we don't need to change how we do conservation, we need to change why we do it

Old Buddha Meets Young Buddha, Part-2: Our Own “Personal Evolutions”?

A short selection from Essay Sixteen in Darwin, Dogen, and the Extremophile Choice. [YOU MIGHT WANT TO SKIP THIS ON A FIRST READING OF THE TWO BUDDHAS SEQUENCE]

… novel behavior, (including the verbal and conceptual behaviors we call “ideas”) is the result of an orderly and dynamic competition among previously established behaviors, during which old behaviors blend or become inter-connected in new ways. … New ideas often seem to come out of the blue, mainly because we cannot track the antecedent events or processes. [i.e. trial and error, reinforcement, resurgence, automatic chaining, and extinction] —Robert Epstein’s Generativity Theory [1]

As our view of species inter-feeding continues to expand, and as we are now discerning both the immediate competitive exclusion of compromised body types and the propagational denotation of evolving sexual traits, a new kind of hunger comes into the picture; this time for ‘comprehension’ and ‘resolution’ among ecological strategies. Can we now see a kind of ‘personality’ emerging here? No more nor less permanent than a human personality? Does it look perhaps like Nature is trying to sort out all the potentials for stable breeding populations, for viable genetic conceptions, so there are no ‘gray areas’? Then reverse the view and boldly pursue this analogy into the depths of in-sight: can you feel, right now, dancing covertly in your mouth and throat, a behaviour of no immediate utility, one that’s shepherding your recycling impulses into conceptual species? (The ‘behaviour fragmentation’ that I am asking you to consider here is something we tend to overlook precisely because we are asking one set of muscles to stand in for the rest. See essay 42.) Then, what of greater matters? Beyond ‘conventions’ and ‘law’, do we share more intimate stuff with Nature’s Grand Personality? For instance, in times of loss or crisis (https://www.extremophilechoice.com/2022/05/23/old-buddha-meets-young-buddha-part-one-a-contract-broken/), are the epochs of our own personal evolutions not punctuated by openings for opportunity to step in? As with an ecosystem, minor setbacks can be managed through a subsequent succession of our most primitive and flexible coping strategies, but after a really traumatic pruning, if wholeness ever comes again, it must come out of a deeper emptiness, as these opportunistic root behaviours branch willy-nilly into a broadly reformed personality.


1. Epstein, Robert (United States International University and Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies). Jan. 1999. Generativity Theory. In Mark A. Runco, Steven R. Pritzker, ed., Encyclopedia of Creativity, Vol. 1, pp. 759-766. London: Academic Press. (Quote taken from p. 763 – IV. Real-time Prediction)

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