No single thing abides; but all things flow.
Fragment to fragment clings – the things thus grow
Until we know them and name them. By degrees
They melt, and are no more the things we know. (Lucretius)
Democritus was a loony. He believed that the entirety of the universe is composed of indivisible units of matter. His mechanistic view that what we take as the artifacts of our reality are nothing more than an ever moving amalgam of indestructible and invisible atomic particles of various shape and size left most proper Athenians of the day to walk on the other side of the street. As ever people who say outrageous things are dangerous and to be avoided. More than two thousand years later, Antoine Lavoisier, the French founder of analytical chemistry, proved Democritus was right. Within a century the known world was replaced by an invisible one now revealed – particle physics, the human genome and all variety of the arcane sciences. The unseen was conjured with new charms, spells and djinns. There it was right in front of us the whole time but only the crazy people could see it.
The universe reveals nothing to the unprepared. We see only the patterns we seek. Our mind imposes its order on everything. The act of knowing is essentially the processes of forming what we experience to fit into what we understand. The answer remains the same – whatever the system is designed to surmise. If we are to grow we must go beyond our frame to expand its boundaries and uncover its unfound forms. To do so we must expose our blind spots – to make explicit what is implicit.
Self awareness is not the sole domain of the reasonable or enlightened. Even vigilant old Scrooge did not expect the midnight extravaganza of apparition and shadow. Call it coincidence or synchronicity or grace but by any name it is still the active world come a calling. Though the phantoms of his past and present brought only torment, it was the specter of his future that brought him redemption. When shown the jumbled elements of his life and given sufficient motivation to reconsider and redress them Uncle Ebenezer chose growth instead of consistency.
Conceptualizing an innovation and growth genome is one possible way of exploring who we are and what we seek. This provides us with our atoms to recombine and reconfigure in the service of our observation, refutation and validation. These open system typologies have long been used to deconstruct those things about ourselves we cannot otherwise see and reconstruct them into our own customized version – Astrology, personality, neurobiology and such.
We might call this atomistic investigation of the Self anthromorphology: Anthropos is Greek for Man and morphology meaning the form and structure of an organism and its parts. As with software or genomics we may chose to run some tests before reprogramming our source code: How do we make sense of our world? What works for us? What doesn’t? What are we missing? What options are available to us? Through investigation and reflection with a common set of elements we may reprogram the programmer.
Growth requires us to get beyond our own thoughts and way of being to recreate our own authentic and integrated Self. Wordsworth said it well “The Child is father of the Man” but might have added “but isn’t the Man in full.” To achieve to such completeness we must get beyond ourselves and synchronize levels, types and dynamics. Such frameworks are thin representations of a reality that we may never know in its totality but they do bestow upon us a divine moment to consider how we were made and the possibility of remaking us in our own image.
- Synchronize the competing forces and dynamics