I've been reading and studying self-organizing for years. Reading about autopoiesis and sympoiesis and other living-system elents, trying to employ them and embed them in my thinking. Kelly's term for all of this and more is upcreation.
“Self-organization that brings forth an emergent level of complexity that encompasses, without destruction, the previous lower levels of organization. In the right circumstances, self-organization can often also be legitimately called self-creation. Without an outside agent, the parts cohere into a new organization that brings forth an ‘emergent’ level of self not present before. Since the new emergent level of complexity encompasses, without destruction, the previous "lower" levels of organization, I call this self-creation of higher levels ‘upcreation.’” Kevin Kelly, 2009, What Technology Wants.
I’ve unpacked this quote a hundred times always finding new mysteries, new understanding, new wealth and questions about myself in relation to what I understand our universe. I find myself stepping into these small packets of wisdom of knowing and let my mind play with possibilities. What does it mean, ‘outside agent’ or ‘without destruction’? I sense these are instructions for me, for my colleagues. What is my upcreation process?
Another one, the exact opposite of what I learned through the process of ‘growing up’.
Freeman Dyson has expressed some thoughts on craziness. In a Scientific American article called "Innovation in Physics," he began by quoting Niels Bohr. Bohr had been in attendance at a lecture in which Wolfgang Pauli proposed a new theory of elementary particles. Pauli came under heavy criticism, which Bohr summed up for him: "We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. My own feeling is that it is not crazy enough." To that Freeman added: "When a great innovation appears, it will almost certainly be in a muddled, incomplete and confusing form. To the discoverer, himself, it will be only half understood; to everyone else, it will be a mystery. For any speculation which does not at first glance look crazy, there is no hope!" The Starship and the Canoe, Kenneth Brower, 1979
How does one work on something so nebulous, so out there as to be scorned by colleagues and yet still compel me to move forward with a determined belief? How do I untangle it first for myself, in the process of explaining it to others? In an era when paradigms are shifting and new and old ideas are clashing, sometimes violently, how do I hang on to this potential and accept it without harsh judgment? What is my role in stewarding ideas and concepts?
I dance and galumph! and find dance partners who love to play in the liminal spaces….
Anthropologists have found “galumphing” to be one of the prime talents that characterize higher life forms. Galumphing is the immaculately rambunctious and seemingly inexhaustible play-energy apparent in puppies, kittens, children, baby baboons – and also in young communities and civilizations. Galumphing is the seemingly useless elaboration and ornamentation of activity. It is profligate, excessive, exaggerated, uneconomical. We galumph when we hop instead of walk, when we take the scenic route instead of the efficient one, when we play a game whose rules demand a limitation of our powers, when we are interested in means rather than in ends. We voluntarily create obstacles in our path and then enjoy overcoming them. In the higher animals and in people, it is of supreme evolutionary value. Stephen Nachmanovitch, Free Play
Galumphing, a prime talent necessary when creating new civilizations? Who would have thought so were it not for Stephen’s reminders from cultures past? And isn’t my work about creating a new civilization?
“If science always insists that a new order must be immediately fruitful, or that it has some new predictive power, then creativity will be blocked. New thoughts generally arise with a play of the mind, and the failure to appreciate this is actually one of the major blocks to creativity. Thought is generally considered to be a sober and weighty business. But here it is being suggested that creative play is an essential element in forming new hypotheses and ideas. Indeed, thought which tries to avoid play is, in fact, playing false with itself. Play, it appears, is the very essence of thought. David Bohm
And place. What place does place have in the quality of my thought and play? Quantum physics tell us there is “no out there”. If so, how does place inform my own creations? What is the power of place and do I create it, or does it create me?
I owe more gratitude than I can express to the City and the University of Oxford -- for Port Meadow and her pubs, the "smells and bells" of St. Barnabas' Church on Sunday mornings, the countless beautiful buildings that lift the spirit at every turn, the libraries, lecture halls and seminar rooms made open to all who need them, and the numerous dons so often available for conversation and suggestion. Quantum physics shows us that we cannot separate ourselves from our environment, and I doubt that I could have written this book living in any other place. Danah Zohar, Quantum Self, Introduction
The above packets of thought can be summed up with this short thought.
“The universe is not made up of atoms; it’s made up of tiny stories.”― Joseph Gordon-Levitt, The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, Vol. 1
How do my stories, my thoughts and feelings play into the larger narrative of Earth and Universe? We each matter in unique and mysterious ways. How is it we can all matter together? Both unique and one?
"If you did not do what you did today, for example, the entire world would be in some way different. Your acts ripple outward in ways that you do not understand, interacting with the experience of others, and hence, forming world events. The most famous and the most anonymous person are connected through such a fabric, and an action seemingly small and innocuous can end up changing history." Jane Roberts: The Nature of the Psyche: It's human Expression, 1979
In that vein, what difference will my writing and publishing these quotes and thoughts contribute to the world? I think it is in Bucky Fuller’s book, Intuition in which he describes thoughts as floating out to the stars and those same thoughts floating back to us with new and interesting information. Perhaps this is where and how my insights originate.
courses. What is a multiple try? When will we escape? Why and to what? I wonder. What is my part in this great escape?