finding order in the chaos of raw nature: ever since childhood i've always been in awe and held sacred my sense of the special textures of nature (as opposed to those produced by boring people and their parking lots, vinyl siding, rooms full desks, parking lots, cars, beauracracies etc...). now growing up i learned about 50 different plants from my dad mostly. but still when i looked around me outside i saw mostly raw texture and it is usually bliss.
some years ago i took some botany classes and began to learn to identify plants. this often involved looking at them in minute detail and also arranging them in groups (genus, family, etc...) after awhile i learned to identify about 550 of the plants i saw around me in new york state (north east u.s.). where once i saw raw texture, i now immediately jumped from individual to individual and assigned names (and memeories of their personalities). pretty much everywhere i went i could recognize almost all the plants in my visual field as individuals.
for awhile this disturbed me and i thought this anayticity would kill the blissful gestalt feel i got from landscapes.
but no. eventually it all melded together into a much more powerful sense of landscape.
one thing that peering closely at plants (shape of leaf, hairs on leaf, pattern of leaf joining stem, number and arrangements of petals stamens pistils sepals bracts...) did for me was to simply BLOW MY MIND that the creativity going on here was amazing. this feeling was enhanced by realizing that these amazing details (as far in as i could see with handlens microscope) are all grown from within because plants are in fact whole villages of single celled alage families shpaping each other as they kept breeding and population booming.
but the main thing was that i was able to freely oscillate between analysing by individuals and having gestalt experience and the two really enhanced each other rather from detracting from each other. in fact once i assimilated the ability to recognize 100s of different kinds of individuals in a landscape that just made my sense of gestalt texture THAT MUCH RICHER.
it's still like sex out there for me.
I can't wait to take apart and put back together the mosscape!
i suppose this is the same phenomenon as my experience of all science. Many argue there is a dichotomy between reductive science and holistic view of nature, but from my experience with computer science (hardware and programming) i've coined the phrase constructive science.
In computer science we look at the process we want to program up and top down take it apart into finer and finer peeices until all the pieces are simple enough to conceive. then we go the other way and build our program up from the peices to more encompassing wholes, all the while manageing complexity and making sure it all works together. sometimes we go back up and down higgledy pigledy.. sometimes we make subtle tangled hierarchies (though we try not to, very hard to manage! (though biology uses them all the time))
i've definitely mastered the abiltiy to use reductive science to take apart the phenomena around me into mechanistic parts and interactions. but then i immediately use that knowlege and experience to put the parts and interactions back together into a heady WOW.
when i'm in the right frame of mind, i can intuit the whole gamut of complexity from atoms to molecules to proteins to protein assemblies to organells to cells to tissues to organs to organisms and have no trouble feeling that the person before me is a PERSONALITY and MACHINE at the same time. my experience of what a MACHINE can be BLOWS AWAY most common conceptions of machine.
realize that by the time i get to level of cell i can do a meditation wherein i can visualize walking around new york city and seeing ALL THE BRICKS (which i can count by a series of multiplications, and do a calculation and realize that a cell has more molecueles than all these bricks...) and imagineing them to be little transformer robots that are proteins and the whole city swarming with this army of transformer robots taking apart and putting each other together and arrangeing and dancing and reproducing a whole city just as a cell can reproduce... takes practice. i should teach everyone how to do it!!!
and then i do it again when i realize that a brain is a society of a 100billion of these cities all having a conversation with each other...
i have no need for concepts like soul or spirit...