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Is nature a living entity?


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#31    stevemagegod

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:32 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.

Well than can Weather make a "Free Choice"? After all we Humans are pretty good at predicting the Weather.


#32    WolvenHeart7

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:38 AM

Nature is connected to us and we are to them. We are living beings, but so are the beings of nature.
The problem is that most view animals and plants as objects to use.


#33    Beany

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 02:10 AM

View PostSeeker79, on 22 April 2013 - 05:02 AM, said:

Happens every day.

That works on several levels, doesn't it?


#34    notforgotten

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 02:22 AM

I believe that plants and animals are living entities, but only animals would have a consciousness.


#35    ciriuslea

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 02:30 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?

Isn't this the Gaia hypothesis, ?

http://en.wikipedia....Gaia_hypothesis


#36    Beany

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:50 PM

View Postciriuslea, on 23 April 2013 - 02:30 AM, said:

Isn't this the Gaia hypothesis, ?

http://en.wikipedia....Gaia_hypothesis

It could be, I'll have to go out and look. There's a lot more to be said about this topic than I originally thought, between philosophy, religion, and science. The area where all 3 of these come together fascinates me. Thanks for the link.


#37    Beany

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 12:50 AM

View Postnotforgotten, on 23 April 2013 - 02:22 AM, said:

I believe that plants and animals are living entities, but only animals would have a consciousness.
IDK, I think plants have their own consciousness, not like ours, but a kind of consciousness. I do hereby confess to having an interesting conversation with a redwood tree. And I have a botanist friend who says plants speak to her. Has anyone else had an experience of communicating with plants? Or stones?


#38    sutemi

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 10:34 AM

View PostBeany, on 22 April 2013 - 02:43 AM, said:

That reminds me of the sci fi story, forgot who wrote it, about a human living on Mars who came into contact with a Martian. They were both surprised to see one another, the Martian was going to a party in the city, I think, which the human saw as archaelogical remains containing no life. I wonder if the same kind of thing happens here, that we sometimes run across life forms or consciousness that is so far out of our experience that we don't recognize it for what it is. Just remembered the book, The Martian Chronicles. I  need to re-read it to see if I remembered the story correctly.
This is a great thread I have wanted to post but there is so much that can be said, where to start? But anyway. You are right Beany it was the Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury starring good old Rock Hudson , my favourite episodes were/are  ‘Missionaries’  where 2 priests go too Mars to convert the people and come across some Blue Spheres/energy beings

and the episode ‘Bored and lonely’ where a man is left alone and tries to find another human and keeps just missing a ringing phone eventually he finds a beautiful woman who’s just into clothes and herself and in the end finds happiness with a robot! Couldn’t find a clip of that part though.

Edited by sutemi, 24 April 2013 - 10:35 AM.


#39    Frank Merton

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 10:49 AM

View PostRyu, on 22 April 2013 - 09:51 PM, said:

Why must nature be 'alive'? It's just a compilation of processes that interact in some favorable way for organisms. (usually)
Maybe that's what "life" is.

I think though that people who talk that way think in terms beyond biology and chemistry and think that in some way the universe is conscious and willful (has purpose).  With that definition your question is indeed well taken -- why should we even imagine any such thing?  The evidence is abundant that nature neither favors us nor is against us, but just functions on automatic.  We can manipulate what it does to a degree, to our advantage and, when we don't think carefully enough about all the consequences of what we are doing, often to our harm.  There is no sign of mind in all that.


#40    Frank Merton

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 10:59 AM

Animals, at least mammals, have sentience.  This means they experience the world.  There is no good evidence that the responses seen in other animals are anything other than automatic reflexes developed through ages of evolution.

Sentience is something else.  It combines reflex with emotion, a "lets get the hell out of here" with fear, a "that's my food, buddy," with anger, and so on.  Experience is what really makes us "alive" -- we don't just see the snake in the grass, we "experience" it, and with that experience comes a much deeper and more flexible response -- "it's a grass snake" -- if I'm quick enough I can get a nice lunch compared to, "it's a coral snake" -- sheesh, gotta be careful around here.


#41    Beany

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 01:41 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 24 April 2013 - 10:49 AM, said:

Maybe that's what "life" is.

I think though that people who talk that way think in terms beyond biology and chemistry and think that in some way the universe is conscious and willful (has purpose).  With that definition your question is indeed well taken -- why should we even imagine any such thing?  The evidence is abundant that nature neither favors us nor is against us, but just functions on automatic.  We can manipulate what it does to a degree, to our advantage and, when we don't think carefully enough about all the consequences of what we are doing, often to our harm.  There is no sign of mind in all that.

A sentient nature does not necessarily include favoritism towards human, nor  exclude it, I suppose. There's no rule that a sentient entity would consider humans "special" in some sort of way. If nature is sentient, I imagine she has lot of other things to occupy her mind other than a relative handful of human beings existing in a very small corner of space. And why can't I bring my imagination to this? There's no rules about that, either. Sometimes our imagination can illuminate ideas in useful ways by allowing us to adopt a new perspective.

Edited by Beany, 24 April 2013 - 01:45 PM.


#42    Frank Merton

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 02:27 PM

Some sign of support or favor would be evidence of sentience.  Its absence is a bit of evidence against the idea.

One can imagine whatever strikes ones fancy.  I sometimes imagine myself in a very different world where things go a lot better.\

I would say that if one is inclined to picture a sentient or conscious aspect to the universe, it is more readily done by seeing it as something in nature rather than of it -- a Tao rather than a Gaia.


#43    moonshadow60

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 05:31 PM

Thank you for the link that explains the Gaia hypothesis, but I think more or less the way Frank does on this one. The entire planet and indeed the entire univese has a life force and we are part of the whole.


#44    Beany

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 01:41 PM

View Postmoonshadow60, on 24 April 2013 - 05:31 PM, said:

Thank you for the link that explains the Gaia hypothesis, but I think more or less the way Frank does on this one. The entire planet and indeed the entire univese has a life force and we are part of the whole.

View Postmoonshadow60, on 24 April 2013 - 05:31 PM, said:

Thank you for the link that explains the Gaia hypothesis, but I think more or less the way Frank does on this one. The entire planet and indeed the entire univese has a life force and we are part of the whole.

By life force, do you mean just energy, or an informed energy? Or something else altogether?


#45    moonshadow60

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 08:33 PM

No, not an informed entity in the sense that humans might recognize it, but a self-contained process and everything on this planet and, indeed, inside the planet is part of it. Energy, life force, whatever it is called, we wouldn't be here if it didn't exist.  The entire planet would be "dead." The rain would not fall, rivers wouldn't flow, nothing could live. There is a rhythm to everything and the earth sings its own song, as my grandmother would say.  I don't think it's all just chemistry.





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