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Human Beings; Part of Nature's Central Nervous System

Following the analogy of the earth as a living entity and the living organisms within that context, being parts of the whole of the larger life, human beings then would function relative to that entity much like the executive functions of the human brain function for the human individual.

Each individual would be an individual cell within the functional regions of the earth’s brain and that provide the executive functions of the body of life. The other creatures that are self-conscious would also fit into the same general functional area of the earth’s brain and have self-conscious functional roles within the context of the whole Earth entity that are similar to the role that humanity inhabits. One of the significant differences between the species that inhabit the executive function sphere of the earth’s central nervous system is that humans have achieved extra-biological force which amplifies our impact on the rest of the earth’s living system through tools and technology.

So, due to our extra-biological force amplification, for better or worse, humans have a different role to play in the executive functions of the living part of the planet’s central nervous system than do the Apes, Elephants, and Dolphins. The philosophy of the person and the moral system that I have written for this site define one way of organizing the purpose and principals of humanities role within the context of being both an autonomous individual entity, an autopoetic nerve cell in the executive function center of the living planet’s brain, and a part of a much larger entity that is not separate in any way from the individual. Much like the statement in physics that light functions both as a wave and a particle, so humans function as both separate autonomous individuals and as non-separate entities that are part of a whole. The analogy of human beings as cells in a particular functional area of the living planet’s brain makes room for autopoeisis and the individual to exist in a fully valid sense and for Buddha’s insight, as expressed in the Diamond Sutra, about the non reality of the existence of the individual to be fully valid as well. From this position we can develop new systems for managing human forcefulness in ways that do justice to both aspects (the separate and non-separate) of our experienced reality.

Relationship to the rest of the Body of Life

The rest of the structures of the living earth’s body can be represented as follows. Animals without nervous systems make up the muscles of the living portion of our planet. The plants would make up the other organ systems, heart, kidneys, liver, intestines, skin, lungs etc. The Water would be the blood flowing in the planets veins.

The relationship between the heart, the largest concentration of water in the ocean, and the atmosphere and formation of clouds would be the alveoli of the lungs where the gas exchange between atmosphere and lungs enters and exits the blood. The Atmosphere would be the lungs of the living planet. The soil would make up the hard skeleton of the living entity of the earth.

More is known about the rest of the body of life through making more connections with other nerve cells that collect information about various parts of the body. Each nerve cell, individual human, expands the scope of consciousness by growing more thin connecting structures, called dendrites, that interface with other nerve cells and pass information back and forth between them by exchanging chemical signals that flow across the small space between them, the synapse, and are then reacted to by the other cell. Growth in the scope of consciousness benefits the executive decision-making capacity of the individual and the species because more of what can be known, becomes known and decisions to take action then reflect a more complete understanding of our actions and their effects. In the normal experience of daily life on the macro scale this process is the encounter with experience and the learning that each one of us is continually involved in.