Categories
- Human Body Development Expansion & Consolidation Human Nature

Embryonic Humanity

Humanity is a whole, single organism, and may be likened unto the body of a human being, also a whole and single organism.  Likewise, the embryological processes that led to the development of the human being are therefore the same processes in the body of humankind.  What are these processes?

 

Humanity was not always a whole and single organism in its social, outward form.  Of course, on an ontological level, humanity is one – has always been, and always will be.  The last thousands of years have been the gradual manifestation into reality of this latent truth.  However, there have been stages:  “History has thus far recorded principally the experience of tribes, cultures, classes, and nations. With the physical unification of the planet in this century and acknowledgement of the interdependence of all who live on it, the history of humanity as one people is now beginning.”

 

We may say, then, that we are witnessing humanity’s embryological phase.  Roughly a century old, compared to the hundreds of millennia during which Homo sapiens existed, and the tens of millennia of civilization, humanity as one organism is very much an embryo.

 

What are the main embryological processes?  Immediately, the processes of cell division and growth and of differentiation and specialization come to mind.  This is how the organism increases in size and complexity, and other fundamental processes of gastrulation, somitogenesis, and organogenesis result from these first two foundational processes.

 

There is a third process, less discussed and yet now recognized as equally important, that it makes up the third of the three main processes of embryology: apoptosis.  A highly ordered and natural process, apoptosis is a series of biochemical events that leads to cell death.  WIthout apoptosis, for instance, fingers and toes wouldn’t be formed, as the hands and feet are massive paws until the cells in-between fingers and toes apoptose.  Similarly, organs are sculpted to their desired structure through apoptosis.  The chambers of the heart hollow out as structure responds to anticipated function.  The nervous system forms first as an overproduced mass of cells with potential, and those through which synaptic connections don’t arise aren’t chemically confirmed, and simply apoptose to allow for a well-functioning, descriptive neural network based on interactions that happened; and not a prescribed or predetermined system.  Apoptosis is not a passive processes, but active and highly-regulated, necessary for organic health and to maintain homeostasis – ironically, some degenerative diseases result from ineffective apoptosis.

 

This is not the only way cells die.  There is also the biological phenomenon of necrosis, which is the death of cells due to damage, toxins, trauma, infection, lack of blood flow or oxygen, a poisonous chemical environment – factors all extrinsic to the cell itself.  Necrosis is an unnatural and unhealthy occurrence, while apoptosis is a natural and healthy process.  And the differences are clinically perceptible; apoptosis is completely unnoticeable while necrosis results in pain, redness, heat, swelling, etc.

 

So what parallels can be drawn between the three processes of proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis?

 

– These processes are analogous to the dialectic through which civilization advances – crisis and victory.  The victory is often in terms of growth and decentralization – two movements that are inseparable.  They are both in terms of numbers and complexity, quantity and quality.  The crisis comes in the form of apoptosis – a decline in numbers, momentary set-backs and breaches in bonds, decreased efficacy when new complexities occur.

 

– Crisis is not a result of failure on the part of the protagonists, nor is it a passive occurrence; rather, it is an active and healthy phenomenon, necessary to provide organic conditions for new victories.  As progress is dynamic, so are the processes involved.

 

– It is important to distinguish between natural and healthy crisis and disruptive crisis.  Two factors predominate – perspective and the environment.  As apoptosis is a result of inner conditions, whereas necrosis is a result of external environmental factors, we must be alert to extraneous complications that result from the environment, and are not intrinsic to the process itself.  Crisis can be a smooth, seamless, and non-disruptive process when occurring in an environment imbued with love, patience, forbearance, and enthusiasm, one in which a humble posture of learning is the mode of operation.  Furthermore, if one has a negative perspective on events, then likely it will be seen as a crisis in negative connotation of the word; whereas if one perceives the same events as natural, it can be seen as an opportunity for progress.  How can we prevent unhealthy crisis – necrosis – before it becomes clinically manifest, and create environments and facilitate perspectives toward apoptosis, or healthy crisis?

 

– These three processes, growth, decentralization, and crisis, are all necessary for healthy progress, and they exist in a dynamic equilibrium.  An excess of any one becomes unhealthy.  Growth by itself leads to a congregation of functionless cells, losing touch with the purpose of increasing numbers; decentralization by itself is a premature distancing from the community, resulting in unsustainable activities or complacent stance; and crisis by itself is usually an indicator that focus is not on the process as a whole, but instead is on certain cells (individuals).

 

There is, of course, much more insight that can be drawn from how a human being embryologically develops and its application to the processes by which humanity advances.  It is important to always keep in mind that all these multiple interacting processes are fundamentally organic in nature.

Categories
- Religion - Science - Three Protagonists Development Knowledge

History of the World, Part 4

Humanity’s social life is evolving towards fruition of a world civilization.  This process is propelled by two complementary systems of knowledge and practice – religion and science.  Both of these systems advance human insights into the same reality.  Both use similar faculties of the mind and soul, such as reason, imagination, attraction to beauty, and commitment to truth.  Both have underlying assumptions, a language, methods, and both progress over time.  Science without religion becomes blind materialism, and religion without science becomes superstition.  Together, they advance civilization.  What are some examples of past societies where the two were in harmony?

The source of true religion is, has been, and will continue to be the Manifestation of God.  Thus, the ultimate cause of the advancement of civilization is the education given to humanity by the Manifestations throughout time.  They bring teachings according to the requirements of the age, and their teachings unfold progressively over time.  There is but one religion, as there is but one humanity.

We know that humanity’s evolutionary process is cyclical in nature, like seasons of a year.  These Manifestations bring periods of spiritual vigor, akin to a springtime.  We are currently living in such a transition time of regeneration, where there is an interplay of two sets of forces.  The first is the disintegrative force – bringing turmoil, suffering, destruction, and at the same time, collapsing the obstacles and breaking down hindrances on the path towards world unity.  It is haphazard and chaotic in its application, and mysterious in nature.  The other is the integrative force – systematic, steady, calm, persistent, as it gives rise to new systems founded on oneness and justice.  It is manifest through cooperation, reciprocity, and mutual aid, and through the spirit of world solidarity we increasingly see.

This cyclic, organic, evolutionary process of the advancement of civilization – propelled by knowledge, vitalized by the Manifestation, shaped by integrative and disintegrative forces – is nonetheless largely determined by human agency.  It is on the will of our three protagonists – individuals, communities, and institutions – that depends the outcome of our unfolding drama.

Categories
Oneness

History of the World, Part 1

In previous posts, we read about various fragmented and incoherent conceptions of the individual and her or his relationship to society.  We also looked at an example of the evolution of conceptions of the individual over a historical perspective.  The concept of the oneness of humanity, woven throughout our earlier posts, has helped illuminate our understanding about the nature of social relationships.  Drawing on the analogy of the human body has helped us avoid fragmented conceptions of social reality.  As we delve deeper into the metaphor, refine our understanding of the relationship between cells, tissues, organs, and systems of the human body, we behold a rich model materializing before us of how to avoid extremes of unfettered individualism and suffocating collectivism – a topic of heated contention in western political theory.

Oneness is our foundational principle, which we use as the context to understand our interconnected and collective life on the planet.  It is through the lens of this principle that we analyze and interpret human history.  The next few posts will provide a perspective of history that is consistent with a conception of global and temporal human oneness.

The first point we consider, is that all things are on a path, evolving and developing towards maturity.  This is true of plants obviously: the progression from seed to sapling to fruit-bearing tree. It is true of the human being: from embryo to infancy and childhood to youth and adulthood. And it is even applicable to a conception of society and the path of human civilization: from family to tribe, to city to nation-state, and to planetary civilization.  Each stage betokens requirements and characteristics, each stage expresses powers and limitations, each stage engenders conditions that the subsequent stage supersedes.  From stage to stage, new capacities are trained and awakened, new limitations wax and old ones wane, and novel challenges are confronted.  The progression is not linear, but rather goes through cycles, characterized by ebbs and flows of tragedies and triumphs, of crisis superseded by victory.