Marc Gafni on Evolutionary Unique Self & the Unique Self Symphony (Part 19)

Continued from part 18.


Let’s now walk this last step together. How do we change the world? How do we create a global consciousness that can truly change everything?

The answer we have given to this point: We open our heart and awaken as Outrageous Lovers committing the Outrageous Acts of Love that are a function of our Unique Selves.

But how is it possible my sole Outrageous Acts of Love can cause a shift for billions of people?

Because self-organization, with its key component of specialization, is the core mechanism of Evolutionary We Space and the full awakening of Outrageous Love, healing the planet and rising all people above poverty is an entirely possible future.

Self-organization is probably the single most important, new element of love disclosed in a whole new way, for the first time, in the mid to late twentieth century. It’s an evolutionary realization rooted in ancient wisdom that has emerged anew from the sciences in in the last fifty years. The Belgian physicist and noble laureate, Ilya Prigogine, showed that many non-living systems and all living systems are dissipative structures, meaning they maintain their organization by the continuous flow of energy throughout the system. The flow of energy keeps the system in a constant state of flux. For the most part, the fluctuations in a system are small and can be adjusted for by negative feedback. However, according to Prigogogine the fluctuation occasionally become so great that positive feedback takes over. When the fluctuations overwhelm the system the system either collapses or it reorganizes itself. Upon reorganization the new dissipative structure will often exhibit a higher order of integration, complexity and flow-through then its predecessor. This process of a system reorganizing at a higher level of order is a key self-organizing structure of evolutionary development.

The other seminal figure in the study of self-organization is, unquestionably, Alan Turing. Turing, the great code cracker of World War II[1], launched the study of self organization in an essay he wrote only a couple of years before his tragic death. Morphogenesis may well be one of the most important essays ever written in the history of ideas and is essential to the evolution of love. Virtually no one picked up fully on its seminal importance when he wrote it. Ten years after he died, the essay was picked up by a woman named Evelyn Fox Keller, a Harvard PhD in physics. She was trying to understand how slime molds operate.

If you’ve ever been in a dense suburban park or rural part of the world, chances are you’ve been near a growing slime mold. Next time you walk through a normally cool or damp section of a forest on a dry or sunny day, sift through the bark mulch that lies on the garden floor. You will probably find a somewhat grotesque substance coating a few inches of rotting wood. On first inspection the reddish, orange mess suggests that perhaps the neighbors’ dog ate something bad. However, if you observe the slime mold over several days, or even better, if you capture the slime mold with time-lapse photography, you’ll discover that it is not stationary. The slime mold is alive and moves ever so slowly across the soil. If weather conditions grow wetter and cooler, you can return to the same spot and you’ll find the creatures disappeared altogether. What happened? Did the slime mold wander off to some other part of the forest? Did it vanish into thin air like a puddle of water evaporating? It turns out that the slime mold does something far more mysterious. It’s a trick of biology that confounded scientists for centuries, until Keller and a scientist named Lee Segel began their collaboration. They based their work on Alan Turing’s essay, Morphogenesis.

The slime mold behavior was so odd that, in fact, to unravel it required thinking out of the boundaries of traditional disciplines. It turns out that there is no disappearing act that happens on the garden floor. The slime mold actually spends much of its life as thousands of distinct, single-celled units, each moving separately from its other comrades. Then, under the right conditions, all of those cells coalesce into a single larger organism which then again begins its leisurely crawl across the garden floor, consuming rotting leaves and wood as it moves about. When the environment is less hospitable, the slime mold disperses. Then as the environment becomes more hospitable again it comes back together. In essence the slime mold oscillates between being a single creature and a diverse swarm. How does that happen? Science assumed there must be, what they called, pacemaker cells which gave the orders to all the cells thereby organizing the process. The pacemaker cells were thought to send a kind of cyclic chemical as a signal to rally or disperse the troops. After all someday must be organizing all the elegant action. Somebody must be in command. As science writer Steve Berlin Johnson puts it, they assumed the general must be somewhere in the mix, they just didn’t know what the uniform looked like. The problem was, no one ever found the pacemaker cells. Scientists searched to no avail.

Taken from a first draft text from the forthcoming book The Path and Practice of Outrageous Love by Marc Gafni and Kristina Kincaid, this series elaborates on a critical advancement of the Unique Self Dharma that Dr. Marc has developed after Your Unique Self was published.

To be continued…

[1] This story as I unfold it is told by Steve Berlin Johnson in his excellent book on innovation. I am paraphrasing the story from his words.