Ecological Memory: Chronology of Stardust to Art


“Be you still, be you still trembling heart; Remember the wisdom out of the old days; Him who trembles before the flame and the flood, And the winds that blow through the starry ways, let the starry winds and the flame and the flood cover over and hide, for he has no part with the lonely, majestical multitude.”  W. B. Yeats Darwin and Me Darwin and Me 35mm film

Before the first matter that could be called the earth gathered within our solar nebula at an outer arm of the Milky Way, 5 to 15 billion years and billions of coalescing events forming the stars of the universe had already occurred. Early Earth was hot, with volcanic eruptions releasing carbon dioxide, water vapor, and nitrogen into the early atmosphere. It was lifeless for millions of years. Rain fell, and water began the work of erosion, wearing away the igneous rocks and slowly dissolving some of the chemicals on the rock surfaces. Rivers carried the chemicals into the seas, and the chemicals were mixed and stirred in the water. Also present were lightning, volcanic activity, and ultraviolet radiation. It was in this setting that life began. All forms of life may have evolved from the original prokaryotes, probably 4.6 billion years ago, still continuing to manage the energy household of the planetary Gaia system.

Lynn Margulis proposed that the ancestors of eukaryote cells were symbiotic consortiums of prokaryote cells with one or more species (endosymbionts) being involved. These cells with nuclei, including all the cells in the human body, descended from bacteria that formed symbiotic relationships more than 2 billion years ago. As they became more interdependent, an obligatory symbiosis evolved. She contended that symbiosis, not chance mutation, was the driving force behind evolution and that the cooperation between organisms and the environment are the chief agents of natural selection — not competition among individuals. Today, we share the earth with one type of human and 30 million other species, all of whom we have relationships with.

Millions of years ago there we had twenty types of human ancestors, then eventually four types living simultaneously on earth. Neanderthal were our closest relatives – living four hundred thousand years ago – existing for hundreds and thousands of years as master hunters, surviving a few ice ages and then vanishing. In 2010, a fragment of the new Denisovan hominim was discovered to most likely share a common origin with Neanderthals.

Still, today, there is a lot less genetic diversity within our species, and it may seem to have threatened our survival, but the environmental extremes over millions of years were the very reason why we survived as the only remaining homo sapien species on earth today. We evolved into the best human adapters, by adapting to change itself with an underlying driving force of variability. This was manifested by storing information outside of the brain – a more complex, but easier way to pass on information to the next generation – in symbolic language such as imagery. Use of symbols is connected to the human ability to plan, communicate and record information. Language is an essential part of communication, making it possible to convey information in complex ideas to others, this going back at least 250,000 years ago. Communication of ideas and circumstances via language made survival in a changing world possible. Communicating in imagery today is the most efficient language system to date.

This is why we adapted with environmental fluctuations, mimicking nature’s cycles themselves, becoming organisms who can cope with nature’s extreme environmental fluctuations. This instability put more pressure on hominims, making them better problem solvers, advancing them to be unique. Human adaptations evolved – and continues to evolve – in response to environmental instabilities. We continue to practice higher cognitive functioning and methodology in symbolic language function, memory and spacial locations. This represents a survival advantage which allows us to survive today.

A response to environmental change is to evolve structures and behaviors which can be used to cope with different environments. The selection of these structures and behaviors is a result of and response to environmental instability. Over the course of human evolution, hominids increased their abilities to cope with a number of different environments rather than specializing on a single one. They developed larger brains, allowing more processing and storing of information for planning ahead and solving abstract problems. A larger brain was able to produce versatile solutions to new and diverse survival problems. Because of this, we continue evolving into a more holistic way of thinking, which for many will be a challenge. Underlying these changes is a deep understanding of life as a creative process. 1.5 million years ago, we adapted abilities into what makes us distinctively human: hard wired for creativity, intelligence and caring about each other –  very different from the ape-like human ancestors. Today, we continue to want to make art because of this aesthetic urge – our species can rely on art information as a sustainable technology.

Art is evolutionary change at the species level, involving an interplay of creativity and mutual adaptation in which organisms and environment coevolve. Making art and encoding it is a condition in evolution, modeling all levels of an ecosystem. The very basis for creating any art form is this: to encode/transliterate the patterns, the harmonies that cohere every single thing, and place every single element within an ecology of all things. Art is an ecology of all things made conscious by our aesthetic urge. The aesthetic urge genetically informs humans not only to sustain life on earth, but also how to do so.

AESTHETIC URGE is our 40,000 year old genetically expressed desire to communicate in imagery as a way of passing on information. The Aesthetic urge is a desire for deeply satisfying reciprocal relationships within Nature’s sensuous beauty. It’s an ecological condition, as it is an inherent mental and physical human power. Aesthetics is the result of synergistic relationships between at least two or more things, fulfilling a biological desire for equilibrium. Aesthetics evolved as a condition between humans, producing what is not independently obtainable. It is our consciousness, our inherent knowing the whole of existence and our place within it. The emergence of consciousness 1.8 million years ago, made it possible to replace the genetic mechanisms of evolution with more efficient social ones, based upon conceptual thought and symbolic language. Brain development began to allow human processing of sensory information. We began to manifest consciousness using expansive tools of communication with visual imagery. Encoding its meaning and communicating the new information to others became an efficient way of sustaining a natural balance in life. This became an aesthetic way of life and a condition on which human sustainability continues to rely today.

Aesthetics is what drives humans to want to create and reproduce both animate and inanimate forms. Humans mimic the function of genetics, modeling repetition of information. Nature’s information is made of all substance from vibration, to atom, to bacteria and all of its infinite combinations, compositions and generations of them.

Our creations, ancient active information are newly adaptive patterns. Life passes information, assuring inheritance. Inheritance is life’s way to keep one’s own genetics alive – the intrinsic desire of life. Art is a generation of our genetics; genetics are embedded in each and every one of our millions of cells. Art is a manifestation of bacterial genetic transfer of cellular information from humans, such as cells dividing to make more cells (mitosis). By reproducing they each carry the prior information into next generations over billions of years and is still in process. Art is a form of cell division, in a sense. Although it is not biotic itself, the copied information in art could be mitosis. The information stored in our cells transform into new compositions, as does all life, which is an adaptation to new environmental conditions.

The intrinsic relationship between aesthetics and art is the actual sustainable condition on which human survival depends. Aesthetics are a genetic consciousness of beauty. Beauty is satisfying because of its inherent balance in nature both physiologically and mentally, a reconstitution of original processes. We maintain and re-organize substance or what we are by manifesting it in various aspects of symbiotic reproduction. As in all living processes, self organization is a continual flow where the system maintains reproduction in a whole complex system. This process is the nature of equilibrium initiated by living in momentum of perpetual motion.

Motion changes everything including our conditions. Indeed, motion initiated our evolution. Motion is a change of the location of something in a space, as a result of something moving before it. Urging life’s organizing principle of harmony, the universe is composed entirely of perpetual motion, not matter. However, all matter/energy and phenomena are manifestations of motion. Every new thing is the result of changing environmental conditions from before the formation of earth.

For example, cosmic evolution involves elementary particles becoming organized into atoms and eventually into galaxies, stars, and planets. Chemical evolution involves atoms becoming organized into molecules. Molecules are formed by the interactions of the electrons surrounding the nucleus of the atoms. Making art is a physiological function of participating in the force of perpetual motion and nature’s intrinsic aesthetic for organizing which sustains human life. We live in a perpetual state of seeking this balance in finding a distribution of weight visually, acoustically and physically. This desire is urged by living in our continual motion of planets spinning, rotating and gravity pulling us towards earths center. Our own weight is the fulcrum which we turn to in sustaining this condition of living on earth. The low frequency of motion allows human to see energy as matter yet under an electron microscope everything is moving.

All the physical matters are composed of vibration.

The law of resonance states that all energy resonates at a specific frequency enabling only energy of a harmonious frequency to attach to it creating your physical results. We, like the Source (and everything else within our universe), in our most basic form, exist as a vibration. Our entire universe and everything within it (seen and unseen) is a vibrating mass of atoms and subatomic particles.

Everything in our universe consists of a rate of vibration. If the rate of that vibration falls below or rises above a certain intensity, it becomes unmeasurable or invisible to the human senses. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Depending on the specific amounts of each of these subatomic ingredients, all physical phenomenon that can be seen, whether tangible and measurable experiences or in the case of objects, these subatomic structures determine if the thing being observed is solid, liquid, or gas. The specific amounts of these subatomic particles combined with their rate of vibration also determines whether it can be sensed with the human senses or not.

Regardless of it’s form, broken down into it’s most basic structure, everything that exists, seen and unseen, consists of a rate of vibration. In other words, what you see in physical life is not solid as it appears to be. It’s all a vibrating mass of energy. The varying amounts of atoms and subatomic particles form various shapes or energies determine form, or rates of vibration. This movement is created by something known to the scientific community as atoms, which broken down and analyzed further consist of a proton, which is at the center and an electron which constantly orbits the proton, creating a vibratory pattern. Energy or movement that you see is millions of individual forms of microscopic matter that make up the piece of paper, which are called molecules. Everything in our world that you can sense with the five basic human senses are made up of these billions and trillions of molecules. If a frequency is vibrating fast enough, it’s emitted as a color of light. Dr. Max Planck.

The very consciousness that enables us to probe the workings of our cells is the ancient process of bacterial genetic transfer. We are part of a net work that comes from the original bacterial takeover of the Earth and rearrangement of the same chemical explosion as the big bang also what everything is made of. Our DNA is derived in an unbroken sequence from the same molecules in the earliest cells that formed at the edges of the first warm, shallow oceans. Our ability to make new kinds of life can be seen as the newest way in which organic memory,lives recall and activation of the past in present-becomes more acute. Lynn Margulis

Art itself, is a human manifest and microcosm of a complex living systems; a recombination from powerful bacterial communities with a multibillion year old ecological history. The very atoms that compose our bodies were created not, of course, when we were conceived, but shortly after the birth of the universe itself 15, 000 million years ago. Hydrogen combined with carbon made methane mixed with oxygen made water and with nitrogen made ammonia and with sulfur made hydrogen sulfide..all gases recombined are every component of our human bodies. These gases still exist in the atmosphere around Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. On the smaller, new and molten earth, phenomena more complex than gravity began to involve these gases in cyclical processes that would keep them here to the present day. In the cloud of gases destined to become earth were hydrogen, helium, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, aluminum, gold, uranium, sulfur, phosphorus, and silicon. 4,600 million years ago, the earth mass was already in circumstances that were to suit it for the emergence of life. It was near a source of energy: the sun.

“Elementary particles could be thought of not as exclusively solid well-defined objects in space but rather as processes that unfold and enfold out of the entire universe.”F. David Peat

David Bohm’s Implicate Order theory states that life and consciousness are enfolded deep in the generative order and are therefore present in varying degrees of unfoldment in all matter, including supposedly “inanimate” matter such as electrons or plasmas. He suggests that there is a “proto-intelligence” in matter, so that new evolutionary developments do not emerge in a random fashion but creatively as relatively integrated wholes from implicate levels of reality. (Quoted in Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe, HarperCollins, New York, 1991, p. 271.)

Our cells expose ecological memory behaving like light years. Light years were born millions of years ago migrating, reorganizing, reforming, cycling and perhaps as all energy is perpetually becoming our current creations. ”for evolution is nothing less than God’s undertaking to create creators”. Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution (1911) tr. Arthur Mitchell, Henry Holt and Company.

Making images is an evolutionary adaptation of ecological or organic memory. The information embedded in ecological memory is sustaining human life. Memory is the processes by which information is encoded, stored, and retrieved. Encoding allows information that is from the outside world to reach our senses in the forms of chemical and physical stimuli. In this first stage of encoding we must change the information so that we may put the memory into the encoding process. Storage is the second memory stage or process. This entails that we maintain information over periods of time. The third process is retrieval. This is the retrieval of information that we have stored. We must locate it and return it to our consciousness.

In human creations we expose ecological memory from our soma or cells. If you magnify your cells down to your atoms, you would see that you are made up of subtle bundles of info-energy. This info-energy is comprised of physical, mental and emotional data that comes from all of your life experiences, genetic heritage, and past generations. Nothing we experience escapes being imprinted into our cellular hologram in the form of cell memory. It is the collective energy field generated by these individual cell memories. It operates behind the scenes of our subconscious mind. Cells also determine individual sequence and primary structure as information. This collectively may be generated in art.

Our Cellular Memory is the complete blueprint for our existence. It is the energetic expression of you as a holistic being. Each point within your cellular memory contains all the information of the whole. This information is infinitely accessible to each and every cell of your body. Ecological memory consists of both biological and genetic legacies. Biological legacies refer to seeds, plant materials, animal populations, etc. Genetic legacies refer to the adaptations of a species to a site. In ecosystem restoration, it is preferable to use plants from a similar climate, soil type etc to the site. (

Encoding art is encoding evolutionary memory and time with the outcome of intra-species communication; a harmonious link with the planetary current of evolution. Art takes on meaning according to the changing environment which helps humans make sense of the world. The key to shaping and composing art holds meaning when situating oneself in time and space, interpreting its significance of events, to discover through these events the purpose embedded in the memory of evolution which carries us along. Art is like genetics, repeating patterns in new organizations of environmental change. Art changes as a seemingly tangible reference of time, time being a measurable tool uniquely human. Other species move with natures cycles as a reference of predictable change.

Art can read like a map of both individual and dynamical relationships with planetary cycles and their developments, flows, networks, relationships, organizations and patterns. Art can be read as gradual stages of new patterns of reorganization. Each stage is dynamically moving in harmony with everything else in mass, energy and momentum with environmental conditions. Art is variations of all life, from trees, to animals, to humans for billions of years. During this time, various geophysical changes over millions of years influence the forms to change, otherwise they will not survive. We can see all of life cycling this way in migrations. Migration is the periodic movement of an animal from the place where it has been living to a new area and its subsequent return journey to the original home. When animals migrate, it is usually to find abundant food and a good place to breed thus sustaining life. Art is migratory by changing form over time sustaining itself as a system, moving and maintaining bio-diverse relationships. As art making migrates it collectively maps the geophysical characteristics of place manifesting in what we call culture.