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

Old Buddha Meets Young Buddha, Part-4: More Minutely Responsive means More ‘Evolved’.

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

I now want to show that there is ‘plenty’ of room [at the bottom] … The biological example of writing information on a small scale has inspired me … A biological system can be exceedingly small. Many of the cells are very tiny, but they are very active; they manufacture various substances; they walk around; they wiggle; and they do all kinds of marvelous things—all on a very small scale. —Dick Feynman [1]

we are always either celebrating the creative activity within ourselves (allowing it to resonate naturally with everything we encounter), or we are seeing everything through the objectifying lens of the thinking mind. It’s only when the agitation of picking and choosing is set aside that we can truly live the totality of this moment—even though Totality is unfolding in such a way as to include the science that comes out of thinking’s wash.

And so now, when we see in this active and personal light our passive-language model of the ‘evolutionary mechanism’, we find ourselves appreciating that our full ecological barrel, just like any human culture that is also rich in coevolved detail, is precisely one that embodies a long history of natural selections and sacrifices—all the way down to the scale of a mutating molecule. We might even acknowledge that a diverse and tightly woven community of species makes more numerous and less predictable ‘choices’ than a comparatively un-evolved system might. In a very depleted ecosystem, for example, choices might be reduced to a climatic cold shift producing more, or a warm shift less, body hair, and then that body’s innate tendency to experiment may in theory reach out as far as it likes (which is not very far, it turns out, where there is so little ecological community to compete with, or to feed on). Simply put, just as it is in human heads, and in the cultures expressed in human actions, there is literally more in-tension-al activity in a system as it becomes more minutely responsive—more ‘evolved’.


1. Feynman, Richard P. 1999 in Jeffrey Robbins, ed., The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman. Cambridge Mass.: Perseus Books, pp. 122-126. “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom”

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