A simple insight. A profound inquiry. Obvious? Not clear to me. Is “possibility” derived from the experience of what is now here or is here now the integration of possibility?

What does this mean? I will try to break it down simply and show that the directionality makes all the difference in the world, yet we seem to rarely see it that way. I will start with the experience, which I will then express in simple measures. I have suggested in an earlier blog post that people experience three levels of perceived reality (things, development, possibility or matter, motion, and light). We experience the here-now level of reality by what is present in this exact space at this exact time. We assess the here-now by the amount of things or the outcomes we experience right here right now. We might represent this with the question of “how much” is there, right now? We experience the over-time-and-space level of reality by what is developed and changed in relationships as we move through time and space. We assess this over-time experience by asking the question of “what has changed,” over time? We add in the dimension of time to the here-now question. We experience the possibility level of reality by the potential we experience. We assess this possibility in the potential capacities that could be developed over time, manifesting some future state, which we could describe as the possibility for future changes and outcomes — possibility and time and outcomes. [Side note: I will suggest that those who experience the “ever-present, evolving here-now” are experiencing the simultaneity of all three levels.] These are three levels of reality: outcomes in the here-now; development in the over-time-and-space; and potential in the infinite-possibility.

These three levels of reality seem fairly intuitive to most people I meet, based on their own experience. The funny observation comes from looking at how these three levels relate to each other. We can write down the change in something over time, the development level of reality, as dX/dt, and we can write down the amount of something we have right here right now as X. With this nomenclature, we can write the possible changes we can see as dX/dt/dP.

From this way of writing down the three levels of reality, the development level (dX/dt) is the mathematical derivative of the things level (X) with respect to time, and the possibility level (dX/dt/dP) is the mathematical derivative of the development level (dX/dt) with respect to possibility. From this logic, the first derivative of things gives the rate of change of things, and the second derivative gives the possibility of future change, all influencing the amount of things. The focus is on the things available in each here-now.

Now for the first funny observation. If I perceive the amount of things in the present moment, here-now, as scarce, since there are only so many things available right here right now, then what does the rate of change of “scarce” mean? Scarce means there is not enough, so how can there be a rate of change of that? A simple answer might seem to be that while still scarce, the amount of the scarce thing changes each time, each here-now. And, this opens a can of worms. If the scarce can change over time, then there can be more or less in the next time period, depending on what happens in the intervening time. This brings in time and possibility, which are not in the here-now definition of scarcity. With time and possibility more can be made available, which means it is not scarce, thus scarcity requires looking only at what is here now.

Is there another way to make sense of this? Yes. Mathematically, the development level (dX/dt) is the mathematical integration of the possibility level (dX/dt/dP) over a specific range of possibility. Likewise, the things level (X) is the mathematical integration of the development level (dX/dt) over a specific range of time. From this perspective, we look over a range of possibility to see what is available to be developed, and we look over a range of development to see what specific outcomes are available. By starting with infinite possibility and integrating to get development, we start with abundance and see abundance in choice. We then integrate abundance in choice to see abundance in things. Unlike the attempt to see the rate of change of scarcity, which makes no sense, we see the abundance in what is possible in our choices from possibility to development to outcomes.

On a technical note, while integration and derivation are held to be generally reversible, meaning the results are the same in both directions, they are not exactly reversible. The first integration brings in a constant (c), which the second integration converts into substance (cx). The derivative removes this constant. They are not reversible, thus they show something different.

This leads to the second funny observation — what I can see depends completely on where I start. If I start from a perceived scarcity of how much I have (X), how much can I perceive of the development and possibility of the things? What can I see in the rates of change of not much? This is completely different from asking, from the infinite possibility, how much can I perceive of the choice in development and things? Derivation focuses on the influence of the rate of change. Integration focuses on the volume of change available. Derivation supports the worldview of “given reality, what do I have?” Integration supports the worldview of “given possibility, what can I manifest?”

There is a direct comparison with a whole field of psychology that has emerged in the past two decades, called positive psychology. Deficit psychology looks at the pathologies in the human condition and how to fix them. Positive psychology looks at the strengths in the human condition and how to nurture them. The first tries to move up out of the scarcity-things collapse, and the second tries to nurture the already-existing, abundant vibrancy. Modern research shows the power of the second. This seems to suggest that coming from the strength of abundance provides more power than pushing away from the collapse of scarcity.

Said another way, there is much greater power in developing and manifesting outcomes from infinite possibility than trying to derive possibility and development out of scarcity. A funny observation — the two processes are not reversible: you do not end up in the same place.

Pingback: Ecosynomics: The Agreements Guiding Human Interacions (free online course) | Institute for Strategic Clarity

Pingback: Really Real–What You Know About What Is Already Born, An Ecology of Nature « Jim Ritchie-Dunham

Pingback: Why Utopias Go Nowhere in The Circle « Jim Ritchie-Dunham

Pingback: Weak and Strong Agreements Fields « Jim Ritchie-Dunham