“I strongly believe that the less a thought is mutilating, the less it will mutilate human beings. We must remember the ravages that simplifying visions have caused, not only in the intellectual world, but in life. Much of the suffering of millions of beings results from the effects of fragmented and one-dimensional thought.” – Edgar Morin, “On Complexity”
The urgency with which we pursue simplicity and certainty is reminiscent of the most persistently predatory and compulsive behavior in the animal kingdom. If there is one thing that has characterized our thinking during the millennia of recorded history it is the evident need to reduce the world’s chaos and complexity to a system of simple explanations. And when we believe we have found such a system of thought, it has been used as a justification for our most heinous collective crimes.
We have arrived at a point in our evolution where a deeper and more thoroughgoing self-knowledge is our only means to continued survival. And to come to know ourselves in deeper ways will require a kind of knowledge in which the complexities, uncertainties, and interconnectedness of things, once considered to be simple, absolute, and separate, are seen as open-ended systems, in ways we are just now beginning to comprehend.
By definition, it is not possible to describe a new paradigm in terms of the old ones preceding it. What emerges as a new global understanding of humanity and our place in the world is a sense of new connections between areas of knowledge and of ourselves once thought to be separate and unrelated, such as physics and biology and matters of the mind and heart.
These new views descend almost imperceptibly, for they constitute a truly collaborative vision. Each of us embodies and communicates some significant information about the world seen in new ways. The patterns of our interactions create the contemporary culture, which we also internalize as aspects of our own perception and ways of thinking and behaving. This is the recursive feedback process of an open, living ecosystem.
We begin to see that there is a new matrix of possibility forming – with new more interconnected and compassionate ways to be human and new, more comprehensive ways of thinking about ourselves and our place in the universe.
Image: “GYRE 001” by Tullio DeSantis, ink drawing, 2011.
YouTube Video: Sound of the Earth in Space Recorded by NASA(Our planet is a natural source of radio waves at audible frequencies. An online receiver at the Marshall Space Flight Center is playing these songs of Earth so anyone can listen.)