By Roland Watson
July 5, 2019
Dictator Watch

One of the deepest conclusions I have ever reached is that nature equals behavior. What I mean by this is that it does not start with form. Form and function can be distinguished, and function comes first. Form evolves to fit the desired function, the desired behavior - in other words, to do what we - what anything - wants to do.

Regarding humans - what is our nature? The usual response is that we are bipedal mammals, with the key characteristic of having opposable thumbs, and which in turn, given millions of years of evolution, led to our large and complex brains. In my view, though, our ancestors wanted to grab - it must have been extremely frustrating not to have this ability, and some individuals evolved opposable thumbs and whose descendants were then selected. There is even some evidence that evolution is not just a matter of chance mutations, that changes can be directed - somehow - by will. (It is already understood that our genes affect our behavior in countless ways; it would be surprising - even shocking - if the reverse did not occur as well. The question is, which came first?)

Broadly then, we are not - primarily - a species with a particular physical form. Rather, we are a species whose individual members care only for themselves, pursue this selfishness blindly including through reflexively choosing competition over cooperation, and with the result that we have almost no empathy for anyone or anything else. Human nature - human behavior, frequently leads to disgusting and criminal acts of immorality, and scales up to entire societies that are lawless and also collectively to the steamrolling by humanity of all the other life on earth.

Of course, you could say that all species (perhaps almost all) behave like this. And you would be right. But other species don't have our phenomenal technological power, hence the last point.

We need to change ourselves individually, socially and collectively. We need to evolve to a new form, but not physical - our bodies and brains are big enough already; instead, behavioral. We need to deny our selfishness and choose cooperation. We need to marshal collective will to stop anyone, criminals and also criminal societies, who refuse to change.

However, nature equals behavior is a deep idea not only because of its applicability to living organisms. It also works at the quantum level. One of the key insights, and paradoxes, of quantum theory is called particle/wave duality. It you look at the smallest components of matter in one way they behave like particles and in another way like waves. Physicists have devised clever experiments to reveal this, notably the 'double-slit" experiment, where streams of light particles - photons, are directed at a barrier with two openings and then their arrival is registered on a plate beyond. What starts as particles creates a wavelike pattern.

The physicists in turn have concluded that a process of identification occurs. The particles actually begin as "wave functions of probabilities," and only become something specific when they are measured at the plate - when they are observed. Everything at the quantum level acts - behaves - like this.

This has always struck me as odd. At the macro scale, you and I and trees and mountains are tangible - collections of particles. Reality is not a shimmering sea of infinite waves of probability. Observation has occurred. Since I cannot see inside my own body, or a mountain, it must have taken place in some other way. The question is how. The observation must be implicit in the system to which the entity belongs - the different patterns and programs that generate a human, for example, or in the four natural forces that underlie them - strong, weak, electromagnetic and gravity. These forces permeate the universe - I'm not sure you can say where they come from or even if that is a legitimate question. But I believe they drive the observation of the wave functions and their subsequent collapse into identifiable particles. So again, behavior, the quantum collapse, is creating the form, and not the other way around.

Gravity is also interesting because as Einstein noted it may not even be a force at all. He described it as the deformations - the curves - in space time where mass - matter - is present. Matter deforms space and through this produces what we perceive as gravity. This leaves us with wave functions of probability subjected to the first three forces which in turn cause the collapse to actual matter and which then manifests gravity, and which itself holds everything - at cosmic dimensions - together. To say that physical form creates behavior would in a way be to say that death creates life. It is a misstatement. Behavior creates physical form, beginning at the inception and at the quantum level of the universe. Empowered by the first forms that the starting behavior yielded, new behaviors were enabled, leading to new forms, etc. Thirteen billion years later and we have the present state of the universe, including the planet we inhabit and which we are well on the way to destroying.

Everything starts with behavior. If we don't change ours, almost all of the diversity of life on earth will be exterminated. Of course, the earth itself is in some way alive. Everything is alive - all the way back to the first wave functions that exploded into the big bang. And the earth will be alive for a long time to come. New life forms will evolve. It will take millions of years, but the earth still has billions to go. A new era will be established. We had the age of the dinosaurs. We are in the age of the mammals. After us there will be something else. We could actually still be a part of it, if we change our behavior - right now.

Imagine your doctor gave you a diagnosis of cancer. And he or she said it was an unusual cancer where if you ended the behavior that caused it you would live but that if you didn't you would die. That's where we are. We can change our behavior as individuals and through this as a species and this era of the earth will survive. If we don't, our species will die and almost everything else as well. What would you - what will you - do?

(Note: To apply this idea to Burma, the country is not a dictatorship because it is controlled by a small group of ethnic Bamar - at the top now with Than Shwe, Aung San Suu Kyi and Min Aung Hlaing. Much more importantly, it is a dictatorship because these Bamar are psychopathic racists who have satisfied their blood lust for 57 years through assault, rape and murder of the other ethnic peoples, all the while pillaging and plundering everything that is valuable. It is a maniac's wet dream - kill with impunity and become a billionaire. Burma will cease to be a dictatorship when these people are arrested and tried for their crimes against humanity, but again - much more importantly - when the public is freed from their horrific repression.)