Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Common Sense in the Common Good

We the people of this world long ago once realized our potential for imaginative thought and material creativity. We have been blessed as a species with the ability to achieve a profound understanding of the world around us, and from it we have built a truly incredible way of life.

Unfortunately, this blessing has also come with a curse. With the ability to creatively manipulate our world we have also been stricken with the capability of forgetting our place in it, and our place amongst ourselves as its people.

We are our world's stewards, and we are all compatriots in our collective place in it. With the blessing of material and conceptual creativity we have possibly infinite potential for discovery within ourselves and in our existence. But, in order to do so we must be able to understand the probability that it even can happen. The only way we can do so is to truly understand the nature (total causes) and character (total effect) of the many systems we as the people of our world exist within. If we are able to understand that existence is built on the desire for perpetual balance of dualities, then we can minimize the destructive nature within ourselves to possibly even increase our chances of success in whatever WE THE PEOPLE want to achieve. If we can all accept that there is that 1% in each of us that we don't like, then it's absolutely possible that 99% of the time we will succeed. That is a promise.

Systemic Philosophy is a way of understanding the true nature of our existence. The first question in understanding this way is: What is? The answer, something is, and nothing is. Everything, all individual things, and all individual people are systems, or processes of movement, and they all constitute the potential Spirit of Existence.

  1. Change of Mind: An Explanation of The Way Everything Works

We know what something is. Something is everything that we are able to see, hear, touch, taste and smell. It is the relation of matter and energy, or our Material Reality.

Something is also everything that we can possibly think and feel given our present individual circumstances. This is the relation between concepts and energy, or our Conceptual Reality.

We as individuals are part of the Greater Whole of Existence. The most basic principle of existence is the desire and intention for perpetual balance of dualities. Something and Nothing together form a combined Whole. The interaction between the two is perfection. It is the only kind of true perfection.

As far as we know our "something," which we call the Cosmos, and everything within it is constantly moving. We already know that our known existence is constantly expanding, and seems to have originated from one single event, The Big Bang. At the sub-atomic level we use massive particle accelerators that stretch in circles for miles beneath our cities just to be able to try to understand why we can never seem to find a particle that will stand still indefinitely. This is because all that we now accept as common knowledge is moving, and each individual thing has a defined beginning, middle and end. The only thing we have yet to truly understand, without understanding the balance of dualities and the potential in our imagination is the nature and character of Anti-Matter.

If everything we already know of is moving, that means we can possibly assume that everything that "is" is moving. What if everything that "isn't" is Anti-Matter?

If we can understand that something and nothing are in perpetual balance, then we can assume that matter and "conception" are a duality as well. Conception being that which we think and feel. Matter and Conception are bound by Energy. Together they form a triad that determines why something exists and nothing exists from the "material" point of view, nothing being Anti-Matter.

From this triad, and the balance in the original duality there are potentially infinite possibilities that each of us, individually, can create for ourselves, given the circumstances, and there is only one over all Absolute way that is the true nature and ultimate character of existence. It is all-together existing as something and the potential for nothing. What is, and what isn't. The closest known term that describes this idea is the Sanskrit word "OM."

How is that Possible?

According to quantum physicist Amit Goswami, Phd ("The Quantum Activist" {2009}) There is proven to be a connective Greater Consciousness that precludes and allows for the "being" and "doing" of existence.

We as individuals are all directly linked to this Greater Consciousness by the nature and character of the fact that we all actually exist, and are able to think, feel and perceive with our senses. This connectivity can be thought of as a true spirituality, or the interrelation between the Whole of Existence and each individual thing, or "self."

The Axiom

If we are all part of the "Whole" of existence, and we are all moving inside of it, and it is moving (expanding currently), then that means that we all must have things in common with existence, each other, and everything that might possibly exist. If we can understand these similarities, then it is possible to find a proper common way to work and be within it. (An understanding of "work" might be the amount of effort {energy + intention} put towards movement) If a characteristic (cause or end result) is in common with a "common characteristic" of existence, all things and all people, then it can be thought of as a self-evident truth, or an axiom.

There is one single axiom that can determine the probability and ways in which existence, and all its parts are able to be and do. This can be thought of as the "governing circumstance" of all of that is and does, and all that can possibly be and do (the whole of existence/non-existence). The Greater Spirit, God, Allah, everything can be described as coming from a Source with a Desire, Intention and Ultimate Result toward Perpetual Harmony in the Whole and Personal Freedom of Choice for the Individual.

The Source and the Self

Everything that we know of seems to come from one single cause or event that we can call "The Source." We tend to call this the "Big Bang," and tend to believe there was nothing before that. This idea might be incorrect, however, considering the perpetual nature and character of existence. Except for The Source or anything that naturally resembles The Source (Stars), almost all "complete" systems are organic (versus mechanistic). It is probable that The Source and existence itself is a system wholly separate from the organic/mechanistic paradigm.

All material systems (those occurring in the material reality, perceivable through the five senses) are either mechanistic or organic., and all systems require inputs and outputs of resources products and by-products (note: not profit and waste, in nature there is no such thing, only desired products, and by-products that may be useful to other complete systems). A complete system is one who's resources, products and by-products are in harmony or are thought of as being "equally balanced" with the whole of the rest of it's affective locality. A locality is a given point in space and time. A locality is "when" just as much as it is "where."

A mechanistic system is one that exists for a specific purpose, and which creates a desired product. An organic system is one that takes in resources and produces by-products for the purpose (or "product") of personal growth, and perpetuation within its home-systems. All material systems have a beginning, middle and end. All organic systems grow, reach a peak of growth and decline, and all organic systems necessarily require the resources and cooperation from the other complete systems that occur in their locality. Plants and animals require a mechanistic source (the Sun) in order to exist, grow, decline and end. All organic systems (plants, animals and people for instance) also require each other and the natural world (the whole of the Earth and all its natural resources) for the necessary resources they use everyday. The "purpose" of an organic system is individual sustenance, perpetuation of the system-type, and holistic sustainability. We are organic systems, not machines do not fool yourselves. All complete material systems that are not "sources" (stars in nature) are most likely organic. At the ends of their existence all mechanistic systems are most likely to change drastically (through implosion or explosion) rather than undergo a steady decline and tempered change or cessation, as all organic systems normally do. Mechanistic systems do undergo "growth and decline," but instead of doing so gradually like organic systems they tend to grow suddenly in "booms" and decline suddenly in "busts." Our current corporate economic system, and its individual markets do this in a fashion very similar to stars. Almost all other mechanistic systems are man-made. The difference between a natural mechanistic system and a man-made mechanistic system is that when a "natural machine" ends in explosion it is capable of re-constituting, re-cycling and renewing itself. A man-made machine requires an external system (people) to re-start. Those natural mechanistic systems that end in implosion are almost certain to become Black Holes.

The Absolute and The Abstract

So, the Source is the beginning and end of everything, and each "locality" has its own source of existence (Stars, Galaxy centers, etc.) Anything that moves through existence because of or centered around a local source can be thought of as "possible to exist" or absolute. Only that which is certain to exist can do so perpetually, and it can do so through doing so absolutely, or in the way prescribed by the Eternal Axiom. Anything that is incapable of actually moving or existing around a source indefinitely can be thought of as "impossible to perpetually exist" or abstract. Existence itself and all things actually occurring perpetually in the Material Reality are The Absolute. Nothing, Non-existence (Anti-Matter), and concepts that are impossible to occur under any circumstance in the material reality are abstracts. That which is possible to exist in the material reality perpetually are all built on irrational numbers, such as pi, and naturally occur in curves. Straight lines, right angles , etc. are improbable and do not easily occur naturally, and do not exist perpetually. Note that abstract systems are capable of existing for some time, but they are naturally and characteristically un-sustainable in perpetual material reality. This is because they belong (begin and end) in our Conceptual Reality. A "concept" is any system that is used to create and destroy connections between material systems. There are infinite kinds of conceptual systems, but a few are all forms of government, networks, dualities, triads, quadrads, etc.

Similarity, Difference, and Division

If everything is caused by the same single event, and is bound by the nature or "governing circumstance" of the Eternal Axiom, that means that everything that is possibly able to exist in the material and conceptual reality (all that is being and doing and could possibly be and do) is connected by the commonality of existence. There is, in actuality, only basic and absolute similarity and individual difference in the "complete individual systems" or "selves." In the beginning and the end we and all things are the same thing made from the same "stuff" and in the end are rendered back into the same "stuff" governed by the nature of the single true way of "being and doing" (from dust unto dust, etc.).

In the end and in the beginning there is no such thing as true "absolute division," because nothing that is or does or can possibly be and do can do so outside of The Absolute or in a way that is wholly separate from the way of the Eternal Axiom, and any attempt to do so would be abstract and perpetually unsustainable.


In the nature of eternal being and doing there is the single Whole, and the single eternal way things are able to "be and do," that is through the eternal connectivity of existence. There are also the differences in the "selves" caused by the dualistic split in the "something and nothing" and "being and doing" of existence. Everything that is and does is able to do so because of the eternal conflict and balance of dualities.

There are many known and obvious dualities, positive versus negative, north versus south, good versus evil, male versus female, etc, but there are, more importantly, the eternal dualities that describe the Nature of Existence, and allow for the Eternal Character of Existence. We can know these dualities by looking at the Eternal Axiom.

The first duality is, of course, something versus nothing, or all that is probable to exist versus all that could be possible to exist. This is the basis for our Material Reality (perceivable through our five external senses), and our Conceptual Reality (perceivable through our two inner senses, thinking and feeling).

After the basis of the Nature and Character of Reality there is the dualistic relation between the singular Whole of Existence or the Source, and the fractured "many" of the individual Selves of and within Existence. This is the truth in the way we are able to be and do within the Source. As the Selves we can never amount to more then the Eternal Character of Existence, yet we can and do resemble the Source through the limits of the Eternal Axiom. Any attempt to be beyond that is an abstract and cannot be perpetually achieved.

Next is the balance in Desire between the Source and the Selves. Between what we need and what we want toward the dualistic Goals of Existence. The Source maintains the necessary desire for Perpetual Harmony while keeping the wanted desire for Individual Freedom of Choice amongst the selves, given the nature or governing circumstances that allow them to be and do. There may be an infinite number desires within the individual selves, but the probability of the fruition and actualization of these desires are bound by the limits of the Eternal Axiom and the individual governing circumstances in the nature of each individual self, given the circumstances in its locality in space-time. Remember, nothing can happen without a cause and a rendered total effect that works within the Eternal Way described by the Eternal Axiom.

In the Intention there is the duality between selfless being and doing and selfish being and doing. The Source eternally maintains both without caring what happens to the Selves. This is what causes the great Imperfection in the Material Reality, and the perpetual conflict, beginnings and endings and constant movement of the "something" and the Selves. We, the Selves, may be able to carry out selfish or selfless action in our being and doing and what we cause in our actions is what determines our luck or our sin. Luck is achieved through selfless action toward perpetual harmony and is the result of good, balanced intention. If you approach your action with selfless intention toward perpetual harmony, and within fitting circumstances then you are likely to have luck in what you do. Sin is the result of selfish action toward the singular intention of personal freedom of choice. If you approach your action with selfish intention, within given circumstances, and toward the benefit of your own choice you are likely to cause sin in your character and against the whole system you are being and doing within. Luck and sin are the basis for the qualitative valuation of one's character.

The duality of the Ultimate Result or Eternal Character of Existence is the constant balance of Creation and Destruction. Both are necessary for the Source and the Selves to be and do. There cannot be one without many, there cannot be want without need, there cannot be luck without sin, and we cannot perceive without the differential contrast between dualities. This is the Way things Work.

Eternity and Time, and Spirit and Value

With this outlook we can reach a more complete understanding of the nature and objectively desired character of existence. Everything is basically differentiated between the Whole of the Source, or the Greater Consciousness, and the fractured many various beings or Selves within existence, and their individual consciousnesses. The Great Source and the individual Selves maintain a commonality through the governing circumstance of the Eternal Axiom and the ancillary effects of its enactment. Primary among these effects are the movement of reality, the natural beginnings and ending of things, and objective\subjective valuation of desire, intention and result.

A natural element of the Material Reality is the imperfect nature of the infinite selves. This imperfection manifests as limitation and difference amongst the many Selves and an inability to remain in one place in time and space, or spacetime. It is known in quantum physics that time and space cannot be segregated, and therefore cannot be measured precisely. In actuality all of space and all spaces are moving and expanding. This movement is perceived as change and the relative marking of change from space to space is what determines our understanding of time. Time is relative to the movement of each locality and is perceived subjectively by the Selves. The objective understanding of the moving perpetual balance of dualities of existence is known as eternity. Spacetime is the natural home of the Material Reality, and is the natural result of causation from the Source.

The first duality in perception is the difference between objective perception by the Greater Consciousness, and subjective perception by the consciousness of the Selves. A human being is able to materially perceive through the five senses and conceptually perceive through thinking and feeling. The initial impact of perception, the analysis of this perception, the imperfections left by the experience (or memory), and the subjective valuation (or opinion) of that experience are what constitute our personal consciousness. This is one third of the locus which is a combination of the world as it is unperceived, the perceiver (self), and the perception or worldview. No two selves can ever completely share a locus.

Our valuation of experience is determined in a dualistic way, first quantitatively by tallying up all the numeric factors, and then qualitatively by determining if a thing or event is "good" or "bad," or works "well" or "poorly." Value is subjective and is unique to the individual and can be determined in a consensus. Because value is subjective it is also temporal and maintains a beginning, middle and end.

The eternal supercedent of value is spirit, or the total value and character of The Greater Whole and each Self. Spirit is objective and can only be determined by the Source, The Greater Whole, The Great Consciousness (or in a more fitting term, The Great Spirit) at the end of a thing or events characterization, characterization being the valuation of a thing, event, or person's total effect.

Cause and Effect in Materiality

Everything that occurs in the Material Reality is able to do or be so because of the things or events that came before and cause the circumstances that allow for a new thing or event to occur. The past allows for the present and the present determines the likeliness of the future.

What occurs in the material present of "here and now" (which is always changing) is bound by probability and choice. The circumstances of the past (however distant or near) have a direct determination on the probability of the causation of a thing or event, but the action of a conception and causation of a thing or event must be decided upon, and that decision, or "will," is maintained in the conceptual reality.

The conceptual reality is the realm of possibility. Anything is possible in the conceptual reality, and it is the home of all concepts, thought, and imagination. If the material reality is imperfect, then the conceptual reality is perfection.

Mind and Matter

Maybe a better way to understand reality is to see it as being organized into the conceptual, or Mind, and the material or Matter. The two are linked and held together by the binding force of movement, energy, or Will.

This philosophy takes the position that existence was WILLED into being by the decision of the Great Mind, The Movement of Everything. This is the source of being and doing, with the intention of perpetual harmony and freedom of choice for the individual minds of the selves. We are all beings, or complete processes of movement, and we are all moving within the greater processes of movement (the Earth, the Sun, The Milky Way) all of which are subject to the way of the Great Process, The Source, The Great Mind, The Great Spirit. As a kind of being moves throughout existence it may develop a certain amount of internal movement which could possibly determine its level of mind, or Selfhood. The Great Mind is the only Absolute Perfection, but the closer a being gets to conceptual perfection through imagination, or conceptual creativity, the closer this kind of being comes to The Great Spirit. Close proximity to conceptual perfection while maintaining material actuality is what determines personhood. We are people because we are material beings that exist on and within another material being and we maintain our own creative minds. Our minds and beings are linked to The Great Mind and everything around us is due to the the causal first decision that create an ordered, and balanced existence.

This decision for order could not have occurred without a place for Chaos. Chaos is what allows for will and destruction, and is primarily maintained in The Mind, and in the minds of the selves. It is what causes material beings to end, and is a necessary half in the balance of existence, opposing the order of The Way. Mind and Matter are not segregated, nor are order and chaos. They exist together, giving and taking, causing movement, choice and perpetuation.

If we exist inside and because of an ordered Absolute Way that is the cause of understanding the chaos is the cause of confusion in our own Self-Minds. We become confused when we deny the connection of all things to each other and their common Source of Existence. It becomes easy to understand that connection is derived from one source event, however it is easy to be confused and fall apart when this understanding is questioned and denied.

Entropy and Evolution

As Existence progresses in the Absolute Way, it becomes more and more complex, and new beings are created, progress and are destroyed through the constant process of change because of the movement, or flow of Existence.

Change is the perceivable manifestation of the movement of existence. As a new being is created it is possibly able to change within itself and evolve its own mind with an ability to make its own choices depending upon the circumstantial options presented to it. A mind that is selfish is able to make decisions that run contrary to The Absolute Way, thus causing abstraction and confusion. This is Entropy, when a single mind self-reflects and believes it can work against the whole of its kind, and the Whole of Existence. All selves, smaller minds, are subject to the force of will of the Great Mind. The internal and external movement of the galaxies, stars, planets, life, and us are all subject to this will. If ease is working within the terms of the Absolute Way, then disease is working against it, and toward abstraction. However, growth within one's self and one's locality cannot be achieved without questioning and trying to better understand the Absolute Way. That is mental and spiritual evolution, and it is the cause of a kind's physical evolution, though physical evolution may take much longer than one individual being's timespan.

  1. A Change of Heart: The Task Before Us

So, what do we do with this understanding? First we must self-reflect and truly recognize how we have been working against this Way. According to this, it would seem as though our entire approach to the natural world, toward society, and toward our own selves is abstract. We are taught from a very young age to divide ourselves from each other, cut off our connections to nature, and super-impose our society over the Earth like a dictator, or billions of little dictators. This is all an abstraction, for as is obvious we are not more powerful than the Earth or the Sun or Existence. We are subject to these beings, and we live and die and be and do within the single way of the absolute, and that way is ultimately perpetual harmony.

We may seem to have choice, but our choices are finite. There may a plethora of opportunities, but the consequences of our decisions set up new circumstances for us to meet, and that is the work of the Absolute. It is what in Buddhism and Hinduism is known as Karma. The decisions we make are always balanced out within our lives, or it could be that we feel the consequences in our next life or afterlife, whatever that may be, if even we are lucky enough to have one.

What truly matters is what we do with the time and the place that is given to us. We only have one planet, and we are only one human race. We have one chance at perpetuation, and our time to make that decision collectively as a whole human society is drawing very near. This is not a doom-speech, nor is it a 2012 proclamation. It is purely a request and an encouragement to take a hard look at who we are as a species and society, what it is that allows us to exist, and how and what we are going to choose to be and do in the coming time.

Indeed we're at a precarious cross-roads. Our confusion has caused us to build an entire global civilization based on the nothingness of an abstraction. Almost all currency on our planet is based on bank debt that is "loaned" out with interest to our governments. It is basically based on the absence of money, which is nothing. It has no real value, and yet we use it to value everything. Our personal time, the resources of our communities, the fruits of our labors are all paid for with nothingness. The only actual thing that gives it any value is our decision to put our trust in it, and that is a straw-man if there ever was one. By this "trust" we have taken to the habit of exploitation. Exploiting our resources, exploiting our cultures, exploiting our people, exploiting ourselves. And we have devised no way to give any of this back. Indeed if we had some form of responsibility and accountability for the damage that is being done to us by ourselves economically, socially, culturally, ecologically, politically, psychologically, even spiritually then we might be able to strike a balance, and find the respect our world and ourselves deserve. Otherwise we will no longer have the choice and will suffer the global consequences that we have caused.

The Sun is the source of our local existence. After the Sun, the Earth is our source of life, and in our place as its people we are the source of the shape and design of our own society. We choose how to interact with our world, and our choices all have consequences. We can either work with it, giving back what we take from it, and realizing that there is no real disconnect between it and ourselves or we can be self-centered, taking and taking without ever realizing the damage we are doing. And all of this to what end? Are we going to be exploiters as individuals and as a society? Selfishness starts at one person, and it happens the minute someone forgets that how they are and what they do affects other people, the Earth and themselves. If we are able to find common ground in the fact that we all belong on the same planet, and now only have one chance to live harmoniously within it then the possibilities for us as a society, as individuals and as a whole world are boundless. However, we must first realize that we are and will always be bound by the probable, and can only affect change according to the likeliness that it can happen. The task is immense, but it is not infinite, because we and our world are finite. We just need to enact a reasonable change that will spread and grow organically. We must start small. We need to think locally and practically.

Nature and Character of Ourselves and Our Society

At any given point in time a person, a thing, a society has a residual past that creates the circumstances that are the cause of that person, thing or society's place of being in time and space. Everything and all things and all people are created by a cause and immediately affect a character based on the circumstances of that cause.

Ourselves, our society has causation, and everyday we as individuals and as a society create a character based on the effects of what we do with these natural causes. Everyday we choose to move with or against our human nature, and until now we have had so much freedom to do so that our nature and our character have become confused. Indeed, we are now in a place where our society's character and nature are so mixed up in our own minds that our Earth, our home is forcing us to choose what kind of character we want to create for ourselves and our society. With the onset of numerous disasters, all man-made, time is running out.

As of late, our societal character has been made of a focus, on the whole, toward individual selfishness, and a drive for quantitative gain. We selfishly want more constantly without ever considering how our actions affect the spirit of our whole society, our selves individually or our home, Planet Earth. This selfish drive has lead to a loss of quality in our persons, our society and our natural world; and, has bred a culture of exploitation and interpersonal competition. Exploitation is the act of denying a person or a things whole whole intrinsic value by placing a focus on either it's qualitative or quantitative value alone, usually focusing on quantitative value in our case. This denial is accompanied with an action of disrespect for the thing or person being exploited, and this disrespect creates a half-ownership, a right to a thing while denying responsibility for it. As we know due to the balance of dualities every right comes with a balancing responsibility.

Respect, Awareness, Compassion, Care, and Cooperation

These characteristics, our interpersonal competition, our selfishness, our focus on quantity over quality, and the exploitation derived from it, our lack of responsibility to ourselves, each other and our Earth, and the general disconnect between each other, our society as a whole, our planet as a whole, and existence as a whole, all of these are what are currently creating the character of our society and our selves as its members. This characterization is evolving into a disconnect between ourselves and our natural existence, and it is causing us to work in a way of dis-ease against the natural easy way inherent to the natural workings of life on Earth. The effect is that we are becoming a cancer to the Earth, and it is trying to sweat us out, or back into a more natural mode of being on Earth. It is sad, it is scary, and as the people on Earth in this place and time it is our lot to attend and accept this challenge.

We can see now that this relatively new selfish societal character is causing a dangerous, destructive situation for us as a whole, and we see now that it has to change. Yet this change seems daunting in scale and scope. This is true of any holistic change, yet small changes beget big changes if they are done in concert toward a common goal. Be the change you wish to see in the world, and the world will change along with you.

Primarily, we need to change the perception that we are separate from the whole of society, the whole of the Earth, and the whole of Existence. Also, and maybe more importantly, we are not separate from the consequences of our actions, for they define the value of our spirit and each action is balanced by the circumstance of an equal reaction. Every act of selfish exploitation is met with internal and external consequences, and eventually these consequences come back to meet us.

In order to change this cycle we need to marry the rights we demand for ourselves with the realization of the responsibilities we must accept in the maintenance of these rights. If we do not take ownership of our responsibilities our rights will erode away like the soil on our riverbanks and coastlines.

In order to do so we have to change the selfish, competitive, and exploitative societal paradigm we have created by understanding the inherent qualities in ourselves, each other, our society and our world, and we must begin to appreciate quality over quantity in all things. We must re-learn respect and responsibility to ourselves, each other and our world.

This is done through being aware of the state of ourselves and all the potential consequences of our actions individually and as a whole. We must act with respect and care paid to the things we are acting toward and against. We must act with the compassion that comes with knowing that we individually and as a whole are imperfect and always keep in us the potential for change. We must act with the compassion that comes from knowing that as the people on this one Earth we are all collectively in the same predicament and what happens to or because of us could and will potentially happen to us all.

Because of this commonality created by compassion, care, awareness and respect it becomes obvious that cooperation, not competition, is the only way out of our pending circumstances. Through cooperation, through working together and with the governing circumstance of our natural world we can forge a way through responsibility, respect and community that can work for us all and work well, very well. Start small, focusing on ourselves, and our communities, and rapidly this feeling, these concepts, this movement will grow.

Commodities and Commons

The primary change that needs to be affected is the changing of the way we value our goods and services. Our current economic system, based on currency backed by indebted interest is a mechanistic system. The input is our time and our effort, and the output is profit and waste. Value is wasted in this model. In life, in nature, on our planet there is no such thing as profit and waste. Everything that the organic systems, including ourselves, put out as by-products is designed to be used by another organic system. We have an unfortunate perception that our "waste" is "garbage," when to another animal it could easily be a cornucopia. And remember, an organic system's "profit" is the growth and perpetuation of the system itself. If we want a "growing economy" and we want it to always work for us, then we need to devise an organic method for meeting our wants and our needs.

This is best done by having two markets, one that addresses our needs which is best addressed locally, and another that addresses our wants which may be open nationally or internationally. The first can be thought of as a "commons." It is a "shared" economy where everyone has access to their human necessities based on the sheer fact that they themselves are human and have in themselves potential to do good work. Food, shelter, clean air, clean water, security, good education, good healthcare, transportation, communication, and occupational opportunity are all human necessities. All of these are best provided for by the community for the community, which should ensure rapid access and satisfaction of these needs, and if needs cannot be met then the communities can all now be connected in a network that can instantly communicate nationally and globally. With such a network needs can be made public nationally and locally, and over supply can find a place and a people where it is needed, instead of just being thrown out.

The things that the Commons cannot address are few but important. Innovation, the arts, specific manufactured goods, and unique or one-of-a-kind goods and services could all be thought of as commodities, and could possibly be paid for, rather than shared. The two markets would give and take, an innovation might be necessary in a local commons, and such a need could be made public in a notice somewhat like Craigslist in the commodities market. Commodities would be nationally available and might be regulated by the professions themselves, somewhat like a guild system, involving cooperative enterprise and a banking system based on direct democracy much like credit unions. Cooperative enterprise and democratic banking are necessary to ensure that control of the business's decision-making are in the hands of the workers and communities as a whole and not in the hands of a few "men at the top." Indeed the need for managers and CEOs would disappear and would necessarily be replaced by commons administrators and regulators to be sure that the company is keeping to its charter which would mandate that the company balance out its cost with its social and ecological products and by-products. This is an organic method of business, rather than mechanistic, and it could ensure the elimination of the idea of "monetary profit" and "garbage waste." The commonality of certain goods might need to be determined, but services would be set. Example, a household computer would be a commodity, but internet and computer access would not be, as it should be provided by the community.

This is not to say that people wouldn't be paid or there wouldn't be money. Quite the contrary. Money would exist, but instead of being based on the lack of money, it would be based on the potential in the worker to produce. For each birth or immigration there could be one unit of currency added to the economies. For each death, emigration or retirement a unit of currency would be removed from the markets, signifying the lack of need for that money. There would necessarily be deflation initially, but everyone would have their necessities covered, and the "dollar" would be worth a whole lot more. It is likely that everyone would need to be paid the same wage, or that localities or professions could determine the value of a particular good or service, depending upon the present need. There would necessarily need to be no savings accounts so that money can continually be circulating, and ultimately we might lose need of it once harmony is reached, and everyone can find satisfaction in themselves and their communities. Indeed savings wouldn't be necessary if all the necessities are provided for. A person might save up for something he or she really wants, but must know that it is not a necessity. It might be necessary to make public the savings amounts of everyone, so that the flow of the economy could be regulated, much like the homeostasis of any organism.

These are revolutionary ideas, and some might work, but some might not. The beauty is that it can be tried locally first, and each locality may be able to determine what works for it and what doesn't. The most important thing to determine as a community, however, is what goods and services are necessary and what goods and services are merely wanted. If we can agree on what is necessary, and that it should be shared between us we might be able to quickly and effectively cure poverty, greed, hunger, and bad health in our communities and on our own. Not to mention the benefits we can affect for the Earth if we are able to do all this while conserving our natural beauty and resources and using methods that are healthy for us, our communities, our society, our economy, and our environment. This means the necessary reduction and elimination of petrochemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and an introduction of biodynamic permaculture as a way of life for localities that choose to grow their own food. This change is necessary because "BigAg" farming is absolutely killing our soil, almost to a point where it cannot comeback in our lifetime or in the lifetime of our society. Biodynamic and organic farming is marked by an intelligent usage of space, soil, and water to work with the plants and organisms, rather than against them. And the benefits far outweigh the costs of learning and labor because the soil will be there to use again after naturally restoring the nutrients, not to mention the absolute lack of toxic chemicals in our food and water systems. This is a necessary change with or without economic revolution, and it is appalling that more people are not aware of its necessity.

The World We Occupy

The economic revolution is already happening. A common "shared" economy has already been instated at Occupy Wall Street, and at Occupations all across the nation. People at these movements are entitled access to the food and the common materials due to the fact of their presence and their participation. A local and national Commons can work much like this, with contribution going into the various systems, and shares going out to those in need in the moment. The atmosphere of communion and camaraderie are what allow this to work, and many of the people at these Occupations are often eating better than they normally might without it. This can be a way for all of us in our communities.

Indeed, it is possible to turn these Occupations into independent localized economies. If the occupations are able to take soil in the spring time it could be possible to cut down on some of the need for donations throughout the growing season. It is important now to try to seize all unused public space, and claim it as part of the protest, and demand better usage of all our common resources, human and natural. We need social, political, and economic systems that are able to change with the circumstances, and adapt as any organism can. It is those organisms that are most able to adapt that are the ones most likely to survive. This is already understood, so why do we not use this knowledge and make it work for our society? We must concentrate on changing ourselves and our locality, but do so in concert with the greater change through networking, and constant communication. The most effective change is local, and now every locality can be connected to all the others instantaneously.

The time to start is now. This is only the beginning, and much more work, thought and discussion need to be entered into the conversation...

Please take note that this piece is a subjective explanation and prescription considering the objective. The opinions and the recommendations are subjective and are offered as from a single point of view. The minimal citation is acknowledged and explained by the nature of this being a singularly original piece born from the synthesis of a quarter-life of experience, learning and constant questioning. The influences are countless and obvious, because this is a piece of human writing, attempting to explain that which we all can perceive and agree upon. Criticism is welcome and met with encouragement to reconsider oneself, and the place of disagreement. Anything can be workable when we can find the common ground upon which we all stand.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

In the Beginning

An ORIGINAL IDEA with DESIRE and INTENTION toward an ULTIMATE RESULT of PERPETUAL HARMONY thus CREATED ALL THAT MATTERS thereafter by the help of the FORCE OF WORK with its own DESIRE and INTENTION toward INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM and its own ability of DESTRUCTION. This is how it all began, and the way it works.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Subjective Look at the Possible Implications of Systemic Philosophy as Applied to Spirituality

The previous was an attempt to describe the objective reality that we all exist within. The conclusions were derived through a process of comparison of materials and concepts and could possibly be observable to anyone through physical perception (analysis of the five senses). It was an attempt to describe our general reality. A scientific offering. As was stated, this philosophy was reached through by looking at science and spirituality as two sides to the same coin.

So, the following is an attempt to offer a subjective perspective on the applications that this philosophy could have on spirituality. In order to begin, spirituality could be understood as the interrelation between the system of existence as a "whole," and its complete individual parts, the "selves."

To begin, a description of the dichotomy between "total" and "local." The total might be the sum or a multiple of all existent parts (selves). It is a function of the whole, and might be thought of as "The Existential Spirit."

The concept of "Spirit" might be conceived as the overall effect of a single system. Spirit could only be determined objectively at the end of ends.

Spirit and Value exist in a dichotomy. As Value is the total temporary movement currently in existence within any given system, and Spirit would be the over all effect of any given system determined at the end of the continuum of spacetime. Value can be determined subjectively and in a consensus, and Spirit might only be determined objectively.

Existence occurs in local "pockets" or localities in spacetime, due to the cause of a source of existence. Our local source is the Sun. The Sun's local source is the center of the Milky Way. This source is the basis for a complete, organic system. Complete meaning local resources and by-products are in balance. The purpose of a product would be to contribute it to the whole. A complete, organic system could be absolutely measured (quantitatively, and qualitatively) as one whole unit, or "holy." Mechanistic systems are excluded because they do not account for their by-products within themselves without the aid of another system, and are therefore "incomplete." The "self" could be thought of as one whole unit, or holy.

Existence can be thought to have "Desire." Existence does so because it wants to. The devolution of desire to the "selves," and their subjective use of desire might be the cause of organic and mechanistic entropy. If a self becomes too "desirous" it might begin to act against the way of the whole, and become a "cancer," causing "dis-ease" within the whole of a complete system.

The ultimate desire of existence might be the desire to strike an absolute balance.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Systems Theory as a Means of Understanding

In these precarious times we are faced with challenges that seem overwhelming, and without solution. Maybe all we need to do is change our minds about our situation. Maybe it's time for a new way of thinking things through.

This is a proposal for a collective brainstorm about Systems Theory. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systems_theory

The Wikipedia article is maybe inaccessible to some, but at a glance it seems as though almost ANYTHING can be understood through systems theory. Unfortunately systems theory and systems thinking are new fields, without any connective philosophy. This is an attempt at creating an existential philosophy based on systems theory (Note: existential does not mean relating to Sartre's theories of Existentialism). The following is a subjective opinion, a personal presumption about how systems theory can be used to describe and define existence as a whole. It is in no way the dictation of a doctrine, or an attempt to create an ideology, just a suggested point of view. Please note, there are liberties taken in the re-definition of accepted scientific terms, and the expansion of certain theoretical fields of study. This is a personal philosophy, and an attempt to offer systems theory as a sort of combined art and science. At times many of the proposed ideas could be difficult to understand, and might be considered radical in the worlds of science, art and philosophy. Constructive criticism is welcome.

I. Systems theory can be possibly best understood as the study of the process of movement. It may be thought that the perceivable existence we live in (everything basically) is constantly moving internally and externally. If this is the case it can also be perceived that everything does so in various patterns or processes structured in a series of levels, and almost anything can be understood as some kind of system.

Let's say that nothing happens without a cause, and everything has a defined duration of existence (beginning, middle and end). Let's say that the event of a thing happening is determined by the circumstances that preclude and exist around the creation and duration of any individual thing.

If this is the case, then it can be assumed that nothing happens or exists without a cause, and that everything is connected by one single cause (the Big Bang). That is the commonality of existence. Everything is moving at a relative rate, determined by a thing's governing circumstances. Movement is perceived as change, and all locally perceived changes determine a thing's relative rate of movement (time).

The governing circumstances of anything are those factors that determine what causes the creation of a system, how it moves, and how it is eventually destroyed. All individual systems (except for the perceivable whole, the universe) requires some sort of input and output and necessarily has some method of destruction, be it implosion, explosion or slow decay. These are "co-dependent, open systems." Existence itself is the only perceivable "independent, closed system."

II. The following requires the incorporation of one basic proposal from existential phenomenology (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existential_phenomenology): everything that is perceived internally and externally by any system is actually existent in our reality. Our perceived reality can therefore be thought of as having two harmonious aspects: external perception (objective), and internal perception (subjective).

External perception is that which can be perceived through the senses: our physical reality, the relation of matter to energy.

Internal perception is that which is perceived within any subjective system, through "internal senses" (thinking and feeling): our metaphysical reality. It can be thought that the metaphysical reality maintains an existential aspect of its own which can be called "conception," and can be defined as the relation of concepts to energy.

Energy can be redefined as the governing circumstance of movement in the system of existence. Energy is what connects the physical reality and the metaphysical reality.

To recap this line of thought: Existence has two sides (the physical and the metaphysical), and three aspects (matter, energy, and conception). All of these contribute to the "governing circumstances" of the system of existence. There are many more possible circumstances that govern our existence, but for the sake of staying on task, only a few more will be discussed.

III. If everything is caused, that means that nothing "just happens." Each cause can create a range of effects, and each effect is in itself a new cause. This is thought of as a "chain reaction, " and is due to the fact that movement only goes "forward." It is existentially impossible to travel backward in time. Existence is a massive chain reaction. If each cause is determined by its governing circumstances, then it is possible to tally up the circumstances and determine the likelihood that an event will occur. How? Value.

Value can be thought of as the total movement of a system throughout its duration. A system's value is directly related to the governing circumstances of any following or co-existent system. There are two kinds of value: qualitative and quantitative. Quality is a subjective valuation based on what another system might "think or feel" about it. Quantity is an objective valuation based on the measurable circumstances of a system. Quantity can be determined through arithmetic, quality cannot. They are two sides of the same coin, and all systems have both.

So, how does this determine the chances of the event of a new system? First start by determining quantity. Measure all of the quantifiable circumstances around a possible event, and determine how they relate. The second half is much harder, nearly impossible, because there is no way to absolutely measure quality. Quality is what creates the "uncertainty principle" of any event. The only real way to determine quality is to ask enough "people" what they think about a possible event. Quality is based on desire. Everything has desire.

It must be understood that anything is possible in the metaphysical reality, but only certain things are probable in the physical reality due to the governing circumstances of existence that control all events. So the likelihood of any event is really just a game of probability, where there is always some level of uncertainty from the subjective point of view. You can determine the chances, but the coin still has to be tossed before any outcome is certain.

The probability of an event becomes more uncertain as we draw closer to it. This is called the event horizon.

IV. In the physical reality there are only two kinds of systems known to us. Mechanistic and Organic.

A mechanistic system is one in which a resource or number of resources are input into the system and put through a process of change. At the end of the process the resources have been turned into a product, and there is a certain level of loss of resources. This loss is due to what we call entropy. The only known mechanistic systems are man-made.

An organic system is one in which a resource or number of resources are input into the system, and are utilized in the systems overall growth. After a time the system reaches a peak of growth and begins a decline. An individual system's "waste" is, more often than not, another system's necessary resource. This creates a balance in the overall system in which the two smaller systems belong. "Entropy" in an organic system can be understood as constant complexification within a system. It could be that this complexification is the cause of the decline in an organic system. Organic systems, as far as we know, are the only naturally occurring physical systems.

V. In the metaphysical reality there is potentially an infinite number of kinds of systems. It is maybe best to consider metaphysical systems as the ways that physical systems interrelate.

Some examples of metaphysical systems are: all forms of communication, interpersonal relationships, networks, hierarchies, democracies, dichotomies, trichotomies, etc.

VI. Those are the basics of this systemic existential philosophy. This is only the starting point for further debate, clarification, and definition. If generally accepted, this philosophy could have wide-ranging ramifications throughout society, possibly affecting everyone's way of life. If not, whatever.

VII. What about that which does not move? Is there anything that does not move and has no beginning or end? Maybe Dark Matter? What if that's the "stuff" that existence exists within...

In conclusion, this philosophy could have the potential to influence and change the arts and sciences. It's applications and effects on psychology, medicine, industry, government, biology, physics, economy, etc are possibly enormous. Much study and deliberation is obviously needed, but hopefully this text can kick it off.

The topics presented, and the conclusions derived from them may be difficult for some people to understand. If you get it, please help to explain it to those who don't. This is a living document and should be shared and amended openly and publicly. The conclusions were determined through a study of science and spirituality as two halves of a whole, and through a countervailing process of induction deduction, and connection. Some influential texts and authors were: The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra, The Art of the Commonplace by Wendell Berry, The Universe in a Single Atom by the Dalai Lama, the works of Willis Harman, the works of Buckminster Fuller, The Bible, The Baghavad Gita, The Tao Te Ching, and Wikipedia, among others.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

What do we really own?

It has been too long since my last post, and I now have much on my mind. This blog may lose reverence to its initial purpose, being a commentary on the motion picture arts, to expand into a reverence to the greater need of hosting the discussion most important in these dire times.

I say dire, and I mean it. We are royally screwed, and many of the most able of us are sitting on our asses, twiddling our thumbs, and kidding ourselves about the implications of our current circumstances. I personally never wish to sound like a doomsayer, but doom is upon us, coming from many fronts. The economic crisis and unemployment supposedly hovering at 10% (discounting all those jobless not collecting unemployment, and those that are fully capable, yet are under-worked and/or under-paid), the oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico, the annual pump of CO2 into our atmosphere (and its cumulative effects), the exponential loss of habitat and mass extinction of species, the unaccounted for and unknown number of nuclear weapons internationally, the rape and disenfranchisement of the "Global South," and the constant and unending stupefaction of our citizenry all sum up to a situation that is indeed precarious. And, it is very unclear whether human civilization, indeed all life on this planet will be able to survive the effects.

I write now after a year of near-unemployment, and after many experiences of being exploited myself. So much exploitation that I come to believe now that it, and selfishness in all its forms, is the direct initial cause of nearly all of our problems. Now, this term can be very broadly understood, but to make it simpler I will say that in this writing exploitation is at its core the denial of a person, place or thing its intrinsic value by placing upon it a finite (monetary) value. Intrinsic value has the possibility for infinite meaning for the self, and for the greater community. To understand this idea one has to keep in mind that if you live on Earth you are a PART of Earth, and are therefore connected to it in every way. The Earth will be here after we are gone as individuals, and as a race. So, therefore, we can never own the Earth or anything on it, because to own something you have not only rights to it, but responsibilities to it as well. Things cannot be owned, because they can be easily taken, consensually or not, and places cannot be owned because the place is likely to be there long after we, the "owner" depart it. Owning a person is right out, as that would be denying him or her the idea of their own mind, own soul, which has been proven time and again in the constant struggle of person against person.

So what do we really own? All that we can really own is ourselves and the consequences of our actions. And that means that in owning these consequences we have the moral obligation, the responsibility to mitigate the damage. Fortunately, the means to reverse some of these circumstances is already understood, and proven to be effective. Unfortunately, we are now at a time when the bandwidths and airwaves are cluttered beyond description of mess, and most of the general public are listening only to the nay-sayers, the cynics, and the outright uncaring. The chance for government action has come and gone, but the time for its necessity is drawing nearer, faster than can be truly understood. It is now up to the individual to take the daily steps toward a true and honest reversal of our impact. I have many ideas that might be helpful, and I will share them here and elsewhere. I encourage discussion here and elsewhere as well.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The (Real) World.

So, now that it's been more than half a year since my first post, I'll make another. I like to think that this hiatus will not be habitual, but given the track record, I'm not going to promise anything.

During this long fermata I've graduated college with a BFA degree in the Visual and Media Arts. I have also worked on my first feature film, had one of my most serious bouts of poverty, and semi-successfully started a freelance career.

I am a filmmaker. I am a cinematographer. I am an artist. What those words mean these days seems to be up for interpretation, but I like to think that it makes me a technician, an aesthete, and a philosopher in equal parts, all rolled into one.

Currently, I am in the middle of shooting and cutting a short talkie on HDV, with an aspiring writer/producer whom I very much admire. It's a movie very much in the vein of contemporary independent talkies (see:
mumblecore), though I like to think it's a little more accessible. Beyond that I'm in pre-production on a short film to be shot next month, written by a first-time writer/director. The script is impressive, and very ambitious, but with the enough effort it can be pulled off.

I have been reading as well. Mostly James Fenimore Cooper's Leather Stocking Tales, the series of novels that follows the life of the character Natty Bumppo, (also thought of as Daniel Day-Lewis's character in The Last of the Mohicans [1992]). The series takes place in the pre-Revolutionary wilderness of central New York, for the most part, and has completely fascinated me. Cooper does an interesting job of showing the relations between Native Americans, and the white colonists hell-bent on uglifying their homeland (though not necessarily described as such in the narratives). I have always had a love of the outdoors, and untouched land, and reading about the world described in these novels makes me yearn for something quikly receding in this hack-and-burn capitalist economy. After reading Last of the Mohicans, I was thoroughly dissapointed with the '92 film, which was far less about the last mohican than the book, which is really a "return of the prodigal son" story. I feel the urge to update the film version, or at least make a short showing the best parts left out.

I have also managed to start volunteering some time at a local community darkroom in Allston. It's a great service for those film-o-philes who don't have their own darkroom, and don't have the time/money/patience to set one up. They have a negative scanner, and I've been successfully able to scan many of the negatives that I've never had a chance to even see in positive. The place is called the "Allston Community Darkroom," formerly "Blue Zebra Photo Labs." The owners are really awesome, and the prices are very affordable ($10/hour, free chemicals, bring your own paper).

So, I'll leave you with one of my favorite scans of this batch:

Sunday, December 21, 2008


I used to write all the time. In fact, in High School I even considered being an English major somewhere like Sarah Lawrence, or Welles College. It's been almost four years since those thoughts have crossed my mind, and I am far from either of those places and from being an English major. So please excuse me if I seem out of practice. 

Instead I went the visual route. I now exist as a second-semester Senior at Emerson College, studying cinematography. In essence this means that I am both an artist and a technician, one sometimes out-weighing the other depending on who you ask. Cinematography is one of those arts that is better appreciated in that unnoticed way. It is usually presented as a part to a whole, and if it is the thing that is remembered in the end, then someone wasn't doing their job well enough, or perhaps too well. Literally, cinematography means motion-writing, which stems from the idea that a cinematograph was converse to the photograph in that the image presented was imbued with the gift of motion. Therefore, a cinematograph is also blessed with the gift of a temporal dimension, and is often more akin to a play, a piece of music, or dance rather than just existing in the realm of mere photo-realistic mimesis. 

But, it cannot be forgotten that cinematography is a direct relative of photography, and is thus subject to the same conceptions (mis, or pre) that are attached to the art of photography. Most specifically that it is not an art, but simply an exercise in scientific ingenuity, and mechanical reproduction. This is a shame, and may explain why a cinematographer is often relegated to the aisle of "mere" technicians. 
However, it is their images that we watch on screen. It is their choices that lead to a visual manifestation of the story, and without them, films would not be films, but perhaps radio-plays. 

It is my dream to be a recognized cinematographer. It is my wet-dream to be a member of the ASC. But however unlikely that is, I can still hope, and as long as I am hoping, I feel I have the right to write about it. So that is the primary objective of this publication: to talk about cinematography, that which I witness and that which I make. It is my belief that our language is evolving to become more of a visual-vernacular. With the advance of the internet and consumer video, the cinema has become a realistic form of two-way communication, a language that exists first in style and then in syntax and therefore without a legitimized grammar. Maybe, due to these rapid technological advances the role of the filmmaker will become more akin to that of a lexicographer, or etymologist. Maybe. 

As I said earlier, I used to write. That was a bit of a lie. I still do write, but not the same sort of thing. Now I write mostly papers. Theory. Philosophy. And I've realized that I really enjoy it. And so, it may also be that this publication will contain these theories and philosophies that I have come to ponder, and possibly understand. Therefore, I'd like to end this entry with a piece I've just finished. It was an attempt to make concrete some ideas I had about how and why people make films in relation to how people watch them. Feel free to chop it to bits, as this is not something I feel is anywhere near personal completion:

Cine-Semiotics and the Approach Toward Visual Literacy

Since its inception semiology, or the study of signs and their significance in the various modes of communication, has been pervasively used as a foundational philosophy in the dialogue between critics, theorists and creators of cinema. Beyond that, it has also proven to be in itself a point of argument between critics and theorists especially when considering the possible applications that semiology can have in the analysis and critique of the cinematic art in its various incarnations. One of the most primary disagreements in this discussion is whether or not the cinema can be considered its own language, and by extension, whether or not a linguistic theory (such as semiology) can be properly applied to the analysis of cinema and the filmic arts if these forms of communication aren't thought of as operating under a language system. 

Semiology has come a very long way since it was first posited by Ferdinand de Saussure in lectures he gave at the University of Geneva. Originally relegated to linguistic application and to understanding simple sign systems (such as text, traffic signs, and hieroglyphs), semiology was rapidly used to explain many forms of communication and expression. One of the first theorists to apply semiology to the study of cinema was Christian Metz, a french linguist and philosopher. Following Saussure's dyadic model of semiotics in which the sign is made up of only the signifier (the referent) and the signified (the implied meaning), Metz theorized that the language of cinema, an idea that was already long hypothesized, could be interpreted as a sign-system or a form of communication that is made up of signifiers whose meaning could be understood without the need for text or spoken translation or augmentation. Metz then went beyond this hypothesis to try to develop an organized cinematic syntax he termed the Grande Syntagmatique. This attempt to typify stylistic film form was met with great skepticism, and even derision mainly due to his lack of specific examples. His theories, however, have been applied again and again in critical and philosophical readings of many films. 

For example: in viewing the Soviet Russian film Solaris (1972) by Andrei Tarkovsky many inferences can be made concerning the significance embedded in the images presented by the filmmaker. This is particularly true with a scene towards the end of the film in which the protagonist, Kris, a scientist who has been sent to the space station Solaris to determine whether or not it should stay in operation, hastily returns to the station's library to find that Hari, a figment of Kris' long-dead wife who has been reincarnated via the mysterious disorder that is plaguing the station, has been engrossed in the painting “The Hunters in the Snow” by Brueghel. The audience is then presented with a sequence of close-up pans across the painting, intercut with a close-up of Hari staring at the painting, and a shot of Kris's reaction to the situation. From this presentation it can be inferred that the painting signifies human culture and by extension humanity itself. It is also understood that the shot of Hari's intense perusal may connote her understanding of the painting, and more importantly what it means to be human, a problem that has been plaguing the figment of Hari since her introduction into the narrative of the piece. 

A similar understanding of this scene was also reached by Timothy Hyman in a critical review of the film published in Film Quarterly in 1976: 

Magically, she is  in the landscape, and for some moments we explore it with her; the skaters and the homesteads below, the birds and trees silhouetted against the sky, the men and their dogs as they move across the brow of the hill. When she turns to Kris, we realize that through Brueghel she has been able to apprehend what it is to be a human being on earth. In the cessation of gravity that follows, we watch Hari and Kris as they float together in mid-air, in front of the Brueghel, while around them slowly circles the Cervantes, with Don Quixote riding forth. This sequence must be seen as Tarkovsky's cultural testament. Cervantes and Brueghel are both felt as representative of a humanistic culture that is earthy and realistic, yet transcends naturalism, even as love transcends the weight of matter...

Although the review is focused mostly on the thematic nature of the film, and very poetically written, the analysis of the filmic elements is overwhelmingly semiological. Hyman states that Cervantes and Brueghel are “representative of a humanistic culture,” or in other terms, that Tarkovsky's inclusion of these cultural pieces is an attempt to signify the existence of human culture, and its presence on the Solaris space station. Hyman also states that “when she turns to Kris, we realize that through Brueghel she has been able to apprehend what it is to be a human being on earth,” or again, that Natalya Bondarchuk's performance coupled with the way the shot is framed and the diegetic history of Hari's sub-human predicament all connote a point of realization for Hari of what it means to be human. 

These are just a few interpretations of what this scene could mean. To many viewers this scene, and this film could be completely without relevance or significance. Indeed, at the very beginning of Hyman's article he states that “Solaris was the first of Tarkovsky's films to be seen at all widely in the West and, perhaps inevitably, it was misunderstood. Audiences and almost all critics brought to it the most conventional expectations – of a genre film, a sci-fi epic, 'Russia's answer to 2001.' And although it clearly owes part of its continuing availability to this science-fiction label, Solaris has never, I suspect, found the wider audience it deserves.” He goes on to proclaim that Solaris is not actually a science-fiction film but an allegory explaining the lack of humanity contemporary society seems to posses. This proclamation is an example of the disconnect that often exists between the filmmaker's intended significance in his or her imagery and the viewer's ability to accurately read these images as such. But if a filmmaker is knowingly applying certain significance to his or her films then from where does this disconnect stem?

In an article titled “Film Language: From Metz to Bakhtin” Robert Stam makes an attempt to explain the existing theories concerning a cinematic language especially those of Christian Metz. He states that “the question which orients Metz' early work, therefore, is whether the cinema is a langue (language system) or langage (language), and Metz' well-known conclusion is that cinema is not a language system but that it is a language.” What he means by this is that Metz considered the cinema to be a strong form of communication in which significance can be very easily derived from the deliberate construction and juxtaposition of the imagery and sound, but that these texts and their meanings are operating under no established structure or strict syntax.

Pier Paolo Pasolini agreed with this position, and in an address he gave in Pesaro in 1965 Pasolini took this notion further through a comparison between the differing signification processes of writing and filmmaking:

The cinema author has no dictionary but infinite possibilities. He does not take his signs, his im-signs, from some drawer or from chaos, where an automatic or oniric communication is only found in the state of possibility, of shadow. Thus, toponymically described, the act of the filmmaker is not one but double. He must first draw the im-sign from chaos, make it possible and consider it as classified in a dictionary of im-signs (gestures, environment, dreams, memory); he must then accomplish the very work of the writer, that is, enrich this purely morphological im-sign with his personal expression. While the writer's work is esthetic invention, that of the filmmaker is first linguistic invention, then esthetic.

This proposal is an important one, and can offer some insight into the predicament stated above. According to Pasolini, a filmmaker is constantly tasked with formulating understandable meanings in each of his or her images, and then making sure that this signification is coherent and matches their desired vision. Through doing so, a filmmaker has the ability of establishing a code or langue which can be specific to the film, the filmmaker's ouvre, the genre, etc. This process is known as encoding, and is the key tool an auteur has in developing significance, style, and a specific cinematic language system. It is through the encoding process that a filmmaker can truly create a singularly intended significance in his or her work. 

And yet, there can still be a disconnect between what the filmmaker intended and what is understood by the viewer. Because the cinema is not a langue and is not governed by a grammatically categorical system, the audience must conduct a converse process of interpretation known as decoding.   Through this process the images and their significance are transposed in the mind of each individual viewer which can result in very unique interpretations from viewer to viewer, depending on the individual's cultural background and identity, and their experience understanding codified cinematic texts. Pasolini states in the same address that “it is true that after some fifty years of cinema, a sort of cinematic dictionary has been established, or rather a convention, which has this curiosity – it is stylistic before being grammatical.” Often there arises a syntax of convention in which visual semantics become determined by an overall cultural codification. A low-angle becomes powerfully meaningful in a way by using the audience's perspective and the relative size of the subject on the screen to make the viewer appear, and thus feel small compared to the mimetic image of a person. Conversely, this representation of a person is imbued with a connotation of superiority and power. The first time this technique is used it is a sensation, a spectacle. If it is used a second time to convey the same connotation it has become a convention, and thus a cultural sign. This has not been pre-determined but has grown organically, and can be learned by each individual viewer of cinematic text. 

The ability and aptitude of each viewer to quickly and accurately decode a cinematic text has come to be known as visual literacy, a term which was coined by John Debes from Eastman Kodak in the late 1960's, and has since been a topic of study by numerous institutions throughout the world. It is thought that the more saturated with imagery our environment is, the more able we are to comprehend the significance behind each image, or juxtaposition. In a review by Peter Felten titled “Visual Literacy,” he attempts a brief overview of the state of intellectual and pedagogical studies on this topic. He states:


Research demonstrates that seeing is not simply a process of passive reception of stimuli but also involves active construction of meaning. A typical person, for example, perceives a line drawing of a cube to have three dimensions; our eyes project depth onto a flat surface by assembling a familiar shape from a two-dimensional drawing on a sheet of paper. Proponents of visual literacy contend that if the physical act of seeing involves active construction, then the intellectual act of interpreting what is seen must require a critical viewer. 

If what Felten has determined is true, or at least possible, then that means that the act of viewing cinema is just as active if not more-so, and demands that the viewer be engaged in a sort of participatory “reading” of the cinematic text. This also means that the successful creation of signifier-signified relationship in a cinematic text is equally the responsibility of the filmmaker to encode meaning in the creation of his or her imagery, and the film viewer to actively read, decode, and interpret the signs included in the text. Felten makes the observation that due to the rapid advancement of technological practices, coupled with the evolution of more complicated and intricate cinematic signs and syntaxes there has been an emergence of a generation that is more intuitively capable of decoding cinematic texts and is in general more visually literate than those prior. 

But there is still more to learn. In an interview with Tarkovsky's cinematographer, Vadim Yusov, included in the Criterion Collection's edition of Solaris, he says “By then we had already seen Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, which served as a basis for comparison... When we saw Kubrick's film we were mesmerized by the film's imagery, its expansiveness and space, the massive flying objects, and much more. But as for the scenes of the birth of humanity, his understanding of it was alien to us. They were logical for Kubrick's interpretation, but for us, who were inspired by different concepts, they could not serve as a good model.” This is telling of how much of an impact cultural identity has upon a viewer's decoding process. It may be that Kubrick's understanding of humanity was more rooted in theories of evolution and conquest, while Tarkovsky's understanding had more to do with cultural contribution and socialization. Whatever the case, there existed the same disconnect in Tarkovsky and Yusov's decoding of 2001: A Space Odyssey, that occurred when Western audiences approached Solaris. This implies that visual literacy is as much a possession cultural socialization as it is determined by the viewer's exposure to the deluge of imagery that exists in most of the societies that exist today. 

In the same interview Vadim Yusov states that “all Tarkovsky's films are extremely expressive cinematographically. It's easy to understand why, because through this medium he was striving to express his ideas. We mustn't forget that cinema is a protean art, a visual art, and it conveys its ideas through images.” Tarkovsky's Solairis is evidence of this. Through the masterful creation of it's imagery, the most careful and attentive direction of performance, and the extremely intelligent juxtaposition of image and sound in sequence Tarkovsky was able to create a piece of cinema that is rich with significance and thematic ramification. Unfortunately for him, in some cases this was only half the battle. In order for cinematic signs to carry meaning, that meaning must be extrapolated by the audience in its decoding of the text. It may be the case that this film, and many others have fallen on the blind eyes of the visually illiterate, who were unable or unwilling to actively read the text offered to them. It is the hope of every intelligent filmmaker to create an art that is profound, and whose significance is read and appreciated. In order for this to happen, a filmmaker must have an audience that is at a level of visual literacy which facilitates the understanding and appreciation of such an art. There is evidence that in the future our society will be as able to read, write, and understand cinematic texts just as it is able to read, write, and understand written literature. If this is true, then it may be plausible to determine that the future of the cinema is likely to become more complex, intelligent, and rich with significance, and that society's appreciation of cinematic spectacle will evolve into an appreciation of cinematic literature.