Dec.12-2014 Program: Analytical Psychology Society of Western NY, Repairing the Opposites, Doubling Stars, Turning Swine Into Pears - myself, with Kenneth Warren
- Bird Land
- Deep Ecology Foundation
- Low Tech
- Crown of Creation
- DeBate Son
- Pagan Waterworld
- Am I Understood?
- Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi explains. . .
- Three Dreams, Late Summer 2014
- Kippie In Repose
- Teaching Cartoon – Systems are not in Nature, they are in the mind of humans.
- Alice’s Restaurant of the Sacred
- Re: Sam Harris Solves the Problem of Islamic Faith
- Fall of the Rebel Angels
- “The judgment of the intellect is, at best, only the half of truth, and must, if it be honest, also come to an understanding of its inadequacy. The dynamic principle of fantasy is play, a characteristic also of the child, and as such it appears inconsistent with the principle of serious work. But without this playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable. It is therefore short-sighted to treat fantasy, on account of its risky or unacceptable nature, as a thing of little worth.” The Psychology of Individuation, CG Jung
- Three Dreams, Late Summer 2014
- Generative Alchemy
- Inside the Psychologist’s Studio With Albert Bandura
- Roots of My Urbanology (II.)
- Leave-taking is as necessary as the homecoming (I.)
Tagsa-ha! adult learning analytic psychology anthropology art biology buddhism charlatanry cognitive psychology consciousness critical culture critical thinking culture current events economics education experiential learning Freeplay Softball Gregory Bateson humor management music my casual art new paradigms organizational development phenomenology philosophy poetry politics pseudo-science psychology quotes religion resources Rumi science social psychology speculations sports sufism teaching cartoons teaching story transformative learning urbanology web media
- "It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious." - Alfred North Whitehead
- More email newsletters July 2, 2014
- new language annotation software June 25, 2014
- Software, Culture, and Political Economy in New Media Capitalism June 25, 2014
- ye olde net… June 25, 2014
- re the big data explosion June 10, 2014
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
- If, during the long course of ages and under varying conditions of life, organic beings vary at all in the several parts of their organization, and I think this cannot be disputed; if there be, owing to the high geometric powers of increase of each species, at some age, season or year, a severe struggle for life, and this certainly cannot be disputed; then, considering the infinite complexity of the relations of all organic beings to each other and to their conditions of existence, causing an infinite variety in structure, constitution, and habits, to be advantageous to them, I think it would be a most extraordinary fact if no variation ever had occurred useful to each being’s own welfare, in the same way as so many variations have occurred useful to man. But if variations useful to any organic being do occur, assuredly individuals thus characterized will have the best chance of being preserved in the struggle for life; and from the strong principle of inheritance they will tend to produce offspring similarly characterized. This principle of preservation, I have called, for the sake of brevity, Natural Selection. [Charles Darwin (1859) On the Origin of Species]
- “It is essential to such a government, that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion, or a favored class of it; otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans, and claim for their government the honorable title of republic.” James Madison
- All the property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it. -Benjamin Franklin
Thinking Outside the Agora
- Christoph Waltz Explains the Joys of Krampus to a Befuddled Jimmy Fallon December 19, 2014We love Krampus, the dark side of Santa, who punishes the naughty while Santa rewards the nice. But not everyone is aware of this Germanic folktale, leaving Christoph Waltz to act as an ambassador for the creature. He's right: the Elf on a Shelf just does not compare. Read more...
- Two Different Satellites Take Two Different Pictures of the Same Galaxy December 19, 2014What a difference a wavelength makes: On the left is the M82 Galaxy as seen in the visible light spectrum, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope — and the image we most associate with that galaxy. On the right is an x-ray image of the same galaxy, taken by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.Read more...
- Mark Wahlberg'll Be Back For More Transformers Films. And Soon. December 19, 2014Contrary to earlier rumors that Mark Wahlberg's first appearance in the Transformers franchise, Wahlberg himself has said that he's contracted for a "couple" more and that he expects to be back on the set "soon." Read more...
- See The Weapon That Beats The Wave Motion Gun In The New Yamato Movie December 19, 2014As far as I know, we still haven't gotten the new Space Battleship Yamato 2199 TV/movie series in the United States, even after it aired a whole season in Japan. But now, there's a follow-up movie, Star-Voyaging Ark, in which the Yamato gets hit with a weapon called the Flame Direct Attack Cannon, that can […]
- After The Robot Uprising, Human Gladiators Must Battle Robo-Dinosaurs December 19, 2014In the distant future, humanity is enslaved, forced to fight in the gladiators' ring for the amusement of robot audiences. But something unexpected happens when the robots pit their ultimate warrior, Carl, against the humans' Space Jesus.Read more...
- Christoph Waltz Explains the Joys of Krampus to a Befuddled Jimmy Fallon December 19, 2014
- New Project: Coffee Cup Spy Cam December 18, 2014
- BIOFABRICATE: There’s a bio-revolution on the horizon! December 18, 2014
- New Project: Extend The Life Of Your Gates By Adding A Gate Wheel December 18, 2014
- Unlocking Circuits the Maker Way December 18, 2014
- Freaky Organic Apparel “Grown” and 3D Printed December 18, 2014
Category Archives: serendipity
I’m driving a winding road on a nice summer day and I drive out of the countryside and then I’m on a winding road by a big lake and the road starts to wind down toward this coast.
I sense I’m going a little too fast. Seems in control but I start on a big turn just as a village and pier come into sight. I see a big white yacht and and a group of sharply dressed grown-ups. This distracts me and the next thing the car flies off the road, flies off the hillside and heads right toward the yacht.
I don’t experience the actual crash to any dramatic degree.
Seen changes. I’m a very old man in a small house. Our car Sassy is very old and on my lap. There is a sign among the picture on the wall and it says: 2044.
I slowly become oriented to the room I’m in. A dark haired woman in a maid’s uniform is standing off to the side.
A crippled man comes in the front door. I shake his hand and he turns and tosses his cain away.
An old lady come in and tells me she can’t hear anything. I touch her ears, and say to her, “How about now.”
She nods her head.
I turn to the cat (Sassy) on my lap and say, “It always surprises me every single time that I can do that.”
From behind me, the maid says: “It’s your atonement.” (The maid carries a substantive tone: sober, attentive, prepared. She’s pretty in a severe way, and middle-aged.)
When I look toward her, the sign now says 2050. I feel ninety-six years old too. The cat on my lap is very still, maybe coming to her end.
More people come to be healed one by one.
After a healed girl leaves, the maid comes up behind me and puts her hand on what I realize is a wheelchair, and pushes me through the front door onto a wide porch. There’s a line of hurting people waiting near the door. Yet, when she pushes me onto the porch, she says to me over my shoulder,
“Then there’s your other legacy to remember.” She turns the chair to the right and pushes it to the very edge of the porch.
At that, I look down the hillside. I hear music. It’s dusk. At the bottom of the hill I see an enormous colorful carnival with lots of people, and I can hear the sounds of the celebration as it carries from there to my front porch.
I’m watching out a big main window on the second floor of a large club–it may be a yacht club–at an odd scene. Lots of people gathered on the 2nd floor porch and are looking up in the sky. I can see the glint and gleam of the sun on a clear day flashing and reflecting off small stuff floating in the sky.
I step outside into the crowd and look up. I see small metallic umbrellas. A boy next to me tugs on my pants and says: “they are robotic.”
I walk down the porch near of kids and observe the robotic umbrellas coming almost within reach. But then they stop and hover and gleam. Some seem to be copper, others silver or aluminum.
Suddenly, I’m struck that I need to go get my turntable. I fetch it and set it up on a small table on the far edge of the porch. I go back to get a record to play on it. When I return moments later, to my shock, the turntable is gone.
I shout to no one in particular but to the assembly of adults and kids, “Never mind the robots, somebody took my turntable!” I feel very upset and realize no one cares about my turntable.
A bird’s eye view of me on a scooter, propelling myself down a suburban sidewalk. Attached to my waste is a yellow rope and it drags along a small wooden rectangular box. The box is the same dimensions as a shoe box, but twice as deep. It has no lid.The right side of the sidewalk is very rough and cracked and holes appear every now and then. It seems important enough to keep on that side of the sidewalk that I hale joggers in front of me to move left.
I come to a big intersection. I wait for the Walk signal. Other people come to the intersection. I ask several of the people, “Have you seen my turntable?”
Then, realizing I missed the Walk signal, I step out into the intersection. I feel lost for a moment. Then a police car rolls up and the officer jumps out.
“What are you doing in the road?”
“I’m waiting for the signal and looking for my turntable.”
“You’re breaking the law.”
He grabs me and forces me up against his car and pins me there with one hand. With the other he turns on his walkie talkie.
He makes a call.
“I’ve got a problem here and I’m going to make an arrest.”
“It seems to me the person is disoriented and it’s probably a Code Between the Eyes.”
He pens the door and shoves me in the police car.
At the station, I argue with the sergeant at the desk that there’s been a mistake. He tells me, “The officer is experienced and he says it’s a textbook case of insanity. He says you were going on and on about your turntable.”
I tell him I think somebody stile my turntable.
“The judge will determine what happened.”
The scene changes to a court room. It’s just me, the officer, a prosecutor, and a judge. The prosecution makes a case based in my missing the walk signal and then stepping into the intersection. The judge tells me its my turn.
I agree to the facts as stated, but then I say,
“This is the exact kind of case in which expert opinion is required. Both accounts agree, but, since I’m not insane, the conclusion differs.”
The judge responds, “I see this and I will gave you and the officer work it out.”
Now the officer and I sit at the classic steel table in an interrogation room.
He states the several facts in order. Each fact he asserts I respond by asking him,
“Have you ever done the same thing?”
He replies every time, “Yes, I have.”
Back in the court room, the judge calls the officer and me to the bench.
He states the following:
“We had two psychiatrists observe your mediation. Both, after some discussion in chambers, agree, that Calhoun is not insane. They both were impressed at Calhoun’s sane method of deconstructing his insanity, and so their expert opinion is that no insane person would be able to do the deconstruction Calhoun managed to do.”
I feel relieved. I turn the officer and tell him, “We’re not very different.”
The judge tells me that I am free to go.
This feels like a victory.
From above the scene unfolds as if shot from a helicopter: a huge mixed group of people is running between two brick walls, maybe about twenty feet wide, and the walls are set in a large field.
The perspective changes to pick me out of the crowd. I’m running with it. The walls are old and ten+ feet tall. The feel of the crowd is that they are motivated, compelled–I feel this about the crowd–and, yet, I do not know what is really going on.
Next the perspective is first person, through my eyes, at ground level, and amidst the crowd. The walls are slowly converging. The crowd slows down. I continue to the front where I come to a wooden door with a window in it. At the door, in the window, I see very clearly my reflection, except I’m a young man with long hair, maybe around twenty years old.
I’m impressed with the trick: I feel my current age but see a young man.
I open the door and start walking. People from the crowd come through the door and squeeze past mer and start running again. This passage between the walls is not the width of a doorway.
I kind jostles me as he passes me, and squirts by and starts running. Then I see he is being chased by a young man in black pajamas. I think he is a fundamentalist of some sort.
The narrow path looks to end up ahead at a wall perpendicular to the two walls. I walk fast and come to see the path ends and one can go left or right. I see the boy at this wall ahead. He jumps into a hole in the wall but cannot get through, and so there is just the site of his blue shorts, bare legs, red sneakers, and the man in in black reaching him.
The man in black stops and starts spanking the boy’s behind. I trot up next to him and ask him,
“What’s the problem?”
“The boy disagreed with me, so I’m punishing him.”
I get the man’s full attention, put my hand up, palms facing toward him. I tell him,
“Instead of punishing him, let’s pray. That is the best thing to do when you disagree.”
I went to my knees, as did the man in black. We started praying.
Brueghel: The Alchemist
This piece is part of a large series that will likely be presented in a short film. The film is intended to show the interplay of manipulations and recursions involved in generating different pieces.
I dedicate this new series to Ms. Uidhi. (I may be one of a handful of artists, or pseudo-artists, focusing on creative luckiness in the context of a post-academic post-scholarly focus on the situation of serendipity in adult development. This could include meandering into philosophical swamps.
IP LAF Forum: Christy Mag Uidhi on Artistic Serendipity vs. Artistic Luck, 25 Sept
Tuesday 23 September 2014
INSTITUTE OF PHILOSOPHY
Thurs 25 September 2014, 4.00pm
IP London Aesthetics Forum: Room G34, Senate House, WC1
Artistic Serendipity vs. Artistic Luck
Christy Mag Uidhi (Houston)
Supported by the British Society of Aesthetics
It is standardly thought that artworks may gain and lose art-relevant properties over time (and thereby may also admit of similar gains and losses in artistic value). From this it follows that insofar as such gains and losses may be well outside the control of the artist, we ought to expect any minimally adequate theory of art and its value as such to come with (or at least be amenable to) some minimal notion of artistic luck and artistic achievement (such that ascriptions of the one undermine ascriptions of the other). In this talk, I’ll sketch what I take to be uncontroversial minimal accounts of both artistic luck and artistic achievement. From these I show it to follow that if artworks must be products of intentional action, then there can be no such thing as artistic luck (either descriptively or evaluatively). I claim the only formative role luck might play in our understanding of art and its value as such is to provide the means by which we may productively carve out an informative sub-class of artistic achievement: specifically that of artistic serendipity.
[My bold.] Intention, serendipity. Intentional serendipity is pseudo-serendipity. It is a kind of search routine. I don’t subscribe to the idea that intentionality is properly monolithic or exclusionary. But, I concede that psychologizing the artist’s creative process may take my own considerations and sensemaking out of and away from a proper philosophy of aesthetics.
Nor do I know what Ms. Mag Uidhi has in mind to flesh out the intriguing precis.
For my own part, there is so much in my creative process that permits creative intention-up-to-the-point of pulling the curtains away, and, thus includes less discrete combinations of intention and, fundamentally, hope about the unknown!
Totem For Lakewood; 2010 S.Calhoun
II. Roots of (My) Urbanology (part two of three parts)
In 1972, my mother suggested that I might find Lewis Mumford interesting. Although I was mostly concerned with–in 1972–squeezing through various doors of perception, I managed to wander through Mumford’s The Conduct of Life, along with Huxley and Laing and Watts. The Conduct of Life was written in 1951. (I suppose hardly anybody reads Mumford anymore.) A few years after returning to Cleveland in 1992, I remember revisiting Mumford in a series of conversations with my mother about Cleveland, cities, the de-industrialization of the Mid West, and, the curse of Ronald Reagan. She insisted I read The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. (1961!) I did so. I re-read Mumford’s The City in History. I explained to my dear mother what I meant when I described Mumford to be a constructionist mystic.
In the fall of 2005, again due to the result of a remarkable fortuity, I met the Director of the Lakewood Public Library, Kenneth Warren; (to myself I noted: heck, a constructionist mystic!) I learned of the Visionary Alignment, the Lakewood Observer Project, and soon enough–even though I was a wash-a-shore–was in the thick of it. At the outset, among the suggestions I introduced to the Observer crew was a ripe and dangerous speculative question:
What would it be like to live in a city devoted to knowing itself better than any other city ever has known itself?
I didn’t really get at the time that I was both implying a name for the practical learning process of the project being unfolded by a handful of intrepid Lakewoodites and Observers, and, idealizing a highly charged constellation of conflicting fantasies about what is the very stuff of civic knowledge-seeking and civic knowing. The name/process is simple: civic self-knowledge, but the charging of the civic constellation is altogether complex, entangled, and, as we soon enough came to understand, is plain difficult.
Community, know thyself? Really? Plug into the circuit and call forth shadow, and every variety of impossible dream, and quixotic obstacle?
Lakewood Prism (demographic analysis schema)
(from a presentation by Kenneth Warren, – Lakewood Future Tools – Understanding Lakewood: Communities and Memes; March 2005) See also the pdf, Community Capacity.
(Lakewood Ohio) Place-Making with Good Neighbors on the Lake
· Flow =Quality of Life
· Increase the flow states in the community.
· Refresh the conventional sense of local living in Lakewood by engaging good neighbors.
· Cultivate the habit of good neighbors listening to one another.
· Activate through the Lake a sense of the liminal among good neighbors, that is, the threshold of physiological or psychological response to the unique energy that permeates the people and place.
· Make Lakewood permeable to new experience, ideas, mechanisms and structures among good neighbors
who are joining society to economy, conscience to knowledge.
· Obtain commitments from good neighbors to act on projects that will stretch beyond circular, selfjustified egocentric gated communities.
· Know there is a beginning point and ending point to each good neighborhood.
· Realize that a commitment to sustainability is shift in consciousness; it is not about constructing a pretty
· Understand that places and institutions can get high-jacked by interests that lie outside the particular community, i.e. absentee landlords, absentee corporations and absentee public employees.
· Construct IEDs – Improvised Economic Devises
Ken Warren, Lakewood Visionary Alignment
During the summer of 2006 I happened upon my current research focus, serendipity in adult development. Under the auspices of The Lakewood Observer and Lakewood Public Library, I devised a small project. I would quickly teach street anthropologists to conduct a survey, and then from their gathering of this data set, build out with them a very constrained ethnography focused on a single question, What brought you, [the subject,] to live in Lakewood?
For two weekends a dozen or so of us fanned out through Lakewood and conducted this survey. We then spent an afternoon debriefing the results. We never assembled the final work product, but, in reviewing the surveys on my own time, I realized an amazing quality threaded itself through many of the survey results.
I can capture this quality in one of the answers to the signal question.
My husband and I came to live in Lakewood because he had just taken a job at the hospital in Fairview Park and we were in a very temporary sublet in Rocky River. One day, at the grocery store there, I asked the gal at the cash register if she knew of any good resources for tracking down nice rentals in Rocky River. Before she could answer a woman standing behind me in the checkout line tapped me on the shoulder and told me that her sister had a first floor, two bedroom apartment available in her Lakewood house. I jotted her sister’s number down and we moved in the very next month.
Not only were the surveys littered with similar narratives, but having my nose pushed close to such stories compelled me to consider my own.
So: I had to reckon with the robber in 1974 who made it all possible by trying to kill me.
In other words, I discovered my interest in the problem of serendipity in adult development by reflecting on my apparently fortuitous encounter with a robber in 1974. This reflection itself was inspired by asking residents of Lakewood what was it that brought them to Lakewood to live.
Keynote: communities collect the results of serendipity.
(Technically speaking: communities aggregate the product of intricate conjunctions of agentic, environmental, and temporal fortuities.)
I. Home Coming (part one of three parts)
I dig Cleveland Heights; I’m from Cleveland Heights. My wife digs Cleveland Heights too, and we count ourselves blessed that after the challenging circumstances of my mother’s illness and passing, we moved from the apartment in her home in Shaker Heights we rented from her for almost five years to our new home in Cleveland Heights.
This new home is almost exactly one mile from my first family home on Ormond Road, and a tad more than a mile from the succeeding family home on East Overlook Road. It is the first home Susan and I have owned together and comes after twenty years of our being renters, most of the time in various neighborhoods of, yup, Cleveland Heights.
Personally, as an independent researcher recently concerned with the role of constructive fortuity, or serendipity, in adult development, it is worth noting three of many fortuitous events that staked me to my home town. The first was a family emergency that brought me back from Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1992, and the second was the teamwork of two realtors, and the intuition of one of them, to show us our current beloved house on the great Cleveland Heights street of Coleridge Road. Our house here is five blocks from where I went to elementary school between 1959-1961. The third lucky event is bookended by the aforementioned two: meeting my future wife and partner Susan as the result of a fix-me-up sponsored by a mutual friend. This first meeting unfolded at a September party on Grandview Road in 1993, in, sure, Cleveland Heights.
For Susan and I Cleveland Heights is congenial ‘to-the-max.’ Yet, a final fortuitous event was primarily instrumental in both my leaving Cleveland Heights, and, eighteen years later, returning. On a Thursday afternoon in June 1974, a guy walks into the record store I was assistant manager of, Music Madness. It was located next to the old CH Post Office on lee Road. He found me alone and more than willing, at gun point, to give him the contents of the cash register, and walk with him to the back room office, and give him the rest of the day’s cash. Then, after a frustrating for-us-both few minutes during which I tried to–by myself–tie up my hands, he beckoned me to lay down on the floor and once prostrated, he next shot me in the back at point blank range.
(Good ol’ Cleveland Heights; Lee Road could be a bit like the wild west in the mid seventies.)
I got the hell out of my home town, and took the bus to Vermont by the end of July.
Nevertheless, the way the very long chains of contingency, necessity, and fortuity operate to constitute the foundation of future events, the leave-taking is as necessary as the homecoming–is, in actuality, its required precedent.
Cleveland Heights news and Resources (these links will remain in the sidebar)
Cleveland Heights vCity Data
Cleveland Heights (City Hall)
Cleveland Heights Historical Society
Cleveland Heights (Plain Dealer)
Cleveland Heights Patch
Kizzy. Looking over the wash of posts oriented to the recently past political season, and the interjections of Freeplay Softball reports and a few postings of my art, I see right away the points of emphasis will soon be shifting. I don’t plan much out, still, I’ve been collecting teaching cartoons, and interesting captures from the web tubes, and, other stuff, while I neglect packing up for the big move into the new house–except I’m remaining behind in important respects until the current house is sold!
People who know me well might find it amusing to learn my preoccupations aren’t throwing me all about as they usually do. Ironically, the research project into Strategic Serendipity is on hold just as the whole field blows up on the breath of several best-selling, albeit non-technical, treatments of the subject.
Not sure the exact date of this clip from an old issue of Science; (early twenties?)
The concept of serendipity that is the most robust is found in the field, sociology of science. My opinion is that this is the only robust treatment of serendipity.
In my continuing research into what I term transformative anthropology, or, into developmental serendipity in the human life cycle, every question or speculation is worth investigation. This includes questions considered ridiculous:
“What if your parents had never met?”
To which I respond: Indeed. (So, I gently pull it into my mental lab.)
I had an opportunity this fall to pose clinical-like questions to one of my softball associates, a pediatrician, Dr. Art. What I was wondering about was whether or not it would be equally correct, given the what if you’re parents never met query, to pose a similar question: “What if your, (or my own, or anybody’s,) parents had instantiated the fertilization at some other timely point, say seconds, minutes, hours, the next day, later, other than at the time at which point you, me, anybody came to be?”
Here’s the encapsulation of my questioning of Dr. Art.
Given the chanciness of what comes together at point of fertilization, is it correct to state that the fertilization that produced me, you, anybody, exactingly reflects the outcome of a single and unique outcome of sperm meeting egg? (In other words, fertilization is not able to be comprehensively duplicated in anyway.)
Okay, so, the nature of fertilization is a spectacular instance of something, a human he or she, in its generative case, created and necessarily from this, completely unique.
Dr. Art’s answer was,
“As far as anybody can know, human fertilization causes a unique person.”
Its instance comes down to a singular event and a rapid unfolding of unique configuration. This is entirely given by the nature of the mechanics involved. A different instantiation would unfold under the slightly different conditions given by these same mechanics.
Several aspects of this (class of) instance figure into how one thinks about it–as a matter of these mechanics. Fertilization’s uniqueness is not repeatable. Nor is this like shuffling a deck of cards or rolling the dice. The unique result is singularly so. There are many many possible outcomes when the deck is shuffled. Yet, over time, and with enough shuffles, the outcomes aren’t singularly unique. Likewise if we pose such an instance as a roll of the dice. I don’t know what a rigorous mathematically-minded appreciation of the consequential uniqueness of fertilization would be, yet I suspect the analogous two dice have to have an odd, not finite, configuration.
The scale of the temporal condition is something like: instantaneous, yet this also reflects the physical conditions through which fertilization happens as a result of one sperm actor, so-to-speak, being successful against all the other actors. It’s a measurable amount of time too, this instant.
A consequence of this set-up is that the instantiation of one’s own self hangs on the slender thread of these conditions. If Marvin Gaye comes on the CD player, and one of the parties to conception gasps, “Hold On!” then the internal process will be configured differently. Yet, consider how even this kind of adjustment occurs at an almost ridiculously huge scale given how the outcome of fertilization is itself contingent on the tiny scale at which the jockeying of sperm happens.
Perhaps, say you, “So what?”
As I mentioned, I take this seriously because I’m researching the element of fortuity as it plays a part in the resolution of human development at any scale of condition or time. I’m tracking back here to what I term the primordial biological dependent contingency. This is where any map of fortuitous contingency tracks back to. However, at the same time, there is also the implicit regress, ‘what if your parents’ parents had never met?’ And, the circumstances for consequential conjoinment, and for relationship, are entangled in vast, requisite ‘narratives’ for which all the necessary human players, and time-and-space, features necessarily are in some exacting way configured by long chains of, well, fertilization!
Backing up from this, we can sift through other consequences (of primordial biological dependent contingency) at much larger scales of relationship and agency. The evolutionary perspective warrants consideration of where this all can be said to commence and how the two, at least, most primal actors came to make something like the first instance, and how the original hims and hers were instantiated in kind.
Also recognized are other perspectives and the explanations or suppositions each invokes. The idea that a unique soul animates the physical instance of fertilization is, obviously, a very ancient idea. This same idea is deeply embedded in many varieties of how persons culturally grappled with the presumably self-evident unique outcome of procreation. Actually, is there a good reason to presume even this was so? I’m willing to wager without knowing–yet–conceptions about the soul finding its physical incarnation predate ideas about every born human constituting an utterly unique instance of human being.
Obviously, fortuitous dependencies track backward from biological scales ‘down and further’ back through material and temporal scales. My main research interest lies in the other direction, long after the presumptive collapse of enjoined human wave functions (!) granted in fertilization have occurred. Still, it would remain true enough that the serendipity decisive in later human development all are in the light of the strange and implicit fragility of fertilization, and, the: “I might never have come to be!”
Except for this crucial feature: successful fertilization and thus the biological evocation of a him or her sets up this new person as a unique in stance of human being, but is not the whole story by any means.
So much for the notion that DNA determines what an organism is like; it doesn’t. There is, in principle, no one-to-one relationship, no “mapping,” from DNA sequences to characters. (Of course, we can map differences of character– like albinism or Parkinson’s disease–to species differences in DNA.) The whole process of development, from ovary- making egg to mother-making ovary, holds itself together. Each bit of information context, like the egg mechanisms, is necessary and specific for each bit of information content, like the DNA. What makes the fly, or you, is the complete process of development. All of it. Can you blame your DNA for your funny squiggly handwriting, your passion for Fats Waller and
Burmese cats, your blue eyes! Well, perhaps the last, but certainly not the others. You can’t blame the DNA for what you’ve made of yourself. You, the process, are responsible for what you are, what you do. And for what you become. (biologist Jack Cohen)