Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Continuing this line of inquiry...

So here we are exploring the basic factors of persistence and change. These two factors have been dancing together since the Big Bang, but mostly in various shifting conglomerations of stardust pushed and pulled around by energy, gravity, and other stardust conglomerations.

Then self-catalyzing molecular sets showed up and we got actual REPRODUCTION, which innovated a whole new type of persistence -- which, because of mutation, then sex, then culture, etc., had/has change embedded in it. In other words, we got LIFE -- a new dance of persistence and change in which entities take on a new type of individual persistence -- SURVIVAL -- and a new type of species persistence -- HEREDITY. Entities began taking action to survive long enough to reproduce.

With Life, Things and Conditions started to become increasingly important. Because when a pattern of stardust took on the project of interacting with its environment in order to SURVIVE, it necessarily became a true ENTITY relating to other ENTITIES. That's the unit of survival, the entity. And that entity -- that unit of survival -- started to develop increasingly sophisticated forms of awareness, will, and agency. Not because it decided to, but because reproductive entities that had these capacities tended to survive to produce more entities that had them -- while those that didn't, tended to drift into oblivion.

So we got an evolution of entities, awareness, will, and agency -- all of which have taken on new forms as life complexified, differentiated, connected up, etc....

Now, in a conversation with Karen, it became clear to me that this dynamic was happening in ways that stretched beyond your usual Darwinism. Take the African villager who, when you ask her who she is, says she is Xusa of X village of Y tribe of Z land of Q ancestors etc. It takes a village to raise a child, they say -- which in evolutionary terms means it takes a village to reproduce. And to survive. And so the entity we are talking about here is the village within its tribal, ecological, and ancestral context -- that's what's surviving and reproducing by having a child.

Which suggests that a person's IDENTITY -- the ENTITY that they identify as -- has a tremendous lot to do with how they play their evolutionary role. Which suggests that one of the social systems we need to evolve is how we modern/post-modern folks identify ourselves. As aspects of systems. As Earth. As stardust. Etc.

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