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OVERTURE TO NU Add your comment on this item1

Transcending the "Natural" Add your comment on this item2

 

Laurence J. Victor

11/20/2005

 

            NU is the name of an Epic Drama, a Poetic/Scientific/Technological/Spiritual Opera/Dance/Symphony.  This Overture to NU, will introduce themes that run through the whole "production" of NU. Add your comment on this item3

             

            What distinguishes NU from other stories of the galdee of homo sapiens (the biological species), humankind (the cultural/societal/spiritual complex of human activity) interacting with GAIA, and Planetary Humanity (the viable, sustainable org that we have the potential to become)? Add your comment on this item4

             

            NEW adheres to the "natural". Add your comment on this item5

             

            Until very recently, the galdee of humankind has been adequately explained by the application of contemporary scientific knowledge to the social/political/economic ecology of human orgs (nested hierarchies or holarchies from individuals to nations and transnational corporations).  The unique characteristics of humans (such as language use, technological prowess, creativity and spirituality) were treated as mutational variations on the fundamental processes long in play in the "natural" world (which includes the social behavior of other living beings) in the current story of the evolution of life on planet Earth. Add your comment on this item6

            Individuals and teams have been creatively innovative, and their behavior and production had ripple effects on the dance of humankind. Some persons thought about "the big picture" and wrote books and instructed students - some even organizing movements. There was a diversity of opinion. Yet, what actually happened was more a "natural" enfolding of these mutations into the selection processes of humankind.  Many believed they were intentionally creating new worlds, and some were quite successful in experiencing some things happen as they intended - for the short term. But, most of this belief in human control over their destiny was a delusion. Add your comment on this item7

             

            Humankind's story has been written and re-written many times, with great variation. The accepted grand scheme is an evolution through eras of hunter-gathering, horticulture, agriculture, industrialization, and on into a variety of names for our rapidly changing post-industrial form (with pockets of previous forms continuing to exist).  There are competing hypothesis as to what were the main driving forces for change.  We speak of the rise and fall of Civilizations, with many hypothetical causes and influences -- but with a sense that this is "natural" as applied to humankind (with its unique features).  Although some speak and write about influencing this process (e.g., breaking from the cycles of war), their words and actions appear to be absorbed by the process. Most acquiesce to this fate and seek solace in beliefs of afterlife. Add your comment on this item8

             

            This traditional story, in all its variations, is boxed in the context of the new being defined as what is novel in the present (the Here & Now) in terms of what was, the past. We live in the present facing backwards (or looking only through the rearview mirror). What is imagined as the future are extrapolations of patterns discovered in records from the past. The present is actually the most recent past.  Futurists and those investing in the future develop sophisticated tools for forecasting, and have varying degrees of success in anticipating trends and making them opportunities.  Some who study the "natural" processes learn how to intervene and influence "natural" change to their advantage.  But, all of this remains in the box of accepting human galdee as "natural", albeit with a unique human flavor. Add your comment on this item9

             

            Frequently small groups may attempt to withdraw from the mainstream and set up their retreat or envisioned Utopian community. Some have been relatively successful in maintaining a strong degree of independence. But none have aspired towards an Utopian humankind beyond the naive view that it would consist of a simple network of Utopian communities like their own.  Indeed, some Utopian movements have been successful in establishing viable networks of intentional communities.  Yet, even these can be subsumed as variations of the "natural", both as to the inner dynamics within the intentional communities and their relationship with their societal niches. Add your comment on this item10

             

            Perpetual poverty is an accepted universal, barring some divine or extraterrestrial intervention. The same for the cycles of war. Individuals may have imaginative dreams and visions of life without poverty or war, and as mentioned above they may write and organize towards achieving that vision. But, until now, we could accurately predict their fate. Add your comment on this item11

             

            What is different now? Add your comment on this item12

             

            NU transcends the "natural". Add your comment on this item13

             

            There continues to emerge persons and orgs who believe that ordinary humans have the potential to create "Heaven on Earth".  They have existed before, and as before most believe that this mission can be accomplished by knowing more accurately and then manipulating the "natural " processes.  Their mission is to transFORM the present state of humankind, by gradual incremental interventional operations into a new state that meets their practical-ideal criteria. Add your comment on this item14

             

            NU takes the position that as well intended these movements for transformation are, in a very practical sense (with a general systems analysis) they cannot achieve their objectives. Significant reform is impossible in practice; and even much more so given the evidence of fundamental Earth changes (e.g., global warming, but much more). Add your comment on this item15

             

            NU challenges our human comprehension of "the natural", when we examine how we come to this knowledge. It is a semantic convention whether we wish to call the processes of reality which include human processes (now and potential) as an "extended natural", or "transcendent of natural".  Although I don't envision a sharp existential break between what we conventionally view as "natural" and what is uniquely human, I find it fruitful to use the semantic contrast between the conventional "natural" and what the NU view of humanity adds to our NU reality. Add your comment on this item16

             

            There are both practical/technological and philosophical/scientific approaches to comprehending NU (and to actually making NU a living reality - not only in the future, but by LIVING_NU_NOW).  One might suggest a third approach: the spiritual/aesthetic. NU also provides a re-interpretation of the historic galdee of humankind. Add your comment on this item17

             

            NOTE: I am not proposing "supernatural" entities or processes as reported in stories of ghosts, demons, or hierarchies of higher beings, Instead, think of how we today view the "natural" as contrasted with the view we had at any chosen period in our past.  I use "natural" as referring to our scientific comprehension of processes studied on earth and in the whole of the cosmological universe. What I claim in proposing that NU transcends the "natural" is that our current comprehension of scientific reality is insufficient and incomplete (and in places, in error) such that we fail to recognize in ourselves unique potentials that when recognized, studied, and applied will seaf us in breaking from the box and creating a viable and sustainable organization of humans in balance with planet Earth. Add your comment on this item18

             

            We may discover that we can interact without known means of energy exchange - but that is not what I mean. I don't expect us to overtly violate "natural" laws, like levitating, becoming invisible, or being able to walk through walls.  I refer primarily to our cognitive processes and how they relate to our organizing and learning, in creating societal structures. I am claiming that when examined closely, and without traditional bias, human organizing via languaging will have emergent properties not derivative from the physical, chemical, or biological.  Nor will they be in direct conflict with those scientific laws - which by their very nature are the result of the study of "natural processes" where human interaction is assumed to be negligible and can be ignored. The domain of applicability of scientific knowledge is validated for situations where humans are, at most, neutral observers.  The human sciences, where the object of research are humans and their processes (psychology, anthropology, human biology, for example) are not limited to the "natural" - yet our research, to date, is constrained by such believed limitations.  The crux of the matter is that this paradigm of the contemporary human sciences blocks us from any serious study and experimentation in discovering ways of truly uplifting the whole human population from poverty, truly eliminating unnecessary violence and war, and creating a viable planetary human system of organizations that meets our dreams of NU.  When we properly study and comprehend the "natural" processes that lead humans to practice deception, conspiracy, greed, and dogmatic stupidity we can create lives for ourselves where these "natural" propensities are either eliminated or securely constrained. Add your comment on this item19

 


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