VOID ( VOID (VOID ) )
VOID ( VOID ( POINT ) )
A zero dimensional object is a fixed point devoid of location until we speculate an imaginary second point and draw a connection. It is now possible to define the position of the original object relative to the latter. In so doing we introduce not just the concept of position but imply the possibility of a one-dimensional relationship between the original and imagined zero dimensional objects.
Between these two positions, each defined as relative to the other, there may be an infinite number of possible locations along the vector? To overcome the introduction of an analogue perspective and reduce unnecessary complexity lets imagine the distance between these two locations as digital. The latter being as close to the former as reality will allow, with no room for a third or more points to be squeezed into the infinitesimal space between them.
As the first gives rise to a second so the second gives rise to a third, implying a dimensionless plane, or a plane of no dimensions, since the points have zero dimension and are spaced apart by zero distance, or as close to zero as this imagined reality being constructed will allow us.
Introduce a fourth imaginary point and the original zero dimensional point now has the attributes of existence within 3 dimensions. What would the shape of this point now be if not a sphere of infinitesimal radius?
Finally and finally it has to be, a fifth imaginary location introduces the notion of a fourth dimension but what could this mean? Perhaps the original zero dimensional point enters reality endowed with the attributes of three dimensional space. Maybe its location has the potential to shift position or the radius of this spherical shape acquires a potential for distance? Or better still, the fourth dimension can be understood as a potential for duration or temporal existence?
Chapter 1 – the first of 25 – is possibly the simplest yet hardest to describe. If one were to consider each verse as a co-ordinate within a three-dimensional matrix of 5 x 5 x 5 points, verse 1 would represent the co-ordinates 0,0,0 the conjunction of the x, y and z axis at zero.
“Just as in the case of a child, the first breath it draws after long nourishment terminates the gradualness of the merely quantitative progression – the qualitative leap – and now the child is born, so, too, the spirit that educates itself matures slowly and quietly toward the new form, dissolving one particle of the edifice of its previous world after the other …. The gradual crumbling which did not alter the physiognomy of the whole is interrupted by the break of day that, like lightning, all at once reveals the edifice of the new world.”
Hegel The Phenomenology of Mind
So …. the steady progression of discrete quantum events finally gives way to the deeper experience of process; where there are no objects only actions in continuous interplay. From ‘process’ a cognitive connection to change is established, moreover, a change suggestive of an evolutionary movement forward, irrevocable, significant and endowed with meaning. Once the recognition of qualiative change has emerged the notion of process then turns in on itself. The qualiative distinction of clear parameters between one state and the next combine with the underlying process of ever-present, all-encompassing connection, inviolate and pure. From out of the dialectical comes a third state, the synthesis, neither vector nor plane but three-dimensional material reality – new life is born.
The chance encounter, fusion and mutual destruction of male and female gametes resurrecting from out of the cessation of autonomous existance a ‘one’ that transcends the ‘two’. From out of nowhere, like the universe from the primordial dimensionless point, there emerges a new sentient being, who will come to experience the joys and tribulations that make up this sensation we call being alive.
By reversing the action we can conceptualise the death of the individual as the fission and return of sperm and egg to their respective sources. That in turn reveal a chain of reproduction that takes this product of evolutionary process, this state of consciousness we call ‘I’, back through the generations …. homo sapien to homo erectus, air breathing mammal to underwater reptile, starfish to amoeba, bacterium to a chance property of just four chemical elements in chains of just four nucleides, a tetratys and tetragrammaton of science ….. to reveal a supernatural phenomenon, the disposition for matter to come alive.
But what of the forward motion. To where is this evolutionary process taking us?
“We no more know our own destiny than a tea leaf knows the destiny of the East India Company.”
Douglas Adams The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Let us assume the progressive evolution of life towards ever increasing degrees of sophistication is a universal tendency, then where is this process leading us to next? It’s probably safe to assume that if current trends are maintained then the boundaries of human consciousness should pass from the local through the global and on to a transglobal context of operations. Back in the 1960’s Marshall McLuhan’s analysis of an emerging ‘global village’, conceived on the back of technological breakthrough in world-wide communication capabilities, suggested an end to geographical frontiers. The only boundary left was humanity itself, with space as the ‘final frontier’.
The reality of the near-instant linkage of everyone to everyone else has grown with a rapidity of awesome proportions.
“As far as time to communicate is concerned, the planet has shrunk so much that the other ‘cells’ of the global brain are no further away from our brains than are our own bodies.
At the same time as the speed of global interaction is increasing, so is the complexity. The global telecommunications network of 1975 was no more complex than a region of the brain the size of a pea. But overall data-processing capacity is doubling every two and a half years, and if this rate of increase is sustained the global telecommunications network could equal the brain in complexity by the year 2000 – if this seems an unbelievably short a time ahead …. the author was writing in 1982 …. it is probably because few of us can really grasp just how fast the growth is.
The changes that this will bring will be so great that their full impact may well be beyond our imagination. No longer will we perceive ourselves as isolated individuals; we will know ourselves to be part of a rapidly integrating global network, the nerve cells of an awakening global brain.”
Peter Russell The Awakening Earth – the Global Brain
Whether this emerging higher order of organisation subsumes humanity into an ever efficient subjugation of the excluded ‘many’ by the rich and powerful ‘few’ has yet to be resolved one way or the other. In ancient Sumer the benefits of technological breakthrough suceeded spectacularly because of a social infrastructure that was quintesentially democratic in nature. Once this foundation had been eroded and eventually removed so too did the rapid rate of innovation that had made the leap forward so profound.
The growth in the internet, sustained by the spiralling down of costs of entry and its bottom-up mode of connectivity, is countered by the parallel growth in the transnational corporations who are delivering the technology and who are increasingly only accountable to themselves. The Cold War clash of ideological empires, of market versus state capitalism, has given way to a new more urgent struggle. The contestation is now between two systems of organisation, one attempting to impose global hegemony from the top, the other attempting to bring accountability to those at the base. In a very real sense this has always been the struggle, the difference now being the ability of humanity to focus more clearly on the mechanics of drawing this battle to its ultimate conclusion.
If there is to be a ‘Global Brain’ will it seek to derive conscious will over our patterns of behaviour or is it to be an integrative function, investing meaning to the way we relate to our environment. Either way the task is to return to the garden. In the meantime we appear to be preparing for our departure. Our planet is dying and we are forced to act as if we are merely visiting, on transit to another destination. The spiritual link between soul and matter needs mending. Consciousness of the problems of ecological catastrophe may make the problems seem worse than they really are. But at least there is the virtue of at least making the problems Known, and all the better to be resolved and dealt with.
A contemporay of Marshall McCluhan in the sixties was the trickster academic professor, Timothy Leary. His vision implied a globalisation too but one rooted in a transcendant state of consciousness. He speculated that the exponential growth of development was rooted in DNA’s instinctive attempt to bring us to our senses. That it was a race against time. Either we continued to despoil and destroy the fragile balance that sustains our inter-relationship with our environment or we all faced extinction.
Of course he was speaking both metaphorically and literally here. Only those without imagination could think otherwise of course. DNA doesn’t have a mind of its own, obviously, but it does play a pivotal role in the fulcrum between the sustainability of life and the material environment. Genetic evolution is currently extremely rapid. The development of the human mind being the prime example. The source of this growth is no doubt of human and social origin, but its manner of passage from one generation to the next is through genetic inheritence. The human brain has reached such a peak of productivity that it has now begun to apply conscious decision, with surgical precision, to the process of genetic inheritence itself. Like the genetic imperative for sex, we seem programmed, impelled to become ever more knowledgable and in control of the world around us.
DNA is in a very real sense the true life form of this planet. It may also be one member of a meta-species scattered throughout the universe. From its perspective we are little more than disposable, entropic vehicles for getting it around. It is nature’s evolutionary motor and we are its means for attaining consciousness of itself. It has evolved us in order to secure its survival, to consolidate its toe-hold on the planet. Who really knows? Any or all of these statements may represent a valid point of view. It might even want to prepare us for the long journey to the stars, where it plans to meet the progenitor of Ea, Enki and all the rest.
What we can be sure of is that it is the means by which inanimate matter becomes transfigured into that something unspecifiable we designate organically alive. And as such is the anti-entropic source of the blueprint that instructs the genetic material in a fertilised egg to develop into organisms as diverse in form and function as oak trees and vipers. DNA, to use Francis Crick’s phrase, is none other than “the secret of life”.
It is also the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life. And the length of double helix as portrayed by the Holy Cabbalah, the exact length and proportion of a gene. The ‘Word’ of God, the ‘laws of god’ given to Moses or mere strings of binary code in a universe where nothing random and to chance can take place, built on probabilities with the odd impossibility thrown in for good measure. A compassionate God?
“Well the DNA doesn’t give a damn about us. It uses us to reproduce itself. In many species reproduction is the beginning of death. That was in the biology book James Joyce had when he was in university and it made a big impression on him: reproduction is the beginning of death. The salmon dies right after spawning; as soon as we reach sexual maturity we start declining. The DNA wants us to reproduce and make more DNA, better DNA, and then it’s finished with us.
In another sense, though, on a deeper level, I think the DNA has designed our nervous system, including the right lobe of our brain and all our higher faculties, to enable us to do what it can’t do. It’s much more intelligent than us but it’s much slower. It works in billions of years and it’s designed human beings to think faster and do things quicker, so that we don’t have to settle for the original programme. We can revise the programme. I think that we can find the trigger of the senescence process and turn it off.
The biologists who think that senescence is the result of entropy really haven’t considered the thermodynamics of entropy. If senescence was the result of entropy we’d find a random graph of people dying at thirty, seventy, at a hundred and fifty, three hundred and fifty and so on. Instead we find a straight line at around seventy. Almost everyone goes within a few years of that point.
So it’s not a random stochastic process. It’s a definite kinetic programme. The DNA plans to kill us off after it has used us. But it is very obvious that we’re close to finding the chemical trigger and nullifying it. Nobody knows how long we can live, everybody’s guessing, really – it may be hundreds of years, it may be thousands.”
Robert Anton Wilson
And if the Bible is to be believed it could be forever. For the day will come when the alchemical dream of a return to the Garden will allow us to eat of the Tree of Life and become immortal.
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
1 Corinthians 15:26
And He showed me a pure river of water of life …. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the Tree of Life ….. and there shall be no more curse …. and they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.”