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Audio 16: Self-Organization

The Greatest Story Ever Told: Audio series with Barbara Marx Hubbard & Marc Gafni

Dr. Marc Gafni:

Barbara Marx Hubbard:

Dr. Marc Gafni:

Welcome, everyone, to podcast 16 in the greatest story ever told, the story of the universe, the new universe story, the great evolutionary story, the great, sacred text of reality that binds all of us, that invites all of us, that delights all of us. This is Marc Gafni. I’m here with Barbara Marx Hubbard. We are talking about the new and great political instrument of this age, the new and great social instrument of this age, the new, great emergence of this age, which we are calling Unique Self Symphony. With the next several podcasts, we’re going to dive into this vision of Unique Self Symphony.

Let’s begin just with a general sense of context. We are in an evolutionary story. What is evolution? Evolution is the realization that reality is a story. It’s a story that’s going somewhere. It has a plot line. What’s the plot line of the story? What’s the trajectory of evolution? The answer of this question, of course, changes everything. Where are we going? Because we’re all personally implicated in the story. Evolution is the evolution of everything, at every level of reality: Inanimate, animate, that is to say, atoms, subatomic particles, molecules, and then animate, into cells, and multicellular creatures, and all the way through the entire biosphere, all the way up the evolutionary chain.

Then finally, in what’s called the noosphere sometimes, that is to say cultural evolution, the emergence of human beings, the mind as we understand it. Everything’s evolving, and everyone and everything is participating in this evolution. We’re personally implicated in this great story, which, as we said in our early podcasts, based on all the best information we have, and all the great traditions, exterior sciences and interior sciences, this great story is a love story.

This great story is going towards a particular direction. It’s got, as we’ve said, a plot line. What’s the plot line? Well, the plot line is greater and greater intimacy, greater and greater interconnectivity. We might actually say that the evolution of reality is the evolution of intimacy. Reality moves to higher and higher levels of interconnectivity, of Eros, and intimacy. We move from single-celled to multi-celled. Whenever there’s a crisis … Births a new evolutionary step. Crisis is always an evolutionary driver, so the great oxygen crisis, if you will, which almost destroyed reality, in a world of only single-celled organisms yielded this evolutionary leap, this momentous leap to multicellular organisms, which was the great pivoting point on the way to the birth of man and woman, human beings as we know them.

Today, at this moment in time, as we face the great existential risks, the great crises of this time, there is again a pivoting point, there is again an evolutionary leap, there’s again a momentous emergence to a new level of intimacy, to a new jump in the nature of interconnectivity, wholeness, Eros, intimacy in reality. The particular dimension [inaudible 00:03:34] that we’re going to focus on now is the emergence of the Unique Self Symphony. The Unique Self Symphony is a new [inaudible 00:03:41] … We began talking about last week in podcast 15.

The next several podcasts [inaudible 00:03:52] engage converse play in the vision of Unique Self Symphony from every perspective, to try and unpack this new, great, wondrous evolutionary emergent, which we believe, along with some great science [inaudible 00:04:13] … In the classical [inaudible 00:04:18] spirit … Many people are gathering around this idea of the Unique Self Symphony as the great response to the crisis of our time. Okay. Let’s talk about what Unique Self Symphony is, and we’ll eventually circle back, why is this a response to the crisis of this moment? Why is this vision of a, we’re going to call a planetary awakening in love … Symphony is the core political, social, moral and spiritual vision of our time? Let’s begin, and we’re already in the middle. Let’s begin.

Who are you? That’s the question we talked about a few podcasts back. Who are you? The great question of identity. You’re an irreducible, unique expression, we said, of the love intelligence and love beauty. That’s the initiating and animating Eros and energy of all that is, that lives in you, as you, and through you, that never was, is, or will be ever again. Wow. Because, as a function of that truth, you have a unique perspective, a unique quality of intimacy, a unique taste, a unique presence, all of which together [inaudible 00:05:28] a unique insight.

Your unique insight births your unique capacity to give your unique gift, to be your unique presence. Your unique gift and your unique presence has the capacity to [inaudible 00:05:40] unique need in your unique circle of intimacy and influence, that can be addressed by you, and you alone, no one else that ever was, is, or will be other than you. That’s wow.

You’ve got a unique cellular signature. You’ve got a unique atomic signature. You’ve got a unique genetic structure. You’re located in a unique place in the space-time continuum. You are the signature of evolution. Evolution finds its name as you. Wow. That’s so wow. That’s a wondrous understanding. Now, we’re going to go to the next step. Based on this set, this understanding, this core momentous leap in identity, who are you? You are a unique self, this unique expression of the love-intelligence. Not merely your Meyers-Briggs test, but the infinite being you.

Now, let’s go to the next step, because today, we’re beset by existential risk, meaning risk that threatens our very existence, crises of enormous magnitude. We’re waiting for someone to solve them. We’re waiting for Godot, as Beckett wrote so many years back. We’re waiting for the corporation, for the government, for the top-down structure. Who’s the Messiah? Where is he or she going to come from? We don’t know. We’re not trying to take the next step. The reason is, friends, because we’re the people that we’ve been waiting for. There is no great leader, only. Great leadership is critical, but there’s not just a singular great leader. There’s no great corporation. There’s no government by itself that’s going to do it.

Really, the single biggest insight that we have in the sciences in the last 50 years is perhaps an essay written by a man named Alan Turing, who was the great code cracker of the Enigma Code in World War Two. Turing, after World War Two, wrote an essay, late ’40s, early ’50s, called Morphogenesis, Morphogenesis. In that essay, he identifies from an evolutionary, scientific perspective a core structure of reality. That structure is what we would call today the self-organizing universe. It is a very big idea. It’s actually the change, it’s the understanding, the insight that changes everything.

The universe self-organizes, meaning, there’s not a puppeteer, external God. There’s not merely a God on the outside, a force on the outside that’s somehow puppeteering everyone, but that force of creativity is actually inherent. There’s an inherent movement that drives the cosmos. It’s what Stuart Kauffman, a wonderful thinker, calls the “inherent, ceaseless creativity of cosmos.” That force moves everything. It lives in us, as us, and through us, and it moves and lives in and as everything. That ceaseless creativity is self-organizing. It’s not only alive, not only has Eros, it has Telos. It has direction. It has purpose. That’s the great mystery that science ignores, Telos. There’s a direction to reality.

There’s a self-organizing force in reality, that’s the best science we have, that actually says the universe isn’t going to stop at hydrogen. The universe is going to keep self-organizing. It’s going to keep moving. Quarks will come together into hadrons, then into atoms, atoms into molecules. Molecules will self-organize into complex molecules. Complex molecules will, at some point, take a momentous leap and somehow awaken as cells. There’s a self-organizing process, and it leaps up through plants and through early animals, through mammals, all of which are transcended and included in your very body. Wow.

When your body begins, your body has an original, undifferentiated cellular life. All of a sudden, it decides, “Yo, let’s become a kidney.” A bunch of cells: “Let’s become a kidney.” How does that happen? A bunch of others say, “You know what? Let’s become a heart.” A bunch of others say, “No, no. We’re going to become a liver.” How does that happen? What’s the complex pattern that actually differentiates and tells every cell exactly how to organize? That is self-organization. Okay?

You want a simpler version of this? Okay. Let’s give you another version of it. Take a look at an ant hill. Ever watched an ant hill? When you watch the ant hill … E. O. Wilson, the great evolutionary thinker, writes a lot about ant hills. Who is running the show in an ant hill? Why does every ant know what to do? Why is the garbage dump in an ant hill geometrically the largest possible distance away, the farthest possible distance from the cemetery in the ant hill? What city planner did that? I could go through a list just like that. What’s the intelligence that’s running the ant hill? Is there a queen ant? Is there a king ant? No. No, there’s not.

The ant hill is self-organizing, friends. There’s a self-organizing intelligence. Every ant, at what sociologists sometimes call street level, at street level … Janet Jacobs uses the term, the anthropologist. Every ant, at street level, gets a pheromone secretion, pheromone is a chemical, from other ants, that tell the ant exactly what it’s supposed to do in the system. That pheromone secretion is actually holding the intelligence of the system. It’s a self-organizing system.

Why do we care about this? Why are we talking about ant hills? Because it changes everything. Self-organization, the inherent, ceaseless creativity of a self-organizing universe is the core property of reality. Okay. I’m going to go one more step, and then turn it over to beloved Bee. Last week, beloved Bee did most of the podcast, and I did a little bit of an ending. This week, we’re trading. I’m going to do most of the podcast, and beloved Bee is going to cap it off. Then next week, we’re back to normal form. We’re paying attention, so listen to this. It’s fantastic.

Let’s go one step higher. How does the human world self-organize? Hold on with me, okay, because this is the sentence that everything changes. The human world self-organizes, not merely through pheromone secretions, the human world self-organizes through the strange attractor of unique self. We self-organize through our uniqueness. Our uniqueness itself is the strange attractor that invites us to live the unique story, the trajectory of our lives, our sacred autobiography. That’s what attracts. I’m attracted … I have, my unique self is a unique self of allurements, unique set of attractions that draw me, that seduce me in the highest sense of the word seduction, to break through the boundaries of my small self, of my false self, and to awaken as my irreducible uniqueness, my irreducible, unique expression of the love-intelligence and love-beauty.

If I meet Barbara on the way … Who is Barbara? Barbara is the universe having a Barbara experience. It’s the universe incarnating as Barbara-ness. That’s what unique self is. Barbara has the unique cellular signature, unique atomic signature. She has unique genetic identity. Even more than that, she has, from an interior perspective, a unique set of allurements that attract Barbara to incarnate Barbara-ness. It took reality billions of years to self-organize as Barbara. If I meet Barbara, and I say, “Hey, I want to be a Barbara,” that’s not going to work. There’s going to be jealousy between us. There’s conflict between us. There’s egoic clash.

If I actually meet Barbara, and this is really how Barbara and I met, and I say, “Wow. Oh my God, the universe manifested this? Oh my. The universe manifested Barbara-ness? Wow.” I can be in devotion. I can be delighted. I don’t need to hijack Barbara-ness, and Barbara doesn’t need to hijack Marc-ness, and Marc doesn’t need to hijack Steven-ness, and all the way down the road. David and Marc get to love each other. There’s love between us, not just ordinary love, but outrageous love, evolutionary love, the love that drives the whole thing. There can even be devotion between us.

What’s Barbara’s job? Her job is to have evolution awaken in person as Barbara. That’s the universe having a Barbara experience. It’s shocking. It’s shocking. It’s shocking. Now, what happens when the universe, when these unique selves come together, because there’s no jealousy between them, and actually begin to work in symphony, when unique selves begin to symphonize, when a new form of collective intelligence emerges, and when unique selves begin to connect to each other through the new means of technology, the nervous system of the planet, as it were, the virtue of the virtual, and they begin to find each other? The self-organization begins to express itself in an actually new form of evolutionary intelligence, which is the intelligence of the Unique Self Symphony, which then can unleash a level of creativity which is shocking, or that can begin to address the challenges that confront us.

Now, we’re going to tell a lot more about this, and we’re going to keep re-approaching it in coming podcasts, but let’s stop here. That’s the first take on Unique Self Symphony. Unique selves, no jealousy between them, coming together and creating symphonic resonance between each of their unique instruments to create a symphony that addresses the crises that engage us in a way that no government and no corporation can do. It’s not top-down. It’s bottom-up. It’s self-organizing. That’s the beginning of the vision. Beloved Bee, beloved Bee, beloved Bee, it’s all yours, love. Yeah.

Barbara Marx Hubbard:

Well, thank you, Marc. I’m taking this sentence here: The human world self-organizes through the strange attractor of the unique self. I want to expand on that for a moment, because each of us is a unique self, and we are attracted to express our uniqueness. It’s like the divine process of creation within us uniquely as us wanting to express as us, so it’s more than just a personal expression. When you get attracted through your unique self, it seems like you’re part of something much greater than yourself. By calling it a Unique Self Symphony that you’re part of, and imagining people all over the world being activated by that uniqueness within themselves to express it, becoming self-organized through the self-organizing quality of universe itself, you actually have a planetary breakthrough in response to the existential crisis.

In fact, there isn’t anything that could be quick enough to respond to a crisis of problems in so many different sectors, whether environment, or health, or education, or governance, unless it’s a symphony aroused by the uniqueness in ourselves. I just want to conclude by saying that when I feel that unique impulse within myself, the deepest need I have is to be needed. It isn’t only just to give my gift into a field here I’m not sure where it’s going. Every one of us is attracted to give our gift, and deeply needs to be needed. When Marc was saying, when we join together, unique self with unique self, the really great gift we give each other is to need each other.

I actually need to hear Marc’s voice speaking of the evolutionary story of creation, because I needed that, because I was telling that story pretty much all by myself for a long while. When I found another whose impulse and strange attractor was related to my own, then something new began to happen, which is to say, the self-organizing universe began to self-organize more of itself through us. We became more than we were before we were able to join. For everybody listening, just imagine that unique self inside you yearning to be needed, and as we proceed in the podcasts, we’re going to see how you can find where you’re needed, and where you fit best, so that you can give your whole gift, for your own sake, for the sake of your generation of humans, and ultimately for the sake of planet Earth itself. With that, I conclude with great excitement about being part of the Unique Self Symphony. Thank you.

Dr. Marc Gafni:

Yay, Unique Self Symphony. Exciting, right? Oh my God. Thank you, everyone. This has been podcast 16. We’ll see you back next week, podcast 17. What we’re going to do is we’re going to keep deepening this idea of the Unique Self Symphony, because we want you to get that it’s not just a … And we want to get ourselves, and we want us all to get, it’s not just a metaphor. It’s not a human potential idea. It’s not a clever formulation. It’s actually the nature, it’s the core structure of reality. Once we get that, wow. Next week, podcast 17.

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