Attempt 1 (Comments 1-23)
Potential Cafe Idea (still in rough draft form, though we can proceed with the discussion at anytime…it is meant to be a deep, slow-time thought experiment):
On the Human Species Ultimate Potential:
My family and I have a very small television, no cable or antennae, which we rarely use…the occasional educational DVD from the library, etc… During the holiday break, I visited my parents house. We watched nature videos at one point on their quite massive television. Needless to say, I was in awe. seeing the facial features, movements,etc. up close and in HD morphed my perspective on the animal realm…a deeper respect for their intelligence, their completion. This particular video demonstrated the complete “evolution” of a particular species.
This video demonstrates the invisible depth behind even a tiny, nearly ‘brainless’ Japanese puffer fish (and ties in with the "mathematical” God we explored last week):
Dailymail/PBS article goes more in depth: “The fish spends about six weeks building the structure that is 20 times its size, which also acts as a way to slow down the current in order to protect the eggs laid its mate.”
What is cut off at the end of the video is the courtship routine of the puffer fish. This intricate sand art attracts the female…“Once the design is finished, a female will swim into the center to signal approval and the male bites on her cheek to start the mating process.” They perform a ‘dance’ for a brief amount of time to lay their eggs, cover the eggs delicately in the sand , and then (if remembering correctly), the male deconstructs his monk-like sand art and goes about the remainder of his days.
Other related videos:
Leopard Slug Mating:
Peacock Spider Dance:
Joe the Snow Crow:
This is only one aspect of life (the playful or sexual). What would it take for the human to reach the point of a “complete animal potential”? What would a human species completion or even a complete human look like?
To do as the animals do (to be at one, in a certain, final sense, with nature) seems beyond us, even in an ideal world that would be conducive for such living…psychologically we simply could not bring this about…even Aurobindo or [insert your best and brightest human here] is seemingly light years away from any sort of human completion. Generation after generation of animals are more or less following the same evolutionary path. We rarely see another animal being evolve within a generation. Animals are perfect in the way that they are, even when faced with the daily unexpected encounters with life.
Now take a gander at the possibility of human completion. This need not necessarily involve any AI or futuristic robotic technology. What would be our highest potential for sexuality (hermaphroditic living?) or of play and love (new ideas of family units?) or of being? What does human completion mean to you?
Is consciousness something to be seen as a flaw in our existence, an unnecessary stage in evolution that has us searching, reaching out for the next thing to further our survival? Is consciousness but a chance occurrence, an evolutionary survival byproduct? Is consciousness the troublesome beast keeping us caged or the answer to our mountain of issues?
Other ideas we may wish to explore:
I see very little trauma in animals, in a certain sense. We can see pain and reactions to pain. But the human trauma spectrum…is it mostly arising as a result of our consciousness level? Our societies issues, our family issues? Could we raise a generation that is free from the human-created trauma? Once past the family/societal issues/traumas, could we confront the pains and traumas caused by being in the world?
I would happily put aside my trauma and daily grind, even my often misguided (but personally fulfilling) personal revelatory experience to be a part of some collective expression of human fulfillment. I would not mind being a part of the lower race, even if it meant this higher being is in control. Do we need benevolent overlords? a virtual world? technology? to realize our full potential?
The concept of enlightenment is often viewed as a version of human completion. Enlightenment, in the Buddhist lexicon, usually means a mental understanding or a mental freeing from the self, from desire and suffering. Given that one becomes Enlightened, this individual tends to have a “drive” to come back into the human realm to enlighten others. If we allow space for imagining such Enlightenment, what would a complete human species ultimate potential look like? Most Enlightened individuals seemingly neglect the body, sexual desire, Must we overcome our humanness to become a true human?
___[insert personal questions/ideas to explore here]
Attempt 2 (From comment 24 - ___)
Disclaimer: This is not an urgent thought experiment; I am not actively seeking immediate answers. If proceeding further, I would prefer that you meditate/ sleep on the questions raised here, though any response is always welcome!
[NB: This is a fleeting thought experiment, one that is impossible to imagine based upon our limited thought process, one that can only lead us into a certain limited vision of the future. Your responses from Attempt 1 help to clarify my question…a bit…So what do I mean when I am attempting to ask for a discussion upon this question: What would a human species completion look like? Before attempting to see the full human species potential, let us try to get a better image of the full individual “completion” before jumping into the ultimate species completion.]
Can we imagine the ultimate human potential? What would such a perfect, ideal, aspired being be?
I brought up Aurobindo in “Attempt 1” for, in his Life Divine, he states “the earliest formula of Wisdom promises to be its last, —God, Light, Freedom, Immortality.” Aurobindo is an image of an individual who had reached a higher realization of a “realized” mind, one who has realized the human potential and possibly realized the human species potential. Insert your own image here—Gebser, Plato, Buddha, Jesus. Even the latter two, as perfect as they come, had come in human form and had to work their way into becoming the “perfect” individual. Also, though they had reached ultimate reunion with God or True Enlightenment, they are still involved in the betterment of the human species. Jesus could be considered beyond the human form (as Christ). Jesus the man had been “forsaken;” even he, the most enlightened one, had touches of what we would call human estrangement.
The highest religious figures are set in place and have held their ground for they represent the highest human potential…but what would the highest species potential look like? Kingdom of God on Earth sounds nice, but do we have an image of this? The Bible and other sources might have us reflecting upon the physical location (take the pearly, golden images of heaven and juxtapose these onto Earth)…but we do not have an image of what a true ultimate species-wide human realization would look like.
Animals have not had much of a conscious chance to be involved in their perfection as they are. We see the pufferfish in Attempt 1, seemingly without emotions as we define them, yet also seemingly fully realized. Take a look at this design structure. One could say that it is but only millions of years of adapting to the loss of eggs from the ocean current. If that was the case, why did they not just pile up the eggs, or dig a hole like the sea turtle? This design might just be a pleasant vision to the human eye, a fractal pattern based upon current flow…or it could point to a higher order, some sort of aesthetic design by the fish itself, something else. Whatever the case, the pufferfish is in complete symbiosis with its environment and with its “destiny” as a pufferfish…there can be no other way to be a pufferfish than what it already is.
Have we gone from the animal at one with nature attempting in vain to be at one with the cosmos?
We have an infinite amount of information to process before we become complete. It may seem to us that our human life, our human lives are of utmost importance to us, and it is and will be. Our brain functioning surpasses any known animal. Our brain is of the highest order of understanding and wisdom that we have encountered. We are self in “the soft wallow of what it knows, and what it knows it that it will not live forever.” Yet…have we gone from the animal at one with nature attempting in vain to be at one with the cosmos? Our finitude limits our imagination of the infinite. Our humanness limits the God we think we know. Our darkness limits a long glimpse at the Light. Our bodies and brains limit our chance for Freedom. Aurobindo provides paint for our imagination …but what exactly is the complete human species? If we approach the question with the edges of integral maps or through the ultimates (we become pure Light, etc.) do we lose our humanity, our connection with the earth? We say that we are stardust…so is human completion the urge to return to the point of origin? This would mean losing our humanness, our bodies our existence as we know it, our finitude, our mortality.
Can there be a complete human species when the mind is involved?
Can we be a complete human species in this world?
Is my question asking us to reach much to far in our long now thinking to be conceived?
What is your furthest conception of the complete human species?