Thursday, February 12, 2015

Lincoln (2013): The Scapegoating of a President - A Film Review

Prefatory Note: 

I present this evaluation of the 2013 film, Lincoln, in an unfinished, draft form.  I got a bit tangled up in my thoughts and, although I think the draft argument below is pretty much complete and rounded out, I never finished polishing things up, cleaning up the redundancy, tightening the organization.  The part that remains in "draft notes" form is in a different typeface.

My view was that the film's purpose was basically the cathartic one of letting audiences off the hook for comprising with crime and injustice. In the end, sentimentalizing a hero's tragic demise, the film distances us from our present responsibilities by blurring the clear line between strategical indirection and moral compromise.  

The Assassination of Lincoln - Expiation for Our Sins through the Scapegoating of a President

Lincoln, the 2013 film, depicts a moral dilemma that might be characterized in this way: How do we take right action in a wrong world? A classic case of catharsis, the film seeks to cleanse us of the worldly pollution of which we partake. Perhaps like all works of of art, it provides us with a structure to organize our thoughts and feelings in a satisfying way.  As we shall see, the film justifies the compromise of high ideals, or at least of egotistical attachment to such, in the ultimate service of high ideals. Does the end of the film attain to a spiritual cleansing, or does a soap-scum film remain after the shower?

To summarize the plot: Lincoln, the President and Chief Executive, pushes the historic 13th Amendment through Congress, making vigorous use of half-truths and bribes to do so. He wins the necessary votes needed to get the measure passed, primarily by offering government appointments to lame-duck Congressmen. Though this behavior doesn't square with the predominant mythical view of "Honest Abe," Lincoln's backroom political huckstering appears petty and justifiable, excusable one might say, relative to the great and noble historical objective: The chance to abolish slavery forever from the land. This is an opportunity that cannot be lost.

Through determination and dogged effort, and against the odds, Lincoln, with the aid of the henchmen-like accomplices he hires to do his dirty work, buys off the minimum number of Congressmen and the vote is won. The Amendment passes. The better course prevails. History is made.

Yet, of course, the story does not end here -- we have another few minutes to go before the credits roll. In the wake of the great legal victory, the President is tragically assassinated. Although we feel great sadness, yet our hearts have been lifted high. Here the film ends.

Classic catharsis.

We can identify two great halves to this film, psychologically speaking and politically or socially speaking: One half of the story is the story of the President's achievement, and the presumed underlying noble ideals that drive it. The other part is the depiction of the unsavory socio-political environment in which he succeeds. The "system," the general public, the elected Representatives of the people, the principles by which the economy operates -- none of these are idealized. All are shown to be deeply tainted. In this environment, the soldiers fighting for their ideals lift their heads from the trenches at great risk. Try to fight the system, and it might assassinate you.

The film's narrative seems constructed to tells us that not even the President -- nor any of us committed to the moral improvement of the nation -- can rely on free and open discussion, nor any presumed general goodness of the People or its elected representatives, for right principles and ideals to prevail. 

To the contrary, the film conveys that high commitments to noble, but unpopular and "radical" ideals -- like Thaddeus Stevens' counter-cultural commitment to enfranchising black people  (not to mention his own interracial love relationship, revealed only at the film's very end) -- must be toned down and hidden from the world in order not to inflame the conservative fundamentalist temper, in order not to  risk backlash which could possibly overturn the whole applecart. Stevens is something like a stand-in for today's conspiracy theorists or whistleblowers who, dare they impugn the status quo, risk ridicule and banishment, along with anyone who associates with them.

Hence, in the end, the paragon of principle, Mr. Stevens, is ironically lionized for suppressing his beliefs that blacks should be entitled to vote. The right wingers' plan is to get Stevens to expressly link the proposed Amendment with an agenda to enfranchise blacks and deem them fully political equals to whites, an agenda they know is too radical to win support in the Congress. It's thanks to Stevens' strategic silence about his inner convictions that the right-wingers' plan gets no wind for its sails. Had Stevens admitted his support for black enfranchisement, the Amendment would have failed to win the necessary support.  Expressions of radical conviction may jeopardize not only personal safety, but possibly any chance to make even minimal gains and improvements in the character and justice of the prevailing order.  Not standing up for what he believes in, not speaking his heart, in this case, earns the man a halo.
 This paradoxical compromise seems to be the core tension of the film. While the film simultaneously elevates Lincoln for his high commitments, and justifies his backroom dealing, it depicts a world that is deeply morally compromised. Idealists must be practical and sneaky, and not tell the whole truth to dirty ears. 

Now to realize any value in this film whatsoever, we need to understand that, through the lens of 1865, the film of course is speaking to who we are today, and the choices and political realities we face.

This is not just 1865. It is today.  (Ultimately, just as any “story” plays out on a group level the drama we experience in our personal psyches, the backroom deals in this film are not just those of Lincoln – who’s actions we rationalize, whose ultimate ideals we praise, and whose death we mourn – but our own.)

[What the psychologists call splitting - We kill Lincoln to justify our complicity in supporting the unjust world, and we deify him to cleanse our souls. in the end, have we changed the status quo? ]

The conundrum of how to take live rightly in a world where human beings cannot be counted on to act for the good of all, where economic activity is exploitative and committed to the self-interest of some over the well-being of others, a paradoxical and viciously self-reinforcing dynamic where a people that does not have faith in itself to act from high motives resigns itself to acting from base ones.  How can individuals be expected to act for the good of all, when others are not doing so? 

This is a story that says people, and our politics, cannot be trusted. There is no common vision. We need manipulative, strategic leaders, we need to amass the critical number of votes. 
Those fighting for the good are consigned to win by numbers

The story is specifically situated in a national political stage: the interactions of elected leaders, the progress of the Civil War, etc.   But the analogies should not be lost.  The compromises we watch these leaders making on the political stage of 1865 in this 2013 film, are directly analogous to the compromises individuals are asked to make in their personal and professional lives every day in our present world. We work for companies, we work in an economy, we participate in public rituals, we support candidates – at every moment allowing intolerable injustices to slide by, at every moment compromising with our own higher ideals. We must to get along in this unjust world, and we do not know how to fix it, so what else can we do?  We live with daily compromise, we let the radicals who stick their necks out get assassinated, and we find ways to convince ourselves that we are clean, that, since our "deeper hearts" are pure, we are actually good people. 

In such a system founded on a rather base view of humanity, -- lacking knowledge of any better way --  most human beings must continuously expiate their complicity in the general sin, this sin of suppressing the deeper ideals of the heart.  And we do so by deifying its angels after we kill them or let them die. We are reperforming and thereby validating for ourselves the inner psychic drama self-consolation that follows the suppression of our best impulses, our desires for love, justice, and freedom and to live our life, not in submission to the unjust requirements of the day, but according to our heart’s love and desire. 

The Celebration, which I wrote about on a previous occasion, was a film about a civilization that molests its own children, and transforms all of its children into molesters of children – the inner children within ourselves and the generations born to us. 

Lincoln: A film that is cathartic of our sadness, the sadness that derives from our assassinating our loving nature, while revering that which we assassinate. A self that is split between what it does and what it reveres, thereby creating a heaven that is not of this world, and splitting faith and emotion from present action.

As I watched the film, I noticed the film and myself “okaying” petty moral comprises, buying off the U.S. Representatives and “deceiving” Congress, in service to the larger goal of ending slavery for all time. I thought about taking this logic  farther: I asked myself, would I be okay with supporting a few murders and assassinations to accomplish the necessary goal — given the greatness of the cause? And, if not, where would I draw the line? Could it be that the people who assassinate Lincoln, offstage at the very end of the film — people to whom we are never introduced and who’s perspective is never explored — were acting from the basis of a similar rationale? 

The film does not explore this and other moral ambiguities. In its morality, the film is rather black and white. Against a mostly-hidden background of war, where masses of anonymous soldiers fight and die, the elected representatives in the House debate the proposed Amendment. There are three types of representative: The negro-haters, who are bad. The anti-slavery people, who are good, if sometimes a bit whacky – like the idealist Thaddeus Stevens. But even more importantly are all the people in the middle. The film seems to frame the primary task of the good leader as that of steering the recalcitrant, self-interested masses, by hook or by crook, into service to the good.

This might well be the fundamental message of the film: The assumption that human moral nature – at least as represented by the bulk of politicians -- is inherently flaccid.  We are creatures of the herd, given over to practical expediency in the name of self-interest. In the herd, we will find little or no source of moral inspiration or initiative. Given this overwhelming collective proclivity, individual aspiration to something higher is a most doubtful enterprise. The average human being opposes slavery and other wrongs, but only the exceptional human being is willing to do something about it.

Against this background of mediocre humanity, extending even to his closest advisors, Abraham Lincoln is the great leader, taking risks to steer the country towards achieving higher ideals, charting a course for others to follow, albeit with resistance and needing to be cajoled, badgered and ordered to fulfill their charge. To accomplish important moral aims, one must not quibble about petty compromises.   

Of course, these roles and dynamics map onto our present day view of politics: Democrats and Republicans fight the battle of the enlightened vs. unenlightened, while the good leaders (if we elect the right ones) do their best to activate a disengaged, self-interested populace and to get petty warring party operatives to compromise on a shared course. Meanwhile, those progressives of us in the audience just keep trying to earn little victories one step at a time to make the world a better place. 

That’s where, it seems to me, the film overall intends to leave us. We applaud the great work and determination of the good leader, Mr. Lincoln, but we are also left with a rather low view of common humanity.

In what ways does the present film serve as an analogue to and metaphor for our present lived experience, as all films do? 

The most striking statement of the film is this: Civil War America is morally compromised, with the bulk of the population committed to a tradition and an economy fundamentally unjust, and even those with a sense that something is deeply wrong unwilling to resist or take initiative for change. To undertake a task that would require large-scale collaboration, yet failing to believe that the shared motive and belief in the possibility of large-scale collaboration exists, we settle into a belief in the mediocrity of humanity. 

Perhaps we are not too removed from the conditions of 1865. Then, the economy – even much of the North – was dependent on slavery.

Today, we are dependent on … corporations for employment, masses of people are living compromised lives performing jobs they don’t want to perform, they obviously don’t believe that individual human beings can wholly commit themselves to, or take our primary bearings from, ideals, moral initiative, right action and justice. Compromise is obviously what nature and the real world require.

And corporations depend on cheap labor etc.

Humans can’t be counted on, because we are at bottom self-interested. This belief is confirmed to us every day in our observations of others -- or so it may seem, although I suspect our judgment of others is rooted in our judgment of, and our desire to exculpate, ourselves.

Ultimately, the film leads us to accept the great Lincoln’s compromises, in part because the film helps us to validate and rationalize our own.  It’s like a vicious circle.  We must compromise, because we cannot count of human beings to do the right thing.  Policy must be set and imposed from above.

Yes, we all go along with what we know deep down is not really right, but that’s “nature,” the way the world works; it’s our economic and moral reality. It’s sad. It’s sad, and it’s an issue for us that won’t go away. Our psyches resist it. That’s why we need to keep telling ourselves the story, over and over. So we create films like Lincoln, and we pay to go watch stories like Lincoln.

We need to keep telling ourselves and each other a story of acceptance and of exculpation. It’s a story that keeps us feeling better at the same time that we keep making the compromise. A film like Lincoln helps to remind me that, despite the big pang of compromise in our hearts, despite our low and mediocre view of human beings in the collective, there are plenty of things to be glad for, things that can distract us from that lasting dissatisfaction that keeps insistently knocking, and which is, after all, a sign of our secret inner moral goodness that perhaps in the end may save us.  The committment to a good heart that will be recognized in an afterworld. 

Even Thaddeus Stevens, the radical, uncompromising idealist in the film, learns to tone it down. He learns to make his compromises, and not to differentiate himself in public on the basis of his higher ideals. And the film makes him out to be a hero for doing so.  Had Stevens’ inflamed the right wing by insisting on his most radical ideals at the wrong moment, he could have sabotaged the passage of the 13th Amendment.

At one point in the film the right-wing Congressman accuses Thaddeus before the House: “You have stated the radical idea in the past that negroes should be allowed to vote!!!”  But Thaddeus won’t cop at this moment to his crazy radical ideas. He knows better. Best to tamp down our more radical thoughts, our hearts’ belief, in the name of expediency. (Thaddeus is the film’s stand-in for the conspiracy-theory type.) And even here the film reassures us, for of course we can make reassurances whenever we need them: because, thanks to the benefit of historical hindsight, we know that Thaddeus’ “radical” view in 1865 is no longer radical view today in the post-1960s world, when equality and the right to vote has become the norm. The film reassures us that, with time, the good will win out, truth and progress march on. — You just have to keep doing things this way. Our compromises are compatible with our ideals, in the long run. No use sacrificing oneself going against the mainstream, especially when such sacrifice could be hugely counterproductive. 

We emerge from the film feeling that the world is imperfect, and we’re sad, but it’s okay, and overall — we tell ourselves — the world is getting better.  Our sadness that good people like Lincoln are killed shows us that are hearts are still good.

This is where the film ends.  And yet, is its resolution successful? There is a hope and yearning within us that won’t die. Yet we live in a world that says we must accept our mediocrity. Does the film lay this tension to rest as it lays Lincoln to rest?  Is this resolution psychologically healthy, or the sign of an unbalanced society?

This is not a film of deep psychological exploration. No character crosses a gulf requiring psychic transformation. Interestingly, the film refers to, but does not explore, Mary Todd Lincoln’s past mental instability. Perhaps her psychic breakdowns indicate the psychic costs of the compromise. 

Similarly, the degree to which the United States has bridged the deep gulf between North and South, the Gulf of the Civil War, is ambiguous. There is no sign of real integration between sides, only the policy imposed by the North upon the South.

Paradoxically, a film like this, with its message of human mediocrity, also presupposes that all of us have hearts that are moved by high ideals.  And so the film is tinged with sadness. It elicits those ideals, and lifts our hearts, only to re-enact the drama of acceptance of less in the name of “reality.”

In the end, President Lincoln is assassinated. We are sad. Our sadness itself lets us know that, in a compromised world, our hearts still pulse in response to the good and the ideal.

In our acceptance, are we compromising ourselves in some fundamental part of our being?  Is our sadness over the death of Lincoln, really our sadness for an assassinated part of ourselves?

Evolutionary Love II - We are Generating Past and Future in the Now

Prefatory Note: 
Here are two epiphanies, tentatively and roughly expressed. They are not honed into elegant statements. For now, this is what I've got. Thanks!

I claim that right here and right Now, “we,” each and all of us, on all the many levels from personal, to group and communal and simultaneously with all levels extending from our highest inspirational visions down to our very cells and dna -- and to the very atoms within them that are presently containing the original Chaos through the subatomic attractive-erotic forces of subparticle physics -- that we are always in an ongoing way generating the Cosmos, including our past and our future:

I've come up with various versions of the statement below. These ought to be consolidated, pending increased clarity.

1. Creation in the Now:
Evolutionary Time occurs through the progressive Containing of Chaos [1][2] and the corresponding progressive Expansion of the Cosmic Horizon through the ongoing Structural Development of the Evolutionary Process at every level of being. The Human Cosmos, the container that opens between  Heaven and Earth, evolves [3] in the ever-present Now from which we generate the ever-extending  past and the ever-extending future.[4] Proliferations of distinctions from multiple levels of being, multiple intelligences, at their points of congruence discover a Common Path through the Integral Heart (where all the levels of feeling in the body, along the spectrum of darkness to light, matter to spirit, intersect in the feelings conveyed by bodies and the feelings conveyed by thoughts – even thoughts have subtle feelings) and are brought into the circle or choir of Universal Care, and higher ascendancies of the Concert of Being in which all beings are destined to have a voice.

1. (Chaos=the Big Bang, and Chaos' epiphenomenal presence at each level of Being, driven with each ascension to a deeper interior)
2. (progressive containing occurs in the time dimension of going deeper into the past, from now-to-past as we realize the story of who we are)
3. (evolution of the container between Earth-and-Heaven)(occurs in the time-dimension of now-to-future)
4. ever extending and ever expanding ... ever diversified and deeper

1B. Another Version
Evolutionary Time occurs through the progressive Containing of Chaos (the Big Bang) and the increasing loving intimacy of levels of Beings within the Cosmic feminine container, womb and matrix of all earthly life and activity, of Heaven and Earth.  Evolutionary Time moves forward through spiraling cycles that are led forth through masculine bidirectional extensions in the domains of Past and Future, Unity and Difference, and Energy and Matter. Through the Intergral Heart of the Now, the Nexus reciprocally joining Masculine and Feminine, the masculine distinguishings/extendings/polar directionings, seek their harmonious resonances within the Circular Systemic cyclings of the Feminine, which is the point at which the Axes of being join the Matrix of Love, and generate Evolutionary Time and Movement.  Through discovery of congruences between the workings of the masculine and feminine, the world arises to like a road to meet us, opening the path forward into a new, higher and more beautiful Cosmic architecture, on the road to the Celestial City.

1C. Another
Evolutionary Time occurs through the progressive Containing of Chaos [1][2] and the corresponding progressive Expansion of the Cosmic Horizon through the ongoing Structural Development of the Evolutionary Process

2. The Ankh = The Crucifix joined to the Madonna & Child Matrix, joining the Womb to the cross.

I am seeng the Egyptian Ankh as a symbolic representation of the insights I'm attempting to articulate above. The Ankh is a kind of cross, with a Circle joined atop three "arms."

A. The Circle (Feminine, dimensions of inner deepening and outer expansion -- spiraling out from the center, drawn forth by the masculine axes, I intuit)
The womb-container-matrix of the ever-cycling Heart of Care

B. The Intersecting Bidirectional Linearities (Masculine)
  1. Past-Future  (Front-Back, Stories, Principles and Plots)
  2. Unity-Difference (Left-Right, Multiplication of qualities in distinguishing differences)
  3. Form-Spirit, or Energy-Matter (Below-Above, Successive Operational Levels in a Founding Relation, ascending, and a Containing Relation, descending)

Evolutionary Growth 
Proceeds as the feminine matrix deepens and expands in the dimensions of inner (within) and outer (horizonal sky).  Follows the evolutionary path within the womb-container-matrix of the cycling heart. With the extension of the (at least) three masculine bidirectional axes, realized at the heart nexus where masculine meets feminine, evolution proceeds.

Lively Commentary - My Dialogue with Antoine:

The following is derived from my correspondence with my friend Antoine about an earlier version of the above (I've lightly edited our original correspondence).

Antoine's suggested rewordings of my original formulations of the above. Antoine's suggested changes are boldfaced. He also suggested some emphases, which are represented by underlines.

I am loving your musings, Marc.   Riffing off of your work I came up with these alternatives:

1. Creation in the Now
Evolutionary Space-Time is contained within the successive ordering of Chaos (the Big Bang) and  the progressive Expanding of Cosmos (continuity unfolding) through the bidirectional dimension of time (Past and Future), connected through the nexus of the Spiraling of Spirit through the Integral Heart of Now.

2. The Ankh? (tentatively)

Growth (within the womb-matrix of the cycling  heart) proceeds along three (four?) bidirectional axes (or dialectical poles?):
Form-Spirit   (or structure-energy)
Masculine-Feminine   (or action and embrace / outer and inner)

On your suggested edits:

#2.  I thought about adding the masculine/feminine to my list of the bidirectional axes; for me, though, the masculine seems to be associated to the three axes which I named, while the feminine is  associated with the “circle” or matrix. The nuclear generative power of masculine directiveness appreciates and deepens the circle, spiraling out from the center of care to extend its loving domain and embrace.
Hence, interestingly, I also, with you, associated depth and expansion (your inner and outer) with   the feminine principle. Yet I locate this depth and expansion in a circular domain that is in connected vital relation to, and yet somehow distinct from, the masculine domain of intersecting linearly extending bi-directionalities. Anyhow, that’s how I am seeing it.
By the way I like your pairing, “structure-energy” as an alternative to my "form-spirit." I myself also saw a kind of equivalence between spirit and energy, form and structure. I'm not sure which I prefer, and welcome your thoughts.
In support of all this reasoning and intuition, the symbol of the Egyptian Ankh came up for me: the Circle atop the three “arms” of a cross. I see the Ankh as a symbolic expression of the Circle-Matrix over the three bidirectional linearities.
Very interestingly, it also occurs to me that:
The Ankh can be seen as the joining of the “Mother and Child” (Madonna and Child) Matrix to the Crucifixional linearities, which pass into the Heart of Care (the Feminine Circle) at the integrative nexus of the intersection.
Also interestingly, I notice that, historically speaking, with the introduction of the Christian cross, the circle on top is removed and transformed into a fourth straight line!  This may suggest that the Christian tradition, as symbolized in the crucifix, effectively attempts to replace or effaceme Feminine circularity with masculine linearity. Could this transformation of the cross signify the world event that instituted engendered domination and submission, what we call patriarchy?
Your idea of "dialectical poles” sounds interesting and generative. After thinking about it a bit, I think it might work, but I'm not sure what nuances you intend to introduce. I notice that, in my thinking, the masculine work of humanity is to extend the poles in both directions, developing opposites in the related distinction to one another.  Is this a dialectic? Maybe so?  Some symbolic images come up for me in thinking about these poles or directions: Moses parting the Red Sea (horizontal pole). Atlas holding up the Earth (ascending/descending pole).

My own view was showing me that the axis of past-generating, which I associate with the containing of Chaos, is an ongoing active happening in the now. So, in a subsequent edit, I intentionally chose not to say “contained” (past sense, completed) but “containing” (actively ongoing).
Furthermore, I am also saying (by my choice of "containing" over "contained") that an epiphenomenal aura of chaos and randomness remains with the move to each successive level, so that at every level of being a new quality and sphere of liberation, of spontaneity and freedom and unpredictableness is also opened, which also introduces new dangers — and it is the work of this level to, as you say, bring the new variables and inheritances into a new order. The chaos is never fully contained; the work of containing goes on, and remains energetically active even where it has been achieved.
Speaking of order, I like your re-ordering of my phrase into “Integral Heart of Now.”
I also like your emphasis on my "successive ordering," which, it occurs to me, also implies the accessive ordering in the other direction: up and down the bidirectional axis (or dialectical pole, in your words).
Responding on your emphasis of connected through the nexus,” I like that and for me it illuminates a  question that I had not focused on, which is the mysterious and magical “pipeline” or “transformative passageway,” as I am now seeing it, from the linear domain of the masculine bidirectional axes (or or d-poles) and the cycles of the feminine matrix.
I intuit that the masculine directionality, driving back and delineating the past as it projects and clarifies the future, is what leads the feminine cycularity into an evolutionary spiraling forth, a repetition and recurrence that, in its caring spinning sustaining, brings something forth from the past, as it also, in moving forward, brings something forth from the future, and therefore launches a lineage of evolutionary growth in the present moment, ever connected with evolving past and future, so that the present is always structurally coupled with its context of past and future. The generative matrix is then something like the seed that draws energy from the heavens and nourishment from the earth, and in its cyclical nexusing-joining-integrating, it brings forth the tree, a new structuring of earth, sky, water and fire-sun, into a living organic unity.

I am saying that, in the Now, right now, “we,” each and all of us (at levels from personal, to group, to communal, etc.) — on many simultaneous levels from our highest inspirational visions down to our very cells and dna and the very atoms within the cells and dna that are presently containing the original Chaos through the subatomic attractive-erotic forces of physics -- are actively generating the Cosmos, including the past and the future. Can we take responsibility for what we are doing, for whatever path we are generating, for our relationship to the ancestors, the children of the future, the earth and the sky, and to our fellow living beings in the theater of our existence? This comes back to my thoughts on developing, and ascending into, our Respons-ability, which also means coming into our own as who we are, Owning our selving and stepping into our Freedoming.

Wow! Thank you Antoine!  What new beauty of being with you shines forth for me!

Evolutionary Love : A Creation Story

Prefatory Note:

The following streaming-consciousness outpouring on Evolutionary Love is only a rough scaffolding to hold some voluminous ideas. Yet I'm posting it in the interest of finding whom these thoughts might attract. I invite your resonances, insights, collaborating thoughts.
The title? I think Evolutionary Love works. I am tempted to add "and its cash value” to provoke curiousity, but I don’t get far enough in my line of thinking here to work my way back to my ultimate goal of explaining that! 

Evolutionary Love

   "My use of all my gains includes
     Continual further gain." -- Harvey Jackins

I expect some to feel surprise on hearing the claim that “money,” rightly instituted, will one day  liberate self-regenerating, reciprocally-energizing love for people and natural places all around the world. Rightly realized, money increases freely — without debt and without usury or interest, and as a true sign of real, underlying value — when human beings achieve congruence with one another and with the earth and cosmos, thereby increasing the human capacity to collaborate with others and with the biological and physical beings of the gifted creation, thereby walking together purposively in to adorn the world with beauty. The only backing that money ever really has is the collaborative capacity of the community to satisfy its shared dreams and desire, including the desire that all individiduals enjoy the liberty of their own self-development in a supportive human and natural context. I view this principle and ideal of congruence as defining the ever-attracting bountiful, inexhaustible horizon of our liberation.

The generation of freedom, value and love or Eros begins at the Beginning.

Even at the moment of the Big Bang, just prior to the time explored by subquantum and quantum physics, prior, that is, to the miraculous emergence of subquantum strings and then subatomic particles composed of those strings, the original Chaos was without law or form, and the first Great Dancings then began, when the diverse subquanta and their quanta children of various qualities and frequencies began to stabilize their interplay into regular dancing patterns, settling into recurring, recognizable rhythms and beats, which were one with their unnamed identities. These dances began because the strings and particles were attracted to one another. They were mysteriously attracted from out of the mysterious preferences that showed up in the grand initial utterly timeless and unpredictably random and shapeless spontaneity of Chaos. This Great Attraction, Eros, was therefore from the Beginning the generator of Law, and destined to be refined into ever more subtle patterns through the Great Chain of Being.

These mysterious First Preferences were the first inklings of what much later, at higher meta-levels of being and in human times, would be experienced and named as the Erotic principle: the principle by which dancing partners — on whatever level of ontology, physical, chemical, biological, mammalian, human or spiritual, down and up the chain — find each other and come together into mutually pleasing grooves that the attracted partners then keep grooving on, and which they willingly sustain and conserve into the future, a form of proto-commitment to action.

These “stabilizations,” Dances, or grooves were the first laws or principles — indeed from the much later emergent human perspective they were proto-institutions -- and they resolved, after some time, into regularities. But this resolution into regularities that could later be relied upon by the other higher orders of being that would later emerge, just as a man relies upon the earth, did not signify the complete disappearance of Chaos and Randomness. They did not signify the banishment of the Original Spontaneous Unpredictable Energy, neither in its terror nor in its creative potential. 

Instead, while through the dancing the particles there gradually resolved within the compass of the All the  relatively stable world of Newtonian mechanics, Chaos and Randomness gave up none of their explosive potential — instead, they remain at the two horizons, dangerously accessible to the finest titrations.

(N.B.: These explosive forces were at one point in later history to be tapped by human beings, a team of physicists, who in the 20th century unleashed nuclear forces into the living earthly environment, an environment which had been constructed on the foundation of the containment of these forces; that this earthly containment did not signify the elimination or complete abeyance of these great encompassing and underlying forces of Chaos, but only – i’m inspired to say – their relegation beyond the most distant horizons of immensity and smallness, is indicated by the fact that these physicists themselves, the nuclear scientists,  spoke of the remote possibility that any nuclear explosion might unleash an uncontrollable chain reaction into the earthly environment).

But back to our story. In time, the subatomic and atomic dancers locked into their seemingly-eternal dances, creating the Newtonian universe on the foundation of the quantum universe. Their dance became sure, strong and linear — at least speaking from the practical human perspective -- and led to a point of stabilization that gave realm to a very, very, very slow dimension of time, calculated in eons. So slow is this physical dimension of Being and Time, so stable and steady its grooving, that Newton and his successors deemed these dances “the Eternal Laws of Nature.” For all human intents and purposes, the universe and its laws are eternal, of another order of time altogether than we can comprehend.

Now, in turned out that this logical and operational domain of Newtonian physics, a domain of great material and mechanical activity, would constitute the operational floor, at a later time, of a new dimension: the biological universe, or better, the domain of biological ecosystems, as we shall soon discuss.

For now, we are speaking of the Uni-Verse, the Grand Systemic singular (uni-) and cycling-upon-itself (-versing) of the seemingly infinite, centerless and random Newtonian space, deathless and without biological life. The human phenomenal cosmos, as distinct from this eternal universe (or at least eternal from any practical human standpoint), is yet a long way from appearing on the scene. The Universe is as distinct from the Cosmos, our Home, as eternity is from mortality.

The constituting principle of this domain of the physical universe — of the dancing that we named above —  is the ongoing sustained consensual coordination of insentient matter in such a way as to reproduce the conditions of its ongoing self-reproduction. In a word, the ongoing dancing of mutually attracting particles.

This underlying dynamic, a wordless (infant) drama, is what determines the soundness of all that humans, in the  iterative adaptations of their theories of mechanical physics, attempt to name and represent as Newtonian Law, as the representable truths of science. Yet it is not science that gives the Law to the Universe; instead, it is the Universe that holds sway over all human models and representations. (The tacit, unspeakable dynamics of the physical universe under-stand human representation, and not the other way around.)

At a later time, as we anticipated above, a new major epoch in the history of the world’s ontology was built on this physical foundation, this basis, this floor — which only became a floor when their emerged new actors to walk upon it.

We are speaking of the epoch that begins with the astounding emergence of biological life, an event that was nothing short of miraculous, especially from within the perspective of the physical universe, because it is nowhere com-prehensible, but unfathomable and ungraspable, in physical terms. In other words, upon the foundational logic (or -ology) of Newtonian physics, biology eventually emerged, a new order of logic, a new dimension of dynamic relations among a new order of entities, which entities and relational dynamics could not be reduced to or understood according to the principles of physics. [Note: I say “biological” life because I am holding to a distinction that permits the physical universe also to be understood as “living,” as may be clear from my languagings.]

Every new higher-order or meta-level domain emerges upon the opaque floor of the domain before it, a floor upon which the entities within the new domain blindly rely as they interact within their own theater.
Atoms are totalities formed upon the floor of their subatomic components, and these subatomic components, on their own level, themselves interact on the floor supported by the sub-quantum string-level components. From the dance of atoms, molecules are born. These new totalities, dancing together with their kind, discover new, relatively-stable dancing grooves.  The subatomic level, the atomic level, and, now, the chemical interactions at the molecular level forming a new lively, interactive domain*: The theater of molecular dynamics. In Chemistry, the  dancers find an entirely new attractive chemistry, so to speak. That is, Eros expands into a new sphere. Important to understand: the domain of the newly emergent totalities above the floor of their subcomponents, does not intersect with the domain of the subcomponents. As Wittgenstein once noted, it is impossible through observations of the brain and/or nervous system and/or other biological subsystems for us to ever perceive the fundamentally higher order of being in which thoughts and perceptions arise. At best, what can be found are resonant correlations. [*N.B.: The development from atomic to molecular interaction is perhaps better described as a maturation within the same domain.]

Let us recount the story of the miraculous emergence of life. Within the new theater built upon the stage floor of atomic physics, a drama was set into motion among nonbiological entities, the molecules. These  molecules began to interact and play with one another in their own physical and chemical dances and rituals of attraction, and repulsion, finding the most pleasing grooves and those most enchanting and stabilizing recurring rhythms that win strong commitments. The molecules are the new totalities, or higher-level entities, whose interactions as totalities (in dance and play) constitute the new domain or theater and, with it, a unique and unprecedented kind of dancing. A new level or subworld, really, of new song, movement and story-making comes into its own, creating, in the self-created theater, the dancing through the dancing.

At this higher level of dancing a new domain of Free Play emerges. New dance steps and grooves, of an entirely different order and quality, first become possible. The new tricks are all the rage. In amazing contrast, for instance, to the slower eonic (long-time) rhythms of the relatively-stabilized quantum and atomic dancings, the new dances of these molecules are much more Free, more Playful and Faster, relative to the dances now hidden in the subdomain, beneath the floor — a new range of diversity of Rhythms has emerged on the new layer of being: upon the slow, slow rhythms of silent immobile rock are heard new fast-stepping molecular ecologies, new instruments with utterly new qualities; the range of rhythms, timbres and colors grows; new plots and dramas unique to the lives of molecules begin to unfold with great drama.  Each successive order of Being emerges as a space of new liberation founded upon the dance-floor of the prior ontological epoch. The world becomes more musical all the time.

All the while, it is important to understand that, even with the emergence of new theaters, each prior ontological epoch continues its dancing, its grooving, as before, and continues active below each floor.

The new molecular dancers of which we are speaking emerge as totalities, as entities in their own right witin their own unique domain, only within the field that opens up through their relation to the other molecular entities that interact with them on the same molecular  level. Each molecular totality is thus by definition necessarily blind and insentient  to the subdomain within which its  components, the atoms and subatomic particles, interact. This is coherent with the metaphor of the floor as foundational basis: the floor limits, and is coincident with, the horizon of the theater of the actors in question. (It’s not just the floor, but both the near and far horizons, in fact, of the entire new theater of play.) But the actors play upon the material floor without being able to enter within its, to them, dark and closed domain, and they play within the compass of a horizon whose limits, likewise they can never reach. [Aside: This is analogous to the human experience of “phenomena,” the “surfaces” that appear to uninstrumentally-aided sense experience; when Kant spoke of the impossibility of knowing the underlying noumena, he was speaking of this same principle of the limit-horizon, at least with regard to the underlying foundational preconditions of experience; at this moment it is not apparent to me whether Kant considered the role of the outer horizonal preconditions of human experience. More about this to come below. ]

Just so, underneath or within the floor upon which the new molecular dancing happens, as it were, the components of the molecules (the “interior” of the molecules) continue to do their dancing as atoms and subatomic particles (and below that, perhaps, “strings,” the primordial violin strings of the Universe). 

Here it is also critical to understand that each prior ontological epoch, while continuing with its dancing and grooving — thereby supporting the higher-orde entities dancing on the floor above them, in a non-intersecting, higher domain — also itself, and despite its titanic stability relative to the upper floors — remains open to the possibility of improvisation in its dancing. Each understanding floor retains some opening, even,  to influence from the new dancing above, for as the container transforms -- even thought the domains of container-agents (totalities) and contained agents (subcomponents) remain non-intersecting — so does the environment of what is contained; that is, as the totalities refashion their dynamic with one another, they simultaneously refashion the upper context or wider horizon which partly defines the operational subdomain of the subcomponents.  Maturana describes the same logic when he points out that, for example, when human beings conserve the newly emergent human relations of love in consensual coordinations of consensual coordinations that produce the conditions for the self-regeneration of the conditions of love, or, to simplify, when human beings conserve, or institutionalize in their practice, a particular dynamic, they create the possibility for everything around them to change in relation to that conserved dynamic or practice as a center and guide. (In the human domain, this is the outer horizon of ideals and our shared commitment to them.)

In other words, the newly discovered preferences of the dancers, if the dancers groove to them in the right key, become as spiritual guides to the underfloor entities, even though these guides are intangible and unreachable by them due to their being beyond the horizon, and these guides can lead or entice the lower entities into new rhythms, and towards those new possibilities of delicate adaptation, new orders of micro-harmonization, that are congruent (mutually harmonized) with the new rhythms of the dancers above.  Hence, to give an example, a community that stabilizes its commitments to reciprocal love and develops institutions and rituals that stabilize and proliferate the genuine experience of love, building its collaborative capacity, creates an environment which favors evolutionary adaptations in the biology and in the physical landscape that are congruent with those institutions, practices and commitments.

To approach this from another perspective: In sum, each level remains actively nested within the higher orders, and each order continues to have its unique kind of influence on all of the others. The congruence of the orders with one another, the congruence of their music, is likely what has been referred to in times past as “the music of the spheres”; this music finds one expression, on the principle of the isomorphism of each of the nested systems with one another, in the Indian system of the ascending Chakras, which track the evolutionary growth of the spine, from the sacrum, or residual tail, into the abode of the gut and parasympathetic nervous system, up through heart and the sympathetic nervous system, and upwards again to the voice, to the speaking, conceptualizing and spiritual bodies or levels associated with the throat, forehead and crown/aura or outer horizon. [N.B.: I have not studied the Chakras, so my application of  this analogy may be somewhat loose and imprecise]

We are still preparing to discuss the emergence of living beings within the theater of Newtonian physical space. Here, I borrow from Humberto Maturana his explanation of the constitutional principle of biological organisms. Maturana states that the living organism, on a molecular level, is constituted as a self-reproducing coordination of molecules that together keep reproducing the conditions of their own ongoing self-regeneration. [N.B.: [N.B.: I should check Maturana's exact wording, which I am here reproducing inexactly and inelegantly.]

Note: Initially, I suspected that this Maturanan principle describing the constitution and operation of biological entities on the molecular level did not apply to the underlying non-biological, physical entities (under the floor). However, I now seem to see that Maturana’s thesis describes is a more universal principle that applies at all levels through the principle of isomporphy of nested systems. [Note: However, this raises the question of what distinguishes living organisms from lower-order entities;  in living organisms an autonomous automotive and emotive principle first appears; but I will address this elsewhere.]

Each ontological domain finds its stabilizing, organizing principle in the emergence of consensual coordinations (dancing grooves that reciprocally satisfy the inherent preferences of the autonomous subcomponents) that generate the ongoing conditions of their continued consensual coordination: this means reality can become reliable at each level in preparation to support the next. After enough dancing, the domain enters into a period of ongoing stabilization, permitting the emergence of higher level entitites on ints floor.  So this principle of consensual coordination can apply not only to the biological level, where we are more used to speaking of “preferences,” but also to molecular, atomic and subatomic levels. “Inertia,” for example, can be described as the preference of a stationary object to stay at rest. An planetary orbit describes the “preference” of the planet to sustain its cyclical orbital trajectory. Etc. When we open to our hearts desires, our preferences will lead us where we want to go: “I learn by going where I have to go.” - Theodore Roethke.

To repeat: Consensual coordinations that produce their own ongoing self reproduction. [Note: This could be deemed a principle of “Agreement." When C.S. Peirce claimed that the purpose of Reason was to achieve Agreement, and in particular when he expanded this idea to his notion of Evolutionary Love, he more or less arrived to a very similar place to that which I am elucidating now.]

So to get back to the dancing of molecules — within the grand theater of molecular dynamics — from which, eventually, life emerges: a living organism emerges when a circle or collective of molecules joins together in such a way as to generate their own self-reproduction as a unity. This achievement (or musical discovery or unexpected type of agreement) gives birth to the conditions of emergence of an ongoing, autonomous self-motivating complex being with its own unique motive preferences, i.e. tastes and emotions, that guide it in its interactions withing the new environment, a "container" that emerges simultaneously with the emergence of the organism. The new organism exists in a new domain along with the other organisms that, as totalities or actors on the new stage floor (the earth), coinhabit the domain, giving rise to a new world or (if the term world is to be reserved for languaging organisms) or ecosystem. 

By following its preferences within the limitations and peculiarities of its unique environment (preferences for the newly sensible and meaningful qualities, for example, of hotter, drier, colder or wetter, darker or lighter, etc., depending on the locality within which the organism finds itself) every organism is launched into an evolutionary lineage, itself developing in complex interactions with the developing evolutionary lineages of the other organisms within its growing ecological system. The organism subsequently develops in conjunction with its environment, and the environment and the organism favor (or prefer) adaptations that most reciprocally support the ecosystem. As all organisms happily conserve (sustain in ongoing repetition) those mutually-agreeable congruences (dances) that, in their play, they discover between themselves and their physical and creatural environment (the theater or ecosystem), a layered building up occurs, in which the evolutionary path of speciation tracks together with evolutionary changes in the ecosystem. Organisms and ecosystem co-constitute one another.

Now to jump way back, for a moment, to the thesis with which I began, that the invention of True Money (not the counterfeit that we currently call money, which now conserves a relational dynamic of deceit, theft, exploitation and domination/submission in our socio-bio-cultural ecosystem), True money (interest and debt free) will in the future represent (as it has briefly at times in the past) the discovery of a new order and potential for the development of cosmically-beneficial congruences — capable of reaching to and uniting ever-wider geographical regions and populations while simultaneuosly nourishing individuals and their local environments everywhere, linking local and global planetary health for the first time. True money, through the aforesaid principle of structural isomorphy, extends and participates in the same logic of value- generation and evolution that we are seeing in the evolutionary world architecture that we have been discussing.

Language is the human capacity for human beings to consensually coordinate their consensual coordinations— this capacity is acted out within the theater of languaging on the immediate floor of the long-developed and stabilized consensual coordinations of our not-yet-speaking animal ancestors, that is, made possible by and built upon  the preferences of our animal ancestors (underbeings) to be social with one another and to live in communities in which they developed and made instincural certain practices of gentleness, kindness and love that ensured not only their survival, but more importantly, the pleasure of their being in community, by which actions they brought Eros into yet another and higher domain of accomplishment and institutionalization. On the floor of our emotional-relational instinctual-biologically encoded patterns of interaction, to which we remain nearly blind because we live in language and because these biological interactions go on at the very limit of our conceptual-linguistic experience, human beings emerge as languaging beings. As we know, emotions, when they enter the world of languaging where we as higher-order entities acknowledge them (even though they often determine what we are doing while they are unacknoweldged), become feelings; as we know, emotions when they are named become feelings, and then they become available to our coordinations with one another through reflection on what we are doing and through dialogue. In this way dialogue opens the domain of what C.S. Peirce called Evolutionary Love.

Some Possible Subtitle(s) for this Post: 
  • A Creation Story
  • A Scientistic-Spiritualistic Creation Story
  • Integrally evolving consensual coordinations at all the levels of our intelligence. 
  • Building on the congruences: From the deep singings of subquantum violins, to the overarching Hosannahs of the gilded heavenly sphere. 


Alas, my friends who've made it this far: I’m running out of steam and haven’t made it back up to my starting place: the level of money and beyond.

Here are some early notes which may or may not contain substance not included above:

Then, of organisms with each other and with the environment: ecosystems, species differentiation - dynamically discovering new consensual (mutually pleasing) coordinations (recurring, "institutionalized", conserved practices) OF the totalities  (higher level entities, at this level organisms structurally coupled with their environments) constituted by recursively consensually coordinating molecules. Each level generates its own domain and the diversity of its agency entities towards fulfillment of its sphere: subquantum diversity, atomic diversity, molecular diversity, biodiversity, cultural diversity, etc. The extension of diversity within each theater simultaneously develops and deepens connecting intimacy through increasing sensitivity and differentiation at both the level of the ground/floor and the sky/horizon, sensually and spiritually. Individuation and community grow each other. Oneness and difference move towards convergence.

Humans seeking to coordinate (integrally) all the many levels into mutual congruence (coordination). The heart is said to be the organ of integration of upper with lower levels.

Forgot to add image of the womb/matrix. The theater of humanness, the matrix of humanness, is the context of love.
Also, the masculine principle brings the mother-child cycle forward from circular to forward-moving spiral (?)