Organisms Organize

It really doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about a single-celled protist,

a stream of human consciousness,

a flock of birds,

or Planet Earth,

organisms organize. There is no such thing as an organization. That suggests completion. There is only a continual process, liquid passing through porous membranes, the chaotic flux of thought, the millions of minute maneuvers required for momentary coherence, or the thermostat-like adjustments needed to maintain a habitable atmosphere.

Organisms organize. This is what they do. This is what they are, neither something, nor nothing. The old question (“Why is there something instead of nothing?”) rendered moot.

The stream is constantly changing, but it is a stream, a streaming, if you will. It occupies a temporary location (permanent enough for our slowed-down perception of time, recognizable enough over sustained intervals of time for a name to stick, for qualities to emerge, Big Muddy, etc.)

But make no mistake, that river is no thing. It is organizing, and that organizing is hardly limited to the materials we might list in its possession: water, ripples (really energy), bed, banks, ducks, very small rocks. No, we must also include gravity, atmosphere, weather, the slope of the earth, long-gone glaciers, distant tributaries, and so on.

Not only is there no thing, there are no isolated things. There are no isolated organizational happenings. There is just a happening. An organizing. We are all continuents. We are rearranged. We are rearranging. To the extent that we are anything at all, it is because we are nothing. Thing, nothing. It’s all bad language.

Organisms organize. That is all.

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