Egret hunting, Sparkill Creek
Thoughts on the morning of June 24, continued
To suffer is, in the larger sense of things, to care itself; and once one stops caring, that is, feeling, everything grinds to a final halt, because why bother with anything at all if there is no care, no feeling?
Feeling exists, at its root, from two different needs: first, to establish an order — and second, to put that order right and keep it so. Once again, if there is no order, then there’s nothing to care about. This is why I speak about the concepts of the concentration of responsibility, and the reconstruction of the soul— which is, by the way, the title of my new book about medieval art, which will be published sometime later this year – as essential to understanding our nature as Beings. Responsibility is the ability to respond — to communicate, to exchange information, and we see that selfsame capacity for Being demonstrated in cells repairing their DNA. as well as ourselves. That response–ability is, furthermore, a form of care, because there is no reason to respond if there is no order to keep right and no reason to do so.
Let’s come back to the central subject here once again. Allow me to remind you that it’s the molecular sense of Being from which all of this springs, in the human organism. Our Being itself, as it is and as we can understand it on our level, begins at the level of this molecular sense, this sensation.
In itself, it's no answer to anything other than an experience of the inherent physical, emotional, and intellectual intelligence of our body and all of the molecular substances that it’s composed of. So if we don’t work to develop a legitimate, organic, conscious, and aware relationship to this, we never begin to experience real Being in the first place. We just think about Being.
And, as you can no doubt see, it's possible to do an endless amount of that without ever understanding real Being.
The Emergence of Order
Here we come to the third section of this little group of essays, in which we explore some obscure facts regarding the nature of chaos and order. In order to do this, I recommend you briefly read the article at the link below, which (delightfully) speaks in terms of mythology and folklore, which struggled— and still struggle, because they are hardly invalidated by math’s attempt to take over all efforts to create and interpret meaning by counting coup— to help us understand why order even exists in the first place.
Take note that the article states the research “has brought science one step closer to a molecular – level understanding of how patterns form in living tissue.”
The formation of patterns is, in its essence, the creation of ordered states. And when we remind ourselves of the first essay in this series, we will remember that once an ordered state — such as DNA, which is a crystalline pattern formed of molecules — exists, the “wish” to maintain it also emerges when life is present. We could even argue that that which exists before what we call organic life is present, since crystals preferentially repeat their orders over and over again — it’s what makes them crystals in the first place. Think of quartz crystals, for example.
The technical obscurities of Turing patterns (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chemical_Basis_of_Morphogenesis ) do not need to be appreciated in order to understand much more than this: “Turing patterns can be stripes, spots, or spirals that arise naturally out of a uniform state.”
When the authors use the word “uniform” what they mean is undifferentiated – that is, a chaotic soup, which is what it’s presumed the universe was before it formed the giant cube we all know and love so much. (See the previous installment.) In this context, and below, I am using the word chaos to describe the universe before it's ordered (when it's a uniform plasma instantly after the Big Bang) as “the formless void of primordial matter.” (OED, definition number two.)
What this article is explaining is that that chaotic soup, by itself, because it's a chaotic soup, naturally produces the ordered patterns that we see in the Turing model— and, indeed, in the real world, which is what the model was based on in the first place. In this way, we see a most astonishing thing, which the authors don’t really speak about (because they aren’t priests, shamans, philosophers or esotericists, any of which would probably see this right away): the very existence of chaos and uniformity itself (the mush that existed right after the Big Bang) is what emanates form, or identity. This pre-identity (pre-form) capacity is called “noise,” but it actually represents a mathematical abstraction representing randomness—not a sound or vibration.
Okay, I admit, that’s really too complicated. Let’s try again.
1. Chaos helps to create order.
2. It's in its very nature to do so.
That’s pretty much what the math tells us.
The next installment in this eight part series will publish on August 29. Hosanna.
Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.