Tallman State Park looking out over the Hudson river
June 24 2018.
June 24, 2018
Readers will note that I often speak of a molecular sensation of Being, and the intimate nature of inward work.
This is because it’s impossible to sense exactly what we are in a higher sense without coming into a much more powerful, intimate, and intelligent contact with our lower parts; and that’s because of the nature of order in the structure of the universe itself, although these concepts may well seem, at first, far too large to discuss in that context.
In fact, that’s not the case. In order to investigate that in some more detail, we’ll need to take a look at a few science articles that were published within the last week or two.
First of all, let me remind everyone that when I speak of having a molecular sense of Being, I'm not drawing an analogy — I’m not speaking euphemistically, or in some kind of parable or code. I’m speaking quite literally about the ability to sense our molecules and their activity: to feel the life in them not just from a physical, but also an emotional point of view — because just as they have a physical life, our self, and the molecules (and their interactions) that it's physically composed of, have an emotional and an intellectual life that’s very real, even though it's on a much smaller scale than we are.
Yes, we do have this ability; but it’s dramatically atrophied in us, and needs to be reconnected if we wish to experience it. It isn’t psychological so much as physical; and this is why the emphasis on understanding sensation from an inner point of view in the Gurdjieff work, a perspective not discussed in most other spiritual works.
Our Being emerges from our molecular sensation.
Let’s take a look at the science articles one at a time and discuss their implications. You’ll need to go to the following link to read the first article, then come back.
What we see from this particular article is how cellular mechanisms work, on the molecular level, to not just establish, but also to maintain, our sense of identity. And keep in mind, as we go forward, the cell could not do this if it wasn't able to think about its identity. When something is wrong, it has to know that it is wrong — it has to be able to compare it in memory to what is right — and furthermore has to know what needs to be done to fix it.
The sense of identity is an emergent property built in to the crystalline structure of the DNA molecule. DNA is, in itself, the expression of the divine which emerges at the quantum level and organizes itself at the atomic and molecular level. DNA, in life forms, is ubiquitous, because all of life is divine — that is, it's emanated from God’s own Being itself — and life cannot be expressed without this particular molecule. That’s why we don’t find life forms built around other versions of it, or completely different molecules. What works, works; and we see this principle repeated in nature over and over again through convergence, which is one of the most powerful forces in evolution. Let's go one step further than the mere physical aspects of convergence: because of the way DNA functions, identity itself is both an emergent and convergent property of life. From the top to the bottom of the universe, identity is created and preserved. In fact identity is the most powerfully convergent force of all, because of its ubiquity. All of the material universe converges on identity. The expression of matter from the essentially wave-like behavior of quantum energies is a manifestation of identity. (More on this will be explained in a future series of essays.)
The sense of identity is so powerful in a cell that the cell knows itself through its DNA; and not only that, on its own level, it's conscious of itself and knowing of itself. We see this amply demonstrated by the fact that the molecular mechanisms in the cell have repair modules that actively and specifically take care of damage to the DNA molecule by working on it to repair it. This is not a mindless or mechanical activity; it’s mindful. It emerges from the awareness the cell has of its own workings, which are astonishingly intricate and nearly impossible for biologists to understand, involving as they do the interaction of so many of usually complex molecules in so many unusually complex ways. (Let's remember here that molecules, as we encounter them, never ever interact in such actively complicated and intentional ways except in life forms. And no matter how much fooling around scientists do in labs to replicate such interactions, they have never managed to come even remotely close to doing so.) The complexity of what goes on in a single cell is absolutely staggering. We know a lot more about what happens in a nuclear reactor than we do about what happens in a single cell—and don't forget, there are trillions of cells in us and they all act with a degree of unique volition, in billions of different tasks, to collectively allow us to be—and, for example, to read the words you are reading now.
From quanta, to atoms, to molecules, to cells, to organisms, to Being, to literature, from single instant to single instant.
Think that over. Do you really think science can ever fully explain that?
It's impossible. Only metaphysical humanism— the discipline we are studying here together right now—can even begin. A mere biological approach can't comprehend the depth of the subject here.
Our “walking molecules,” as described by the article, are actually ambient creatures, individual sub-identities in themselves. From a Gurdjieff perspective, we would think of them as a cellular “I’s”— individual beings that act as agents, just as we do, but on the molecular level.
If we were to take Swedenborg’s perspective on the subject (and we should, because the fractal nature of the universe requires us to understand that its features mirror and reflect one another, from the highest above to the lowest below) we would say that these individual walking molecules are persons. Just as the DNA molecule is a person; and just as the cell is a person. This quality of personhood can be considered from the perspective of its Latin root, persōna, which means human being, and may have been borrowed from the Etruscan word phersu, or mask. That word, of course, refers to a player in a drama — an entity that plays a role, and has an agency. So how very exactly appropriate it's to say that these myosins—”walking molecules”— described in the article are persons.
Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.