This is the frontispiece from my new book (pdf and epub versions for sale on the Extremophile Publishing page; Kindle version available on Amazon), Darwin, Dogen, and the Extremophile Choice:
If, in understandable frustration over the effort involved, you were to ask me why I think it’s important to learn about something as intuitive as creative intelligence in the biological terms of ontogeny and phylogeny, I’d have to admit it’s not important necessarily; certainly not for the sake of you being personally creative. But then I’d tell you the story of Beethoven’s reply to a prince who felt overly important only because of his inherited wealth and power: “What I am, I created myself. There are, and have been, thousands of princes, but there is only one Beethoven!” He might even shout out: “Composers are made of Fire!”
So now when I say that ontogeny is the prince, it is literally inherited control (and like genetically imposed body forms, human presumptions are not meant to live beyond their times), while phylogeny is Beethoven, it is creative fire, you might understand I’m trying to get you to take a wider view of creative intelligence. What these terms help us to see is that evo-ecology is ‘intelligence’ too; in fact it’s the only other persistently creative intelligence we know of! Ontogeny and phylogeny help us to understand how we fit into an intelligent universe. That’s very important. It’s worth the effort.
The genius of Nature is that it’s never about just inherited control, about being the prince; Nature’s ‘programs’ (organisms) are always in the Darwinian fire. But it’s important to recognize that this is a slow fire, a ‘cooler’ creative fire than ours. And even as human kind, as a whole, becomes less and less about control—less and less like the prince with his purely ‘ontogenic’ hold on the status quo—and more and more like Beethoven, the damage our hot fire is doing to Nature’s cool fire is increasing. So now is the time for us to embrace our Beethoven’s fire in a way that also contains it. Let us redirect this transformative flame away from Natural systems, and turn up the heat even more on our princely mindset of power for the sake of power and wealth for the sake of wealth, before it’s too late to show our children where it all began. Phylogenic Nature has lessons still to teach us about our dangerous new techno-genic fire, and about our desperate need to control.