The Bifurcation of Being
Bifurcation is the act of splitting something into two branches, or an example of a situation where something splits or there is a fork.
The bifurcation of one’s being is the act or process of breaking away from your old self, and experiencing the proverbial “fork in the road” while doing it.
In doing so, we can see ourselves in the world for who we truly are, warts and all. Then we can see what’s possible moving forward.
Who are you?
Or, more pointedly, who am I?
Or, who have I been?
These are questions all of us, right now, are wrestling with.
The world doesn’t seem to make much sense.
Maybe it never really did.
Maybe it’s not about making sense of the world in the ways we’ve been taught to think about it, or more importantly, how we see it.
And there is real science and math behind why this is the case.
We can visually use this science and math to experience “something else”.
FAIRBURN’S STRUCTURAL THEORY OF “THE SPLITTING SELF”
Sciences of the mind have largely focused on reductive means to understand human behavior, and more specifically, why people exhibit split personality traits.
These traits are often diagnosed as “mental conditions”, but specific theoretical science suggests otherwise.
Perhaps one of the most groundbreaking and least known treatises on pyschoanalysis came from W. Ronald D. Fairburn, who in the 1940s, developed a unique psychoanalytic theory that anticipated and laid the groundwork for some of the most important current theoretical advancements in psychoanalysis.
The core thesis was that the nature of the self is organized into complex, object-oriented relationships.
These endopsychic structures are what actually comprise our mental capacities for personal growth.
What’s novel about Fairburn’s work is that it is a clear departure from Freudian and Hegelian constructs.
In short, he mapped object-oriented relationships to pathological outcomes, meaning that human beings attach themselves to objects, or visual cues, to actually understand the world. In the best of scenarios, this provides the capability to construct their own visions for how they want the world to be, and what it might look like.
A simple example is how toddlers learn about their environments by making associations between objects, before they are able to speak. Over time, they attach words to objects, and then make connections between objects and the words they choose to describe the experience of what happens with those objects.
These experiences often supersede semantics, or ontologies, in that language only goes so far in making sense of the world.
In understanding the Hegelian Dialectic, it becomes more clear as to why — without object-oriented relationships we can observe in the physical or natural world — we tend to become prisoners of our own minds. This can have a ripple effect on how we see problems, and what we perceive to be solutions to those problems.
Breaking Free of the Mental Model that Stifles Real Progress
The Hegelian Dialectic has impregnated our change initiatives around the world with delusions of ‘great, sweeping…
Fairburn made a monumental distinction: That there is an inseparability between energy and structure.
What this means in basic terms is that the sociocultural structures and narratives we’ve relied upon to function in the world only take us so far in understanding our true natures.
Further, if we do not develop an acquaintance with structure and form, seen as energy transferred between bodies and objects, then we find ourselves grappling with natural phenomena that we cannot discern.
In spiritual terms, this also means that the energies which comprise us and pass through us can have deleterious or destructive effects on our psyches, which translate to our own behaviors out in the world.
That is, if we choose to ignore them, or are not aware of their existence.
WOLFRAM’S BIFURCATION PRINCIPLES
Stephen Wolfram is known for his mathematical and computational genius. What is perhaps least known are his calculations on bifurcation.
In a dynamical system, a bifurcation is a period doubling, quadrupling, etc., that accompanies the onset of chaos. It represents the sudden appearance of a qualitatively different solution for a nonlinear system as some parameter is varied.
The illustration above shows bifurcations (occurring at the location of the blue lines) of the logistic map as the parameter is varied. Bifurcations come in four basic varieties: flip bifurcation, fold bifurcation, pitchfork bifurcation, and transcritical bifurcation (Rasband 1990).
More generally, a bifurcation is a separation of a structure into two branches or parts. For example, in the plot above, the functions denote real parts that exhibit bifurcation along a negative axis, and one that aligns at a zero point. The zero point would signify a balancing state between these bifurcation functions.
What this shows us is that we are constantly separating from the structures that are imposed upon us, particularly during periods of chaos (such as right now).
In other words, our true selves will reject what is not naturally occurring for us in terms of energy and composition, especially during times of volatility.
When that happens, we might find ourselves “lost in translation”, or, seeking new ways to connect in balance with the natural world.
A scientific analog to this exploration of bifurcation is research done with crystal formations.
Tae Hoon-Kim, Ben Xu and a group of nine other participants conducted a recent experiment on real-space topological magnetic structures which are promising candidates for information storage and transport.
This work highlights the energetic dynamics of how information moves between objects. Essentially, it was observed that when information “splits”, it recombines into new geometric forms.
This might help us further understand just how important object-oriented relationships really are in seeing the world differently.
Crystals are, of course, natural objects. Their characteristics reflect the natural world.
If information recombines into new or different natural forms, then it becomes evident that we have that same capability.
So, transporting information that is pure and true would involve how we hold and transfer information about the world, in relating to each other.
Much of this author’s own innovation work has involved the science of relatedness, or how people relate to each other under duress or difficult circumstances.
The need for this work was spawned by the realization that organizations or companies cannot transform their operations without helping the people within them to transform themselves.
Per the earlier part of this exploration, this work has necessitated an approach whereby language would be removed from interactions in order to “restart” the relationships people have with themselves and each other.
As such, we conduct play-acting exercises in which the participants have to solve problems by physically interacting without verbal communication, and by using signs, gestures and symbols to communicate only what is needed, as it is needed.
The results have been extraordinary.
The participants discover attributes about themselves that were previously hidden, while they rediscover qualities in their relationships with each other that surface in ways that their minds do not need to comprehend. In other words, they experience what it means to reconnect with themselves and each other.
Coming full circle to the bifurcation of being, it also begs the question of how we can achieve a sense of balance in the ways we see ourselves in relation to world around us.
In essence, we witness a return to the divine inner child, and this brings forth a sense of equanimity.
What the Hindu traditions describe as Samatva (Sanskrit: समत्व, also rendered samatvam or samata), which is the concept of equanimity.
So, how might we experience this equanimity within ourselves, and with others?
RETURNING TO THE DIVINE INNER CHILD
The bifurcation of being perhaps boils down to a parallel between the wounded child — the one battered and confused as he or she makes their way through the world of perceived realities — and the divine inner child who is pure, beautiful, creative and open to self-discovery.
If we can accept that we are borne into the world pure, and that we can purify it by connecting with the part of ourselves that is not distorted by our own preconceptions about the world, and our roles within it, then new possibilities emerge.
The methods by which we connect with our divine inner child are aplenty, as well as diverse.
Some people do sitting meditations or run ceremonies. Others experiment with natural medicines. Others find it in prayer. This author prefers standing meditations along with making art and playing music to experience his own divine inner child.
Whatever the method, there is always the opportunity to reconnect with our true selves.
The shedding our old selves is, no doubt, a very challenging process.
Then again, nothing about living a good life is meant to be easy in terms of how we create it.
Nevertheless, we are “here”, right now, to explore these possibilities, full tilt.