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Ecological Constancy

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posted on Dec, 1 2014 @ 03:59 PM
Ecological constancy defines the ‘net’ of relations that exist between different levels within interconnected complex systems.

Everything happens in the universe, and the ‘stuff’ of the universe is a physical-chemical process. When the earth formed itself (with the help of gravity), the basic chemical conditions on the planet held the possibility for life. From the bottom up, atomic particles form themselves into chemicals, which later interact with other chemicals, leading to an organism that possesses a semi-permeable membrane and an inner machinery able to maintain itself by exchanging and transforming chemicals.

Nature, or the ecosystem we find ourselves within, is a superordinate system which human beings are absolutely limited by. By this I mean, natures biochemical ‘niche’ effectively provides the existential boundaries which all lower processes, that of society and that of an individual mind, are stably allowed to function. If it becomes too rigid, there is little sharing with what is 'without', and thus little or no growth. If excessive and unregulated, the system overwhelms it's boundaries; and total chaos ensues.

In mind, we encounter multiplicity as well; it’s the multiplicity of the many contradictive perceptions we have of our “important objects” (anything the self interacts with is seen as an object by psychoanalytical theory). These ‘different selves’ are formed by a specific emotional state (which sets the tone and quality of the perception) in relation to a perceived reality. The symbolic thought and the stories we tell become an ‘established narrative’. The problem with this, a case of common dissociation, is that it ‘splits’ the good part from the ‘bad’ part. The bad part is the part that compromises our narcissistic want for certainty and absoluteness control. It’s a ridiculous human foible that is endemic in today’s society. It’s what you get when were on fast-forward, obsessed with the moment, with pleasure, with ourselves, that eventually both individual, socially and environmentally, the various systems ‘uproot’ one another. The human society and culture of consumption necessarily piques and stirs the narcissistic vulnerabilities of human beings. Together, this becomes a positive feedback loop; each human self is vulnerable to the affective certainty of narcissistic assertiveness; and we become better at it, more enabled, when other people feel and act just as we do.

This is exactly what we’re seeing today in climate change. The dynamics of civilization, from the beginning of the industrial revolution to the present moment, is a gradual and incremental movement towards the ‘strange attractor’ of narcissistic power. This is manifest and implied in our chief economic practice: mining the earth and extracting raw products, such as oil, coal, and natural gas. It almost seems to be a perfect metaphor: man ‘invades’ the mother; the very ‘womb’ he exists within, to ‘take out’ whats goods for his own wants and needs.

In so relating with the earth, we have ignored an intuitively plausible principle: act in moderation. This is an idea popular and regent in Eastern philosophies such as Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Its intuitive because if you look around you, we live in a limited world; with limited resources. The planetary system is marked by an inexplicably complex but harmonious chemical balance between atmosphere and the biosphere, and how the latter, though emerging from the former hundreds of millions of years ago, essentially ‘feeds back’ into it and over time has become necessary to the flourishing of our present atmosphere.

There is really no real separation between atmosphere and biosphere, the invisible sky and the objective organism, when they both mutually enforce one another. This ecological principle also exists in the mind: by ignoring the effects of perceptions you have, you throw one into deep dissociation, and the other - the one that’s preferred and attended to, becomes amplified and inflamed beyond rational proportion. Instead of paying heed to the multiplicity within, you fall for the singular illusion of your selfhood, of your ‘separateness’. The profound paradox here is that the ‘integrated self’ we experience ourselves to be is only useful if it pays attention to the multiple states which influence its awareness.

The feedbacks between people, what we call culture and society, is even more emphatic. You can be put in situations of such discomfort and anxiety, that you allow yourself to be ‘canalized’ to a certain way of thinking, because if you don’t, you can’t bear the anxiety of the inherent conflict that individual and social existence entails.

The way to ‘control’ the unconscious canalizing effect of dissociation or splitting is by being mindful to how you work. This is easy because our bodies indicates when it happens. But most peoples awareness of their body, a type of awareness called ‘interoception’, is not very developed in our society. Which is not surpising, as most people just accept and enact whatever enters their minds without examining the feeling and contextual factors involved.

The current crisis of climate change is fundamentally about how human beings relate with one another, and ultimately, how they relate with themselves. The paradox, or paradoxes, I should say, are found at each level. We're constantly confronted by ‘linearity’ within nonlinearity. Thinking within feeling. Objects within a medium of relation where properties are constantly being exchanged.

Overcoming the challenges ahead of us means looking at this present society we inhabit with crystal clear vision; and not succumbing to the unconscious temptation to ‘justify’ and ‘sanction’, but to really see a behavior in light of it’s ecological constancy. If the behavior coheres within the ‘medium’ that existence seems to favor, then were doing good. But if it is repetitively and pathologically excessive, such as the excesses on TV, in popular cartoon sitcoms, reality TV shows, or celebrity idol worship; or on the radio where singers regularly prattle on about getting high (on various harmful drugs), having sex, sex, more sex. If you look at this clear-headedly, you can see how the entire system is deranged; how it’s dementedness will NECESSARILY perturb the complex dynamics of a non-linear system highly sensitive to ANTHROPOGENETIC perturbation. Because as humans, our mining and burning fossil fuels releases a chemical that would otherwise not be put into the atmosphere (and thus make itself a part of it’s chemical composition); this constitutes a profound perturbation – a very unexpected disturbance (from the perspective of historical time) on natures self-organization (as in Gaia theory).

The seemingly ‘innocuousness’ of our actions are not that innocuous. Each person in the west eats up 240 times the resources that people from developing countries use. Is this fair? Isn’t it something that should be attended to? One part of yourself surely sees it; but since it exists in ‘eternal competition’ with another part of yourself, a survival of the ‘fittest meme’ will ensue, and the successor will displace the loser. And all of this routinely happens beneath our attention.

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