Each center has its life

Five assertions

  1. Centers arise in space.
  2. Each center is created by a configuration of other centers.
  3. Each center has a certain life or intensity. The life of any one center depends on the life of other centers. This life or intensity is not inherent in the center by itself, but is a function of the whole configuration in which the center occurs.
  4. The life or intensity of one center is increased or decreased according to the position and intensity of other nearby centers. Above all, centers become most intense when the centers which they are made of help each other.
  5. The centers are the fundamental elements of the wholeness, and the degree of life of any given part of space depends entirely on the presence and structure of the centers there.

From these five assertions, it will follow that the life of a given part of the world depends on the structure of centers it contains — and that these centers are given their life, in turn, by the way that each one is made of still other centers. The interactive effect lies in the fact that each center has the power to intensify the life of other centers, and that the life of any one center comes about as the result of the placing and relative degrees of life of other nearby centers.

The idea that every center has its life makes the “life” of the centers the ultimate primitive of this theory. This is perhaps comparable to Robert Pirsig’s idea that Quality, not Substance, is the ultimate primitive. As Pirsig puts it, “Quality is supposed to be just a vague fringe word that tells what we think about objects. … The idea that quality can create objects seems very wrong … but the idea that values create objects gets less and less weird as you get used to it.” Robert M. Pirsig, Lila (New York: Morrow: 1991), 98, and 97-106, and Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance: an inquiry into values (New York: William Morrow, 1974). I am saying something similar about that which animates the living centers.

#book/The Nature of Order/1 The Phenomenon of Life/4 How life comes from wholeness#

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