The Science News report, When Networks Network, is so striking in its implications that you should read it first. Here is a link to a PDF: http://www.centertao.org/media/Networks-of-Network.pdf.
This research hints at humanity’s gradual cognitive evolution toward a small ‘t’ Taoist (p.154) point of view. Research like this, along with quantum theory, nudges secular common sense towards a more spiritual sense in a wonderfully non-sectarian way.
I can’t help but feel that science will ultimately end up with the Taoist worldview serving as at least one pillar of its long sought after Great Unifying Principle. Naturally, that may not occur for a few millennia, but in the grand scheme of things that’s just tomorrow. It won’t have the Taoist label either I assume, for that word probably carries too much secular baggage. Heck, the word may even carry too much baggage for true Taoist now. It would for me, if I actually cared that much.
Similarity is the root of difference
Seeing what appears to be separate as essentially an interconnected whole is the Taoist principle of profound sameness (#56). Correlations can also pull the mind toward that seamless whole (See p.565). The networks of networks point-of-view reminds me of chapter 47…
Without going out the door we can know all under heaven.
Without looking out the window we can see Nature’s way.
He goes out farther, he realizes less,
Accordingly, the wise person goes nowhere yet knows.
Sees nothing yet understands.
Refrains from acting yet accomplishes.
Seeing Nature’s way doesn’t mean that you know all the bits and pieces, mind you. Knowing the process is enough. Rain offers us a good example. Without knowing the water cycle, one might think that rain comes from the rain gods that live up in those puffy white pillows in the sky. By knowing the water cycle, I can sense the natural flow of Nature’s way: it evaporates from a warm ocean, it rises, wind blows it, it cools, it condenses and falls upon my head. No, I don’t know the history of any particular drop of water that wets my head, but in knowing the process, I need never look out the window.
This parallels the benefit for adopting a symptoms point of view (p.141). I don’t need to trace back each cause and effect, symptom by symptom, to some ancient origin. I simply need to maintain a healthy ongoing awareness that my life’s experiences are in fact symptoms of deeper layers that chapter 21 hints at, Indistinct and suddenly, among which exist a shape.
Ponder this image of the body’s interacting networks (right). Maintaining some awareness that this is occurring continually under my skin, and even more importantly, under your skin, helps ground me. Otherwise, my lazy mind’s instincts just zero in on the surface and make snap judgments, which are typically just projections of my own needs and fears. Feeling there is infinitely more here than meets the eye makes it much easier to embrace chapter 71’s Realizing I don’t’ know is better; not knowing this knowing is disease. Ironically, truly knowing I don’t know is boundless knowing, or as chapter 10 puts it, When understanding reaches its full extent, can you know nothing? Sure, this is fleeting. It comes and goes because at the end of the day, my emotions are in charge. I’m just grateful for any occasional peek at Nothing. A network of networks point of view offers another way to open up perception to that ‘biggest picture’.