Viewpoint: Sensitive Dependence

By Betty Bland

Originally printed in the Spring 2009 issue of Quest magazine.
Citation: Bland, Betty. "Viewpoint: Sensitive Dependence." Quest 97. 2 (Spring 2009): 46.

Betty BlandAlthough Einstein is famous for his opinion that "God does not play dice," subsequent scientists have successfully delved into the amazingly unpredictable world of subatomic theory. Light behaves as waves or particles, depending on how the observer measures it; particles appear and disappear seemingly at random, with only a probability of being present at a particular place and time; and chaos theory recognizes the panorama of ever-unfolding patterns produced by irresolvable nonlinear equations.

In this world of the infinite, where it seems that nothing can be nailed down as absolute, we encounter an amazingly important principle: sensitive dependence upon initial conditions. This means that an infinitesimal difference somewhere earlier in an equation will make a major change in the outcome. Rather than "garbage in, garbage out," it is more that one tiny bit of garbage in can result in a mountain of garbage out. One minute modification to ocean temperatures can cause the difference between a destructive storm and a cooling breeze halfway around the world.

Most people who are on the Internet have received the e-mail about plastic bag pollution that has been circulating during the last year. Pictures that graphically illustrate the horrific impact of the mounting accumulation of plastic bags accompany the text cataloging the environmental damage and unnecessary suffering caused to wildlife through this human excess. As the light of awareness dawns on this problem, people all around our nation are beginning to be more careful about the use and disposal of this nonbiodegradable material. In recognition of our power to ameliorate the difficulty, the Theosophical Order of Service has begun promoting reusable shopping bags to replace the offensive plastic. Just as each one of us has contributed to this problem, one bag at a time, so does the solution lie within our power, one bag at a time.

Life is a whole of which each of us is a small but essential part. Up to a certain point, life unfolds without any help from us, but we are the outer edge of life’s manifestation, the edge of creativity and dynamic change. The culmination or end point toward which all life moves requires us to cooperate with the high beings that spring forth from within manifestation itself. The parent universe requires the cooperative maturity of its progeny in order to reach its full potential, proving the axiom that creation unfolds from within outward. As the universe progresses in its evolution, its own products are destined in time to develop to the level of becoming cocreators. Creation unfolds according to the spiritual impulse inherent in its own nature—implanted as a spark of the divine omnipresent first principle. Thus the ingenuity and self-responsibility of humankind, for whatever unfathomable reason, are part and parcel of the divine plan and are necessary for it to flower in fullness.

H. P. Blavatsky spoke about our personal responsibility for the well-being and development of this creation. Everything we touch is affected by us, by the quality of our actions, thoughts, and emotions. In volume 12 of the Collected Works, she says:

The earnest Occultist and Theosophist...sees and recognizes psychic and spiritual mysteries and profound secrets of nature in every flying particle of dust, as much as in the giant manifestations of human nature (p. 115).

She also writes:

Indeed, every organ in our body has its own memory. For if it is endowed with a consciousness "of its own kind," every cell must of necessity have also a memory of its own kind, as likewise its own psychic and noëtic action. Responding to the touch of both a physical and a metaphysical Force, the impulse given by the psychic (or psycho-molecular) Force will act from without within; while that of the noëtic (shall we call it Spiritual-dynamical?) Force works from within without (p. 368).

In other words, the deepest mysteries of the life force reside within every particle of dust, each particle being influenced by psychic force just as human nature is influenced by the energies it encounters. Every molecule, every cell, has its own consciousness which responds to "spiritual-dynamical" energy. We transmit this energy in our every thought and action, so that every cell or particle we touch is impacted by our vibrations. Our inbreathing and outbreathing draw matter inward, with the potential of transforming, upgrading, and scattering it to repopulate the earth with a finer grade of material. In this way, we are at the frontiers of evolution.

In seeing this process, we begin to realize the profound importance not only of our responsible actions in relation to the physical world, but also of the purity and kindness of our thoughts in relation to the evolutionary progress of manifestation as a whole. If this understanding could truly penetrate our consciousness, we would all put aside the pettiness that arises in our self-seeking human machinations and open our hearts to the whole of humanity. This cannot be accomplished in the abstract, but by dissolving one selfish thought at a time in our true work toward unity and brotherhood with all.

As parts of our nation, we can raise our voices in support of diplomacy, sustainability, and responsible peace, which are so essential for our survival. In our homes we can monitor our thoughts and responses to make them more harmonious and loving, which is so essential for the nurture of our spirits. And in the Theosophical Society we can put aside divisions to focus on building a spiritual unity, which is so absolutely essential for the Society’s effectiveness and indeed for its continued existence. Each letting go of old agendas, each reaching out in brotherhood, each stretching beyond self for the greater good—every one of these selfless expressions is a small initial circumstance that can manifest in hugely impactful ways—perhaps far beyond our little imaginings. We are the element for transformation, one thought or action at a time. We have to become the change that we long for—the change that cannot occur unless we do our part—now.

 

Image
Theosophical Society PoliciesTerms & Conditions • © 2019 The Theosophical Society in America