The quantitative expression of harmony in astonishing diversity and complexity of nature is through the Golden Mean (Golden Ratio) or Phi for short. Phi is defined by the following irrational expression [1 + sqrt(5)]/2, approximately equal to 1.6180339887.... It is described by Euclid in book five of his Elements : "A strait line is said to have been cut in 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 ratio, 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,
Qg/Qs = Q/Qg = Phi
where "/" means "divided".
Phi pervades both animated and non-animated forms in nature - from galactic spirals to chromosome threads. Leonardo da Vinci characterised Phi as a 'divine proportion' and used its aesthetic appeal in his consummate masterpieces. The more complex a natural form, the more precise the expression of Phi in its structure.
While natural forms undergo permanent changes, Phi is preserved in their topology. For example, the unfoldment of the galactic spiral preserves Phi in its geometry; the growth of the human body preserves the golden ratio in placing the organs; the dynamics of the arangements of leaves, seeds and petals also follow Phi, etc.
As far as beyond the dynamics of any process in nature there are energy flows which make these dynamics manifest, Phi influences the way these energy flows relate to each other.
Our planet is like a huge collector, producer and reservoir of energy. Partly this energy comes from outside the planet - from the sun and other cosmic sources, and partly - from sources of energy accumulated in the depths of the Earth and on its surface.
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 supporting 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 Lavelock referred to Earth as a living entity called Gaia - a name used by ancient Greeks for the goddess of Earth.
Part of E is used by animated and non-animated 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 - human species, contribute also in using this energy essential for our survival.
Much more intensively, however, we use energy for purposes which has nothing to do with our biological survival. On the contrary, some of those purposes are directly opposite to the sustenance of life. For example, an incredibly huge amount of energy goes for supporting military-industrial complexes of the state on the planet. This includes highly energy consuming production of more and more sophisticated weapons, rockets, planes and bombs, more and more sophisticated military technologies for demonstrating power and exerting control. Huge amount of energy support satellite espionage activities and cosmic experiments of the industrially developed countries. Ever increasing supply of energy goes for production of ecologically disastrous chemicals, for supporting huge air-conditioning areas, and for satisfaction of continuously growing in number and variety desires for luxury and comfort, for accumulation of richness 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 be more appropriate to use ah (standing for 'anti human') for this kind of monstrous energy expenditures.
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 of species, including people, would not be possible.
We assume that the energy flows responsible for the dynamics of Earth as an inseparable living entity in 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
E/E(n) = E(n)/E(h) = Phi
where "/" again means "divided".
Consequently, E(n) is equal to E divided by Phi , and E(h) is equal to E divided to Phi squared. With 1.62 as an approximate value for Phi , the following expressions are valid:
E(n) = 0.62 E
E(h) = 0.38 E
And this is exactly what the Principle of Harmony
in human drift (co-evolving) with nature requires:
Natural drift of species, including humans, is under a threat of destruction every time when the energy available to nature E(n) falls below the critical value of 60% of E , or equivalently, when the energy used by human society becomes greater than 40% of E. .
There are enough evidences that in to-day's life of human society the harmony of people's co-existence with nature is destroyed. Mass extinction of various plants and species, ozone-holes' expansion, rapidly increasing pollution of air and water on the planet, frequent occurrence of large scale natural disasters and human diseases caused by environmental problems are but few manifestations of an ever growing disharmony in nature-human co-existence.
In the pursuit of 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 alarm when E(h) reaches its 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 energy capable for supporting natural metabolism of our planet is limited. This kind of energy cannot be replaced by energy artificially instilled from the atoms' nuclei or from the solar panels.
Human drive for technological development cannot be stopped, so E(h) will permanently increase, and therefore, humanity will move further and further away from what the Principle of Harmony requires. If this is the case, why do we bother to speak about harmonious co-existence and 'divine proportions'? Is it not better to learn how to adapt to ever deepened disharmony of human life?
Unfortunately, the living forms cannot adapt to ecological
catastrophes and disasters. If disasters occur, species die. And in our
days, ecological diasters clearly demonstrate a tendency for increasing
in number and magnitude.
In to-day's stadium of advanced social technocolism , large international corporations are vitally interested in supporting technological innovations that strengthen their competitive power and increase their profit. And it is absolutely clear that the drive towards higher and more sophisticated technological achievements will ever grow, no matter how much is its ecological price! This drive reflects the inherited human urge for continuous experimentation with accumulated knowledge. Usually, the more sophisticated is a newly developed technology, the more subtle, unknown and difficult to grasp are the potential ecological threats imbedded in its applications.
When dealing with 'technocolism', it makes sense to use an approach similar to that used by Alcoholic Anonymous. Such an approach, specially tailored to the addiction of never ceasing technological experimentation, is discussed in Ancient Wisdom and Contemporary Ecological Problems.
The members of Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) use a specific experiential version of the Principle of Harmony. They generously (and regularly) share with each other the 'largest part' of their personal experience related to individual fulfilment of the AA program. The more they share of this experience, the easier is for them to follow the program, and thus to cope with the fatal attraction to alcohol.
The capability of sharing with 'others' as much as possible of what we experience in relation to an addiction - a sharing realized in an open and honest way with people who are receptive and willing to help, is crucial for dealing with this addiction. It does not matter whether the addiction is to alcohol, gambling, drugs or technological advancements. The problem with the technocolism is that companies (particularly, military and security oriented) do not share much about the ecological characteristics of the technologies they use. When the danger become obvious, they take some measures (mostly compensatory ones) in response, and then again immerse in silence and secrecy.
Extremely dangerous is the secrecy surrounding to-day's intensive experimentations in the field of genetic engineering. Environmentalists and ecologically aware people from all around the world intensively try to build networks aimed at exerting pressure on companies to share more information about the technologies they use, as well as about the development of and experimentation with new technological processes and products.
It is not difficult to find appropriate ways for sharing with each other material goods, skill, knowledge and experience in accordance with the Principle of Harmony. In its simplest interpretation this principle means to offer to the 'others' the larger part of our goods, skills, knowledge, etc. In a slightly more complex interpretation this principle means to leave the larger part to those who are coming to live after us. There are many of them - our children, and their children, and the children of their children. Why do we hurry so frantically to exhaust the resources of nature and to leave behind polluted air, poisoned water, irreversibly mutated plants and animals, together with mountains of intractable wastes?
At present, the wastes are what constitutes almost all we 'generously' offer to nature. We use its air, water and sunshine, soil and stones, plants and animals, rivers and seas, fusils and ores... And in return we 'supply' an ever growing amount of various kinds of wastes. Such a way of 'sharing' is entirely against the Principle of Harmony.
We know that we are inseparably connected with nature. We are its products. We know that when we destroy nature, we destroy ourselves at the same moment. When we pollute its air and water, its plants and animals, we pollute the air, the water and the 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 it.
To preserve nature means to preserve all its forms of life including our human form. And vice verse, to preserve our human form means to preserve nature. This is the way of co-drifting with nature in accordance with the Principle of Harmony. This is the Way of Life, the Way of Harmony. All other ways breathe death.
We cannot divide among us and nature its air, water, sunshine, etc. 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 other people not only material goods, knowledge, skill, experience, but also humanness: good will and warmth, respect and love.
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. If the acts of sharing are in accordance with the Principle
of Harmony, they have an immense transformative power - they change us
from ego-centred to eco-centred, from destroyers to co-creators of the
evolution of life.
The paper represnts a revised English version of the
paper: "Principle of Harmony in Econometric Modelling" originally published
in Bulgarian in "Economic Thought" (a journal of Bulgarian Academy of Sciences,
Sofia), 1989, 12, pp.96-105.
Copyright © 1998 by Vladimir Dimitrov