End of an Era II

From Stephen Harrod Buhner’s Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm: Beyond the Doors of Perception into the Dreaming of Earth, pp. 342-348…

“The writer John Gardner considered the elements of this process –

  • Reclaiming the Feeling Sense,
  • Training the Eye,
  • Depth Immersion of the Self,
  • Synaesthesia,
  • Entering the Dreaming State –

as ‘the fundamental units of an ancient but still valid kind of thought.’ It is a form of cognition that, in fact, allows depth understanding of the world without recourse to linear reductionism. And it finds, not facts, as [Nobel Laureate Barbara] McClintock noted, but truth.

The process of truly understanding something in the way McClintock or Goethe or Burbank did, however, it must be said, takes years. It took Barbara McClintock six years to understand corn transposons, six years until its full nature burst into her understanding.

It took me ten years to understand the function of the gastrointestinal biological oscillator in humans, eight years to a depth glimpse of phytoandrogens, twenty-five to an understanding of heart perception and cognition. As Einstein once put it, ‘I think and think, for months and years.’ But really, what else do we have to do with our time here, play cards? Believe me, this is a lot more fun.

“McClintock knew that her particular kind of seeing was crucial to her eventual understanding of corn genetics, knew that her seeing was often affected by her internal state. So she would sometimes leave her laboratory and go sit beneath nearby eucalyptus trees to meditate and, as the put it, ‘work on herself.’ Then, when she was ready, she returned and began to look and feel into the corn once more.

“Such caretaking and work on the self is essential. Feeling so deeply actually involves feeling deeply and, because the heart and the self remain open, undefended, not dissociated, all the consciousness modules, all the parts of the self are affected. Stuff comes up. And that can affect the capacity to do the work. As Goethe once put it…

” ‘[To be as attentive as possible to grasping the phenomena, as exact as possible to fixate them into experiments, as complete as possible to order one’s experiences, and to remain many-sided enough to come to know all the ways in which one might view them,]1 requires that one work one’s poor ego in a way I had else hardly thought possible.’

“Self-caretaking, deep interior analysis, a drive for rigorous self-examination, a genuine love for all parts of the self, and importantly … the willingness to remain mutable, to have flexible perspective, the willingness to see what’s true, not what you have been taught is true, is essential in order to remain balanced.

That is part of the reason why reductive scientists prefer reductionism. They are afraid of such self-examination, such self revelation. They are afraid to feel the world, to feel much at all. That we as a people have refused to recognize this in them has allowed the distortions of science they create, and the harm it creates, to go unchallenged.

“Over time and deep relationship, long years of it, McClintock began to understand that something other than chance was controlling mutations in the genome. As Keller comments, ‘these were mutations that did not strike capriciously with the life of a single plant; whatever set them off was a factor that was constant. For McClintock,this regularity meant that something was controlling the rate of mutation. And this was McClintock’s sin, the transgression that caused her ostracism.

“She commented later that the instructions for gene rearragement came not only from the organism itself but also from the environment in which it lived. Nothing could have undermined reductionist Darwinism more. As Keller comments, ‘Central to neo-Darwinism theory was the premise that whatever genetic variation does occur is random, and McClintock reported genetic changes that are under the control of the organism. Such results just did not fit in the standard frame of analysis.

“But this recognition, that environment and organism controlled genetic mutation, did more than ‘not fit’ the model in place. It indicated intelligence in places that human centrists could not accept that it existed. But there are furthur implications that are even more troubling. … When McClintock’s understanding is combined with Heisenberg’s insights into the nature of subatomic particles – that they change their nature from particle to wave and back again depending on whether they are observed or not – something tremendously unsettling begins to emerge.

“Subatomic particles exist in a quantum state of potential. When they are measured – ie, observed – that potential collapses; the particle takes on a specific form and that form subsequently shapes both space and behavior. Subatomic particles act along quantum planes, they don’t live in the classical Newtonian world of linear cause and effect. And while generally unrecognized, this has powerful impacts on genetic structures.

“DNA is a flexible organ of the cell that exists in a state of dynamic change; it is in fact nonlinear, as all organs are. It constantly responds to environmental cues, to the exterior world’s touches upon it. From one orientation, any current shape of DNA in an organism can be viewed as a grouping of genetic codes held in place, in that structural formation, by chemical bonds. Genes are turned on and off when those chemical bonds are broken, then reformed in new ways as new chemical bonds are generated.

“And those chemical bonds are broken and reformed by the movements of electrons and protons – all working at the quantum level, in quantum space, in quantum reality. Protons and electrons exist in quantum reality, and in the quantum world they exist as potential in multiple locations and forms simultaneously. In other words, in the quantum world the subatomic particles exist in forms that both turn on and turn off genes at the same time.

“The genes that are generating the current form of an organism, a bacteria or a plant, are in essence stable. The subatomic particles that control how those genes act have already been measured and have collapsed into classical space, what we think of as reality. So you find an apparently stable state. But all organisms contain what has, from classical perspectives, been considered ‘junk’ DNA, that is, sequences that don’t seem to do anything. And there are a lot of them.

“These apparently irrelevant DNA sequences are highly mutable and responsive to quantum alterations. The genes in these ‘junk’ sequences, in the quantum world, exist in multiple states of potential continuously. They are no longer nailed to classical reality but exist and drift within the quantum multiverse of potential gene sequences. In this state, as molecular geneticist Johnjoe McFadden comments, there is ‘a quantum superposition of all possible mutations. The superposition would have grown, branching like a tree, into the multiverse of all the trillions of possible DNA sequences that could lead off from the original gene.’

As the thousands/millions of environmental inputs are taken into the organism, they put pressure on the organism to alter itself to maintain homeodynamis. Those inputs are taken in as a complex gestalt, and it represents a specific, unique communication that the organism analyzes far below the level of what we call conscious awareness. Those ‘junk’ genes that are existing simultaneously in the quantum multiverse hold within them all potential forms the organism can take in any of the millions upon millions of possible exterior environmental states. And as one of those possible environmental states comes into being its nature is communicated to the organism through sensory inflows.

That communication percolates down to the genetic level and entangles some of those potential genetic states in itself. It calls forth a particular kind of emergence from the multiverse of potential forms. As McFadden puts it, ‘The only event capable of halting our duplicated gene’s drift through the quantum universe is the establishment of another chain of entanglements with the cell’s environment.’ And the environmental pressure, the unique communication that occurs, is what does it. That communication in essence matches certain forms in the multiverse that can be thought of a communicatory responses. The communication in essence brings potential into actuality. It touches the quantum world and begins the movement of genes in quantum potential along a pathway of response, the gene form coming more into being at each step along the way.” …

“DNA restructures itself, form alters its nature, and adaptive mutation occurs. And the environment? When it needs a particular rearrangement of genetic material to express a form that will support self-organization, it moves organisms along the path most likely to do so. In other words, ‘The instructions for gene rearrangement come not only from the organism but from the environment in which it lives.’

And it is not just plants and bacteria that alter gene expression in a single generation in response to organism or environmental inputs – and then pass those alterations on to their offspring – salmon do as well. It is becoming clear that this is more the norm than the exception. Not only environment but organisms are a great deal more fluid than we have been taught. There is no fundamental ‘it’ to be found, only temporary forms of message material that themselves are indicative of ongoing communicatory interactions, that themselves show the shape of environmental space at that moment in time.”


To me this implies that we can Manipulate our Genes to Become anything we want to Become, if we’re Willing to be Loving with all the Stuff that comes up. We definitely would not want to do that Reductively. We would want to PIAVA an Outcome, such as Thriving under 5G, or Seeing and Interpreting Energy, or Surviving Well Effortlessly in any Socioeconomic Situation, or Healing any Dis-Ease, stay Present for all of our Yes-Buts, and Trust our Organism to handle the Collapsing of the Potentials.


1 I’ve reorganized these four elements from German word-order to English word-order, in order to make them more easily understandable to English-readers.

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