Thursday, July 31, 2014

“We Are from the Future” has some Interesting Ideas about Plant Photosynthesis

Video: “We are from the Future” by Upriser
“plants harvest light with near perfect efficiency, but this is impossible under classical physics”
The message on looms ominously, complete with a countdown timer:


But far from a kind of doomsday clock, this website (and subsequent video “message,” above) is more like a “threat of positivity” (if there is such a thing).

As Al Qaeda and others release videotaped messages periodically, laying down their plans, manifestos, etc., the group behind appears to be doing something similar. Similarly subversive, albeit with far less blatant violence, hatred, and calls for bloodshed against any identifiable “enemy.”

But it works. We prefer the first half of the video, with the soundtrack provided by Hans Zimmer; but, we recognize how the second half speaks to a different—possibly younger and/or more “hip”—audience. (Gosh, are we that old!?)

Image: Screenshot, We Are From the Future Countdown 

But the purpose of sharing this video today is to discuss what appears to be one of the main thrusts of its message: light; specifically, how plants convert it to energy via photosynthesis with near perfect efficiency.

We all studied photosynthesis in high school (don’t roll your eyes: you did too, even if you were half asleep or scribbling love notes to your high school crush at the time). But the video makes an interesting argument: how is it that plants are able to use light so efficiently, when the laws of physics more or less prohibit it? The answer, as it turns out, comes from some actual quantum theory:
"Energy transfer in light-harvesting macromolecules is assisted by specific vibrational motions of the chromophores," said Alexandra Olaya-Castro (UCL Physics & Astronomy), supervisor and co-author of the research. "We found that the properties of some of the chromophore vibrations that assist energy transfer during photosynthesis can never be described with classical laws, and moreover, this non-classical behaviour enhances the efficiency of the energy transfer." "The negative values in these probability distributions are a manifestation of a truly quantum feature, that is, the coherent exchange of a single quantum of energy," explained Edward O'Reilly (UCL Physics & Astronomy), first author of the study. "When this happens electronic and vibrational degrees of freedom are jointly and transiently in a superposition of quantum states, a feature that can never be predicted with classical physics."
Credit: UCL News: Quantum mechanics explains efficiency of photosynthesis Source:
Now, at Genesis Eco Fund, we’re all about the cutting edge quantum mechanics, especially as it attempts to explain the incredible power of plants. We wonder, however, if this isn’t a good time to bring up consciousness.

Many of the proponents of consciousness often bring up quantum mechanics and the so-called observer effect (that the very act of observation of a particular quantum particle changes its state or behavior versus non-observation of it).

Any connection in the “consciousness field” overrides classical physics. Of course, because consciousness is not a product of material reality. Consciousness is primary (as we have discussed and shared before). Here’s an abridged reminder:

Video: The Primacy of Consciousness (Excerpted) 

So what does this all mean?

Consciousness, as we know (or rather, should know) has qualities. Conscience is one of them. Imagination, superior intelligence (the superior intelligence of knowing without thinking; without reason—but not necessarily without observation or imagination) are others.

Plants have consciousness. And so does light. And because both light and consciousness are not a part of the physical universe (the three dimensional plane) but of more subtle levels of reality (the superior dimensions), they do not abide by the laws of physical nature. In this way, physical materialist science (classical physics) breaks down and we get the observations of quantum mechanics.

But that’s all they are: observations. The quantum theory is where it all breaks down because consciousness isn’t mechanical. Consciousness is, well, conscious! And because it is, trying to figure it out with something so primitive as the human intellect will not work.

It is through profound introspection and meditation—cultivation of consciousness itself—that increases our ability to comprehend on levels past the sensory and rational materialistic physical intellect.

It is on these superior levels of conscious interaction that ecosystems operate. They are not mechanical entities, but rather self-regulating super-organisms whose harmony and symbiosis are organized in consciousness—not the level of material reality which we observe.

“By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.”
~ Hebrews 11:3 

If we understand the symbol of “the word of God” as sound—vibration (frequency)—now things begin to make sense again, including from a quantum perspective. And, we can understand how the light can reach the “core”…as far as light is concerned, there is no “mindless matter” to run into.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Do Trees Communicate?
Ecosystems & the Communication of Plants

YouTube Video: Do trees communicate; published by A Future of OUR Choosing 
Source: YouTube:

"Nature is not mute, it is a man who is deaf."
– Terence McKenna

In our last blog post about education, we stated that Darwin’s axiom of “survival of the fittest” was a gross oversimplification, and a flawed view of nature as a collection of individuals. We know it is not.

Image: New Scientist Cover: Darwin was Wrong

The above video is further evidence that not only are ecosystems infinitely complex, they are also highly advanced and sophisticated, complete with intercommunications using various species as means to send important information across vast distances.
“In this real-life model of forest resilience and regeneration, Professor Suzanne Simard shows that all trees in a forest ecosystem are interconnected, with the largest, oldest, "mother trees" serving as hubs. The underground exchange of nutrients increases the survival of younger trees linked into the network of old trees. Amazingly, we find that in a forest, 1+1 equals more than 2.”

We know planets react to light, smell, sound, movement, many kinds of aesthetic stimuli. But although these reactions have not resulted in the conclusion “plants are conscious” in mainstream science, the observation that plants communicate across the forest using species other than themselves to send signals and messages—however rudimentary in nature—shows a specific quality: altruism.

Altruism is a quality of consciousness. Altruism is not a self-preservation instinct, even if it is triggered by an immediate threat to oneself. From this video, we see that trees look out for one another, a trait normally only associated with animals. 

But if trees and fungi work together as described, what may be happening elsewhere in the ecosystem? In much the same way that our bodies communicate in complex and intricate ways, it can be said that ecosystems are “superorganisms.”

Nature is a highly sophisticated and infinitely complex series of ecosystems, all working in tandem and mutual symbiosis. We may one day discover that whole planet is an ecosystem (if we survive that long).

If so, we will discover that the planet is not a “superorganism” but a “megaorganism.”

Image: Planet as “Megaorganism” 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What Role can Ecosystems Play in Changing Education Paradigms?

Video: RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms; 
Credit: RSA Events; Sir Ken Robinson in Accordance with RSA Policy Statement 

“If the misery of our poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our own institutions, great is our sin.”

We at Genesis Eco Fund are very much concerned with the issue of education, but not in the trite, cliché treatment it normally receives: by parents, teachers, employers and—worst of all—politicians and bureaucrats.

Genesis Eco Fund concerns itself with the machinery of education (that is, what it has become). Not just “the education system” as it were, and certainly not “the institution of education.” Rather, the unquestioned assumptions regarding the institutionalization of education as a matter of natural course.

With that in mind, we share the above video by RSA Animate featuring a talk by Sir Ken Robinson (about the need to reimagine the paradigm of institutionalized education as we know it (as some kind of “natural” phenomenon). Not least in the light of the quote by Charles Darwin.

Image: Charles Darwin Quote on Slavery, “If the misery of our poor be caused not by the laws of nature…” (1836)  
Source: TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY: Charles Darwin Quote on Slavery (1836)

The fact is, the “emerging problems” of education are, in-fact, inherent in the underlying myth that the institutionalization of the current system is natural. It is not at all natural; it is, as Ken Robinson points out, a myth!

What else unnatural, Mr. Robinson goes on to say, is the current paradigms’ lack of recognition that “most great learning happens in groups,” that is to say “collaboration is the stuff of growth; and, that the current educational model of atomizing and judging people separately, we “form a kind of disjunction between them and their natural learning environment.”

This statement could easily describe ecosystems. What is collaboration after all? Collective harmony and mutual symbiosis…the modus operendi of ecosystems. So what about the apparent competition of said ecosystem? What of our friend Darwin’s famous axiom “survival of the fittest”?

Ironically Social Darwinism (very prominent when the current educational paradigm was established) is to blame for the insistence on standardized testing and pitting individuals against one another. But this is inherently counter-productive to the collaboration just mention; and, as it turns out, is ultimately a bit-player in the functioning of ecosystems!

In other words, survival of the fittest may be a natural phenomenon, but human beings have placed far too much emphasis on it and not the more fundamental law of nature: harmony and symbiosis. Survival of the fittest as “understood” by Darwin and everyone since is an ego-projection. Darwin found a phenomenon in nature which provided him with a reasonable theory to explain “the origins” of our linear, intellectual, reactionary experience of conflict (personal, tribal, social, national, etc).

The problem is, Darwin didn’t see the bigger picture. He saw organisms only in isolation according to classical definitions of human conflict (man vs. man, man vs. nature): individual vs. individual, pack vs. pack, individual and/or pack vs. nature. Darwin didn’t see ecosystems; he certainly never stopped to recognize that ecosystems are “super organisms” (that evolve, have interests, etc).

Competition (testing of individuals against each other, the environment, etc.) is part of the constant balancing inherent in symbiosis and harmony, just as any collaborative group encounters conflicts and conflict resolution as the inevitable differences and competing interests of individual are integrated into the whole collaborative effort. And yes, struggle and death are a part of life, but not according to some linear equation, or massive “us versus them” oversimplification as experienced by human ego-intellect!

In other words, individuals have clearly defined personal goals, but in a successful collaborative effort (sports team, business, etc.), individual goals are aligned into the collective goal, such that cooperation trumps competition by far! This is how nature really works…ECOSYSTEMS!

Example: many “favourites” for this year’s world cup had “superstar” players whose individual interests included “showing their nation and the world they are deserving of such praise and adoration.” Germany had a solid team of players whose individual interests were aligned with the collective interests. How often we saw German players in position to “go for glory” instead pass the ball to a teammate in a much better position to get a goal—and pass and score Germany did. And the results speak for themselves.

Image: “There is no “I” in “team” Germany 2014 

And then at 11:00 minutes into the talk, Sir Ken drops this bombshell:

“It’s about the habits of our institutions and the HABITATS THEY OCCUPY.”

The very presence of ecosystems in an institution changes the habitat of that institution. One CANNOT occupy an ecosystem and not be a part of it. One cannot be a part of an ecosystem and not experience an alignment of one’s individual goals with those of the collective.

This alignment is bi-directional. In other words, just as your habits change to align with the habitat, the ecosystem adjusts to accommodate your goals.

Example: Germany had solid players: Klosse, who became the winningest player in world-cup history, for instance. But the culture of collaboration meant he didn’t “go for glory.” He was just another equal member of the team.  He wanted to win. His team wanted to win. He probably did want to break the record, but his personal success was secondary to his team’s success. In the end, that formula for success allowed him to indeed accumulate the goal count he was looking for…but not at the expense of his ecosystem.

Example: let’s say you want to be healthy, happy, peaceful, etc. The ecosystem also seeks harmony and healthy—optimal levels of performance for all its members. There is a clear and obvious alignment.

But what if you are a smoker? Sure, you want to be healthy, but you just can’t break this habit which relaxes you? In the short run, the ecosystem will synthesize bacteria to break-down tar and nicotine in the air. Over time, your presence in the habitat of clean air, positive energy, and natural calming power of nature will reduce your need to turn to cigarettes. Our habitat affects our habits. Plain and simple.

Image: Stillframe from Video: RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms; 
“The habits of our institutions and the habitats they occupy…” 
Credit: RSA Events; Sir Ken Robinson in Accordance with RSA Policy Statement

So, too then, with the institution of learning. And let’s face it, one look at an ecosystem and one realizes that lateral, divergent thinking, inspiration, imagination, and all the wonderful preconditions for real creativity are all there…naturally. Truly.

And that’s all just the tip of the iceberg of how ecosystems can change any institution, especially education (which is, let’s face it, supposed to be all about GROWTH). If education is all about growth, then the ONLY model, the ONLY paradigm that will ever work is THE TRULY natural, effective and proven model for growth: ecosystems. Here we coin the phrase: “Survival of the most fitting?”