About Sciomorphogenesis

In order to explain what “sciomorphogenesis” is, I need to ask you the question: What is the “nature” of Nature?

But, does that question even make sense?

Unfortunately, our use of language is so loose that it does! We use the word, nature, in two ways (well, come to think of it, three!): the nature of a thing is its innate essential qualities that cause it to manifest as a certain kind of thing, in a certain way; nature also means the collection of phenomena, such as animals, plants, the land and all its features, the atmosphere, its weather, and on and on… But there is this other sense, which I will always use a capitalized “N” with, which points to that which is not available for us to point to directly; instead, it is evidenced by all the natural things around us; it is necessary for there to be anything at all; and it is simple (versus complex). This indefinable and unnameable not-a-thing is that which manifests the entire universe and everything within it!

Of course not everyone will accept that there is such a thing as this Nature–they probably believe that everything that does happen is random in nature but limited by physical laws. That is more than just a bit oxymoronic because of its dependence on random–but lawful–activity, as if physical laws had leeway built into them! And on a deeper analysis, you really have to ask yourself why anyone would believe that randomness is the source of activity, rather than its quality. If you’re interested in further clarification of why I think this way, please read the first part of my “Seven Guides” series called “Reality and Existence” for more on my distinction between “reality” and “existence” and what led me to it.

So what is the innate essential quality of this Nature? Baruch Spinoza, during the middle ages, coined the expression: “Natura naturans,” to indicate the activity of Nature, without saying anything about the essential character of Nature. Of course, it is obvious to us what this character is because, after all, we see it doing its stuff everyday of our lives! But being a philosopher and critical of everyone’s assumptions about reality, I find that it isn’t good enough to say “It’s obvious what its essential character is!” I want to describe it and in order to make everyone remember what I am talking about, rather than what someone else talked about, I found that I needed to create a new word. The serious intent for this is to indicate something that I think is very important for us to realize about Nature, that is normally overlooked. Nature is aware. In fact, I argue in a book titled An Introduction to Awareness that when we use the word Nature in the sense of “that which manifests everything” what we are really talking about is that presence in us that we normally label as “awareness.”

Now, not to nitpick, but when I said that you probably fell into your habitual way of thinking and thought, “Of course! this fool thinks it’s all in our head!” But that’s not it at all. I just used the example of our awareness because, well, it’s so close to home for you. In fact, it’s really more complicated than what I said, or rather more simple, because awareness isn’t in us, we, that is, our bodies, perceptions, and thoughts are the activity of awareness, i.e. Nature. We have it all inside-out and upside-down. Thus my criticism of mainstream assumptions about reality.

So, what is the meaning of this word “sciomorphogenesis” that I used as the name for this website? The essential character of Nature is that Nature essentially knows through the genesis of form. What form? The form of a human being as it progresses through all the stages of life, that of an acorn becoming the oak tree it wants to be, that of a star pouring its heart out in a fury of life-giving radiance, that of a photon of light that is everywhere and nowhere, and is the twinkle I see in your beautiful eyes, etc. All of these forms, the patterns that we can become aware of all around us, all of this is the knowledge (knowing) of Nature–its concrete ideas.

And going more deeply still, these forms are not material–they are temporal. We don’t live in a material universe, we live in a temporal one–everything is a form of time. And “duration” and “awareness” are exact synonyms. What makes this hard to understand is that we have vivisected “duration” out of everything and invented a new “dimension” called Time, for everything to be measured by. There a more complete explanation of this in the “Time is the Formal Appearance of Reality” section of my “Seven Guides” series

This blog is my personal and sometimes poetic encounter with the unfolding form of this life I have been gifted with.

Sciomorphogenesis. Knowing through the genesis of form.

PS, All these words are nothing other than the sciomorphogenetic activity that I call “Naturing.” Ponder that as you read more…

3 Responses to “About Sciomorphogenesis”

  1. Don Salmon says:

    Hi James – just found this blog from your comments over at Bernardo Kastrup’s site. Wonderful! how nice it must be to swim in poetry and not just slog through prose:>))

    Spent five years writing a book on Sri Aurobindo’s yoga psychology, studying philosophy, cognitive science, evolution, etc (2001-2006). Last 3 years creating music and videos for a site on the brain and meditation (www.remember-to-breathe.org). What a difference! Hopefully, when we go back to philosophy and science, we’ll bring more of the music, animation and poetry with us.

  2. Martin says:

    Hi James,

    I just read your article on the four elements inner sound yoga.

    I am the student of a famous teaching family of Tibetans from Dordogne.

    Your article interests me because of the experiences I’ve had in my mantra practice.

    I’d love to (hear) more about it: I often experience a ‘ringing’ that is not an outer sound. Is this what you mean? Also, I often produce spontaneous sounds like seed-syllables during focused/intense practice. Is this related? Have you any idea what I mean?

    If you have some thoughts to share, I’d appreciate it.


    • James says:

      Hello Martin,

      I live not far from your teachers then. If you are ever here to attend their summer teachings, I’m down in the village.

      The ringing is sometimes called “meditation induced tinnitus” by (western) medical professionals, which is just a designation of a symptom, not a specific disease. For medical professionals, hearing a sound without a source is symptomatic of a physical problem. But that view is limited by a materialistic/dualistic understanding of reality in which our experience of sound must be caused by some perceived phenomenon, or else it is symptom of a malfunction of the body/brain.

      In my experience, the ringing that you speak of, if it is a metallic like squeal, is a kind of resonance that arises according to the degree of one’s concentration and steadiness of focus, and this resonance which can become evident to us when we quiet our mental chatter, as would happen in meditation practices, including mantra practice. This characterization of this sound was recently confirmed for me by one of Tulku Urgyen’s principal students who related to me that Tulku Urgyen once described it to him as a useful tool, a kind of “meter” of your concentration, becoming louder as your concentration becomes established and unwavering.

      There is useful information about the seed-syllable sounds that you are spontaneously manifesting here: http://www.buddhavisions.com/the-sounds-of-reality-a-ah-sha-sa-ma-ha/

      I hope this is useful information for you!
      Kind regards,

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