One morning there was both the Sun and a cold breeze during my daily walk at Perar, Ooty. Anachronously. Usually the cold would be nippier in the evening. But that is Nature. It presents itself often in unpredictable ways.
It asks for a dynamic equilibrium which is never really settled and yet there is a magnificent stillness and calm all around.
Everything moves. There is both low-key trembling somewhere minutely and a highly noticeable excitement somewhere else. Yes, everything moves. And everything seems still and wonderful too at the same time.
They say that even at the microscopic level, and even further, there is a constant buzz.
For a moment, let me exclude our own species — humankind — when I describe my theory on what is going on
Nature is giant, continuously changing jigsaw puzzle which is fractally a self-similar changing jigsaw puzzle at all scales of examination
Each piece of the puzzle has its own changeable boundaries. Yet, there is no transgression. When one part morphs, the other parts around also morphs too. There is always a perfect fit between the morphing pieces of the dynamic jigsaw puzzle.
The non-living forms of Nature; the mountain, the clouds … all of those form the context on which the dance of the jigsaw puzzle happens by the living forms. They too move around. And then, all of them — the living and the non-living — fits perfectly into this astronomical and also microscopic holistic, fractal dance
A bird settles on a twig and the twig sways. The leaves on the twig tremble a bit more. More than the breeze would have asked it to. Maybe somewhere inside the atomic nature something has also changed ever so subtly but we haven’t figured a way to measure that.
Somewhere the atmosphere decides to warm up during that Ooty morning. Yet, the breeze comes in with a nip in the air at the same time. All for a good reason — some parts of which we still haven’t figured out
In all these fractal movements, let me now bring in humankind.
I am deliberately keeping our species into a different category than all other living forms. And I have a theory why I do so
None of the other living forms have “consciousness”.
I believe that except for humankind, all the rest are so self-aware that they do not need consciousness. They don’t have the concept of hurt, ego, forgiveness, a theory of the mind… and all the rest of the tools of the trade that we carry around to make amends with or rationalize our mistakes.
All the non-human living forms are just there. Existing. In the most refined manner possible, actually. Mutely, we wonder. But they have the deepest understanding of demands made on their flexible boundaries. They respond naturally to the demands of the vibrating atomic universe — which also includes the mood-swings of the breeze too as in that morning.
That is why each part of this Natural jig-saw puzzle keep adjusting itself till it looks that Nature never really changed.
That is why we can be so at peace amidst the rest of Nature — if we chose to understand non-judgmentally the dynamic stillness there is all around us. There was no disquiet on that unusual Ooty morning with the warm Sunshine and the cold breeze
Ideally, we too should have fitted into this dynamic equlibrium out there. Using the faculty of consciousnes, we could have also worked out how each of us keep moving our adjustable boundaries so that all of us — along with the rest of Nature can participate gracefully into that dynamic stillness.
But we don’t.
We haven’t — as yet — acquired the finest knowledge of our own consciousness. Mistakes regularly happen without our own self-awareness. Did we read the other person’s mind correctly? What did he say? What did he really mean when he said that? What did she say? What was that look she gave, all about? Are we clear about our own intentions? Did the other person do his/her part with some other agenda, maybe a hidden one? … the confusions are quite endless
Sadly, we never get the right answer. So we do step on other toes, hurt someone or something here and there. We forget to make amends. We carry on and we use a faulty mechanism called forgivness to believe we have made amends
I feel, none of the other species have a concept called “consciousness” simply because they don’t need to. They evolved over of millions of years of honing where the empirical world around them kept rubbing against them, teaching them how to dance and fit in perfectly with the changing boundaries of the puzzle pieces.
Moreover, these non-human living forms — the trees, the other animals, the grass … they exert the bare minimum force on the non-living context: The clouds, the mountains and so on. So the background context for life to happen fits in perfectly into this dance
Each species danced with other life-forms and mainly with variations in their own sub-species.
That subtle sense of competition was so constant for so many million years that finally each of those non-human species who eventually survived and existed in each part of the world…each of them learned how to participate in the fractal dance
We humans never really learned this.
We are the lonely species. We never; almost never, had a sub-species for thousands of years of existence as a species. We never had real competition with other sub-species.
When Darwin had talked about “survival of the fittest” he was referring to the millions of evolution cycles which go into honing a species of a living form. In each cycle there is competition between similar sub-species. Some living forms with similar requirements also participates in the competition. But the competition was mainly between similar sub-species — eventually, the fittest sub-species rising up to prominence in a particular time and region zone
We were given consciousness alright but we never really figured out how to use it just so that we can naturally fit in. We were given language too — so that we could transport meaning from one consciousness to the other
All of that, just so that we too can fit into the fractal jigsaw puzzle which Nature is always solving
But we haven’t got far with language either.
There really is NO sub-species for human beings. By some quirk of fate, all our ancestral sub-species died off, leaving behind ONLY homo sapiens who walked through the eye of a genetic needle to emerge as a lonely, desperate species with practically no significant variations in our genetics. We simply don’t have other sub-species to compete with us and teach us this fractal dance.
For times immemorial, we never had to compete the way other living forms had to in order for us to evolve. Hence we evolved in a faulty manner.
We are a long way off from being a silent, evolved species with its own grammar on how to fit in. We are just not like the other living forms around us.
Instead, many of us resort to a detour which I feel we should not be taking. But sadly, some of us do take that detour.
The detour is this: We pretend that we are in the midst of various sub-species of humans.
We invent them by race, by religion, by economic class and many other artificial abstract constructs which, frankly, has no grounding in the empirical reality.
Once invented, some of us think we can then try to train ourselves to compete with such invented sub-species. So people from this religion attacks those from another religion. You can change the classification or even invent new ones, if you want to: Instead of religion; we are put into slots by region, race, caste, sub-caste, economy …. whatever.
Eventually hoping that the best sub-species would survive — naturally.
But that will never happen. Because the premise that there are different species for different constructs of division of human beings in society is itself flawed.
In the process; unlike other living forms, we wily-nily change the non-living context too: We change the environment so drastically and yet the misunderstanding is so deep, that we are sometimes even awarded for the wrong doings.
For example; An architect can set into motion forces which leave deep gashes on mountainsides — i.e. spent quarries — and yet, ironically, his approach to using natural stone gets him accolades
Eventually, this approach by many — if not most — of us, would get us nowhere. We can already see the consequences: The mountains lay barren. The clouds do not know when or where to rain. The sea gets polluted. We even encourage new kinds of diseases.
The earlier we understand all this, better it is for us. Let us discard the need to put people into stereotypical categories and discover other ways to participate in the gigantic, fractal, ever moving, ever present jigsaw puzzle of this universe.
All this has been an important motivation why I wrote TAD (The Architect’s Desktop) — a unique BIM (Building Information Modeler See www.teamtad.com ) so that there is a game chance to model not just the static built-environment around us, but also the immediate dynamic properties which need to be handled in the model, just-in-time.
Let us learn to modify the environment only as much as it is really needed. Let us learn not to hurt each other and the beautiful earth we are all in.
We truly are the fragile lot — as explained by Sting in his famous song “fragile”.