(Thanks to Ann F. for bringing this important book by Lawrence Edwards to my attention)
The following passages from “Vortex of Life” (p.17) are especially apropos to our discussion about seeing the interactions of the street dogs in the “heat pack” as a flow system, rather than reducing them to a smattering of disconnected parts, interconnected by way of human rationales; stacking “concept upon concept” but ultimately in a way that doesn’t make sense. Whereas if we see how flow, an “absential,” and most especially resistance to flow, manifests in the mind of each dog, we then see the flow dynamic that turns the many into the one, and herein the dog’s mind makes sense.
1. Concerning ‘Whole’ and ‘Straight’
“One of the principal problems confronting biology today concerns the fundamental nature of the living organism when considered as a whole thing. We have been accustomed so long to regarding the living being as a great conglomeration of cells, and each cell as an admixture of its constituent molecules, that it easily becomes almost second nature with us to see the living organism simply as an aggregate of its parts. Such a viewpoint, often labelled (sometimes one feels with a certain degree of denigration) reductionism, has undoubtedly been the source of many wonderful advances in knowledge, but it is necessary that we should realize its inherent, and very serious, limitations. One reduces the experience of the living whole to the concepts of its various parts; but when one tries to put these parts together again, concept upon concept, the idea of the total living being all too easily evades one; one is left with simply a physical mechanism knit together in ways which are still totally incomprehensible.”
“Many of our most percipient biologists have been coming to see, in recent years especially, that the living organism as a whole thing must be considered as something greater than the sum of its component parts. The separate parts must be there of course; but something else is needed, some overriding reality which takes these parts and organizes them into the close-knit unity which is the real living thing, and which has ‘reality,’ in its own right, just as truly as any of the parts which we can feel and handle. We may decide to speak of a ‘network of relationships’ or an ‘organizing principle’ or a ‘body of formative forces’ but the important thing is to see whether, by careful observation and unprejudiced thought, it is possible to approach some idea of this overriding reality. “