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Is nature a living entity?


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#1    Beany

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 02:25 AM

There's an esoteric theory that nature is a living dynamic entity that surges and evolves, that it is more than just a series of connections between animate and inanimate objects. If this is true, does it have some sort of consciousness? Not the kind humans experience, because it's not human, but if it does have consciousness, how could it be described?


#2    Frank Merton

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 02:37 AM

The Chinese call that the Tao.  It provides sentient beings the ability to do things that physical reality could not permit, such as experience the world and be conscious and make free choices, but we really have no ability to know anything about it; its very nature is self-contradictory.


#3    Beany

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 05:46 AM

View PostFrank Merton, on 21 April 2013 - 02:37 AM, said:

The Chinese call that the Tao.  It provides sentient beings the ability to do things that physical reality could not permit, such as experience the world and be conscious and make free choices, but we really have no ability to know anything about it; its very nature is self-contradictory.

All I know about the Tao is what I've learned from pop culture. Is the Tao itself thought to be sentient? Boy howdy, I get the the part about lacking the ability to know anything about it. Sometimes I feel like I've caught a glimpse of it, but it's no more substantial the the shadow on the ground of a bird flying overheard. I wonder if when we die we'll learn anymore about it than we do when we're alive. That's my idea of heaven, someone explaining just exactly what's going on down here and how it all works, and even better, I'll understand it. In which case, it's going to have to be pretty simple.


#4    Frank Merton

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 06:27 AM

From the Tao Te Ching #41

The Tao is nowhere to be found.
Yet it nourishes and completes all things.


#5    Frank Merton

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 06:33 AM

My view is that Taoism is but one approach, albeit a good one.  Regardless, there are probably (I would say almost certainly) things about existence that cannot be understood in the usual sense of understanding, and whether they can be known other ways is beyond me.

For example, we all know we have free will.  Indeed, denying it is to deny our existence as mindful beings.  But free will is impossible.  If what we do is "free," it must be without cause and not random (the two possibilities physics allows), but then what is it?  Whim?  No, we perceive it as choice under will, but uncaused will?


#6    Professor T

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 07:58 AM

I believe nature is a living sentient being.. I kind of came to this conclusion through long hours observing nature in whatever forms I found. I kind of view nature as an omnipresent force. There's nothing man can create artificially that nature cant destroy. But nature all-be-it a dictator of terms can be gentle and loving, or destructive if something gets in it's way. We are part of it.. Which makes it difficult to understand or commune with from our perspective.


#7    Paradigm2929

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 08:06 AM

View PostFrank Merton, on 21 April 2013 - 06:33 AM, said:

My view is that Taoism is but one approach, albeit a good one.  Regardless, there are probably (I would say almost certainly) things about existence that cannot be understood in the usual sense of understanding, and whether they can be known other ways is beyond me.

For example, we all know we have free will.  Indeed, denying it is to deny our existence as mindful beings.  But free will is impossible.  If what we do is "free," it must be without cause and not random (the two possibilities physics allows), but then what is it?  Whim?  No, we perceive it as choice under will, but uncaused will?

Free (adj.): (1) not under the control of another; at liberty. (2) unrestricted; not restrained or fixed.
Freewill (n): (1) the power of acting at one's own discretion.

Neither of these implies "uncaused". In fact, without cause we would not exist and from that the idea of freedom vanishes. For example, can you fathom the possible reactions to a particular stimuli? If I prick you in the arm with a pin, what do you do? There are many reactions in which you undergo. A cause does not determine a specific effect, but simply determines that there will be an effect.

As for the main questions, no I do not believe that nature is a single, sentient entity. Nature is a network, a system if you will, that works in a dizzying array of methodologies that may be determined as chaotic at times. With our loose knowledge of identity, we can determine the difference between different living organisms and their difference between the inanimate (inorganic objects and forces).

Edited by Paradigm2929, 21 April 2013 - 08:09 AM.

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#8    Beany

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 05:28 PM

If nature is a living entity, then are we a part of it? And if we are, what is our function, I wonder. As for being sentient, could what we call coincidence actually be a demonstration of that sentience?


#9    redhen

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 06:25 PM

As for a universal consciousness, there is a Buddhist concept of alaya or storehouse consciousness that can be tapped into. It's also similar to the akashic field which Edgar Cayce was allegedly able to connect to.

One more link to the akashic field.

happy reading.


#10    Beany

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 07:02 PM

View Postredhen, on 21 April 2013 - 06:25 PM, said:

As for a universal consciousness, there is a Buddhist concept of alaya or storehouse consciousness that can be tapped into. It's also similar to the akashic field which Edgar Cayce was allegedly able to connect to.

One more link to the akashic field.

happy reading.

Thanks for the links. I'm aware of the akashic records, and have read a lot of Cayce, but am not familiar with Laszlo's work. I'm going to have see if there's something I can download on my Kindle. There's a lot of information there that I need to tackle slowly. I do believe there is an informed energy that sort of powers everything, and that everything is connected. Or maybe more than connected, because connected implies a separation, and perhaps there is no separation, only the illusion of it that we create with our own minds, thoughts, & perceptions. There was a time when I felt this connectedness so powerfully that it was very difficult to do anything but just experience it. I don't know how I managed to keep my job, as I was so caught up in bliss that focusing enough to finish a sentence was difficult. Thanks, RedHen, for providing me with food for thought, but more importantly, for reminding me of what at some level I already know. Sometimes I get so caught up in the doing but you reminded me that the being is what powers the doing.


#11    redhen

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 08:53 PM

View PostBeany, on 21 April 2013 - 07:02 PM, said:

I'm going to have see if there's something I can download on my Kindle. There's a lot of information there that I need to tackle slowly.

Lazlo's book Science and the Akashic Field can be found on Amazon.  Something similar but less dense reading is The Quantum and the Lotus: A Journey to the Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet by Matthieu Ricard, again on Amazon.  One last suggestion; although I haven't read anything by Carl Jung, I think maybe his concept of a collective unconscious is also similar, or maybe not. Just a thought.


#12    HDesiato

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 09:00 PM

Nature seems to act react on a large scale in response to relatively small scale alterations.
Ecological Interconnectedness is one way to express it.
One could possibly see environmental damage if one non indigenous species is introduced, upsetting the balanced food chain.
The subtraction of wolves in Yellowstone and the introduction of rats in New Zealand both are examples of the interconnected ness of nature.
Nature displays qualities in common with an individual organism. We can see it as behavior, personality.
It might be a good way to view things, but IMO, it is more of a metaphor than anything else.


#13    Beany

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 10:45 PM

View Postredhen, on 21 April 2013 - 08:53 PM, said:

Lazlo's book Science and the Akashic Field can be found on Amazon.  Something similar but less dense reading is The Quantum and the Lotus: A Journey to the Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet by Matthieu Ricard, again on Amazon.  One last suggestion; although I haven't read anything by Carl Jung, I think maybe his concept of a collective unconscious is also similar, or maybe not. Just a thought.

Read Jung years ago, it might be worthwhile to go back & re-read. I can bring my ol' mature self to it this time around. I'm going for the less dense book, thanks for the tip. You know, maybe all the reading I did years ago has coalesced into something meaningful for me today. When I was reading the stuff it was just information, and I wasn't connecting the dots.


#14    Beany

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 10:52 PM

Here's my secret theory, that the reason body art, piercings, scarfication, etc. is so popular is that people are identifying with the body of Mother Earth, replicating her healing & her wounds on a smaller scale. If nature is more than just a series of inter-connectedness, than we ARE mother earth, or at least a part of her, not just connected to her. So what happens to us, what we do, what we think, affects her as much as it does it, like we're all parts of one big giant organism. If I had a choice about which part of the organism I would inhabit, it would be the heart, I think.


#15    White Crane Feather

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 12:25 AM

View PostBeany, on 21 April 2013 - 02:25 AM, said:

There's an esoteric theory that nature is a living dynamic entity that surges and evolves, that it is more than just a series of connections between animate and inanimate objects. If this is true, does it have some sort of consciousness? Not the kind humans experience, because it's not human, but if it does have consciousness, how could it be described?
I believe so. This has been the view of most traditional cultures long before religions.  I would describe it as an ocean of conciousness in which we are but droplets, but even this probably is far to inferior of a description. I believe it is concious and self aware

"I wish neither to possess, Nor to be possessed. I no longer covet paradise, more important, I no longer fear hell. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, But I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light.  Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, Consuming myself. "
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