How to… do things. Why care? [The curse of doing something]

What a strange era we live in.

People keep on wandering how to do things…

How to make a good site.
How to get a good Alexa rank.
How to make meatballs.
How to buy a used car.
How to make money.
How to mine Bitcoins.
How to make babies.
How to kill babies. (a.k.a. “abortion”)
How to watch solar eclipse.
How to lose belly fat.
How to earn the lottery.
How to find free… you know what.
How to find true love.
How to start a new business.
How to promote your site.
How to train your dragon.

People engulfed in the everlasting Sisyphian effort of ‘doing something’. Not because they want to; most of them anyway despise doing what they do and that is why they so eagerly search for ways to do it. But because they are afraid of the alternative: Doing nothing. People wanting to do things only because doing nothing will let them alone with their most dreaded enemy: their self.

It is easy to always do something. You are occupied so much that you always keep the darkness away. You drift away from the abyss of your own consciousness by limiting your thoughts to the shallowness of existence. You don’t have to worry about the important thing except about what you are… doing.

That the dark secret of our modern times: We are all filling the basin of Danaides – judging those who don’t – but we never care to see whether the jar has any holes. And no matter how long we keep doing it and how little results we see, we keep on doing it mesmerized by the great story taught to us since we learnt how to walk: You must do something…

Let go. Try to just breath.
Look at the butterflies.
Stare at the raging ocean.

Try not to search for how to do something.
But try to remember how to do nothing.
You will discover that this is the hardest thing you ever did…

Attack when they are stronger…

Does the time of day matter when our body is infected by a parasite? According to new research from McGill University, it matters a great deal.

Our body works differently at different times of the day following our internal clocks. Researchers from McGill University and the Douglas Mental Health University Institute have now established that parasitic infections are also controlled by these clocks. The severity of a microbe’s infection will thus vary whether it is encountered during the day or at night, a discovery that scientists believe could pave the way to new treatment and prevention strategies for parasitic infections.

Scientists who studied Leishmania (a parasite that causes leishmaniasis and that is transmitted at night by the female sandfly) concluded that its infection was more effective in the early night, a time when the immune response to the parasite was the strongest. Simply put, the parasite thrives when it elicits a strong immune response, attracting inflammatory cells it uses to multiply (macrophages and neutrophils) to the infection site. (1)

What elegant mechanisms does nature has to restore balance.

People have always fought to build knowledge.

And yet…

Nature tries to warn us…

The strongest prejudice propagates better through a solid knowledgeable mind.

The darkest dogmas find fruitful ground in the most educated societies.

The more certain you are for yourself, the less you expect that you are wrong.

Knowledge does not exist but in our arrogant minds. And no matter how much we built it, Nature is there to destroy it. To remind us that the only solid knowledge is non-knowledge. That the cosmos is illogical. Full of things only the children see.

Trust the child inside you. Once you knew everything. Once you were in Paradise. And then you tried to learn. And then you tried to understand. And the paradise was lost. And the world became a darker place…

Let go.

And you will have everything within your grasp again.

Optimizing farming. Fractals and global optimums. Balance. Letting go.

Bali’s famous rice terraces, when seen from above, look like colorful mosaics because some farmers plant synchronously, while others plant at different times. The resulting fractal patterns are rare for human-made systems and lead to optimal harvests without global planning.

To understand how Balinese rice farmers make their decisions for planting, a team of scientists led by Stephen Lansing (Nanyang Technological University) and Stefan Thurner (Medical University of Vienna, Complexity Science Hub Vienna, IIASA, SFI), both external faculty at the Santa Fe Institute, modeled two variables: water availability and pest damage. Farmers that live upstream have the advantage of always having water; while those downstream have to adapt their planning on the schedules of the upstream farmers.

Here, pests enter the scene. When farmers are planting at different times, pests can move from one field to another, but when farmers plant in synchrony, pests drown and the pest load is reduced. So upstream farmers have an incentive to share water so that synchronous planting can happen. However, water resources are limited and there is not enough water for everybody to plant at the same time. As a result of this constraint, fractal planting patterns emerge, which yield close to maximal harvests.

“The remarkable finding is that this optimal situation arises without central planners or coordination. Farmers interact locally and take local individual free decisions, which they believe will optimize their own harvest. And yet the global system works optimally,” says Lansing. “What is exciting scientifically is that this is in contrast to the tragedy of the commons, where the global optimum is not reached because everyone is maximizing his individual profit. This is what we are experiencing typically when egoistic people are using a limited resource on the planet, everyone optimizes the individual payoff and never reach an optimum for all,” he says.

The scientists find that under these assumptions, the planting patterns become fractal, which is indeed the case as they confirm with satellite imagery. “The system becomes remarkably stable, again without any planning — stability is the outcome of a remarkably simple but efficient self-organized process” Thurner says. (1)

We believe that everything needs planning. We believe that we need to analyze things, to reach logical conclusions, to plan and then to re-plan in order to reach an optimum effect.

But these farmers did not plan anything and yet it seems that they managed to reach to a state where crops grew in an optimum way. (Unless of course you name the “I want to plant now in my field” as “planning”. The choice of words is always important for our civilization and it seems that we tend to name everything based on our view of the cosmos) But looking more closely, we will see that they did not actually manage anything. The system simply evolved as it is meant to evolve. Planning too much simply disrupts this natural evolution of things. Fractals emerge only to show the obvious; everything is the same everywhere. It is just your distinct perspective that creates the illusion of difference (and change).

All systems have the natural tendency to reach a balance.

And humans have the tendency to always be impressed by that simple fact.

But what we fail to see is that all processes at the end reach that balance.

Because the cosmos is not under our control.

We are under the control of the cosmos.

Let go1. Grow the crops without planning.

And it will seem2 like you have planned everything.

Harmonia Philosophical Explanatory Notes

1 “Let go” not in the sense of “Be lazy and do nothing because the crops will grow on their own” but in the sense of “Accept the nature’s cycles and trust the cosmos. Plan only when and at the extent required. Try not to change and control the cosmos”…

2 It seems cynical, but isn’t that what it is all about after all? At least for the western civilization? Appearances? We all care so much about the phenomena, that we have forgotten the simple fact that phenomena are a cloak which conceals the truth, even though nature continuously reminds us of our illusion. On the other hand, when something looks as if it is planned (even though it is not), wouldn’t that mean that is simply… is? A weird place the cosmos is. (and philosophy is actually a much weirder place)

Exit mobile version
%%footer%%