Does nature give us a heart or do we give a heart to nature?  Does a genetic basis to our being mean that the genes can show us what we are like?  If we can find a genetic cause for the things we do, does it mean that the genes are doing it for us and the ‘doer’ doesn’t really change anything?  Is the fact of change identifiable beforehand in its precursors?  Does the attribution of change to its causes allow us to equate new facts to old?  Does a physical foundation to everything show us everything there is to see, or do we live in a universe of parallel realities – of planets and persons, objects and subjects, bodies and minds, causes and effects – in a universe becoming more than it was?

Then what about hearts and stones – what about the emergence of compassion amidst the consolidations of dust that makes up the fabric of ‘things in existence’?  How do the impersonal facts of nature become personal?  Are we compassionate because of our biological make-up, because it features first in biology, as biology – and does this explain the anomalous fact of compassion in nature?  Is nature pulling our heartstrings, or has a change come about through the person of the doer – a change that gives the push-pull of genes and environments something to work on – a change that becomes evident in the accompanying facts and causes, but only because they are accompanied, because the doer must first occasion the fact of the doing, seeing or feeling.

Mike Laidler

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