Two young fish are swimming together when an older fish swims by, nods, and says; “Good morning. How’s the water?” The two fish nod back and swim on for a while when one looks at the other and says; “What’s water?” Deeper truths about nature’s architecture and the profound value hidden inside these truths are easily missed when the gateway to explore these domains is heavily disguised in plain sight. The following is an attempt to uncover some of these treasures hidden in plain sight and unlock the value waiting there to be discovered.
Nature is a canvas of space, time, matter, and energy that forges the patterned dance between energies that we experience as objective forms. In addition, nature defines the relationships between these forms. This relational dance also tells a story that flows from conception through a developmental journey toward greater maturity over time. In this sense; nature is the archetypal mother of mothers – the environmental womb that not only conceives and gives birth to all objective forms but also guides their development through space and time to their fully realized state.
Every object born of nature’s defining matrix is the archetypal child. Concentrated patterns of relationship are forged from nature’s inherent grammatical forces that influence energy to condense into what we experience as objective forms. The structural membranes that form from this process are nature’s children. As children, objects depend on nourishment and protection from the environmental womb to continue forward through time. The necessary relationships objects must have with the environment to remain coherent is the mother’s milk of “being”. The archetypal mother and child begin to define each other as the process unfolds. Parent and child is the primal relationship type – it is the essence of “being”.
Nature tells a story. The unfolding arc of the story told by nature through objects in relationship with each other1 is a tale of the journey toward increasingly coherent expressions of form over time. The dynamic complex adaptive relationship patterns that define biology are part of this story of movement toward higher resolution expressions of coherence. The elements of structure begin forming a nested architecture of mutually nourishing and protective relationships that serve the purpose of remaining coherent in the context of the environment. This developmental process is an expression of increasingly refined forms of coherence. This blend of form and function is also the birthplace of meaning.
As a whole, the biological relationship economy produces expressions of the value of coherence. This collection of structures and activities we call biology communicates that there are certain “necessities of being” that are defined by nature. Specific structures and relationship behaviors must happen to nourish and protect coherence. These are “valued” for their contribution to coherence. Biology is built around this hunger for coherence theme. What emerges from this value proposition is an expression that separates constructive from destructive. Certain structures and relationship behaviors have value toward coherence and certain others do not. Nature states that it favors certain structures and behaviors that produce a coherence value. Objects that remain coherent over time are expressions of this value.
An object born in the defining specifics of an environmental womb begins to develop patterns of structure and behavior that facilitate its continuing existence in the context of that environment.2 These structures and behaviors that have value toward coherence are selected over those that do not. Nature defines which structures and behaviors, in which contexts, result in higher forms of coherence. Ultimately that which is useful toward coherence survives. That which does not produce coherence goes extinct. In this way, nature determines what relational forms will have greater permanence and which will pass away.
The objects born of the interplay of the selective values inherent in nature generate the emergent language of “being”. The statement made by way of nature as a process can be translated into meaningful statements like; “Nature is telling us what can and cannot exist. She tells us that what contributes to a sustained state of coherence over time is valuable, what does not, is not.”
The increasingly complex expressions of information that spring from the fundamental grammar of defining forces establish the patterns of relationships we experience as objects.3 This process also communicates a meaningful story of the journey toward increasing coherence. A journey that composes the symphony of relationships we experience as us. Nature speaks, and we are but one of the many expressions of thought. By nature we are defined, but also like nature, we can become definers. If we carefully listen and constructively apply these lessons spoken through the structures and behaviors expressed by nature we also become a more resonant and coherent voice in this choir of living fire.
1Objects in relationship with each other is the grammatical foundation of the communication of meaning – the origin of language.
2This natural relationship dynamic is the origin of the abstract map tokens we see as a global property of human cultural conceptualization in the form of notions such as good and evil – attraction and disgust as well as the more complex abstract architectures that stem from these more direct sources. Structural and behavioral activities that have adaptive value in the context of the environment are repeated are duplicated as a function of the hunger for and the refining of processes that lead to coherence. This natural expression of form is the source of abstract concepts like replication.
3Nature as a language situates objects as nouns and relationships between them as the verbs. This relationship economy tells a story with a developmental arc over time – from infancy to a point of maturity. A story of emergence that renders more than the sum of its parts.