How our technology copies organic life

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How our technology copies organic life


How our technology copies organic life

Are humans looking to nature to design our technology? What else can we look to nature for?

I remember as a kid enjoying Superman comics and at some point, a character tried to duplicate Superman but it came out corrupted and flawed as a new villain – Bizarro.  He was like Superman but just a bit “off.”

I would suggest that much our man-made technology attempts to emulate the amazing capabilities of life itself, but just misses the mark.  This is not to suggest that we go back to being “hunter-gatherers” but rather try to understand the uniquely organic underpinnings of life itself and align our efforts accordingly.

Can we see that our digital electronic reality including the video screen content we consume now is a completely new sensory input beyond the five we commonly acknowledge?  We might also begin to consider thought – the electrical information that somehow moves through our brain as another sense that is affected, sometimes augmented and definitely manipulated by this same digital technology. Yet all of these phenomena appear within Life itself.

Just after we got color TV, my friend Mark Lerner speculated that all of the technology we were developing was actually science somehow replicating sensory abilities humans had once possessed and then lost. (Mark gave up pre-med a short time later and has been a professional astrologer ever since.)

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WiFi Already Existed in Nature

Nature:  “Wi-Fi for neurons: first map of wireless nerve signals unveiled in worms – studies find a densely connected network of neurons that communicate over long distances.

“The idea that the nervous system passes messages from one nerve cell to another only through synapses — the points where the cells link up end to end — is changing. Two studies show how messages can pass between cells over longer distances, through a ‘wireless’ nerve network in the worm Caenorhabditis elegans.”

So that the space required for “information” to pass within these worms is no longer limited to their nearest neurons via the synapse but can actually travel some distance within the worm (or to other worms?).

As part of their mapping, “they produced a genetically engineered worm that lacked a protein crucial for this type of signaling, and saw that when they tried to activate the worm’s cells with optogenetics, many of them stayed silent. This suggests that wireless communication in the worm directly activates neurons.”

We Have Our Own Energetic Networks

This made me think of EFT tapping, which stimulates meridian points — or energy hot spots — to restore balance to your body’s energy. It’s believed that restoring this energy balance can relieve symptoms a negative experience or emotion may have triggered.

It’s another example of what benefits can arise when we begin to consider the space within the body –along with the actual physical organs or tissue — as a conduit for energy which we have not yet discovered – and perhaps intelligence itself?

A similar medical technique that may use some of the same energies would be acupuncture.  Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners believe the human body has more than 2,000 acupuncture points connected by pathways.  But what passes or is manipulated between these points is energy.

Space is Populated by Energies

All of these human endeavors seem to take advantage of “space” rather than a physical connection.  These organic “technologies” have amply demonstrated that our “inner space” is not empty but a churning caldron of interactive energies.

What about outer space?  Apparently, it’s not empty either.  According to Wikipedia or conventional wisdom today, “Outer space is not completely empty; it is a near-perfect vacuum containing a low density of particles, predominantly a plasma of hydrogen and helium as well as electromagnetic radiation, magnetic fields, neutrinos, dust, and cosmic rays.”

So even “outer space” is comprised of a multitude of energies, some that we have identified and named and so presumably understand. 

Animals Use Energies Beyond Our Senses

Could space be a giant field?  Apparently, there are such electrical fields in the ocean.

How do we know?  Well, creatures with larger brains than we have using them: 
Bottlenose dolphins can sense electric fields – according to a new study.  And dolphins are not alone – sharks and platypus also have this sensory ability.

“In running the experiment, the researchers observed that both dolphins were able to feel or sense the charge from the electrode. Additional testing showed that both were able to sense DC fields under 125 microvolts per centimeter with 90% accuracy. Both were also able to respond to electric pulses. The researchers suggest the ability to detect electric current likely helps bottlenose dolphins to detect and capture prey, and might also help them navigate using the Earth’s electric field.”

We also know that “Birds use Earth’s magnetic field for navigation during migration through a process called magnetoreception. It is believed that birds have specialized cells containing magnetite, a magnetic mineral, which helps them sense the Earth’s magnetic field. This allows them to determine their position and orient themselves during long flights.”  

So animals that can sense the earth’s magnetic field can have their own inner GPS, while we need to clutter our nearby space with satellites – not that that is also not an incredible achievement.

But it seems as though Life got there first and we’re a distant second.

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How We “Mimic” Nature for Innovation

But the clearest example of our technology copying nature is the well-known practice of biomimicry:  copying Nature’s designs into our own.  There is now an entire institute devoted to showing the many innovations that have happened when technology doesn’t try to dominate or improve on nature, but emulates it.

In the Institute’s AskNature Initiative there are “thousands of real-world examples and models for those who want to learn, practice, or teach biomimicry.”

There are currently many companies using biomimicry in their products, and the flying machines of Leonardo Da Vinci are the earliest biomimicry example. He very closely observed the anatomy and flight of birds and made numerous notes and detailed sketches of his observations.

YouTube has numerous videos of how nature has inspired innovations. Here is one…

Intelligence as an Energy in Nature

I do not see these amazing discoveries as pointing to an Intelligent Designer or traditional “God”; rather I think they open the door for us to confront the reality that we do not know what intelligence is and we have mistakenly assumed that it resides only in our brains.

I see these as potentially powerful ways to confront many people with the hubris of humanity and its need to alter its relationship with the natural world.

The consequences of unbridled material expansion via technology is becoming apparent – but significant action to address our destruction of our habitat is not happening.

Besides expanding our consciousness to adapt to discoveries as to the scale of the universe, which has exploded exponentially, we must also become intimately sensitive to all that is happening beyond our conscious ability to notice it.  That may seem a contradiction until one tries it and begins to confront a universe that seems much more alive.

Our amazing scientific instruments have gone a long way to showing us so much of what we are missing with just our own sensory abilities – even opening our eyes to the incredible mysteries of the quantum world.

But again we need to shift our perspective from believing ourselves to be either masters or owners of the natural world and begin to deeply comprehend that the natural world is US.  As Alan Watts famously said, “we do not come into this world, we come out of it.”  We are an expression of the many energies, forces and intelligences that exist, many of which are yet to be discovered.

Some of the methods mentioned here on Pulse, by Joe Martino and others, to actually sense the underlying energies that comprise real Life within our bodily selves can help open our minds and hearts.

But what we may really need are some new Shamans – people who can work with these newly discovered energies as a kind of technology through which we can evolve to another level — of which we cannot currently conceive.   Something that points us beyond the limited confines of just the intellect.



By Tom Bunzel
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Technology Writer

Tom Bunzel was a contributor to Collective Evolution and now writes for The Pulse.  His new book “Conversations with Nobody: Getting to Know ChatGPT” – a book written with AI, about AI and giving a taste of AI, is available on Amazon.

Tom Bunzel is multi-published in the technology field. He has appeared on Tech TV’s Call for Help and has been a speaker at InfoComm and PowerPoint LIVE, as well as working as a “technology coach” for corporations. Bunzel’s most recent business-related book for Wiley/Jossey Bass is Tools of Engagement: Presenting and Training in a World of Social Media. More recently his focus has shifted to his studies at Tufts University—philosophy and English—and has covered spiritual as well as technical topics on his blog: lifeisintelligent.wordpress.com. Recent articles for Collective Evolution include: Overview of Science and Nonduality Conference – San Jose – 2013; Awakening Through Community: Description of my personal journey to “awakening”; The Meaning of Software: Consciousness is Living Intelligence – Intro to the reality of higher intelligence within our cells, its meaning and Biocentrism as a new relativity; and The Potential and Significance of 3D Printing An autobiographical account of Tom’s personal journey is available on Amazon and Smashwords: “Presence of Mind: Journey to a New Operating System”

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(Source: thepulse.one; January 16, 2024; http://tinyurl.com/ytncdxbe)