One of the key indicators of a functional system is motion. The Universe is a system – a rather large one, to boot – and one that never stops moving![i] Energy potentials created by the gravitational fields of objects in a particular system are what keep the system going. Energy potential is the difference between the current state and the ‘at-rest’ state of an object or a relation of objects. All objects seek their ‘at rest’ energy states; but as each object dutifully pursues fulfillment of its own purpose, according to its own particular programming, it coincidentally forms relationships with other objects; bringing new energy potentials and new gradients into existence. Now, consider that when one object forms a relationship with a second object, both of the newly associated objects automatically inherit their partner’s pre-existing relationships. Because all objects desire equilibrium with the objects in their immediate vicinity, and because the formation of new relationships precipitates corollary changes in energy states among objects in existing relationships, everything is in constant flux with respect to everything else.
Equilibrium, or balance-seeking, is a universal motif. Motion is a quality of all living systems; but not all moving systems are alive: moving systems acquire their energy through relationships (potentials) they form with other objects, or from collisions (reactions) with other objects. In either case, objects could be alive – capable of receiving, retaining, converting and generating energy – or not; in which case they simply absorb energy from external sources without doing anything on their own. ‘Dead’ objects retain borrowed energy for a short while – and react. The universal system model of living objects, non-living objects and the balancing motif maps perfectly with the system of human (and non-human) consciousness, non-ego (alive), ego (reactive), and the balancing motif.
Consciousness is an attribute of living systems. Consciousness is that which defines a system as ‘alive,’ since motion, in and of itself, does not. A living system is sentient. Within the system of Consciousness, the mind functions as gatekeeper – directing an individual’s focus and mode of consciousness.[ii] The mind’s work as gatekeeper is underpinned by its election of consciousness. One can be either egoic or non-egoic – that is the difference between seeing the world in terms of what it can do for you, or yourself in terms of what you can do for the world- at any point. Since the Mind is itself a system, its health is characterized by the degree to which it is able to strike a balance between the egoic and non-egoic modes. The extreme of egoic consciousness is utter insanity; whereas the extreme of non-egoic consciousness is the free Mind. It is therefore essential to the individual, their community, and their world, to always pursue this balance by seeking the ideal, while acknowledging the ego as something that will always follow along and scream for attention. The trick is to not pay too much attention to it. When we do, ego is doing everything the mind is responsible for; including making decisions. That is tantamount to the proverbial tail wagging the dog.
Were we to cultivate a balanced perspective, between self-interest and neighbourly interest, between what the world is doing for us and what we are doing for the world, we will see things in an entirely new light. We will behave, as individuals, as communities, as nations, as peoples, and as one species of animal among countless animal species, in an entirely new and (from the perspective of all living things), wonderful way. We would be the Stewards of the Earth, which the Creator and our apparent position at the top of the evolutionary scale, cognitive-wise at least, obliges and equips us to be.
Equality describes the energy state of a relationship system at the point of inflection, as it transitions from a ‘positive imbalance’ to a ‘negative imbalance,’ and vice versa. It describes the tendency of Nature’s processes to facilitate healthy, viable populations by regulating population swings. Consider the world around you from a perspective of balance, and how outside the boundaries of natural variance the world is currently: the prevalence of humans compared with that of non-humans, the distribution of wealth and opportunity, within and among nations and communities, or sundry other dimensions. The way I see it, things today are so out of balance because of human ego that Nature’s balancing act appears stuck moving in one direction, and deepening. A population exhibiting none of the periodicity of Nature is a population on the way out.
Imbalances of note:
We are too many. As we humans increase in number, so does the size of our footprint. We industriously reinvent Nature with the goal of facilitating more favourable conditions for ourselves and ‘creating’ wealth. Today, there are many more of us living than ever before; but there are also fewer animals, plants, and trees. Those who respond with a shrug of their shoulders need reminding that we rely on the health and activities of the Earth’s other species for OUR survival. Our unrestrained expansion over the last few centuries into the last remaining vestiges of the Garden, during which we exploded from less than 1 billion to more than 7 billion souls, has put the viability of our species in jeopardy. Cancers behave identically. The culmination of cancerous activity in the body is death of both the body and the cancer. The cancer may be forgiven because it lacks the freedom to choose anything but ego and its own destruction. But what is our excuse?
Diversity and balanced interaction within and among all living species are qualities of a viable Earth. Only the Creator can get its mind wrapped around the process of interaction among and within all things. All’s we need to know is that Life is an ongoing, unending choreography of interactions among souls, human and non-human; and that the underlying moment is repeating and circular, like the orbiting of the Earth around the Sun. Though we ourselves may think the existence of another species is not essential to our existence, we likely aren’t aware of the ‘Big Picture’ to the extent our Creator is. We may run ourselves into a heap of trouble should we allow our legs and our egos to carry us faster than our eyes can see and our minds can process. When we find ourselves in a favourable position, we want to freeze things, to ‘institutionalize’ the processes that support our being there. We would want this kind of imbalance to continue indefinitely. But if we were able to see the ‘Big Picture’ we would know our penchant for stasis, even of prima facie value, is at cross-purposes with our seeking the most good for ourselves. The river I step in is not the river I stand in. Heraclitus’ meaning is that in Life, nothing stays the same. Change is a universal constant (Hmm). We should know that static imbalance is not a fixed point on a circle, but rather a point on a downward spiral. The culmination of the spiral is the end of the system; whereas the ‘culmination’ of the circle is renewal – over and over.
Social and economic inequality is nearing ‘critical mass.’ If the feet and legs are diseased and fail, everything above them will fail too. Piketty fully characterizes the process. Extreme wealth inequality among nations, communities, and individuals naturally results in the destruction of opportunity among the lower economic tier. Under the right economic conditions (conditions we have now, btw), the exacerbation of wealth inequality to beyond the breaking point is inevitable, and natural processes will be triggered to restore the balance. Nature always works to restore the balance and its response will be commensurate with the existing degree of imbalance. The offsetting population highs and lows of Nature’s predator-prey cycle is an example.
We are extracting resources faster than Nature can make them and rewarding Her with waste faster than She can dispose of it. This bears no further explanation. Just share a garden with your neighbour. Take whatever you want, without wasting any time or effort putting anything into it, or in consideration of what is left for your neighbour, or what you allow to lie fallow. Watch what happens…
All things in existence, exist within Nature. The Creator is Nature. The body of the Creator is the Universe. The consciousness of the Creator is the I AM. Natural processes will continue to move toward balance. If in Nature a critical mass is exceeded, the next event may be catastrophic as the Universe reacts to the status quo, seeking balance.
How is it we are not smart enough to acknowledge that the imbalances our behavior has created has put our societies and the environment so near to their critical mass thresholds that a catastrophic denouement will likely occur in our children’s lifetime; perhaps even in our own? Each of us needs to ask ourselves this. Each of us needs to consider what sort of world our egoic priorities are preparing for our children. Each of us needs to reopen our connection with Nature, God, one another, and our non-egoic portion. We must all participate in making things proper for the families our children will have, and for their futures.
[i] Save for that momentous, infinitesimally small pause before the Big Bang; and also between the expansion phase and the retraction phase . Hey, is that all the Creator gets for a coffee break? I’ll never complain about my 15 minutes again J.
[ii] In the Bonanza episode entitled, Any Friend of Walters, Hoss asks the owner of the cabin, over a game of checkers no less, how he can just sit there and do nothing when they are being besieged by three outlaws? The gentleman’s emphatic answer: I’m doing two things: (1)I’m keeping my mind on this game, and (2)keeping it off everything else.