Understanding Self-organization of
The research into a new kind of social science (NKSS) illuminates a new
framework for ecological studies: the framework of wholsome ecology.
The term “ecology” is rooted in the Greek word oekos meaning “house”.
In the same way as the house provides a shelter for people to live, the
universe provides a 'shelter' for the infinite manifold of unanimated
and animated forms to exist and evolve together. The house -
- is a place where its inhabitants relate to one another and
interact. Is it possible for these interrelationships and interactions
to be healthy both for the humans and for the rest of the nature in the
oekus which we share together? This is a question asked by the
ecology - a vital question. If we cannot answer this question, the
chance for our survival as human species on this planet diminishes.
Environmental crises, disasters, and cataclysms emerging in result of
our unhealthy relationships with nature will continue to contribute in
the spread of incurable diseases among us and the other living forms.
Wars, conflicts, and oppression emerging in result of our unhealthy
relationships with one another will continue to accelerate the
processes of life destruction.
At the focus of wholesome ecology is the unique web of life- and
health-supporting interactions at all levels of their self-organizing
emergence - intrapersonal and interpersonal; between the individuals
the environment, as well as between the individuals and society;
society and nature, as well as between society and the whole evolving
4.1 Medical Model versus the Model of Wholesome
The existing medical practices are primarily concern how to fight with
diseases; the diseases are considered as 'enemies' for people. People
must be prevented for being invaded by these enemies; once invaded,
people become 'patients' from whom the diseases must be removed so that
they can be cured. ‘Cured’ is the key term in the medical model used in
our days; there is not much discussion about health in this model.
The medical model absorbs most of the money in health expenditure, its
prestige is almost unchallenged, especially in developed nations, but
contemporary thinkers about health are increasingly aware that this
model is limited, inadequate and often dangerous. The largest part of
the medical interventions become ever more complex and costly, and
produce unwanted side effects which produce litigation, which raises
costs of the treatment and reduces its availability in a vicious circle.
Many people today look for alternative approaches based on holistic
methods of healing rooted in the wisdom of the ancients. ‘Heal’ comes
from the same root as ‘whole’ and ‘holistic’: restoring wholeness,
restoring health, which has nothing to do with fighting with or
In the medical model, practitioners cure patients of diseases. In the
healing model, a range of agents can heal the patient, who is always a
dynamic part of the process. This crucial part of the process can be
understood as self-healing.
The model of wholesome ecology is centred at one of the main conceptual
roots of the complexity paradigm - self-organization. When projected on
health, self-organization refers to self-healing, that is, the
self-sustaining or self-restoring - ability of nature, which has been
passed to all living creatures.
We can either strengthen and realize our natural self-healing
potential, or weaken and destroy it, depending on our culture. Death in
the wholesome ecology model is an inevitable manifestation of
transitoriness of the physical bodies of the living forms. The
occurrence of the moment of death in humans is often accelerated by
various traumas, including diseases that emerge as a result of living
consciously or unconsciously under conditions that are destructive to
health and impede the ways of realizing our self-healing potential.
These conditions are deeply rooted in the culture of our society, which
involves also the predominant attitudes and dispositions of people.
Unfortunately, many of the dominant cultural patterns in the world
value competition and the accumulation of profit and power. Such
'cultural' behaviours increase the chance of severe ecological
in nature, intensify stress at individual and social scales, inducing
feelings of hostility and worthlessness in life, and therefore they act
against our health.
The start of the new millennium (with horrible acts of terrorism and
war in response to those acts) is marked by a contemporary culture that
strongly opposes harmony in nature and thus endangers both the human
environmental health, as they are two sides of one and the same coin.
4.2 Human and Environmental Health: The Approach of Wholesome Ecology
The research into the new kind of social science offers a repertoire of
models which can be used to explore different aspects of the turbulent
space of human existence in which health and 'unhealth' interact with
each other and with other aspects of human experience and the natural
The drive to restore and maintain conditions of wholeness and
integrity, completeness and balance in the integrated ecological space
(IES) – the space of complexly interwoven relationships between the
living beings and their environment - can be seen as a fundamental
emergent property of the whole web of life- and health-supporting
interactions in IES, a property that underlies the holistic concept of
In the paradigm of complexity, the potential for self-healing is seen
as an inherent self-organizing urge of each living entity towards
of integrity and harmony, both at the internal level - related to the
functioning of the constituents of this entity, and at the external
levels - related to the functioning of the whole dynamic web in IES.
In the model of wholesome ecology, disease is not a self-contained,
isolated pathological event with a set of causes acting in a linear
A predisposition to disease occurs when integrity breaks, either at the
level of an entity or at the level of the whole web of relationships in
IES. The broken integrity may create obstacles that impede the
self-healing ability of the living entities. In human beings, these
obstacles can be rooted in different aspects of their culture:
physiological, ecological, social, and psychological (mental,
emotions-based, or/and spiritual).
4.2.1 Sustaining the Self-Healing Potential
Solé and Goodwin, biologists from Santa-Fe Institute of
Complexity, use the concept of ‘dynamic attractor’ to understand the
surprising and paradoxical phenomenon of self-healing: "health is the
typical or natural condition of an organism; it is the dynamic
to which the self-healing organism tends to return spontaneously"
(Solé and Goodwin, 2000).
The integrity of the whole web of interrelationships is responsible for
sustaining dynamic attractor of health. At the same time, the
self-healing dynamics supported by this attractor play a crucial role
sustaining the integrity of the whole dynamic web of interrelationships
Because of this vital interdependence, anything in IES that destroys
the web of relationships, anything that divides, separates or excludes,
appears as an obstacle for realization of the self-healing potential of
the living entities.
In terms of the medical model, persons who suffer a headache take a
medicine aimed to treat headaches. Many such medicines have negative
side effects on other organs of the body, say the stomach or heart.
Headaches have a complex meaning because they can indicate many
different conditions, from stress to brain tumours. To ‘solve’ a health
problem by taking a pill is to neglect the vital interdependence of the
attractor of health and IES. Let us imagine that instead of taking a
pill, one uses the approach of the wholesome ecology: goes for a long
walk in the nearest park, takes a couple of deep breaths, or
relaxes for a while. This approach would stimulate the realization of
the self-healing potential of the organism as a living entity
inseparably embedded in IES, and therefore it is open to the influence
of a multitude of factors supporting the dynamic attractor of health.
our example, the health-supporting factors are: walking, breathing,
enjoying the scenery, listening to birds, smelling the fragrance of the
flowers, relaxing, etc. Even if the headache were to prove to be due to
a tumour, a positive attitude will still be beneficial in coping with
this serious condition. Moreover, there are many examples of cancer
remission due to a conscious strengthening of the spiritual dimension
the individual self-healing potential.
4.2.2 Vortices of Health
The realization of the self-healing potential of each living entity
depends on the interplay of many factors in IES. Some of these factors
emerge out of the dynamic web of relationships between the entities,
rest of them appear as a result of the interaction between the entities
and their environment. In order to capture the wholeness of the dynamic
interplay of interrelationships under conditions of high energy, it is
illuminating to model it as characteristically taking a vortical form,
similar to that of a whirlpool or tornado, able to produce powerful
Our hypothesis is that these vortical forms of interactions between the
multitude of factors in IES may be responsible both for sustaining the
self-healing potential of each entity and for activating it into a
powerful urge towards integrity and harmonious dynamic relations with
the environment, and therefore towards better health. We refer to these
vortical forms as vortices of health.
While living at the vortex of health, an entity feels empowered to
realize its self-healing potential. Living outside the vortex, its
self-healing ability may diminish and disappear; various diseases may
emerge or take a more severe form, and death comes closer. Conceivably,
human beings can learn how consciously to energize the vortices of
health and thus facilitate and support the self-healing forces which
emerge out of them. These forces keep the dynamics in IES at the
attractor of health, a metaphor for the 'healthy area' in IES. The key
role for wholesome ecology is to explain people how to 'fire' the
vortices of health and thus sustain their lives and the life of nature
at the attractor of health.
4.2.3 Bifurcations in Integrated Ecological Space
In chaos theory the occurrence of bifurcations marks transition from
order to chaos in the dynamic model of the population growth in
In the model of wholesome ecology, bifurcations can be used to describe
the transition form health to unhealth occurring within IES at
individual, social, or/and environmental levels.
One can consider the emergence of the ozone hole, the green house
effect, disappearance of certain kinds of species, soil degradation,
so forth as manifestations of bifurcations occurring in the dynamics of
nature. The collapse of health of a drug (or alcohol, or nicotine)
addict reveals the emergence of bifurcations in the form of qualitative
changes in individual dynamics that may be irreversible. An
change is signalled by a chronic disorder that is likely to be
accompanied by a decrease in the self-healing potential of the
At minor scales, breaks and restorations in IES occur continuously.
Their interplay leads to ‘the edge of chaos’, a concept used in the
complexity paradigm to explain dynamic behaviour at the intermediate
level between order and chaos. When applied to wholesome ecology, the
edge of chaos refers to a region in IES where the living entities need
to balance themselves so as not to drift into too much disorder on the
one hand, and too much order on the other hand. Such balancing requires
a high level of self-organizing ability of the living entities, that
ability for co-adaptation and co-evolution (Kaufman, 1993).
As far as the self-organizing ability of the species, which reaches its
highest level at the edge-of-chaos regions in IES, manifests through
their self-healing potential, and the latter is maximised when the
species dwell at the vortex of health, we can conclude that the
of health exist at the edge of chaos. Both the orderly and disorderly
patterns of individual dynamics are equally dangerous for health; the
former leads to repetitive behavioural patterns, stereotypes, and
addiction, the latter leads to disharmony and break of one's
connectedness with the environment. It is the 'edge of chaos' that
facilitates the emergence and sustenance of the vortices of health.
4.2.4 Double Harmonious Resonance
The medical model is linear: x causes or contributes to disease d, the
medicine m alleviates or cures it. The experience of being or becoming
well or ill often shows a more complex pattern of causality, requiring
other ways of representing causality. One of these that come from the
complexity paradigm is the idea of harmonious resonance (Dimitrov,
2001). If being healthy means to be in a state of integrity and
harmony, a living entity may be in such a state if it functions in
harmonious resonance within its own (internal) network of 'agents' and
with the larger (external) whole of the environment. And it is within
the areas at the edge of chaos in the IES where this two-fold harmony
manifests through the vortices of health.
If the agents (organs, cells, systems) of a living organism resonate
harmoniously with each other as an inseparable whole and with their
environment, the organism is more likely to be healthy. When harmony
integrity are destroyed and agents within the organism 'speak'
separately to each other and to the environment, then a kind of disease
or illness is under way.
If the influences between the internal agents of the individual
organism, and those between the latter and its environment are
reciprocal, as is assumed in holistic models of health, then resonance
needs to be understood accordingly as a kind of double harmonious
resonance, that is, a resonance that is both internal and external.
Is this kind or resonance possible? Yes, it is, as it occurs in IES,
where the species and their environment are considered inseparably
connected. So, harmony in functions of the internal organs of a living
entity reflects the harmony of its relationship with the environment,
and vice versa: the harmonious relationship of the living entity with
its environment is an outward projection of its inner harmony. In the
case of human being, the notion of inner harmony has much richer
than simply a harmonious functioning of the organs and systems of the
When an entity functions under conditions of double harmonious
resonance, it dwells at the vortex of health.
4.2.5 The Great Delusion
The vortex of health of an individual can be imagined as an energy
pattern emerging out of the individual’s dynamics; it cannot be
from other individuals or implanted from outside of one's inner nature.
No doctor in the world, no matter how competent, can make it whirl; the
individuals alone are responsible for the functioning of their vortices
of health. In order to understand this functioning and to support it
wisely, we need the help of our consciousness, of our experience and of
our inner impetus to live and know.
Through studying how to concentrate and relax the mind and the body,
through practicing techniques that help us acquire inner peace and
harmony, the flow of energy coming from the Universal can be
directed inward and used to activate the vortices of health. Otherwise,
our self-healing capacity remains in a dormant state and we need to
upon help from outside when feeling sick. By doing this, we substitute
the holistic effect of the realization of our self-healing potential
with short-term partial effects produced by the use of various chemical
The more intensively we use medicines (and one cannot help but keep
using them, as the effect of each dose is only temporal), the more
addicted we become and the stronger the numbing effect that the
'curative' chemical substances exert on our self-healing potential.
Eventually, the addiction results in losing the self-healing capacity.
Many people in the world die as victims of the great delusion of our
days that the help for our health comes from outside. The society
continues to amplify this delusion, because strong economic forces are
behind it. The global pharmaceutical corporations make unbelievable
amount of money on this delusion; a great number of medical
practitioners keep this delusion powerful.
In the context of the wholesome ecology, there is an explanation of the
ever-increasing massive use of medicines in today's society. The more
polluted the natural environment, that is, the more saturated with
health-threatening chemicals, the less efficient the realization of our
individual self-healing potential, as the latter crucially depends on
the support of such basic natural resources like air, water, sunshine,
The efficiency of our self-healing capacity goes down, and we look for
the use of medicines to help us while the following also happens:
• The air is
full of carbon dioxides produced by our cars and the industrial
complexes spread all over the world.
• Dangerous chemical wastes, including nuclear, continue to be released
in monstrous amounts.
• The soil and the water are irreversibly contaminated.
• The process of deforestation and extinguishing natural species goes
with an ever-increasing tempo.
• The ozone holes make the sunshine spread cancer in our bodies instead
of healing them.
• The rains are acid and the fruits and vegies eaten are full of
chemicals (or 'genetically engineered') to look commercially
but detrimental for our health.
So we are entrained in a kind of health-damaging vicious circle: we
continue to pollute nature with one kind of chemicals and at the same
time fight the effects of this pollution on us by using another kind of
chemicals. The more we pollute nature with the first (technological)
kind of chemicals and thus gradually convert it into a source of new
emergent illnesses, the more we use the second (medical) kind of
chemicals to fight the illnesses and thus become gradually addicted. In
the both cases, the result is one the same: serious destruction of our
Is there any way to go out of this vicious circle? In the framework of
the new kind of social science, the wholesome ecology can reveal such a
way: Only if we take care about the natural environment and help it
restore its own self-healing capacity; this will facilitate the
of our self-healing potential (as we are 'children' of nature and our
health totally relies upon its support) and help us reduce our
dependence on medicines.
4.2.6 Holistic Nature of Self-Healing
One essential aspect of the multi-faced mission of wholesome ecology is
to show the fatal danger of the reliance on the help of medicines,
neglecting the vital factor for our health – our own potential for
self-healing. Nature has endowed us with this potential at the moment
when we emerged out of her womb, and it is a grievous failure not to
develop and use it to the full. Nature is the main supporter of the
self-healing potential. It is her generous and free supply of energy -
her sun and air, water and soil, flora and fauna, harmony and beauty -
that help the vortices of health move and generate their healing forces.
Self-healing is a holistic process - an expression of the
self-organizing ability of the individual as a whole, and there is only
one way to stimulate it: through holistic means. Such are the means of
nature. Thousands of years ago, this was fully understood by the
creators of Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of health (ayur means
life and veda means knowledge in Sanskrit), according to which no
agent by itself can bring health. Ayurveda views the person as a
composite of the same primary forces: air (force of expansion), water
(force of adhesion) and fire (force of transformation), which compose
nature as well. When these forces act harmoniously in the individual,
that is, in the way as they act in nature, they fulfil three major
functions: digestion (generating inner energies), absorption
the inner energies) and elimination (release of worked-off energies).
These functions when considered holistically, that is, in their
simultaneously physical, emotional, mental and spiritual realizations,
create health. Ayurveda defines health as soundness of three
wholes: body (shrira), mind (manas) and soul (atman) (John, 2001).
The earlier in life we understand the wisdom of the ancients about the
vital role of nature in the conscious developing and strengthening of
our self-healing capacity (which is in abundance when the organism is
young and full of vigour), the more efficient the realization of this
So, another aspect of the mission of wholesome ecology relates to the
health education of the young people; this kind of education is a key
factor in promoting health.
4.3 Vital Role of Nature
Nature embraces the whirling complexity of dynamics that create,
sustain, change, or destroy all animate and inanimate forms. These
dynamics support the creative potential of nature, her rhythm and
4.3.1 Rhythm and Self-organization in Nature
Rhythm of nature beats through us. The closer our connection with the
natural environment and the higher our awareness about her forces and
life-supporting energies, the clearer our perceptions of the rhythm of
Every single function of the organs and cells in our bodies reflects a
beat which mirrors the rhythm of nature. The state of our health:
physical, emotional and mental is entirely dependent on this rhythm.
When the rhythm stops beating through the vital trinity of each
individual's nature - body-mind-soul, - the individual dies.
The health of the natural environment, with all its variety of animated
and non-animated entities is entirely rhythm-dependent. The rhythm of
nature maps into her fractal geometry, discovered by Mandelbrot
(Mandelbrot, 1983) and her self-organized criticality described by Bak
(Bak, 1993); both the fractals and criticality can be described using
the power law distribution. In this sense, the power law distribution
expresses mathematically the rhythm of 'how nature works'.
Rhythm of natural environment mirrors the rhythm of Gaya, our living
planet (Lovelock, 1995); the rhythm of Gaya mirrors the rhythm of the
galaxy, and the rhythm of the galaxy mirrors the rhythm of the whole
universe, because Gaya and the galaxy and the universe are nested in
and the same dynamic existential wholeness.
Rhythm is an inherent characteristic of the self-organizing dynamics of
nature. The way nature self-organizes, unfolds and evolves, is through
rhythmic patterns. The vortices of health discussed above reflect these
The self-organizing capacity of nature's dynamics is sustained through
constant interactions of the astonishing variety of living creatures
their environment. What is crucial to be underlined in the context of
wholesome ecology is that every single entity existing in nature, be it
animate or non-animate, is important for the realization of the dynamic
interactions of the living creatures and their environment, and
therefore for the support of the self-organizing urge of nature and her
Every single entity in nature is endowed with a right to exist,
interact, and evolve, and thus to contribute in its overall
self-organization and rhythm. And vice versa, the self-organizing urge
of nature and its rhythm manifest through the motion, interaction and
evolutionary potential of every existing entity, without assigning
of priorities among them; they all are equally open for this urge to
make them move, interact and evolve in synchrony.
If some entities were favoured by nature at the expense of others, the
integrity of nature: its unity, wholeness and interconnectedness would
be immediately destroyed and this would destroy its rhythm. Nature can
never act against its integrity, as far as the latter is sine qua non
for its existence, but human society can, because the minds of those
count in society are so deeply immersed in selfish pursuits that they
have forgotten that the natural environment and the human kind are
inseparably connected through the rhythm of the universe. When the
finite in the form of society-driven ego-centred thinking clings to
existence for its own sake, without ability to reflect the infinite,
Universal, it carries seeds of destruction, disease and death within
Many human civilizations disappeared because the Social was unable to
grasp the Universal (the rhythm and laws of nature) and the Individual
(the words and deeds of wisdom of the enlightened individuals).
4.3.2 'Rhythm' in Society against Nature's Health
Although the individuals reflect the rhythm of nature, they can act
against it. This happens when we are not consciously aware about the
natural rhythm (as if it does not deserve our attention and sustains
itself automatically). It also happens when we are aware of the rhythm,
and yet do not care about providing conditions to support its
realization through ourselves.
In the first case, we usually become aware of the rhythm when it is
destroyed, often irreversibly. For example, a sudden heart attack can
loudly announce that the rhythm has been destroyed. Usually, we hurry
'fix' it by using medical drugs. As far as the rhythm is a holistic
characteristic rooted in the body-mind-soul integrity of our nature, it
can hardly be fixed by an artificially made chemical drug. Any drug
partially by directing its major effect upon a certain organ or
function, while the rhythm is essentially holistic, it cannot be
restored by partial interventions.
In the second case, the physical body simply follows what the mind
pushes it to do. As far as our minds are preoccupied with much more
'important' thoughts than listening to the natural rhythm – thoughts
about how to earn more money, to exercise more power, to pursue higher
social status, and to indulge in all kinds of pleasures, we are usually
able to notice that the rhythm goes wrong when it is too late to
When looking back in history, we see that nations and states follow
periods of development and downfalls. Both the periods of economic
growth and the periods of crises are inherent in the capitalist system.
These periods have little to do with the rhythm of nature. Their
underlying causes remain in the fundamental contradictions on which any
process of exercising political or/and economic power in human society
is based. "The crises are never more than momentary, violent solutions
for the existing contradictions, violent eruptions that re-establish
disturbed balance for the time being" (Marx, 1981).
Chaos theory or stochastic analysis might help the experts to build
chaotic attractors or long and short-term economic cycles, which can
mathematically map the chaotic or stochastic dynamics of a selected set
of economic and social indicators, but their 'rhythm' is entirely
different than the rhythm of nature. For example, the frantic ups and
downs of today's market economy are often reflections of the pressure
the largest financial corporations and their aggressive striving for
According to Hardt and Negri, the establishment of global economic
power means emergence of a global empire: "a decentred and
deterritorializing apparatus of rule that progressively incorporates
entire global realm within its open, expanding frontiers" (Hardt and
Negri, 2000). The 'rhythm' of the social dynamics in the empire becomes
nothing but a "pure exercise of command, without any proportionate or
adequate reference to the world of life".
Contrary to life, which must reflect the rhythm of nature in order to
unfold and reproduce, the global order in the empire recognizes only
kind of ‘rhythm’ – that of the financial transactions directed to
increase the wealth of the economic giants.
The distribution of power in society has become so drastically unequal
and the gap between the richest minority and the largest majority of
people existing in hard-to-bear economic conditions has become so big
that the humans who belong to these two polar parts of society started
to resemble two different kinds of species.
The high power differential in society impedes its self-organizing
capacity. This capacity can manifest only if the social interactions
between individuals, each with an equally open space of opportunities
for self-realization. The rhythm of self-organization can be sustained
only in societies where the power differential tends to zero. In the
global empire, this is impossible.
The above proposition relates to the social dimensions of wholesome
ecology and is analogous to the proposition about the rhythm of nature;
the rhythm of any process of self-organization of the web of
interrelated and dynamically interacting agents in nature and in
requires both recognition and realization of their equity. When human
species strives to dominate in nature, and the richest strive to
dominate in society, the rhythm of natural and social self-organization
becomes distorted. Then ecological and social disasters emerge with
negative effects on the human health, on the health of the society, and
on the health of the whole planet.
4.4 Culture as a Key Factor in Wholesome Ecology
Culture in general use refers to patterns of behaviour peculiar to
humans, not to bacteria, but in its deeper sense it can still refer to
both. Culture is the set of attitudes and behaviours expressed in the
functioning of a society, human or other. These patterns create the
harmonious set of self-organized forms we admire in nature, where
and animals follow their natural drives to create the intricate and
functional patterns of nature.
The culture we humans have developed seems to be a second nature
opposed to nature itself, responsible for the continuous worsening of
the ecological conditions on the planet today. Our scientific and
technological inventions create serious ecological problems impeding
process of self-organization in nature. And as far as we are product of
this process and vitally depend on it for our survival as a species,
obstacles rooted in our culture at the same time obstruct the unfolding
of our lives and our potential.
Like the other animals, we use resources of nature to sustain our
physical existence, but these resources are incomparably less than the
resources utilised for establishing power over nature and in society.
The ego-centred human mind is obsessed with the idea of exercising
everywhere. The highest realizations of the human intellect were (and
continue to be) directed towards accumulation and realization of
military, economic, and political power in society - creating advanced
tools to kill each other, to exploit each other, to make those with
power follow the will of the strongest, and if they resist, to teach
them lessons, seek revenge and eventually extinguish them.
How can health, as an expression of harmony and integrity of nature, be
sustained within a culture that wills to power? In the developed
capitalist world, the will to power is often masked by charismatic
political speeches about democracy, freedom and equal rights for
everybody. At the same time a vast propaganda machine keeps the
consumption drive in society at its highest possible level and thus
reinforces establishment of a hard-to-oppose global economic order.
Besides the obsession with power and its destructive social and
ecological consequences, wholesome ecology points to other serious
obstacles in our culture that impede the fulfilment of human potential.
The hardest obstacles to remove relate to addiction, to all kind of
unhealthy habits, prejudices and dogmas, as well as to activities
centred mainly in individual selfishness (like avarice, greed, craving
for luxury, self-praising, gluttony, envy, jealousy, lust, hatred,
evil-doings to others, and revenge). While showing tendency to
self-propel and grow in magnitude, these obstacles absorb enormous
amount of our physical, mental and emotional energy. Day after day our
self-organizing capacity is wasted in 'cultural' attractors, which have
very little to do with the growth of our intelligence, with the urge to
understand the secrets of our inner nature, expand our consciousness
open our spiritual potential.
The ancient wisdom provides powerful hints for dealing with the enigmas
and paradoxes of human existence. The life and work of Pythagoras,
perhaps the most famous ancient philosopher of all, who spent more than
20 years in the sanctuaries of Egypt, provides an important clue if we
wish to get insight from the Egyptian Wisdom. Pythagoras established a
doctrine of unity, which encompassed the physical and the spiritual. He
shows us a holistic philosophy - an essentially Egyptian perspective.
The variety, complexity and multiplicity, which the ancients perceived,
never implied separation; unity was ever present. Life in the heavens
and life on earth were considered to be one, an indivisible unity.
beings considered themselves indistinguishable from their environment,
products of the same forces of nature responsible for creation of the
heavens and the earth. To learn and acquire knowledge was to observe
these forces at work. In the great Egyptian temples all branches of
learning were housed under the same roof, regarded as aspects of the
single wisdom. All diverse branches were encapsulated within this
wisdom. It is in it where people looked for insights to deal with
enigmas and paradoxes of their lives. The essential preoccupation of
Egyptian thought was to know the origin and matter of existence.
In our fragmented world, knowledge has become also fragmented. Our
society has become insulated from nature. When discussing
sustainability, for example, we speak about environment as something
separated from us, something 'over there' with which we need to
establish friendly relationship. We say that the cars pollute the air
outside of us, forgetting that it is the same air inside of us without
which we simply cannot survive. We speak about polluted waters
there around us, totally neglecting the fact that water is essential
ingredient of our cells as well.
So far from us is the idea of unity, a central idea of all ancient
wisdom, that even such a simple and transparent truth that the same
forces, which work at the universe work in us, seem strange for us. Can
we use this truth to make money out of it? No? Then what is it for?
Better to think about something more serious, for instance: how to
continue exploiting the environment, and at the same time live healthy
and happily. Or how to continue current predatory processes led by us
nature and society and at the same time to preach about governmental
citizen-based mechanisms designed to ensure greater accountability of
business and industry. Before organizing citizen-based mechanisms we
must have those citizens. Does somebody teach us how to be citizens?
Without understanding the concept of unity and living with it, we
be citizens. Do we have governments, which are honest stewards of the
public interest related to contemporary environmental issues? One of
pathologies of our fragmented social reality is that in their efforts
hold on to power, politicians and political parties rely on crucial
financial support from wealthy corporations, which are not
We can talk a lot about precautionary principles, preventative
approaches, extended producer responsibilities, clean production,
corporate accountability, national public hearings, community
participation, and many other issues related to sustainability, but the
effect of all these talks will be insignificant unless we are able to
grasp the idea of unity and work with it in our every day life. The
society needs education in this regard, at schools and universities, in
local communities, and global corporation. The simple message from the
ancient wisdom is the message that unity can save us from
self-destruction. Or at least make it not so painful.
One of the endeavours of wholesome ecology is to spread the message of
unity; there is no health out of IES, in which the humans and nature
4.5 In Search of Universal Principle of Harmony
in Nature and Society
Harmony was a key concept for the Greeks, a conjunction of three
strands of meaning. Its root meaning was aro, join, so “harmonia” was
what joined. Another meaning was proportion, the balance of things that
allowed an easy fit. The quality of joining and proportion then came to
be seen in music and other arts.
The precondition for harmony for the Greeks was expressed in the phrase
“nothing too much”. It also had a mysterious positive quality, which
became the object of enquiry of their finest minds. Thinkers such as
Pythagoras sought to capture the mystery of harmony as something both
inexpressible yet also illuminated by mathematics. The mathematics of
harmony explored by the ancient Greeks is still an inspiring model for
contemporary scientists. Crucial to it is their discovery of its
quantitative expression in astonishing diversity and complexity of
nature through the golden mean (golden ratio), (phi):
which is approximately equal to 1.618. It is described by Euclid in
book five of his Elements : "A straight line is said to have been cut
extreme and mean ratio when, as the whole line is to the greater, so is
the greater to the less". Any quantity Q can be divided in golden
if its greater part Qg is chosen in such a way that it relates to the
smaller part Qs exactly in the same proportion as the whole quantity Q
relates to its greater part Qg , that is,
As later scientists have discovered, pervades both animate
and inanimate forms in nature, from galactic spirals to chromosome
threads. Leonardo da Vinci characterised as a “divine
proportion” and used its aesthetic appeal in his consummate
masterpieces. While natural forms undergo permanent
is preserved in their topology. For example, the unfolding of the
galactic spiral preserves in its geometry; the growth of
human body preserves the golden ratio in placing the organs; the
dynamics of the arrangements of leaves, seeds and petals also
4.5.1 Harmony and Energy
The Golden Mean as an image of harmony can be applied as a
ratio, which is itself mathematically precise, although it may not be
clear what precise quantities are involved or how those quantities
be determined in practice. In this form it will express in a precise
clear form an idea of harmony which is in other respects indeterminate,
to produce insights which are clarifying and enabling and can be
translated into practice. Our research illustrates this with reference
to the energy feeding the three pillars of human existence: the
Individual, the Social, and the Universal (Dimitrov, 1989).
Our planet is like a huge collector, producer and reservoir of energy.
Partly this energy comes from outside the planet, from the sun and
cosmic sources, and partly from sources of energy accumulated in the
depths of the Earth and on its surface. The so-called 'energy
crisis' is bound up with the many other crises facing the planet,
seemingly presenting insuperable obstacles on the path to health, for
individuals, nations and the planet. It is another situation where we
can look to the wisdom of as image of harmony.
Let E denote the whole amount of energy available to our planet at an
arbitrary moment t. The planet needs this energy not only for
the natural drift (co-evolving) of all living forms of its biosphere,
but for supporting also an enormously complex physico-chemical
‘metabolism’. Because of this gigantic metabolism, James Lovelock
referred to Earth as a living entity called Gaia, the ancient Greeks’
name for the goddess of Earth (Lovelock, 1995).
Part of E is used by animate and non-animate nature to keep going the
processes of emergence, sustenance, evolution and destruction of the
living forms on the Earth. Let us denote this energy by E(n), where n
stands for nature.
Being an inseparable part of nature, we, the human species, also use
this energy, which is essential for our survival. It is this energy
supports the dynamic attractors and vortices of health discussed in the
previous chapters. Much more intensively, however, we use energy for
purposes which have nothing to do with our health. On the contrary,
of those purposes are directly opposed to the sustenance of life. For
example, an incredibly huge amount of energy goes to support
military-industrial complexes on the planet. This includes highly
consuming production of more and more sophisticated weapons, rockets,
planes, and bombs, more and more sophisticated military technologies to
demonstrate power and exert control. Huge amounts of energy support
satellite espionage activities and cosmic experiments of the
industrially developed countries. Ever increasing supplies of energy go
to produce ecologically disastrous chemicals, to support huge
air-conditioning areas, and to satisfy continuously growing desires for
luxury and comfort, to amass wealth and fame.
Let E(h) denote the flow of energy used by humans for purposes like the
purposes indicated above, where h stands for human, although it would
more appropriate to use ah (standing for 'anti-human') for this kind of
monstrous energy expenditure.
As human existence strongly depends on the energy flow supporting the
life on the planet, E(n) must be greater than E(h) otherwise the
biological survival and the sustenance of health of the species,
including people, would not be possible. We assume that the energy
responsible for the dynamics of Earth as an inseparable living entity
the solar system, naturally tend to self-organize in such a way as to
preserve the Golden Mean in their relations to each other, which implies
Consequently, E(n) is equal to E divided by and E(h) is
equal to E divided to squared. With 1.62 as an approximate
value for , the following expressions are valid:
E(n) = 0.62 E
E(h) = 0.38 E
The principle of harmony in human drift (co-evolving) with nature
requires that for the human existence to be in harmony with nature, the
energy E(h) used by human society must be less than 40% of the whole
amount of energy E available for supporting the gigantic 'metabolism'
our planet as an inseparable entity in the solar system. The larger
of E, that is, more than 60%, is needed for supporting the life on
Natural drift of species, including humans, is under a threat of
destruction every time the energy available to nature E(n) falls below
the critical value of 60% of E, or equivalently, when the energy used
human society becomes greater than 40% of E.
4.5.2 Actions of Society against Harmony
Harmony has mathematical and non-mathematical dimensions. There is
enough evidence in life today that the harmony of people's co-existence
with nature has being destroyed. Mass extinctions of species, expansion
of the ozone-hole, rapidly increasing pollution of air and water on the
planet, frequent occurrence of large scale natural disasters and
emergence of new severe diseases caused by environmental problems are
but a few manifestations of an ever growing disharmony in nature-human
In its pursuit for technological advancements our society does not care
about the energy supply of other than human living forms. Whether E(h)
is higher or lower than 40% of E, who cares? Everybody knows that there
are no 'objective' ways for measuring energy E, and therefore no
scientific method can be used to raise the alarm when E(h) reaches a
critical value. Moreover, many people continue to think that our planet
has an unlimited supply of energy, that the use of solar energy and
energy contained in the atoms' nuclei will provide people with never
ending energy flow. Unfortunately, the physical sources of energy that
is capable of supporting the natural metabolism of our planet are
Human drive for technological development cannot be stopped, so E(h)
will permanently increase, and therefore, humanity will move further
further away from what the principle of harmony requires. If this is
case, why do we bother to speak about harmonious co-existence, divine
proportions, new kind of social sciences, wholesome ecology? Is it not
better to learn how to adapt to ever-deeper disharmony of human life?
Unfortunately, the iving forms cannot adapt to ecological catastrophes
and disasters. If disasters occur, species die. And in our days,
ecological disasters clearly demonstrate a tendency to increase in
number and magnitude.
We know that we are inseparably connected with nature. We are her
products. We know that when we destroy nature we destroy, at the same
moment, ourselves - our health and our survival. When we pollute her
and water, her plants and animals, we pollute the air, water and food
sustaining the integrity of our physical, emotional and mental lives.
Nature is not ‘over there’, while we are staying ‘here’. It is in us as
much as we are in her.
To preserve nature means to preserve all her living forms including our
human form. And vice versa, to preserve our human form means to
nature, to co-drift with her in accordance with the principle of
harmony. This is the way of life, the way of harmony, the way of
All other ways breathe diseases and death. We cannot divide among
and us the air, water, sunshine, and so forth in a 'divine proportion'.
But we can share these precious natural gifts with each other and with
the other species. We all are Nature. What matters are the acts of
sharing - sharing with one another not only material goods, knowledge,
skill and experience, but also humanness: goodwill, warmth, respect and
The wisdom of the ancient Vedas reminds us that everything that we try
to hold on to, be it air or food, possession or knowledge, turns into
poison not only for our physical health, but also for the health of our
minds and souls, for the health of nature.
Every act of sharing with others is an acknowledgment of our
interdependence and inseparability, from each other and from nature.
Every act of sharing has a strong spiritual connotation. The more we
share, the more united we feel with each other and with the spiritual
essence of the universe. When the acts of sharing are in accordance
the principle of harmony, they have an immense transformative power.
They change us from ego-centred to eco-centred, from ill to healthy,
from ignorant to enlightened, from destroyers to co-creators of the
whole evolving ecological universe.
And to help for the realization of this transformation is the main
mission of the new kind of social science.
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