Align Innovate according to universal laws

Inspire Innovation with Principles of Nature

Javier Padil­la Reyes, 2012

Think beyond phys­i­cal and men­tal lim­its with respect to plan­e­tary bound­aries. Forge opti­mized stan­dards based on evo­lu­tion­ary pow­er through cycles of mem­o­ry and change.

“You must be shape­less, form­less, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bot­tle, it becomes the bot­tle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.” — Bruce Lee

When we are blessed with a view of the ocean, we feel a sense of calm. This sen­sa­tion occurs in rela­tion to the inher­ent con­nec­tion between the water in our bod­ies and the water of Earth’s own body. Sud­den­ly, all that is con­stant­ly mov­ing around inside seems to set­tle. Waves still crash on the shore, but out toward the hori­zon, the sur­face is calm, steady, and continuous.

Earth is in a state of dynam­ic non-equi­lib­ri­um, a con­stant state of change. As human activ­i­ty accel­er­ates the changes on our plan­et, and as we increas­ing­ly incor­po­rate machine learn­ing and extend­ed intel­li­gence into human inter­ac­tions, it’s crit­i­cal we reen­force the pri­ma­cy of life. To do so, we are remind­ed to mod­el our ideas and actions after nature. In this way, our vision for inno­va­tion from 2020 to 2050 cen­ters on our capac­i­ties to realign soci­ety based on regen­er­a­tive prin­ci­ples and pat­terns sourced from nature’s evolv­ing laws.

Align­ing aware­ness of uni­ver­sal laws with the prac­tice of our dis­ci­pline can serve to sharp­en our under­stand­ing of the guid­ing forces that help us progress for­ward. There are sev­er­al laws of nature which might not be com­mon­ly known or ref­er­enced in every­day sit­u­a­tions, yet can cer­tain­ly pro­vide pos­i­tive influ­ence for the prac­tice of innovation.

One of the most felt, and also com­pli­cat­ed, laws of nature is the law of love. Where does this pow­er­ful force come from and how does it take us over? When we feel love’s effects, our emo­tion­al intel­li­gence is pulled unwa­ver­ing­ly in its desired direc­tion. There are many forms of love that humans have sought to name, like pla­ton­ic love, which describes a non-roman­tic love, such as expe­ri­enced through shared wis­dom. Greek lan­guage offers sev­er­al more vari­a­tions on love. Phil­ia is the name for broth­er­ly love. Phi­lau­tia means love for one­self. Eros sig­ni­fies erot­ic love. Agape express­es a love for God (or any con­cept of a high­er being). Love occurs in count­less ways.

We believe that we should not lim­it our­selves to acknowl­edg­ing the vari­a­tions on how love can be expressed. We also strong­ly feel that no ver­sion of love is real­ly com­plete until one learns to love one­self. And to love our­selves, we must make no judge­ment about our faults. Rather, we can improve a great deal from accept­ing our faults as instru­men­tal to how we become who we are. In order to access our capac­i­ty for uncon­di­tion­al love—that is, to love with­out expec­ta­tion of receiv­ing any­thing in return—it’s essen­tial we first under­stand what con­di­tions we have already set for our­selves. What obsta­cles do we place in our own way based on what we think we need from oth­ers? To advance beyond our self-imposed lim­i­ta­tions, we need to under­stand why we are the way we are and what we are going to do to change for the bet­ter. Ulti­mate­ly, we can learn to shape our expe­ri­ences through a guid­ing prin­ci­ple of love as a pow­er­ful and mul­ti-dimen­sion­al force.

“What you seek is seek­ing you.” — Rumi

Rumi’s poems relate beau­ti­ful expres­sions of foun­da­tion­al forces which are revealed through mys­tic aware­ness. The law of attrac­tion states that thoughts or actions orig­i­nat­ing from with­in each of us will attract mutu­al ener­gy and action from oth­ers. An exam­ple of this res­o­nant qual­i­ty might be that you meet some­one who has been work­ing on a sim­i­lar project, or strug­gling with a sim­i­lar chal­lenge as you, and you nat­u­ral­ly feel your­self drawn to them, look­ing to align with them along this shared course of inter­est. This con­ver­gence with oth­ers helps all involved through col­lab­o­ra­tive exchange. There are count­less ways in which the law of attrac­tion can man­i­fest rel­e­vance in one’s own per­son­al jour­ney. We believe in the ben­e­fit of being open to receiv­ing guid­ance from wher­ev­er our intu­ition and atten­tion leads.

“Out­er Space”, Michael Naj­jar, 2012

The law of cor­re­spon­dence tells us that our out­er world is noth­ing more than a reflec­tion of our inner world. In oth­er words, what we think and how we feel influ­ences what we say and what we do. And, this then in turn affects the real­i­ty we expe­ri­ence. Asso­cia­tive con­nec­tions appear between dif­fer­ent ener­gies and mat­ter because all things are inher­ent­ly con­nect­ed by virtue of existing.

Inter­na­tion­al Cloud Atlas, World Mete­o­ro­log­i­cal Orga­ni­za­tion, 2013

“As above, so below.” — from The Emer­ald Tablet

The Emer­ald Tablet is an Egypt­ian-Greek wis­dom text about the cos­mos, mind, the divine, and nature. The ori­gin of the text is unknown, while the text is attrib­uted to a teacher named Her­mes Tris­megis­tus. The essence of the philoso­phers’ stone is said to be held with­in the text’s eso­teric lines. Hav­ing first appeared in a book writ­ten in Ara­bic between the 8th and 6th cen­turies, the text of the Emer­ald Tablet gained wide recep­tion dur­ing the 1200s in Europe. Sir Isaac Newton’s trans­la­tion of the text appeared in his work with alche­my. He inter­pret­ed the begin­ning of the text to say, “That which is below is like that which is above and that which is above is like that is below to do the mir­a­cles of one only thing. And as all things have been and arose from one by the medi­a­tion of one: so all things have their birth from this one thing by adaptation.”

We tend to grav­i­tate toward the peo­ple, places, and ideas that res­onate with our intu­ition. The law of grav­i­ty reveals the heavy influ­ence that is exert­ed upon all mat­ter. Grav­i­ty is also rel­a­tive. The grav­i­ty on Earth is greater than the grav­i­ty on the moon. Grav­i­ty shows us the impor­tance of con­text in respect to its rel­e­vance. In the mid­dle of space, where grav­i­ty seem­ing­ly does not exist, the effects of grav­i­ty are still present on account of dark mat­ter. These effects also remind us how that which we can­not see is nonethe­less incred­i­bly sig­nif­i­cant and worth consideration.

The uni­verse oper­ates by many mys­te­ri­ous prop­er­ties. Imag­ine all the times you’ve thought of some­one and then that per­son calls you on the phone. This phe­nom­e­na is more than coin­ci­dence; it relates to laws of man­i­fes­ta­tion. When we give our atten­tion to some­thing, we share the pow­er of our inten­tion and ener­gy with that enti­ty, and give it greater momen­tum to be sum­moned into our lives.

“Wood Wide Web”, Michael Sed­bon, 2018

“Every­thing in the field of time is dual: past and future, dead and alive, being and non­be­ing.” — Joseph Campbell

Laws of polar­i­ty or dual­i­ty speak to Newton’s third law, which states that for every action there is an equal and oppo­site reac­tion. What­ev­er state we’re in (such as joy­ous or sad, hot or cold), we are well served to remem­ber it rep­re­sents only one end of a spec­trum. Aware­ness of polar­i­ty reminds us that beyond the realm of dual­i­ty lives the eter­nal. We are inter­est­ed in how this law can give greater insight into how our actions are involved in the push-and-pull nature of polar­i­ty. What role do we play in this process? All our actions, and even our obser­va­tions, have con­se­quences that are bound by polar­i­ty. In quan­tum mechan­ics, pho­ton polar­iza­tion describes how light can behave as a wave func­tion, which col­laps­es into a par­ti­cle as soon as that wave is observed at a cer­tain point. Inter­est­ing­ly enough, the par­ti­cle can­not turn back to a wave. This quandary is also expressed in the play Arca­dia by Tom Stop­pard, in which the char­ac­ter Thomasi­na won­ders at the odd­i­ty that a swirl of jam can blend into pud­ding, but can­not return to the orig­i­nal shape of its ini­tial swirl. In our phys­i­cal real­i­ty, mat­ter behaves accord­ing to laws of polar­i­ty. Yet, we can place this phe­nom­e­na in per­spec­tive, and won­der at what it might mean to tran­scend this state of dual­i­ty as a means for access­ing the supreme pow­er of the eternal.

Jack Gold­stein, 1983

Final­ly, the law of har­mo­ny offers a grand orga­niz­ing prin­ci­ple for life. It states that all that exists will ulti­mate­ly be brought into bal­ance; that an under­ly­ing mech­a­nism of the uni­verse is to arrange rela­tion­ships of all kind in har­mo­ny with one anoth­er. While moments of dishar­mo­ny sure­ly occur—such as a rip­ple in calm water—any dis­tur­bance to har­mo­ny is tem­po­rary. Even­tu­al­ly, through the law of har­mo­ny, bal­ance will be restored. The law of har­mo­ny serves as a kind of base­line prin­ci­ple to keep in mind when under­go­ing any act of cre­ativ­i­ty. Think of music, and how songs are arranged accord­ing to the law of har­mo­ny. When in tune, the fre­quen­cies of dif­fer­ent instru­ments align and we hear a har­mo­nious sound that pro­found­ly moves our emo­tion­al, phys­i­cal, and spir­i­tu­al states. Of course, any expres­sion of disharmony—like instru­ments not in tune or play­ing dis­so­nant­ly together—can be jar­ring. Yet, through con­tin­ued effort, har­mo­ny comes back into exis­tence. It’s as if the uni­verse is an extra­or­di­nary orches­tra of diverse ele­ments play­ing at all times and our task is to find a way to join in its phe­nom­e­nal melody and rhythm.

Approach­es to inno­va­tion can ben­e­fit immense­ly from the trans­lation of these uni­ver­sal laws into pos­i­tive prin­ci­ples for future-based ini­tia­tives. Inno­va­tion is a vital part of an evo­lu­tion­ary process, that can be under­stood in terms of imag­i­na­tion, tech­ni­cal abil­i­ty, and inge­nu­ity. The choice is ours to bet­ter infuse inno­va­tion with the laws of nature, love, har­mo­ny, attrac­tion, and evo­lu­tion through infi­nite cycles of renewal.

Giant cac­tus on the Apache Trail
  1. Jalāl ad-Dīn Muham­mad Rūmī, also known as Jalāl ad-Dīn Muham­mad Balkhī, Mevlânâ/Mawlānā, Mevlevî/Mawlawī, and more pop­u­lar­ly sim­ply as Rumi, was a 13th-cen­tu­ry Per­sian poet, faqih, Islam­ic schol­ar, the­olo­gian, and Sufi mys­tic orig­i­nal­ly from Greater Kho­rasan in Greater Iran

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