exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity
Editor's 1-Minute Essay:
return to "Habit" main-page
An extensive survey of "habit" quotations reveals generally positive feelings toward this acquired behavioral pattern.
Habits are often seen as aids to self-improvement, a jump-start to motivation, or even a great key to success and excellence.
the mindless, involuntary aspect
While good habits can offer a benefit as time-saver to mundane activity, I would advise against the wholesale employment of habit as ingredient to life-success. I think Eric Hoffer had it right:
“Wise living consists perhaps less in acquiring good habits than in acquiring as few habits as possible.”
Habit as unthinking, robot-like activity is a problem. Bruce Lee explains it to us:
"[Success is] not being tense, but ready... not being set, but flexible... it is being wholly and quietly alive, aware and alert, ready for whatever may come..."
Eckhart Tolle, too, speaks of growing in consciousness, a mindfulness, "staying present" in all that we do; in this regard, popular conceptions of "habit" take us in the wrong direction. Certain mundane activities of life might profitably be reduced to routine, but, even in this, a mindlessness does not serve us well.
All this may (or may not) be at least mildly interesting, but I created this "habit" page for another reason -- to share a very important idea.
Dr. Rupert Sheldrake: "The 'laws' of the universe are more like habits."
from Dr. Sheldrake's official website:
Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and author of more than 80 scientific papers and ten books. He was among the top 100 Global Thought Leaders for 2013, as ranked by the Duttweiler Institute, Zurich, Switzerland's leading think tank. He studied natural sciences at Cambridge University, where he was a Scholar of Clare College, took a double first class honours degree and was awarded the University Botany Prize (1963). He then studied philosophy and history of science at Harvard University, where he was a Frank Knox Fellow (1963-64), before returning to Cambridge, where he took a Ph.D. in biochemistry (1967). He was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge (1967-73), where he was Director of Studies in biochemistry and cell biology. As the Rosenheim Research Fellow of the Royal Society (1970-73), he carried out research on the development of plants and the ageing of cells in the Department of Biochemistry at Cambridge University. While at Cambridge, together with Philip Rubery, he discovered the mechanism of polar auxin transport, the process by which the plant hormone auxin is carried from the shoots towards the roots. (see more on Dr. Sheldrake's site)
science can be like religion, dogmatically speaking of unchanging "laws" when none exist
Most of us were taught in various science classes that there are "constants" in the universe, such as the speed of light, the force of gravity, and many other "laws."
But Dr. Sheldrake in his "Science Set Free" disabuses us from this long-held error. You must read of this for yourself, but the implications are paradigm-shattering. (See Dr. Sheldrake's youtube interviews and lectures on this subject; also see his brief history of science, its unproven metaphysical assumptions, on the "Evolution" page.)
Dr. Sheldrake: … there's a kind of aura around the present stretching out into the future, which is the realm of hopes, fears, possibilities, dreams, imaginings about what can happen. But then there's a further question, and a more fundamental one, as to whether the whole evolutionary process is being pulled from the future, rather than being pushed from the past. And the idea that it's all being pulled from the future is a very traditional view, and so is the idea it's being pushed from the past.
The traditional Judeo-Christian view of history is that history is being pulled from the future, there's something in the future--which Terence McKenna calls the transcendental object, Teilhard de Chardin calls the omega point, what the Book of Revelation calls the new creation, what metanarians have thought of as the millennium. That some future state of perfection is drawing the whole cosmic evolutionary process towards itself in some mysterious way. And that, therefore, the whole cosmic evolutionary process has a kind of goal or purpose. Well that's a view which many people subscribe to, and it's a view that lies at the root of the doctrine of progress, which dominates our whole society…
I think all forms of western thought are under the influence of this particular attractor, as one could call it. The idea of a future goal attracting things towards it is utterly dominant in almost every area of western thought I know…
Question: Perhaps the most compelling implication of your hypothesis is that nature is not governed by eternally fixed laws but more by habits that are able to evolve as conditions change. In what ways do you think the human experience of reality could be affected as a result of this awareness?
Dr. Sheldrake: Well, I think first of all the idea of habits developing along with nature gives us a much more evolutionary sense of nature herself. I think that nature -- the entire cosmos, the natural world we live in -- is ... more like a developing organism, with developing habits, than like a fixed machine governed by fixed laws, which is the old image of the cosmos, the old world view. Second, I think the notion of natural habits enables us to see how there's a kind of presence of the past in the world around us. The past isn't just something that happens and is gone. It's something which is continually influencing the present, and is in some sense present in the present.
Editor's last word:
In the "Believe" article I suggested that our latent abilities, vast and undefined, will require the endless future to manifest and take on form.
Is it not more than interesting that a class of evolving beings such as ourselves, with "no discernible upper limit" of potential, might find themselves living in a universe wherein it, too, might also be evolving? - possibly, to match and to provide suitable residence to ones of advancing and illimitable ability.