Many / One

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Compiled by JoAnn Kite

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Breaking the Mind Barrier
Todd Siler
A brilliantly original way to think about art, science, the mind, and the universe.

1 "Art and metaphor can speak with the voice of truth as spoken from nature's mouth and as informed by nature's eyes."

2 "Current studies in neuroscience that are used to determine cell sociology in groups, cell-neuron connectivity, and plasticity can be discussed in the context of the organization of the universe, which includes its rules of assemblage and behavior. As we read about stellar populations or the special features of a select cluster of galaxies, we can infer things about the populations of nerve cells and ganglia of which we are composed and which compose our worlds of mind. The implication is that knowledge of the brain is not merely supplementary information for studying the cosmos – it is key."

3 "This ageless thought of a 'world without end' implies that the brain, like its celestial godmother, is a continuum - a timeless world in which matter and energy are the same throughout. The microtime, with which we measure the birth and death of our bodies, and the macrotime, which we use to determine the birthdays and the deathdates of celestial bodies, are conceptual illusions. Matter continually reorganizes itself in one form or another."

4 "For millenia, each picture or model of the microcosm and macrocosm has rendered a different aspect of our connection with particulate matter and celestial systems….They speak of our cosmic connection in poetic verse, as in the prophetic Indian Vedic scriptures….Theoretical studies in modern cosmology sing of this connection in verses of mathematical equations, interlacing insights from astrophysics and astronomical observations."

5 "It is because of the interactions of all the parts of any society (of living cells or galaxies) that they work."

6 "Although nature's forms are varied, the vast differences of form are contrasted by a simplicity of likeness in process. Our internal processes mirror nature's internal processes and vice versa."

7 "He treated the microscopic scene as though it were alive and were inhabited by beings which felt and did and hoped and tried even as we do....A nerve-cell...'groped to find another'!....Listening to him I asked myself how far this capacity for anthro-pomorphizing might not contribute to his success as an investigator." Charles Sherrington, Nobel laureate, writing about Nobel laureate Santiago Ramon y Cajal

8 "Our minds ARE nature, in every detail and behavior. We are 'processmorphs' of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, wind storms, geological and atmospheric disturbances, etc. Even though we don't look like any of these things in our outward appearances, the processes of our thoughts, feelings, and actions resemble these and other phenomena....perhaps humankind is also a way for nature to know itself."

9 "It is the combined insights from various views that determine the clearest picture of the brain-universe."

10 "In the thick of our views exists a common pattern of perception….the pattern is a weave of united processes. We now need to see this 'weave' in the human nervous system and the cosmos's system alike. The wider and sharper our vision becomes – and the more flexible our definitions of these systems become – the more the conceptual boundaries between the beholder (brain) and the beheld (universe) will overlap."

11 "Nature is an artist that works from within."

12 "A creative system can accommodate abrupt changes and catastrophes with its agility. All life forms are creative. The cosmos is a form of life – one that is as agile as the life forms it has created."

13 "We all work near and drink from the same reservoir of imagination that forms from our collective creativity."

14 "We're born informed."

15 "Explorations in metaphorical thinking no doubt pre-date Hesiod in the eighth century b.c. Three special masters of this medium of communication (out of thousands over the millenia) include the Greek writer Aesop, the Roman poet Phaedrus and Leonardo daVinci – each of whom used the suggestive imagery of fables, to convey insights into the world of human nature. In more recent times, writers, artists, poets, educators, and scientists have systematically explored the versatile art of comparison and association as a means of nurturing our impulse to connect and to discover."

16 "We must recognize that our development and survival ride on our ability to experience life as an integrated community of explorers…..We need to understand the creative potential of people, processes, and information living connected and exercising our gifts as wise, ethical creatures."

17 "A structure or system grows by means of itself."

18 "We cannot possibly see the whole of what we are, if we persist in seeing the parts of our nature and nature's parts as disassociated entities. Defining things without considering their relationships with other things is a fatal flaw in descriptive analysis."

19 "The mandala emphasizes the process of spiritual growth, of the mind's evolution echoing the evolution of the universe."

20 "In order to grow and survive we need to uncover some common ground to talk about what we're experiencing from our unique viewpoints. We need to develop a means of communicating with one another that is sensitive to - and even tolerant of - contrasting points of view. Our talking must 'take into account', rather than talk in defense.

21 "Subatomic particles are not 'things' that build one upon the other until they form large aggregates. Rather, they are part of a union of relations."

22 "The philosopher and paleontologist Pierre Teilhard deChardin (1881-1955) theorized that humankind strives toward mental, social, and spiritual unity – perhaps like the smallest atomies, which exhibit the behavior of what might be called 'striving'. They strive to be fulfilled."

23 "As we grow to understand our union with nature, we will discover that we are connected in process to all events and elements of nature we systematically study."

24 "Through our joined perspectives, we have the ability to create a world in which one person's life experiences and beliefs may be respected, shared, and understood by others. I feel this is imperative for human development and survival - a cultural necessity, not an intellectual luxury. We want to build communication between all peoples, advancing the collective wisdom of our civilization."

25 "From cell-assemblies to thought-assemblies the cosmos unfolds inside us – and we, inside it."

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite