Life, universe, everything

In this contribution, 1 merges everything into one.

Pragmatical paradoxes
Life, universe and everything is inherently paradoxical. Paradox results from making a distinction, any distinction will do. (See: Laws of Form, Spencer-Brown; Paradoxes of Group Life by Smith and Berg and Paradoxical Life, Wagner. Paul Watzlawick shows in Pragmatics of Human Communication how communication is fundamentally paradoxical. I must admit I’m a bit more radical about paradoxes). Creating means also making a distinction, a difference, separating. This is for instance symbolized by the first sign of the zodiac, Ram.

I was asked the other day to give an example of paradox. Everything is. Meaning is. Life is. The meaning of life, universe and everything is paradoxical. The very ability to ask a question: “please give me an example of paradox” is paradox. The question both denies and implies the existence of paradox. In the same way, everything is energy. Usually people find that easier to understand.

No annihilation
Once separated, two parts both belong together, they’re forming a pair, twins, siblings. Like: above and below, + and -, water and fire, earth and sky, (fe)male, order and chaos. They have their separation in common, the have an implied link. Also, they seem to want to become one again. This is where the energies seem to come from.

Now something paradoxical happens. They also seem to be opposites, below and above, – and +, fire and water, sky and earth, …, trying to annihilate each other. Becoming one also implies to disappear again, to deny your own existence. As this is also unwanted by the pair of them. Every thing wants or needs or has to continue its own existence; we strive to be maintained. This is where we need energy.

So a paradoxical pair has no other option but to transform, to create or invent a new pair. They cannot create themselves, they cannot annihilate each other. Like a true paradox, they cannot exist together nor with out each other. So it/they transform into another pair. This is where the energies seem to come from. Paradox gets paradox. (and here you have the four fold pattern of development.)

Another approach: in language, we get a paradox when a statement is referring to its own denial, its annihilation. Referring means also “to make again”. It both makes itself again – as a paradox – and something new, a new paradox. Recursion is the hall mark of paradox.

Energy or paradoxes
Different paradoxes are also different kinds of energies. As you might have noticed, any paradox creates tension, you somehow want “to solve” it, get out of it, get rid of it. For some it looks like a dilemma; for others, it is simply a problem. Most go into denial. (“You’re in denial”, “no, I’m not”). Others again, perceive it as a source of creative, free energy. Every energy signals paradox, every paradox shows itself trough energy, tension, force, power or work.

As meaning is also paradoxical, the energy is shown in discussions, meanings with an end (usually called “true” or “real” and a full stop) or debate or dialogue (creating meanings, usually called “emergent”) or blogs. Basic signs, energies of paradoxes are time, space and mass. For instance, the paradox of space consists of space being both “space” and location (or “limit”) too. Time is just the way paradoxes propagate. E=mc2 signals that mass, time and space are energy. It also implies meaning, at it is interestingly enough called “theory of relativity”, it relates to you and me.

First Law: paradox is always conserved
The Law of Conservation of Energy implies that paradox is always conserved. Electricity is conversed into magnetism, a rotating engine, generating electricity again. Sunlight is converted into sugar by plants, eaten and driving the cellular engines to move a cow into the shade… There are big and small cycles of energy all around. It is only “good”, or useful, or “bad”, wasted heat, depending on your standpoint. And then again, we can generate electricity from heat. Paradoxes – irreconcilable and yet not contradictory – hide behind the energies.

Second law: paradoxically chaos creates order
The second law of thermodynamics (who gave it this brilliant name?), states that the change or difference in entropy must always be zero or greater. Not only is energy conserved, it has to create more tension, more entropy, by ordering itself. This again, is the paradoxical consequence of the “annihilation”. Entropy is usually defined as “chaos”, stability, equality. In a closed system, that is. But we live in an open system. Here entropy induces order, structure, information. With every change, information is created. Just like heat, information can be data. Then we’re having a closed system, like a hard disk. And from these data, we can, through interactions, create meaning again. As I said: paradoxical pairs are formed, the shape of paradox is informing.

So in every conversation, meaning is conserved and converted. It is converted into Entropy. Entropy creation is just a confusing word for another paradox, meaning information. The Second Law states that in every process the change of entropy must be greater than 0. This “drives” order out of chaos, information out of data, meaning into life. Paradox wills itself (or so it seems to) into life, because life creates more meaning: meaning of life. Such is life, somebody told me, and it is getting such-er and such-er all the time.

Third law: creating reality in your Eigenzeit
The first law opened up energy, system. The second law gave us space, mass and time. How does it all work? How about reality? Where does life come into the picture? Here I have to refer to the third, lesser known law: the law of the least action. Nature always follows the path of the least action. Interestingly, of all the ways (use of the word way intentionally), the way with the smallest sum of potential (= possible) and actual energies is being used. Feynmann gave a very good lecture about this third law. Every process, change, transformation follows the path of the least action, producing the least amount of work.

We usually call this the “path of the least resistance“, naming it paradoxically. It has nothing to do with resistance. It is a consequence of the recursive effect of the paradox on itself. She tries both to maintain and to annihilate her self, through transforming her own energies.

In this way, every process has its own “Eigenzeit“, his natural way of behaving (combining to be with to have). There are several ways to illustrate this.

1. As everything also refers to itself, any trajectory, any path is “naturally” part of a fractal. The path is always the only path possible. The word reality combines “rea-“, thing, with “li”, connection. So reality is just the thing, “res”, connecting itself with itself (again and again and again,….) . We experience this reality as mass, the resistance to change, inertia. This inertia, mass, has to be equivalent to the real mass, see what I mean?

2. Dutch version. Now, in Dutch, the word werk, work, is also used for action: the third law becomes “the path of the least work”. Any path means paradox at work. As I mentioned elsewhere, in Dutch “werk” is also in “werkelijkheid“, reality. So every paradox creates the least amount of reality, werkelijkheid. Our world is in the business of creating reality, that is exactly why we have these dialogues. This works at the slowest AND fastest way available. (So high energy beings, like (y)ourselves, live somewhere “ahead” of time and space. Here our emotions emerge from.). System develops at exactly the right pace (but it does keep me wondering: “why now?”).

What makes it so hard to understand?
The paradoxes themselves, combined with the use of language. Language, firstly, – these words – are not actual, not “acts”. They describe reality, but should not be confused with reality. Real reality occurs in only one form: the actual, the here-and-now, the presence. You are present there, not here, in the words. Words do want to get into action, but then, they won’t be words any more.

In a way, words interfere with actual reality, by creating their own universe. They give their own turn to what actually happens. They need your compliance to be accepted and remain, continue and, at the same time, “destroy” the actual reality. Of course they do not actually destroy reality, they cannot. This is the big divide between mathematics and physics, between thinking and acting. Here is where facilitating, making links, is required. Facilitating is giving birth to both new actions and words. Facilitators just use the energies available for their completion.

Not me
Deep down, paradoxes seem afraid of being discovered, because it implies that you are one (double meaning intended). And you are not one. In order to become who you are, to discover who you will become, you had to split of parts of you, disown them, push them into the dark, out of the light, into complex. A person, had to develop an ego and split of “other”, what’s not me. And for a very good reason: to adapt, to survive, to belong, to enact and to express ourselves. This way, we could hide the pain and anxiety of being “split off”. And as everybody did, everybody needs to do “the work” again. These parts were not gone, destroyed, but hidden. And also for a very good reason: to become whole again. To liberate ourselves, through the application of the stored energy. Tensions have to grow unbearable, for else, a transformation could not occur.

The work I/we have to do, is to discover y/our inner paradoxes, re-own what was disowned, dissociated and through action enact them. Find my/our selves, not by looking for me/you, but by re-owning “other”. What then happens, is also constructing AND de-constructing our selves. In order to discover who I am, I have to de(con)struct my self. There is a Y in you, as I’ll write later.

Over Jan Lelie

Loves to facilitate groups in complex situations
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