Artificial Intelligence

Thinking With the Balsam Roots as they Flower

The way to merge with the Earth for improved thinking is both obvious and hidden, and that depends on who you are. A standard way in contemporary Western culture is to make an image, like the one below. No merging necessary!

In that approach, “thinking” is what is called “an eye,” as in “He has an eye for taking pictures” (or not.) In the case of the above image, it was contrast and pattern, separated, but once noticed then joined, and a couple other factors emerging: a man noticing and the sun casting a shadow. The thing is, it is not an abstract sun but a sun located in space. Look how the arrow leaf balsam roots turn to it in the morning, becoming better targets for bees in the process, and thus being selected for survival.

The thing is, the man who showed up is also located in space. As I said, a standard way to be human in Western culture is to make an image, and then to read the image for the reading it makes of the world.

I think it would be fair to call that a measurement. In the case of the image above, it is a measurement with a very shallow depth of field. In fact, I think it would be fair to say that this depth of field is only as thin as light, and that what is not touched by light is inferred, although unseen.

It is a trick of photography that it suggests that these inferences are made with the mind, but they are a function of language and the scientific measurement tool that comes from its biases, which creates “things” as objects for study, because there are no other words than words. It sounds silly, but that’s only because it’s quite a barrier, isn’t it. It is, however, not an impassable one. It depends upon how you’re looking at it. A case in point is the image of flowers above. You will see one thing if you see flowers; another if you see different stages of development within one individual which is all of them at once. The concept of flower doesn’t enter into the latter situation at all, except in the sense of an active force called “flowering,” and this “flowering” not only has little to do with “flowers” but also much to do with another active force called “leafing” or “leafing out”, although words and scientific tradition separate the into two separate components of a particular type of life.

One could go a long way down this road, until the life was a universal force across the planet, the planet had a kind of living energy in harness with the sun, and so on, but that would be only a lovely distraction. What we have before us is a small colony of arrow-leaf balsam roots at sunrise. All of what they represent is present immediately, including the sun, all at the moment the image purports to record.

Instead of being fooled by the camera, let’s live for the moment in the life it abstracted. Let’s look at these balsam roots again with the sense that gave us the eye, not the image the eye made.

The sense that lead me to this shadow is a bodily sense, led by the eye but not bound by it. This sight is a form of touch. This eye is a kind of hand. It reaches out to touch itself.

Yes, itself, because on observing this flowering, I am petal, leaf and stem and all of their combined energies at once. It is only a tradition of thought that analyzes this bodily sense as object and inference and calls it “other” or “metaphor.”

Light that comes from the sun is unified and white. What you are observing is the moment at which this unity appears to end, but doesn’t. The balsam root night reflect yellow light, but it absorbs the rest. It sorts it, within unity — which my body also does, placing my bodily consciousness within leaf and petal, stamen, pistil and stem, sorted but not separate.

It is the coming together of these patterns that is called mind, but only because it is the pattern of its processing. What the plant perceives is something else entirely.


Next: let’s have a look at how plants perceive.


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