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Inter-Dependent Co-Arising

On our conscious emergence from the chaos

Photo by Bilal O. on Unsplash


There’s a bittersweet irony in all the progress we’ve made towards conceptualizing how our world works, and how we ourselves fit within the enigmatic patchwork of reality.

No matter how intensively we specialize our focus, no matter how grandiose our theories become, and no matter how expansive, technological or scientific we ourselves become, we can never (and will never) fully deviate from the essential truths of nature — laws that are encoded within everything as much as they are within ourselves.

We’re caught in this torus loop of reiteration, one that, from up close, seems to propel us forward along refined avenues of sophistication but, from afar, seems comically redundant.

Take the concept of emergence, or emergentism.

Its definition is as malleable as its application — a natural process of something dynamic evolving organically based upon its external surrounding. It can be/has been defined from just about any angle or discipline — mathematics, economics, biology, physics, computer science, politics, ecology, you name it.

Self-organization, dynamism and evolution — among all these descriptors, there’s something of a golden rule underlying it all: that this arising thing (entity or system, concept or organism) is dependent on its surroundings as much as it tries to escape conformity to them.

Like a rockstar from a small town or a flower atop a lily pad, such a system will transform itself organically from one state to another with an outcome that’s wholly unpredictable.

And for the purposes of this post, it’s not unlike our own consciousness, a anomalous pattern emanating from the noise, seeking self-distinction but remaining rooted in everything from which it arises.

It becomes a pretty big deal when we realize that this process [emergence] is more than just a law of nature that permeates into every single system we’ve ever conceptualized (as well as our own existence); it generates something vital that we’re relentlessly pursuing in this weird game of life: meaning.


One of the most potent ways by which we generate meaning — often unintentionally and typically via retrospect — is through friction. Struggle, suffering, resistance, challenge, conflict.

Think of any story ever told.

It’s a twisted kind of joke written into the coding behind our existence — the more we seem to struggle or suffer, the more we seem to exist.

Perhaps a better way to phrase it is that the closer we come to the precipice of non-existence, the more vivid our own livelihood becomes.

And fittingly, our surrounding reality is pretty generous when it comes to catering challenges for our development.

The geological cataclysms, the cosmic uncertainty, the biological barbarianism of living organisms that seek to attack, infect or consume one another in an infinite and macabre chain of perpetual energy transfer.

Nature, by nature, is cruel, and we ourselves abundantly exemplify this point through our own actions against one another — forget the natural disasters and everything else that makes life difficult.

Even on a macrocosmic scale, we can intuitively observe that the whole universe as we know it is just a violent expulsion of outward-radiating energy and, somehow, in some way, we consider ourselves to arise as an anomaly within this process.

Romantically, the brutality of our world (intentional or not) sets a stage atop which we can begin to cultivate or showcase our interdependent meaning — a juxtaposition that we can’t afford to ignore, and evidence that our conscious [dis]position (and emergence from it all) must signify something more.

We consider ourselves an exception to entropy itself — figuring that our efforts to order the natural world and to demand order amongst our own kind is a measure of our advanced nature.

So it’s a bit of an ironic twist that meaning rises (or emerges) like a phoenix from the ashes of the destructive and disordered context of our reality; that a self-organizing, evolving exception arises from the surrounding chaotic circumstances.

Rather than trying to insulate ourselves from the uncontrollable chaos of existence (which we so often do), we can lean into the true nature of our existence to extract more significance of our position relative to it.

Our conscious emergence from the debris fields of reality means something.


“Consciousness is the agency that collapses the wave of a quantum object, which exists in potentia, making it an immanent particle in the world of manifestation.” — Amit Goswami

This all serves to follow up on an interview I had conducted in 2020 with physicist and author Dr. Amit Goswami, who has completed tremendous legwork in trying to bridge the gap between physics and eastern philosophy, approaching the discussion from an angle that predominantly reconciles quantum mechanics and consciousness.

Like many in this sphere, Dr. Goswami reinforces the interconnectedness of existence, playing on the concepts that connect the variable dots and dashes between our singular experience of reality and the greater elements at play.

Years later, I’m inclined to expand on a particular point that he had brought up — the concept of dependant co-arising, which is situated on a rather common premise: that nothing truly exists in a singular, independent frame of reality — that everything is essentially interconnected.

The ramifications of this idea, as it relates to our conscious operation through reality, sprawl infinitely; however, if one follows along the meaningful silver linings through the illusions of ego, things take on a different look entirely.

And while it may be a guttural kick in the gut to realize that we’re not as free or unrestrained as we like to think we are, the tether is a necessary one.

By pressing into this concept, and extracting from it something of a perspective that can be overlaid upon how we observe reality (or our movement through reality), a treasure trove of realizations awaits.

Fata Morgana

The idea of interdependence acts like a glue that binds us to our surrounding reality, and this is where perspective comes in to decide whether or not that glue is toxic.

We can either let this natural law of interdependence condemn us to the fateful blueprints of our existence or we can use it as a launchpad for greater things.

We can embrace the challenges of genetic dispositions or use them as excuses for our ruin; we can let the weight of the world’s absurdity crush us or we can use it as part of a compass for understanding why we are the way we are; we can antagonize and resist the unfavorable or we can understand it, deconceptualize it and gain from it.

Champions of misfortune or victims of circumstance.

We learn, as we grow out of our youth, that we’re not at the center of the universe — we’re at the center of our own respective universes.

A big difference.

Despite our tribal tendencies, we’re not any different from those we oppose, from the systems we bemoan or the negatives we butt heads with.

The patchwork of our reality binds us and everything all together in ways that don’t necessarily become apparent unless we can find some way to zoom out.

And once we do zoom out, the picture becomes pretty clear.

In our work to gain distinction from our surroundings, individually or collectively, we demonstrate our evolutionary purpose and we cultivate true meaning.

It’s not long before it becomes obvious that complete separation isn’t exactly possible — total disentanglement of a system from its surrounding nature isn’t necessarily feasible.

The rock star can leave the small town but the small town doesn’t leave the rock star; the flower atop the lily pad needs the lily pad to stay afloat, or the wind to help itself pollenate.

Consciousness, as the ego-driven and independent focal point it seems to be, is considerably dependent on the whole picture around it.

And just about everything exists in this endless chain of meaning.

From particle assemblies and re-assemblies moving through space and time; from the self-manipulating and self-propagating processes of matter, of energy transfer and of entropy, to causality itself and the [un]certain laws of determination.

Whether we like to admit it or not, we’re part of this perpetually chaotic and infinitely meaningful process.

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Philosophy | Psychology | Physiology: Bridging the gap between us and ourselves.

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