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"OH WATERS, TEEM WITH MEDICINE TO KEEP MY BODY SAFE FROM HARM, SO THAT I MAY LONG SEE THE SUN." - Rig Veda
The unitive thread in the narratives of Clare, Angela, and Catherine is one of
embodiment, of both spiritual and physical presence in the mystical union with the
Godhead. With a greater emphasis on embodied experience rather than high theology
and institutionalized ritual, these women mystics challenged the church in its own
household. Unlike the heretical independent lay groups outside of Italy, Clare, Angela,
and Catherine embraced models of orthodoxy, such as their associations with recognized
monastic orders, and as a result, they gained the space and authority to convey their
unsettling convictions and assert themes of embodiment. Thus they both appropriated
authority through their actions and challenged notions of identity through the writing of
their bodies into mystical experience.
In a word: emergence. As far as I can tell the impossible things that happen now are in every case manifestations of a new, bigger level of organization. They are the result of large-scale collaboration, or immense collections of information, or global structures, or gigantic real-time social interactions. Just as a tissue is a new, bigger level of organization for a bunch of individual cells, these new social structures are a new bigger level for individual humans. And in both cases the new level breeds emergence. New behaviors emerge from the new level that were impossible at the lower level. Tissue can do things that cells can't. The collectivist organizations of wikipedia, Linux, the web can do things that industrialized humans could not.