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  woods of words
divining differences, part 2 of 5
gary e. davis
April 21, 2017

Suddenly standing in dense woods looking up: A profusion of branches require a few seconds to discern which belong to the same limbs, limbs to same trees—if that matters to you.

It matters to squirrels (always), not to birds (usually). But bird-brained discernment of the topology of branches is vital (they never crash), while it’s not important to squirrels (who do leap among branches, crashlessly). Each kind of creature needs
topic discernment, be it largely topographical (squirrels) or topological.

A photographer or painter might tend to side with birds, though mattering there, as enjoyment (presumably), isn’t functional for one’s way of life. One doesn’t wish to make firewood.

Mattering is an odd notion—but so colloquial: “What matters?” “What’s the matter?”

What’s implied by saying that the topography of tree limbs doesn’t “matter” to birds? And to the artist, it’s not topography, but topology.

For a bug (crawly insect), everything is “flat”, as if a tree’s entire topology—to us—is laying flat. The topology of the tree is lived as flat earth. Buggy hopping to another surface is like us jumping into the air (like being on the Moon) and coming down on the same surface; or flying from one point on Earth’s singular surface to another point.

Believe it or not, squirrels have an inferential topological sense, not just kinesthetic. I’ve seen a grey squirrel (located on the bank of a creek) sight a fellow grey squirrel up on a cement “bridge” crossing the creek (actually a beam for water pipes on campus that crosses Strawberry Creek) with no line-of-sight way to get to the fellow squirrel. Then, the creek-edged squirrel turned around to begin climbing a tree that was previously behind the squirrel (out of immediate sight)—a tree that doesn’t connect to the “bridge”—crosses over to another tree, then climbs down to the bridge where the fellow squirrel was waiting until the other squirrel arrives, but then scampers away (evidently waiting to be chased, as “she” stayed to let “him” get near). There’s a tease in every niche, I guess.

How all of that came to be might make a good story: genesis of creek, woods by creek, squirrels around those woods, campus around the woods, concrete beam across the creek—a topogeny of wooded living.

topogeny, topography, topology—isn’t life grand?

Suddenly standing in dense woods looking up, the profusion is like a 2-D surface before depth is discerned. One first witnesses topography; then topology is constellated. But it’s not as if a conception of the topology pre-existed the topography, as if an existent topology generates the topography. The topology is constructed, though our knowledge of physicality assures us that the spatiality preceded our conception of it. It’s not that the spatiality as such is topological, since neither the birds nor squirrels have such conceptions consciously. But does their automatic efficacy in the dense space imply that they “have” a conception of that which “has” a topological character? There’s certainly a kind of discernment working excellently for bird and squirrel. Two kinds of very intelligent life are playing around there.

How did discernible topology come about in a biological ecology? Discernible topology—the topological character of 3-D spatiality is biogenically based (trees).

Yet, that biogenic background (eons in the making) is ecological, involving inanimate geography as well as unrelated, non-relating (non-interacting) life forms, including intelligent niche constructors—makers of “social” ecologies, which happen to fit “with” each other (like civil strangers in a neighborhood).

The Fit is a fittingness, in a bioeconomic sense (which is what bioecology basically is: an economics), not so much a robustness of individuals who are fit enough to thrive (the Darwinian cliché), though that too, in a bioeconomics of fittingness.

Does the ecology itself have a genesis—an ecogeny—or is that merely a construction (model-theoretic, discursive, narrative) that we are able to generate, like biotopology constellated as implicit deep/high structure of biotopographic fields (i.e., woods)?

What about intelligence in that, contributing to the definition of what “deserves” to be included in the biogenic ecology? That’s ecogenic, too: evolution of intelligent selection (autogeny) in what’s “naturally” self-selective. “Natural” selection is biogenic and autogenic.

Any life form with a neural system is involved with selective receptiveness and selective responsiveness; intelligent life involving itself with niche construction, mate selection (be it mammals, birds—or even bugs?). In a sense, intelligence in nature becomes more a matter of nature in intelligent behavior (i.e., bioeconomics as a function of actively selecting systems, rather than passive, defaulting selectivities of happenstance), the more that higher intelligence inhabits a topography (and tends to prevail in use of ground—better grounded). Squirrels affect the little woods I stand in, more than birds; human landscape design and activity more than squirrels—though the bugs will survive us all. (The prevailing animal biomass of Earth is bacterial.)

Where’s the boundary between discerned topology and topologicality “hard-wired” into ecologies certified by long-term, tried-and-true, manifold genomic fittings in what’s ecogenically emergent? In a sense, intelligence of Nature has its own integrity, unneeding of witness, while also having evolved us: intelligence that witnesses in Nature—the In of the Of that witnesses Its own capability.

The deep horizons of differences between bio-logy and genesis (bio-geny)—the Deep Time that we construct as distant horizons that we turned around to divine—are genealogical stories wanted by a species that is primordially looking forward to what we can become, emergent from individuated presences that no genetics specifically anticipates. In the adventures, our confidences are evidenced by model-theoretic pragmatics, also emergent from an evolution that couldn’t anticipate what minds could become, what stories may comprehend.

The differences between -graphics, -genics, and -logics distantly fade into the liminalities of Deep Time—which is primarily futural!: What is to come of the
-ogenies whose unforeeable -ographies are established by -ologies that ensure that genesis remains endless (and worthwhile—and sustainable!)?

All along, of course, Zeus was one of us—no, many of us: leading minds—ensuring that genesis remains endlessly emerging from the nebulousness of individuations— interests, preferences, capabilities, engagements—being Time: generatively differentiated, logically secured—for future generations.


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  Be fair. © 2017, gary e. davis