Carving Up Gracie: The Loss of Integration
The emotions evoked by the prospects of carving up Gracie or moving a human relationship laboratory from a group to an individual focus might also be aligned, in a broader sense, to the phenomenon known as emergence. This is a process that reverses the shift from a whole to many parts. When emergence takes place, a new whole is created that could not have been anticipated from an examination of its parts. The classic example of emergence is the combining of two part of hydrogen and on part oxygen—two gases that combined should produce a new gas. Instead, something quite unexcepted happens. These two gases combine to create water—which is certainly not just another type of gas.
We can come full circle by turning back to our focus during the Gathering on neurobiology. It seems that human consciousness is itself an emergent phenomenon. How does one account for the creation of an ephemeral event, such as being conscious of something, out of multiple physical events (the firing of many neurons). We try to account for this emergence by creating a dualistic framework (the Cartesian model of brain and mind or brain and spirit) or by denying somehow that there is something unique about consciousness (a monistic framework).
Gracie is something more than just body parts—and my wife and I love that integrative, loving companion that we adopted from the humane society many years ago. And water is something wonderful – whether lapping at the shore of our home in Maine or serving as the base for the miraculous transformation of buds on a green vine into something called champagne (which we drank in celebration at my home in Maine of the 40th year of PSP.) It seems that Integration is of some importance in our individual and collective lives. And I don’t want Gracie to be carved up . . .