Time, and the conscious asteroid.

The Corpus Clock, photo by me.

Would it make any difference if we knew our ancestors could see what we are doing to Earth now? I look at the newest cosmological theory of time. Indigenous thinking may be closer to the truth than we in the Westernish may ever have considered. Until now.


On the basis that the Anthropocene is a planetary extinction event, there is no good Anthropocene. The Anthropocene covers only a small part of the full experience of Homo sapiens, indeed the family Homo.

Could we ever consider earlier periods of the human experience more progressive? Huge energy resources are expended and ecosystems killed for the extreme Capitalists’ yearning to sell that so-called progressive future. For instance, Elon Musk’s private, personal vision for a Mars mission for profit may not be in the full interest of the entire Planet Earth, especially when all is skewed by the idea of making money. The idea of space exploration may be inevitable for our inquisitive species, at some point in time. But surely there should be a union of everyone in any efforts beyond our atmosphere for everyone, and every life form, launched from a secure home planet.

Sanctuary Earth a given, other than the two main strands of human wellbeing of health and good relationships always a necessity for our species, we already have the technology to produce food, clothing, and shelter in a nature-aligned way here on Earth; an expression of fluminism. All the rest, right now, equates to profit for the few and a dying planet.

That we in the modern Westernish consider future time as instantly progressive is also a failing. The English language determines a structural perception of time that is different from others and, as it becomes globally dominant, so does the perception of time. We think of time as linear, the past to our left, the future to our right. This is how we write, from left to right, and how I am creating typed words on a screen right now. Einstein’s work on time contended that it’s the fourth dimension, relative to all else via gravity, including how fast we move through space. Perhaps we should write in whirlpool patterns, to reflect the past, present, and future. Consensus continues to build on so much of Einstein’s remarkable insights on relativity.

Rovelli goes further, and this is where it gets super-interesting to me. In his work on loop quantum gravity theory, time is a non-entity. There are simply events that are related in all directions shaped by gravity. Our neurobiology creates memories in order to survive the impacts of the complexity of almost infinite frames, reflected in how we create film so that we can record and replay. Imagine all the different perceptions of time as a force by all the lifeforms that have ever lived. There may well be beings who perceive more or less of these saved copies in the ether. Such ideas are as mind-bending as Galileo’s assertion that it is actually the Sun that revolves around the Earth and not the other way around. *

My imagination is running free, and moving from one event to another in the quantum world seems somehow possible, if only we could find a way. Rovelli’s work doesn’t imply universal determination, because the geochemical and physical variables are different from moment to moment, and living beings are constantly making choices. Each wave placed into the cradle of what we call time represents a different universal set of atomic experiences as we spin through space. Who knows whether those experiences might have evolved very differently in life on Earth if we had been more proximate to black holes. If there is other life in the vastness of the universe, the basic perception of experience itself may well be entirely different to our own, and so too ideas of communication. Perhaps, we are already surrounded by messages, and we just don’t have a clue.

The real nature of time is yet to be fully decoded, though our perceptions of it have huge implications for the way we live our lives, expectations upon future generations, and the way we relate to, and as part of, nature. How do we frame the context of the Anthropocene? Did the Anthropocene begin after the last Ice Age and the transition from hunter-gathering to nomadic shepherding, and then to sedate farming practice? Or the Industrial Revolution and Capitalist/White Eurocentric Colonialism? Nuclear detonations? The geologists continue to argue the implications of all these events in the rock record. Perhaps, Rovelli’s work gives us leeway to accept the past is not something so distant, and could well be more progressive in certain ways than any vision of the future. Regardless, the decisions we make today do not have to prove themselves to be anything other than caring.

In the Westernish, clocks dominate, and time is money; there is an anxiety about time as a resource; death is time-up unless one believes it is eternally enjoyed in the spiritual afterlife. We know, for sure, we have at least one life. What if the afterlife is in fact our ancestors held inside the cradle of time, and if we are close (the physical nature of this still to be determined) perhaps in certain gravitational fields, or in places which are close, we have subatomic feelings of these past realms. Perhaps, the Everywhen, or the Altjira, or the just plain Good ( The Dreaming, named by anthropologists) of the Australian original peoples are closer to the truth than Relativism could have ever conceived.

Back to the present, this precious phenomenology right now, one of the remaining species in the order of the Great Apes, Homo sapien, is risking all life ~ ALL LIFE ~ therefore, global evolutionary forces too, for their own purpose. Unlike the previous five known major extinction events caused by random geological and cosmological forces, recorded in time’s cradle somewhere nearby, the Sixth is fully conscious. If we can feel those lives suffering maybe they feel us. We are a conscious asteroid.


* Rovelli himself via the FT. 



Virus: The Enormity of Littleness.

Ocean waves containing trillions of viruses, photo by me.

Life is never split away to nothingness. Even as prey, we are consumed by others. An ecological death is the breath of others. Sex is a consuming, an appetite. The cell itself is the most exquisite sex, a moment of evolutionary consumption. A very long time ago, one bacteria consumed another and the other survived too. * Both replicated in the union. This is the cell in perfect symbiosis.

Lynn Margulis, the great biologist and theorist, not only found proof of the process but fathomed a true power in it. From these two fused micro-organisms, and on through time, the reality of all life processes is in this direction ~ together, even after death.

Here, in the middle of a brutal pandemic, where Covid19 still evades extinction, I’m also going to tell you that viruses count, and in similar ways.

Viruses are not supposed to be alive, yet their enormous genetic volume swarms through our nagorasphere as if they are one the most intrinsic families of life. They are abundant everywhere there is life. They are even found in the giant sub-seafloor microbiome surviving for thousands of years. They are genetic parasites, though do not always destroy their biological host. They break into living cells to replicate their genetic patterns, and burst out in a process called lysis, which may end the life of the living cell, but not always. They can transfer genes horizontally from species to species, triggering speciation and leaving their ‘marks’ in surviving DNA. 8% of our own genome is laced with the remnants of viral genomes. They shape life by stimulating immune responses, and even by causing death.

In these many epochs of the living Earth, the flow of metabolism, and togetherness, and consuming, and sex, have remained unbroken for billions of years. Even after global cataclysms, life prevails. It seems unstoppable. Viruses are all part of the flow, like the dark matter of the universe. They are critical ecological agents and possibly have been managing populations of bacteria since way back before the endosymbiosis of the cell.

I have explained before that it’s probable that Covid19 had been bubbling away in mutualistic symbioses among bat, other mammalian, and even human populations of the forest valleys of Wuhan for some time. That our technologies like air travel have pushed it around the world has proven it to be devastating to novel populations. New viruses naturally take generations for our immune systems to de-code. Highly lethal pathogens are, of course, a dead-end for the viruses themselves, killing their hosts before infecting others, or mutating to infect others, in different ways. Covid19 lies somewhere between a mild immune-stimulating event, able to infect many often before detection and any show of symptoms, and a deadly Category A event, for humans at least. Many other forms of viruses are harmless, or even beneficial.

Bacteria rule the world, and viruses rule bacteria. In humans, we are realising our virome can manage the populations of our gut biome in positive and negative ways. Anti-bacterial and anti-viral medications save lives, but we don’t know the full extent of the effects upon those critical symbiotic relationships. They leave their trace, like messages through genetic time.

Most startling of all, and completely mind-blowing to me, the oceanic virome could be so powerful as to be critical to governing our climate. Bacteria and cyanobacteria are the ocean’s recyclers of nutrients and alter chemicals and gases we eat and breathe. A viral infection is the breath of others. As viruses control not only the numbers and densities of bacteria, they also change behaviours. Who knows how far up the trophic levels these effects travel. Despite our curiosity, we still know so little about those enormous systemic effects, including climate.

Could we ever learn to love viruses? Maybe not. But they are revealing themselves to be as ancient as life; genetic sculptors we symlings could never do without. Just like the origin of the cell itself, bacteria and viruses come together, swap DNA, and leave tiny comet tails of potential throughout all life. I’m sure we will continue to learn more about them, despite deadly pandemics, and even to respect the enormity of their littleness.