An Invisible Hand
by Cristina Francisco
As cosmic anthropologists, we are taught to study humankind throughout time but also to expand our consciousness by developing new paradigms to understand physical, human, social and spiritual realities. This enables us to arrive at approaches towards a sustainable culture of peace, justice, and integrity of Creation. Such is cooperativism.
Understanding “cooperativism” from a new perspective was an “aha!” experience for me. Relating it to the concepts of “spontaneous order,” “emergence,” “complexity,” and “chaos theory,” made me realize the silent workings of nature in all our various activities in life. That order emerges out of seeming chaos was hard to comprehend at first. It was like the paradoxical koan of the Zen Buddhists’ “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” which can only be understood when one goes deeper into its meaning. Like most, I was used to believing that nothing moves without the direction and orchestration of a visible leader.
Spontaneous order proves otherwise. It happens beyond planning. In layman’s terms, the resulting order is not what the organizers and planners “intended it to be” as exemplified by the creation of the universe, earth’s living and non-living components that work in perfect harmony, our own bodily biological systems that operate as holons or individual systems and as part of other bigger systems or holonarchies and the various social institutions of which we are a part of. Very recently, the social unrest in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Syria, Morocco and Libya by their people seeking reforms from their autocratic leaders has reached a tipping point – like our own People Power. They were not orchestrated. They were not planned.
There was an Invisible Hand, an Intelligent Designer who must have planned all these according to a grand design that S/He only knows. And if you notice, bursts and incidents of spontaneous order overtake when man’s limited and flawed designs do not work anymore. The Invisible Hand has stepped in -- from the development of the free market economy (vis’a vis the other economic systems), the evolution of language and the internet to the awesome creation of unique snowflake patterns, are just some examples. We also know that disorder (e.g illness, chaos, uprising, anomalies, etc.) happens when man tampers with, upsets or disobeys nature. Man did not cooperate with nature. Time and again, we learn from the wisdom of the elders, from the indigenous peoples: do not incur the ire of nature because nature knows how to fight back -- such as disruptions in the ecosystem.
The cosmic perspective therefore connotes cooperativism as a selfless system that creates balance or homeostasis in order to sustain Creation. Thus, to sustain development, peace and industrial progress (or even health), all parts of a system need to cooperate with one another. To achieve progress in a group, a community or even a nation, the members just like the constituents or citizens have to work in harmony with each other. The cells and organs in our body, in order to keep us healthy, “cooperate” or try to function at their best despite the times we neglect or abuse it by not eating the right food, resting, or exercising. Otherwise, disease (dis-ease) follows.