Birth is concrescence, the coalescence of matter organizing itself into a unique form. Birth is the quest of consciousness, the cognizant being emerging independent and alone, ready to observe the universe as an individuated node of self-hood.
Each instance of birth is the beginning of a series of reflections made by the universe, on itself, for itself. The relative length of those reflections is not germane. The only thing that matters is that they are made.
The bare witness is enough.
Not all life is capable of making these reflections.
Most life in the universe is silent, vegetative, passive; algae and fungus, plankton, and moss, grasses, and trees, bacteria and the ubiquitous virus, these life forms are most prevalent than any other. They mark a certain-narrow range of activity taking place in their environment, on their individual planets, orbiting their individual stars.
The animate life of fish and insect, of reptile and avian, of mammal, these life forms are rare. These animate beings see and do more, feel more than the vegetation they consume as food. But, until the discovery of Earth, there was only one world in the entire galaxy where it was known for life to have evolved into sapient creature, into creatures that learned to see beyond themselves, projecting images of themselves, of their hopes and fears and possible futures into the great beyond.
The Ancient People, who constructed the Continuum, they were the first, and until their colonists reached Earth, they thought they were the only one.
The human, homo sapient sapient; like every other organic being, is beset with the inherent biases of the animal brain.
The glands of the brain pump chemicals into the liquid consciousness of its neural net.
Strong emotions are generated here.
We are awash in them.
The animal brain is fearful. It is concerned with the most basic things; pleasure, pain, anger, fear.
It is inherently suspicious, having risen out of the world where the law of life is eat or be eaten.
It wants to regard every other creature as either a threat, or as food, as something to be exploited.
These tendencies rule the creature, and the search for safety.
This is not to say that human beings, and other creatures are not capable of learning trust, they can and they do, but trust is a learned behavior.
The tendency to see every other being in oppositional terms is never completely erased.
Otherness, alienation, these feelings are in constant tension with the supernal drive that is necessary to advance culture.
The rudiments of language are warnings.
Sirens and alarms link directly into the limbic system: fight or flight.
In times of plenty these feelings become less pronounced, they become easier to set aside.
In times of scarcity they rise immediately into the control centers of the brain, and generations of cultural conditioning that came to mitigate those responses can be erased in moments.
Even the human being, The homo sapient sapient, the animal with the most advanced neural net, even that creature will quickly fall into extremes of genocidal killing and cannibalism, when scarcity and fear, starvation and war, or other threatening circumstances come to dominate human consciousness. This is true whether the threat is real, or simply imagined.
There is a brief period of time for every mammal, when they are in the warmth and dark of the womb, a short time when they are one with another, their mother.
It is a time of total dependency.
Two hearts beating in the same body, sharing the same flow of blood, of oxygen. They are in a state of complete cynergy.
The father contributes a piece of the code for the formation of the new being, but that is it, the father merely influences the design.
The mother gives the child everything.
This does not end at birth.
The child travels with the mother in the warmth and dark of the womb for nine month, through genesis, formation and growth.
It learns the low tone of the mother’s voice, her rhythm of speaking, of moving, of singing.
The newborn infant takes all of its sustenance, either from the mother’s breast, or from the mother’s hand in the ultimate form of belonging to another.
The child travels with her everywhere, or desires to. There is no place safer, no greater feeling of security than to be placed against her flesh, in the blanket of her scent, to feel her voice resonate through her body.
Everyone else in the world is an alien, potentially hostile, a threat…except for mother.
There is no one more frightening than the father.
Stranger, protector, arbiter of conflict; a father is the first person the child seeks to bond with after separating from the mother.
The father is stern and foreboding.
For most tribes of early humans, as they migrated across the planet, the father was the ultimate authority, holding the power of life and death over his family and able to exercise it any time. There were few checks on his authority.
The child seeks to bond with, to understand, to contend with, and to please him.
In times when the actual father is not present, the child will find a surrogate and seek adoption.
The way in which the relationship develops between the child and father determines virtually everything about who the child will become in the eyes of the world.
The father imparts the public persona to the child, and the child carries that persona, like it does the fathers name, throughout its life and in the world.
Good or bad, the influence of the father is imparted to the child like an indelible mark.
Everything the father does, or does not do matters. Active or passive, present or absent, the role the father plays in the child’s life shapes them. None of the father’s words, none of his gestures, not a single touch, or glace occurs in a vacuum.
The child absorbs it all. Everything done and left undone is determinative of who the child will become, and the esteem they will experience in the world.
We are each of us a reflection of the image the father projects on us, not a perfect facsimile but a living representation of the intentions and wishes of the patriarch.
After the mother and father, our sisters and brothers are the first people with whom they share a common bond, and with whom we compete.
We identify with our siblings, discover betrayal through them, experience them as a threat, and learn from them both how to love and how to forgive.
The human capacity for empathy is refined through our relationships with our siblings. Having first learned to love them, we are able to extend that compassion to others.
If we learn to hate them, be jealous of them, covet their place in the world, then by extension we are able to project those same feelings onto anyone.
Human history is replete with the stories of siblings, accomplishing great things together, and allowing their rivalries to destroy them.
Cain slew able, he killed him with a stone.
Romulus killed Remus, he cast his brother from the walls of Rome, broke his body on the rocks below, a blood-sacrifice for the eternal city.
The duplicity of the human being, our duality, our capacity for selflessness and self-centeredness are demonstrated in these relationships more poignantly than in any other.
A brother or sister will at one moment put their lives at risk to protect their sibling from harm or even the specter of harm, and in another moment plot to take their life and destroy their extended family.
The sibling bond is the strongest of all bonds, apart from the bond the child has with its mother. When the tension is so great that it breaks, the resulting backlash has the potential to scar everyone who is near it.
It is no small thing to reprogram the animal brain, to take the essentially selfish organism and transform it into something new. Suspicious creatures become altruistic only by learning and through experience, through the bonding of the senses and by neural linguistic programming, by ritual and narrative.
The first stage is complete when the individual person comes to see the family as an extension of the self, when they see their well-being, their fate is tied to the fate and the well-being of others, both in this life and the next.
The brain is an evolving structure. It mutates, both over the course of the life of the individual, and by procreation, from generation to generation.
Most of the mutations are not visible or even noticeably structural. They are packed into the dense tissues of the neural network in the brain.
With every new experience a new thread is spun, a thread as thin as a sequence of proteins, and with that the organ of the brain is changed, at the same time the code inside the cells is rewritten, peptides and amino acid redraft the genetic sequence, and the endowment is passed on to succeeding generations, it is a growing inheritence.
The greatest periods of growth and change are infancy and childhood. When every sound and sight, every smell and touch, every taste is actively changing the nascent being, especially at this time when they are learning the language of its family and tribe.
The human being will begin to see the well-being of the family and tribe as being in alignment with their own, identical to it, without regard for the hurts and minor competitions that ensued while growing-up together.
The other becomes one, when this has occurred we will protect those closest to us with a ferocity equal to our own drive for safety, because they have in reality become a recognizable part of who we are, our relationship to them, our memories of them have changed our genetic codes and the physical structure of the brain, both.
Blood and family, they bind us, they may confine us, but they may also set us free.
As we become self-aware we also become “other-aware.” We struggle with the full array of human emotions. We feel the flood of neuro-chemicals and learn to control the mechanae which regulate them. The most significant among them being fear.
Fear lodged deep within the limbic system, in the far reaches of the “reptilian” brain, in the spine and the neural network flowing out from it into our extremities, fear is the great divider, our limitations are founded in it.
We come into the knowledge of self, fearing any and all others, seeing them first as dangerous, as threatening. Every other person we encounter, accept the mother who gave birth to us, who anchors us through our memory of the womb, every other person is a potential adversary, is an actual adversary until we learn to see them in another light
Every person has a different learning curve, a unique capacity for the things of their experience they remember, recall and contextualize.
The acquisition of language gives us a taxonomy, the linguistic tools to understand these differentiations: self, mother, father self, brother, sister, self…it is a code that grows and continues to grow.
It is open ended: self, uncle, aunt, self, cousin, self, offspring, self, niece, nephew, self, spouse, self, friend, self…
It is through kinship, by relating to those whom we believe share our deepest interests that we learn to see strangers as other-selves, even the adversary.
There are language games, there is neuro-linguistic programming in every culture that can force these issues. They combine words and actions, feelings of mystery through rituals of shame, fear and empowerment, which break down barriers, moving a person rapidly through every stage of acceptance in regard to another. Religion, and ritual, military service and shared suffering among them. By passing through these stages a person become fully realized and in possession of their true self.
Part Three, Earth
Chapter Nineteen, Consciousness
A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week
#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek
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