Category Archives: Wisdom

Investing vs. Spending Time

There is a difference between spending time and investing time. One requires sacrifice but pays dividends greater than the investment cost, in the long run. The other wastes that opportunity on the altar of immediate payoffs and increases dependency and instability. There is any number of organizations whose existence is based on encouraging the wasting of time. Seth Godin argues in this video that we have built cultural practices and various monuments and institutions to reinforce this waste of the many for the benefit of the few to such a degree that we now willingly defend the very systems that cheapen our life. His alternative is what he calls “Impact Theory”.

Why You’ve Been Lied to About Where to Put Your Time, Energy, & Focus | Seth Godin on Impact Theory

“Let’s say I had a secret committee and I came to the government to the United States, or any place in the west, in 1850 and said; “Here’s what I want to do. I want to spend over a trillion dollars a year in time and money and I want every single child from the age of five to spend six to eight hours a day with me for 10 to 15 years in a row. Then I want to build into the culture a mindset of consumption and compliance. Okay?” No one would go for that plan and that’s exactly what we did.”

The Difference Between a Defined Life and a Defining Life

Title: The Difference Between a Defined Life and a Defining Life

Genre: Teaching

Description: We grow up in a social womb that has a powerful defining influence. How do we find our voice in that powerful defining current?

Listen here:


Narration text:

Some words have meanings that are more directly tied to objects or properties in our world than others. Words like water and flowing, for instance. These abstract tokens we use for the object (water) and a property of (flowing) have a direct connection to the physical expressions with which the words correspond. Other words are less directly tied to well defined objects or properties in nature. Some are highly complex and not easily defined depending on context. Words like truth, honor, beauty, justice, love, equality, morality, and so on. These words can refer to multiple object and-or property roots, shift based on context, as well as be related to other abstractions. This makes them harder to identify, agree on and share without signal loss in comprehension and in the transfer of the idea one to another.

When complex ideas are embedded in communication we can easily talk past each other. Tracing certain abstract tokens back to a clear source is not always easy and may not be possible in some cases. The increased difficulty of communicating with harder to define words results in misunderstandings, as well as increased debate about the definition, validity and the utility of ideas. This can make them less a point of agreement and more a point of contention. Our inability (and sometimes unwillingness) to share common definitions for certain words makes using them as a social currency more risky if agreement is the goal. Mud wrestling about meanings is a common pastime in certain human social circles.

Ideas play many roles in our lives. Among the more prominent roles is that the image rendered through the ideas we hold as true influences how we relate to ourselves and the world. Our maps of meaning can be adaptive or maladaptive. Some ideas that were once valid as a means of nourishing survival can become maladaptive as the context changes. The verbal map of ideas we inherit from the social womb we’re born into is infused with preexisting assumptions that our local group also largely inherited. Tracing the foundation of these ideas to their source to verify their validity and examine their usefulness in the current context can be a virtual impossibility in some cases. Our mental capabilities are not up to the challenge understanding, much less having the discipline to proportionally apply certain ideas even if we could fully understand them.

As children we receive the current version of the map of meaning. This defines our developmental social womb. We receive this map unquestioningly. The ideas supplied to us through the umbilical cord of our caretakers and the environment tunes us to local experiences but is also influenced by the broader culture’s historic relationship with the environment over time. Influencing factors on the shape of the map of meaning include things like the climate and geography, natural events like storms or famine, disease, the nature of the local life forms (each ecosystem having different object and property expressions), and the necessities of the culture to navigate these variables. The local maps of meaning held by a group are shaped by a long history. We inherit these predetermined maps in our own matrix of biological algorithms – these things we experience as emotions and behavioral drives like eating, social bonding and sex drives… all the necessities of navigating the ecosystem over time become embedded in our cultural maps of meaning in ways we’re consciously aware of, in fact, this is what this thing we call consciousness is built on, but this does not mean we are self-aware of the maps of meaning that govern us.

We embody the story told by nature, including our own, in ways we may not have captured visibly through our maps. The presence of this defining process that renders our conscious vision does not necessarily translate to an understanding of the entire set of influences, communicated by the whole of nature, that define our experience. We inherit a low resolution map that might be useful in some cases but that doe s not mean it’s accurate. We can live a life defined by the influences we inherited but in order to participate in the defining process we need to have more than awareness, we need to have some degree of self-awareness.

Because of the difficulty in comprehending ourselves at a self aware level, many of us ride on the currents of ideas and actions set in motion unconsciously in the group body of our culture. In other words; we play a role in a script we didn’t write and we don’t understand. The ideas that govern our vision and actions are deeply steeped in the darkness of time. Many are etched there as scars forged by traumas long forgotten. These influences morph over time into cultural myths, stories and rituals that we simply express as social currency. It does not occur to us to question whether or not they still serve us as a useful map to help us navigate on a path to greater maturity in the current context. We become defined expressions of these necessities of being without understanding our place and role, the reasons we think and behave the way we do. Uncovering these depths of our being is not easy but it’s necessary if the goal is to steer with a measure of intention and effectiveness toward specific ends – to participate in defining our experience rather than being totally defined by it. To become more like the natural world that gave rise to us – as mature self-aware creatures; to also play a defining role.

Does Nature Express Purpose?

Is there a purpose written into the way our biological structures are formed? If we use complex biological organisms such as ourselves as a model, we see proteins, fluids, cells, organs, and various signaling and behavior systems are all organized around a central theme: The behavioral aim among all the “members” of our body is oriented toward providing some nourishing and-or defense value to the community each member is both a part of and depends on. This mutual exchange of value throughout the community is the engine that adapts to remain coherent in the context of the variables of the environment.

At the center of the networked relationship economy is a certain vital relationship core. Relationships that must be present for the system to remain coherent. Without a certain set of vital organs relating to each other under the shared banner of nourishment and protection such as our heart or lungs, we could not function. Extending outward from this central relationship core are rings of contributory relationships that offer adaptive value but are not necessarily vital. The theme of this extended relational network is based on the same currency of adaptive value in the context of the environment.

This principle of relational bonding by way of mutual contributory value is what defines us as individuals and as functional cohesive social groups. The same principle is expressed through the ecosystem our species is part of, where the cooperative bonds aimed at nourishing and defending the vital fruits that sustain the community must be present in sufficient measure for the community to exist and grow to its mature potential.

Nature is not ambiguous about this message. Threaded throughout any healthy dynamic adaptive relationship system are intricate patterns of mutually nourishing and protective feedback loops that are tuned to function in equilibrium with the environment. Bottom line; we must ultimately cultivate the fruit that feeds us to remain coherent and develop to our full potential.

We see this mutualistic relationship network model expressed in many forms. The ants in this video relate to the acacia tree under the same principle as the vital organs in our body. This expression of the sustainable exchange of adaptive value offers us a useful model for the way we can realize the full measure of opportunity we have to cultivate our greatest realization of potential here on this common ground of Earth we share.

What is our role in defining our experience and do we recognize and leverage it constructively?

The relationships that define functioning biological systems exist on a spectrum ranging from vital, mutually beneficial relationships at one end to parasitic and predatory ones at the other. Vital relationships are when the parts within a system are essential to each other such as the vital organs in our body. After vital relationships are those that produce adaptive value but are not vital, such as arms or legs. On the negative side of the spectrum are parasitic and predatory relationships that act to disrupt these cooperative networks. Overall, a certain threshold of cooperative, mutually nourishing and-or defensive relationships is essential for coherent biological systems to exist.

The fact that destructive agents exist requires coherent systems to devote a certain portion of energy to contend with antagonists. Our immune systems are an example of this expression. Adaptive value is measured relative to a particular system. For example; predators nourish themselves at the expense of prey. From the predator’s perspective, this is an adaptive trait. From the prey’s perspective, it is destructive. Getting away more effectively or otherwise defending against the predator is adaptive to the prey.

This spectrum of relationships is expressed on many scales; on small scales within and between organisms, on larger scales in local environments and ecosystems. Out of this “relationship economy” come living monuments to the necessities of being. Complex adaptive systems that nourish and or defend coherence are what we see embedded in biology’s perceptions and responses. Each organism is tuned to this purpose. System properties that more effectively contend with the necessities of being over time are “selected” over those that do not.


The environment is the primary influence in defining the relationship properties of the systems that exist within it. Desert ecosystems tend to express a more defensive posture than do lush tropical ecosystems. All ecosystems have relationship elements from across the spectrum but the local emphasis is influenced by the necessities dictated by the environment.

Once behaviors get established, they tend to have their own “nourish and defend” aspects to them. This means behaviors that were once relevant to survive in one environmental circumstance can be carried over and adaptively misapplied in other settings. Renegotiating environmental variables is a necessary part of navigating over time in a changing environment. The impact of organisms can become part of that change agency. Ultimately nature manifests signals experienced by organisms as pain or pleasure to communicate when behaviors lose or gain value but there is an “echo from the past” aspect to these signal patterns. Not everything that worked to get us here is relevant to take us forward. This means we have to undergo sacrificial “pain” to give up established patterns that are no longer adaptive.

The same spectrum of relationships in physical biological systems exists in our human social relationships. The emphasis we express is built on environmental influence factors. An individual raised in a climate characterized heavily by parasitic and predatory relationship behaviors will develop a more defensive profile. The same influence factors apply at cultural levels. How we relate has a certain momentum that tends to make what has already happened more likely to happen again. This is especially true of large or long practiced behaviors. This can make pulling out of maladaptive behavior cycles difficult.

Insights into our behaviors can be applied constructively or destructively. We can apply our understanding toward the vital mutually nourishing end of the spectrum that strengthens the community of relationships we live in and depend on or toward the parasitic and predatory destructive end that diminishes vitality. This application influences our experience.

Understanding and applying this information is the oar we have at our disposal to intentionally influence what we experience. In the absence of this applied understanding, we ride on the experiential whims of ignorance and happenstance. We are defined by the environmental womb that formed us, with no voice in the choir that determines our experience.
There are a variety of opportunities available to us. Some of those within our reach can lay untapped until they are employed. Others are lost unless cultivated during limited windows of opportunity. Seeds out of geographic place or out of season for example.

Social systems, like all coherent systems, require a certain threshold of vital and beneficial cooperative relationship opportunities to be realized to service the integrity of the social group. Beyond this minimum necessity are the opportunities we can cultivate to make our lives more vibrant. Parasitic and predatory behaviors within this cooperative “matrix of necessity” can create a local benefit but diminishes and-or destroys the fabric of necessary cooperative networks. If a system is taxed beyond the threshold of its ability to cope with destructive agents its integrity collapses.

Behaviors at the destructive end of the spectrum demand more devotion of energy to defense. More energy to defense shifts energy away from the cultivation of cooperative opportunities. When our immune system activates, for instance, it shuts down energy devoted to growth, maintenance, digestion processes, and so on. This is to redirect those energies to the negotiation of the perceived stress. This realignment of energy is true within our body but also within and between species, within and between cultures, and between our species and the environment. This is the relationship economy that defines our experience operates.

We can become agents of our poverty on the altar of short-sighted gains or we can nourish our potential depending on whether or not we cultivate our opportunities. Having said that; it is not an easy proposition to overcome the momentum of parasitic, predatory and-or maladaptive behaviors that may be embedded in our nature. These events influence our perception and response profile and shape our experience. This does not mean to suggest opening the floodgates of trust. Extending unwarranted trust to each other is a danger when destructive agents exist in the social economy. Finding the place where we can realize the maximum opportunities that can authentically move forward is the only way we can effectively make progress happen.

If this analysis is correct, or at least useful as a lens to more clearly understand the role we play in experience, what are some ideas on how would we begin disciplining ourselves to strengthen the bonds of integrity we depend on and improve our experience? What would this look like?

What is the social cost of losing our religion?

If we assume that the story-myth-religious ideas and rituals is a natural adaptation, one that enabled us to bond together as groups, making survival more likely; what, if any, is the cost of today’s more secular social-cultural systems? Our myths served many roles; as explanations of natural events, as justification of actions, as records of the past and projections of the future, as a means of healing, renewal, hope and inspiration, as a proto science – as a means of crafting the image of control – the notion that “if we do this, then this predictable outcome will take place”.

With the advent of science and civics (arguably secular religion) taking a more prominent role, the accuracy and historicity of the stories we once unquestioningly embraced as fact have been put to the test. This shift in our focus from “revealed” knowledge to verified, seems to have affected our social equilibrium in ways many of us do not fully understand.

Stories are still important factors in shaping our experience but their importance may have been crowded out of our direct awareness with scientific descriptions of process. Science is a reliable tool but we may have lost our story (or buried it) and that is not without consequence. Nietzsche made a profound point when he said; “I fear we are not getting rid of God because we still believe in grammar.” We still operate by story even if those stories are not in focus anymore. Having them underground can make leave us vulnerable in certain critical ways.

If I understand him correctly, Jordan Peterson attributes our shifted focus toward civic religions – the fight over forms of government, for instance, as part of the fallout of this loss of equilibrium. We still look for saviors, and we still praise and defend as well as crucify them. We also still develop puritanical movements that destroy the integrity of systems that nonetheless support us. We do not recognize our voice in shaping our shared experience through story. This may be a tragic mistake.

Have we mistakenly projected the role of savior onto science as a culture, losing sight of the importance that our experience is also defined by our shared story? Has the dramatic shift in our awareness over the past few hundred years put us in a place where we need to find a new equilibrium? What would a new shared story look like? What would we need to do to nourish its adoption to fruition as a means of articulating the shared values that could bind us together and help move us together into the future?

Our Place as a Species – Where We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going

This is a take on our current place as a species – where we are, how we got here, and what our future might look like depending on how we negotiate our current situation:

We humans experience things that are geographically near to us differently than if the same incidents happen farther away. We are likely to connect with more emotional intensity to a starving hurt child on our doorstep than we would to tens of thousands suffering half a world away. Our geographic prejudice is understandable considering our biology has been optimized to function in the context of a local tribe. Our senses, including our mental processing faculties, are wired to respond to what we perceive as close to us – what parades in front of and stimulates multiple senses gets more emphasis than stimuli that affect only one or two senses. If we connect to a topic using abstractions, the effects on us are much less than if all our senses are engaged.

The necessity of survival for most of our past was heavily dependent on acting in service of the survival necessities of our local tribe. Without the benefit of the group against the elements, we would almost certainly perish. Because of the residual effects of rejection from the group, which almost certainly meant death for most of our past, to this day we tend to echo these long term embodied memories etched deeply into our biology. For instance; we fear public speaking more than death on average. Our developmental environment as a species shaped the emphasis our senses have, and by extension, the way we process the world – but the world has changed faster than our senses. This unequal progress has caused an out of sync relationship between our senses and the environment we now find ourselves in.

The senses that served us in the local tribe environment make us less equipped and more vulnerable to navigate the necessities of today’s world. As a species, we now have a technology lever that is so powerful we impact the whole Earth. Like a sailor that must get their “sea legs” to be able to walk steadily on a swaying ship, as a species we need to shift our emphasis to the necessities of existing in what is now a global tribe. Our common ground used to be the village, and in a sense it still is, but we now have an additional layer of necessity to contend with the whole Earth.

We were once more defined by the environment but we now have more capacity to also define it. When a child reaches the age of about two-and-a-half, the primary purpose of sleep changes from brain-building to brain maintenance and repair. This same type of developmental transition occurs on many scales. We are at the threshold of this kind of transition as a species. The same way there is a difference in skill sets between constructing a building and maintaining and using it; where scaffolding and tradesmen are replaced by occupants and caretakers, we need to make this transition, yet we are still hungover from the biological momentum of our heritage. Our future increasingly depends on stretching ourselves to fulfill the newly defined necessities of protecting and maintaining our new common ground, which no longer a patch of ground and perhaps a local body of water, it is the whole Earth.

As the size of our “tribes” grew from local bands that could be counted in the tens or hundreds to thousands, then millions and is now arguably the collective billions that inhabit the world, we have undergone a bewildering birthing process. In a comparatively short time (as biological development at a species level goes) the localized tribal wombs that once nourished small pockets of us have now become connected. We are now a collective body. We saturated the former small tribe womb and it can no longer contain us.

Because of our growth, we have been expelled from our former womb into a new, larger, more connected environment that demands different necessities of being. Like a newborn infant, we have to learn all the new skills to function effectively in this new dramatically expanded environment. Where we once had room to survive and grow using a greater emphasis on domination and exploitation, we now must do the harder task of cultivation and curation. We cannot look for more things to take, we must focus on strengthening the things that sustain us – things that return more value than they cost. This is not only where our opportunity exists, it is a necessary action to carry us forward.

We could once work cross purposes, competing against each other but our survival and thriving are now dependent more on the necessity to forge relationships like the organs in our body, nourishing and defending each other. This paradigm shift is because we have now saturated the environment. What got us here will not take us forward since we now swim in the same pond. Cultivating the environment we depend on to produce the necessary fruits of nourishment and as well as cultivating each other to our fullest potential is more necessary. We need specific mindsets and expertise to effectively navigate our more developed state of being. As has always been the case, we must either adapt to this new environmental reality or we will be either violently diminished back to the reduced carrying capacity of an environment or selected out for extinction.

If this analysis is correct:

What would you say we need to do differently on a personal and community scale?

Do you consider yourself a contributor to what will move us forward as a species?

What can we do better as individuals and as groups to help us get our “sea legs” to successfully navigate the necessities of current developmental place as a species?

Is there an objective basis for morality?

Core Values

The short answer is no.

Constructive and destructive is a more accurate way to measure the value of relationship behaviors. Nature measures values on this standard. Moralistic lenses falsely frame values as either good or bad. Nature values things that nourish and defend coherence. Good and bad is irrelevant. Moral lenses can blind us from seeing nature’s relationship economy which we need to navigate effectively.

Relationships bound together as an interdependent network that acts to self nourish and-or defend itself against antagonists is the principle property of coherent structures. Nature is not focused on morals. It is focused on constructive relationships – that nourish and-or defend integrity. Sufficient constructive and-or defensive properties are the engine that defines coherent structures in nature.

Using a constructive-destructive lens renders the world in terms of how relationship behaviors apply to systems. Biological organisms are an example of a coherent system. Infused in our form are object properties that can have both constructive and destructive aspects and change based on context. As an example; we hunger and thirst (which are constructive activities) and our immune system and reflexes, etc. act to defend us against perceived antagonists. This relationship economy is the cost of coherence and is what defines our nature. They are the same thing.

Out of this basic nourish and defend coherence matrix we can see many variant relationship forms. An object’s properties can relate constructively or destructively toward a single system or to all systems within a specified set. They can also be a mixed bag between and within structures. A constructive-destructive lens allows us to see the multiple relationship values as they coexist in all their glorious ambiguity. Each object property is either-or constructive or destructive relative to the necessities of coherence for a given system or systems in a given context. The expression of this relationship economy defines what “is”.

Morality, as we conceptualize it, does not stem from an objective source – it is more a symptomatic expression of our local necessities as we conceive them at a given moment in time. There is no one standard by which to measure “right” and “wrong”. Our perception fluctuates depending on our cultural and environmental experience. This is why concepts of morality fluctuate with things like experience, quirks of biology, culture, and geography.

Nature’s relationship economy is based on a currency of coherency. Relationships that more effectively support coherence in the context of the environment are valued over those less suited to the task. This is the essence of the behavior properties we see expressed through coherent objects. It is also how increasingly coherent objects emerge from relationship fields characterized by less coherent bonds. In effect; nature is a continuous selection process developing ever greater forms of order. Whatever expresses greater coherence value in the context of a variable environment is selected. We are living expressions of this continuous call to order over time.

As a result of nature’s pull toward greater coherence, sophisticated relationship networks emerge that express complex interdependent “nourish and defend” properties. What we experience as our senses and our various biological drives are oriented around this theme. We are structured as stratified layers of behaviors with rigid less flexible, more rigidly embedded behavior expressions at the core and increasingly flexible more adaptable layers toward the surface. The rigid bone structure and the automatic portions of our biological metabolism along with reflexes, instincts and the ability to harness our flesh to navigate certain novel environments coexist together. These object properties operate under a unified banner of things that serve to withstand and navigate the variables of the environment while remaining coherent.

The word morality as we typically use it represents an abstract map of the history of our local necessities. It is related to what we needed to service coherence along with a mix of things find familiar and comforting. We might say eating a certain thing is moral because we needed to eat the thing to survive. We might find another culture that eats things immoral because the practice in unfamiliar to us, or would have been counterproductive in our ancestor’s local context. The variable biological algorithms forged into our species by the necessities of coherence in the context of local environments over time produce the local behavioral necessities. We later rationalize this collection of necessities along with the habitual tailwinds of things once necessary into a moral map. In other words, morality is a symptom of things that happened. Morality is not based on a singular objective standard. This is why different cultures have different moral standards. This rationalization of the necessary and the familiar is what we typically conjure up as our map of “morality”. It is an abstract map that is an afterthought to what we already embody as complex dynamic adaptable coherent objects in nature’s broader environmental context.

As biological creatures, we are structures built by adaptive necessity with a core of less flexible behavioral necessities and increasingly flexible layers toward the surface of our “being”. Our need to eat and drink are examples of these core necessities – these acts of service necessary to remain coherent – require us to behave in specific ways. These necessities of “being” gives rise to a core set of ritual behavior patterns. Our senses and behaviors are essentially tuned acts in service to the necessities of being. We express these acts of service to necessity in many behavioral forms.

As early humans when we were more naked and intimate with the environment we hunted and gathered. We harnessed fire and began cooking. This technology to expand our nutrition sources. Later we began farming and cultivating food. This led to the necessity of defending land and water sources and we later developed notions of property and boundaries laws and governments. Our abstract architecture tracked with the necessities of being. As we continued to renegotiate our place in the context of nature, our moral maps and world view shifted to reflect these changes as well.

We tend to see our necessary acts of service to coherence and the accumulated traditions that this devotion to necessity entails as our birthright. We build our abstract moral framework around these necessities. Morality is more an extension of the necessities of coherence – the biological instruments, music notes and melodies on which the orchestra of our organism’s coherence is built.

We also see the localized necessities of coherence that were forged by the relationship between the currents of community on which we were carried into existence and the environment in which those communities related in a low-resolution map form. Our world view is based on this deeper narrative that is unable to be captured in full resolution. Over time we developed the local social rules by which we now use as the means to accept and-or reject people, behaviors, and things in a community context. Our rationalizations about what is acceptable or not shift with environmental necessities over time. This moral map is another example of nested adaptive layers – these things we accumulate that are useful to navigate the necessities of being. As coherent structures, we are wired to value remaining coherent in the context of the variables of the environment. If this were not so, we would not exist.

As coherent structures, we cannot help but have a nature that is tuned to find nourishment sources and defend our form – a survival instinct. This adaptive process includes moral rationalizations to cope with making rituals and justifying the necessities of being. Our biological drives are built on an economy of coherence and our thought processes are an extension of this. This is why as a species we justify dismantling and eating animals and plants. It is a necessary part of nourishing our form. We rationalize it as our place. We see it as our right when it is, in reality, a necessity of being. Our perception does not stem from an objective set of morals. It is a variable response caused by the necessities of relating to the idiosyncrasies of our developmental environment over time. We are not unique in this respect. Every creature, indeed every object is a reflection of these necessary properties of coherence. Each object can nourish and-or defend coherence. This is the universal theme embedded in all coherent structures. It is the essence of “being”.

Our Social Past and Future

Were All In This Together

 

We are biological- social creatures far more so than we are logical. Like fish that school, we humans (generally speaking) are wired to nest ourselves in the context of a group, either as a well protected internal organ, or as the skin which relates to the outside world, but acts to nourish and-or defend the coherency of the group. Our biological wiring is so dedicated to this grouping task that our perception faculties are heavily biased toward what is useful over what is accurate. Most of us will sacrifice accuracy on the alter of belonging to a group every day of the week without even thinking about or recognizing it for what it is.

If we unpack the behavioral implications of our inborn social traits at a group level, we see the ritual displays we make to demonstrate our affinity to a group need somewhere to go and somewhere to grow. We seek some identification of “group self” as well as some contrasting social ground to define our group self from group other. As a result, many of us search for the boundary between “self” and “other”, probing the social landscape and attempt to “eat” the “other” as food with our superior ideas.

Never mind the ideas we hold are tokens of belonging far more than fact – they are far more holey than they are holy, we simply shrink or expand their value as necessary to fit the narrative that our group is the only true and right one. We even sometimes call the process of ritual selfing “owning” the other side. This illustrates what the actual act is – a symbolic embodiment of our biological nature; that must eat things to live. It is a perfectly normal outcropping of our social nature deeply rooted in the necessities of being in the context of the environment coupled with the current zeitgeist of ideas.

Marketers hijack these innate tendencies toward belonging in an attempt to build emotional connections between us and logos so the goop inside the packaging has more perceived value. And it works.

Thought stopping clichés are one of the benchmarks of ideas being used as social currency, not as agents of expanding our knowledge base. We diminish or increase the value of whatever ideas we encounter so that it is bent into whatever serves the group. This is why bureaucracies or social movements, once established, tend more to their preservation as they age than they do to working out whatever was in their charter. Whether or not the ideas we hold correspond to factual reality or sensible actions devoted to our common wealth or not is secondary to their value as a bonding agent – defending the coherency of the group. We are in effect groupies. If someone comes along behaving with an affinity to accuracy that differs with what serves group affinity, they are not thanked. They are either passively marginalized, or if they become influential, actively marginalized or neutralized by whatever means necessary.

There is no doubt that overcoming the limitations and mindsets of our small tribal roots is of benefit. In fact, it is arguably a necessary component of navigating the future we are unavoidably moving into. This doesn’t mean it is easy. We swim in the same pond and what we do influences our common experience. This fact carries with it an ever greater weight today than compared to the requirements of living within the threshold of uncultivated nature, waiting for her to deliver a capricious bounty. Somewhere in the depths of history we crossed a threshold to a point where we need each other in ways that cross the former boundaries of smallish tribes. Finding our footing on these untrodden grounds may not be easy, but it’s worth it.
I could be missing something(s)

cr-fzu8ucaa-hli

 

Fish Schooling

The Origin of Meaning and Purpose

Old vintage typewriter

As far as I can tell, the same way we woke up from verbal oblivion as children into an ongoing story, we also did so as a species. We drape our abstract symbols in the form of words and stories over an already ongoing story expressed through nature. Nature is meaningful communication. As natural objects, we are also expressions of this meaning and we also express meaning. In other words; we are made in the image of nature.

The common thread running through all coherent structures in nature is built on the necessary operating principle; behaviors must effectively nourish and defend the integrity of the structure in the context of a variable environment. In other words; there is a necessity of purposeful behaviors that must serve to proportionally nourish and defend coherence for a coherent object to exist in nature. This theme is what defines our nature by necessity. We are built on a “nourish and defend in the context of the environment” theme, otherwise, we would not exist. This is true of all objects in nature whether active or passive.

We had to negotiate to remain coherent in the context of a variable environment which contained intermittent nourishment and various antagonists. This is our history and the story of every coherent entity in nature. This “nourishing and defending” behavioral trait is the essence on which we build our meaning architecture. It is what our verbal language is built on. We build low-resolution abstract maps that stand-in for what is expressed through nature the same way we use the arbitrary word “stone” as an abstract stand-in for a class of objects that could have any name. Various languages have different symbols, but our common object source – nature – is the same. This is where the transcendent theme of meaning infuses all linguistic forms. Even though we use different superficial symbols, we have a common source from which we build our abstract meaning architecture.

Loosely speaking, we translate what is communicated through the object “nature” into subject form. We see a mapping process expressed in the form of the various words, stories, and rituals we act out that become cyclic parts of our individual and cultural identity. Like the spherical cells that build our organs, our ideas form the abstract monuments to this necessary nourish and defend theme that is communicated through nature. Verbal language is the way we frame nature in a symbolic map form. Our maps of meaning represent the territory we must negotiate to nourish and defend ourselves over time. This map – this story representing nature – was formed on the object “nature”. The “story” was already encoded as an ongoing story long before we began decoding it into verbal abstract maps.

Nature communicates meaning (subjects) by way of objects in relationship with each other. We are in a discovery process of this undercurrent of meaning expressed through nature, even if we are unaware of it because we’re lost in our maps – lost in our own little words. We are a reflected image of the inherent value propositions expressed by nature – the proposition of nourish and defend coherency that exists by necessity and defines every coherent collection of relationships – This proposition is; relationships that exist over time are those that contribute some nourishment and-or defensive value to serve the coherency of the whole object in the context of the larger variable environment. Atoms, planets, stars, and galaxies are expressions of this nourish and-or defend necessity, as are organisms.

One of the expressions of this necessary devotion to coherency we see in ourselves is that we must now cultivate the garden that feeds us, otherwise, we starve. We have long since passed nature’s uncultivated carrying capacity. Uncultivated, it cannot support our current population levels. As a result, we must increasingly become active participants in cultivating this the mutualistic relationships that sustain us. Our values and behaviors must support “fruitful” activities. The necessity of behavior and organizational structure varies by context but must follow this common root theme. “Nourish and defend coherency”. This is the grammar on which all language is built.

Our human sociality and various other biological drives, along with language and other forms of memorizing the map of the territory we must negotiate all exist in service of coherence. Breathing, hunger, digestion, our innate reactions to things and all other biologically expressed drives are aligned around this central theme. What we call meaning is an intuitive capacity to capture the ongoing story already expressed by nature in the form of an abstract map. We then nourish and defend our map as part of the same natural inclination to nourish and defend.

The things we are attracted to and repulsed by, and all behavioral expressions we act out are either directly or indirectly are variations on this nourish and defend theme – we are players in the story as long as we effectively attend to this nourish and defend theme in the context of the environment. If we lose our way – if we lose our capacity to nourish and defend coherency in the context of the environment, we are swallowed by something else that does it better. Nature is on a relentless path toward greater coherency. Whether our biological form is transitory or whether it will continue to develop over time as part of the ongoing story depends on whether we are organized around the necessity to proportionally nourish and defend our coherency in the context of the variables of the environment.

Nature’s range of propositions about how to contend with the realities of remaining coherent exists on a spectrum between bloody and bloodier. It is not a proposition between perfect and imperfect. All acts in service of coherence have a sacrificial component to them. We must sacrifice ourselves to the next generation as the next generation must sacrifice itself to the community and so on.

As individuals, finding some nourishing and or protective value to contribute to the larger relationship economy that we live in and depend on is what our biological drives are all about at their core. To align ourselves with this is a recipe for a meaningful life. If we do not, we will live dissatisfied no matter how many trinkets we acquire. This is why we have never met anyone who is both malignantly selfish and satisfied. We’re not wired that way for a reason. It destroys the relationship economy we depend on.

We are expressions of biological and social systems oriented around nourishment and defense, but we also see this expressed in many various forms throughout nature, including microorganisms, which contend with the same propositions on a micro-scale that we do on a macro scale. It is a nested architecture built on a common theme with an infinite variety of possible variations – just like every language is a finite set of symbols that can form an infinite variety of meanings – that can call order from chaos. We appear to be expressions of this common theme.

I could be missing something(s)

To Save Others, Bacteria Can Self-Destruct When Infected by a Virus

https://www.labroots.com/trending/cell-and-molecular-biology/16561/save-others-bacteria-self-destruct-infected-virus

Does life require a purpose?

Nebula Art

Does life require a purpose? I suppose how we define purpose and life is important if we are to attempt an answer that is satisfactorily supported with evidence. Here’s my sketchy take on the subject.

All coherent objects in nature must have some capacity to nourish and or defend their coherence in the context of the environmental womb in which it is situated, otherwise it would not exist over time. In our case, we are nested layers of sophisticated behavioral architectures that support this continuing coherence. The behaviors involve things of adaptive value such as breathing, drinking, eating, obtaining shelter, as well forming social bonds, mating and the like because of the adaptive (purposeful) advantage of these behaviors. This macro behavior, along with a host of micro internal relationships carry out a singular purposeful theme of nourishing and or defending coherence. This is expressed on many levels with many variations built around this unified theme of nourishing and-or defending coherence in the context of the environment. This is what defines a coherent entity, whether an idea, what is communicated by the totality of behaviors we express through our life.

The inherent purpose communicated through our nature is why we are not satisfied unless we do something significant – something of nourishing and-or protective value with respect to the common body of relationships we live in, are part of, and depend on for life. Finding that thing we can do to contribute to the nourishing and or protective value to the community of relationships that defines our common experience of life is a story written right into the fabric of life. We never meet persons who are both malignantly selfish and satisfied at the same time. This inherent purpose written into the complex dynamic coherent structures such as ourselves sets the tone for whether we will be satisfied or frustrated, whether we will do what is significant, or move on the currents in meaningless directions.

Here is a look at some “nourish and defend” activity on a molecular scale.