By Mike Meyer ~ Honolulu ~ December 5, 2020
The reality of the complexity that we must handle in our daily lives is intruding into the public consciousness. Recognizing the existence of a specific problem is an important step in managing that problem. Sadly this may not be applicable now.
Beyond the fear caused by the level of complexity in daily life is the justification of that fear. We have reached levels that require a larger and larger percentage of the population to function at levels for which they are not equipped.
A major iteration of these complex problems is that this is not a failure that can be ascribed as a fault to those struggling with this problem. This fear has been haunting us for centuries and has been emerging as a reality for decades. Those who have written about this do so only with growing concern and urgency in the struggle against the limits of our understanding.
We see and read about it as information overload, social polarization, recognition of structural racism, and political collapse. These are symptoms rather than problems; hence efforts to solve them fail repeatedly. That, too, is an example of the complexity that is an aspect of the cause at our current capability to articulate it.
Our inability to see past the symptoms requires us to see entangled interconnections at all levels of human culture and the integration of those with the patterns we identify as physical reality. This is the level of hyperobjects.
It is always difficult to see the forest for the trees when you're lost in the forest. Not only is this a forest and not just a bunch of trees, but this forest is not only in the dimensions that we know intuitively. We don’t have the language to describe this and work to create languages that can assist in recognition. That must happen and be broadly integrated into human societies before any hope of effective changes can begin.
New perspectives are needed. Another aspect of this hyperobject problem set is that one perspective is completely inadequate. There are too many dimensions with information that we cannot see but must see to understand what is happening. We even understand this now as the problem of two-dimensional beings in a three-dimensional world.
An interesting exercise may be to ask people who you know if they are familiar with Flatland. I’m afraid that this will be depressing, especially as Flatland was published in 1884. But this is well known now and has expanded in the public consciousness in the last twenty to thirty years.
But as I’m sure you are aware, we are dealing with something on the order of eleven dimensions in String Theory. That effort to merge general relativity and quantum mechanics also illustrates the problem we are discussing.
Western civilization split human knowledge into physical objects whose relationships could be physically (empirically) tested and everything else. Initially, those empirically testable relationships did not include what those objects actually were beyond molecular interactions and, then, at atomic levels.
Quantum mechanics, with its defining characteristic of uncertainty, has been the result of backing into what things are from how they relate. The brutal reality is that we understand that everything exists as patterns and relationships of forces that are the universe's actual nature.
In the context of this discussion, I suspect that we need to greatly expand our understanding of relationships between all the forces in our universe. A huge realization has emerged that we need to change our categorizations to merge everything into conscious awareness. That means we must eliminate the distinction between those things with hair, eyes, and noses and everything else, and then understand that all objects are information.
This leaves us needing to recognize that even rocks are more like us than we really want to admit. We need to be considerate of everything. So another aspect that must be merged with us as described in Vibrant Matter.
That brings us to diversity and identity, another set of battlefields in the doomed effort of the most fearful to prevent ever more disruptive change.
I am trying very hard to make this all understandable as a proposed description of our fearful problems and not pointlessly confuse the issues. That is hard when the working supposition is that everything is too complex to fully understand in our present state.
If all matter has some degree of vibrancy and is much more alike at a fundamental level, that, incidentally, is beyond our ability to access other than through the filter of our senses, then we must deal with maximum diversity. We need to be conscious and, perhaps even, mindful of everything.
Wait, doesn’t that ring a bell or two? Much of our difficulty is in having failed to be aware of the implications and consequences of how we interacted with people and things over the last four hundred years. I want to present that as a non-political statement.
That leads to another non-political statement that, incidentally, steps on a bunch of political sensitivities. Our problems come from failing to understand and manage diversity, not from diversity. I don’t expect that the people shouting at Trump rallies, may that end very soon, will even acknowledge that as a sentence, but they are the product of symptomatic reactions to rapid changes in our awareness.
Diversity is not a choice but a reality in a universe containing hyperobjects that we can no longer ignore. Our expansion on this planet and the consequences of limited perspective have brought the awareness of problems at the hyperobject level down on us.
This is very much a lesson being learned with the COVID pandemic. A pandemic virus doesn’t care. It must be understood and cannot be fooled into disappearing. Complexity in massive problems cannot be ignored.
Sentient beings have a higher level of agency in this universe, but they may also, then, choose to give up that agency. Assuming that we are above or beyond, everything around us is not an effective role in this universe. Nothing is truly isolated or separated. That is an illusion.