Homo sapiens amans LO26491

From: ACampnona@aol.com
Date: 04/06/01

Replying to LO26490 --

At de Lange writes,

>Dear Organlearners,

>Greetings to all of you.

>Andrew Campbell mentioned H Maturana's concept "Homo sapiens amans"
>several times. The "homo" in Greek means "same" whereas in Latin it also
>means "man". The "sapiens" is form from Latin and means "wise". The
>"amans" is also formed from Latin and means "wise". Thank you Andrew!

snip rest of contribution.

I think it possible in the plasticity of time and granularity of space my
message referred to above by At was posted as 'missing' to the LO;-) so
here it is.

Love by Humberto Maturana

'Besides language, there is another peculiarity about human beings, namely
that we are loving animals. (Homo Sapiens Amans) Now I know that we kill
each other and do all those horrible things, but if you look at the story
of the transformation of Shell Oil, or other similar transformations, you
will see that it is a story of love. The problems of Shell Oil were solved
through love, not through competition, not through fighting, not through
authority. They were solved through something very, very different. They
were solved through the only emotion that expands intelligent behavior.
They were solved through the only emotion that expands creativity, as in
this emotion there is freedom for creativity. The emotion is love. Love
expands intelligence, and enables creativity. Love returns autonomy, and
as it returns autonomy, it returns responsibility and freedom in us.

Once in a lecture I said that we are loving animals, and a question
arose... "Are we animals?" I answered, "Yes we are animals, but we are
loving animals." Most animals are loving animals to some extent, what is
peculiar about us is that we have expanded this emotion in our manner of
living. What happens if you take a dog to live with you in your home? I'm
sure you have some experiences like this, with dogs or cats, or parrots,
or lizards. What happens with this dog? It becomes childish and playful -
you come home and it jumps on you, licks your face, and you say "Ah, ah!
You love me too much!" The dog becomes playful like a child, it becomes
as we are when we are not under the stress of duty, or the demand of
authority, or the negation of ambition and competition.

Humans are those animals that have expanded living in love. We have become
dependent on love in the sense that we become ill of body and soul if love
is interfered with. Sometimes conditions arise in our culture so that some
bad ideas persist in spite of their badness. I think competition is one of
those bad ideas that is destructive, and yet it persists.

If you think about what happens in your daily life (remember, this is
biology, not philosophy) you will notice that we normally use the word
emotion to connote domains of relational behaviours. Emotions specify
kinds of relational behaviours. If you say somebody is angry, you know
immediately what kinds of relational behaviours this person can
participate in, and what kinds he or she is incapable of while angry. If
you say someone is ambitious, you know immediately what kinds of
relational behaviours he or she can and cannot participate in. We know
this; it is very simple.

We can characterize emotions by the particular body dynamics that specify
what you can do and what you cannot do. That does not mean that the
emotions are body dynamics, or that they take place in the body. Emotions
take place in the domain in which they occur, and where they occur is in
the relation. Emotions take place in a relationship as kinds of
relational behaviours, and this is what you distinguish when you
distinguish an emotion.

When you distinguish a particular behaviour, you distinguish the emotion.
If you want to know the emotion, you look at the behaviour. If you want to
know what kind of behaviour it is, you look at the emotion. Behaviour and
emotion are both ways at pointing at relational dynamics; they entail
different looks, different ways of grasping these dynamics. As we speak of
this dynamic we do what language enables us to do, that is we make an
object of either the emotion or the behaviour, and having done so we can
look at it. But you do not have to think about this, you already practice
it in daily life - you know when your friends are angry, when they are
joyful, sad, or indifferent. And you know immediately either by looking
at the behaviour, or looking at the person. We are expert at seeing
emotions. It is because it comes so easily to us that we do not see that
this is the case - there is usually nothing that triggers us to reflect on
the relational dynamics of emotioning. Now I am going to tell you what
love is, not as a definition, but as an abstraction of the coherences of
our living - and I pretend that this is all that one needs to know.

Love is the domain of those relational behaviours through which another (a
person, being, or thing) arises as a legitimate other in coexistence with

You could use the word respect instead of love, they are two forms that
refer to this dynamic in different circumstances. But remember, as I said
about living in language: words are never trivial. When you use 'respect'
you are creating a distance, an aloofness, and that leads to a different
path.. So I prefer 'love'.

The dynamics I have abstracted is how we act, whether or not we reflect on
it. Suppose that you are walking in the countryside, and you encounter a
spider. What if you exclaim "A spider!" and immediately stomp on it,
making sure it is thoroughly squashed. What would your companion comment?
Something like, "You don't love spiders" or "You don't love animals" or
"You hate spiders, don't you!" And all those expressions belong to the
negation of love, the spider does not arise as a legitimate other in
coexistence with you.

Aggression is that domain of relational behaviours in which another is
negated as a legitimate other in coexistence with oneself.

But if you say in wonder "A spider! Look at it! Let's be careful not to
step on this beautiful spider" your companion might comment "You sure love
animals! Even spiders!" You don't have to take it into bed with you, to
transform it into a princess or something, to love it. The fact that you
let the spider be a spider where spiders live shows that you love it. You
let the other arise as a legitimate other through your behaviour. It is
your behaviour that makes it so you move around the spider so it can
co-exist with you.

-We talk about love as if it were special because it is rare - but it is a
really ordinary thing. But it is special in a different way. When the
emotion of love is there, then vision expands. Many, many, many years ago
I was walking with one of my sons, Alehandro, who was about seven then? We
were going through a field of thistles and I was opening a space with my
stick by batting the thistles aside. Suddenly my son asked "Father, why
don't you love thistles?" and there I was, stopped, suddenly seeing what I
was doing. And when I stopped being aggressive towards the thistles, I saw
them, beautiful violet flowers! I could see a path between them without
destroying them. But the point is that at seven, Alehandro knew exactly
the nature of love as a relational behavior. So we learn this as children
- we don't need philosophy or science, or anything. "

Picure goes in here;-)

Workshop Image.

e-mail March 13th 2001

"Dear Andrew,

--***, who was also one of the people at the session, was the person who
you may remember said (to you) he did not do painting as a child and had
never painted with his children. There was a conversation (between you and
Tom) about buying a frame for 100 and putting some of his children's
paintings up on the wall in his house.

Well, that evening he went home sat down with his children and did some
painting. He even got one of his children to show him how to paint. He
said it was great fun. He took the first few minutes of the session on
Saturday morning (after you had gone) to explain all of this and he
brought the paintings in to show us. For the rest of the day these
paintings were put up all around the room and brightened our lives. It was

'For all beings only to man was it granted to speak, since for him it was
necessary. It was not granted for the angels or for the lower animals to
speak; rather would it have been granted them to no purpose, a thing which
nature certainly abhors doing.' Dante, De Vulgaris Eloquentia

When the Frames Became Arrows and Love its Target

"The path of a physical motion is an ideal line. In a line that " has
movement," there is ideal motion. In the phenomenon we call life both
continuous change and permanent form really exist; but the form is made
and maintained by complicated disposition of mutual influences among the
physical units (atoms, molecules, then cells, then organs), whereby
changes tend always to occur in certain pre-eminent ways. Instead of a
simple law of transformation such as one finds in inorganic change, living
things exist by a cumulative process; they assimilate elements of their
surroundings to themselves, and these elements fall under the law of
change that is the organic form of "life." This assimilation of factors
not originally belonging to the organism, whereby they enter into its
life, is the principle of growth. A growing thing need not actually become
bigger; since the metabolic action does not stop when a non-living
substance has been assimilated and become alive, but is a continuous
process of oxidation, separate elements also resign from the organic
pattern; they break down again into inorganic structures, i.e. they die.
When growth is more vigorous than decay the living form grows larger; when
they are balanced it is self-perpetuating; when decay occurs faster than
growth the organism is decadent. At a certain point the metabolic process
stops all at once, and the life is finished. Permanence of form, then, is
the constant aim of living matter; not the final goal (for it is what
finally fails), but the thing that is perpetually being achieved, and that
is always, at every moment, an achievement, because it depends entirely on
the activity of "living." But "living" itself is a process, a continuous
change; if it stands still the form disintegrates for the permanence is a
pattern of changes.

Nothing, therefore, is as fundamental in the fabric of our feeling as the
sense of permanence and change and their intimate unity. What we call
"motion" in art is not necessarily change of place, but is change made
perceivable, i.e. imaginable, in any way whatever. Anything that
symbolizes change so we seem to behold it is what artists, with more
intuition than convention, call a "dynamic" element. It may be a "dynamic
accent" in music, physically nothing but loudness, or a word charged above
others with emotion, or a color that is "exciting," where it stands, i.e.
physically stimulating. A form that exemplifies permanence, such as a
fixed line or a delimited space (the most permanent anchors of vision),
yet symbolizes motion, carries with it the concept of growth, because
growth is the normal operation of those two principles conjoined in mutual
dependence. Therefore the metaphorical statement: "Borders must move
forward, and grow as they move," is perfectly rational if we consider
that, and why, they seem to do these things. But why "must" they be drawn
to seem like that? Because this illusion, this seeming, is the real symbol
of feeling. The elementary pattern of feeling expressed in such
world-accepted forms symbolizing "growth" is the sense of life, the most
primitive "fulfillment"; and it is not mirrored in the physical lines, but
in the created thing, the "motion" they have. The dynamic pattern, which
is actually an illusion, is what copies the form of vital feeling. It is
in order to be expressive that borders must move and grow.

Yet the "movement" of a design is always in a framework of felt stability;
for unlike actual motion, it is not involved with change. The only person,
so far as I know, who has clearly recognized this characteristic of
plastic space is not a painter but a musician, Roger Sessions. In a
remarkably discerning little essay, "The Composer and His Messages" has
written: "The visual arts govern a world of space, and it seems to me that
perhaps the profoundest sensation which we derive from space is not so
much that of extension as of permanence. On the most primitive level we
feel space to be something permanent, fundamentally un- changeable; when
movement is apprehended through the eye it takes place, so to speak,
within the static framework, and the psychological impact of this
framework is much more powerful than that of the vibrations which occur
within its limits." This duality of motion in permanence is indeed, what
effects the abstraction of pure dynamism and creates the semblance of
life, or activity maintaining its form. Expression in the logical
sense-presentation of an idea through an articulate symbol is the ruling
power and purpose of art. And the Symbol is, from first to last, something
created. The illusion, which constitutes the work of art, is not a mere
arrangement of given materials in an aesthetically pleasing pattern; it is
what results from the arrangement, and is literally something the artist
makes, not something he finds. It comes with his work and passes away in
its destruction."

Susanne K Langer, Feeling and Form, Semblance. PP 66/67

To live is to create
Transform Transformation Transfiguration
Love, Love and Love

Definitions of Transformation....Change shape or form. Considerable change
in character, condition, function or nature. Change in potential energy
low to high or high to low (electrical) Metamorphosis, esp. insects. Pupa
to butterfly. Change of form without loss of value. Alter form or
appearance esp. to glorify, change so as to idealize and elevate.


Dedicated to *** his wife and their small children



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