Many eco-thinking architects and city planners are taking this hypothesis as plausible - and science on the relationship between environment and
emotional well being are being carried out as we speak: the biological-psychological-environment nexus is the bees knees in brain science nowadays.
I personally love the idea of bio-mimmicry. Why would anyone think that streets and all these other unnatural forms don't exert a strong unconscious
tension on our personal and collective psyche? Why is it people in cities are so uncouth, strong headed, and narcissistic? The ego - the make-believe
- notion of ourselves as ontologically significant, is a phenomena of the process of interaction between caregiver and baby. The final product - the
sense of self - is a mishmash of psychoenergetic transmissions between selves. Selves certainly exist - but they are ancillary to the context. The
context - the fact that self emerges in such a dyadic way (with another individual) means that our very, deeply treasured idea of our SELF, is
secondary to the "other" outside ourselves. I have often found myself amazed at how much stronger someones will becomes when they realize someone
ELSE depends on them. It's as if, for their own selves, they simply cant muster the energy; but when they see the pain in another, paradoxically,
they become more deeply aware of their own significance: that what they do can help the life of another. And this brings a joy and happiness that is
hard to square with our idea of "self interest" as the basic common denominator of human relations.
City streets - rectilinear forms - is like the ego. The ego helps us navigate the world. It enables us to use the world. But it is merely a construct:
it doesn't actually represent the world as it actually is. Similarly, a deepening bioconsciousness and sense of our interdependence with the natural
world - a perception growing thanks to the state of nature, climate change, etc - is like recognizing the artificiality of the form we use when we
exercise reason: linearity. Linearity can help us cordon off certain information so that we can more clearly understand and control something. But it
actually doesn't reflect how processes actually work in nature. Not in biology, and Not in the biosphere. Nature is not linear - no lines in nature -
but non-linear. It is a chaotic system whose functioning only makes sense as a "state of relationship between particulars". This is a crazy idea.
The growing body, for example, starts from one cell: the zygote. And somehow, through a magic, chemical processes build a body of 50 trillion cells.
This does not happen linearly: DNA directs the growth of proteins which in turn direct which genes become active. This is a circular process: nothing
man actually does mirrors this process. Nature is simply bizarre in how it brings things, as if magnetically, to a final state. But the genes, in
themselves, play a role that is causally similar to how we think of causation: genes create proteins that in turn direct genes, which then create
proteins - until the organism is finished in it's development. The biosphere - from the stratosphere to the oceans depths - similarly, is affected by
every single event that happens within it. A small change here will have a big effect there. Some chemicals accelerate other chemicals, while
inhibiting still other chemicals. There is a totality - and life - about it that has led some people to think of planet earth as a living creature.
So, I think, there will no doubt come a time when we redesign our cities. Not necessarily moving buildings etc, but once more efficient and clean
modes of transportation emerge, we can expect the removal of large swaths of infrastructure. That might not happen in this century, but certainly,
some point down the road, the unseemly sites of 'roads' and city streets will impel a more mindful society to let the earth "breath" again.
They'll remove the concrete and grow flowers - or something natural.
Our bodies are acutely sensitive to the world around us. When I say "chaotic system", that only means that the system appears
actuality, there is a predictable logic about it. Chaotic systems can controlled: but it has to be on their terms. The body, for example, is dependent
on nutrition suitable to it's environment of evolutionary adaptedness (the environment the species evolved in). So, things which are unnatural to the
human diet, which the body hasn't evolved the cellular proficiency to effectively process, create long term problems, years later, when people are so
lost on the possible cause that they'll reason to themselves that "oh, it's just random", as if there weren't a relationship between diet and
Not just diet either. The complexity of our system can be quantified not only as environment + biology = nutrition, but also as Thought/Emotions +
Biology. The latest research into psychoneuroimmunology has shown that what we think, and in particular, what we feel, affects how effectively our
immune and endocrinological systems function. Scientists have shown that positive emotions increase natural killer immune cells. They've also shown
that high levels of cortisol - a chemical released when we become stressed - disrupts immunological functioning so that instead of reducing
inflammation - an effect cortisol normally has - it causes inflammation. This inflammatory response may be partly the basis for diseases like asthma,
fibromyalgia, crohns disease, etc.
And then there's nature. That thing we take for granted. People mindlessly pollute, they throw plastics around, and they seldom ever consider the
conditions that keep life the way it is. The fact is, burning fossil fuels at the rate and scale that we have done it over the last 2 hundred years
has done to the earths biosphere what long term cortisol does to immune function. The earths "immune response", so to say, would be an act of
finding it's state of homeostasis. Similarly, our immune cells kill other cells and even cause physiological and psychological sickness, as a way to
restore homeostasis to the organism.
Because fossil fuels cause the temperature of the earth to rise, with a higher atmospheric temperature, the water in the atmosphere will also be
different. More water will be extracted from the earth through evaporation because of higher temperatures. More water in the atmosphere will change
all sorts of other systems: extreme weather events like hurricances, tornadoes and snow storms, will become more common (as weve been seeing),
droughts will likely occur as the soil becomes dryer from the greater heat. Hotter temperatures will also cause more forest fires, which in turn will
kill of all sorts of species who no longer have homes. See the catastrophic effects that can accrue from screwing up chaotic systems?
Everything in the world is about balance. We need psychological balance in order to effectively feel ourselves as unique beings, as well as to feel at
one with other selves. Too much in either direction will create a psychological backlash in the form of delusions or anxiety. Likewise, our bodies,
and the food we feed it; as well as our limbs, heart and lungs, which loves to move and feel alive. So too our lovely planet earth, floating in space,
carrying atop it's surface a diversity of life that is quite astonishing.