Resilience as "Tensegrity"
The purpose of this whole immensely complex pattern of energy dynamics seems to be connected with our need to become more highly conscious; to become more fully aware of both our distinctiveness and our interconnectedness within the evolving holomovement of some infinitely higher state of energy resources that we call life.
From Particles and Waves to Strings and Membranes
String Theory has enjoyed a vogue in physics and cosmology as 'superstrings.' Yet, it is a prime example of how even an elegant scientific theory which encompasses many 'explanations' may be plausible and yet not necessarily describe reality. In science, camps are divided whether string- and now membrane-theory describes Reality. This theory has its critics.
We must always be suspicious when science declares rather than suggests models, as the history of science is one of theories overturned periodically by better, more comprehensive theories. The ongoing process of revolutions in science will probably continue for some time. Generally, these revolutions come about through improving our ability to observe and test ever finer levels of the macro- and microcosm. Thus, the history of science is one of self-correction and refinement over time, through better insight and modeling.
When a scientific model is used as a theory of the way WE are, we can understand it best as a metaphor of reality, rather than an objective description of the true nature of Reality. If we tie our vision of what we are to any current theory, we are likely to be disabused of that notion at some point. Truth is generally much more complex, and simple, than human modeling can encompass. Science is actually the science of what 'works,' -- the state of the art at any given moment.
One reason for this dissonance in what is now called M-theory is that throughout its development, string theory has come up with over 14 solutions to its train of thought, each involving a different number of dimensions for its solutions. Even though Brian Greene, champion of these hidden dimensions, has dubbed this the "Elegant Universe," (1999) it fails to be an elegant theory. In physics an elegant or beautiful theory is sublime when its equations are simple and clear. Strings, superstring, and membranes have so far failed to meet this touchstone, much less prove itself more than a possible or plausible solution to the Theory of Everything.
However, in this work we cannot solve that conundrum. Our touchstone here is somewhat different, for we are seeking metaphors, "as if" realities which illuminate our understanding of the human condition, which shed light on the nature of the universe as we grope toward truth. We can use string theory, much as the ancients used the discovery of the nature of harmonies, the so-called Music of the Spheres, to light their comprehension of self, others and nature. Even an incomplete theory can function as a useful model and display internal coherence. Whether it expresses in equations the way things really are remains to be seen.
Therefore, to begin this section, we will take a look at the architectural energy-pattern structures from which our reality seems to derive its temporo-spatial form. Among other theorists, Tom Stonier (1990, cited in Rossi, 1995) has identified information transduction as being the organizational principle behind the structure of our universe. Stonier, however, claims he has mathematically established information as the equivalent of matter and energy, each of which he sees as being ultimately transducable into the others. He also explains that
organized systems exhibit resonances. Resonances lead to oscillations. Oscillations represent time cycles during which changes may be introduced. Such changes may dampen or amplify the existing oscillations. Alternatively, they may create new resonances and excite new sets of oscillations. The more complex the system, the greater the likelihood of introducing change into the system during any given cycle. Hence the exponential growth of information (p. 41).
More on this later. For now we will make another quantum leap to a related line of thinking called "string theory," or more accurately "the M-theory of Everything." "M" is said to stand for either "Magic, Mystery or Membrane, according to taste (Witten, 1996, cited in Duff, 1998, p. 64). This theory gives us a useful new metaphor as Duff goes on to describe some of its terms.
A particle, which has zero dimensions, sweeps out a one-dimensional trace, or 'worldline,' as it evolves in space-time. Similarly a string--having one dimension, length--sweeps out a two-dimensional 'worldsheet.' and a membrane--having two dimensions, length and breadth--sweeps out a three-dimensional 'world volume.' (p. 65)
'Spin,' or inherent angular momentum, which we briefly touched on earlier, is the way physicists describe the way particles appear to be rotating even thought they really are not. It is actually more like the idea of spin which is inferred from the trajectory of particles through space (Zukav, 1979). According to Duff (1998), laws of "supersymmetry" require that each particle of a particular spin must have "a particle with the same mass but half-integer spin" (p.64) which is a technical way of saying that particles must have anti-particles in order for our universe to make logical sense, which it as yet does not.
Since researchers have never found such a symmetrical particle-partner, they assume that is merely because it cannot be seen. Since the state of supersymmetry implies a balance of gravitational forces, this new paradigm also further validates many of the ontological views expressed earlier in this work, since it proposes that all four of the elemental forces (gravity, the electromagnetic force, the nuclear force, and the weak force) are ultimately just different phenomenal aspects of their mutual, virtual energy-exchange origins.
M-theory proposes a number of possible scientific explanations for the origins of everything, but the one most useful for our purposes here is called the "T-duality" theory. This growing paradigm, in a very concise nutshell, sees the universe as existing simultaneously at both microcosmic and macrocosmic reality levels as parallel universes, one the reciprocal, or inverse function, of the other. Harking back to the past, the ancients also thought so and expressed this truism in the alchemical maxim, "As Above; So Below."
In other words, it portrays the energy of both these realities as existing in two simultaneous states which Duff called the "Duality of Dualities" (p. 67). One of these energy states is called its "vibrating" state and the other is called its "winding" state. Loosely translated, this points back to oscillation frequencies (waves) and their related states of energic tension, called particles, -- or in this case, the energy-pattern traces called strings, which are made by particles vibrating across space and time.
Significantly, Duff reports that the physicists are hoping to use "known" characteristics about our observable universe in order to infer the unknown reciprocal characteristics of their proposed alternate reality. Put in terms even more useful for purposes here, they believe that the energy information which exists in one of these dual reality dimensions is humanly transducable into its paradoxically mirrored, reciprocal state. And that is pretty much what this whole work has been trying to say.
As living beings, we exist paradoxically within a dual state of dual states as both the finite, living products of interactions between particle and wave/matter and energy/body and mind, and the infinitely interactive process from which all of those dual-state living products arose.
In other words, the proposed invisible 'reciprocal dimension' has already made itself knowable within our reality as the virtual/actual informational energy-exchange by means of which we communicate as both messenger and receiver in order to become more harmoniously and resiliently evolved. So, in effect, physicists are "reinventing the wheel" here,--but that is okay; they too need to intuit truth via those metaphors within which they are best prepared to see it. The creative interactions of our many paradigms, philosophies, and religions are vital to the evolution of collective consciousness.
For example, physicists'' "matrix theory" also provides further validation of our holographic theories of everything. According to Duff (1998), they evidently imagine the phenomena of quantum energy dynamics as an infinite number of criss-crossings of energy-wave strings forming an immense, hypothetical matrix upon which numerical coordinates are meaningless, and where "points" on this matrix are themselves matrices which "do not commute,--that is, xy does not equal yx" (p. 69).
Not only is Cartesian logic being replaced here by something very similar to the holographic, Fourier-transformational reality metaphors discussed earlier, but cutting-edge physics is again supporting a key point of this work:
Our four-dimensional reality state seems to be simultaneously gazing into and reciprocally interacting with a quantum mirror-image of itself where sequentially-ordered informational states do not commute. That is to say, because of the temporo-spatial limitations of finite reality, the energy sequences through which we communicate our information/energy states must oscillate up and down as well as from left to right, at varying frequencies.
These sequential properties of matter do not perfectly commute into their energy equivalents within our reality, but rather, they create the reversed, paradoxical mirror image which, in effect, stabilizes life energies in their finite evolutionary state. This is probably why infinite virtual energy exchanges (of which we, as evolving by-products of their electromagnetic interactions are fundamentally composed), when they are not able to be perfectly completed within their finite, "actual"--mirrored states, return so infinitely quickly to this "actual" state -- for further self-correction.
From these quantum energy-metaphors we have now also found a more efficient way of imagining how energy takes on its 3-dimensional shape as it moves through the temporal dimension of our reality: Dimenionless virtual/actual particles vibrate across time, forming two-dimensional waves, which oscillate across time in various geometric shapes, which in turn move about in all four dimensions like invisible duct-work energy tunnels.
As energy becomes increasingly ordered into evolving patterns of evolving patterns, it begin to electromagnetically manifest as matter. This concept of shaped energy will "shape" the conceptual contents of the next section of this paper.
From Strings and Membranes to Struts and Cables
It has been established that a particle has no measurable dimensions in our reality, but is merely a hypothetical entity with the potential to have mass (energy) as one of its characteristics. So, it is really just a symbol that we use to describe the movement, or interactive relationships of energy within our four-dimensional reality. One of the ways we are here describing life in our reality zone is as an elaborate energy/information-transducing process whose purpose it is to enable us as its chief frequency-modulators, to become more highly conscious of, and thus individuated within, that process.
It seems fitting to conclude this theory by also metaphorming a mechanically stable energy-reinforcing structure upon which this process can take shape. And, since energy particles can now be imagined to exist as potential shapes in space, it follows that there must be some rules and regulations that its virtual energy shapes must follow in order to become actuated.
According to the fundamental laws of physics as described by Ian Stewart (1998), nature likes to conserve, or minimize, the energy it has to expend in order to do its work. The original proponent of this view was Buckminster Fuller, who expressed it mathematically and philosophically in his tour de force, Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking (1975) and Synergetics II (1979).
Fuller discovered Nature's own rules of assembly. His vision was founded on the geometry of close-packed spheres, which can be found in the nuclei of all atoms. In fact, there is much to link the nature of Fuller's primary modules, the self-assembling tetrahedron and the Vector Equilibrium Matrix to the virtual vacuum or quantum foam, Jung's pleroma.
Nature's own economy and minimalism is the reason why: (a) "the surface of smallest area that encloses a given volume is a sphere"; (b) "Without some constraint, the area of minimal surface would be zero"; and, (c) "Minimal surface" is a surface whose area is the smallest possible, subject to the following constraints: the shape's surface must contain some given volume, and its boundary should lie on some given surface or curve, or both (p. 104).
Thus it can be said that in its material form, energy seeks to equilibrate itself into a perfectly energy-efficient, completely energy-balanced shape of a sphere. Its underlying "assimilation and accommodation" dynamics therefore all seem subsequent to this basic geometrically equilibrative law of energy conservation. Therefore, the distinctive shapes which virtual/actual particle/energy wave patterns reciprocally evoke depends upon their underlying energy-redistribution dynamics.
In his very notable Scientific American article (1/1998), Donald E. Ingber revitalizes the current of Synergetics by identifying the prominence of tensegrity in geometric shapes in "The Architecture of Life," and its relationship to Complexity. He states the following as his introduction:
Life is the ultimate example of complexity at work. An oganism...develops through an incredibly complex series of interactions involving a vast number of different components...[which] are themselves made up of smaller molecular components, which independently exhibit their own dynamic behavior...Yet, when they are combined into some larger functioning unit--such as a cell or tissue-- utterly new and unpredictable properties emerge, including the ability to move, to change shape and to grow....That nature applies common assembly rules is implied by the recurrence--at scales from the molecular to the macroscopic--of certain patterns, such as spirals, pentagons and triangulated forms...After all, [everything is] made of the same building blocks: atoms of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and phosphorus. The only difference is how the atoms are arranged in three-dimensional space (p. 48).
Ingber goes on from there to describe this emergent phenomenon as a process of "self-assembly" (p. 48) into increasingly complex hierarchies of life forms. He stated his observation that nearly everything in our world, including the human body, is constructed using a form of architecture known as tensegrity (p. 48). He explains, "The term refers to a system that stabilizes itself mechanically because of the way in which tensional and compressive forces are distributed and balanced within the structure" (pp. 48-49).
The key point here seems to be that the stability (or resilience) of a tensegrity structure comes not from the strength of its individual member-parts, but from the way that its mechanical stresses are balanced and distributed across all of the parts of the whole.
Ingber describes two categories of tensegrity structures, the first of which is made up entirely of "rigid struts," each of which is able to bear either tension or compression, and the second of which is composed of "prestressed" structures which bear either tension or compression even before being subjected to external forces. The compression-bearing rigid struts function to stretch, or tense, the flexible tension-bearing members, or "cables," while the tension-bearing cables, in turn, compress the struts. Thus, these "counteracting forces, which equilibrate throughout the structure, are what enable it to stabilize itself" (p. 49).
[insert figures from appendix here]
A closer look at some of the other interesting and relevant features of tensegrity shows that: (a) It is the constructive, architecturally equilibrative use of gravity which gives most buildings their stability by taking advantage of its continuous compression forces; (b) Tension-bearers "map-out" the shortest path between adjacent members, resulting ideally in highly resilient geodesic-like shapes; (c) Tensional forces, in turn, follow these accommodative shortest routes between points so that their tensional stresses become adaptively assimilated as new functions of the structure's resilient, ever equilibrating form (Ingber, p. 49-50).
When studying the functions of tensegrity structures involved in the make-up of cells, Ingber found that when attached to a flexible substrate material, cells contract and become more spherical, thereby "puckering" the material beneath them. So it seems that the tensegrity dynamics of any given structure, even a living one, can have a significant rippling effect on the dynamics of its surrounding neighbors.
More significantly, it was seen that pushing down on a tensegrity structure forces it into what appears to be a flattened, disordered state, but as soon as the pressure is removed from it, "the energy stored in its tensed filaments causes the [structure] to spring back to its original, roughly spherical shape" (p. 50). This demonstrates that when tension and compression ratios are evenly distributed across a structure's member-parts, the structure will resiliently rebound from traumatic stressors.
As shown above, in cellular tensegrity structures all the way up to and including the human body, all interconnected structural elements rearrange themselves as needed in response to local stressors. So, in effect, just as the body varies the stiffness or flexibility of its bones, joints, tendons, and muscles in response to demands made upon it, cellular structures also stiffen or relax their various cytoskeletal parts through contraction and extension of their minute microfilaments, microtubules, and intermediate filaments in response to its structural integrity needs. This is important because some research shows this bears directly on our own consciousness, as we shall see in the next section.
Furthermore, molecules too rearrange their shapes in order to communicate their reactions to the electro-chemical dynamics which influence their structural integrity. Thus, all levels of the human body's structure are simultaneously and continuously increasing their tensegrity states as much as possible, within the reciprocal limitations set forth by the corresponding state of the "structural matrix" to which and within which they are attached. Elsewhere in science, the notion of reciprocal limitations is referred to as "rein theory."
Ingber and his associates actually observed how it is that these kinds of structural alterations communicate information in order to bring about changes in the biochemistry and genetic activities of the cell and its surroundings. For example, they found that
[b]y simply modifying the shape of the cell, they could switch cells between different genetic programs....Thus, mechanical restructuring of the cell and cytoskeleton apparently tells the cell what to do. Very flat cells, with their cytoskeletons stretched, sense that more cells are needed to cover the surrounding substrate--as in wound repair--and that cell division is needed. Rounding indicates that too many cells are competing for space on the matrix and that the cells are proliferating too much; some must die to prevent tumor formation (pp. 52-53).
It is important to emphasize that it is at some point in between these extremes of shape variation that the living cell functions most resiliently. And thus we return to the topic of our work here. However, we can go into a little more detail on just how this tensegrity not only affects our structural robustness, but also our consciousness.
Microtubules: Where Consciousness and Tensegrity Meet
Quantum theory describes extraordinary behavior of matter and energy which comprise our universe at a fundamental level. At the root of QM is the wave/particle duality of atoms, molecules and their constituent particles. When a quantum system remains isolated from its environment, it behaves as a "wave of possibilities" and exists in a coherent complex-number valued "superposition" of many possible states. Superposed quantum states for which the respective mass distributions differ significantly from one another will have space-time geometries which correspondingly differ.
Microtubules are hollow, cylindrical, tiny subcomponents of the cytoskeleton and transport system of our cells. They are the structural and dynamical basis of the cells, organizing functional activities, including synaptic regulation in the brain's neurons. They are self-assembling and mediate cell division and DNA splitting. Their conformation allows them to make computations--they function as onboard quantum computers.
Within MTs are arranged in a hexagonal lattice which is slightly twisted, resulting in a helical pathway. The cell's bone-like scaffolding appears to fill communicative and information processing roles. They regulate the strength of neuronal synapses. Microtubules can convert incoherent energy (thermal, chemical, or electromagnetic) into coherent photons, in a process known as "superradiance."
Cells get their shape from tensegrity, the architecture of life. Systems stabilize themselves mechanically because of the way in which tensional and compressive forces are distributed and balanced in their structure. Tensegrity structures are stable because they are "prestressed."
The cytoskeleton is composed of microfilaments, microtubules, and intermediate filaments. They compose a lattice, which stretches from the cell surface to the nucleus. It pulls the cell's membrane and internal constituents toward the core. In opposition, the two compressive elements are the microtubules (or compressive "girders") and the extracellular matrix. Intermediate filaments connect microtubules and contractile microfilaments to the surface membrane and cell's nucleus. (Ingber).
Synergetics stabilizes the cell through continuous tension and local compression. Microtubules, as tension-bearing parts of the structure, connect along the shortest, most economical paths. Because of this synergetic geometry, tensegrity structures offer a maximum amount of strength for a given amount of structure.
Changing the shape of cells can switch them between different genetic programs. Mechanical restructuring of the cell and cytoskeleton tells the cell what to do. Changing cytoskeletal geometry and mechanics affects biochemical reactions, protein production and gene expression. Changing cell shape can make them differentiate, (flat) can make them divide, or (round) activate a death program called apoptosis.
According to Hameroff (1995), if quantum theory IS relevant to consciousness, it is at a level of embedding deeper than neurons, and possibly deals with conformational shapes. Proteins configured in a lattice so that coherence occurs among the superposed quantum states may result in "quantum computing," where outputs regulate neural firing. The role of neurons is more like a magnifying device in which the smaller-scale cytoskeletal action is pumped up or transduced into something which can influence other organs of the body (Penrose, Shadows of the Mind, p. 376).
Microtubules are such geometric lattices of proteins. Its paracrystalline lattice structure promotes long-range cooperativity and order. This crystal-like lattice can function as a quantum wave-guide, which may be one possible biomolecular quantum device in neurons. The most basic cognitive unit is not the nerve cell synapse, but the microtubular structure within cells.
Tube-shaped microtubules and tubulins are ideal quantum mechanical resonators. Resonance might support the existence of sub-quantum coherence in the brain. This conformational state occurring throughout significant brain volumes may produce Bose-Einstein condensate (shared quantum state), and/or quantum optical coherence.
Coherent, nonlocal order emerges. The many parts that make up an ordered system not only behave as a whole, they become whole; their identities merge or overlap so they lose their individuality entirely. Thus, they are capable of forming ephemeral but extended structures in the brain. Structures formed by Bose-Einstein condensates are the building blocks of mental life; in relation to perception they are models of the world, transforming a nice view, say, into a mental structure which represents some of the inherent qualities of that view.
Coherence is a matter of phase relationships, which are readily destroyed by almost any perturbation. On the other hand, complex dynamical systems have subtle internal phase relationships, and in some cases the nature of the dynamics protects these relationships through feedback, amplification, etc., especially in the presence of a supply of energy (Hameroff). So the physical dynamics which follow from quantum coherence can assume a significant role.
"Superradiance" is an effect which can convert disordered energy of various kinds into coherent electromagnetic energy. Spontaneous emission of radiation in a transition between levels leads to the emission of a coherent radiation pulse which excites "super-radiant" states. Ordering of water molecules in each microtubule can transform incoherent disordered energy into coherent photons within its hollow tubular core. Through pumping and a further effect called self-induced transparency, coherent photons are allowed to propagate. (Hameroff).
Objective reduction means cascades of self-collapse give rise to the "stream" of consciousness, and provide a "flow" of time. ("OR", Penrose, 1994). An intrinsic feature of space-time itself, quantum gravity may be the agent of such collapse. Self-collapse creates an instantaneous "now" event; sequences of such events create the flow of time and consciousness. Self-selections in fundamental space-time geometry may result in the factor we call subjectivity or subjective experience.
OR in brain microtubules is the most specific and plausible model for consciousness yet proposed, according to its authors Penrose and Hameroff. OR is an instantaneous event--the climax of a self-organizing process in fundamental space-time. Sequences of OR events give rise to our "stream" of consciousness and orchestrate our perceptual experience. The actual choice of state made by Nature is non-computable, a self-selection of space-time geometry, coupled to the brain through microtubules and other biomolecules, (Hameroff & Penrose).
Consciousness may involve a form of quantum computation that occurs in fundamental space-time geometry. At extremely small scales, space-time is not smooth, but quantized. Quantum electrodynamics and quantum field theory predict virtual particle/waves (or photons) that pop into and out of existence, creating quantum "foam" in their wake.
This granularity has been modeled by Penrose as a dynamic web of quantum spins. If spin-networks are fundamental units of space-time geometry, they may provide the basis of proto-conscious experience. In other words, particular configurations of quantum spin geometry would convey particular types of qualia, meaning and aesthetics.
Specific arrangements of space-time geometry constitute all brain activity. Quantum computation involves the processing of "qubits" as 1 and 0 (and other states) simultaneously. Subunit tubulins act as qubits, switching between states on a nanosecond timescale. Information is superposed and computes in the form of "qubits" in a quantum state which then collapse to definite "bits," or particular results.
Pre-conscious processing of information occurs in the form of qubits, or superposed states of microtubule automata. As the threshold for objective reduction is reached, these qubits collapse to definite states and become bits, resulting in a conscious experience of recognition or choice. While the microtubule quantum superposition evolves linearly, it is influenced at the instant of collapse by hidden non-local variables. The final response or action (or resilience) is determined by the effects of the hidden logic inherent in the space-time geometry of the quantum system undergoing reduction.
Holism and non-locality are features of the quantum world reflected in the quantum nature of awareness. This implies interacting systems have to be considered as wholes; non-locality means spatial separation between parts does not alter the fact we must deal with an interacting system holistically.
The sense of self is attributed to temporal correlation (e.g. coherent 40 Hz). Jibu (1990) proposed that gap junction synapses account for synchronized 40 Hz neural activity. Quantum states and self-collapse in neuronal MT could link brain activities such as thalamo-cortical 40 Hz to experience embedded in "funda-mental" spacetime geometry.
Buddhists describe distinct "flickering" in their experience of reality (Tart, 1995). 25 second intervals between 40 Hz depolarizations suggest such "cognitive quanta" as functional entities. When these move from pre-conscious to conscious they orchestrate our moments of experience.
Time doesn't really flow, but appears to flow, because OR events are irreversible and have a direction in time. Thus instantaneous events give rise to the subjective flow of time, our stream of consciousness. Self-organizing quantum activities in cytoplasm may be the missing ingredients in neural-level correlates of consciousness.
The instantaneous conscious "now" creates new experience from rearrangements in the fundamental spacetime geometry in which raw qualia, or proto-conscious experience resides. In a volitional act possible choices may be superposed. As the OR threshold is reached, the quantum state reduces to a single classical state -- a choice is made.
Summary: Energy Transducing Tensegrity Structures
Wheeler described a "pre-geometry" of fundamental reality comprised of information. Chalmers contends it includes "experiential aspects" leading to consciousness. Consciousness emerges from a critical level of complexity.
Microtubules transduce the experiential aspect of fundamental information. MTs are "electrets" with piezoelectric and ferroelectric properties. MTs assemble and disassemble dynamically, and reassemble. They convey signals and process information. Thus, MTs are linked to learning, memory, and synaptic plasticity. Information is fundamental to the physics of the universe. Matter and mind may arise from consciousness -- the fundamental constituent of reality according to some (Goswami, 1993). Information has both physical and experiential aspects. The climax of a self-organizing process is fundamental to the structure of space-time.
Yes, consciousness has neural correlates. However, brain processes relevant to consciousness extend downward within neurons to the level of the cytoskeleton, in which proto-conscious qualia (subjective experience or inner life) are embedded in the basic level of reality. Consciousness runs deeper than membrane-level functions. "Qualia" (raw feelings or experience) or an experiential medium from which consciousness is derived, may exist as a fundamental component of reality. For science to demonstrate this empirically, the very nature of physical reality must be re-examined.
Only large collections of particles acting coherently in a single macroscopic quantum state could possibly sustain isolation and support coherent superposition in a time frame brief enough to be relevant to our consciousness. Only very special circumstances can support consciousness. In this model, microtubule-associated proteins "tune" the quantum oscillations leading to OR.
Ingber has demonstrated mechanical signaling through cytoskeletal tensegrity networks in which MTs are compressed by contractile action and other filamentous structures. Associative learning, memory, and phase transitions occur in simulated MT experiments. Collective quantum dynamics called super-radiance allows MTs to transform incoherent, disordered energy into quantum coherent photons within its hollow core.
Now we can see how all these concepts and terms fit together in the "synergetics of resilience," to produce emergent effects which are greater than the sum of their parts.
Resilience, as seen through the lens of the tensegrity paradigm, appears to have the flexible yet stable shape of an elaborately constructed network of on-going energy-distribution information feedback loops. Yet it is also simultaneously the reciprocally interactive process underlying the dynamics of its own self-assembly. This resilience is achieved in humans through a combined process of creative self-reflection and intelligent self-correction.
When the concepts of tensegrity are viewed from the perspective of quantum mechanics, the shape which energy (as a potential particle-function) take sin three-dimensional space evolves relative to the tension and compression dynamics recorded within the interference wave interactions from which it has emerged over time. In other words, the architectural design of a material form emerges as the holographic by-product of its continuously shape-shifting, -- and thus information-transducing function.
This is ultimately how all life forms transduce information about themselves to other life forms. By utilizing an interactive, holographic kind of particle-wave "Morse Code" about their current temporo-spatial state just as Candace Pert (1990) predicted earlier, the human body-mind communicates within its inner environment (it "self-reflects") in order to increase the over-all tensegrity of its immense number of "parts" so that it can adapt ("self-correct") more resiliently to all of its life stressors.
Each form of feedback loop can be seen as a separate continuum which is reciprocally interactive with all other feedback-loop continua supporting its life form structure -- which, ultimately is all of them. Every living-energy-information feedback loop is holographically interconnected with all other living energy-information feedback loops.
Resilience, as a tensegrity process, therefore, is the organism's ability to (a) respond appropriately to stressors from within and without its biological structures in a way that allows it to (b) redistribute those stressors equitably across its member-parts in a way that (c) establishes and maintains its many tension-compression ratios within their respective homeostatic comfort zones.
Those feedback-loop continua whose ideal "set-points" have been stretched and tempered, or "prestressed" have the ability to creatively adapt to more stressful energy than those whose "zones" remain very limited. Also, some "strut-like" feedback loops allow more for the compressive receiving and holding of stressor energy, while others, -- more "cable-like," allow more for the flexible holding and sending of energy tensions.
On the human level, the former, compressive feedback loops might be compared to one's innate craving for novel stimuli, an intellectual, strut-like strength, and the latter cold be seen as one's ability to evaluate stressors as challenges, rather than as oppressors, an emotional, cable-like strength. [insert Appendix C, fig. 12]
When these continua of energy patterns are all interconnected into even one "simple" organ of the body, and complexity of the structure is immense and mind-boggling. The next higher level of complexity after the human body's physical structures upon which the body's mind is shaped. Our metaphor of how the dynamics of the human mind-body fits together with the pleroma, holographs, and tensegrity will conclude this section.
Conclusions to Part IV: Emergence or Emergency?
The basic message from all of this science for us as humans is that when it comes to adapting to our environment, our response can either be based in self-organizing emergence in the face of chaos, or non-adaptive breakdown which creates emergency. Adaptive challenge is what leads to critical states to which we either succumb, or rally with a new sense of self-image, a new higher level of self-organization. This holds true whether the challenge comes at the physical, emotional, intellectual/moral, or spiritual level.
We opened many pages ago with a question as to whether or ot we humans are actually separate, distinct life-forms "ruling" this planet, or whether it might be true, as many have suggested over millennia, that we are all fundamentally inextricably embedded "parts" of one huge, organismic whole life form. The answer to both questions, not surprisingly, is "Yes." The point is how do we respond attitudinally and in real-time to those challenges, in a holistic, synergetic or dissociative manner?
Like "the sound of one hand clapping," mankind often seems to have congratulated itself on its achievements far more than observable history has justified. On the other hand, when viewed ontologically as well as epistemologically, -- perhaps there is room in the bigger scheme of things for the many blunders of humanity.
Perhaps, if we choose to learn from our mistakes how to make better choices for ourselves in the future, the "negative" stressors we have brought upon ourselves down through the ages may have actually been helping both our mind-bodies -- and our world-body to become stronger and more consciously resilient with the overall state of our mutual inter-dependence as a whole, living, holographic "tensegrity" structure.
However, and this is a BIG however, the planet Earth does not have the luxury of allowing us more time for making further mistakes. Our impact upon the planet in terms of ecology, resource exploitation, pollution, population, acid rain, ozone depletion and other irreversible factors is changing our environment beyond the point of viability for us, certainly in terms of quality of life as humans have known it since our emergence.
And this does not even address the purely humanistic concerns of fair allocations of resources and human rights. We cannot afford to dwell in the ivory-tower of abstract notions about the nature of energy/matter while the planet as we know it is dying around us. Its resilience bears strongly on our own. Despite our desires to migrate into space we are tied inexorably to its fate; Earth's resilience to our resilience.
Even biologically, there is no substitute for good air, good earth, and good water. These are the resources of our real "wealth," from which all else, including our phenomenal science and technology depends. For our planet, "resilience" may mean our extinction. This has happened to myriad species on earth in deep history, for our galaxy is essentially hostile to life, even while fostering its development in this oasis Earth. Not only the depletion of the planet, but other factors impinging from outside of our solar system challenge our continued existence.
Thus it is that energy, at all levels of manifestation within our time-space continuum, can ultimately be distinguished as being involved in some phase of an oscillating process of evolutionary, distinction-making self-reflection and self-correction. Furthermore, this state is continuously being communicated among all other states via the resiliently evolving tensegrity-building life processes.
The sound of one hand clapping is like a person's eternal mind without the information-transducing energies of its finite body. Or, -- it is consciousness without the self-reflecting functions of its life dynamics. As the Jungian-holographic-tensegrity resilience metaphors have shown us, life is a koan within a koan, and we, as participants in its energy dynamics, are the vital, living, energy-shaping metaphors of its ongoing mystery. Thus, the secret of the universe is -- "Its alive!"
What's New with My Subject?
Tensegrity: The Finite Tension of Infinite Intention
We are at this moment participating in one of the very greatest leaps of the human spirit to a knowledge not only of outside nature but also of our own deep inward mystery.
Joseph Campbell, 1988, p. xviii
Part IV refined psychological and biological information discussed previously. Its more ethereal, spiritual aspects were defined in terms of mystical concepts of life's origins presented in Carl Jung's (1961) "Seven Sermons to the Dead." The gnostic terminology was translated into contemporary scientific models from cosmology, quantum physics, chaos theory, synergetics and holography.
Within the infinitely expanded horizons provided by this new resilience frame of reference, we discovered that all of life seems to exist as an infinitely finite cycling in and out of the balanced states of wholeness. This is perfectly coherent energy, from which we, as potentiated life energy must continuously escape, and paradoxically, into which we, as potentially living beings, are continuously reborn. We emerge from Chaos into order, and our consciousness dissolves into that chaotic state for rejuvination and renewal. Thus, we exist resiliently at the creative edge of chaos.
We can see, looking back at the point where mind and body connect via these virtual energy exchanges, that our psychic and somatic states are modifiable by one another at this juncture of potential energy with its potentiated form.
It is thus our responsibility, as we become increasingly individuated, to modulate as necessary areas which are in need of a holistic tune-up. One manner of doing this is by intentionally choosing to journey toward chaos for creative re-structuring, letting old outworn patterns dissolve.
We can self-manage the distribution and management of energy-draining life stresses on the whole mind-body by attending to the primal creative process. It is not an issue of mind-over-matter nor conscious will exerting its agenda over the subconscious. Rather, it is an approach of "mind-as-matter." And this individuation process of self-reflection and self-correction is resilient to the extent that its effects enhance the ongoing life process rather than diminish it.
And so, at the end of our life process, when our temporal body is separated from its infinite energy source, its physical remains are, of logical and practical necessity returned for recycling into the larger energic scheme wherein is planted "the Tree of Life."
Likewise, we can assume, the infinite life energies over which our bodies temporarily have dominion, must also be returned for recycling within the infinitely larger "pleromal-Abraxas" scheme of things. And somewhere in the middle, the energy demands of being alive (the self-adaptive needs of "Eros") give rise to the "devilish" conflicts upon which our life energies must creatively break themselves in order to adapt and grow stronger, to evolve into ever higher forms of conscious energy.