Darwin Missed Out, Poor Guy

Flowers are lovely. Creatures come to settle in. The flower calls, and the world answers.

It’s the same with the stalk. Those seeds aren’t going to be spread on their own!

It’s all a recreation of the sun, not as a star but as a source of life. “Colour!” say the flowers, meaning “Light!”, meaning “Life!”, and not meaning “I’m keeping, because this is a war.”

This is not a war.

Camouflage is the Wrong Word

Camouflage is the military art of concealment. As a word it has been back-engineered to apply to the actions of animals, like the toad below. The toad is not concealing itself, though. It has been selected for its environment.P1170974

Camouflage comes from French slang: camouflet, for a puff of smoke blown in someone’s face, similar to the Italian Capo Muffare, to muffle the head. Toad’s aren’t muffling. They are evolving at one with their environment. It is an organic process, not an intentional one. If there is intentionality, there is intentionality of the observer, or the observational metaphor. It’s not the toad. What the toad has is presence. Here-ness. Now-ness. It is a form of stillness.

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No matter what the light does. That is far more beautiful and profound than “camouflage.” It’s time to discard these military words for organic earth. They just don’t fit.

The Story of the Bee and the Cactus

Welcome to the green pistil of the brittle prickly pear cactus flower!P1830577They don’t bloom every year, but they sure have a green heart!
P1830615 And the sweat bee dives in head first. Perhaps blending in is what makes green a good colour for her in such an exposed position.

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Notice the flower, though. The green core, surrounded by fronds of pollen.

cactus

 

Look again. The bee does the same thing! A green core, with fronds of pollen on her legs, curled around a green core surrounded by fronds of pollen.

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That’s what organic organization can do for you. That’s called balance. Note as well that the yellow flowers are pink before they open …

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The same as the balls of the cactus. Now, cacti are known to defend themselves with spines, and bees with stingers (both prick), but here’s a case in which these perfectly matched organisms both defend themselves ever so gently, with visual deception.

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It was a hard winter for the cacti. I figure 90% died off. The blooms are lovely, though. I hope they have a good summer.

 

 

 

 

We are Marmot!

Do rocks collect saskatoons because they are focal points of life in the story of the land?P1770657

 

Or because they collect heat and rain?

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It’s a question that goes to the deepest and most specific points of the land, as the mature saskatoon in the split rock above and the young one in the split rock below show.

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Is every saskatoon colonizing a favourable space, or is every rock’s heat finding expression in a saskatoon, which is the way of things?

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Before you answer, look at the question again: “Is every saskatoon colonizing a favourable space?”

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That’s the language of the American and Canadian invasion of the West. That should be a warning. Here’s one of those rocks, with its spirit, a yellow-bellied marmot, and the daughter of the birds it shares this space with, a saskatoon.

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It’s a major tenet of evolutionary theory that specific species colonize environmental niches, but that’s just language, that’s just words, that’s just cultural material. What is really happening is this:

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It is time to live in this place, as if we were not strangers, because we’re not.

P1770052 We’re this.

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Human Life Under the Sea

Water is mysterious stuff. So is air. Sometimes air holds up water.P1510849Sometimes water holds up air.

P1580801But there’s something else going on. Mud.P1590280What you’re looking at here is the bottom of a mud puddle. It has settled, on its own, after being driven through a day or so ago. It has frozen and thawed a couple times. Look at the patterns!  No person or animal has walked through this muck. Whatever is present is a record of physical forces. The mountains and craters below, too.

P1590285 The river valleys and a volcano and little bits of boulder that have settled in, probably after ice melted up above.

P1590290 Now, here’s what that looks like after 12,000 years, give or take.

P1590294Glacial Lake Penticton Lake Bottom The Commonage, Vernon

The cliff line marks where the bottom sediments were washed away when the ice dam holding back the lake broke.

Again? Sure. Here’s what the Okanagan Valley looked like on the day before the lake flowed away:

P1590288Yes, these images are taken through water. (There are still 300 metres of this stuff below the floor of the lake.)

Now, to return to my initial image, a sea of water above the grasslands and the lake …

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Bella Vista Hills, Okanagan Landing

Home Sweet Home! 

Here’s my observation: if a layer of water over the earth has amazing effects, such as the ones in the images above, what effects does a layer of air have? Might it not be similar? Well, I think it is. I think it looks like this:

P1590212 Melted Frost on Blue-Bunched Wheat Grass

I think it looks like this, too:

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Muddle Puddle Grass Seen From Above

Looking a lot like anemones in the sea.

See that ice around the grass? Just imagine it is air… see that? The plants  are using the atmosphere as a sea. They do it by internalizing some of the processes of the sea, while abstracting others and leaving some entirely. They are undersea plants. They are atmospheric plants, not earth plants. Here’s an ocean bottom apple orchard.

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It’s commonplace to note that plants left the sea long ago, as did land-based organisms such as humans. As I was walking through a grassland bright with drops of molten frost on the seed tip of every stalk of bunchgrass, I saw that we haven’t left.

P1580475Cat Tail

Don’t be fooled by the water. The plant is under the sea, but the water on its stalk is not the sea. In the ocean, sure, but in the atmosphere the sea is the air. Water is a sediment. Water is this stuff:

P1580702More Mud!

Imagine the layer of water here as air and the bottom mud as water, and the earth below it.

Water is pretty good at transferring energies and states. Look how it transfers the molecular energies of the freezing process to the mud it is blended with.

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If we weren’t at the bottom of a sea of air we would not witness these effects. They are, in other words, atmospheric effects, including the pressure effects of the depth of the air itself. This is what those effects look like. Even, ultimately, this:

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After all, the glaciers that ultimately formed these old post-glacial lakeshore clays are sediments from the air, which moved their water around and deposited it according to its own patterns. That cliff is, ultimately, a cloud, hugging the hill just like this:

P1580292And the lake? Well, since it is sediment, it is, ultimately, mud.

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Mud taking an image of the sun through the ridge line trees.

 

 

The Pattern of Life

Check this out. Here are two rose hips at sundown. Note the long stem, the flattened sphere of the fruit, and the long floral leaves.P1580029 Now check out this mud puddle ice just up the path, that formed around the blades of a tuft of grass. Same shape!P1570964

Two patterns of life — or is it one?

 

 

The Technological Applications of New Scientific Thinking

I promised I would talk about practical applications for science based on observing the world in its own language. (This is commonly called phenomenological science, but I’m trying to find a simpler expression for that.) Better just to jump right in! OK, so here’s my wasp and her grub.

P1490820There are a bunch of different ways of thinking about her.

1. We could talk about the wasp laying her eggs in the living grub, so it can incubate her eggs and then provide food for her larvae. This is an evolutionary strategy. Discussions of this kind of science have so far lead to methods of using wasps for pest control.

2. We could talk about how the wasp is doing on a multicellular level what cancer does on a cellular level. This is an ecological strategy. It means a couple things. First, that the wasp has randomly found a successful approach that allows it to survive across generations by using surrogates. Second, that it is even possible to consider higher orders of life operating as cancers. Discussions of the latter kind of science will lead to technologies that use living hosts to transmit genetic material across boundaries that would otherwise destroy it. For the wasp it is winter. For humans, it is what we can imagine. Travel to Mars, perhaps. Deep sea travel. Who knows. Currently, such technology is most prevalent in cancer treatment and in computer virus transmission. Pretty aggressive military stuff. Note that the wasp does not have a military strategy. There are alternate technologies within that.

3. We could talk about the wasp as a wasp. It lifts this grub, with intent, and moves it through gargantuan expenditures of energy. To the wasp, this is not a grub. It is a reproductive chamber. It is its self and all its future. A human mother might look at a house in much the same way. The existence of a creature with this degree of intent, with, as well, a tiny nervous system and brain, should be enough to challenge human notions of identity and superiority. If the wasp can do all this with a tiny nervous system, what is our huge nervous system for? Variability? Potentiality? Is each of us all the wasps in the world?

And here I should stop, because it’s obvious what’s going on: in each case, technological application are easily applicable, yet they are always on the order of observing a behaviour, abstracting principles from it, and applying them to new circumstances, in machine-type ways. However, the wasp is just a wasp. The technology should be applicable in a wasp-fashion, or even in a human fashion, without resorting to technology. That’s just a language (and a powerful one at that.) What if there were a different language? What if we stopped thinking about the wasp and evolution and all that jazz? What if we looked at where she lives?

P1490841Kinnikinnik

The forest boundary berry of the Northwest. (Here, it’s growing on a lakeshore.)

Now we have three players: wasp, grub and kinnikinnic. Might as well throw in the stump, too. And the carpenter ants (no doubt) within it. And the grubs tunnelling (no doubt) under its bark. And the bear who comes by every few years, maybe, to shred the stump looking for them. If we think of them all together, then there is no evolutionary strategy, on behalf of the wasp, but, rather, a balance strategy. There are threads of energy in this environment. Evolutionary science reads them as competitive pressures, leading to temporary balances. What if they were balances, which led to temporary competitive pressures? Such an approach to science would lead to different medical technologies, one which included the artistry of its practioners. What if there were no individual species present here, but, rather, a constellation of species, that might be differently constituted elsewhere? Would not balance provide the stories, then, rather than evolution? Might it not lead to technologies which included points of balance? Usually, such technologies are called religions, but what if devices could be made that, in accordance with human input, could deliver individual results, depending on what a person needed? Would this technology be a kind of amulet? Yes, I think so, and I think this would, again, commonly be defined as a religion. Might it, not, however, be a form of psychology? Might the way forward for psychological science be not ESP and other measurable (or not) effects on matter, but on its ability to change the observer, so that he or she observed different material and thus had before himself or herself a different set of possibilities? Why not. Just a metre away from our wasp and her grub are the tiny fish among these stones, and the algae growing on them.

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Yes, there are fish. Look again, if you missed them. 

Lake and shore. Two different environments… or is that just a human bias? What if they are one, and the force that creates the wasp creates these young trout? What is their balance point? What is their surrogate, if they have one? The technology that comes out of such questions will lead to a healthy planet. We really do have to choose. Technology can be a set of mechanical tools. It can also be a set of energies. Those energies are not limited to the exchange of electrons to transfer electrical signals to effect certain results. What if the earth were your brain? What if its most important work were to stop action rather than to create it? That’s not a suggestion to stop action, by the way, but to transfer it into balance. This is why the scientist-poet Goethe said we should stop listening to Newton. That was 200 years ago. I think it’s about time. What are the technologies? I don’t know, but I promise, they are as large as the set created by Newtonian science. Some already exist. I’ll walk about some of those in my next post. Thanks for swimming with the fish with me!