I. Our Planatural Edition: A 21st Century PhiloSophia, Earthropo Ecosmic PediaVersion
B. Anthropocene Sapiensphere: A Major Emergent Transitional Phase
Mathews, Freya. For Love of Matter. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2003. Freya continues to express her luminous vision of a non-materialist, animate, panpsychic universe. In order to reach its overall self-actualization the One cosmos differentiates into Many selves each of whom struggles on the path toward individual recognition and awareness.
I build here on earlier work to arrive at a view of the universe as a conative unity, a self-realizing system that counts as a locus of subjectivity in its own right. This universal system/subject (the One) realizes itself through its creation, via self-differentiation, of a manifold of conative subsystems that possess a relative unity of their own, and hence qualify as derivative subjects (the Many). This is a basically ecological order of mutual desire, which may be described as the Way of the One and the Many (after the Chinese notion of the Tao, which the present Way closely resembles). (9)
Mathews, Freya. The Ecological Self. London: Routledge, 1991. An Australian philosopher and environmentalist, Mathews finds in quantum and relativistic physics an intrinsic, natural basis for a living systems view of a (genesis) universe engaged in its own self-realization. By this reading, a “conatus” or impetus to self-actualization is similarly manifest in every participant being. Person, planet and cosmos are each involved in this Phenomenal process of psychic individuation. Her For Love of Matter book (2003) is also reviewed herein, along with a Panpsychism as Paradigm chapter (2011).
The conclusion of the argument is that true selves can exist only in a universe which is a self-realizing system and that only a substantially holistic - as opposed to atomistic - world can be a self-realizing system. (146) Since our human conatus participates in the conatus of the ecocosm, our affirmation of our larger Self is a force for the Self-realization of the universe. (159) It is fascinating to speculate on the analogy between the origin of the cosmic self (spacetime) and that of individual selves (organisms). The process of morphogenesis appears to parallel in significant respects the processes involved in geometrodynamic cosmogony. (177)
Matthews, Clifford, et al, eds. When Worlds Converge. Peterborough, NH: Open Court Publishing, 2002. A luminous cast of authors from the new sciences and an ecumenical theology explore their common affirmation of life, people, and spirituality. Terrence Deacon previews a self-complexifying evolution:
From this perspective life and consciousness can be seen to be deeply interrelated, not just because consciousness has evolved in living things, but because they are each manifestations of a common underlying creative dynamic. (152)
Coming to Our Senses: Perceiving Complexity to Avoid Catastrophes.
New York: Oxford University Press,
In so many words, a UCLA psychologist insightfully argues that due to our western atomistic emphasis and culture, we are unable to see, imagine, or admit anything else or more going on. In reality what distinguishes life, nature, and an imperiled planet is equally real “structural interconnections” between the discrete pieces. A sense of dynamic vitality was evident to indigenous wisdom but lost to men alone who cannot connect dots. The work is an engaging survey of the new sciences of complex systems as they might once again reveal a phenomenal worldwide organic milieu just in time.
In Coming to Our Senses, cognitive scientist Viki McCabe argues that prevailing theories of perception, cognition, and information cannot explain how we know the world around us. Using scientific studies and true stories, McCabe shows that the ecological disasters, political paralysis, and economic failures we now face originate in our tendency to privilege cognitive processes and products over the information we access with our perceptual systems. As a result, we typically default to making decisions using inaccurate information such as mechanistic theories that reduce the world to extractable, exploitable parts. But the world does not function as an assembly of parts; it functions as a coalition of complex systems--from cells to cities--that organize and sustain themselves and cannot be partitioned and retain their purpose. McCabe also argues that we cannot describe such systems using theories and words. Instead, each system reveals itself in fractal-like geometric configurations that emerge from and reflect the structural organization that brings it into existence and determines its functions--a veritable physics of information. Thus, we comprehend phenomena as disparate as neural networks, river deltas, and economies by perceiving the branching geometry that organizes them into distribution systems.
McGilchrist, Iain. The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009. Reviewed more in A Complementary Brain, an extraordinary endorsement that human beings and our checkered history are most understandable by the individual and cultural dominance or absence of the asymmetric cerebral hemispheres and their archetypal traits. I first logged this work in April 2010. It has since gained a popularity and acceptance because of the validity of its claim, search Jonathan Sacks, David Orrell, and Lesley Rogers. In June 2013 we add this quote which even more defines how the left brain so characterizes western civilization from science and religion to academia and government, to its huge deficit and peril, such as an obsession with perpetual war while ignoring rampant climate change.
If one had to encapsulate the principal differences in the experience mediated by the two hemispheres, their two modes of being, one could put it like this. The world of the left hemisphere, dependent on denotative language and abstraction, yields clarity and power to manipulate things that are known, fixed, static, isolated, decontextualized, explicit, disembodied, general in nature, but ultimately lifeless. The right hemisphere, by contract, yields a world of individual, changing, evolving, interconnected, implicity, incarnate, living beigns within the context of the lived world, but in the nature of things never fully graspable, always imperfectly known – and to the world it exists in a relationship of care.
McNeill, William. Passing Strange: The Convergence of Evolutionary Science with Scientific History. History and Theory. 40/1, 2001. The eminent scholar and author proposes to unite historical studies with a novel evolutionary cosmology arising from the physical, biological and complexity sciences. See also McNeill’s paper “History and the Scientific Worldview” in History and Theory. 37/1, 1998.
Cosmic history, natural history, and human history have come together, willy nilly, into a single fabric. In short, a historical worldview of enormous scope and grandeur has engulfed the no less grand, but now parochial, Newtonian world machine. Moreover, it elevates human behavior into a significant part of the cosmic process, as the seventeenth-century worldview never managed to do. (5)
Meijer, Dirk K. F. The Universe as a Cyclic Organized Information System: John Wheeler’s World Revisited. NeuroQuantology. 15/1, 2015. An emeritus Dutch professor of pharmacology achieves a succinct synthesis of Wheeler’s vision of a self-activating chosen cosmos by way of intentional observer participation. This cosmic scenario based on the most sophisticated physical theory has risen to a preferred version, as my Teilhard 2015 paper on the site outline documents. With twenty pages and an extensive bibliography, an illustrated interactive procreation is illumed as it evolves, develops, quickens and emerges unto personal and planetary consciousness. We peoples are thus cognizant, knowledgeable co-creators called to intentionally witness, select and continue. In a holistic vista, a self-discovering course of backward causation via human discretion is being revealed. The crucial essence and arrow is a teleological information and meaning which is now entering our collaborative awareness. And as one may peruse and muse, it ever begs to be realized and appreciated as a parents to children genetic code endowment, if only we could imagine and allow.
Mickey, Sam. Whole Earth Thinking and Planetary Coexistence. London: Routledge, 2015. The University of San Francisco adjunct professor has a doctorate from the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness program of the California Institute of Integral Studies. At a moment of precipitous peril, by an intersect of the writings of Thomas Berry, Stephanie Kaza, Gary Snyder, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, and others, a dedicated confluence of thought and mission is imperative to a achieve a sustainable Gaian biosphere. This movement is facilitated by perceptions of a conducive ecological cosmos where in and of human beings presently are summoned to mindfully green Earth community.
The Solitary Self: Darwin and the Selfish Gene.
Durham, UK: Acumen,
Every so often one receives a gift of incisive clarity and synthesis. The British moral philosopher and author, an icon at Newcastle University for decades, a latter day Margaret Cavendish, provides an overdue righting of an “evolutionary metaphysics” lately in a sorry, worrisome state. Her first focus is on a textbook “Darwinism” that Charles himself would reject, which promotes natural selection by competitive struggle alone as the sole cause. As a public result, from writers such as Jacques Monod and Stephen Jay Gould to Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett, life’s evolution is now relegated as chance happenstance, bereft of any drive or direction. Midgley well adds that these dire views are as much elective agendas quite at odds with actual natural realities. Rather, per the first quote, it is becoming widely evident that creaturely cooperation proceeds, promotes, and distinguishes Metazoan societies. This Ptolemaic dilemma is seen to extend to the whole cosmos in screeds by a Stephen Weinberg or Peter Atkins who adamantly denounce and mock any intrinsic point or purpose.
Competition is not, in fact, any more prevalent in the biosphere that cooperation. Indeed, it is inevitably lest prevalent, because competition cannot get started until there has been a great deal of cooperation to build up the individual competitors. For instance, as we now know, the chloroplasts and other organelles within our cells were almost certainly once separate beings, distinct creatures that ended up play their instruments in our internal orchestra because they had prospered inside cells. They found that a social life suited them, as, of course, it also suits us. (6)
Mirandola, Giulia. The Swimming Eye: The Experience of Reading Pictures from Birth. Proceedings. 1/9, 2018. In this new MDPI online journal, an Italian educator advocates a creative blend of pictures and prose across the earliest times of childhood experience. The entry is also cited for saying that we peoples, from infants to adults, are meant in some way to actively “read the world,” a perennial allusion about a natural realm. A visual literacy, as indigenous and traditional wisdom avers, requires an aware attention to a greater reality meant for human edification. Her 15th century namesake is noted in the second quote. Into our confounded, violent 21st century, we are in much need of a wise woman’s renaissance and reformation.
This paper collects a number of reflections on the use of illustrated books during the first months of life. Reading pictures is a unique experience for each individual, through which early opportunities for social and cultural development are created. It sheds light on a child’s level of development; on what a very small person can do on their own; on the correct tools to assess a child’s type of attention compared to an adult’s; about what happens when a newborn and an adult place a book which is new to both of them at the center of their relationship. The rush to find words in a book ignores its multidimensionality. Nascent readers, with their scrupulous and multifaceted method of living the reading experience, teach themselves and those who comprehend them how a concept emerges and takes form.
Moore, Stephen and Mayra Rivera, eds.
New York: Fordham University Press,
The appropriate cover image is the painting “Love Embrace of the Universe and the Earth” by Frida Kahlo. In November 2007 the Drew University Theology Department held a colloquium to discuss the thought and writings of Gayatri Chakrovorty Spivak, a Columbia University cultural critic of a postcolonial patriarchy that so oppresses and threatens women, children, and all life’s future. Led by Drew feminist theologian Catherine Keller, an international advocation of a more nurturing justice and wisdom accrues. Iconic guidance is provided by Spivak’s term “planetarity” to denote a survival and “thrival” turn from consumptive, mechanical, “empires” to an empathic, “relational” affinity with our obvious common, organic humanity.
Moraru, Christian. Cosmodernism: American Narrative, Late Globalization, and the New Cultural Imaginary. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2011. Akin to Basarab Nicolescu’s From Modernity to Cosmodernity, a Romanian-American, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, English scholar offers this conceptual expansion to surpass a vacuous “postmodernism” by visionary entreaties to an abiding organic milieu. Sections in this extravagant essay such as The Cosmodern Imaginary, Onomastics, Translations, Readings, and Metabolics lay out a more realistic, viable literary philosophy going forward. A prescient exemplar might be the biological teleology, “grand narrative” of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, which is seen as a mix of Neoplatonism, Thomism, and Hegel’s The Phenomenology of Spirit, so as to evoke an ascendance of a cosmic to culture logos.