Congratulations! Thank you for inviting me today. Looking at this sea of bright, intelligent eyes is not only thrilling, it is inspiring, it is reassuring, it is humbling. I wish each and every one of you the very best in life.
Today, as you get ready to leave Harvard, and enter the world of work, you are well-prepared. You have read a lot, you have learnt a lot, and I am sure you are brimming with ideas and theories that you are impatient to put into practice. If that is true, rest assured, your university has done its duty.
Jaume Agustí Cullell , CSIC investigator. Paper presented in the University of Ca’ Foscari of Venezia in the “International symposium in honoring to Raimon Panikkar”
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
From T.S. Eliot’s Choruses from The Rock (1934)
1.The Freedom of Reality
A meditation on freedom
This paper is a meditation on the myth of freedom. It embraces freedom as a myth, i.e. as it is present in our consciousness before and beyond any notion or conceptualisation of it, and defying any attempt to its definition. Our meditation is on the creative power of this symbolic word, extending its scope beyond the confines of an exclusively human trait, to encompass all reality.
Freedom, thus embraced and experienced, goes hand in hand with truth and faith. Truth, faith and freedom are not phenomena. They are not objects of consciousness. There is not a consciousness of truth, of faith and of freedom as phenomena to be isolated and captured by concepts. Rather, truth, faith and freedom pierce and qualify consciousness, making it truthful, faithful and free. They are symbolic words and as such express a shared experience of reality. They are a way of being. They are the common ground that sustains us.
The experience of truth, faith and freedom is inspiring rather than imposing. It contrasts with the cogency of phenomenological knowledge, what I later will call information, without necessarily challenging it.
My main motivation can be shortly stated as follows. If we are to move from a culture dominated by instrumentality and continuously threatened by war, to a culture were creativity and peace can become the driving forces, our prevailing myth of freedom needs transformation.
The freedom of reality
After being recognised as a fundamental human right, freedom has still to grow beyond being an exclusive human dimension. It has to be acknowledged as a dimension of each and every reality. Freedom is a primordial constitutive relation between all beings. Any threat to the particular freedom of one is also a threat to the freedom of others. Reality is free, as manifested in the diversity and uniqueness of all cultures and beings. This awareness of freedom becomes a careful attitude toward them, contrasting with instrumental or utilitarian attitudes so common today. Only through their relation of freedom can people and things become what they are, and be at peace.
Freedom as relation
Freedom is the relation of inter-independence between beings: the unique identity and independence of each being is in relation to the identity and independence of others. This relation is a primordial one – the terms related, when considered apart, are only abstractions from the relation. Therefore, no one’s freedom, even human freedom, can prevail, as an absolute, over another’s freedom, which is not to deny the possibility of thoughtful hierarchy between beings in their relation of freedom.
Beings themselves are relations of freedom, the other is one of the terms of the relation. There is no I without a You and an It, all terms of the relation that makes them actual.
Granted, our notions about beings show relations of dependence between them, for instance, dependence in their behaviours, which allow us to make predictions and to control them. However, beings, which should not be confused with our notions about them, preserve their actual freedom, their uniqueness.
Freedom as a spiritual dimension
This awareness that reality is free in each being goes deep into the creative heart of reality, into its divine, spiritual dimension. Freedom is a secular symbol of the Spirit. Reality, things and people, are much more and extend far beyond what we can think of and know about them. Freedom is this mysterious, unthinkable creative core of everything, its spiritual dimension. The spirit is not a prerogative of people, it acts through everything everywhere. I insist, freedom is not that which has not yet been thought but the unthinkable, manifested in all spontaneous, creative acts, or in the hopes of those confronted with adversity.
This is not to dismiss the critical power of reason on our spontaneous acts, as a veto to irrational action. Freedom, although unthinkable, is not an open door to irrationality. Reason finds in freedom its unthinkable foundation and freedom has in reason its safeguard.
Thinking stems from being, and being from creative freedom, which is both beginning and destiny of everything. This is to say that because of freedom the destiny of being, of all things, is unthinkable.
1.Science, Technology and freedom
This paper is also a meditation on science and technology – two most powerful products of our mind, and transforming forces of our time. Both should be placed in the context of this radical freedom we have been talking about, a freedom which is not purely or exclusively human. In short, the awareness of the creative freedom of all reality should be the context where science and technology develop their proper creative freedom. They should help and enlarge, and not impede or supplant, the other forms of creative freedom, of both people and things themselves. This ought to be the proper attitude of science and technology toward beings. The design and evaluation of scientific and technological activities should thus pay special attention to their contribution to the creative freedom of people and things.
Objective abstract ‘truths’ about beings, no matter how powerful they are, should not make us forget about the freedom and uniqueness of concrete beings – their unthinkable core. To reduce people or things to what can be thought about them or, even worse, to their instrumental value, is a form of violence – rationalistic violence on nature and people – with tragic consequences, as the current environmental crisis attests.
Truth and Freedom
Moreover, a virtuous circle is at stake. Freedom is the precondition of truth and only in truth freedom can flourish. For instance, lies, a form of violence on truth, occlude freedom: they may be willing, even reasonable, but never free, spontaneous statements. Whenever our action is dominated by instrumentality and violence that disregards freedom, we disregard truth itself and we live in falsehood.
2.1 Technoscience as a symbol of human freedom
Human freedom has been and still is a most powerful, revealing and changing myth. Once seen as a dangerous temptation – e.g. as an open door to error or sin or as the free will of humans challenging the divine – human freedom has become in modern times a human right, as enshrined, for instance, in freedom of thought, of consciousness or of religion. It comes as no surprise that religion itself is today viewed in terms of its contribution to the liberation of people. In the modern world reticence to freedom has withered away.
Liberation and creativity
We aspire to be free. This means, on the one hand, deliverance from every constraint or limitation, from any contingency. We hear of liberation from suffering, anxieties, doubts, fears, and insecurities, even of being free from our individualistic egos, as spirituality demands us to be. On the other hand, beyond this freedom from all obstacles, and central to our meditation, is creative freedom, that force that continuously prompt us to question and renew ourselves. It liberates us from the old – from all our possessions, even the possession of ourselves – and moves us to be co-creators of life. This creativity is the essence of human freedom. In other words, the experience of freedom and the experience of creativity go together, hand in hand. Their only precondition is faith – confidence in reality.
Technoscience as a liberation myth
Science and technology play a central role in modern conceptions of freedom. Science and technology receive much of their credit from their power to attain liberation, frequently understood as the attainment of an individual’s liberties, often thought to lie in disburdenment and prosperity. Science and technology give us the means not only to secure our needs and wellbeing, but to satisfy our greed. Such power can be summarized by the following attitudinal stance: “I want what I want when I want it”. Therefore, Science and technology have thus allowed us to dismiss, as unnecessary, an omnipotent God once thought to be the only answer to human contingency.
In contemporary terms, the interplay between science and technology, individualism and the money-economy, is referred to as technoscience. While acknowledging the critical relevance of the money-economy and of individualism to understand technoscience, this paper focuses on its scientific and technological dimensions.
Thus understood technoscience has become the prevailing instrument and symbol of human liberation.
However, after three centuries of development, the myth of human liberation through technoscience faces a serious crisis and the failure to fully deliver its promises.
2.Three Attitudes in Response to the Crisis
Although, in theory, by expanding the machinery of production we could secure the physical needs of all peoples, in practice only a minority is fully benefiting from the technoscientific apparatus and has been consistently abusing it. The repeated and worrying ecological catastrophes of our time, and the corresponding calls for a greater awareness toward our environment are two well known instances of such crisis. We are beginning to realize the limits of the prevailing individualistic human freedom ideal of a reckless technoscience.
Negative and conservative responses
In response to the crisis, three different attitudes emerge. One is to go back to a time free of technoscience. This is impossible. Moreover, dialectical reactions will not do. They cannot be actually effective because they are not free. We need a more creative attitude.
A second response, conservative, is to stay course and seek answers within technoscience. That is possible and even necessary, but it is not enough. It does not go to the roots of the crisis, which is a misunderstanding of freedom as the belief in an ever- prevailing (if not absolute) individualistic human freedom. And even within such a paradigm, technoscience, the alleged liberator, has shown intrinsic limitations. The apparatus of technoscience has acquired a kind of autonomy and reckless power that paradoxically puts people and nature at the service of its own growth. In this vein, it should be noted how it methodically disregards aspects of reality essential to overcoming the crisis, such as the creative freedom of people and nature. Instead, these are seen as means – human and material resources they are called.
The fear of self-destruction in a more or less near future, like the fear of hell before, will not stop our regardless power on nature. Assuming that the calls to individual and group responsibility toward nature can put an end to the ecological crisis might be no more than wishful thinking unless this responsibility emerges from the spiritual sense of the freedom of reality, the creative relation of inter-independence between people and nature, between culture and nature. This non dualistic relation – of freedom – between culture and nature is the mystical basis for the expansion of ethics outward, beyond the human sphere and encompassing all reality.
This creative relation of freedom between nature and culture, between us and things, is not something of a more or less near future, a promise that we will succeed, that we will reach a better common future if we behave with responsibility, a confidence in the future. Instead, creative freedom is something of the present, as all actual things are – it is the presence of the spirit. We should not pollute the air, the waters and the soil not just to secure us a sustainable future, but because it disregards the present inter-independence of water and soil with us, reducing them to resources at our disposal.
The mystical attitude
And it is this sense of actual creative freedom which prompts us to a third, mystical attitude. It can be enunciated as follows: to experience yet pierce through both contingency and techno-science, in hope of wisdom. This attitude considers contingency as constitutive of all reality, in accord with the pluralism and creative freedom of both nature and culture. It believes that freedom is not exclusively human and much less individualistic. Nature is also free in its own way, as nature itself is teaching us through the present ecological crisis. Could nature get rid of a tyrannical violent humanity? There is more than a common destiny between nature and culture: the radical relativity of all beings, their relation of inter-independence, is the foundation of reality’s dynamism. Humans, because of their awareness, are called to be the mediators – not the composers or the directors – of a fragile and occult harmony between all beings.
In order to better grasp this third attitude we should first examine the world of technoscience a little more closely.
4. The Utilitarian World of Experiments, Devices and Information
The empirical, the experimental and the experiential are three degrees of consciousness. Here we consider experience as embracing the latter two, which constitute the primordial and ultimate scenario of human life. The empirical is the given, the data. The experiment is a specific form of experience: a specialised intervention with a definite, pre-established purpose, in search of a result, be it a sensation, a new concept, information or something else, even enlightenment. Experiments and their corresponding mentality have penetrated and pervade nearly all aspects of life, a life by them fragmented into multiple domains of interest. This is the realm of technoscience we want to examine.
In this journey, a main trait of technoscience will be emphasized. This is the specific kind of knowledge that technoscience creates through experimentation: I call it information.
Technoscience: experimentation and information
Information is an utilitarian form of knowledge, a powerful means to goal-driven action. It is the instrumental aspect of knowledge. Due to its enormous success, the temptation is to stop at information and its derived instrumental action, disregarding and displacing other forms of knowledge and free creative action, circumscribing these to particular occasions and private endeavours. Technoscience is the world of methodical experimentation that provides objective abstract truths in the form of regularities and laws, that is, law-structured information about phenomena, which embodied in devices and instruments, opens ever new possibilities of improved action, with benefits, and dangers, extending to all domains of life.
A trait of technoscience, specially of its scientific component, is its method: experimentation. It is a creative procedure for accessing, isolating and describing through proper instruments of measure, a phenomenological domain. It relies on our mind’s creative capacity of abstraction, to discover the relevant variables on which the behavioural regularities of a phenomenon depend. These regularities are then captured in law-structured information and are validated within a community of observers. The result, information, is a type of dualistic knowledge about a world that is external to the knower. It is a knowledge ready to be used – the commoditization of knowledge.
For instance, by means of clocks, the experience of time, constituted by the heterogeneous plurality of happenings, is reduced to its informational content, i.e. mathematical or homogeneous linear time, represented by the points of a straight line. And by means of such linear time reality is reduced to a logical description of it, an evolution from one state to the next, a straight line of mathematical time points. This is a useful approach to gather information and develop an instrumental map of reality. Thus, scientists tell us that the universe is some 20 billion years old, that the earth is some 4.6 billion years old, and that humans are only about 150,000 years olds. They also foresee a more or less remote future universe without humanity. However, this and other technoscientific information about the cosmos, when taken alone, gives us a reduced vision of reality and of actual time – i.e. time as the life of beings.
Although mentally we can consider the past, present and future of the universe as being apart, and obtain useful information about them – as scientific cosmology does – in fact the three go together in the actuality where experience and knowledge take place. Past and future belong to the present – only in the present they exist and make sense.
Although the vision of realilty as evolution in linear time – or, more broadly, scientific cosmology – gives us much information about reality, it cannot provide the context of human understanding and, much less, of human self-understanding. The context is what is needed to situate and give meaning to a text, to information. The context cannot be captured by information in a text. The theories of technoscience are powerful texts but cannot be taken as the context where meaning is given.
It is a challenge of our time to avoid such reductionism and integrate technoscientific information into humanity’s whole experience and self-understanding.
Information: referential knowledge
Information is an objective, referential, instrumental, indirect and uncommitted form of knowledge. It is an external dualistic relation between people and things, through signs in a given context. Ideally, information is precise, impersonal and formal like mathematics – the paradigm of formal and quantitative information. Information does not allow any freedom of interpretation. It is a representation of the conceptualization of things, a text, a map, a model about reality – technoscientific knowledge being the paradigm of rigorous information.
Furthermore, information shows a remarkable flexibility and homogenizing power. Money, as form of information about things, provides us with a clear illustration. We have witnessed an unstoppable trend toward putting a price to everything. Everyday more things are mapped and reduced into information.
Reductionism of experimentation
Experimentation is the primary source of technoscientific information. As such, it is a conceptually mediated abstract approach to reality, which contrasts with the concreteness, immediacy and novelty of experience – always unique and irreproducible. Through experimentation we methodically reduce things to objects. These are in turn reduced to the information we can obtain about them. This information, though maybe enough to predict and control the behaviour of things, and therefore to profit from of them, should not be absolutized to the point of disregarding the spiritual dimension or freedom of things – and their identity.
In today’s world, the prevalence of homogeneous anonymous information as source of knowledge, means that only a few things, maybe because of their artistic value, manage to retain their identity. It is through this aesthetic experience of things that we still acknowledge their unique identity. And this is indeed a central aspiration of art: the creation of unique things, beautiful or not. The same goes for the decoration of crafts, which strive to make unique the most common things. Having said that, the reductionism of the experiment can also be seen as the price to pay for the clarity, certainty and security of the results it delivers, compared with the inherent ambiguities, risks and contingencies of experience.
The more violent the experiment, the more importance must be placed on the context which situates it. What is considered irrelevant for an experiment, its actual context, might be more important than we think, as shown by an encompassing experience of this very experimental phenomenon. Only the whole experience, not reduced to experiment, but open to the freedom of reality, is what we should rely on, no matter how truthful the information provided by the specific experiment. The holistic experience of so many experiments is vital to facing the ecological challenges of our times. Information, even the most true and complete, does not exhaust reality, unless we believe that reality is completely transparent to rationality.
In contrast with information and experimentation, experiential knowledge is personal, inseparable from love. For instance, a mother knows her daughter, even if she has much less information about her than her physician, who maybe does not actually know her.
Knowledge and language
Also contrasting with information, experience is expressed by human language instead of signs. Human language is a distinctive constituent of experience and knowledge irreducible to information. Informative terms with a precise denotation should not be confused with the corresponding polysemic words of human language, even if they share the same writing. For instance, water as an informative term denotes a material substance, precisely H2O, but the corresponding word allows for many connotations, and even interpretations depending on the context. Human language conjugates the three personal pronouns: I, you and it, in an inseparable way. Information is the result of severing the “it” from the “I” and the “you”, and addresses the ”it” exclusively. Language creates commitments and is fully polysemic, it provides room to creative interpretations and change, from which language, as a living entity, grows and differentiates. In fact, the analysis of language has led to writing as one of the first mature forms of information. Writing is a most illustrative instance of the power of information – it captures the referential aspect of language, and some of the structural information of language. It has become a powerful instrument of language without having supplanted language itself. So can other forms of information be instruments of whole knowledge if we go beyond and avoid taking their map as reality itself. The danger is to stop at information and reduce language to its informational content. For instance, holy scriptures, when read as information, can be easily misinterpreted, as it would happen if we were to read a poem merely as information about something.
Once created in a given context, information can be extrapolated to other contexts. Through extrapolation it acquires its power and apparent neutrality to be used, and abused. Certain visions of the world are thus based on undue extrapolation of information, resulting in what has been called scientism. However, information is bound to the context where it was created, so its extrapolation outside the proper context, should be done carefully to avoid disruption and violence. We should not confuse reference and presence, or information and whole knowledge, as it occurs in the pretension that the context of a text can be captured in the text by enlarging it; or in the tendency to take as concrete what by constitution is abstract, which has been named as “misplaced concreteness”, a contemporary instance of it being “virtual reality”.
Information, when it appears to be complete, perfect, without loopholes in its formulas, laws, causal relations, logical deductions and determinations, can produce a wonderful sense of power. However, let alone, it can become a reckless power that leaves little room for freedom.
Violence of experimentation
The isolation of an individual phenomenon to be observed and measured has been very successful in the study of material phenomena. Matter is the dimension of reality that allows for its individuation, so it tolerates in part the violence of the experimentation.
Nonetheless, reality, even physical reality, has a dimension of freedom which eludes prediction, and unpredictable physical behaviours have been observed and recorded. Scientists do not interpret anymore the basic laws of nature as deterministic. Logic and laws delimit the domain of the possible, where events happen with different degrees of probability. The study of these non-causal relations between phenomena, their inter-independence, should receive the attention it deserves as part of a more holistic way of thinking. Moreover, taking into account the proper freedom of nature, we should ask ourselves whether submitting nature to the extreme violence of some experiments can yield any truth about them.
The information obtained in experimentation, when embodied in devices, becomes a commodity. As such commodities, devices are characteristic of the techno-scientific culture. They open ever new possibilities of production and consumption. Because they only show their functionality, they tend to hide their context and complexity, and only place minimal demands on their users. They easily escape our power to fully grasp their impact on our lives. Unfortunately these commodities tend to displace equivalent yet more demanding creative practices and, therefore, they can limit our freedom to fashion ourselves. This on top of the burden they place on nature, in our context of compulsive mass consumption, and the full price we pay for them, most often hidden too.
Internet, an electronic embodiment of information with the goal of making it universally accessible, provides a paradigmatic example of a technological device that paves the way to the extrapolations of scientism. Internet is hailed by its enthusiasts as a means to overcome all presence requirements. For some the promise of internet is tantamount to becoming disembodied beings who can be anywhere in the universe and make backup copies of themselves to avoid all constraints, injury and even death. However, one should compare the experience of an actual conversation, where participants are present to each other, and to the world – in body, mind and spirit, with an internet exchange of information, where the actual presence is substituted by the reference of signs – texts, images and sounds – to be interpreted. The latter is more of an experiment aimed at some goal, than an open and full experience, meaningful in itself.
Think also of the widespread use of cars. These apparently innocent symbols of technoscientific culture can entail a great deal of violence, as evidenced by countless lives lost on the road, a constant flow of victims that we tolerate and disguise under the name of traffic accidents, not even mentioning other side effects such as pollution.
Information and meaning
The world of information is a world of individuals externally related and competing for resources, information itself being a key one of them. Information becomes, in the technological culture, the primordial constituent of reality, of its evolution; the basic structure of regularities and hazards. Never in history have we had so much information about reality and, at the same time, so much difficulty in attaining full knowledge and meaning through the integration of information in the whole context of life. The sections above have discussed two main impediments to this integration: the confusion between knowledge and information, and the absolutization of the latter. The following paragraphs present a mystical attitude to move from merely scientific experimentation, into the whole experience of things through freedom.
5. A MYSTICAL ATTITUDE
The mystical attitude works to surpass the methodological dualism of rationalism in general and technoscience in particular: the separation between object and subject. It also strives to integrate technoscience in the full depth and diversity of human experience, as expressed, for instance, in the diversity of cultures. It aspires to place technoscience in a context of freedom, the freedom of humans and of nature, in that elusive dance of harmony, no matter how esoteric and distant this harmony might seem.
Experience, knowledge and self-understanding
Experience does not filter anything out, no question is repressed, freedom is its constitutive element. Freedom is experienced; it can not be the object of an experiment. The concrete actuality, immediacy, uniqueness of experience makes us aware of reality as a continuous creation, although too often our attention is too focused on its representation, that is on information, its relation with the past or projection into the future.
Moreover, our self-understanding comes from the exercise of freedom in the interpretation of our experience and, even more, in addressing the permanently open question of who I am. In such questioning lies human freedom. The information we have about us, scientific or other, leaves out the ”I”. We should always be aware that information is about beings and that, no matter how useful, it is used to manipulate them. It is not, and should not be confused with, the beings themselves. The freedom of beings surpasses all information we can ever have about them.
Therefore, besides necessary information, we should cultivate the holistic experience of beings, which presupposes freedom and love, and aims toward a holistic knowledge of them. In other words, although techno-scientific rationality is a powerful approach to reality, to which we owe a great deal of our wellbeing, it should not be made an absolute that displaces other, complementary or opposed, forms of knowledge. As I said before, the extrapolation of information outside its proper context results in a reductionistic view of reality. Particularly narrow, for instance, when it comes to our self-understanding as mere rational animals, an exclusive product of evolution, which ignores our creative freedom, our dignity.
From experiment to the experience
In short, information presupposes experiential knowledge and should bring new and improved knowledge instead of only leading to more information. “From the experiment to the experience” means to situate the experiment in the context of the whole experience, from which it was separated by the logical and methodological constitution of the experiment itself. It is a necessary awareness of the context, of its irreducibility to a text, which allows us to relativize the conceptual world of the experiment, avoiding its absolutization. But frequently enough we do not go all the way from information to knowledge, which requires a loving commitment with people and things. We have to walk further in this path.
I believe that in the experience of her own creative activity the scientist and the engineer can overcome the methodical reductionism of things to information, and actually integrate their research designs in the broader context of the whole human experience. There are efforts inside technoscience itself to integrate the designs in the wider context of human work and culture. However, oftentimes these efforts mainly aim at better designs, rather than at promoting a full knowledge and experience of technology, which goes beyond mere experimentation.
Need of a transformed technoscientific culture
In the sophisticated world of information, only a minority of people is in charge of creating information. For most people, however, the world of technoscience pervades everyday life in the form of consumption and labour, leaving little room for creativity – things are assessed in terms of their utility. The contextualisation of devices, their discrimination by a thorough experience of them thus becomes a necessary practice to safeguard and cultivate our freedom in front of their reckless and propagandistic use. For instance, the abuse of phones, television, video games and all kind of gadgets and consumption devices happen in detriment of more creative practices and communitarian activities.
What we need is a new kind of wisdom inside a transformed technoscientific culture. Technological action aimed at an expected result should not displace free, spontaneous action done for its own sake, as often unfortunately happens in developed countries, where most activities, even sports and arts, are driven and geared toward obtaining results that justify them, such professional success, fame or money, thus forgetting how our lives have meaning in their own uniqueness and creative freedom. We have to rediscover the freeing pulse of those attitudes, practices and realities that have meaning in themselves: words as symbols; the art of conversation; communal celebration; knowledge in and through love; unconditional friendship; spontaneous acts for their own sake. These are holistic experiences, experiences of the whole. Spaces for creative freedom within and beyond this technoscientific world.
No matter how successful technoscience has been in satisfying our needs and desires in the past, its future development is bewildering. On the one hand, its reckless power and autonomy threatens both nature and human freedom as the ecological crisis only surfaces. However, on the other hand, it is portrayed as the main source for the survival of humanity. Having experienced the contingency of man and nature and its limits, only freedom, the creative activity of the present, is our hope. An improved management proposed by ecology might be necessary but it is not enough. A deeper, fuller and loving experience of all things around us, not just using and experimenting with them, is needed to build a new harmony – a “sacred secularity” put to work. This is one of the manifold expressions of the cosmotheandric myth, which overcomes rationalistic dualism and it illuminates and situates our experiences so they become actual experiences of the whole. This myth makes us aware that the cosmos, the primordial beauty, is not a resource for exploitation, but our home, even our body. We are not masters of the universe but its consciousness or experience. God is the omni-present, the creative freedom of every moment, everywhere. The cosmotheandric inter-independence of these dimensions, the radical relativity of reality, is incompatible with all kinds of absolutism.
The whole as freedom
This is the mystical attitude we mentioned above. I call it mystical because it does not stop at the sensual and rational, but aspires to the Whole. The Whole, Being and Becoming, is not the global – the sum, the synthesis of its parts – of all beings, but their radical relativity, the creative freedom behind them. From this, beings receive their meaning and in this freedom we are aware of their uniqueness and contingency – to damage one is to damage the Whole, even if locally it might even seem an improvement. It is in the Whole that we become aware of the creativity of each moment, the gratuity of life, its unconditional joy, its fullness.[ 1 ] Jaume Agustí Cullell, CSIC investigator. Paper presented in the University of Ca’ Foscari of Venezia in an international symposium in honoring to Raimon Panikkar