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Beany

Is nature a living entity?

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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?

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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.

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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.

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From the Tao Te Ching #41

The Tao is nowhere to be found.

Yet it nourishes and completes all things.

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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?

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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.

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Posted (edited)

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

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

This to me opens up a can of worms, but i like your analogy and agree somewhat with it.

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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?

I would say that we are all part of nature and nature gives us and other living beings consciousness on their own levels. I would speculate that the conscious beings in relationship with the living powers of nature can bring a "consciousness" to nature itself.

We can control forces of nature to some degrees with some of the knowledge we have. There are other conscious beings beside us that may also have conscious control to control some forces of nature. We probably can't even comprehend the existence of all the conscious beings involved because they are not like us. We are much like ants who are individuals but work as a society to influence their enviroment by controlling of nature. The ant knows how to prepare for the nature of winter but would not comprehend the coming flood of his hill if it were caused by a man irragating his field. We could be like the ant and not comprehend the action of consciousness and only see it as an unusual act of nature.

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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.

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This to me opens up a can of worms, but i like your analogy and agree somewhat with it.

It does open up a can of worms, that's why it's a secret theory, at least until now. It just kind of popped into my brain one day and refuses to leave.

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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.

Happens every day.

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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?

Western science breaks things down into seperate parts but Eastern science takes a more holistic approach using systems theory.

They see the system as being the thing that is conscious not its seperate parts such as a human, a tree or a cow.

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Western science breaks things down into separate parts but Eastern science takes a more holistic approach using systems theory.

They see the system as being the thing that is conscious not its separate parts such as a human, a tree or a cow.

Perhaps so, which would explain why western science produces so much more. Actually I don't think there can really be said to be much in the way of Asian science. Chinese science got as far as the Greco-Roman science and then seems to have gone stale in much the same way, something I don't think has ever been explained for either culture.

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I use the Tao, after Chinese tradition, to explain in a way how animals can be sentient (experience the world rather than just process data), and we can be conscious and rational. It is something we draw from that is present, but that doesn't mean the Tao itself is sentient. Nor of course does it mean it isn't, but if it is the sentience/consciousness is very different from ours.

This is just me waving my arms in the air trying to get across the point that there is something out there really weird or we wouldn't have minds. The mechanical reductionist approach fails, and nothing else succeeds.

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Perhaps so, which would explain why western science produces so much more. Actually I don't think there can really be said to be much in the way of Asian science. Chinese science got as far as the Greco-Roman science and then seems to have gone stale in much the same way, something I don't think has ever been explained for either culture.

This is an interesting perspective, if it's true. I would think that there are other factors at play other than philosophy or religion, though. As for the Chinese, they pretty much went broke after building a huge fleet of ships that sailed off in each of the four directions. It was a huge enterprise, forests were depleted to build the ships, the Emperor's coffers were emptied, and there was almost no return on investment. It was an economic disaster. After that, the Chinese pretty much shut down exploration. But it sounds like their back in the game now; I would think a country's economic resources is a major factor in determining scientific innovation. It takes money to fund labs & pay scientists.

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Hey, here's a paragraph from a story currently posted on Yahoo: The weird way entangled particles stay connected even when separated by large distances — a phenomenon Albert Einsteincalled "spooky" — has been confirmed once again, this time with a key loophole in the experiment eliminated.

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