Just Another Strange Attractor
Browsing around the pages of The Guardian this morning, I came across this beautiful award winning photo of an “oscillating microbubble” (whatever that is) that clearly has the characteristics of a Strange (or Lorenz) Attractor, otherwise known as “Butterfly Effect”. It clearly shares the same features as the Holling’s Adaptive Cycle — the pathway that energy follows in any selected ecosystem, or the dynamics of any system for that matter. I’ve even suggested, tentatively, that it may show the path of energy through the right and left hemispheres of the divided brain, for example. At the same time, though, it uncannily takes the form of the traditional symbol for infinity.
Here’s Holling’s Adaptive Cycle
And here’s Dr. Dario Carugo’s photograph (from The Guardian) of the “oscillating microbubble”,
As you can see, both take the form of the traditional symbol of infinity (called the lemniscate), as described in the Wikipedia.
There is certainly something mysterious here, and The Chrysalis is, of course, interested in all things butterfly, so to speak. Is this the shape of consciousness dynamics, too? For, as mentioned earlier, the Strange Attractor — a double Strange Attractor — seems to be the shape also of William Blake’s vision of the fourfold human form also,
Since the four Zoas of the integral human reside “in the Human Brain” and nervous system, in Blake’s mythology, it seems likely then that the Zoas correspond to the left and right hemispheres as well as the anterior and posterior (or “new” and “old”) portions of the brain as well, although the left-right bihemispheric relation seems to get most of the attention.
If so, then the left-right hemisphere relation may be described as the synchronic relation, while the anterior-posterior hemispheric relation may be described as the diachronic relation.
Also of interest in Blake’s black-and-white illustration is something I’ve noticed only for the first time: each of the Zoas is associated with a compass point. Tharmas is the West, Luvah is the East, Urizen is the South, Urthona is the North. This association of the Zoas with the four directions reinforces my view that they are the same “Guardians of the Four Directions” one finds in virtually all cultures, and clearly relates the Zoas to the cardinal points of the Sacred Hoop or Medicine Wheel of North American aboriginal religion,
Now comes the interesting bit: “The Sacred Hoop is in language”, say my Native friends. And “to speak from the centre of the voice” is to speak from the centre of the Sacred Hoop. The vital centre is the place of integrity, sincerity, authenticity. The vital centre is what we call the Logos, for in Christian iconography, it is also the position occupied by Christ on the Cross, surrounded by the four Evangelists. These evangelists (Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John) would therefore correspond to the Guardians of the Four Directions or the four Zoas,
So, what is called “the Christ” is not the name of a man. It is the name for the integral consciousness, or God-consciousness. Blake’s “Albion”, who is the Universal Humanity, is the Christ.
If “the Sacred Hoop is in language”, then the Zoas are also in language. This accounts for why Jean Gebser and Rosenstock-Huessy looked to grammar for a new understanding of the human form. The Zoas are present as grammatical forms and different styles of speech. Fundamentally, the Zoas, or Guardians, are represented in the system of personal pronouns. The most basic pronoun system is Korean: You, I, We, He (there is no differentiation of the “third person”, apparently, of “she” or “they” or “it” as in English). This is represented in Rosenstock-Huessy’s grammatical method and “cross of reality”,
There is, apparently, no human language so far inventoried that does not have at a minimum, a four-person system. It’s a human universal. It not only seems to reflect the nature of the divided brain, but of our experience of physical reality as a fourfold structure, too: two times (past and future) and two spaces (inner and outer). Blake’s Zoas, in those terms, would appear to also represent the powers of times and spaces, or spacetime in its fourfold aspect, related quadrilaterally. The vital centre of the cross of reality corresponds to “Eternal Now”. It is the place of arising or origination, and is Gebser’s “ever-present origin”. To “speak from the centre of the voice” is to speak the Logos and to originate. To originate is to articulate. To articulate is both to differentiate and yet integrate. To “speak from the centre of the voice” is to intend a world. The Logos is, in those terms, the creative principle.
If this is so, then integral consciousness is not simply consciousness of the Logos, but is the Logos — consciousness as the Logos. The Logos is the unifying or integrating principle.
If this is the case, then the point of origination of the Holling Adaptive Cycle is not where it seems, but at the intesection of the two loops of the Attractor, just as it is in the Strange Attractor. That’s the balancing point. That is the same “centre of the voice”, and seen in this way, the four states of the Adaptive Cycle are really the same Guardians of the Four Directions we encounter universally. Reorganisation and release, conservation and growth are the same four Zoas, and the same arms of Rosenstock-Huessy’s “cross of reality”. But this only becomes evidently so when we consider the Adaptive Cycle as a Strange Attractor. The place of origin is not at the periphery, but at the centre where the loops intersect. Grammatical speech is, in those terms, a Strange Attractor. The circulation of speech in society follows the path of a Strange Attractor, and in those terms, Holling’s Adaptive Cycle as well.
The four states of the Adaptive Cycle co-exist at the same time. They don’t really follow one another. At any one time, though, one state is more pronounced than the other except where the pathways intersect. Don’t you find that peculiar? Where the pathway of the Adaptive Cycle intersects, release, reorganisation, conservation and growth are perfectly balanced. Potentiality and Connectedness (or coherence) are at an optimum. So, if the Adaptive Cycle really does map a Strange Attractor, that centre is the real place of origination, not at the periphery. And that centre would correspond to what Gebser calls “vital centre” or “ever-present origin” or “Eternal Now”.
If we take the centre of the Adaptive Cycle as its place of origination or arising, then it becomes rather evident that the Adaptive Cycle is identical with four-armed Shiva’s dance of “creative destruction”. The Adaptive Cycle is Shiva, too,