Aug 19, 2009

How It All Began. The Story of Earth, Life and Human Society. We Are 1 Big Family [part 3]

As powerful as the perception of beauty can be, in reality there are no ugly things. For evolution everything is practical, evolution does nothing without purpose. It does not create beautiful or ugly forms, evolution shapes every form so that it be optimally practical and useful to itself.

Indeed, if you observe nature and analyze the causes and consequences of animal behavior you will inevitable notice that every little detail has its purpose. Every skill and every colorful shade has a purpose and practical use in a world of tough competition and fight for survival.

Only the fittest survive and this law holds true even in our contemporary human societies in terms of peer and financial competition. Shaving off the unsuccessful and unfit lies at the core of every advancement. And advancement, as a process, signifies the transition to a better state. Advancement is what the process of evolution is involved with.
All living things adapt to the environment they inhabit and develop their skills based on their needs for survival. For instance, pray birds have adapted to life high above the surface, so that is why they developed excellent vision and long, sharp claws to enable them to hunt successfully land animals. The anteater is an excellent example for biological design optimally suited for the feeding habits of the animal – they have long, trunk-like mouth with long and thin tongue that can stick into termite holes and exceptionally long claws which makes them ideal tool for burrowing in the tough termite towers of dry mud.

Evolution is invariably practical, but there is one principle a part of her mechanism that is involved with the variations between individuals of the same group. That is the almighty natural selection instinct. Natural selection is a tool of the fundamental reproduction instinct, but it also triggers the self-preservation instinct in the form of fear and aggression. For this reason it is the males that are more brightly colored in nature, because they have to compete in order to reproduce. The more colorful, the stronger and more successful male will have the chance to pass on his genes.

Instincts are the basic form of behavior established through collective experience and imprinted in our DNA so to ensure that life will go on. It is simply amazing how collective experience is established throughout millions and billions of years and information is preserved and encrypted in molecules that basically serve as behavioral programs that guide the living being in its life.
Evolution, furthermore, shapes the design of the body as well. As we mentioned, the biological design adapts to its environment so that it increases its chances for survival. Biological design always changes and fits in the surrounding habitat, because self-preservation is the other basic and fundamental instinct of life. And that is why when Homo Sapiens left its birth place continent for the first time and began to take over the Earth, those groups that all took off as the same looking ancient African people in time developed so differently to form all the ethnic varieties we know today.
People who settled in the north hemisphere began to change over the millennia, because they needed to fit their new habitat. Their nose bases became thin, so that it could warm the cold air breathed. Their skin paled, because with very few months of intense sunshine the body did not needed to produce so much melanin anymore to protect the skin from UV rays, because clouds were doing this instead. Also, the blue and green eyes and light color hair is considered to be the result of milk-products consumption. People in Europe from tens of thousands of years have goats and cows and their main nutrition for many millennia has been milk and its products. Whereas the people in other parts of the world consumed very little to no diary products at all and that is why there are no light eyes and hairs in ethnic groups that do not derive from European settlers.

Every little detail of the body design is there for a purpose and this purpose is shaped by the geo-climatic specifics of the environment the organism has adapted to.
People in the hot and moist regions naturally have dark skin, because the body produces melanin, which builds up in the outer layers of the skin so that it protects the organism from harmful UV rays and bad burns. Also their noses are wider, so that it cools the hot air breathed. The hair has remained on our heads because its purpose is to cool or warm the brain. The eyebrows are designed to protect the eyes from sweat drops coming down the forehead. Make an experiment – shave your eyebrows and go into the shower, notice how water flows from your forehead directly into your eyes, whereas if eyebrows were present they would diverge the water away from the eye! This is the practical side of body design.

You know about this pesky useless appendix that people have that causes problems to kids eating nuts without peeling them. This is an evolutionary remain of a second stomach where primitive people some a hundred thousand years ago used to store plant products they ate for further digestion. After some couple of dozens of millennia the appendix will complete disappear from the human body, as well as the “wisdom” teeth at the back of your jaw.

For you see, environment is not a static constant and it is constantly in motion and a subject of change. So evolution is constantly at work as well, adapting the organism to its forever changing environment so that it always survives. Because if the organism is unable to adapt to its environment it simply dies out. And the job of evolution is to preserve and maintain life, also to make it better.

Our human life is so short that our environment seems to us as if it has always been there in the way we see it. But our whole human civilization has developed in just one frame of the whole lifespan of this Earth. Too often, unfortunately, our perceptions and minds are also as narrow. When we mindlessly segregate each other on “superior and inferior races” without being able to comprehend that we all are descendants of one race and one tribe – the Homo Sapiens. There are no other human races presently alive. How ridiculous racism is and a prominent trait of our primitive consciousness and narrow minds.

Thankfully and finally we have the solid facts that we are all one big family, descendants of one tribe located in Africa some 60 thousand years ago. Namely the Genographic Project that gathers up genetic data from tens of thousands of men, because the “Y” chromosome in the male genes passes with very little to no changes throughout the generations, so it is easy to follow. And our common ancestry does not finish there, it can be traced down the evolutionary ladder and back to the very first life forms on this planet. Because we are all born here and we are all part of this great journey of life that began 4 billion years ago. Even more, we are in a symbiotic relationship with this planet and this ecosystem, even though we have supermarkets and pharmaceutics today. We all share a common beginning and a common future and it is about time to take the next step in our evolution, the step that has to be made in our minds!

It is so naïve and ignorant when people think they are not animals. The truth is, that not only we are mammals, but sometimes people act more mindlessly than all other animals.
Our common instincts and physiological needs aren`t the only things all living beings share. We furthermore have such a close behavior, habits and social structure with other higher mammalians. But the human ego blinded by its illusions of immortality and perfectness treats other animals like inanimate things. When animals also have minds on their own, of course much down on the evolutionary tree than our complex human consciousness. But animals also have some early form of psyche, because higher mammals dream in their sleep and this means that their brains store memories which turn randomly into dream patterns when asleep. And this fact is truly amazing. If you have a dog or a cat pet, you know what I speak of. However, it is all down to our primitiveness that we behave the way most people do in the world today – driven by their primal instincts, blindly following their spontaneous urges for sexual satisfaction and aggressive reactions.
Unaware of the reasons for their behavior and totally unaware of the psychological mechanisms and factors that shape their personality and social behavior. Slaves to their random moods and impulses, pushed by the collective flow of the mass.

There is no unity, no lasting cooperation and understanding between countries and between individuals. Even members of one small family so often fail to achieve harmony and understanding with one another. We have so many words in our languages, yet we cannot find words to communicate with each other. The fact is, that if one has not achieved harmony with oneself, one cannot achieve harmony with others.

Modern man and woman are not very different in their behavior than their ancient predecessors. Still acting in the darkness of their unconscious insctinctivity without ever questioning their behavior, without ever looking for the deeper reason and cause.

If we are to change our world for the better, we must change ourselves. We must advance in our minds and our understanding of ourselves and this world.
Human behavior is much too primitive for the 21th Century technological advancement. And such a set of primitive consciousness and technological weaponry leads to self-destruction.
An uplift of human consciousness is urgently needed. And you can make a change, by improving yourself! The more people take part, the more difference we will make globally.
When you seed the idea of self-observation, that is heightened state of self-awareness, this is the first step into the process of realization. Gradually, in time you will notice more and more about yourself and the hidden mechanisms that shape your character will become more and more apparent for you to realize and modify.
At some point, the initial effort you had put into keeping your mind into an “open” self-observational state a.k.a when you are aware of your own behavior as well as the behavior of others around, so that you are able to control yourself; The initial effort you needed will turn into a state of your mind, so you will no longer need to make an effort in order to achieve it. In other words, you will have learned your mind to operate in a higher level of awareness.

Because, your talk may be very wise and impressive. But after all, a person is recognized for his or hers deeds. You are the way you act and behave. You are what you do. Empty talk is nothing. You must be an example for others, so that they feel the need to advance too.

It is time to expand the limits of our consciousness. To advance our minds so to match our technological civilization.
As we can see by the state of humanity today, there has been very little advancement of our minds, on the whole. Still waging wars and evergoing conflicts, unable to think in a wide and objective manner, still needing religion to give a meaning to our lives, a meaning that turns into senseless fanatism that takes the life of millions and turns brother against brother. Religion that being so poorly understood in its very nature turns the human being into a mentally passive unit that behaves mindlessly when his or hers simple beliefs are questioned. Thinking and questioning is banned in religion, because it was implemented in primitive societies as a political tool to unite the masses and engage them in community activities like going to collective pray. God has no religion and the Universe is not a human being.
We are all one big family! Let`s put an end to this madness and lay the beginning of a new humanity with a brighter future.

Open your eyes and see,
look for the hidden bondages
that connect all things. Follow
them back and forth and see
where they lead. Travel with
your thoughts beyond the speed
of light and touch with your mind
every hidden place in the cosmos
and your soul alike. Observe, explore,
think, analyze, synthesize, ponder, tackle,
learn, understand, realize! Know no
limits to your mind! Just as there are no
boundaries in space alike. Question and seek.
Seek and you shall find. The Universe
unveils her secrets only to persistent
minds and the soul does too alike.
Excel forward and upward. Be better,
advance and know no limits to your
imagination and your mind.

* * *

These are texts that I have written an year ago. I will expand them, analyze and
discuss on the previous and the forecoming topics yet in the future! The photo is a
gorgeous late afternoon at the 7Lakes region in Mt. Rila , Bulgaria. Dense clouds were
gathering over and shape-shifted constantly. I just sat there at the mid of an oval meadow, surrounded by the cloudy myst and the Silence. On the other day we took off from the hut
there to a trek down the Rila monastery. A crazy thunder storm caught us on the way, a very muddy and steepy trail-way down a huge green ridge! 7+ hours trek on the whole, last week.
A very rainy summer this was.. and still is! :) And there is so much more to come!

Aug 16, 2009

How It All Began. The Story of Earth, Life and Human Society. We Are 1 Big Family [part 2]

Water is the essential component that created the necessary womb-conditions for life to spring. When Earth was young and molten there was not a single drop of water on her surface and it is yet unclear exactly how water formed and prevailed. Some of the water most probably came from comets, which are huge frozen chunks of ice that crashed on the planet in her early age. However, most of the water that we have today was formed by the process of chemical reactions that hydrogen and oxygen initiated bonding together. Earth is rich in iron and those first oceans contained much of it as well. The atmosphere was dense from the greenhouse activity of volcanoes and mainly composed of carbon dioxide and methane. A lot of research has been done on ancient rocks that are like time-machines telling us what Earth was in ancient times.

The particles that make up all matter have the peculiar property to bond and combine with each other, so to form ever complex systems. Almost like an intrinsic urge it is that atoms combine into molecules and molecules combine with one another with the billions and create elegant structures of amazing complexity from stars to our brains. However, complex systems evolve in time and no complex system is assembled at once from the very first time. That is, matter and molecular structures evolve and better themselves through time and collective experience. Mostly I refer to life on Earth.
Thus, following this fundamental principle of unfolding complexity based on collective experience life evolved from a single type of unicelled bacteria, the prokaryotes. These first living things were very simple molecular structures, more like chemical programs that synthesized chemical molecules and used them as a biofuel for their simple cellular processes to sustain their system and to divide, that is reproduce. Earth has been practically devoid of oxygen in her first few billion years of her existence, geological research concludes. So the first generations of organisms lived on other elements like iron, methane and hydrogen. Research has also shown that life began in the warm and chemically rich oceans. The first plants also evolved in the ocean beads. Terrestrial volcanic activity is linked to rapid increase in oxygen levels in the atmosphere some 60 million years ago, which just coincides with the evolutionary boom of mammalian life. However, when ocean weeds gradually began to take over the shores some 500 million years ago and then embraced the whole surface of the Earth, they synthesized carbon from the carbon-rich atmosphere and transformed it into oxygen. Oxygen that was to become the fundamental life-giving molecule for life on this planet. Life on Earth is a closed system, that is every creature is sustained by other creatures in the form of the food chain and symbiosis.

For instance, all oxygen breathing life is in an inseparable symbiosis with the plant life, as we breathe what plants exhaust and plants breathe what we exhale. This is the closed ring of life that established itself hundreds of millions of years ago. In fact, breathe and breathing is so intimately imprinted in our genetic memory that much of human mythology and spiritual symbolism is associated with the act of breathing. For example, in Genesis we read that God breathed in the soul of the first human. We associate the mouth as the opening through which the soul leaves with the final breathe of the diseased. Even the etymology of words like “spirit” and “soul” derive from the words for “breathe” and “breathing”. Which is quite an interesting symbolism, that is created spontaneously and unconsciously and is associated with cellular memory, that is with the collective memory of the species and not that of the individual.
There is this ongoing debate between religious creationists and evolutionists, that is the old debate between science and religion. This debate is the result of nothing else but our limited minds and narrow understanding of the world and ourselves, with emphasize on the general lack of understand of ourselves, our psyche and the workings of human psychology. Because religion is a spiritual fruit of the human psyche and ironically we are unable to analyze and understand the symbolism of our own soul. However, we shall discuss the genesis and meaning of religion and religious symbolism in a lecture to follow.

Observing the development of life on Earth by indirect means of anthropology, geology, archaeology, carbon dating and real-time observations people with ability to think and analyze matters objectively had slowly revealed the timeline of evolution of life on this planet. Let us briefly summarize what the concept of “evolution” describes – Evolution is the constant change of life in order for it to be optimally adapted so to ensure its survival. Evolution is the process of development, which began from the birth of those very first bacteria billions of years ago and which continues until this day and will continue as long as there is life on Earth.
Because change is a constant that is ever in motion, nothing is static.

Returning to this moment when inanimate matter bonded in such a way that gave birth to life, provided the right environmental conditions were present of course. One may think that this whole life phenomenon is no phenomenon at all and rather it is a predetermined consequence that lies on the path of this cosmic principle of ever more complex systems. And yes, this is quite true if we think in mathematical terms and make some simple calculations we will come to the conclusion that somewhere out there must be at least one more planet with life similar to the one here. It`s just that if you make more calculations you will realize that the cosmos is so incredibly huge and the distances involved are so tremendous that there is a very good chance that no life will ever encounter another in this vast Universe. Even if you travel with the speed of light, you will still need billions of years and no matter is able to travel beyond the speed of light and remain in a state of matter, that is if a space ship is to travel beyond the speed of light it will dissolve and disappear as though it went into a black hole. But, I truly wonder why do people dream of alien life so, when there is so much life and beauty in this planet and there is so much to learn and understand, so much to create and so much problems to fix and settle that plague humanity today.

I think we should concentrate on our own development and evolution of our minds, and just maybe when we reach a certain level of our mental evolution we just might encounter other minds but in a quite different way than science fiction movies imagine.
Again, on the primitive debate between science and religion, primitive religion says “God created all life in an instant with magic wand in six days.” and primitive science says “There is no God, the Universe is a meaningless void of chaos and emptiness and life is a random generation of confused molecules.” The truth is that our knowledge and understanding is still in its infancy and there is much ahead of us. Because what we refer to God, or the Creator of the Universe and life is a very real and fundamental principle in quantum physics that sets things into motion and without it there would be no definite states, nor forms or complex structures. This is the observer principle. Since, we know that life existed long before humans were around to observe it and the Universe existed long before Earth got around, there must be a cosmic observer that was aware of this Universe from her very beginning. This Cosmic Mind is the Creator, but it is by no means the religious concept of God having human face and human emotions. The Universe moves guided by fundamental laws and principles and it does not suddenly shift by her will, as though if it gets angry and orders a massive flood to punish naughty humans. I do not intend to go deeper into my insight about the nature of reality just yet, but we know nothing about God and what this Universe is. The Universe does not have a religion, only humans do.
After this brief and unavoidable divergence from our current topic of evolution of life, let us go back to it and continue our mental journey back in time.

After the dinosaurs died out, nature reevaluated its evolutionary path and everything became smaller and more compact. It seems that huge size for both animals and plants was not sustainable for our planet and in the course of time it changed its ways and mammals branched off as the new all-promising breed of life. Carbon dating the anthropological remains found we estimate that around 2.5 million years the first Hominid branched off all other animals. These ancient human-like creatures had little in common with modern day humans and were simply the evolutionary trial version of what was to lead to us. Of course, globally thinking the appearance of the first bacteria was to ultimately lead to us, since we are at the top of the evolutionary tree. As if the Universe purposely wished to lead evolution to manifestation of living consciousness, so that it can know herself better.
Finally, the first skeletons that absolutely match modern day human skeletons we found date at around 200 thousand years ago, that is when Homo Sapiens branched off all other Homo species and took on its road to total domination. Now, the concept that humans are descendants of apes is a big misunderstanding of Darwin’s theory that was turned into religious propaganda by the institution of the church. Firstly, we can also say that humans are descendants of prokaryotes or the first living bacteria, as well. Second, even though we apparently have such a close genetic structure to apes compared to all other mammals Homo Sapiens is descendant of Homo species that for one reason or another evolved to be much different than apes. And apes and Homo Sapiens were two different branches of the mammalians that led to the Homo strain down at the crossroad where this evolutionary divergence began to take place. In other words, all animals are descendants of each other in this planet and apes today do not evolve into humans simply because they never were from the Homo Sapiens family.

It took really long, long time for Homo Sapiens to develop civilization, but once they did it our race plunged into an ever progressing spiral of advancement. Mostly in terms of external development of our environment to suit our needs for a comfortable and effortless existence. Homo Sapiens apparently did nothing but to simply survive living very much like all other animals lived for more than 150 thousand years. But then, gradually something in our minds began to awaken and to realize the world that was surrounding us, even more these awakening minds began to interprete this world and to express themselves. The need for self-expression gave birth to the first art we find in caves from the Stone Age period of our development in the form of cave drawings the oldest of which, found so far, dates back to approximately 32 thousand years located in France.
The brilliant human mind embarked on the journey of understanding the world around and the world within. Since we will be discussing genesis of religious thought in another lecture, let`s tackle another interesting concept of the human mind – beauty. Our perception of beauty when applied to other humans and particularly to representatives of the opposite sex roots deep as an evolutionary aid to one of the two fundamental instincts – reproduction. Beauty is generally associated with proportionality and symmetry. Symmetrical proportions of facial and body features convey good genes, which is all that evolution looks for. So, considering that every form of behavior in animals is triggered for a reason and usually has a very practical purpose we can follow down the basic principles that gave rise to the concept of beauty, that later on developed further into a great part of our social behavior.
Our perception of beauty is the practical quest of evolution to produce healthy and better offspring. Of course, we humans have developed to appreciate the character of the person as well, which on numerous instances is far more important than shallow beauty in regard to creating a good and stable family environment, where the parents stay together and get along well so that they rear up their offspring and provide them with affection and protection. Still, the magnetism of beauty are undeniable and next time when you see a man or a woman you feel attracted to, remember that what you experience is instincts and evolution in action!
However, our perception of the beauty has another aspect that is not related to other humans looks, but to scenery and inanimate objects. We look to a nature scene and consider it beautiful, we see beauty in color combinations and shapes. This is the artistic inspiration that created all forms of art and poetry. A true mystery of the human mind, closely related to this intrinsic property of human psyche – spirituality.


Aug 7, 2009

How It All Began. The Story of Earth, Life and Human Society. We Are 1 Big Family [part 1]

In the beginning.
An all encompassing phrase that precedes every great story. And our story is a great one indeed. The story of Life that led to us humans.
Since before the time of written history humans lived in groups or tribes and different tribes were in competition for food and thus territory with each other, so they fought one another and when they didn`t fought they traded goods. But trading evolved much later on with the beginning of Neolithic societies. Tribes scattered around the globe in the everlasting quest of humans to explore and travel. These earliest groups of some couple of hundreds individuals each, settled and grew in numbers and laid the beginnings of different nations worldwide. They all began their journey as a separated part of one oldest ethnic tribe – the black people from the heart of Africa some 60 thousand years ago, the people from the Red Earth “Adamah”. While they traveled and further separated into more and more groups which took different routes to the East and to the North in the span of tens of thousands of years those ancient travelers slowly changed beyond their notice. And this was the magical hand of evolution that shapes the biological design so that it perfectly fits the environment that surrounds it for a very practical reason – its best survival.
But before the time of Homo Sapiens, the story of Life was already going for hundreds of millions of years. And let`s begin our story even earlier, before the birth of our Solar System and just before the birth of our parent star the Sun that laid the beginning of all.

People from the oldest times have wondered about their beginnings, their purpose, pondered the nature of reality and the meaning of it all and today, like never before, we are able to connect, understand and comprehend the big picture of Creation.
We know that the Universe began its journey into existence from a state of nonexistence in the form of packed with infinitely dense potential Singularity. We do not know the cause that led to the birth of our Universe in the first place, even though there are these very fashionable theories of Multiversal Branes that randomly collide with each other and create Big Bangs in a totally mechanistic way and utterly deprived of meaning. Theories that are the intellectual fruit of very complex and quite abstract mathematics that have little to nothing to do with reality as Einstein have put it into a quote once. But we shall discuss the birth of the Universe, cosmology and quantum physics theories about it in another lecture.

The process of star formation is not very well understood yet and as far as Hubble observations show us, after the Dark Age of the young Universe suddenly in the “next frame” all galaxies and stars that make them appear fully formed and kicking. There are computer simulations trying to come up with an answer of how this first generation of stars formed when the Universe was filled with only the three basic atoms of mostly Hydrogen, some Helium and a minute amount of Deuterium. These simulations show that the first objects in the cosmos to form were extremely massive stars that soon after exploded spreading newly formed heavier elements into space that were to become the material for next generations of stars.
Stars today are born in molecular clouds composed of all the elements they need to burn happily for billions of years. What triggered the birth of our Sun is thought to be a Supernova explosion near by in cosmic terms, whose powerful waves disturbed the equilibrium of the molecular cloud creating turbulences in it and one of these clumped plenty of atoms in it so that they formed a protostar that soon after gained enough quadrillions upon quadrillions of atoms that clumped ever closer and tighter together until the first pair fused and they all lit into a giant nuclear ball that was our young parent Sun. The Sun was a massive object, which pulled surrounding atoms in a rotating disk around it, which gradually following the same principles clumped into balls and formed the planets. The heavier planets with iron and rock formed close to the Sun, while the gas giants being lighter are farther away from it. Just imagine that Mercury is most probably some 90% composed of metals like gold and platinum in a molten state. Jupiter grew so large, that if it was to gain some 80 times more its present day mass it would have lit up as a second Sun and life would have never began on this Earth. Fortunately, this mass was distributed for the formation of all the other planets.
The early Solar System was a complete armagedon with asteroid “left overs” flying around and crashing into young planets, fusing with their mass. However, in time the all prevailing tranquility of gravity settled the movements of all the objects in the System and each one of them set in its own cyclic orbit in an extraordinary cosmic choreography. This surreal balance gave our Earth the chance to settle its own geological micro-chaos, so that chemical processes began to occur that were to change her face forever.

In her first millions of years of existence, Earth was a hostile place of volcanic activity and molten rock. Her color back then was not our familiar blue, but a firey red and dirty yellow with dark gasses covering the lava above. Just like an alien world that an observer back then would never think that so much life will flourish and such a drastic change will take place on the surface of this world in the millions and billions of years to come.