question of change. If you are already at your full potential, you are not likely to be able to change very much fundamentally. If you are living short of your potential, then a great deal of change should lay in store.

Wild animals provide an interesting contrast to humans, as they appear to live at their full potential. Crocodile behaviour, bee behaviour, chimpanzee behaviour, has not really changed much for thousands even millions of years. Compare this to humans, for whom major change has been occurring over the last thousands of years, and currently this change seems to be gathering pace. How different life for them was 150 years ago, with slavery, no TV, no airplanes, and no vote for women or aborigines. Are humans under the influence of a potential that pulls them ever faster?

Of course, many humans would like to think that they are making the change themselves, and that no external factors guide them. It is all due to their ingenuity and brilliance. It then also follows that the potential they will find will be entirely of their own making and whim. This would indeed encourage a mind seeking superiority and pomposity. But would the potential be any less worthy if it was predictable, and was set up for you by biology and nature?

Thinking in terms of potentials implies that there is a structure to the universe that sets up positions and places available for occupation. These compartments are framed by the various laws and processes of the universe. Science seeks to discover and understand these important fundamentals, and has already identified some of the forces that shape our universe, such as provided by the grand unified theory in physics, natural selection in biology, and atomic structure in chemistry. The universe and earth is now lavishly endowed with potential compartments within which a range of reactions can safely occur. For example, the earth is held at a certain orbit due to gravitational forces from the sun, which led to the potential for life to begin on earth. At first, Earth's atmosphere was a toxic cocktail of methane, ammonia and carbon dioxide. It was not until the appearance of oxygen from the photochemical splitting of water that ozone began to appear and shield the earth's surface from UV. Under these conditions, plants could evolve to utilize the abundant carbon dioxide, and produce even more oxygen. The earth then gained the potential to support trees. With the evolution of bark on trees, a potential developed for animals to live under this new form of shelter. Many thousands of species now do this, with a further division of this large potential into numerous smaller potentials framed by variations such as climate, tree type, thickness of bark, and tightness of bark adhesion to the trunk.

In biology, another word for potential is niche. Wild animals adapt and adjust to their own specific niche. They become well suited to a niche, which may be living on a certain plant, flying at a certain time of the day, or living under damp logs. Each species can live better than any other species within its specialised niche. Within that niche, the animal is rewarded with relative comfort, shelter, food, mates, and all the essentials of their life. The ecosystem is a harmony of all of these niches adjusted and balanced together so they can all co-exist within the ecosystem.

Balance and harmony may seem inappropriate terms to use in modern biology, when there is change and evolution. But the balance is one that can gradually change over time. Evolutionary change occurs very slowly, and ecosystems are very old indeed. On a day to day basis, balance and harmony in nature is clear to see. When disruptive change does occur, the processes bought into play such as breeding behaviour and evolution, still seek to find new balance, harmony and attunement = wildness. Change gravitates towards wildness because it is the fairest and most direct medium available in which to find your potential. By immersing in wildness, you can come to terms with all of the other players in the system, and find your true place (more beetle). Indeed, one definition of wildness is that it is the level of organisation that can be seen only by those creatures able to live at their full potential. Certain efficiencies, realisations, meanings and fulfilments can only be seen through wild eyes, because then you can see directly into (because you are a part of) the largest parsimonious system at work on earth.

It takes wisdom to realise a potential. It takes an understanding of what is important, and what is puff, to get it right. Fortunately for humans, Dr Beetle is magnificently endowed with great wisdom, so will soon be able to reveal the potential in store for them (after I've swept my burrow and chopped some rotted wood for the larvae). Nothing of the future is etched in stone, and the universe is a big place where many influences can come into effect. Destiny implies predetermined position, which I doubt can occur. Similarly, fate is an evil or unwanted destiny. But it is wrong to think that human future can be known from a destiny, like some preordained scripture. Nevertheless, if things act according to certain simple principles, then it should be possible to make predictions. The future of humans should be predictable, but there can be no guarantees. Predictions can always be founded upon false assumptions.

Understanding human potential will be easier if you can think of humans objectively as though they were just another object. An object fills its potential when it can touch the entire framework or boundary of that potential. If there is an unfilled potential, then there must be a gap between the object and its surrounding environment. This gap can be created in two ways. The environment in which an object lives may alter, which changes the support given to the object. For example, electrons move to another position once a change is made in the structure they occupy, as by the flick of a switch that sets up a new potential or voltage. A ball will move to a lower position when the tube it rests in is tilted at the other end. It is the environment not the ball that has changed structure. The other way to create a new potential is when the object itself alters within a set environment. For example, the influenza virus can change structure, giving it the new potential to by-pass developed immunities and once more sweep through a population. Human change was triggered by this latter method for creating new potential.

The way in which the new human potential was set up was that a new adaptation evolved which changed them from their ancestral species to what they are now. Because they are still changing, the potential of that new adaptation is still to be filled. Defining that adaptation should help determine its end potential or new human niche. Unfortunately, there is no requirement for the moving object or human to be aware of the external structure along which it moves. Therefore, the change process can be stressful. Even though the change process within a potential should be simple to study and determine, the reason the obvious escapes humans and remains complicated to them is equally intriguing. Indeed, overcoming personal excuse and padding is one of the tests humans must overcome before they can achieve their potential (more beetle).

For the sake of the planet, it is important that humans reach their potential as soon as possible. Once in that position, they will become a descent species that will allow other things to grow around them. They will feel fulfilled, so develop grace, calm and courtesy. They will have matured as a species, so find self control and an ability to let other things be. They will brush shoulders with other filled potentials, so feel braced and strong. They will be able to see the wildness, and understand its parsimony, structure and value. Once humans have reached their potential, they will allow the world to return to nature's paradise and realise their role in that structure.

But before this can happen, the minds of humans will have to change. This may seem a large task, but it is not really. The impediments have no substance. I expect the changes to be mostly completed within a few hundred years, which is short time in evolutionary terms. Unfortunately by that time, a good half of nature will have been destroyed. But it seems that would be the normal fate for any planet that bears life. The grandest niche available on each planet would need to be filled and stabilised, before nature would be allowed to return to its former glory.

Mindrule filled minds (more beetle) can become extremely recalcitrant to change. Humans have surrounded themselves with mind-clings that they cannot release, and that allow them to subconsciously deflect the obvious. I mean really, understanding that change can only occur under the pull of a potential that has a start and finish line is fairly simple stuff. But the difficult part for humans is whether they can be prepared to lower themselves from their privileged position into the equalisation processes they will need to complete with all other wild forces. It scares them, which is why in other pages I try to reassure that nature would be a safe place for the adjusted human.

Mindrules are instincts that were learnt through experience, and animals cannot really deny those experiences, nor should they. So the path of trying to change minds by overpowering mindrules, arguing them away, or ridiculing them into submission, is essentially futile. It is important to realise that mindrules grow within a mind context. That is why thinking about human development in terms of niches is so useful. The niche provides the context within which mindrules grow. Therefore, the best way to change mindrules, is to change the niche or context in which thinking can occur. That change in niche context will have to be as an expansion from the previously learnt niche context. Then, past experiences do not become denied. Instead, the context in which those past experiences can be understood expands. This is a natural process that will continue to occur in humans under its own steam. It is driven by the experience that expansion in context of thinking is animal rewarding (more beetle). If you can understand more things using the same or less energy, then you are on the right track. The pleasure centre rewards such parsimony, with the feeling of eureka, or the sensation that the penny has dropped. A sign that niche context has expanded is that you begin to receive the gifts of insight and inspiration (more beetle). These are the pleasure rewards felt when the mind realises its expanded context.

The niche context of the human mind has clearly been expanding throughout history. That the change continues shows that the niches found at any point in history, and inevitably those of today, are not the nature supported final niche available to humans. They are temporary niches that can be multitude in context and form, and that lack sufficient support from the environment,  which is why there is nothing to stop them from changing, apart from hard and stressful work by concerned humans. But the results will always be relatively unfulfilling and futile in the long run. This natural cultural evolution can continue to plod along at its natural pace, but then it is unlikely that you will ever see in your lifetime what a completed human niche could look and feel like. Another way is to change mind niche context through daring decision, recognise the obvious, and break out of the entrenched mindset that keeps the wilder mind at bay. There is no real impediment to achieving final niche status except a lack of realisation that it is possible. Simply make a quantum leap in niche context thinking, and start commanding and relearning your mindrules in that new context. But most importantly, start identifying and doubting all personal mindrules, as this makes them flexible and receptive to new contexts. If the new contexts you then learn are real and environment supported, you will then receive encouraging gifts and skills (insights and strengths) from that parsimony of organisation. (posted December 2004)

HomeIndexHuman Future

Human Potential and Human Niches
by Dr Beetle

Having a potential means you have something you 'should' be doing. So potentials need some discussion about destiny or predictability. We also need to discuss what it might feel like to live at your full potential, compared to living short of your potential. Presumably, one will feel more fulfilling than the other. And then there is the