EMERGING HOLINESS

If human beings are cooperating cells formed into an ecosystem enclosed by skin but penetrated by sensory code from the world, what does it imply?

First consider the cell and how it becomes an organism by watching this video.

https://aeon.co/videos/watch-a-single-cell-become-a-complete-organism-in-six-pulsing-minutes-of-timelapse Newts are small amphibians that some people raise in aquariums.

Human beings begin the same way but diverge at some point. If you put a sample of human DNA next to newt DNA, you would see that much of the newt code was also in the human code. We have not evolved from newts, but we have shared a worldwide pool of basic DNA code.

DNA bits can travel from one creature to another. DNA bits float in the sea. One human can harbor different DNA codes in different parts of the body, maybe from resorbing a twin at gestation or maybe from carrying a baby. The higher up the elaboration of a creature species through primates and hominins to humans, the more of the same DNA is shared between humans and other animals, until bonobos are almost 99% the same as humans.

Dogs can share DNA with their owners. Virus is DNA nude. RNA is the mold for making DNA. DNA codes stutter and break, which is where mutations come from. Humans can make a virus carry a DNA patch into human cells.

  • We tend to think we are our consciousness, the things we are aware of, but consciousness is only a recent EMERGENCE from this cooperative of cells. Most of the body goes on without our interference, managing its own breathing, flexing, processing, but coordinated by the brain which is also largely unconscious.
  • What we think the brain does is believed to be conscious but it’s not even conscious of what goes on in itself. It does not perceive pain. Sometimes it feels swelling against the confinement of the skull. It excels at forming systems and connections into ways of interacting with the world and managing itself.
  • The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is the cerebral cortex covering the front part of the frontal lobe. This brain region has been implicated in planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making, and moderating social behaviour.” This is what makes us human, but in some people this part is faulty or missing. It is the most vulnerable part of the brain and yet is the most likely to be struck “head on” as a concussion, changing a person.
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HmYU1by9rk A verbal summary of what this region of the brain does. You’ll notice this is the part gone wrong in politicians we sometimes complain are “brainless.”
  • “The limbic system is a collection of structures involved in processing emotion and memory, including the hippocampus, the amygdala, and the hypothalamus. … These structures are known to be involved in the processing and regulating of emotions, the formation and storage of memories, sexual arousal, and learning.” This is mammalian and though a lot of it is unconscious, an aware person can detect the difference in their physical state (breath, heartbeat, tension. stomach) because of changes in the limbic system and can think about what they mean, by using their prefrontal cortex.
  • Under the other parts of the body and forming a major part of the unconscious DNA code is the lizard brain. “These parts handle basic body functions like breathing, balance, and coordination, and simple survival urges like feeding, mating, and defense. These parts are the brain stem, cerebellum, and basal ganglia.”
  • Newts, as in the first video, are slightly more primitive (closer to “prime” or first) than reptiles and can regenerate their brains. Fascinating literature about newts rebuilding their brains may help humans.
  • Complex molecular-to-organ-to life phenomena that we don’t consciously even know are happening are partly controlled by whatever is going on outside our skins. We pass bits of code back and forth, unconsciously, imperceptibly. But also we build an inner world made of what are called “qualia” (sensations) and structured in imitation of that outer world. We are as bouyant in the world as newts in water.

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Given all these things we have learned, these principles should be proposed to replace old-fashioned ideas.

1. There was no creative entity that “made” humans. No outside supernatural force created humans. They are a molecular EMERGENCE from everything that already existed.

2. Humans are not apart from all other living things. We live or die through them from the diseases to the foods whether they are plants or flesh. If this web, which is not necessarily hierarchical, is broken and torn, we die.

3. Therefore the basic principle of the western side of Eurasian continent which stresses eternal life should be replaced by the basic principle of the eastern side of Eurasia, which is participation, each according to nature and the enclosing ecosystem.

4. The argument for eternal life is that a human person has two parts, one of which is the “soul”, a spiritual separate aspect of a person that detaches at death and floats to Heaven like a helium balloon. This is out-dated and connected to Christianity. They figured Ascension was one way to escape being crucified by the Roman Empire, but the Empire just absorbed them along with their souls and used their system for its own ends.

5. An idea as compelling as a “soul” cannot simply be denied. I suggest that it can be reconceived as participation in the sheet of life that enwraps the planet and can enrapt our thoughts.

6. Using participation/inclusion through biological and ecological reality as a “religious” or belief base is that it doesn’t contradict any existing belief system or institution with its power structures. The response is not “You’re wrong,” but rather “That, too!” It is a way of resisting empires that seek to dominate. It is immanence, bubbling up from the world of life itself, not some transcendance based on hierarchy.

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Mary Strachan Scriver

Born in Portland when all was calm just before WWII. Educated formally at NU and U of Chicago Div School. Clergy for ten years. Always happy on high prairie.