Alexander. Ervin Laszlo describes the really broad patterns of change as macrodetermination. According to him, this is when you have “bounded indeterminism” such that your degrees of freedom are bounded by the parameters of the governing system. Another way of looking at it, if we turn the perspective on macrodetermination around, is to consider that we live in a universe that has certain parameters within which we have free play, like chess. If you want to play chess, there are certain ways you can move and others that you cannot. In our universe, we have laws of gravity for example, and we can figure out how those work and then work with them; we have the speed of light and we know what that is; and we know the speed of sound in certain environments such as air, water, or vacuum. Those kinds of speeds and densities are constants that we can explore; they are the parameters within which we live and work. 

Human Limits?

Alexander. We have certain things we cannot actually do. That is also macrodetermination, and within that we can play, we can change many things, we can decide to do many things, and we keep pushing the boundaries all the time. But there are some things that you actually cannot do. You cannot stick your hand into a rock and pull it back out (no matter what Alan Watts says), I have tried and it’s not a good idea. So, this is all true in this universe, but maybe it’s not the same in the entire cosmos. That is because the cosmos can hold other universes. Indeed, we might be in a multiverse, and in other universes the constants might be different, so they would have different bounds on their parameters of play and, in effect, a different macrodetermination. So, what patterns we can engage with are bound by the nature of this universe. What do you think about this idea of bounded indeterminism and macrodeterminism in the way I have described?

Shae. I want to say, Yes-And… I agree that our “constants” are somewhat fixed for us, rather than fixed as a backdrop to everything everywhere, for all time. I’m thinking of the contrast between the idea of what we experience as constants being “fixed” everywhere throughout the universe for all time, and the relativity of being “fixed” in our part of the universe at this time. I have been reading about this in a book by Thomas Hertog on the very last theory that Stephen Hawking was working on before he died. The book is about the origin of time, and Hertog explains that all of the laws of physics and indeed all of the patterns that are evident in our universe are only so in our patch of space, in our universe. So, “fixed” is a relative term. Hertog explains that Einstein found this very prediction from his general relativity theory not to his liking. So yes, fixed at the moment and fixed to a certain extent; an indeterminism that is bounded. Paradox at its finest…

We see clearly what can happen when we don’t pay attention to the parameters of the way that nature and the universe we inhabit actually operates in our part of the universe; we can easily destroy things. We can disintegrate life’s coherence when we don’t pay close enough attention. The time frame of human beings existing in the universe is so short, so what we experience as fixed may not actually be so over a longer temporal frame. I think that fixed is a relative term and I think dynamic is a relative term: dynamic to this extent at this time; fixed to that extent at that time. In this way, each is relative and could possibly change. 

Dynamic Patterning

Alexander. I don’t have a definitive answer, but given the patterning of the way the universe is operating and with which we are engaging at the moment as humans, we could say that these are the parameters of what we experience and are capable of knowing with our physical forms and sensory capacities. And… and there is an “and”… I think there is always more to learn and to know. There are many stories of people having experiences that appear to stretch the parameters of what we can and cannot know or even have access to as currently documented in the dominant paradigms of knowledge. Yes, in a fundamental sense, I think it is all fixed and not fixed at the same time; everything is paradoxical. 

  • Hertog, T. (2023). On the origin of time: Stephen Hawking’s last theory. Bantum.
  • Jantsch, E. (1980).  The Self-Organizing Universe. Pergamon Press.
  • Laszlo, E., & Laszlo, A. (2016). What is reality: The new map of cosmos and consciousness. Select Books.