(using Erich Jantsch’s The Self-Organizing Universe and Michael Weinstock’s The Architecture Of Emergence as the two-layered springboard for today’s thoughts)….
I’m not sure if it’s a biological bias or socio-historical one, but the human view of the world is certainly one of seeing THINGS occupying SPACE. As a result, we overvalue POSITION and undervalue PROCESS.
When we look at a Tree, for instance, we tend to cognisize it as something semi-rigid and near-monolithic, as ONE thing… as, well, a “Tree.” Though we theoretically understand that the Tree is constantly changing, such a view is not, if we are honest with ourselves, how we normally “see” it.
What we don’t tend to cognisize is the other, equally valid view of the Tree’s reality… that of an ever-changing stream of energy, matter, and signals flowing through the World. If our consciousness was of a different sort– dare I say, of a higher sort– we would see the Tree not as a Thing but as an EVENT– No… actually, we would experience the Tree a series of interconnected, inter-influencing Events which can be called a SYSTEM. Alas, even the use of the term SERIES to try to describe the larger reality of the Tree shows the prejudice of static, materialistic thinking… A “series” connotes a succession of Things or stages.
Fundamentally, the human worldview is hampered by its limited ability to cognisize Time. We are nearly, in fact, Time-blind. The experiencing of a “Thing” in our little brains hardly requires Time at all, for a Thing, as humanly cognisized, is practically frozen in Time. We basically experience the world as a movie… a series of still-shots. We capture these shots from five perspectives–the five senses. These multi-sensory snapshots of information are then overlain by the mind in such a way that we perceive a common source for all this information, and that source for us is the Thing.
When we recognize that, during the course of their successive displays before the mind, the snapshots of the entity in the series are not identical, we experience the passing of what we call “Time.” This is a shallow grasping of Time, however. If we view Time as a deep ocean, we humans experience only its passing wave-crests.
A deep awareness of a working System would require a deep immersion in, and fuller awareness of, the ocean of Time– the comprehension of an alternative vision of reality which perhaps awaits some future-human mode of thinking– an advanced worldview which I can only glimpse now as if through a glass darkly.
Difficult, indeed, is the contemplation, even for a moment, of a Tree fully inclusive of its fourth-dimensional reality. But now try considering that every “Thing” in every moment is, four-dimensionally speaking, existing as a tree-like entity we can call PROCESS…
Take for example an Acorn lying upon the ground. Stretching out behind it in Time is a History. We can picture this History as a vast root-system belonging to the Acorn. This root-system represents the multitude of previous Events which eventually contributed to the formation of the Acorn. Let’s call these Level-Alpha Events. These events are directly connected to the formation of the Acorn. But behind and connected to every Level-Alpha Event, is an even greater number Events (Level-Beta Events) which caused the Alpha Events, and behind those are still more Events (Level-Gamma) causing those Events, and on and on… an ever-expanding and intra-influencing History, a History of “Process” which dwarfs the “Thing” of the Acorn.
But this is just half the story of the Acorn, its Past. There is also the Acorn’s Future– which we can envision as trunk and branches rising above it, a system of oncoming Events which, like the Acorn’s root-system, extends and expands on and on. The branches of the Acorn represent its interactions with its environment and the countless ripple-effects each of these individual interactions produce in the Environment.
The Acorn is not only the snapshot of the Acorn in any given instance, but its entire root-system of the Past as well as the trunk-and-branch system of its future.
If the human mind were not so stunted when it comes to the comprehension of Time, every Acorn– every “Thing”– we encounter would appear to us as a river flowing– a river inclusive of its multitude of contributing rivulets as well as its multitude of downstream branches. Indeed, if we were limitless in our faculties, we could see in every Thing, every other Thing– for, over time, all Things in a World (via their vast systems of Historical roots and Future-rippling branches) eventually interconnect; that is, to re-state… all objects within the same Environment (World) eventually interact and influence each other via the heredity of their Pasts or the progeny of their Futures.