Alien Anthropology

That which we love, kills us.

That which we love, kills us. This thread of life and passing narrative or musical improvisation that we all embody – it is a self-propagating pattern of information and energy. We find ourselves serendipitously located at a point of resonance or systemic sweet spot of scale and complexity at which sentience and intelligence has invoked itself from a perhaps otherwise blind and purposeless logical self-replication of matter and adaptive process. We love life – even when we are unhappy, isolated, alienated or disaffected, we still love life and it is this life which, in so very many ways, kills us.

The self-replicating patterns of matter and energy which we so intimately experience as our organic, lived extension in the world – this is an unfolding, unfurling process of emergent complexity. Natural systems, from stars and galaxies to ocean eddies and the patterned symmetry of a tiger’s stripes – these are all manifestations of a logic and flow of recursively self-propagating pattern. For reasons of cognition and biological necessity, we experience all of these apparently separate phenomena as individuated, isolated and identifiably self-encapsulated entities, artefacts and systems. This conceptual individuation is much more a representation of the ways that minds, cultures and communication systems work than it is any profound sense of insight into the way the world exists.

Even where our most advanced physical theories and explanatory models of material reality provide us the tools with which to address our most pressing existential issues of living and dying with dignity, peace and grace – an overwhelming confusion of turbulent dissonance and entropy incurs misinterpretation, misapplication or outright denial of these facts. There exists at the base of all of this a fundamental logical discontinuity and it’s acknowledgement is so troubling and disconcerting to our form and way of life and thought that we are very likely to be unable to acknowledge and incorporate it soon enough to save ourselves, from ourselves.

There is in our lives (as much as in physics) an implicit, ubiquitous and endemic orientation towards disorder and decay. As complexity and structured order or pattern accumulate over time, they bring with them a hidden factor of entropy – the more compinents, layers, systems and identifiable “things” that exist, the more potential disordered states of those same things that also, potentially, exist. As a matter of probability, where there are more possible disordered states of a system – it overwhelmingly likely that the system will end up in one of those disordered and unstructured states. This is why dust accumulates, why wrinkles grow and why civilisations tend towards decay and failure. In the case of civilisation, it is of course only failure from within a very narrow mindset as the rising and falling oscillations of grand historical metamorphosis are no more than the lived experience of humanity as a rippling pattern of energy and information within time and space.

Within the natural bias towards disorder and decay there exist apertures of opportunity. Biological and ecological systems have spent the last several billion years refining their own best solutions to the inevitability of information and energy loss during the process of organic self-propagation. Systems do not only move on the whole from a limited number of ordered states through to a vast multitude of potentially disordered states. There is a middle-ground: all of the possible paths and configurations or intermediary conditions between order and disorder are far greater in number and magnitude than either the ordered and the disordered system states combined. This is at once a matter of a many-worlds hypothesis and also an orthogonal escape vector from the inevitability of decay, disorder and death.

This is a problem that life has solved and that the opportunities exist for us to also solve. It is also, quite probably, not a solution which will resolve either our self-destructive tendencies or our inevitable drift into death and non-existence. It is, however, a solution that allows us considerably greate degrees of freedom in how we live, how we organise our societies, our civilisation and – even – our core mental information processing. It is a form of life that requires we surrender and submit to a grander idea and flow of information and energy. For this reason, we are unlikely to ever adopt such a philosophy. What we love, kills us and what kills us is our love of our own little worlds and all of the cultural, psychological baggage and endemic conflict that comes with them.

Through unenlightened ideological selfishness, immaturity and failure to acknowledge the logical and material facts as they actually are, and the opportunities they represent, we are killing ourselves. Individual, systemic or entity cessation is not the key issue we hold it to be – continuity of life and the ongoing, oscillating spirals of usefully patterned information and energy is the key issue and it is in our variously inept methods of blundering around waving insubstantial ideological irrelevancies at each other that we fail to see the opportunities which already exist for the betterment and application of intelligence to cultivating better worlds.

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