Speech by thinker Alexis Karpouzos in the international curriculum “Transformation of Thought and Evolution of Consciousness’’ that was organized in summer 2016 in Athens
We live in a universe that can be seen and experienced from many different perspectives. We therefore need to look at the universe from many different angles. Everything and everyone is a form of the universe being expressed in a particular way. In other words, each one of us can say with absolute certainly “We are the Universe!” Since we are the universe, each one of us provides a valuable perspective that complements the contributions of everyone and everything else around us.Each of us is the universe being expressed in a particular location in a specific way. We’re all part of the same moving and evolving cosmos, but the view of it is unique from each of our respective locations.
This suggests that the universe is not only omnicentric, but that it is also multiperspectival — there are many different, and equally valid, viewpoints on this. Each one of us is a cosmic laboratory within which we can discover the secrets of the universe.We speak in various ways, we are each the universe having become aware of itself in our own unique way. The insights that the universe has many different perspectives and is both cosmic and personal has great transformative potential, and is worth reflecting on deeply.
Creativity and Modern Science
Creativity and Theory of relativity
In Einstein’s theory of relativity, the notions of events (space and time simultaneity), mass and energy equivalence (special relativity), space expansion (big bang) as well as space and energy-mass equivalence, are introduced. General theory of relativity combined to quantum mechanics leads to the emergence of the whole universe from zero and absolute nothingness. Such “emergence — creation” of the universe from zero does not take place in space or time, since both are identical to the universe, space as energy expansion of the vacant space and time as a measurement unit of movement and change. Hence, the event, as “something” that takes place, and since it takes place, creates space, time and matter — mass — energy, constitutes a novelty of the theory of relativity which suggests that the world is eternally being created and is not static and perpetual.
Creativity and Quantum mechanics
In quantum mechanics, the term “creativity” is amplified, since natural events form the constant transition from possibility to reality, according to the ontological probabilism of the Schrödinger equation. The completion of the quantum theory through the concept of the Grand Unified Theories, and especially through the yet incomplete superstring theory, reveals that at the micro level of creation of sub-atomic particles or space, motion literally comes prior to Being and objects are forms of a motion which suggests a constant transition from possibility to reality.
In non — linear physics of complex systems, the term “creativity” does not simply correspond to the initial emergence of the universe (big bang) or to the sub-atomic scale processes described by quantum mechanics, the Grand Unified Theories and the superstring theory, but is expanded to all aspects of nature: i.e. physical — chemical, ecological, psychological — mental aspect. So, through the non — linear physics theory, macroscopically viewed beings are constructed, holistic forms of motion, in order for the whole to gain a non reducible (therefore the whole is constantly being produced) ontological meaning which characterizes the operation of the part.
Combining the theories of quantum mechanics and relativity, it could be stated that modern physics abolishes the customary perception concerning the natural phenomena, which were concerned as a constant transformation of a fundamental substance. On the contrary, the contemporary description of the natural world by physics and mathematics corresponds to Morphodynamics, i.e. the description of the world as creation of all cosmic shapes from a zero point, on all cosmic levels. From this point of view, zero is understood as the absence of shape, while the notion of an unshaped eternal substance is weakened and does not seem to be able to be justified by the evolution of scientific thought. The “beings” and their “substance” are assimilated to forms of movement that have already been created or that are being created, and constitute motion inside motion.
Creativity and Non-linear and Chaotic systems
Physics of chaotic systems attributes a mathematical description through bifurcation theory to the notion of creating cosmic shapes, according to which when a physical system tends to critical situations, it develops new structures of existence and function through atopic interrelation and information processes in an unpredictable manner. Generally speaking, it could be suggested that new structures of existence and operation, that resemble to a virtual form scaling on the physical system and tuning its parts in order for the whole to gain meaning and being as a whole and not as a simple result of microscopic processes, are formed and created inside nature. This means that the world is revealed as information apart from being matter and energy. This procedure of creating cosmic figures seems, or is, indeed capable of being considered as a kind of expression of a “cosmic discourse”, of “cosmic words” and “cosmic sentences” in the sense of which, the fact that is indicated, is constantly supplemented by the fact that is about to be indicated.
Ιt can be stated that the arrow of time, which is introduced by cosmic functions (thermodynamics, electromagnetic radiation, big bang, information procedures, Markov procedures, etc.), corresponds to an irreversible and irrevocable direction of a cosmic “sense” which is constantly being created and enriched. Hence, what came to birth from zero point, even if it is corroded in the future, has contributed in order its corrosion does not correspond to a cosmic situation similar to the one existing before its creation. In other words, birth and corrosion make the future always asymmetric towards the past. By this point of view, even if the whole universe reaches zero point at a time, this does not mean that zero point after the creation of the world is similar to zero point before it. Possibly, time equals to an unchangeable and irrevocable “cosmic memory” and to a development of cosmic correlations which can never be eradicated even if the world and the universe die completely off.
Creativity and living systems — Networks — Relationships
`Over the past thirty years, a new systemic conception of life has emerged at the forefront of science. New emphasis has been given to complexity, networks, and patterns of organisation leading to a novel kind of ‘systemic’ thinking. `The view of living systems as networks provides a novel perspective on the so-called “hierarchies” of nature. Since living systems at all levels are networks, we must visualize the web of life as living systems (networks) interacting in network fashion with other systems (networks). For example, we can picture an ecosystem schematically as a network with a few nodes. Each node represents an organism, which means that each node, when magnified, appears itself as a network. Each node in the new network may represent an organ, which in turn will appear as a network when magnified, and so on. In other words, the web of life consists of networks within networks. At each scale, under closer scrutiny, the nodes of the network reveal themselves as smaller networks. We tend to arrange these systems, all nesting within larger systems, in a hierarchical scheme by placing the larger systems above the smaller ones in pyramid fashion. But this is a human projection. In nature, there is no “above” or “below,” and there are no hierarchies. There are only networks nesting within other networks. ‘
`The realization that systems are integrated wholes that cannot be understood by analysis was even more shocking in physics than in biology. Ever since Newton, physicists had believed that all physical phenomena could be reduced to the properties of hard and solid material particles. In the 1920s, however, quantum theory forced them to accept the fact that we cannot decompose the world into independently existing smallest units. As we shift our attention from macroscopic objects to atoms and subatomic particles , nature does not show us any isolated building blocks, but rather appears as a complex web of relationships between the various parts of a unifield whole.’.
Cells are parts of tissues; tissues are parts of organs, organs parts of organisms; and living organisms are parts of ecosystems and social systems. At each level the living system is an integrated whole with smaller components, while at the same time being a part of a larger whole. Ultimately — as quantum physics showed so impressively — there are no parts at all. What we call a part is merely a pattern in an inseparable web of relationships. Therefore, the shift of perspective from the parts to the whole can also be seen as a shift from objects to relationships.’ All living systems are networks of smaller components, and the web of life as a whole is a multilayered structure of living systems nesting within other living systems — networks within networks. Organisms are aggregates of autonomous but closely coupled cells; populations are networks of autonomous organisms belonging to a single species; and ecosystems are webs of organisms, both single-celled and multicellular, belonging to many different species. What is common to all these living systems is that their smallest living components are always cells, and therefore we can confidently say that all living systems, ultimately, are autopoietic. However, it is also interesting to ask whether the larger systems formed by those autopoietic cells — the organisms, societies, and ecosystems — are in themselves autopoietic networks.’
From objects to relationships — Throughout the living world we find systems nesting within larger systems. While mechanistic science concentrates on reducing things to basic material building blocks, the emerging holistic paradigm recognizes that systems are integrated wholes whose properties cannot be reduced to those of smaller units. The two fundamental themes of this systems view of life are the universal interconnectedness and interdependence of all phenomena, and the intrinsically dynamic nature of reality. Systems theory accepts neither the traditional scientific view of evolution as a game of dice, nor the western religious view of an ordered universe designed by a divine creator. Evolution is presented as basically open and indeterminate, without goal or purpose, yet with a recognizable pattern of development. Chance fluctuations supposedly take place, causing a system at a certain moment to become unstable. As it ‘approaches the critical point, it “decides” itself which way to go, and this decision will determine its evolution’.
The theory of general systems recognizes two principal phenomena of self-organization: self-renewal, ‘the ability of living systems continuously to renew and recycle their components while maintaining the integrity of their overall structures’; and self-transcendence, ‘the ability to reach out creatively beyond its physical and mental boundaries in the processes of learning, development, and evolution’ . He argues that adaptation of species through genetic mutation (genotypic change) is only one side of evolution. The other is creativity: the development of new structures and functions of ever increasing complexity, independent of environmental pressure, as a manifestation of the potential for self-transcendence inherent in all organisms.
Creativity and society
On anthropological level, the term “creativity” gains an extended level since it is revealed that the human is not a simple creation of a cosmic process, but has got a sense of belonging and co-creates in collaboration with Thought, its forms, its meanings and mental contents, the feelings and the emotions of theories, institutions, etc., which are not raised on the level of simple biological or physical — chemical processes, even though they are directly related to them and are produced by one another without being identified and without losing their self — efficiency. The world and the human are being co — created and co — produced in a two-way relationship, a feedback relationship that is unfolded as Time. It may be stated that cosmic creation from zero point or the absolutenothing of the cosmic forms of existence, is identified to a connected to time, ontologically unpredictable and innovative course of the world towards the asymmetric and the unique, through constant physical symmetry disruptions. Thus, the world is constantly enriched ontologically by a neo — innovation that renders the future asymmetric to the past. The arrow of time means that literally the world and the cosmic forms of being are constantly created from zero point and the absolute nothing and “return” to the latter, recreating it.
Creativity of Unity / Multiplicity
Our Universe exists as a unified field or whole. Creative energy swirling as atoms, giving rise to molecules, forming galaxies, stars, planets, mountains, rivers and the bodies of all living beings. If this is so, why do we not “see” the world this way, experience our lives for the miracle it is? Forests, lovers, galaxies, flowers, rivers, mountains, moons and countless living beings- our Universe moves and dances as each of us. Born of Earth, animated by solar winds , we are the children of evolution’s story, Nature’s emergence on the stage of cosmic history. Birds calling, hurricanes swirling, bees passing by, waves crashing on beaches, leaves waving hello from a neighbor’s tree. All flowering into this moment, creative expressions of our sacred totality. Waiting, just waiting, for our minds to quiet, our hearts to open and our eyes to see…
Our physical bodies function as a harmonious whole, all the cells and systems working together as one, in synch with the surrounding world. We breathe in oxygen given to us by the trees, drink water from lakes and springs, take in materials from trees and plants that grow in the earth, their leaves gathering energy from our local star, the sun. Every moment of our lives, whether we are aware of it or not, we live in unity and intimate connection with the creative wisdom of the natural world. Thinking and behavior that is in tune with Nature’s wisdom is more compassionate and holistic than the mechanistic ways of complex civilizations. All it requires is mindful observation, curiosity, a creative imagination and a peaceful heart.
Transformation of Thought And Evolution of Consciousness
The challenge for humanity now is to transform and transcend our fractured views of the world, to shift paradigms, to return to a more wise and holistic understanding of ourselves and our place in the Universe. A change in thinking and behavior will result naturally from a change of heart. As Einstein put it, “Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Once enough of us open our minds and collaborate together, there’s a good chance we’ll find many of our problems can be solved quite easily. By aligning our species with the wisdom of Nature (and our own hearts), the health of our planet and communities could be restored. We just need to recognize our interdependence with the rest of the Universe, be more generous and grateful, care about one another, re-evaluate our priorities and change the way we think.
The whole Universe pulses with complex interconnections and a mysterious beauty far beyond our imaginations. There’s a deeper truth that our limited conceptions ignores- that the Universe is not something that exists outside of us. You and I are creative living expressions of ALL that is. We are born of atoms forged in the heart of long gone stars, energized now by the photons of our local sun. Kept alive by the nutrients and air of our World. We are Life manifesting as people, mountains, rivers and trees. Seeing this deeper truth and experiencing our connection to the Universe is the beginning of wisdom. Sharing that wisdom with others- and using it as the foundation for redesigning the human systems that we build together- is how our world can be re-created and transformed.