Southeastern Permaculture Gathering: REGENERATIVE UNIVERSE, with Rob Messick

From the very beginning of my time as a conscious child on planet earth, while lying on my back staring at deep blue summer sky, I would feel so very grateful that my eyes could not pierce space, that there was no ceiling, that the sky went on forever.

And: From the very first time I heard about the Big Bang, I knew, instantly and intuitively, with every thrumming fiber of my young self, that this so-called “scientific” explanation of the universe was sheer bullshit. That the universe had no beginning; that it always was and is and will be. That the vast panorama in which we live and move and have our being, morphs into infinitely various forms and frequencies at every scale, eternally birthing, living, dying and being reborn.

Furthermore, I knew that this Big Bang that the scientists spoke of, was inextricably connected to our cultural fear of nuclear war, of The Bomb, the big one, that could detonate at any moment and destroy life on earth. In short, we think that the world came into existence with a Big Bang, and we fear that it will blink out the same way. In other words, The Bomb and the Big Bang are two faces of a single coin.

The Big Bang/Big Bomb frames up an old paradigm. It’s time we changed it. And now, thanks to Rob Messick, I discover another person who thinks so, too. Who senses that regeneration is the rule, not the exception, and not just confined to life on earth; that regeneration features as the divine play of the universe, on and on, no beginning and no end.

The Big Bang includes corollary ideas, such as after expansion, contraction, ultimately down to zero, nothing, the end, the zero point, where it either blinks out or blinks in again, with another Big Bang. I am not familiar with the theories, but I know that an off/on/off/on cosmological alternative must exist, given the way the human mind is programmed. But notice: each time, in order to end expansion, we must put a limit on the universe, see it as a closed system. But what if that’s just not true? What if, for example, natural systems are always open, their infinite varieties feeding into one another at every level, every scale, from microscopic nanoparticles to kaleidoscoping galaxies? What if, there’s no such thing as an absolute beginning or end? That we only think there is such because of our hard-wired beLIEf in linear, billiard ball “causality.”

And, since entropy tends to rule after a certain point in any system that we try to close, then the result is inevitably, scarcity, when the system winds down and its constituent parts no longer feed each other.

Our usually unquestioned beliefs in the Big Bang, entropy, linear causality (and its corollary, scarcity) are aspects of the scientific paradigm that, ever since quantum mechanics, at least some of us have been trying to shake ourselves free from.

Seldom, however, does this kind of a subject matter come up in permaculture circles, which is mainly focused on Earth’s material and energetic regenerative processes, and to some extent, more and more, on human social regenerative processes, including the cooperative interplay between humans and the land. But cosmic permaculture? Permaculture as a thoroughly comprehensive world-view, a paradigm shattering, and new paradigm creating, profound intention to encourage and enjoy continuous abundance on every level? Not just in our interaction with Earth herself, but in communion with the infinitely regenerative cosmos?

Wow. Imagine thinking that way. And imagine what could happen then.

Imagine if we replaced our fear of scarcity at every level with our recognition and gratitude for abundance on every level.

Imagine if we saw in the constant processes of birthing, living, dying, rebirthing, as the way the entire universe actually works, at every scale, forever, on and on. That it always has worked this way. That even creation myths of various cultures are merely local offshoots of a continuously regenerating multidimensional process?

So when I saw that there would be a presentation on a conception of the universe that billed itself as an alternative to the Big Bang, well, I was all in! Yes! Finally permaculture is enlarging its view of itself from Earth, not just to Moon (for planting and harvesting cycles) and Sun (for photosynthesis), but to the far off wheeling galaxies, so that nothing is left out, and openings flower everywhere!

And so while I don’t pretend to understand the intricacies of Rob’s chosen model of how a continuously regenerative universe works, I grokked right away what drives him.

Unfortunately, his slide presentation, which was voluminous and filled with images of implied motion from complex forces in myriad directions, is not yet ready for a more public display. As he says, “I need to find images that are not copyrighted, or else get permission, or else, combine some of them into my own images.”

In order to do this post, I asked Rob three questions: What got you into this subject? How did you go about your research? Can you give us a brief summary of your findings that the general public can understand?

I also asked him for a photo (since I forgot to take my camera/phone with me to his presentation), and he sent along a universe image that he doesn’t have to worry about re: copyright.

“The Cosmic Web” source: Andrew Pontzen and Fabio Governato (August 1, 2014)

Meanwhile, as he says:

It took years of research to be able to create the range of scale depicted in the power point. I found 3D models of structures or “near-structures” related to a dozen major environments, and made an appendix to the e-book that puts them in context and provides sources.

The e-book he refers to will present the intricacies of his chosen Regenerative Universe model. He was finishing this manuscript when another project he had been working on earlier suddenly popped back into view: Writing up the results of mapping old growth forests.



What got you into this subject?

I am a researcher who has done a significant amount of ground-truthing in old growth forests of the southern Blue Ridge region since the 1990s. This work was a way of applying a geographic-scale understanding of sites with details about specific forest communities. My interest in astronomy was present in childhood, particularly in relation to some of the Apollo space missions and planetarium presentations. The ranges of structural behavior, boundary conditions, and environmental contexts at different scales has been an interest of mine since my late 20s — though a comprehensive synthesis of this did not appear to be possible until the second decade of the 21st century. My interest in cosmology was aroused primarily by the discovery of work by plasma physicists such as Eric Lerner, Donald Scott, and Anthony Peratt.

In July 2011 I attended the Natural Philosophy Alliance conference in College Park, MD. The Southern Star conference of 2015 at Wildacres offered the opportunity to see Jupiter, a globular cluster, the Sombrero Galaxy, and a galaxy merger through a sizable 20″ telescope. Later that year I attended the Twelfth Biennial History of Astronomy Workshop at the University of Notre Dame, and enjoyed presentations at the Adler Planetarium.

Summary and Research Protocol

“A regenerative universe scenario is an alternative to the gravity-centered and explosion-derived cosmology of the big bang theory that has been accepted in scientific circles since the 1960s. The big bang has dominated thinking about cosmology for many decades, with its genesis-oriented implications and its connection to early atomic bomb projects through scientists like Gorge Gamow. Plasma Universe Theory, which includes a far more comprehensive understanding of reasonable states of matter and a thermodynamics that accepts both entropic and syntropic interactions at many scales, is destined to replace an old theory that is continuously being falsified by a host of new observations.

Are regenerative processes restricted to biochemistry, microbes, organisms, and ecology? Erwin Schrodinger posed questions like this is the 1940s, and by the 1990s researchers like Mae Wan-Ho answered the question with a resounding no. The electromagnetic force is both stronger and more pervasive than gravity, and its influence can be found from at least the supercluster of galaxies scale all the way to molecules, atoms, charged particles, electromagnetic waves, electromagnetic fields, and electromagnetic currents.

The proposed Regenerative Universe is an evolutionary scenario that accepts the universality of mass accumulation and the resulting variation of structural form at many scales. It also adopts Donald Campbell’s idea of evolutionary epistemology which accepts that our knowledge is embedded in hypothesis and theories that need to change with the advent of new observations and synthesis work in the sciences.

Eighty models were considered in this paradigm-replacing scenario. In an epistemological system reminiscent of one adopted by Roger Penrose in 1989 thirty emergent models, thirty floating models, and twenty sinking models were evaluated and summarized. Emergent models in this case have significant matches to a regenerative universe scenario, and floating models have some resemblances, though they also have numerous flaws or hang-ups. Sinking models cling to hypothesis or theories that are challenged or are losing ground in terms of observational evidence, and bottom dwelling are relegated to the scrap heaps of historical lessons.

Is the idea of perpetual regeneration a viable option? What are the implications of a cosmology that emphasizes multiple formation, duration, dissolution and reformation processes at numerous scales, instead of a singular beginning, a supposed expansion, and a long winding-down process? Answers are pointing to the possibility that humans may be able to adopt biomimicry, ecosystem mimicry, and even cosmomimicry tactics to deal with some of the large scale problems and disasters we have caused on this unique life-supporting planet Earth.”

Rob Messick (8/18/19)

For those who speak the language of sciences, Rob provides this abstract.  RU Abstract (2019).

Meanwhile, just this morning, synchronicity!

Big Bang Theory Questioned as Star Older Than Universe Discovered


Tomorrow or Sunday: Final blogpost in this series of five from the Eastern Permaculture Gathering 2019.




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