Thursday, August 18, 2011

What I See Emerging In This Time...

Nature! We are surrounded and embraced by her:
powerless to separate ourselves from her…she has neither
language nor discourse; but she creates tongues and hearts,
by which she feels and speaks… She is all things.

My thinking parallels many people’s regarding what we are facing except that I try to bring it all together in one “unified field theory”. Some people focus on the resource issues, some people focus on the environmental issues, some on the human eco-system aka infrastructure, social structure, processes, and communication. I am trying to unite all of it, and as Barbara Marx Hubbard says, find the good in it. To me that means “What is our opportunity?”

So… I see us as having an increasing chaotic set of natural and human conditions. Virtually every major component of the earth eco-system is either in trouble or worse. I see us as having increasingly fragile social structures, with increased breakdown and violence. I agree with the assessment that we are in one of the great global species extinctions. I see us, at the same time, as having almost eliminated “natural selection” (commonly referred to as “survival of the fittest”) in our human world. Other than war, there is little that causes death in a selective way for humans, weeding out “bad breeding stock”. Virtually anybody that is alive is considered to have the basic “right” to reproduce…and we keep almost everybody alive with the advances in modern medicine that we have achieved. While this may seem like a serious problem more often than not (and in the current context it sometimes is) it is also a normal part of nature’s cyclic process of biological re-invention.

Nature is basically up to a numbers game. She doesn’t really care about our human peculiarities or any other species’ peccadilloes. It’s all about survival of life, whatever life can “make the grade”. Everything noted here fits neatly into what has been variously described as a biospheric breakpoint or natural re-invention – virtually the same thing that Barbara describes as the evolutionary transition composed of breakdown and breakthrough, except that there is a “long wave” cycle to this process. Nature has been doing this since the beginning of the world (and possible before, but I can’t speak for that :-) There is a period of what we would call chaos, from which emerges some combination of things that represent stable, “new viable” as a Natural function. The entities that make this up start to replicate, and almost immediately the mathematics of probability comes into play, with the standard bell curve being in force. What this means is that the bulk of the results of replication are within the larger body of the curve, the “norms”, and therefore are “normal”. There are a few that are at the extremes. In the early stages of the cycle, these are not “viable” and they die or are killed off. As time goes by, more and more deviations (5-6 sigma against a normal bell curve) are created and some survive to replicate, creating a combination of percentages of deviations and normal offspringfurther combining with the original number of genetic deviations as a percentage of the whole population(s). Eventually there are enough numbers that deviations start to mate with deviations, creating significant deviation variations and exponentially increasing the number of genetic deviations running around loose. While our localized or personal view of this might tend to be negative, this is a natural process that results in genetic variation (the opposite of natural selection, which limits genetic variation), a requirement for the next cycle of natural re-invention.

Natural selection prevails during the early stage of a biological epoch to maintain stability but fades in favor of genetic variation as the epoch concludes when genetic diversity favors the development of a new viable.

There are common characteristics associated with these breakpoint reinventions.

1) What makes up the new viable has usually been around during the last days of the old cycle but has not had the ecological opportunity to flourish.

2) There are usually one or more trigger events that set in motion the cascading collapse of the old viable support system/ecosystem.

3) The nature of the shift that occurs is usually massive and it occurs relatively fast. In general it cannot be delayed or put off. It is the epitome of inevitable.

4) There is usually a good deal of “thinning of the herd” that happens during these events. They may actually be triggered by an extinction event.

5) Generally what was “old viable” may be around after the main period of the event but is no longer dominant.

I don’t think it is very far afield from what Barbara Marx Hubbard has been talking about at all, just a different frame of reference, to say that I think that we are facing just such a breakpoint natural system reinvention. As such several point are significant:

1) We are in planetary population overshoot right now – by about 5 billion people if you use the pre-petroleum and current numbers as a your standards. It is reasonable to think that advances in materials technology and other technologies as well as improvements in various processes, and information management will allow us to sustain many more people on earth than pre-petroleum numbers in a post-peak oil period leading to an alternative energy future. That having been said, there will be “thinning of the herd” so to speak, and it probably will not be pretty. This may occur by natural means or mans inhumanity to man but it’s likely.

2) For the first time in the history of the earth, there is a clear reality that a species on the earth can understand the nature, scope, and gravity of the situation and take action to favorably influence their place in the new viable schema, by choosing to consciously evolve with the shift! The nature and scope of the required conscious evolutionary effort is not certain or clearly defined. None the less, there is a good possibility that by appropriate critical thinking in advance, by staying attuned to the nature and rate of change as it is happening, and by taking deliberate and focused action the necessary changes are within our reach. It is my personal opinion that the new viable in humans will manifest itself as a new level of consciousness and a very different engagement of emotions, actions, and planetary awareness. This will be empowered by a new sense of self-awareness, individual liberty, and self-reliance at the same time as a fully engaged capacity to act collectively with any and all fellow humans on short notice, without preamble, to achieve the greater good in any situation, no matter the scale of the issue. Outcomes, rather than transactions, will drive the nature of human interactions in professional activity.

3) Old viable will no longer be dominant. Period. Not subject to debate, nor is there any aspect of the old viable that it is worth getting into an uproar over the preservation of. If it belongs in the new viable, it will be there. Otherwise it won’t. No amount of resistance, hedging, or hoarding from and by the old viable players will change that. Some things that we are currently involved, in massive efforts to “stop”, “turn back the clock”, or change, are essentially exercises in futility. We DO need to be thinking about how we respond effectively to the changes that are on the way. It is not an IF but a WHEN.

4) Times will very likely be very difficult for some. It is hard to anticipate the degree or nature of “hard”, but the first smart move that anyone can make is to ensure the maximum emergency preparedness posture for themselves and their family, then establish/re-establish neighborhood ties and community relationships that may have atrophied or never existed. The first level of conscious collective action will need to be the reassertion of physical community where little or none may have existed. It will be necessary for the sheer survival of some and it will benefit all. As Benjamin Franklin once said, in a time of breakpoint change for America, “We must all “hang together”, or assuredly we shall all hang separately!”

Blessing to you and all of us in this work!

Thanks for reading,



Dr Bob Rich said...

Excellent analysis, John. I particularly like your point about increasing genetic variability as a result of the survival of the unfittest. I hadn't thought of that before.

The Smokemaster said...

Yes, the genetic variability is a given unless there are extreme aspects of fitness selection in play, which is almost never the case. When the extreme conditions come into play is during the great winnowings @ the break points. That state of radical genetic variability that we have right now explains a lot doesn't it? :-) It's also a pretty clear indicator of where we are on that cyclic flow.