Tag Archives: Physics

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)

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A Single Word to Describe Us

LA Symphony at the Exit/In club in Nashville, ...

LA Symphony at the Exit/In club in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If we take on the task of encapsulating the characteristics of biology into a single word, one of the top candidates would have to be “symphony”. Like a symphony, the structure of biology expresses ideas and emotions through elements of rhythm, melody and harmony. A specific arrangement of a community of elements communicates with interrelated multidirectional flows of mutually nourishing energies. Together the relational exchanges compose a coherent whole. In this same way biology depends on a symphony of relationships to form and sustain integrity as a whole. Emerging from the delicate balance are individual expressions that operate in concert to paint magnificent meaningful soundscapes in the concert hall of space and time.

We experience our sense of “being” through the local membrane of relationships we generate and those we are touched by. The same way we depend on the instruments of our internal biological community to perform nourishing roles in the context the needs of the whole body, this same need exists the wider social womb from which our center of being feeds. These concentric rings of relational influence extend outward to encompass the entire cosmos. Like relativity in physics where no point is the center, but all points are a simply a reference from which to relate to the whole, every relational point within our biological system is the center as well.{1} If we use the symphonic structure of nature as the lens through which we understand ourselves, we can see how indivisibly we are connected to the greater whole.

Our characteristic dependency on nourishing relationships within is echoed in the larger social context of the relational waters in which we swim. Our inward demand for a specific arrangement of elements of structure and a harmony of relationships between them is reverberated by our need to relate on this self-same principle on the larger social stage in order to be fulfilled. The same way cells must breathe in and out in order to be sustained, our bodies must also breathe. Concentric harmonies built on self-similar principles are the foundation of melodic rhythms through which the voice of the cosmos speaks both to and through us about who we are.

What we experience as “being” emerges from the collective interplay of internal and external relationship values. The principles our biological systems are built on is one of dependency on specific arrangements of structural elements and nourishing flows of energy between them. The nature of our biological body represents the model by which we are fulfilled. We need look no further than our biological system to see that the arrangement and cultivation of fulfilling and sustainable relationships is who we are and what we are best suited to do. Nature speaks this message through the fabric of our structure. Understanding how messages are communicated through nature and how they relate to our state of being is necessary foundation to effectively act with intention to steer ourselves toward our most satisfied potential.

Just for fun; this video is the first 60,000 base pairs of Chromosome 1 of human (Homo sapien) genes translated into sound.

{1} For more information on this concept, look up the term “biological relativity”.