The Pursuit of Power

Scientia potens est. Knowledge is power. Francis Bacon’s famous formula — as famous as Cartesius’s cogito ergo sum — sums up what is meant by “Faustian Man” (or Urizenic Man, in William Blake’s case). Power is the desire and end of all knowledge, and thinking is the royal road to that knowledge. Only what grants power has value as knowledge and therefore qualifies as truth. When Bacon was weighing the relative merits of “science” or “magic” for man’s conquest of nature, it was framed in terms of which offered the possibility of the greatest power.

The slogan is unfortunate because it has, over time, become decontextualised. It is not entirely true. Bacon’s aim was actually freedom or emancipation from the  caprices of an apparent inconscient and indifferent Nature with its ruthless and merciless laws, limitations, and constraints that seemed to treat human beings like playthings. Bacon saw power not necessarily as desirable and as an end in itself, but as a way of escaping an all-too-natural condition — Nature as Fate; Nature as “the law of the Earth”. No doubt plagues, famine and other natural disasters were foremost in Bacon’s mind.

So, the end of knowledge was not directly power but freedom — the truth that sets free, and sets free from the seemingly pitiless machinery of the natural law. “Knowledge is power” was intended for the noble purpose of transcending the State of Nature. But I don’t think Bacon himself foresaw that the pursuit of power would become an end in itself, and power a value in itself, and, in the process, re-introduce via technology, the same constraints, limits, and pitiless automatism of “the law of the Earth” now in the guise of the technological system — an artificial Nature now almost fully realised as “The Anthropocene”.

The emancipatory zeal of early science seems all but exhausted today, for somewhere along the way it took a perverse turn in which power became an end in itself and began to be turned against man himself, and against the human, as a new form of compulsion and as a new, and perhaps even more insidious, fatalism. Some have suggested that it was the First World War where power turns against man in the form of weapons of mass destruction and as propaganda, although Blake early already saw in the industrial revolution as the “dark Satanic Mill” as power become divorced from its aim of human emancipation from the State of Nature.  Despite Blake’s dread of “Single Vision & Newtons sleep”, Blake was an admirer of “sweet science”, both for its emancipatory potential and as the self-consciousness of Nature itself.

Somewhere along the way, a certain cynicism set in, in which “the facts of the matter” become divorced and isolated from “the truth that sets free”. Science, in other words, became ever more reductionistic and itself mechanical as it “progressively” eliminated “subjective values” from its enterprise, falsifying, in effect, it’s own motives — that the truth that sets free was itself a subjective value and a desire, and that becoming ever more conscious of life’s circumstances was itself a value.

“Knowledge is freedom” might have been more to the point instead of “knowledge is power” — at least, perhaps, less open to distortion and abuse for today we find ourselves trapped by the very dilemmas of power we thought we had mastered, only to realise that while we may have had command of power, we really never had mastery of power because we forgot about “the truth that sets free” and exaggerated the “facts of the matter” as the new compulsions of the artificial nature we had created around ourselves.

And it should be quite obvious that the “truth that sets free” and the “facts of the matter” relate to each other as Iain McGilchrist’s Master and Emissary relate to each other. The real “power behind the throne” is this Master, and the Emissary, as the “usurper”, instead of being servant has become a parasite, and even today has some vague inkling that it has become parasitical. It’s usually what is meant by “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” or by “playing God” or “Satan is God’s ape”– Buddha’s demon named “Mara”.

Here again, as above so below. Instead of becoming the transcendent self-consciousness of Nature we were intended to be, we have become, instead, parasitical on Nature also, having placed ourselves largely in opposition to Nature. It’s not a matter of a return to a State of Nature, but of assuming our role as this self-consciousness of Nature. Without that understanding, we become merely parasites.

 

 

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92 responses to “The Pursuit of Power”

  1. Steve Lavendusky says :

    A Riddle or the Cricket’s Cry
    Is to Doubt a fit Reply.
    The Emmet’s Inch and Eagle’s Mile
    Make Lame Philosophy to smile.
    He who Doubts from what he sees
    Will ne’er Believe, do what you Please.
    If the Sun and Moon should doubt,
    They’d immediately Go out.

    William Blake

  2. abdulmonem says :

    How right once we forget that we are the consciousness of the divine to know the divine and the creations of the divine,we are turned into an un-beneficial parasite. No one can transcend the noble purpose the divine puts in nature. Separating god from nature or from what is in nature is the dilemma of humanity of our time that has lost its way in this complex universe through the unguided processes of reading outside the divine compass. Divine wise knowledge is the power and freedom and wisdom to run this earth,once it it leaves its divine compass it falls as being demonstrated by so many thinkers of our time. The whole writings of Scott are waking calls in this darkness of our misled world. I can no longer feel at ease with our media of gossips and of throwing unguided stones in an already dark world. Generalization is a mistaken road. Never throw judgements, warn the sages and yet we never stop advocating sweeping assertions. Those who have convictions are convicts in the eyes of the unfaithful,in the same vein the the faithless are convicts in the eyes of those of conviction. The length of time is no proof of truth which is beyond time and space. Divine judgement is the only true judgement in the human existence that are flawed with misjudgements. How many innocents reside in our unjust prisons and the story of Joseph is indicative in that context.We are in a continual motions toward him and away from him ,he is also exercises the same double motions away from us and toward us. This is governed by the content of our desires. good intention attracts goodness and bad intention attracts bad,It is a scale of weights that never misses. Once we loose the vision of the unexplainabll and the incomprehensible and we reduce ourselves only to the explainable and managable we disconnect ourselves from reality and this is what is happening to us. Mary Midgley the british philosopher said, the house is on fire,we must wake up and do something about it. We live in a universe that is filled with abound scales of checks and balances It is our grade of transparency that gives us excess to understand and appreciate the divine complex presence. You are not created in vain so the quran remind us in order not to waste our live in vain.

  3. abdulmonem says :

    Riddles are abound in every voice small and grand
    everything in existence knows his obedient response save the human one
    and here sleeps the dilemma of our female and our man
    life is trial,filled with hindrances and cheating clowns

  4. 12CharBar says :

    Power? One could say that power is The scourge. Many books in this office relate to power. I am meditating on this paragraph.

    Every ideology based upon power suppresses its essential problems.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Mr. Glass in Yuga thinks so too. But the problem is not power per se, but the lop-sided pursuit of power at the expense of everything else, for things like “post-truth” and “post-rational” and such are symptomatic of the inordinate lust for power, an obsession with power. It might even be said that this obsession is what makes for “Single Vision & Newtons sleep”.

      There’s a certain irony in this, that the human mind has overpowered the spaces, but is now overwhelmed by time, and as “time speeds up” in the Kali Yuga, as Mr. Glass puts it, the sense of powerlessness against the ravages of time gives rise to greater and greater Angst, anxiety, and anguish.

      Our sense of powerlessness in respect of time is implicated in the denial of death, for example, but also the denial of time itself. “Time is an illusion”, we may tell ourselves, and that becomes a dodge; that becomes a mental soother that does nothing to assuage the anxiety about time itself. We conquer space, but we are conquered by time. So, today the theme is “taking back control”, largely because we feel powerless in regards to time.

      Hence, Gebser’s and Rosenstock’s concern with time and “time-freedom” through an insight into time and death. This is also about power, but not at the expense of other conditioning values that give guidance to power. The problem of power is that these other values have been sacrificed to power and no longer perform their moderating function.

      • mikemackd says :

        Scott, I don’t know if you know or not, but there are scholar/practitioners onto this. One of them is Jonathan Gosling, who has written several articles on the use and abuse etc. of power

        http://www.jonathangosling.com/publications.html

        He wrote a conference paper with Peter Case which they called “Abysmal Leadership Theory”, which was about leadership through the abyss, not terrible leaders, and they used the survival of the Crow nation as a model for what we may have to go through before long.

        Another is Agata Stachowicz-Stanusch

        http://www.igi-global.com/affiliate/agata-stachowicz-stanusch/220339

        who, in effect, is attempting to bring The Machine back under the control of our higher values by showing that it actually works better that way.

        While neither say that, but Jung said something like, it seems to me that the insufficiently loving and loved crave power in lieu, and the sufficiently loving and loved do not: the old paradox that those most hungry for power are often those least competent to wield it.

        • davidm58 says :

          One of the earliest perhaps to write about the power over/power with continuum was philosopher of religion Bernard Loomer, and his “powerful” essay “Two Conceptions of Power” written in 1975.
          http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=2359

          More recently Riane Eisler has been the champion of this topic with her best-selling book “The Chalice and the Blade,” and follow up books The Power of Partnership, The Partnership Way, and The Real Wealth of Nations.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riane_Eisler

          • mikemackd says :

            davidm58, at the moment I am of the view that I will be forever grateful to you for introducing me to the work of Bernard Loomer.

            I believe I have been looking for something like that a long, long time. That view might change with further digestion and more critical reflection, but right now that’s how it seems to me.

            Thanks, too, for the references to Eisler. I haven’t read those books of hers, but I have read – studied – her 1996 work, Sacred Pleasure. I found it, too, impressively insightful.

            • davidm58 says :

              Thanks for the comment Mike. Glad to hear Loomer resonates with you. He didn’t write a whole lot – he was mostly busy with helping and supporting students, rather than publishing, as Dean at the University of Chicago divinity school. It looks like it was after his partial retirement that he wrote some really fascinating essays, including this one on power. The best analysis of his work that I’ve seen is a 10 page section in Nancy Frankenberry’s “Religion and Radical Empiricism.” Charles Hartshorne credits Loomer with naming Whitehead’s system “process philosophy,” but Loomer regretted the term and later said it should be called “process-relational philosophy. Loomer moved a bit away from Whiteheadian thought and toward the Radical Empiricism of James and “Chicago School” thinkers Henry Nelson Wieman and Bernard Meland, but some of those ideas as well, and moving it forward. He was quite the forward thinker!

  5. davidm58 says :

    You’ve hit on an important point here Scott in terms of the relationship between power and freedom. The concept of Power is little understood, much to our detriment. I spoke of it recently in another comment thread on this blog. I suppose I’ll have to write an essay on it someday. Meanwhile Howard T. Odum’s “Maximum Power Principle” can serve as a great educational foundation, explained in his books Energy Basis for Man and Nature, A Prosperous Way Down, and Energy, Environment and Power for the 21st Century. David Holmgren also explained it somewhat in his Energy and Permaculture article (I have a complete power point presentation based on this article): http://www.permacultureactivist.net/articles/holmgren.htm

    And here’s what Teilhard de Chardin had to say on the subject:
    “Everything that lives (and that may well mean everything that moves) is driven, from its very beginning, by an urge towards a little more freedom, a little more power, more truth…Throughout time, a task greater than individual lives is being achieved. An interest higher than individual successes is at stake. Spirit is coming to birth, the created foundation of the mystical milieu, the cosmic substance into which the Godhead among us is finally and for ever to be condensed…A creative restlessness is stirring up the monads…”

    Finally I would say that even freedom has some aspects that can go too far, as explored a few years ago by Erik Lindberg on “Ecotheology, Limits, and Freedom.” http://www.resilience.org/stories/2016-04-11/ecotheology-limits-and-freedom/

    • Leo says :

      Scott, David, I’ve recently been thinking about the link between energy and power structures. The other say someone at my Alma Mater posted a link to this report from HSBC on global oil supply crunch beginning after 2018:

      http://www.research.hsbc.com/midas/Res/RDV?p=pdf&ao=20&key=B7HDWdmGBg&n=526500.PDF

      This is pretty significant as it’s the first time in many years (that I’m aware of) that the reality of peak oil has been acknowledged in mainstream industry analyst circles. If correct the report is predicting the beginning of forced energy descent, with concomitant implications for the global economy and business-as-usual scenarios, and given the global lack of preparedness likely a major marker on the chaotic transition trajectory.

      • Scott Preston says :

        Thanks for that Leo. Supports pretty much what David posted a while back about the present glut. I’m supposing that the analysts describe a “benign definition” of post-peak production and a seemingly hopeful gradualist decline (smoothing the curve or arc of descent) probably because they know otherwise — that it’s going to come rather as “shock and awe”, as it were, and turbulence. I don’t think there’s any way to reconcile their projections of rising demand into 2040 with those kinds of declining rates of exploration, disovery, and production.

        I was talking with a retired oil worker a few weeks ago (retired early due to disability). His reminiscences are anecdotal in that respect. He couldn’t understand why his company sent his crew into the bush for 3 weeks with a truckload of booze for no other reason than to party the whole time. It came as something of a shock to him when I explained that they weren’t looking for oil, but mining the Exploration Credit tax subsidies. (The Canadian Petroleum Industry gets about 3.5 billion in subsidies annually, mostly, it seems, in Exploration Tax Credit).

        The “Prison of Unreality” as Marty Glass puts it. Ditto for agriculture — 5.5 billion in subsidies in Canada (25 billion in the US) to apparently hide the irrationalities and inefficiencies in the system of food production and distribution, all connected, as far as I can see, to Cleckley’s “The Mask of Sanity”, which is the flip side to Marty Glass’s “Prison of Unreality”.

        • Leo says :

          Well, they certainly leave out any consideration of the systemic interactions of rising oil prices, focusing instead on a decline of around 5-8% each year set against a background of steadily increasing demand. However, as you note, it’s hard to imagine that they don’t understand at least some of the wider implications of their assessment. Consistently rising oil prices in the current geo-economic and political context seem to have the potential to trigger partial or total systemic collapse. It’s at times like this that I wish I didn’t live in London!

          • davidm58 says :

            Leo,
            In good timing to accompany our discussion, Richard Heinberg has just posted a blog/essay on the present state of peak oil. I’ve only just skimmed it so far, but it looks like a great update. He includes a reference to the HSBC report you linked to. He suggests that Donald Trump will be our “Peak Oil President.”
            He concludes:
            “Anyone who claims to know in advance how all this will shake out is blowing smoke. This is the most combustible mix of circumstances I’ve seen in my lifetime. Donald Trump is certainly not the peak oil president I would have chosen. But he promises to be a pivotal historical figure.”

            http://www.resilience.org/stories/2017-01-11/the-peak-oil-president/

            • Leo says :

              Good article. The author does consider the potential global systemic effects of rising oil prices and arrives at pretty much the same conclusion – it’s unlikely to be pretty.

            • Scott Preston says :

              Trump is certainly shaping up to be the proverbial bull elephant in the China shop.

      • davidm58 says :

        Thanks Leo. That’s a good, well thought out and presented report. It does match up pretty well with the info I’ve come across. I see that their main sources are the International Energy Agency World Energy Outlook report, and the work done at the University of Upsalla in Sweden. I try to keep up on the summaries of the WEO reports, and it looks to me like they’ve taken the data that WEO presents, and then read through the lines for what the WEO will not say directly. For example, the WEO tends to fill in the declines with “undiscovered oil” that they hope the middle east is able to find and develop.

        I wrote a summary of recent WEO reports here:
        https://integralpermaculture.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/watching-the-watchdogs-10-years-of-the-iea-world-energy-outlook/

        You might also find this story interesting, about how some of the research team for the IEA snuck the topic of peak oil into their 1998 WEO. One of those researchers is now the head of the IEA, Fatih Birol.
        http://petrole.blog.lemonde.fr/2010/05/18/how-the-global-oil-watchdog-failed-its-mission-13/

  6. abdulmonem says :

    While I have my own ideas about the conditioning values carried with me from another culture, I prefer to listen to you,explaining such conditioning values, in term of our present integral consciousness, that let power runs astray and no longer exercise their moderating function on it. Thank you

    • Scott Preston says :

      Well, then, we can look at this in at least two ways: in terms of Rosenstock-Huessy’s quadrilateral logic of the cross of reality and in terms of the “Sacred Hoop”.

      In Rosenstock’s cross of reality, power pertains to the outer front, respect to the backwards front, faith to the forwards front and unanimity to the inward fronts of society. So, there are four values that need to be cultivated to balance the cross of reality — respect and faith as pertains to the two temporal fronts of past and future; and unanimity and power as relates to the two spatial fronts of inner and outer.

      In terms of the Sacred Hoop, we can turn to what Castaneda’s don Juan referred to as the “four enemies of the man of knowledge”, which are peculiar sort of enemies, and only enemies in a special sense. Those four enemies of the man of knowledge are also the benefactors of the man of knowledge, and they are fear, clarity, power, and old age. And a little reflection that this set of values is very similar to Rosenstock-Huessy’s set of sustaining values.

      Fear and Old Age relate to the temporal axis of the cross of reality, as beginning and end, and have their counterpart in Rosenstock’s Respect and Faith, correspondingly; Clarity and Power pertain to the inner and outer, on the other hand, and pertain to the two domains of space. In that sense, the correspond to Rosenstock’s “unanimity” and “power” respectively.

      So we have these two sets of values or desirables, albeit very similar in meaning and purpose: respect, unanimity, faith, and power on the one hand, and fear, clarity, old age and power on the other hand, and both requiring balancing.

      It may not seem obvious why Don Juan’s values are so paradoxical, being benefactors and enemies at the same time — paradoxical. Rosenstock’s are equally paradoxically, for these values can turn into their opposites as well, in which case they become the famous “four riders of the apocalypse” as four forms of social death. They become enemies, though, through hyper-exaggeration of their importance, when they become single-minded obsessions — then they become traps; fearlessness then becomes imprudence and carelessness or heedlessness; clarity becomes arrogance; power becomes bullying; it is only in the light of Old Age (or Death) that the proper role and place of fear, clarity, power is revealed.

      For that reason, the cultivation of the consciousness of personal and civilisational mortality is very important. “die to oneself daily” or contemplating a “Last Judgment” or Buddhism’s “impermanence”. It sobers the mind. Time and Death, says Blake, is a mercy — not how people normally think of time and death.

      Mortality is so important that where it is denied (the “denial of death”) it will assume other, more perverse forms that Gebser refers to as “the law of the Earth” — violence, wars, plague, famine, human sacrifice, and so on and so forth. These things, which Gebser calls the “automatic” fullfillment of “the law of the Earth” also belong to “the return of the repressed” for the law of the Earth will be fulfilled — one way or another, peacefully or violently.

  7. Scott Preston says :

    I know we sometimes conflate power with violence. But they are actually contraries. Violence breaks out in the absence of power — the power “vacuum”, as it has been called. Power, being the capacity to influence events or to “make happen”, where that capacity to influence events or to “make happen” is obstructed or hindered or repressed, violence is usually the second resort.

    Power is just the capacity to “make happen” and is associated with words for making (and thus also magic) which is why “grammar” is also connected with words for magic — articulate speech is magical inasmuch as it too “makes happen”. All speech was originally magic. And so you have Gebser’s point in EPO that wisdom is the knowing of when to make happen and when to let happen, which is also a matter of timing, tempo, etc.Basically, knowing when to speak and knowing when to listen, or, optionally, knowing when to intend and knowing when to attend.

    Or, as Rosenstock put it once: proper speech grants more power to the speaker than property.

  8. dadaharm says :

    Hi,

    Best wishes for the new year.

    Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, said a certain Lord Acton. Clearly this also holds for having power over nature.

    Power allows you to ignore and suppress the truth. In fact, having power means you do not have to adapt. The weak have to adapt to the powerful.

    If you have power, you can ignore even reality (at least for a while).

    That probably also means that humanity will only treat nature with respect, when nature shows humanity that she is more powerful.

    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      Oh. She’s already doing that and has been for quite some time. Not that many have noticed.

    • davidm58 says :

      Power itself isn’t good or evil, it’s just one more natural pattern existing in the universe that has healthy and unhealthy expressions. It’s just a work rate or productivity per unit of time that determines if a system will hold its resource flow niche among competitors. Or, as Bernard Loomer, referenced above, put it more eloquently:

      :”If power is roughly defined as the ability to make or establish a claim on life, then the range of the presence of power may be broadened to include the notion that power is coextensive with life itself. To be alive, in any sense, is to make some claim, large or small. To be alive is to exercise power in some degree.”
      http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=2359

      • Scott Preston says :

        Ditto. What he said.

        I’m on the road right now and will be for a few more days, but I’ll drop by occasionally and try to catch up with the discussion. I did have a meeting with Chris Kutarna, co-author of The Age of Discovery, in which we talked about “chaotic transition” and such matters, which I’ll post something about as well.

      • dadaharm says :

        Hi David,

        What is called relational power by Bernard Loomer, is not something I would call a form of power.

        I think it is better to see it as a form of strength. Having strength includes both the capacity to endure influences and the capacity to effect influences. Strength is an internal resource, whereas power is in my opinion an acquired external capacity.

        For me the relation between strength and power is like the relation between faith and belief or the relation between clarity and certainty. Strength belongs to the master, power to the emissionary. Strength is resilient, power is fragile. Strength can evolve and adapt, power is rigid and can only be destroyed.

        I would even say that calling this capacity relational power, is a typical example of how whiteheadians always manage to complicate and confuse things. (;)

        • davidm58 says :

          Ouch, a Whiteheadian slam!

          In regards to power, I’m not following your strength/power distinctions, and I see no evidence for the statement “power is rigid and can only be destroyed.”

          I suggest we really examine the role of power in natural systems. Howard T. Odum’s 1974 article is one place to start. This article is not just about power (better to see his books), but this is a free, classic Odum article available online, and you can see here the central role of power, I think, esp. in points 4, 5, and 6..
          http://www.mnforsustain.org/energy_ecology_economics_odum_ht_1973.htm

          • dadaharm says :

            Hi David,

            In general I think it is dangerous to take definitions from one domain and apply them to other domains. There are alway subtleties that depend on the context. Often those subleties cause complications and confusion.

            But in this case, I think it is o.k. after only a slight reintepretation. I will attempt to explain in system theoretical terms what it means that power corrupts. First Odum’s principle that states why power is necessary (and even good).

            Lotka’s principle:
            In a competitive environment those systems win and dominate that maximize their useful total power from all sources and flexibly distribute this power toward needs affecting survival.

            This principle has a simple, but bad consequence. That consequence is that power corrupts. It goes by the name of the maffia principle.

            Maffia principle:
            Once you are the dominant system, the most efficient way to remain dominant is to steal resources from weaker systems and to sabotage and destroy every possible competitor.

            I do not know whether Odum has ever considered this corollary to his maximum power principle. I guess, he was a mild mannered systems analyst and never studied systems that could be considered intentionally evil or bad. But I think even you would agree that this is clearly something that follows from Lotka’s principle.

            • davidm58 says :

              Hi dadaharm,

              Odum says this about Lotka’s principle:
              “We observe dog-eat-dog growth competition every time a new vegetation colonizes a bare field where the immediate survival premium is first placed on rapid expansion to cover the available energy receiving surfaces. The early growth ecosystems put out weeds of poor structure and quality, which are wasteful in their energy-capturing efficiencies, but effective in getting growth even though the structures are not long lasting. Most recently, modern communities of man have experienced two hundred years of colonizing growth, expanding to new energy sources such as fossil fuels, new agricultural lands, and other special energy sources. Western culture, and more recently, Eastern and Third World cultures, are locked into a mode of belief in growth as necessary to survival. “Grow or perish” is what Lotka’s principle requires, but only during periods when there are energy sources that are not yet tapped.”

              Note that he’s talking about periods when there is a bounty of untapped, available energy. Odum’s example is the competition among weeds in a barren landscape as they seek to exploit available resources. For us, this is the experience of the last 200 years as we’ve developed and exploited the bounty of fossil fuels. When these sources of energy are no longer cheap and abundant, the way to keep one’s resource flow niche (power) changes.

              But we have to continue reading. Note how Lotka’s principle is expressed after those resources become more expensive and less abundant. Odum writes:

              “During times when energy flows have been tapped and there are no new sources, Lotka’s principle requires that those systems win that do not attempt fruitless growth but instead use all available energies in long-staying, high-diversity, steady-state works.

              Whenever an ecosystem reaches its steady state after periods of succession, the rapid-net-growth specialists are replaced by a new team of higher-diversity, higher-quality, longer-living, better-controlled, and stable components. Collectively, through division of labor and specialization, the climax team gets more energy out of the steady flow of available source energy than those specialized in fast growth could.”

              This is equivalent to the development of a mature forest. Now, the best way to keep one’s resource flow niche (power) is by acting more cooperatively with the other elements in this highly developed system. Relational power is now much more effective and appropriate, rather than unilateral or linear power. Support and reciprocity is the name of the game that will keep you healthy. You realize you are dependent on the other elements of the system, and so supporting other elements is the name of the game. The more supportive relationships and interconnectivity you have, the more likely you survive and thrive.

              So…now that we are entering the downside of the fossil fuel energy pulse (see comments in this thread about the reality of peak oil), the healthier alternative is to celebrate and move into these relational, mutually supportive power structures. Unfortunately the existing power holders – the weeds in our system that have had so much past success with the competitive growth paradigm – are mostly not going to easily accept this transition. Hence, the requirement of chaos to break apart these old power structures and demonstrate that they are no longer able to bring about success. After that the new order and new economy may emerge.

              Some of my own speculation, based on Odum’s concept of Transformity (this may or may not make sense to some of you):
              Relational power is of a higher order, with a higher level of quality. But, following Odum again, higher quality has its own energy cost – the energy used to transform into these new structures. Higher quality usually means less overall quantity. In terms of energy, we’ll have to get used to doing more (a higher quality life perhaps) with less. In terms of power, those that still maintain some unilateral power can still do a lot of damage, and overpower those using the higher quality but lower quantity relational power. I.E. hoarding resources, war for oil, etc.

              Some of these ideas, expressed in another way, are in my post on “Principles for the Pulse that is Peak Oil.” Emphasizing the Pulse pattern rather than the Power pattern:
              http://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-05-01/principles-for-the-pulse-that-is-peak-oil/

        • Scott Preston says :

          Consciousness in itself is inherently power. Jill Bolte-Taylor didn’t call it “life force strength of the universe”, but explicitly “life-force power of the universe” in her TED talk. Likewise, one can’t understand much of Castaneda’s experience, or his teacher don Juan’s “Tales of Power” without understanding that consciousness is itself power. Moreover, gains in “personal power”, as don Juan also describes it, are inherently connected to what Gebser also calls “intensification” of consciousness.

          Therefore you don’t want to deprive oneself of the power that is naturally yours from mistaken moral beliefs connected with notions of self-effacement or such things (nor go to the opposite of extreme of self-aggrandisement which is likewise a confusion. And neither self-effacement nor self-aggrandisement is called, in Buddhism, “Middle Way” for that power doesn’t belong to the self anyway, and you can say that it is the Master’s gift to the Emissary, for use and not for abuse.

          At least, I like to put it that way — power is the Master’s gift to the Emissary for use, and not for abuse.

          • dadaharm says :

            Hi Scott,

            To say consciousness is power is a perfectly valid metaphor, just like knowledge is power. But I would not take them literally.

            Though I have not read don Juan, I can speculate about what he means.

            Knowing more about reality, experiencing more of reality, being aware of a larger part of reality all increase the number of efficient ways to act in the world. One has more possibilities to act in the world. That is an increase in capacity or power. So an increase in power is a natural consequence of what could be called intensification of consciousness.

            You could even use the word power in those cases and you probably need to (because I do not really know a better word, except maybe capacity). But it still would be a somewhat different concept of power than the usual one.

            Using the word power for several related, but different concepts causes complications and confusion. I just happen to prefer simplicity and clarity.

        • InfiniteWarrior says :

          Power is energy.

  9. 12CharBar says :

    Scott, I was talking about power in a different context. The power of a system or institution to control the behavior of other people. To possess power is to be able to control the behavior of other people. It is important that whoever is exercising power to be thought of as being right. It follows that when one suggests that whatever entity it may be, is wrong, that is dangerous and will ignored or suppressed.

    • Scott Preston says :

      It is important that whoever is exercising power to be thought of as being right

      Yes, that is the key point which distinguishes power from authority. The people who exercise such authority very likely have no power at all, but they have authority by virtue of belief in their authority. It’s like the Wizard of Oz, init? Or the Emperor’s New Cothes?

      “God is no respecter of persons”. But originally “person” (from persona or “mask”) meant an office-holder, or some authority figure or public role. A person was a public role. In other words, the “Emissary” in McGilchrist’s terms.

      If I can put it again, in a parable-like form, the Emissary is granted authority by the Master to act in the Master’s name. But real power — the power behind the throne, as it were — belongs to the Master. Only authority is granted to the Emissary. The “usurpation” by the Emissary is to confuse that authority with real power and that his power is its own property. It’s not.

      • InfiniteWarrior says :

        But originally “person” (from persona or “mask”) meant an office-holder, or some authority figure or public role.

        Perhaps you know of a more holistic term to use in reference to diverse yet interconnected, interdependent and inter-relational beings? This is important due to the fact that every word out of my mouth, for example, is obviously the wrong word to use in any given circumstance.

        It surely cannot be dismissed merely by entrenching the law around the definition of the word ‘person’. We need new thinking, new concepts and new words, and we are not less capable of providing these than people were in the 1850s.

        • Scott Preston says :

          Person is a completely acceptable word for this. Essentially, what the modern revolutions did was expand the honour of “personality” to non-persons. That was essentially the ideal of democracy — personhood, meaning, of course, that all were, in some sense, office-holders — even as mothers, fathers, elders, and such. A citizen was a person in the classical sense, which word comes from persona or “mask” (or “role”). A person is a role, and to play it well means to assume a certain responsibility for that role. In other words, to be a “person” is to be responsible.

          What has happened is that we have confused, over time, “self” and “human” and “person” — or rather, we have misconstrued the person as the authentic self or as the meaning of “human”. The person, though, is the social role and to play a social role or office is to speak a particular style of language. Speaking makes persons and therefore persons are social beings — per-sona meaning “to speak through” or “to sound through”. Language is in the business of making persons out of human raw material.

          • davidm58 says :

            Very insightful point about person, personhood, and per-sona, and the distinction between self and human. Michael Dowd talks about the importance of personification when dealing with issues like climate change, etc. This kind of language helps to establish I-Thou type relationships with non-human entities existing in the natural world, and why God language is important.
            Standing for the Future: http://thegreatstory.org/standing-for-the-future.html

            • InfiniteWarrior says :

              the importance of personification

              In our present confusions, personification is the equivalent of anthropomorphization in common and, especially, scientific understanding. In addition, the personification of God in monotheistic religions has itself become a rather problematic anthropomorphization in many quarters. Otherwise, Blake would never have felt the need to take up arms against “Nobodaddy;” atheists and religionists alike wouldn’t feel compelled to take up arms against an old man with a white beard sitting on a heavenly throne; the vast majority of us wouldn’t be tilting at windmills rather than coexisting; and we likely wouldn’t be in the messes we are today.

              Good link. Thanks.

  10. 12CharBar says :

    Scott, you wrote:

    Yes, that is the key point which distinguishes power from authority. The people who exercise such authority very likely have no power at all, but they have authority by virtue of belief in their authority.

    I understand that, but we may just be referring to the same ideas in different ways. As i said, I am better a talker than a writer. Gebser would suggest that each of us, accept the open quality of the world Infinite and Finite Games (Carse) is a good book.

  11. 12CharBar says :

    Emerson wrote that “the corruption of man is followed by the corruption of language.” (From his essay – Nature)

    Thanks for all those ideas and links about power.

  12. abdulmonem says :

    For the last five decades I have been thinking and reading about the story of creation and the human different interpretations of that story and the importance of language in the life of the humans and the division of the world into developed and developing or other classification and the mess we are in, and asking god what is the matter and wondering about how much of that story is predetermined and how much is left to the human determination and how much of that determination is already predetermined. We are living under a very complex and wisely designed divine system that does not give itself easily to the humans understanding and yet there is the human innate urges to understand and the so many who are trying to understand and the so many who are trying to abuse , like those who say that we do not need god to explain to us this elegant universe, the arrogant who have lost their balance. The futility of having a universe without god, a system of no checks and no balances that equates the criminal with innocent and all go in dust and that is the end. Such scenario does resonate with the tempo of my heart, seeing the clarity of the divine message and its simple construct that is built on the two basic principles of pairs and polarities, the first to maintain the continuation of all different species and the role of the human in this sphere is negligible, the second to enable the human to know how to built societies and civilizations, where his role here is considerable. In both realm of action and meaning, we have both processes of the polarities in full operation, those of do and do not, affirm and negate, oneness and multiplicity. Birth and death, badness and goodness and the humans have no choice but to fall in one of these categories. The choice of what we called freedom. On the question of energy and its emanations in powers, humans are divinely made to exercise that privilege on earth provided his honest faithful connection to the source of everything that lights the path of those who honestly want to serve him, once the connection is lost or perverted, the power will be turned into tyranny and coercion, power conferred on some by institutional human authority is no substitute to the divine gift of power ,the power that is associated with real knowledge and wisdom. The power of the prophets that have worked with words. When that type of governance is no longer available in this perverted world all kinds of theories and philosophies are presented in the way of solutions, such as the theorizing and submissions, we hear about dominance and partnership, about unilateral and relational power, about democracy and governance, about money and free market, about rationality and self-interest, about patterns and cycles, about transition and change, about deficient consciousness and integral efficient consciousness, and all these fragmented approachs away from the core principle of wholeness. What is going on in our world of corruption and pollution is not outside the predetermined scheme of the divine that have decreed according to the quran that the chosen people who have refrained from fulfilling the conditions of the divine command of honest word and honest deed, be turned into tools of corruption using, the misled Christian groups who have lost their independent identity and turn themselves into a tail, thus losing their independent witnessing role in this earth and have betrayed the message of Jesus who came to expose the money changers and condemn their practice and not turn themselves into money changers and accept the jewish supremacy in the field of managing the money activities. I was listening to somebody asking what right have the English over palestine to give it to the isrealite, forgetting no one owns anything, because everything belong to the creator the real owner of everything the one that never dies and every human dies and leaves all his belongings behind, the one who has decreed that the Israelite return to the land to fulfill the requirement of their destiny. Any vigilant watcher to the historical events that are taking shapes in the western development and expansion can dedicate the obvious role of the zionist jews in drawing the materialistic political trajectory of the western world. Only watching the dominance of the bankers who are almost all jews or under the control of the jews and the tragedy of debts, is enough to signify the truth of that predestined indication. We are all pieces on the earth board to be used by the creator with our knowledge or with our ignorance. It is of course better we know our role and how to play it within the confine of our lord. To fulfill the requirement of our human story in relation to the real divine energy, the source of all other energies and stop busing ourselves with the other derivative energies,( all linguistic concepts are energies) away from respecting the laws that are divinely put to run our affairs and the resources given to us, without forgetting our obligations toward the source, but again this is also part of the predetermined scheme. Moslem, Christian, Jews, buddahist, pagans and other labels are all living under this black cloud of perversion, whose time is coming to an end and the light will shine everywhere. It is call time to wake up. It is a time of reckoning where nothing will be masked by misleading labels. Nobody makes his masterhood or servanthood, his fatherhood or motherhood, his poverty or his riches and those who claim that they made their fortune and advice others not to extend a helping hands to the needy will face the fallacy of their claims, like those who have been crushed by the wheels of time and whose stories we all familiar with. We are living in a given world with problems to be addressed by humanity and not to be created by such humanity but what is decreed can not be changed, without the full understanding of the predestined divine scheme which is built on postponement, giving the humans ample time to amend, before the final divine halting time whose stories are delivered to humanity by all prophets messages which are no longer recognized in this upside-down world. The stories that are destined to be displayed on the stage of our world in order to be believed by those who have imprisoned themselves in the realm of the seen and the measured. Some part of these stories are already here to be recognized by those with attentive hearts. In chapter 99 of the neglected quran by its people and by the more educated others, called the earthquake, we read the earth talking in its own language heralding the inception of its non-stop earthquakes and the evacuation of its internal treasures, some extraordinary events that push the human to ask ,what is going on, the earth in reply says that it has been divinely inspired to deliver that message which contains the news, that this is the time of human movement toward receiving their books that have not missed an iota of good or bad, unregistered.
    The divine consciousness is the energy that runs through its concepts and names the cosmos including the humans. Those who know the value of meditation know how the divine energy of consciousness inflows in them and made them more healthy and more alert and patient through the expansion of their consciousness that is the result of that inflow. The meditation that tells you that there is something behind this world. It is important to meditate but what is more important is to know how to put the fruits of meditation in the service of humanity in line with the divine dictate. One only needs to ask why all these warning voices.

    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      I so look forward to your comments, abdulomen, as they emanate from a direction either difficult to track down on this side of the pond or sadly lacking altogether in many quarters.

      Only watching the dominance of the bankers who are almost all jews or under the control of the jews and the tragedy of debts, is enough to signify the truth of that predestined indication.

      Careful there. Here, in the US, Christian factions, to which you refer and which, it may be argued, have grown too close to the “power-mongerers” among us are just as culpable as their “religious” and “secular” counterparts, all of whom conform to the prevailing worldview. In the Christian camp as all others, it’s an idea that stems therefrom — the “prosperity gospel” — that is at fault, as I noted earlier. As you note further along, “Muslim, Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Pagan and other labels are all living under this black cloud of perversion” as are we all in the sense that this is the “Chrysalis” stage we are learning to traverse as skillfully and gracefully as possible given the circumstances. That the “weitiko virus” lies latent in all of us cannot be overstated.

      In chapter 99 of the neglected quran by its people and by the more educated others, called the earthquake, we read the earth talking in its own language heralding the inception of its non-stop earthquakes and the evacuation of its internal treasures, some extraordinary events that push the human to ask ,what is going on, the earth in reply says that it has been divinely inspired to deliver that message….

      Yes, indeed. I am myself of the mind that the Earth has its own language and she is speaking to us loud and clear with and without human assistance such as yours.

      As much as I’m tempted to join George Carlin and company in saying, “I don’t care anymore. The earth will be just fine with or without us,” I’ve good reason to think we may actually make it through this stage.

      It is call time to wake up.

      There you go. That wake up call is everywhere and gaining ground — fast. What comes of it is anyone’s guess, I suppose, but it’s that which keeps me going.

      • tony says :

        Yes, it is a big mistake to generalise about Jews, it is no different to confusing islam with fundamantalist islam. Here in Europe the great majority of bankers and austerity fundamentalists which dominate political and economic policies don’t have a drop of Jewish blood in them.
        Otherwise a very good post Abdulmonem

        • abdulmonem says :

          Good to hear from you again Tony. It is a long time since you last visited the blog, Yes i do not mean to generalize as there are bad moslems there are good ones and this apply across to all labels. Plese continue to be present with us.

  13. dadaharm says :

    Hi David,

    It occured to me that the Odum’s concept of a pulse is more or less the same as William Catton’s description of humanity as a detrivore.

    I cite Kurt Cobb:


    Perhaps the single keenest insight Catton had is that humans have become detritovores, organisms that live off the dead remains of other organisms. By this he meant the human dependence on fossil fuels which are the ancient dead remains of organisms transformed into oil, natural gas and coal.

    It is the fate of detritovore populations to expand and contract with their supply of detritus. He likened modern humans to algae feeding on the rich surplus of nutrients from dead organic matter swept into a pond by spring rains and often multiplying so as to cover the entire pond with a green carpet. By summer, with the rush of spring nutrients depleted–nutrients which are like the one-time infusion of fossil fuels into human society–the algae population crashes, leaving mostly open water and sometimes just an uneven ribbon along the edge of the pond. It is a boom-bust population cycle well-known to biologists.

    Anyhow the problem with all the beautiful theories of Odum is that even though they perfectly describe the mess we are in, they do miss the problem that I called the maffia principle in my previous comment. As long as the maffia principle holds in our political and social power relations, humanity will not even attempt to try and achieve a steady state economy. The current elites seem to have the same motto as the French ancient regime: Après nous le deluge.

    That in essence is my problem with Odum’s work. He perfectly describes the situation humanity is in and what humanity should do. But he does not describe how to overcome the maffia principle. The maffia principle happens to be precisely the reason why we do not do what should be done.

    Finally, it dawned on me that we already have a perfectly clear and simple word for what Bernard Loomer calls relational powe. It is the word dialogue. At least what he describes as relational power, I would consider to be the capacity to have a true dialogue. He does of course generalise it somewhat and puts it in the context of a live long relation, but that is in my opinion irrelevant.

    It is really unbelievable that Loomer in the article never even mentions the word dialogue!!! Even though once you have thought of the word, it becomes obvious that that is in essence what he is talking about. In simple terms, the essence of Loomer’s article is that true dialogue amongst equals is the real alternative for linear social power relations amongst unequals.

    He does of course have a point that the capacity for true dialogue is missing in our society. There are lots of discussions going on, but most people somehow manage to never change their mind.

    The fact that it took me several days to come up with a simple and clear word for Loomer’s concept of relational power just reinforces my anti-whiteheadian sentiments.

    This does not mean I am a complete fundamentalist in being anti-whitehead. I do now and then read Matthew Segall’s blog footnotes 2 plato. But that is about the level of Whiteheadian complexity that I can handle, without being baffled and confused for days.

    • davidm58 says :

      dadaharm,
      You have a legitimate critique of Odum in regards to what he emphasized, but the Catton example above is really the same as Odum’s Maximum Power Principle. My take is that he was trying to remain positive in his publications, anticipating (or being told by the publisher) what people were willing to hear: that if we would all act in a collectively rational way, we could greatly mitigate the looming crisis, and undertake “a prosperous way down.”. His private views were likely a little more pessimistic. Interestingly the final words of his final book (Environment, Power & Society in the 21st Century), were these:
      “The people of Easter Island disappeared, leaving only their monuments (see Catton 1982) as an example to the world of what happens when culture cannot downsize to fit its environmental production.”

      Those words could have come from the editors who completed the book after he passed away (his student Mark Brown and wife Elizabeth Odum). But there is a recorded interview where he expressed some doubt about a culture’s ability to avert catastrophe before the feedbacks become overwhelming. Regarding your mafia principle, I think there are a few places where Odum addresses something like this. For example, in the same book cited above, he has a section on “Cancer at Many Levels”:

      “Whereas the overgrowing acceleration of early succession has its place, there is always a possibility for runaway competitive exclusion of one part of a network using another part as excess resource. Pathological overgrowth [the mafia principle?] is a fearsome, ever-present danger against which all surviving systems must be protected by organizing influences.

      “When a well-organized system is disrupted and its controls are destroyed, the parts may go into Malthusian competitive exclusion and in the process destroy the remnants of the system. When this happens with cells in humans, we call it cancer. In biological systems there are many kinds of cancer….cancerous capitalism is explained in chapter 9.”

      Permaculture co-originator David Holmgren, deeply inspired by Odum, has, I believe, found the best way to apply Odum’s principles with Permaculture. He has taken the view that the way to overcome what you call the mafia principle is to withdraw our participation as much as possible. By becoming more self-sufficient, we put less money and energy into the hands of the elites. Because that system is now on the brink (it cannot be sustained indefinitely because it does not have resources to do so, and is living on borrowed time, and borrowed money, and borrowed energy), if even a small percentage of us were able to reduce our participation by x percentage, the system would crash. Holmgren calls this “Crash on Demand,” and wrote an essay on this.
      http://www.holmgren.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Crash-on-demand.pdf
      http://holmgren.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/cons-COD.pdf
      https://integralpermaculture.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/david-holmgren-i-havent-really-changed-the-message/

      • dadaharm says :

        Hi David,

        I guess Odum’s self-censorship probably helped to spread his message, though in a slightly airbrushed form. Self-censorship is sometimes a way to keep a dialogue going.

        But, somehow I doubt that self-censorship should be considered part of the concept of social power. Though tact might well be an integral part of social power.

        Thanks for the links.

  14. dadaharm says :

    Hi David,

    The theories of Odum describe perfectly describe the mess we are in. They do miss the problem that I called the maffia principle in my previous comment. As long as the maffia principle holds in our political and social power relations, humanity will not even attempt to try and achieve a steady state economy. The current elites seem to have the same motto as the French ancient regime: Après nous le deluge.

    That in essence is my problem with Odum’s work. He perfectly describes the situation humanity is in and what humanity should do. But he does not describe how to overcome the maffia principle. The maffia principle happens to be precisely the reason why we do not do what should be done.

    Finally, it dawned on me that we already have a perfectly clear and simple word for what Bernard Loomer calls relational powe. It is the word dialogue. At least what he describes as relational power, I would consider to be the capacity to have a true dialogue. He does of course generalise it somewhat and puts it in the context of a live long relation, but that is in my opinion irrelevant.

    It is really unbelievable that Loomer in the article never even mentions the word dialogue!!! Even though once you have thought of the word, it becomes obvious that that is in essence what he is talking about. In simple terms, the essence of Loomer’s article is that true dialogue amongst equals is the real alternative for linear social power relations amongst unequals.

    He does of course have a point that the capacity for true dialogue is missing in our society. There are lots of discussions going on, but most people somehow manage to never change their mind.

    The fact that it took me several days to come up with a simple and clear word for Loomer’s concept of relational power just reinforces my anti-whiteheadian sentiments.

    This does not mean I am a complete fundamentalist in being anti-whitehead. I do now and then read Matthew Segall’s blog footnotes 2 plato. But that is about the level of Whiteheadian complexity that I can handle, without being baffled and confused for days.

    • davidm58 says :

      dadaharm,
      Yes, dialogue is a good word, and very practical. We need a lot of practice at it, and some tools (such as Non-Violent Communication, PatternDynamics, etc.). I still think Loomer’s ‘relational power’ has some very useful, and perhaps paradigm shifting elements worth thinking through, for those inclined to investigate on that level.

      Granted, Whitehead is notoriously, frustratingly difficult to read, and that sometimes rubs off on his interpreters. The easiest read of Whitehead that I’ve found so far are his lectures on Nature Lifeless and Nature Alive (from Whitehead’s last major book, “Modes of Thought”).

      I found these two lecture-essays to be fairly easy to read and digest, and serving as a nice introduction/overview of his thought. To me it seemed to re-enforce the idea that part of Whitehead’s project was expanding and supplementing William James’ radical empiricism. At least I was reading it in that light. I think of myself more as a radical empiricist, than a Whiteheadian.

      Radical Empiricism:
      “that experience includes both particulars and relations between those particulars, and that therefore both deserve a place in our explanations.”

      I really like Henry Nelson Wieman, Bernard Meland, and Bernard Loomer from that tradition. Wieman is especially nice to read – clear, and strongly oriented to ideas we can put into practice (The Source of Human Good and Man’s Ultimate Commitment). Wieman began as a noted Whitehead interpreter, then moved away from some of Whitehead’s thoughts, as did Meland, and eventually Loomer.

      Fortunately Whitehead’s two lectures mentioned above are freely available online.
      https://brocku.ca/MeadProject/Whitehead/Whitehead_1938/1938_07.html

      https://brocku.ca/MeadProject/Whitehead/Whitehead_1938/1938_08.html

      • Scott Preston says :

        I read The Adventure of Ideas as an undergrad. Can’t say I recall much of it now, but it was quite accessible, as I recall.

        • davidm58 says :

          I’ve also been told that Adventures of Ideas is a good, accessible Whitehead book to start with. I have it on my shelf and have read the first chapter, but not yet the rest of the book.

    • davidm58 says :

      Hi dadaharm,

      I forgot yesterday to include in my reply a response to your comments about what you call “the mafia principle.” I think this principle is valid, and the way I would express it is, as I did in a comment above:

      “Some of my own speculation, based on Odum’s concept of Transformity (this may or may not make sense to some of you):
      Relational power is of a higher order, with a higher level of quality. But, following Odum again, higher quality has its own energy cost – the energy used to transform into these new structures. Higher quality usually means less overall quantity. In terms of energy, we’ll have to get used to doing more (a higher quality life perhaps) with less. In terms of power, those that still maintain some unilateral power can still do a lot of damage, and overpower those using the higher quality but lower quantity relational power. I.E. hoarding resources, war for oil, etc.”

      Along the same lines, when Peter Pogany talked about Global Systems 1, 2, and 3 in “Rethinking the World,” he was talking about human organized economic, political, and power structures that have finally formed into something akin to the self-organizing systems of nature, where the system as a whole is trying to protect it’s niche, and will apply power against forces working to change it. This is not an instance of the super elite pulling the levers of power in a consciously controlling way (though that happens too), but even more a case where the system as a whole acts to protect itself.

      • dadaharm says :

        Hi David,

        I agree that the concept of transformity can be used to reconcile the maffia principle with the concept of social power.

        In the political realm currently the capacity for dialogue seems to be vanishing rapidly. So a (re-)appearance of some true social power is very much needed.

        Thanks for the Whitehead links.

        • davidm58 says :

          Yes, and in addition to dialogue, we could explore some other Patterns and work to bring them into a healthier balance, such as the Competition/Cooperation polarity, and the structural patterns of hierarchy vs. network or holarchy.

          • abdulmonem says :

            We all eat our dead, it is only a question of time. The wise process of a knowing god to save us from the harmful effects of the detritus that if it is left, un-transformed will kill everything. God is a system of names or if you want of concepts that runs everything even the humans who are using that system,mostly unaware in conducting their life. The message is not to overeat,overbuy or overdo anything like the over power we are talking about. It is the peaks of everything which Dave keeps referring to. When we lose our balance and become a devouring inorganic apparatus with a gluttonous appetite, like the orientation of our present linear, one-dimensional civilization that have erected a new temple for worship of a perverted god called money and what money buy. The malls that receive more visitors every day than any respected temple on earth. God is not like the humans that create unconsumed remanent that pollute the earth. What is the energy we are seeking its impact to help us in the process of our transformation as our major errand in this earth ,transformation to higher purpose, transformation to be more knowing more aware of running our life, if it is not, the only divine force that rules everything and informs everything. The cycle of information that are programmed to operate everything in the proper fashion suitable to its errand. We are living in a time where everybody and every nations are running fast to meet their destiny, that is running fast to meet Him as it is stipulated in all scriptures. It is the one who knows what he is doing for Him,in order for the meeting to be a happy meeting.

    • Scott Preston says :

      For some reason, this comment from dadaharm, submitted on the 12th, ended up in the spam folder. I only noticed that today, so I liberated it.

      • dadaharm says :

        Thanks. Somehow the comment was eaten by the blogging software. I tried it a couple of times. I think somehow the hyperlink in the first part caused problems.

        After removing the first bit of the comment, I succeeded in posting the comment.

  15. Scott Preston says :

    (Back home for a couple of days, but then back on the road again for a few more. I’ll try to catch up on the comments this morning).

    But first, I imagine many of you have read the “dirty dossier” on Trump? A while back I suggested in a comment that the big beneficiary in all this present turbulence looked to be Vladimir Putin. The dirty dossier seems to back that up, and from what I know of “black ops” it sounds quite plausible even if, presently, unverified. It also sounds like Wikileaks has been compromised.

    Whoo boy. I don’t know where it goes from here.

    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      Greenwald’s position strikes me as among the more respresentative of journalistic integrity.

      Demanding that evidence-free, anonymous assertions be instantly venerated as Truth…is an assault on journalism, democracy, and basic human rationality….

      All of the claims about Russia’s interference in U.S. elections and ties to Trump should be fully investigated by a credible body, and the evidence publicly disclosed to the fullest extent possible. As my colleague Sam Biddle argued last week…the utter lack of evidence for these allegations means “we need an independent, resolute inquiry.” But until then, assertions that are unaccompanied by evidence and disseminated anonymously should be treated with the utmost skepticism….

      In the meantime:

      The serious dangers posed by a Trump presidency are numerous and manifest. There is a wide array of legitimate and effective
      tactics for combating those threats….

  16. abdulmonem says :

    Ten years ago I translated Whitehead modes of thought into arabic, of course it is not an easy read but a very important read for those who know what Whitehead after. Whitehead is a romantic philosopher who left mathematic to philosophy to pursue the vitality of the organic lively cosmos away from those who killed that vitality and left the cosmos dead without purpose ,aim, necessity beauty and enjoyment. Whitehead is after what is important in life ,that is why the first lecture in the modes, is about the concept of importance. Whitehead is basically is a man after understanding god in an empirical fashion, the creator behind this elegant nature that is why we saw some of those who started with him left him to pursue nature away from god. This is one reason I was attracted to him and did that translation, knowing very well the interconnectivity of every activity in the universe and there is nothing but purposeful activities in our universe, the unity of existence in the epistemological sense as put by Ibn Arabi. As I am in god he is in me, the only phenomenon that possesses such inverse qualities, the transcendent and the immanent, the first and the last the apparent through his creation and the hidden in his essence, It is a process in harmonizing the contrast. There is a system of contacting the divine knowledge realm through meditation using some alphabetic formations as its is well known amog so many mystical traditions, like the mantras among the hindues and buddhes or the sufis. It is an experiential tasting exercise and not a mental operation. It is the rhythmic pulsations Whitehead talked about, as a personal tool to align the unified soul and body with the rhythmic pulsation of the universe that never ceases . Once it ceases it collapses. It is harmonization of the similar. It is departure from the dead mechanical cosmos of the one dimensional mind.

    • davidm58 says :

      Well said, abdulmonem. It makes me want to dive right back into Modes of Thought and read it again (if only I had time). When you speak of “the rhythmic pulsations Whitehead talked about, as a personal tool to align the unified soul and body with the pulsation of the universe,” are you speaking of a specific practice that Whitehead recommended?

      Skimming through the first lecture on Nature Llifeless, I do see I underlined some statements related to the above, and related to my interest in PatternDynamics, such as:

      “Nature, in these chapters, means the world as interpreted by reliance on clear and distinct sensory experiences, visual, auditory, and tactile…A bit of matter is thus conceived as a passive fact, an individual reality which is the same at an instant, or throughout a second, an hour, or a year. Such a material, individual reality supports its various qualifications such as shape, locomotion, colour, or smell, etc. The occurrences of nature consist in the changes in these qualifications, and more particularly in the changes of motion…

      “…The modern point of view is expressed in terms of energy, activity, and the vibratory differentiations of space-time. Any local agitation shakes the whole universe. The distant effects are minute, but they are there.

      “…Nature is divisible and thus extensive. But any division, including some activities and excluding others, also severs the patterns of process which extend beyond all boundaries…Nature is a theatre for the inter-relations of activities.

      “…Apart from attention to this concept of pattern, our understanding of Nature is crude in the extreme…beyond all questions of quantity, there ie questions of pattern, which are essential for the understanding of nature…Thus, the laws of nature are merely all-pervading patterns of behavior, of which the shift and discontinuance lie beyond our ken.

      “For the modern view process, activity, and change are the matter of fact. At an instant there is nothing. Each instant is only a way of grouping matters of fact. Thus since there are no instants, conceived as simple primary entities, there is no nature at an instant. Thus all the inter-relations of matters of fact must involve transition in their essence. All realization involves implication in the creative advance.”

  17. abdulmonem says :

    Hi Dave,
    I first like to start with some questions, who gave us the 56 concepts of the pattern dynamics and more others to help us navigate in this complex world. Who gave us all these different beautiful languages as signs to those with the kernel of awaked soul that knows how to use the available reason. How do we understand these concepts and move to manipulate them, adding some here and subtracting others there. Who puts consciousness in me to understand his consciousness and the consciousness of what is around. Why are some interested in pursuing exploration and discoveries and other are oblivious. Why are all these entangled activities. Why are all these diversity that embroidering the above and the below with beauty. Why there is life. Why there is knowledge and why there is will and why there is faithful and unfaithful and those who want to cover truth or perverted it and those who want to disclose truth and highlighted it and why human attention and intention are important.The mission of Whitehead is to move slowly and do not jump to conclusion because there is no conclusion in our searching journey but continual process of never ceasing disclosure of the endless divine knowledge. Why the human is charged with responsibility of his action and words and called upon him to be critically aware of the prejudices of his culture and not to be enslaved by the ideas of family or society. Any knowledge can not be of value unless it is purified by the water of wisdom. Meditation is Whitehead and all other sages, road to him provided our purity of heart and never ending desire to know and be good. The journey of knowledge never ends but human life ends that is why the process of wise selectivity and prioriy are savers from plundering in this short life. It is nice to spent times with Whiteheed soul that he left through his words. It is a univers of words that precede all actions.It is a short journey that needs intensive work and truthful heart.

    • Scott Preston says :

      56 patterns in Pattern Dynamics. That took me a little by surprise. It can be called the alphabet of energy in that sense. But the peculiar thing is that 56 is also the number of Tarot Cards (the Minor Arcana). Odd coincidence.

      • davidm58 says :

        That is an odd coincidence. There have also been parallels noticed between PatternDynamics, the I-Ching, and the general concept behind dharmas. BTW, there are 56 named Patterns, but the true number is countless. When you start using the Patterns as a language, they are intended to be mixed and matched and interconnected, with each situation being somewhat unique in its emphasis and application. This is when it gets really interesting.

        • Scott Preston says :

          What the pictogrammes bring to mind, when I had a look at them, is hieroglyphs. And that brought to mind Jeremy Naydler’s The Future of the Ancient World. I’m pretty sure you can correlate some of these patterns with the ancient gods, too. Nemesis and enantiodromia, for example. Might be an interesting exercise to attempt a correlation.

          • davidm58 says :

            Oh, and then there are the correlations which I discovered with the 7 Chakras. In the PD matrix diagram, there are 7 second order patterns for each 1st order pattern. I do a meditation where I combine the patterns in the top horizontal row moving from right to left (from Resonance to Void), with the 7 patterns moving vertically on the left hand side of the chart, from bottom to top (Energy to Void). Not sure if this image will come through:

          • davidm58 says :

            The image didn’t come through on the previous reply. For what it’s worth, here is my chakra meditation with PD Patterns:

            7 Chakras, working up beginning with the “Energy” Pattern, and working across from right to left beginning with “Resonance.”

            The vertical line moves through the 7 Major second order Patterns of Source; correlated with each of these Patterns are the 7 Minor second order Patterns of Source that move horizontally in the image above. The Major Patterns are about movement and transformation of Energy for the development of any organism. The Minor Patterns I am framing around Relationality. “If the world is, at least in part, foundationally semiotic – that is about signal and interpretation, and therefore meaning making, it is profoundly relational. And therefore relationality…comes into the set of philosophical commitments as perhaps a central one.” – Tim Winton, 12/11/13

            PatternDynamics Chakra Meditation

            A) The Ascending Path

            Sit or stand in your favorite meditative posture, preferably with an erect spine. Become aware of your breath. Breathe deep into your belly and as you continue to breathe in, imagine your in-breath traveling up your spine to the crown of your head, and then down the front of your body on the out-breath. Continue this process, and begin to feel the movement of Energy flowing with the movement of your breathing process. Continue this basic breathing process through the rest of the meditation, alternating this focus with the directions below.

            Chakra 1: Muludhara (Root Support)
            Energy Pattern and Resonance Pattern
            Bring your focus to the base of your spine and feel your connection from there to the Earth. Become aware of the rising of Energy from the Earth; feel the Resonance of this Energy with yourself and with the Earth. Realize that for Resonance to occur, there has to be relationship of some kind at work. Resonance awakens Energy, which Tim Winton has defined as “any vibratory force that makes change happen.”

            Chakra 2: Svadhisthana (Sweetness)
            Resource Pattern and Masculine/Feminine Polarity Pattern
            Bring your focus to the area of your hips, pelvis, and sexual center. Become aware of the Energy moving there. Any area or organism that has Energy moving through it can become an Energy Resource available for work. Polarities are Resources of stored Energy that can be liberated when they come into balance. The Masculine/Feminine Polarity indicates a further delineation of relationality, even within your own body and your sexual organs which contain both testosterone and estrogen.

            “Masculine / Feminine – The always already polarity-in-union of cellular, gross-bodily, subtle, and causal energies. This pattern is the play-Ground and the developmental-Goal of tantric relationship (to play on Wilber’s notion of non-duality and also on feminine Play and masculine Direction).” – Michael Schwartz, 11/12/13

            Chakra 3: Manipura (Lustrous Gem)
            Transformity Pattern and Field Pattern

            Bring your focus to your belly. Become aware of the Energy moving there. Just as the gut works to transform food into usable energy for your body, become aware of Transformity occurring where the available Energy is Transformed into a higher quality of Energy becoming available to meet your variety of needs. Just as the gut is occupied with thousands of micro-organisms that do the actual work of transforming food energy, so do you exist in a Field of relationships that work to Transform and upgrade the subtle energies available to you.

            Chakra 4: Anahata (Unstruck)
            Power Pattern and Flow Pattern

            Bring your focus to your heart. Become aware of the Energy moving there. Feel the Energy that has been transformed and available as the Power of Love that is available as it Flows through you and in flowing relationship with other beings, just as blood flows through your heart and is allocated to the areas that need it via the gating mechanism of the heart.

            Chakra 5: Vissudha (Purification)
            Autopoiesis Pattern and Elegance Pattern

            Bring your focus to your throat. Become aware of the creative Energy moving there. Feel the energy available for self-maintenance and the creative flowering of your true self – the aliveness you have for bringing your unique offering to the world, as you express yourself with Elegance to the world through the Power of Love.

            Chakra 6: Ajna (To Perceive and Command)
            “Pattern” Pattern and Harmony Pattern

            Bring your focus to your brow, your “3rd Eye.” Become aware of the Energy bringing it all together into the efficiency of creating the basic Patterns of your life that are in Harmony with all of creation, as you live your life in full alignment with your needs and values and the needs and values of all beings.

            Chakra 7: Sahasrara (Thousandfold)
            Void Pattern

            Bring your focus to the crown of your head. Become aware of the Energy melting into the unity with all, letting go of all attachment to form and individuality as you connect with Ground Source, where exists emptiness and form – not two. There is just signaling and interpretation in a Field of pure potential.

            B) The Descending Path

            Work your way back down through each Chakra, back towards Energy and Resonance, connecting to how each Pattern empowers you to do your work in the world, which is much needed now.

            And now we journey back down through each chakra once again, in the current of manifestation, knowing that we have awakened the thousand petaled lotus of Cosmic Consciousness. We have seen the inner world, we have opened our throats in song, we have joined together in love, burned through inertia into fire, danced in the water of duality/polarity, and found our way to homeland earth. From the one to the many, and the many to the one, we are the rainbow bridge to the world. – Adapted from Anodea Judith, The Illuminated Chakras

            Experiencing the power of love coming in from the surrounding fields of energy as we grow in awareness and engage emergence to manage complexity.

            • Scott Preston says :

              That sounds like a good meditation practice.

              The “thousand-petaled lotus” of “cosmic consciousness” (or the Jewel in the Lotus) is an appropriate symbol. It’s also Indra’s Net, and also Bolte-Taylor’s “life-force power of the universe”. It would be called “god-realised” or “god consciousness”. Basically, each of the petals of the thousand-petaled lotus is a probable self living in its own time thread as an “offshoot”, as it were, of the core identity or “Jewel”. These probable selves can be anything, or take any form — tree, water, fish, rock, mountain, animal or human or a storm, for that matter.This is what I took away, too, from my “dream of the fish” posted earlier.

              This is also the Hindu priniciple that states “thou art that” and is in accord with the Hermetic principle that “to know a thing you must become the thing you want to know” (somewhat connected with the Muslim’s saying of God that “I was a hidden treasure and desired to be known”). This is the reason for this multiplicity, multiformity, and multidimensionality of the core identity, and it is vaguely recalled in the legends of the shape-shifter or polymorph in magic and mythology. It is what the Zen koan refers to as our “face before we were born” or as the unoriginated origin, or what Gebser otherwise refers to as the diaphainon or “vital centre” and it is indeed, in my experience, infinite in potentiality all of which is manifested as the “petals” of its nature infinitely. It is father and mother of worlds, for each of the petals of the lotus is both a probable self and a probable world. This is the meaning of Blake’s Proverb of Hell that

              “The roaring of lions, the howling of wolves, the raging of the stormy sea, and the destructive sword, are portions of eternity too great for the eye of man.”

              Yes, but not too great for the eye of the “overman”, we might say. It wouldn’t be really “cosmic consciousness” if these things were, after all, too great for the eye of man. What Blake means by “eye of man” is the human ego-nature that has “closed himself up till he sees all things through the narrow chinks of his cavern”, which is the condition we call “kali yuga”.

            • davidm58 says :

              Scott, beautiful. And in support of what Blake said about “too great for the eye of man,” and your comment “yes, but not too great for the eye of the overman,” here is what Teilhard de Chardin had to say:

              “…whole groups of monads, linked together by transient forces making up a system …are organized and pursue their course under the influence of certain axial energies… From the purely scientific point of view, this deployment of interwoven forces mounts up into a formidable and alarming mass: superficially, it can be mastered and made use of, but, as a whole, it is too much for human industry or human thought…it is for the mystic to carry out the task of taking possession of the world at that point at which it escapes from other men, and to effect the synthesis…” – The Mystical Milieu, p. 129

            • Steve Lavendusky says :

              http://www.lulu.com/shop/jeronimo-canty/the-book-of-n/ebook/product-18594956.html

              DavidM58 – I think you would like this book very much.

            • davidm58 says :

              Steve, cool. George Oshawa again! Did you see my blog post on Yin and Yang that was inspired by the links you previously provided?
              https://integralpermaculture.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/word-of-the-year-post-truth-and-finding-balance-with-yin-and-yang/

            • mikemackd says :

              Steve, If you like that sort of thing, try going to my Star Key page at http://www.geocities.ws/mikemackd/, and trace the Fibonacci series down from the 0 at the start of the numbering (the base of the downward-pointing triangle) – 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, [1,3], [2,1], [3,4], [5,5], and [8,9].

              You will see that the last number, 9, takes you to the Heart chakra.

              The reciprocal of that last Fibonacci number, 89, is the addition of the Fibonacci series expressed as a decimal. See

              https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/k12.ed.math/mG96xGowgK4

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w42uogbXbW0, etc.

              Best,

              Mike

            • mikemackd says :

              BTW again, the physical reason that the Fibonacci series appears so frequently in nature is that it is nature’s most efficient ratio for unpacking growth. “New cell, then turn,
              then another cell, then turn, …”

              https://www.mathsisfun.com/numbers/nature-golden-ratio-fibonacci.html

              You can see it for yourself there.

              Also see what happens if you use pi/10.

  18. abdulmonem says :

    I like to add that nature is the embodied words of god that requires our close careful attention due to its flowing habits that can not be captured by an instant or by a particle or by the moving consciousness of the human which is changing every nano-second together with his unseen interior. Self-perpetuity is a false flag. Everything perishes but His face.

  19. Charles says :

    A lot of good ideas and wisdom. W. Macneile Dixon wrote a book The Human Situation – (Gifford Lectures, 1937) a couple quotes related

    For the universe is no unorganized conglomeration of senseless things. It has a structure which calls for explanation. We are certainly not to suppose the whole of Being as once and for all, and in its present actualization complete. Its resources are vast, and there will always remain more to be revealed. We must think of Being as manifesting in space and time all that it can be, displaying there its inexhaustible wealth, unfolding itself in the succeeding phases of a world without end. And that process is throughout periodic or rhythmical, exhibited to us in the lesser rhythms, echoes of the unseen and greater-in the seasonal; pulsations of nature, the alternation of her phases of activity and repose.

    The astonishing thing about the human being is not so much his intellect and bodily structure, profoundly mysterious as they are. The astonishing and least comprehensible thing about him is his range of vision, his gaze into the infinite distance; his lonely passion for ideas and ideals, far removed from his material surroundings and animal activities, and in no way suggested by them, yet for which, such is his affection, he is willing to endure toils and privations, to sacrifice pleasures, to disdain griefs and frustrations, for which, rating them in value above his own life, he will stand till he dies, the profound conviction he entertains that if nothing be worth dying for nothing is worth living for. The inner truth is that every man is himself a creator, by birth and nature, an artist, an architect and fashioner of worlds. If this be madness—and if the universe be the machine some think it, a very ecstasy of madness it most manifestly is—none the less it is the lunacy in which consists the romance of life, in which lies our chief glory and our only hope

  20. Steve Lavendusky says :

    Thanks David. Good blog post. The yin-yang dialectic is a different kind of logic, endlessly interesting.

    • Steve Lavendusky says :

      • mikemackd says :

        I just bought it, Steve.

        • mikemackd says :

          Looking into the “n” book reminded me of the works of Richard Merrick, a chap I corresponded with about the Star Key about four years ago. It caused me to unearth a 1,300-word response of his to both the Star Key and a paper I have since deleted from the internet concerning it (pending an update that I have yet to write).

          Anyway, in that he said he liked my theory and that “I think there is a great deal of overlap and confirmation between our work, even as our approaches are different”.

          So, I’ve just bought another of his books, called The Venus Blueprint, after his reply pointed me to his facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TheVenusBlueprint

          I have years of interesting stuff to catch up on from that Facebook page, so thanks for that prompt. You may find both of those of interest as well.

  21. Charles says :

    David wrote:

    “The people of Easter Island disappeared, leaving only their monuments (see Catton 1982) as an example to the world of what happens when culture cannot downsize to fit its environmental production.”

    Bateson wrote “god will not be mocked”

    • mikemackd says :

      Speaking of Bateson; the third book I bought today was his grand-daughter Nora’s “Small Arcs of Larger Circles”. She is pressing for the wide use of a word she has coined: “symmathesy”.

      • InfiniteWarrior says :

        Nora Bateson has her own blog. Her paper on this subject can be found here.

        Proposition:

        I would like to propose a new word for “System” that refers specifically to living systems – that is, to systems which emerge from the communications and interactions of living vitae (another new term, one which will be defined later). The new word, and concept, for “system” that I propose is one which highlights the expression and communication of interdependency and, particularly, mutual learning. The existing word, “system”, while useful for discussion of many kinds of systems, does not communicate contextual fields of simultaneous learning as is necessary for life. The inclusion of mutual learning in the terminology is specifically meant to preclude the models of engineering and mechanism that are implicit in much systems theorizing today. We have learned that when dealing with living systems, the many variables of developing interaction become untenable to consider in such mechanistic parameters. This change in concept should spark a significant shift in our work, in the sciences, applied professions, communication, arts, that addresses or depends upon our understanding of life and evolution. The discourse with which we discuss and study the living world should be representative of the living world, and should cautiously avoid connotations that imply or are derived from engineering.

        The notion of systems as being an arrangement of parts and wholes has become a distraction from the new systemic vision, which we are trying to encourage, that sees life as relational mutual learning contexts. As studies ranging from cognitive science to epigenetics, social science, ecology and evolutionary theory, are increasingly showing, evolution emerges in interrelationality, not in arrangement. Therefore the need is acute to create a differentiation between living systems and other systems.

      • Scott Preston says :

        I believe that Gebser already proposed a term for this? Systeresis or systaresis? Don’t have EPO with me to check on that, since I’m presently on the road still, but if someone can look that up in the index to EPO and give Gebser’s definition it might be helpful.

        • davidm58 says :

          Systasis and synairesis. Gebser’s EPO, page 310, on the New Mutation:

          “…it is not an ordering schema paralleling that of system. We must especially avoid the error of considering systasis – which is both process and effect – as that which is effected, for if we do we reduce it to a causal system. We must be aware that systasis has an effective character within every system. Systasis is not a mental concept, nor is it a mythical image (say) in the sense of Heraclitus’ panta rhei (‘all things are in flux’), nor is it a magic postulation of the interconnection of everything to and with everything else. And finally, it is not integral, but integrating.

          “Because systems are static abstractions of only passing or momentary validity, every system is lifted out of its isolation and concretized when we become aware that the principle of transformation renders illusory all so-called ‘ideal quantities’ and destroys all fixities. By recognizing the effectuality of what we have defined as acategorical systasis within every system, we are able to relplace mere mental synthesis by integral synairesis.

          “Synairesis fulfills the aperspectival, integrative perception of systasis and system. This synairetic perception is a precondition for diaphany, which is able to be realized when, in addition to systasis and system, the symbol – with its mythical effectivity – and magic symbiosis are included, that is to say, present.

          “The task which the new mutation poses for us can be resolved only if we supersede the purely mental, spatial world of systematic thought. We achieve this by recognizing the validity of systasis in moving the efficacy of the non-categorical elements into the sphere of perceptibility. Systasis is the means whereby we are able to open up our consolidated spatial consciousness of the whole. This integrating consciousness enables us to perceive and presentiate the integrity or integrality of the whole.”

          • Scott Preston says :

            There is, probably, a connection between Bateson’s symmathesy and Gebser’s synairesis, particularly through the theme of learning. The three modalities, as it were, of synairesis — systasis, symbol, and symbiosis seems an important point, representing the mental, the mythical, and the magical respectively (and we could probably substitute “empathetic” for the symbiotic without too much, if any, loss of meaning). And the thing that interests me at the moment is whether there is a similarity between Rosenstock-Huessy’s “metanomics” (or ecodynamics) and Gebser’s use of the term “synairesis”, and correspondingly with Bateson’s “symmathesy”. If so, this would, I think, be clear evidence of the emergence of the aperspectival-arational in different areas of interest.

      • Scott Preston says :

        The generation of a new language is always a sign of a shift in consciousness in some fashion — the perception of new relationships hitherto unseen or opaque that demand a name, or a resurrected name. Gebser and Rosenstock-Hiuessy both rely on major changes in language patterns (grammatiology, as it were) as markers into major shifts in consciousness structure or modalities of perception (which are pretty much equivalent in meaning). As Rosenstock-Huessy put it in his study of revolutions called Out of Revolution, revolutions are mainly linguistic events, and a new language is born in the process of revolution itself. You also see this in Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

        That’s probably how you can tell whether a revolution is authentic or not — does it generate a new language that reveals rather than conceals or veils, and reveals relationships between things and events that were hitherto hidden, invisible or opaque and which want a name. Naming is magic and power, and has been known as such ever. Everything wants its name day, which is what Blake means when he writes that “where man is not, nature is barren”.

        • davidm58 says :

          Yes, if we don’t have a word for something, we don’t see it, and it stays out of our awareness. In our PatternDynamics presentations we say that PD is based on 3 simple ideas:

          1) Sustainable Natural Patterns – complex natural systems have sustained themselves with the consistent general patterns of organization (as Bateson taught so well), which can serve as design templates for us.

          2) The Power of Language. The system of symbols that we use to communicate has a powerful role in shaping what we actually see. We currently do not have effective languages for seeing whole systems.

          3) Combining the first two ideas into a Sustainability Pattern Language. Combining the patterns of nature with the power of language, and so to create a language that is more optimized for helping us see how parts are connected and organized as wholes. This helps us develop a systems thinking capacity needed to meet the complex challenges of creating a sustainable planetary system.

          The language above is systems thinking oriented, but in practical application, PD needs to, and can go the next step into systasis thinking and synairetic perception. This is not yet well articulated, but the experience of it is built into the PatternDynamics one day workshop with an embodied movement practice.

          The key to complexity begins with systems thinking, and develops into systasis thinking (thinking probably not the best word).
          The key to systems and systasis thinking is patterns.
          The key to using patterns is forming them into a language.
          Updated language can assist the new mutation into Synairesis.

  22. mikemackd says :

    Scott, there is an apropos quote online attributed to W.H. Auden, but as far as I can see unsourced: “Language is the mother, not the handmaiden, of thought; words will tell you things you never thought or felt before”.

    I love this one from Apollinaire, about poets:

    We would show you kingdoms vast and strange
    Where the wisdom in flowers reveals itself to those who pick it
    There are new worlds, of colours rarely seen,
    Which, we must say, are real.
    Calligrammes, 1918

  23. abdulmonem says :

    It is an epiphany of concepts and names that are moving fast through the human consciousness heralding the time and space of one integrating system. When Gebser introduced his integrating new terms he meant to make it possible for those who follow, to move in an integrating mode to incorporate all phenomena, freeing themselves from the jail of the finite, into the diaphany of a-waring truth unframed by time and space. It is an integrating system of joining the human consciousness with its source the divine consciousness where the kingdom as quoted by Mikemackd,vast and strange will be shown and the wisdom of flowers be revealed and the transparent words of the divine become really real. Realizing the oneness of everything that swim in hie Oneness and the humans are the tools of the oneness in understanding the oneness and what emanating from the oneness. As Scott said the generation of a new language signifies a new shift of consciousness or the dawn of a new consciousness demands a new language. Thank you all.

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