Monday, February 22, 2010

FaithVI: Environment and World

So far, I've talked about faith dramatically in terms of high wires and Niagara Falls, and mundanely in terms of driving, and executing a beer run. In each case, I'm trying to show you that faith is uniquely human and stems from the genius involved in being human; a genius not of our own making, a genius not present in the Canada goose, a genius that forms the basis of human difficulty: having to live in a realm that technically, is not environmental, and is one of our own choosing.

For sake of discussion, I want to use word environment to designate specifically the realm in which an organism exchanges energy for the purpose of supporting its physicality. Here we can talk about organisms and ecosystems, whether they be grizzly's and Alaskan rivers, or bacteria and petri-dishes or our gut, analyzing the health of a system entails studying the interactions of bodies and environment and assessing their fitness. And because we humans share in having bodies that have to connect to environment, we our selves fall under such analysis. And under such analysis, one of the things we notice is that bodies have innate systems that orient them to the environment, one such system being sight and horizon lines.

Most of the living for Human Being though, doesn't transpire through environment it transpires through world. World, for sake of discussion, is different than environment; at its heart, there is no physicality to it. If I give you two apples, mathematically and environmentally speaking, I gave you two objects of nutrition. From the point of view of world, only you will know what this means; maybe for you, it's not about nutrition, or the number two. Maybe for you in this moment, it's about kindness which you haven't experienced in a long while; in this case you could say that I didn't give you two apples, what I actually gave you was a glass of cold water to alleviate something parched. So what was parched? If we employed a moisture meter would we be able to measure how parched you are?

Are you feeling the difference between world and environment? It's not that world and environment are separate- they're not. But just because they're not separate doesn't mean they're not different. A large part of living into our human complexity, is to understand what this difference entails for us humans.

Maybe the largest difference between world and environment, is that world doesn't come with ready made orientation systems like sight and horizon lines. Yet our need for orientation in world, is needed every bit as much as it is in environment. So what is the orientation system in world, where there are no horizon lines, no established up and down and infinity in all directions?

Well at the heart of it all, we need to recognize, that in place of any horizon lines providing perpendicularity, or gravity providing connection, we have world-views: a network of ideas about a reality that consists as both environment and world; a network of ideas in which we are willing to believe in, in order to orient our selves into a felt sense of place. Just because ideas lack the physicality of balls and ramps, or electrons and double slit experiments, doesn't make the idea less "tangible". Only those ideas that to us feel credible, can become the ideas we will come to believe and make into the ground of our world; such grounding can center on "brand name consuming", professional sub cultures, science sub-cultures, religious subcultures, and maybe even God (or not-God): No matter your ground- because it consists of ideas that you weave into your world-view, that you have to decide for yourself which to employ- your ground can ultimately be called your Faith.

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