance and attempt to support the view that
complementarity is the most fundamental dynamic in our conscious constructions
of reality in both ordinary and mathematical language systems. If this thesis is
correct, it provides a more reasonable and self-consistent explanation than physical
scientists have developed thus far as to why the language of mathematics, or the
language of mathematical physics, is more "privileged" in its ability to uncover the
dynamics of physical reality than is ordinary language. And it could also relieve
much of the obvious "angst" that has apparently been occasioned by the rather
widespread conviction among humanists and social scientists that all of us are
locked, as Nietzsche put it, in the "prison house" of our linguistically-based
constructions of reality with no real or necessary connection between subjective
reality and external reality.
The most radical hypothesis advanced here is, however, more narrowly scien-
tific. That hypothesis is that since complementarity has been a primary feature in
every physical theory advanced in mathematical physics beginning with the special
theory of relativity in 1905, and since complementarity can also be shown to be an
emergent property or dynamic in the life of the evolving universe at increasingly
larger scales and times, then future advances in physical theory in cosmology, or
in the study of the origins and evolution of the entire universe, will also feature
complementary constructs. In this same discussion, we also suggest that present
limits of observation in the study of the large-scale structure of the universe appear
to be providing additional evidence that the entire universe is a quantum system,
and that cosmologists and astrophysicists may have to invoke complementarity in
resolving some seemingly irresolvable problems associated with the most widely
accepted model for explaining the origins and evolution of the cosmos-ae
big-bang model with inflation."
"It appears that all units of reality are comprised of two basic elements in an asymmetrical binary relationship in dynamic interaction..." (p.38) "As noted above, one of the basic ideas that underlies my thinking, one of the images I have in mind when I contemplate the universe, is that it is constructed upon a simple pattern of order that may be seen in any and all phenomena, no matter how complex. The simple pattern is that of a binary relationship, recognized in a binary system. The implication here is that everything in nature, everything in the universe, is composed of networks of two elements, or two parts in functional relationship to each other..."(p.39) "The most fundamental phenomenon in the universe is relationship."(p.44)
'In 1976 I again experienced a quantum leap in energy and received a vision that has been a directive in my life ever since. This vision was in regard to a universal language. At first, in my meditation, there appeared a point of intense, unearthly, beautiful blue light. Then the blue light enveloped me, and I went into a realm where I saw three immortal beings more clearly and purely than is possible is sensory perception.The central being was white, and on either side were Immortals in red and blue. An elixir dropped from the roof of my mouth (from my brain!) and pervaded my body with bliss. I saw celestial landscapes and the Immortals showed me the luminous structure behind nature. I was granted a vision of the future of our planet. I was told that there would be human travail, but that there would also be children who will understand the universal language I was shown."
Kabbalah (B.C. 1200?-700? A.D.)
In wisdom and understanding we
have the archetypal Positive
and Negative, the primordial Maleness and Femaleness,
established while "countenance beheld not countenance" and
manifestation was incipient. It is from these primary Pairs
of Opposites that the Pillars of the Universe spring,
between which is woven the web of Manifestation.
It is between the two polarizing aspects of manifestation -
the Supernal Father and the Supernal Mother - that the web
of Life is woven; souls going back and forth between them
like a weaver's shuttle. In our individual lives, in our
physiological rhythms, and in the history of the rise and
fall of nations, we observe the same rhythmic periodicity.