Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In Passing

All I ask is that we compare human consciousness with spirochete ecology.*
Lynn Margulis

Taking Vedic Studies with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1975 forever changed the way I think.
What Maharishi suggested, but somehow didn’t say flat out – or at least not in a manner that I could hear – was that since the Absolute is the Source of all relative creation, the laws of physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, sociology, mathematics, astrophysics, and all the arts… they are just the mechanics of Consciousness expressed in different words.

It was maybe a year later that understanding dawned and I abbreviated the concept in my head as “patterns of consciousness.”
The laws of Nature and laws of Consciousness follow the same pattern.
I have sought and admired these patterns ever since.

Lynn Margulis was a scientist who argued similarly, not from any Vedantic rationale, but from keen observation, good science, and a brilliant and tenacious mind.
Yesterday, she died.
And I am saddened by her passing.

Among other things she helped James Lovelock articulate the Gaia Principle.
Perhaps the best tribute I can offer is to let her words about Gaia correct any misconception you may have regarding Gaia:

Lovelock would say that Earth is an organism. I disagree with this phraseology. No organism eats its own waste. I prefer to say that Earth is an ecosystem, one continuous enormous ecosystem composed of many component ecosystems.
Lovelock's position is to let the people believe that Earth is an organism, because if they think it is just a pile of rocks they kick it, ignore it, and mistreat it. If they think Earth is an organism, they'll tend to treat it with respect.
To me, this is a helpful cop-out, not science… And I realize that by taking the stance he does he is more effective than I am in communicating Gaian ideas.
If science doesn't fit in with the cultural milieu, people dismiss science, they never reject their cultural milieu! …
Gaia is a tough bitch — a system that has worked for over three billion years without people. This planet's surface and its atmosphere and environment will continue to evolve long after people and prejudice are gone.

And long after Lynn Margulis is gone, biology students will be learning principles she discovered.

*And again to not lose context and to demonstrate the remarkable flexibility of her mind, the larger quote:
You can reduce the study of nervous systems to physics and chemistry but you're missing the microbiological step. It's as if you documented the changing surface of the Earth at urban sites using Landsat images, without knowing anything about the people.
Think of the nerve as coming from what had formerly been a bacterium, trying but unable to rotate and swim. Thought involves motility and communication, the connection between remnant spirochetes. All I ask is that we compare human consciousness with spirochete ecology.

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