Recognize Interconnectivity

Everything Is Connected

“Walk­ing on the moon will change the weath­er,” is a quote attrib­uted to a shaman in Africa in response to the lunar land­ing in 1969. The resource deple­tion required for space explo­ration offers one exam­ple of the need to rec­og­nize the rela­tions between all mat­ter and energy.

The New York Times front page, July 21 1969

“Con­nec­tion is every­thing. Con­nect with oth­ers, and with your spir­i­tu­al self. Love the truth you find in oth­er hearts, and always lis­ten to the voice of truth in your own heart. Be as fair, hon­est, pos­i­tive and cre­ative as you can in all your thoughts, speech and actions. The heart of our human kind is tol­er­ant, coop­er­a­tive, car­ing and coura­geous.”Gre­go­ry David Roberts

All life, every­where, com­pris­es a uni­ver­sal design. That over­all design reveals com­plex con­nec­tions that account for infi­nite vari­a­tion, as well as repeat­ing pat­terns. The largest objects, like the sun and plan­ets of our solar sys­tem, share sim­i­lar char­ac­ter­is­tics with even the small­est ele­ments, like atoms, the build­ing blocks for all ordi­nary mat­ter. Elec­trons orbit the nucle­us of an atom in the same way our plan­et orbits around the sun.1 The struc­ture of the human body also shares many qual­i­ties with the anato­my of our plan­et: each is made up of around 70% water,2 each has chakra points,3 and each is great­ly affect­ed by its rela­tion to sun­light and the pull of the moon’s cycle. 

Buzz Aldrin’s boot­print, NASA, 1969

Earth’s rain­forests behave like lungs. Trees are inte­gral parts of the planet’s res­pi­ra­to­ry sys­tem. Defor­esta­tion and pol­lu­tion are mak­ing it hard for our plan­et to breathe, which in turn makes it very dif­fi­cult for us to breathe. We have to do bet­ter to take care of both our indi­vid­ual bod­ies, as well as our col­lec­tive lands, waters, and ecosys­tems. All bio­log­i­cal sys­tems are con­nect­ed through an extra­or­di­nary set of rela­tion­ships. When one sys­tem is ill cared for, it affects every oth­er sys­tem and its con­stituent parts. The ques­tion that occurs to us then becomes: How can we address the inter­re­lat­ed symp­toms of our soci­etal system—such as inequal­i­ty, pover­ty, and con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed water—as we would address any issue relat­ed to own phys­i­cal health? When the work­ing order of our bod­ies begins to fail, we seek to begin cor­rec­tive mea­sures imme­di­ate­ly. So then why does Flint, Michi­gan still not have clean drink­ing water after five years? Because of mas­sive sys­temic cor­rup­tion and lack of account­abil­i­ty. These issues, in turn, lead to a fail­ure of col­lec­tive con­fi­dence in gov­ern­ment insti­tu­tions. The repair to this kind of dis­trust must first begin with acknowl­edg­ing how we are all con­nect­ed as peo­ple and forms of life, and using that fun­da­men­tal rea­son for respect as a jump­ing off point toward prop­er­ly address­ing what ails us the most.

There is a great deal of evi­dence to sup­port the idea that our human design can be under­stood as an exten­sion of oth­er designs in nature. In the ear­ly 1900s, Indi­an physi­cist, Jagadish Chan­dra Bose, stud­ied the ner­vous sys­tem of plants and lec­tured about the ways in which plants exhib­it per­cep­tion sim­i­lar to how humans receive, and react to, infor­ma­tion. Among the var­i­ous devices Bose invent­ed was a cresco­graph, a device used to detect plant growth, very small motions with­in plant tis­sues, and to mea­sure plants’ elec­tri­cal respons­es to var­i­ous stim­uli. Through his research, Bose came to under­stand that plants respond not only to light, but to sound and touch as well. Rec­og­niz­ing this sen­so­ry capac­i­ty of plant-life helps us under­stand how human­i­ty is not the only species that feels. This recog­ni­tion, in turn, can open up a greater sense of aware­ness and appre­ci­a­tion for life in what­ev­er form it takes.

All actions have con­se­quences, whether intend­ed or not. The health of our plan­et and our own bod­ies are well served to rec­og­nize how our actions, and even our thoughts, mat­ter. Think­ing about the var­i­ous ele­ments we incor­po­rate into our lives, leads to a larg­er con­sid­er­a­tion of the abil­i­ty of envi­ron­men­tal fac­tors to influ­ence how we feel, and even who we become. There have even been sci­en­tif­ic stud­ies explor­ing the influ­ence of envi­ron­men­tal fac­tors on a cel­lu­lar level.

Solar array pro­to­type inspired by origa­mi tech­niques, BYU, 2014

In the ear­ly 1980s, Dr. Bruce Lipton’s research on the biol­o­gy of a cell’s out­er lay­er revealed how a cel­lu­lar mem­brane can behave like a com­put­er chip in its capac­i­ty to store infor­ma­tion. Con­tin­u­ing these stud­ies into the ear­ly 1990s led Lip­ton to con­clude that the cel­lu­lar mem­brane also serves as a kind of mis­sion con­trol for respond­ing to the envi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions expe­ri­enced by an organ­ism. In this way, the mem­brane is able to change the cell’s behav­ior, and even phys­i­ol­o­gy, by influ­enc­ing the genet­ic activ­i­ty of cor­re­spond­ing cells. This con­cept was foun­da­tion­al to the emerg­ing field of epi­ge­net­ics. This abil­i­ty, for gene expres­sion to be mod­i­fied based on envi­ron­men­tal changes, has been instru­men­tal in rethink­ing the nature of genomes. As Lip­ton explained to the news­pa­per Irish Inde­pen­dent in 2014, “Genes don’t con­trol any­thing, they’re just blue­prints. Where­as ‘epi­ge­net­ic control’—control above the genes—turns every­thing on its head. The envi­ron­ment influ­ences the selec­tion and read­ing of genes. A person’s health isn’t gen­er­al­ly a reflec­tion of genes, but how their envi­ron­ment is influ­enc­ing them.”4 The impli­ca­tions of envi­ron­men­tal influ­ence on gene expres­sion have led to wide­spread alter­ations in what peo­ple eat, where they live, what they do for work, and every oth­er con­ceiv­able lifestyle choice.

Con­tin­ued dis­cov­er­ies of the inter­con­nec­tions deep with­in our bod­ies and envi­ron­ments have the effect of expand­ing con­scious­ness on an indi­vid­ual and col­lec­tive lev­el. We are not iso­lat­ed, nor apart, from nature. The more sci­ence has looked the more we see evi­dence of incred­i­ble syn­chro­niza­tion between our­selves and nature. Quan­tum entan­gle­ment describes the phe­nom­e­non in which mul­ti­ple par­ti­cles share the same state. Accord­ing to

Lead poi­soned water in Flint, Michi­gan, 2015

this the­o­ry, an action upon one par­ti­cle effects the action of the oth­ers regard­less of how lit­tle, or how much, space exists between them. This phenomenon—which was also described by Ein­stein as “spooky action at a dis­tance”5—leads to the mys­tery of non-local­i­ty (mean­ing that trans­for­ma­tion­al inter­ac­tions can occur between objects even when those objects do not share the same phys­i­cal space). Some­times this phe­nom­e­na can seem to occur in dai­ly life. Like when a per­son receives a wave of emo­tion at the same time as some­one else they are close­ly con­nect­ed with. Obser­va­tions like these reveal how despite any phys­i­cal dis­tance, we are inex­tri­ca­bly con­nect­ed through the nature of existence.

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