Source Code

From Wikipedia: In computer science, source code is any collection of computer instructions (possibly with comments) written using some human-readable computer language, usually as text.

As we now know, our own DNA can be “decoded” (sequenced) by supercomputers to reveal its “meaning” as a series represented by four letters of our alphabet, A, C, T and G (representing the organic substances that carry out its “instructions”).

In the book Biological Physics (Updated Edition), Philip Nelson refers to a similar insight into our own nature (biology) by a rather impressive figure in human history. On page 89 he writes:

“3.3.1 Aristotle weighs in

Classical and medieval authors debated long and hard about the material basis of the facts of heredity. Many believed that the only possible solution was that the egg contains somewhere inside itself a tiny but complete chicken, which needed only to grow. In a prescient analysis, Aristotle rejected this view, pointing out, for example, that certain inherited traits can skip a generation entirely. Contrary to Hippocrates, Aristotle argued:

‘The male contributes the plan of development and the female the substrate. . . . The sperm contributes nothing to the material body of the embryo but only communicates its program of development . . . just as no part of the carpenter enters into the wood in which he works.’

Aristotle missed the fact that the mother also contributes to the “plan of development” but he made crucial progress by insisting on the separate role of an information carrier in heredity. The organism uses the carrier in two distinct ways:

– It uses the software stored in the carrier to direct its own construction; and

– It duplicates the software, and the carrier on which it is stored, for transmission to the offspring.”

Here Nelson refers to the “program” noted in our cellular makeup by Aristotle (who presumably did not know about DNA) as “software.”

With the modern perspective of a user of computer software, with even a rudimentary understanding of the nature of code, we can somehow sense that what is being referred to here is a mental property in nature that is not materially present in the cell.

As Aristotle analogously suggested with his reference to the carpenter – “just as no part of the carpenter enters into the wood in which he works” – it is the mental intention of the programmer that lives on through software in an inanimate object (the computer) just as it is apparently some sort of mental intention (consciousness?) that is at work in our own nature.

Is this the same level of mind as what we might call our mental self? It is hardly likely, since this rational faculty remained unaware or disregarded consciousness itself as science developed its stranglehold on our current world view. And yet the Cartesian notion that “I think, therefore I am” has identified human thought as the preeminent and superseding aspect of our true nature and its highest manifestation.

Eckhart Tolle has written eloquently about the limitation of this perspective, noting that the intelligence that instructs our biology (expressed through DNA) is far more intelligent than the verbal inner chatter that we take our “selves” to be.

And yet any such notion of the reality of a consciousness beyond “our own” has been discarded by science as “unscientific.” As Jacob Needleman writes in An Unknown World:

“Can science, which originally took its strength by rigorously excluding consciousness from the field of its investigation—can such science now understand the very element it initially ruled out as an object of study?” (129)

Or as Eckhart Tolle puts it, can the human mind understand the true breadth of Consciousness (through thought alone)?

Needleman refers to this myopic aspect of science (human blindness to the true nature of reality when it rules out the existence of consciousness) as “Scientism” – an arrogant notion of life putting the human ego at the center of a projected universe – and indeed the modern “religion” or thought pattern ruling our perceptions and behaviors.

In An Unknown World Needleman, however, hints at another interpretation of Descartes that is currently being tested in the sciences of biology (as Nelson indicates above), neuroscience and quantum physics, as they merge in their inevitable recognition of the reality of consciousness as the fundamental aspect of our “being” (nature).

Needleman writes (page 67) that Descartes, rather than ascribing human thought a preeminent status as the foundation of our being, rather Descartes “is showing that in the capacity of the mind to concentrate its attention toward itself in pure thought—in that capacity there is a central element of Man that is not merely separate from nature, but beyond nature! Beyond Earth! What Descartes is offering is not more or less than the idea of the holy spirit expressed not in religious language, but in the language of the independent human mind.”

So what Needleman suggests, echoing Eckhart Tolle, is that through our attention we can see a faculty within us that observes thought (as it occurs) – so that we are not thought as generated in our earthly body (through the brain) but rather there is present within us an aspect of Mind beyond the earthly material brain – operating on an immensely higher scale…

As Eckhart Tolle writes, this is our true nature, which is “no thing” – a frequency of mind that we barely comprehend (beyond thought) and to which our proper relationship is not rational comprehension, but rather a stance of reverence, awe and profound gratitude for our very existence.

Whatever word we assign to this aspect of being: God, Life, Being, Consciousness or Source –we do not come to it through answers, but rather as Needleman suggests, through a more open Question – such is found within the actual (not hypothetical) experience of silence and meditation.

This is what our modern science disdains as “religion”, but to which we can only refer as the Sacred.

And as Needleman suggests, when our consciousness is “tuned” to this frequency through a change in our very being, we will be of service to the whatever “programmer” may have “written” our software, which runs not only our “selves,” but the earth, the Sun and everything else that exists through Consciousness.

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