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R.F. Bronkhorst
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The Structure of Living Nature

Knowledge has to be stored. Libraries, universities, and old people, are places where large amounts of knowledge can be stored. Science keeps progressing and adding to the mountain of knowledge that has to be stored. As culture and industry progress also they develop knowledge that has to be maintained. Civil administration and history in general, all generate data that people want to keep. It is very important to store all this information because it ensures the continuity of life as we know it. Just a small gap in the continuity would mean that knowledge has disappeared. Knowledge that is gone is seldom missed, people are not aware of what is not there. Therefore they will not go looking for knowledge that was once there but has disappeared. If there would be a small gap in the continuity of storing knowledge, science, culture and civil life would return to an earlier stage of development. All the progress had to be done all over again, if the information about the results would not be available. This means that progress made could be defined as the amount of knowledge and discoveries that are stored. Progressing as such is nothing but adding to that amount.

Evolution works on the same principle. Individual beings gather knowledge and the species develop. Also here the continuity of that knowledge is very important. Countless millions of years were necessary to gather the genetic information needed to create a now extinct bird called Dodo. Then there was a gap in the continuity of the storage of that genetic information. It did not matter how big that gap was, once the information was gone it was definitely gone. After there was no living Dodo for more than one second, the chain of millions of years of Dodo progress had definitely finished. And all the knowledge that all the former Dodo's had gathered was no longer available. So, the continuity of the knowledge of what makes a kind of beings to what they are is the most basic ingredient for their existence. Progress is the amount of knowledge that is stored, and continuity of that storage is vital.

Now, thinking about that sad story of the Dodo, a question arises if we look at it very carefully. The Dodo has disappeared because there was a disruption of the continuity of genetically stored information. Millions of years of the experiences of Dodo's had been crystallized into that what defined Dodo's as a kind: their genetic material. Remember the medium used to store information has to be an undisrupted continuum to be effective. And remember that the science involved in translating natural selection into sequences of amino acids is immeasurable complex. Because that is what genes are.

That leaves us with one question: Where is the knowledge stored to do so? Where is the information that tells us how to translate natural selection into genes? Obviously not in the genes themselves, the method how to reproduce genes had to exist before genes could come into existence. Otherwise it had stayed a onetime event. So there has to be a continuum that contains the information that is used in the process of natural selection. Or to be mere clear: What is it exactly that progresses during the process of evolution? It is clearly not the individual being that is evolving. The only contribution from the individual to natural selection is either to reproduce and die, or not to reproduce and die. The individual beings just gather the necessary information; it is the totality that is progressing. Evolution is something that is done by nature as a whole, not by individuals or species.

That gives us an indication to where the information needed for natural selection is stored, nature as a whole is the only continuum able to do so. No individual being lives long enough to oversee the changes of evolution, or even be aware of it. Also we as people are both the result of evolution, as well as a link in the development of mankind. Still we are completely unaware of this. We accept our body just as a given fact and its relationship with our ancestors remains hidden. We do not even seriously consider the fact that our actions shape the future. We only are aware of our individual point of view. The fact that we are an expression of the progress of nature as a whole, is something beyond our perception. Our senses are not capable to see the place we have in the grand scheme of things.

Our sense of isolated individuality is an illusion however. Nature as a whole is evolving and we are an expression of that. Evolution created our senses, even our sense of individuality. But it is this same sense of individuality that keeps us from seeing we are an integrated part of the whole. We see aspects of our self repeated in our children but we don't realize that is only because both we as well as our children are manifestations of the whole of nature, of evolution.

Bee

That brings us back to the Dodo. If the Dodo gene pool was the building plan on how to make a Dodo, than somewhere there has to be the information on how to make a building plan. You have to subtle genetic code of amino acids. The unbelievably complex method to do so is part of an even more subtle level of existence. So first there is information about the way to preserve the results of natural selection. This information exists on such a subtle level it cannot be measured or even localized because it does not exist on the level of the individual. This information gives way to the genetic structures as they exist within every cell of our body. This is a less subtle level of existence, not visible to the eye but it can be measured. This genetic code is the reason why our body looks the way it does, the source why we are who we are. This is the least subtle level; it is clearly visible what the origin is and what is the result. So, the bird is gone because the reproduction of its building plan was disrupted. But the knowledge how to make a building plan for a Dodo still exists of course; it was never part of Dodo-kind but part of nature as a whole.

It is very likely that some of the features that made the Dodo to what it was will reappear somewhere in the future. If another species of birds gets into the position where they can use the Dodo experience, say walking around, typical Dodo genes will suddenly become part of the gene pool of that kind of bird. That would be impossible if genetic information was the only factor that defined a being. But if one remembers that it is nature as a whole that is evolving and progressing, it is easy to understand that the blue print to create one species can be used to support another. Nature is the undisrupted continuum where the information is stored how to make that blue print. For that reason components of that blue print, little blocs of information, can be transferred to other designs even across time. Their basic structure is the same, and they are both different manifestations of the same thing: nature.

Nature is a word without a clear definition, usually associated with mountains and trees. We have no clear picture of the whole of nature because we only see little parts of it at a time. What we do know about nature is that it has three main aspects: 1) the rivers, rocks and mountains that make up the earth 2) the countless living individual beings, plants and micro-organisms 3) consciousness, the one thing all these beings have in common.

So nature can be divided into living and non-living nature. Living nature has two aspects: the physical bodies of beings and their consciousness. There is not much to say about non-living nature in this context, it is the field of the kind of science that needs measurements and calculations. Living nature however, is something we are an integrated part of ourselves. We hardly think of our self as nature, but if you want to find Mother Nature's essence all you have to do is look inside. Our own body is an expression of the miracle of life; our own consciousness contains mysteries beyond our wildest dreams. Still we don't know what nature exactly is, we are not born with that knowledge. Even though we are an expression of nature our selves, is the knowledge what nature exactly is, not an inherent part of existence. That is of course also due to the limitations of our senses, the knowledge is there all the time but we just don't see it. Unless someone points it out to us. Then it becomes that obvious it is hard to understand why we did not figure it out our selves. And that is exactly what I intent to do here: point out to you what you really are.

Let's start with the bottom line here: what you really are is consciousness. The most essential part of your being is the consciousness that dwells inside your body. If you would lose a limp you would still be the same person, you would not become someone else. But if you would be without any form of consciousness you would be dead. When you are sleeping you are unconscious, you are not without consciousness. Being unconscious means that the senses are no longer connected to the centre of perception. Being unconscious means not being conscious of anything, which is not the same as being without consciousness. An unconscious body is just sleeping; a body without consciousness is dead.
  

Consciousness

So, consciousness and life are two words indicating the same thing. If we talk about what existence really is, we call it life. But if we focus on what this life exactly does, we see it is conscious of itself and its surroundings. Consciousness makes you aware of these words written here, the text may be there and your eyes may be looking at it, consciousness is the fact you actually are aware what is written. Do you understand this?
 

Eye

Try to focus on this fact: you are aware of what you see. That makes two different things, first there is the subject you are seeing and then there is the fact you are actually aware of what you are seeing. Right now your eyes do see these words and your mind sees the meaning of it. And there is the fact that you are actually conscious of it all, it is alive. If we would put a dead person in front of this text, we would have the same ingredients, there are eyes and there is this text. Still there would be no actual seeing. It is not the eyes that see, it is consciousness that is using the eyes to see. The eyes are only an instrument, a camera; it is consciousness that is in fact looking through the eyes. Try to be aware of this right now, right here. There is this text you are reading and there is the fact that you actually see. There is the object you are looking at and there is the seeing as such. This was what is meant when we said that consciousness is the essence of your being, that what you really are.

More than 600 million years ago an event happened that still has echoes today. It was at this moment that living nature as we know it was born. It is very important to understand what happened because it laid the foundation for the structure of all that was to follow. Still it was a tiny little thing that had happened so long ago, very small, very quick and seemingly insignificant. It is hard to grasp that all of life had its origin in this one thing that had happened. But such is the structure of reality: the big things have their origin in small things at more subtle levels. The cause for that small origin is again more subtle, less material. Anyway, this is what happened more than 600 million years ago:

Flower

In the ocean lived a single cell creature, the first beginning of the chain of events we call life. This first creature was a real living being, it had a one cell body and it interacted with its environment. Because it had a body it had to interact with its environment to sustain that body. With interacting I mean some form of eating etc. Because it was somehow aware of its environment we can say with certainty that it had some form of consciousness. A very faint kind of consciousness of course, even less as the way plants are aware of their situation. So we have this tiny, tiny little creature that has this one cell body and a microscopic faint form of awareness. It is a real living being and it is the first of a chain of others to follow.

This being does only one thing; it has no organs what so ever to do anything at all besides this one activity. The divine and miraculous event that started all of life on earth was this: The single cell creature split in two. First there was one cell, and then there were two cells next to each other. It sounds like not much but it is something so big its implications and consequences are too much to oversee. One event that started 600 million years of the countless beings that together form life, that is a big event. Even when it doesn't look like much.

Now what is the significance of this one thing that happened? Try to picture this: first there was this one consciousness and it was aware of reality through the one cell body. That was the only information this consciousness received, being aware of the condition of this cell. You could say it had one eye to be aware of its situation. Then the one cell creature split into two independent functioning units. Consciousness had suddenly two independent streams of information. Do you understand this; this is the most difficult part of the book. There is one consciousness, it has no form as such and it is not localized at a particular place. It is not something material therefore it does not respond in the way that matter does. It can be at one place and it can simultaneously be at another place and is still one single object.

So we have one consciousness that is simultaneously aware of one independent cell, and of another cell. About the same way we use two eyes to create one image of reality. The difference is only that these two beings function completely independent from each other and therefore perceive completely different things. Can you imagine having two eyes but not at the same place? That brings us to the ultimate question, the one question that makes this subject significant: How many beings are there after this first split? It sounds easy but it is really tricky. When you cut your hair or fingernails you are still one person. But you could cut a part of some plants, put it in water and you have two plants. So could something be cut in two halves and still be one thing? Can a single cell organism split into two independent cells and still be one being? Yes, that is precisely what happened; only our eyes are not capable to perceive the unity of two separate forms.

World

Flower

Flowers
Your field of awareness is everything you hear, see touch or smell,
including your physical sensations.

Sometimes our eyes deceive us, sometimes they don't show us reality as it really is. There are plants that reproduce through their roots, popping up at different places. To our eyes it looks like we have more than one plant here, since they grow in different places. In reality it is one plant however, connected through the roots. If one of those apparently independent plants would be very dry and another one of those would be very wet, the roots would transport the surplus humidity. Thus indicating that the plants share a common nervous system, otherwise the one plant would not know about the dryness of the other.

So it is the state of consciousness that determines if two objects are one being or can be considered as two beings. Funny thing is there is not even a word for two consciousnesses. I try to convince you of something that everybody already knows: there is only one consciousness! So, if you cut your nail you do not get two different beings because there is only one consciousness, yours. The cut nail does not have an independent consciousness of its own, it does not perceive. If we cut a part of some kind of plants however it is possible to grow two independent plants. The characteristics of the two plants are identical, genetically they can be considered to be one plant. The point is do they have one or two consciousnesses. Each of those two plants develops its own field of experiences, its bubble of reality as its senses reproduce that reality. Just like you have your point of view, reality as you see it, the experiences within your field of awareness. Plants live in a reality made out of water, sunlight, wind and that sort of things. So even a plant makes his own version of reality where it responds to. That is the reason they look like individual beings to us. But when you cut a plant and grow two out of it, it is still the same being. One being located at two different points in space, if they have a memory they would share the same memory up to the point of separating. That aspect that determines if we can speak of one being or two separate beings is consciousness. It is the same consciousness that is aware of the condition of both plants, they are only not aware of each others condition. Each aspect of the plant lives in its own limited reality, and therefore they appear as functioning separately. It is one plant though even our eyes cannot fathom the context of unity they are part of, just like we cannot see the connection through the roots.

That brings us back to the first single cell organism that cut itself in half and became apparently two. What I try to explain here is that they only looked like two to our eyes, in reality it was still the same being. The single cell organism had evolved into a dual cell organism, where the two cells where not attached to each other. Can you imagine that: A micro-organism that consists of two cells but those two are not connected. That is how the origin of life looked like, that is the most basic structure of biology. I know this sounds controversial because it seems to contradict everything our senses tell us. But our eyes tell us also there is a rainbow above us even though we know that is an illusion. In the same way is our perception that beings are independently functioning and the unity of nature is hidden, an optical illusion. If we use the word life instead of consciousness it becomes clearer, we speak about life on earth as if it is one thing. The life in you and the life in me is one and the same thing. When a person dies his body becomes separated from this collective life. The individual is still there, the body, the senses, but there is no one actually seeing. Without the connection to collective life the body is no longer a unity of different organs and quickly falls apart. It is the unity of life that lends its characteristics to the multitude of cells, and forms them into the unity of the body.

So the single cell became two, and the two cells became four because they were all a perfect copy of the first. Since the first one knew how to divide himself, all the others did that too. The one being grew, since consciousness has no form it can expand without limits. The dual cell organism became four independently functioning cells. The name of this being is nature and it is still expanding today. Can you picture this: all living beings on earth are together one being? All apparently individual persons, plants, insects, animals and micro-organisms are all manifestations of one and the same being. One being as old as life on earth and as big as life on earth. All these countless individual lives that are connected by the same consciousness they all share.

It is this that evolves.

The concept of evolution requires the unity of beings
since it is the whole that evolves and not the individual beings.

 

Evolution is the growing process of the unity of life. Just like the experiences of our ancestors are expressed by our genes, is the level of consciousness an expression of the progress of nature as a whole. The wideness of human consciousness only exists because so many ancestors sought to widen it.

Feather

So the manifold of nature is an expression of the unity of consciousness. The progress of nature as evolution is a manifestation of the progress of consciousness. In this sense we can say that the essential result of the progress of life on earth is stored within consciousness. Its very being represents the progress as it has been made in the past, the fact beings function better over time is only an expression of that. Living nature represents the characteristics of consciousness, and better functioning means better representing those features.

The characteristics of consciousness are: 1) It is that aspect of reality what makes it real. Only when we are aware of things do they become the real reality to us. 2) Being aware is the basic feature of consciousness, that is what it does, it is aware of things. 3) Since it has no form of its own it has no end, it is eternal. Something that has been around for more than 600 million years can safely be called eternal. 4) But most of all, consciousness is one thing, it is collective. It is that what connects individual beings, that aspect of life what makes it one.

So consciousness tries to express those characteristics into physical nature, and during the course of evolution it has increasingly been able to do so. It expresses those four things in all living beings, also in you and in me. Consciousness creates its own version of reality for all individual beings. Consciousness makes you aware of that interpretation of reality. And consciousness is still there when the individual has passed away.

Inside you right now, right here the collective consciousness expresses itself first of all as the fact that you are aware of this text. You don't just look at it; no you are actually aware of it. Right now you have the sense that it is absolutely real what you are doing. No person could convince you that what you see is not real, even though sometimes you have that same impression when you dream. This sense of reality is also a manifestation of consciousness. The eternal nature of consciousness expresses itself through our libido, our sex drive. What we experience is lust but the first origin of that feeling is the eternal existence of our consciousness. Some force is driving animals to go at great length to mate, even though they don't understand the consequences of children and race survival. The force that drives them is the eternal nature of consciousness that tries to express itself. Individual animals cannot grasp the concept of reproduction; it is only in their collective consciousness where the concept of sustaining life is rooted.

The fact that consciousness is one thing is mainly expressed in human behaviour especially our culture. The political structure of the world and the way countries are organized is an expression of the consciousness of the people that live there. On the more personal level is love the word that is used for the wish of two people to unite as much as possible. Also that is an expression of the fact people are actually one on the level of consciousness. We don't see that because it is too subtle for our senses to detect but we instinctively feel it on rare occasions. Collective consciousness and the unity of life expresses itself right now, right here in the fact that you are breathing. Therefore focus on that and you will find out what it is that makes you breathing.

There is breathing inside your field of awareness

Events take place in a sequence. This gives the impression time is passing. But events are accumulative, that means the results of yesterday are added to the day before yesterday. Together they form the present. So moments are not the same, every moment contains more as the one before. The same happens on the level of the mind: What you think now is the result of what you did and thought before. Every thought and action is an expression of the total pool of previous impressions.

Process
The process from chaos to order creates time

You feel time passing, nothing can convince you otherwise. Until you realize: the you that is feeling is itself not subject to time. You have feelings, there is you and there is the feeling of passing time.

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