One of the most fascinating patterns I’ve learned from in nature about the nature of belonging is identity-based generativity. If you start with our shared ninth grade education of the atomic level, you can see a pattern that shows up at every other level. Each atom is made of individual entities with names like proton, neutron, and electron. The number and interaction of those subatomic particles gives an atom its identity. If it is a carbon atom, it has six of each with three electrons in each of its two orbits. With the innate identity of carbon, it can form (for example) interdependent relationships, according to their individual identities with seven other carbon atoms, ten hydrogen atoms, four nitrogen atoms, and two oxygen atoms, and collaboratively generate a molecule of caffeine (C8H10N4O2).
This same thing shows up as molecular identities collaborate to form cellular identities and cells collaborate to form identities as organs and systems of organs until you get worms, rats, humans. Then those collaborate to create identities as families, communities, and cultures. Each one of those also has an identity that is generated from its individual biological, neuro-psychological, social, emotional, and metaphysical history. That history is made up of every experience they have ever experienced. This matters in particular for humans because our relational experiences generally distort our identity and make our connecting instincts ego protective. Non-human organisms are far less conscious and cannot use their consciousness to choose not to follow natural laws. We can.
As we protect our fragile, imagined egos, we end up collaborating to build social systems that we think are protective. But in truth, any system that does not integrate with every real identity causes harm to those inside and outside. It is like what would happen if the carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen atoms decided that the oxygen atoms were somehow a threat. Disconnecting the oxygen atoms would destroy the identity of the caffeine molecule.
I write in a geeky, sciency, hopefully poetic way about belonging, storytelling, community building, deconstruction and construction,