EarthKinder 2020 Introduction: A Ubuntu MultiUniVerse
This will be a new Natural Genesis introduction after some 15 years, which is a work much in process, circa this November 2017, The original Online 2004 Introduction, along with 2014 Anthropo and Cosmo Sapiens 2014 updates are posted next. Thank you for your site visit and patience.
A. Original 2004 Introduction: A WorldWise Cosmic Revolution
This initial section surveys the themes and outline upon which the website is based. Its working premise is that the whole earth through humankind is presently coming to its own cognizance and knowledge. From this perspective, in the first decade of a new millennium, a Copernican Revolution of cosmic proportions seems underway. A 19th and 20th century pointless, expiring, mechanical model is being replaced by a biological universe whose innate qualities develop into life, intelligence and creative persons. Rather than a new Newton or Darwin, today a collaborative discovery by all people seems in occurrence, “in the air” so to speak. At the same time that civilizations clash and climates change, in our midst appears a salutary genesis narrative, if we might just look for it.
Our intent is to respectfully propose, introduce and document this event and achievement. To reflect its planetary occasion, it is posted as an annotated bibliography and anthology, not a long essay. This format can gather, arrange, and report both common, independent principles and their manifest evidence everywhere, which can be situated within a storyline instead of an alphabetic list. From our titles, Natural Genesis implies an embryonic, still-developing cosmos by a synthesis of an incarnate genotype program and emergent phenotype novelty. Worldwide Discovery means the advent of earth’s own cerebral capacity, while a Creative, Organic Universe implies an evolutionary gestation whereof human beings are vital, phenomenal participants.
As a caveat up front, although terms such as genesis, order, progress are unavoidable and appropriate, no “intelligent design” or doctrinal agenda is intended. An effort will be made to show a deep accord between the new cosmology and traditional religion. But its emphasis will be on an identity and value for this earth and all its inhabitants, now and in the future. At a climactic historical hour, we wish to broach an alternative vision based on wide range of print and electronic resources as an integral humanity might be realizing them. While the world seems bent on going back to the dark ages, a grand new Light Age dawns on the horizon.
Natural Genesis: The phrase is chosen to resolve two sequential conceptions of our earthly presence now at odds. Until circa 1859, the world was variously considered an ordained, animate, sympathetic abide. With roots in scripture, this persuasion was known as natural philosophy, essentialism or natural law. In the late 19th century, traditional belief gave way to a Darwinian view of an ancient, capricious evolution by natural selection alone. In the 20th century as a mechanical paradigm took hold, our home planet became a seemingly insignificant speck in a hostile, expanding multiverse.
Natural genesis connotes a rising, composite view of life’s evolution as a nested development that converges on sentient, intelligent beings. No longer an arbitrarily branching bush, an overall direction is traced by a ramifying scale and vector of body, brain, knowledge, individuality and community. Original religion was mostly static in time and hierarchical in space. An evolving cosmos revealed a temporal dimension but banished coherence or purpose. This sourcebook looks toward a 21st century image of a conducive cosmos as its valiant earth life reaches the verge of collective self-awareness. And notably, the website will not only list many works as evidence but go on to show how the recurrent pattern and process they find can advise a much kinder, gentler future.
In 1994, an article of mine, “Environmental Ethics and the Question of Cosmic Purpose,” was published in the journal Environmental Ethics. (16/4) It contended that we cannot have a living planet in a dead universe, that the materialist pessimism whereof life and people are of no account will undercut efforts toward an ecologically sustainable society. We are still beset by this negative, machine model. It is necessary to first get the encompassing cosmos right for all else follows from it. This endeavor is a response some ten years later.
A Worldwide Discovery: A prime reason is that earth’s viable biosphere and noosphere of the mind seems to be reaching its own realm of knowledge, largely unbeknownst to the individual members who accomplished it. Here we touch on its critical moment in time, the mindfulness to imagine such a discovery, a bicameral humankind and a Rosetta cosmos whereby every testament and version can translate into each other.
The Decisive Hour of Earth: The decades before and after the millennium are curiously coincident with a spherical closure of history. The fall of communism circa 1990 initiated a global burst of commerce, travel and communication. But in its wake came environmental impact and weather extremes, along with internecine conflict, disenfranchisement, spreading terror. These interlinked effects increasingly threaten human civility and planetary life support systems. The absence of a cosmological relevance for daily life contributes to fundamentalisms, overconsumption and a cacaphony of economic, political, social and ethical problems. Earth is a finite globe, a fact often lost, upon which humanity is at the threshold of somatic and cognitive unity in diversity. We seem poised between a successful metamorphosis by our own acumen, initiative and self-selection or an irreversible, terminal decline.
The Discovery Event: For most prior ages, people dwelt within an organic, variously meaningful realm. But due to a modern indifferent, moribund cosmos, along with world wars, genocide, totalitarian regimes and other horrors, the quest for a knowable reality has been given up. A postmodernism argues that each mythic, religious, literary, philosophical or scientific rendition is culturally relative and incompatible, a grand narrative no longer possible. A reductive, mechanistic science goes on to say there is nothing to know anyway. In a volatile, still nuclear age, we need to affirm that children, women and men are crucial, intended participants in an unfinished creation.
But at this propitious moment, it may be equally possible to decipher what the universe and the human might be and become. A large step is the very idea that such a question can be asked and answered. The cosmos is said to have begun in an instant explosive singularity. Some 14 billion years later, on a special bioplanet, could a second singularity occur through such a discovery? If there is a quality that most distinguishes the human presence it seems an awesome capacity to learn. Surely there should be something to find.
A Learning Planet: In this incendiary post-millennium decade, a new occasion and source of knowledge on earth would be of great service. Rather than due to one individual as earlier, today it is all persons together whom seem to be coming to their own edification. In an evolution which will be seen to proceed as a nest of cellular wholes from microbes to societies, a further advance often predicted is a superorganic global phase of both beneficial unity and liberated diversity. A consequence is an enveloping brain-like faculty able to recognize and explain the genesis universe from which it arose. Please see Mindkind: A Global Knowledge for doucmentation.
The Learning Planet logo might stand for what the multi-billion year ascent of life and mind on earth seems to be about. The worldwide convergence of theory, experiment, and intellect becomes the way the developing, personalizing cosmos can achieve its own self-recognition. From our retrospective vantage, an intended role of human beings is to quantify, transcribe, discover – and complete - sidereal and earthly nature. If our disparate findings and voices might be gathered into a common dispensation, a novel understanding and affinity of universe and human may just now be available.
A Rosetta Cosmos: For millennia stories, myths, testaments, and philosophies have tried to express and justify existence. But many societies are now rent by conflicts between interpretations. Yet should not each testimony reflect the same story, albeit often tragic, and be translateable as languages one into another? Instead of “incommensurable” versions as postmodernism claims, ought not the hero/heroine with a thousand faces, network theory, psychic individuation, the Kabbalah, fractal self-similarity, Sufism, the Bible and so on each reflect one greater reality? And as tradition teaches, their Rosetta code would be the gender complementarity of human life. Once an adult man was the icon, today in an embryonic genesis it would be ones full life course of self-actualization. At a time when so many peoples are beset by poverty, disease, oppression, and violence, when biosphere and climate are overstressed, the rediscovery of a wisdom and identity to complement heritage, wherein one can be both ethnic and earthling, would be of immense value.
A Creative, Organic Universe: From this holistic vista, the over fifteen hundred references posted here can testify to a once and future encounter with an embryonic, numinous universe. Science began by reading nature as a sacred book. The endeavor went on to explore and catalogue atom, cell, species and star. But its necessary method of looking down into matter and back in time reduced and lost life along the way. Earth and human were removed from privileged regard to a rare, contingent blossom not to appear again. This physical agenda, lately in search of a quantum theory of everything, seems almost Ptolemaic in its efforts to shore up an inadequate model and misplaced emphasis.
As the references attest, a growing number of researchers and scholars advocate a quite different scenario. An organically self-organizing universe is increasingly understood which can return life and intelligence to a central significance. In a biological cosmos whose innate properties give rise to sentient beings on cellular planets, its essence is most evident from whom they may become. No longer a random tangent, the manifest emergence of life, mind and informed selves can define a vectorial arrow of cosmogenesis. People are once more of cosmic notice, this time as its leading, creative, spiritual edge.
A Cosmic Code: As the universe takes on an organic quality, a genetic-like source is also being found. Such a feature resided at the heart of wisdom whereby the natural realm was arrayed in a congruent scale and ascent from microcosm to Divine macrocosm. In the East variously as an anthropocosmic vision, Indra’s web, yin and yang, to Thomas Aquinas it was an “analogy of proper proportion.” For Judaism and Islam, such a mirror identity again serves to relate creature and Creator.
This resonance likewise vanished in evolutionary time and celestial space. But new sciences of complex, nonlinear, self-creating systems seem to again reveal an independent, universal pattern and process, this time in a temporal gestation. The same component elements and dynamic relations are perceived to recur over and over at each stage from quarks to molecules, cells, neurons, ecosystems, communities, economies and clusters of galaxies. Once known as emblematic, resonant or correlative, today its scientific terms are fractal, holographic, iterative. The recovery of the realization that the cosmos comes with a transparent code, that everything springs from and exemplies a singular principle and impulse, is a crucial insight. And as ever it is epitomized by procreative human gender. By such an ingrained feature, aware beings on a infinitesimal planet may yet be able to comprehend their supernal niche and august purpose.
An Integral Gender Complementarity: As many observers note, for centuries science and society have been masculine in kind. Their investigative project has taken the universe apart and it lies mostly in pieces. As Thomas Berry writes, nature is treated more as an insensate collection of objects, rather than a communion of subjects. If fertile Earth is to succeed as a locus of awakening cosmic life, a new phase of holistic reassembly, more feminine in essence, able to connect dots, is required to complete the picture.
A reciprocity of male and female principles imbued tradition and indeed reappears in the new sciences. As a theme to be repeated often, we mention particle and wave, elemental node and relational link, agent and system, gene and genome, left and right brain, animus and anima. A step or leap here taken is to equate the autonomous agents and their relational interaction of complex adaptive systems with these archetypal principles. Part IV, A Universal Code, has much more on this. After ages of exclusion, a woman’s empathic, contextual sensibility is vital to heal, demilitarize and save an imperiled home. A grand accomplishment of a bicameral humankind is to identify in a cosmic genesis an inherent feminine quality, equal and complementary with the masculine.
An Earthkind Future: All the references of theory and evidence are of little avail if they do not prescribe a much better, peaceful, just, healthy world. As whole earth became visible from space, our special, precious planet appears as a center of life, mind and selfhood. In this ovular image, a transition to a successful, cooperative earth community is imperative. Yet in the old mindset, ethnic, racial, political, religious and economic domains increasingly fragment, polarize and implode. If a symbiotic individual/group reciprocity can be observed at each nested stage, this natural theme can be intentionally carried forth as a model for self-organized urban and rural neighborhoods. Please see Part VII, Sustainable Ecovillages for current examples. The rarely used term Earthkind is proposed for all biospheric fauna and flora including human beings.
A Learning Planet Outline: Within our humankind scope are then collected an extensive range of research papers and summary overviews as a representative sample of the literature. Each chapter and section comes with an introduction. An attempt is made to list text citations and websites which contain copious references or links. As a periodical review, new contributions will be posted in the Recent Additions section.
The outline basically follows how a natural genesis might be recognized, encompass and develop. Part I, The Genesis Vision, cites synoptic glimpses of an organic, incomplete universe. A background frame of reference is provided in Part II, A Planetary Learning Experience. This contains Original Wisdom which notes The Book of Nature as a familar metaphor. It goes on to show how the scientific enterprise proceeded to result in a cumulative sphere of knowledge just now emerging.
Part III, An Animate, Amniotic Cosmos, contains resources that testify to an embryonic universe made for life and people. With this supportive milieu in place, Part IV, A Universal Genetic Code, enters its formative, self-organizing source. Part V, A Quickening Evolution, covers a much revised understanding of the course of life and mind via a sequence of nested stages, as informed by complex systems science and many other advances.
The rest of the website, Part VI, Earth Embryogenesis: Developmental Stages of Life, Mind, Self and Knowledge, reports how the independent, creative complements are manifestly evident at every plane. Here is presented life’s earthly course from geology to Gaia, brain’s procession to self-awareness, an ascendent informational quality, enhanced individuality and new parallels between evolutionary phylogeny and personal ontogeny.
In this view, the human phase likewise embodies the cosmic code. Integral Persons spans infant and child development to archetypal psychology. The Phenomenon of Humankind notes its occurrence with regard to language, complex societies, a superorganic globe, east/west and south/north complements and bicameral world religions. From our late vista, a new witness of macrohistory as a process of personal individuation can be compiled.
If we might avail ourselves,these repetitive phases can inform and guide a changed world as suggested in Part VII, An Earthkind Future. The critical condition of life’s support systems is the subject of The Old Earth. At the same moment, A New Earth Creation is apparent, for example, as a webwork of diverse, sustainable villages, cities and bioregions of great benefit to their members. An open future of celestial expanse awaits a successful Earthkind, as noted in The Greening of the Galaxy.
Reader Recommendations: As another caveat, the site is surely an on-going, communal process, as it attempts to glimpse what humankind may be learning on its own. In this regard, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with books, articles, chapters, websites, organizations, movements and so on. A brief annotation would be helpful. Recommendations that find their way into the bibliography will acknowledge whom proposed it. Many thanks in advance.
B. Anthropo Sapiens: A 2004 - 2014 Decadal Review
Ten years after the initial website posting, a half-century since the project began, we introduce this survey of science and society over the years from 2004 to 2014, and necessarily set within a wider span of 1990 – 2020. By a retrospect, an historic transformation of personal, planetary, and even cosmic import can be perceived. In regard, it seems evident that a further stage of the major evolutionary transition scale from local human to global humankind is underway. We will note by turns, its Homo, Anthropo, Sophia, and Cosmo Sapiens identities. The value of this view is to realize a fledgling planetary progeny as learning on her/his collaborative own. Again, this is the basic, guiding premise of the annotated anthology site, so as to reveal a revolutionary procreative organic universe there for the asking and seeing.
The decadal review is arranged in three stages. This Part I is posted as Anthropo Sapiens: The State of a Personsphere and Noosphere, and Cosmo Sapiens: Our Unification and Discovery of a Genesis Universe. The first current events section will lightly list and chronicle, while the science segment arranges and elaborates at some length. In the latter section, via Earthkinder, after centuries of particulate reductions and spatial explorations, a guiding motif will be a grand reassembly, revival and reunion of disparate fields, theories, myriad facets, unto an integral conducive cosmos.
Another suitable image might be availed from Charles Dickens, which I used in a lead slide for presentations on the home page. The first worldly phase could be A Tale of Two Planets, to help us gain a sense of turmoil as reciprocal readjustment between ethnic peoples and an Earth community goes on. A Tale of Two Universes follows as similarly posed between a past paradigm of Accelerated Expansion whereof human beings have no place, and Convergent Genesis whence children, women and men are vital participants.
This preamble opens with time divisions over the thirty period as humankinder rises, merges, and closes over a round, finite precious biosphere. Historic phases of Homo, Anthropo, Sophia, and Cosmo Sapiens set a scene for a worldwise persona, bicameral brain, aware mind, unto our intended self-discovery of a procreative family ecosmos.
Part II then posts an array of select condensed references from each outline chapter and section to document a decade of progress and confirmation. Thirdly, a separate chapter with a working, mutable title Great Earth: The Fittest Planet and UniVerse will attempt to broach a natural philosophy of a revolutionary new uniVerse and future creation we are now invited to witness, choose, and continue. As an initial caveat, a “singularity” term is apt and will be cited, but we do not in any way intend or endorse the near technology takeover it popularly implies.
Up front, we are aware that a human condition of rising to and merging into a semblance of a planetary organism-like person is being evoked. Another caveat, informed by an innate, archetypal, recurrent, biological reciprocity of free individual and supportive whole, this does not imply a loss or compromise of individual liberties. With many names – creative union, ubuntu, competitive coherence, metastability, mutual aid, symbiotic democracy – by one’s membership in a viable community, such as an ecovillage, a person can gain actual liberty and creative fulfillment.
Our 1990 – 2020 EarthKinder Event
In this exercise, we are trying to gather in some format the many facets and advances of our consummate age. As a 2014 retrospect, we seem betwixt a doomsday apocalypse or boomsday promise, dark or light age, a tale of two futures. It serves to sort into certain periods.
1990: With the supposed end of the superpower Cold War, an expansive onset of global travel, commerce, migration, communication, media, education, and so on, began. An enveloping world web of electronic communication and computation took rudimentary form. As the theme and content of this site advises, an ascent of human persons to a further phase of a super-organic planetary progeny had commenced. OK
2000: How fitting and provident it is, not at all coincidental, that an occasion of this magnitude arrives at the turn of a millennium. Indeed, the word “apocalypse” originally did not mean final destruction but transformative passage to a new numinous creation.
2004 – 2014: Over these subject years, the evolutionary transition to a humankinder progeny became an actual occurrence, at least as to a bicameral mind, learning endeavor, and composite knowledge. It began with few journals and books online, little social media, no iPhones (2008) or tablets (2010), but now closes with the shift completed to every publication accessible in digital and phased out in paper. Here is the valiant worldwise emergence in our midst for the asking and the answers we need.
2014: The present year is of especial note whence humankind’s cumulative collaboration seems to have attained a critical depth, breadth and robust veracity not possible much earlier. An aim of this review is to introduce, declare and document this grand accomplishment across every area from a creative organic cosmos to a sustainable earth community.
2020: Six years ahead can form a convenient bracket as a deadline, indeed a lifeline, to achieve. “2020” also means a clear sight and vision of binocular left and right bilateral balance and coherent unison. And this is a story which we are given to contribute to and choose whether it ends or has a new beginning. May we each one and altogether be able to imagine, perceive, survive and thrive as a second genesis, before it is too late.
An Emergent Worldwise Personsphere
As readers well know, we seem beset by problems and issues which defy solution within any old mindset. In our singular moment, everything is happening at once. Our guiding premise is the convergent evolutionary formation over round Earth of a common humanity, a self-sapient species, a prodigious progeny. This simple step or leap might open unto a natural, palliative knowledge we so need. As a tacit arrangement, we pose an range of identities for our fledgling earthkinder. OK
Anthropo Sapiens: As Natural Genesis tries to convey throughout, and especially in Mindkind: A Global Knowledge, an epochal change and ascent has occurred in the human condition. No longer isolate individuals or confined groupings, peoples are now members of a composite planetary personage, at once ethnic and earthling. Over the thirty year span, intense modes of social interactivity, jet travel, cable TV, instant communication and reportage, sacred and secular, extremisms from civilizations to climate, seem to impact, roil and daunt all at once
As I edit this in November, a recent posting on Nature Scientific Reports describes how coral reefs form and survive if their “biogenesis” can attain a modicum of “self-recognition” (search Hennige here and on that site). Surely we altogether need to do the same. While bodily anatomy and physiology remain in critical peril, an enveloping noosphere leads with a nascent intelligence unto knowledge. Complementary East and West, South and North hemispheres are in place, and the arc of Islam in both cases where a corpus callosum would be. But the guns and missiles of 2014 a century later are now nuclear and profuse, a televised barbarism, carnage, elective warfare, horrifies. Surely is time to awaken and take back the universe for children of the future.
Sophia Sapiens: But an imperative essence and quality need be appreciated and restored for this remediation to succeed. As well known, the old material machine multiverse, and a consequent world at perpetual conflict, is totally male in character, a left brain particulate excess sans any vision, a fatal aberration. Women, half the sky and cosmos, have been denigrated, brutalized and dismissed in every way out of existence. A co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize is Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who was shot by terrorists for her advocacy of female education. And this glaring omission eludes us. Has anyone noticed that if Isis, the iconic, ultimate Goddess of feminine health and wisdom, is so banished, then a male “ISIS” version will rear unrestrained in her stead to rule and rampage.
However the past decade of systems neuroscience can contribute a profound new resolve. While gentlemen predominately use one dots only brain mode, ladies actually engage both sides to achieve a right and left brain/mind reciprocity of parts and scenes, trees in a forest, entity and empathy. By such an integral acumen, a greater genesis reality and destiny, which eludes myopic men, can be realized. Such a gender distinction and cognitive fulfillment, a woman’s wisdom, can change our state and fate from death to life, night to light, separatists to eco-communities. The restorative importance and inclusion of feminine empathic contributions cannot be overstated.
Homo Sapiens: If we might ever stop fighting, valiant, cooperative human beings may lately aspire to an individual and communal empowerment, dispensation, knowledge, and purpose here and now. No longer passive penitents or contingent accidents, in a family ecosmos, phenomenal persons can become active discoverers and co-creators.
By this true birthright, at a singular natal moment, a novel mindfulness can be entered. The past mindset since the 19th century has denied any encompassing actuality that exists and develops on its own, of which peoples are an intended, central phenomenon. Into the 21st century, as if awakening from a long fetal sleep and dream, with every alarm is going off, we may become empowered and enlightened as anthropo, Sophia, and cosmo sapiens, so as to learn to read, embrace, resolve, survive and begin anew.
Cosmo Sapiens: Again by these perspectives we are in the midst of an epochal Copernican revolution about the nature and future of universe and human. Our earthkinder vista can orient and inform the whole discussion, which seems to daunt individuals alone. In this expanse, our flickering cognizance might have a relevance as the universe’s way of achieving its own self-discovery and selection. To properly do so, 2004 to 2014 ought to be situated in a wider span of scientific advance of circa 1950 to 2020.
To help illustrate, A Tale of Two Universes: A Cosmic Genesis Revolution Table is sketched next to further contrast old and new, waning and waxing, versions. Now this scenario is there for anyone to see if of mindful attention that a greater procreation does exist which we are meant to find, avail and carry forth.
A Tale of Two Universes: A Cosmic Genesis Revolution
As way to illustrate and convey, here is a topical list of contrasts between past, waning 17th to 20th century version and a nascent, future 21st century scientific genesis vision.
Historic stage: Particle Ptolemaic 1600s – 1850, 1900, 1950, today - Organic Copernican 1980s – 2000, 2004, 2014
Scientist mode: Human individuals, small groups, male - Humankind collaborative, global, fellows and mellows
Procedural scope: Reduction to and analysis of objects, parts, bones, fragments - System relations, networks, entities synthesis, emergence
Visual orientation: Down into atoms, Back in time, Out in space - Temporal evolutionary, complex, cognitive, teleological, development
Overall reality: None denied, indifferent, hostile, nothing - Phenomenal universal gestation of life, mind, free selves in community
Concept model: Mechanical contingent, computer, accident, dead - Organic familial, fertile, reproductive, alive
Science spiral: Divergence objects, subfields, strata, methods, terms - Convergence reassembly, revival, unify physics, biology, quanta, classical, Ecosmos
Natural infinities: Two - large cosmic and small atomic - Third Infinity of emergent biocomplexity and persona
Material Basis: Inert inorganic, passive, sterile, mechanism in motion - Proactive living, self-organizing spontaneity
Generative Code: None chance, accident, selection alone - Implicate mathematical, algorithmic, informational
Quantum realm: Arcane micro stage vs. macro classical nature, society - Inclusive as deeper complex informative network system
Earth significance: None rare, precarious, dying, stochastic mote - Special planet for cosmic decipherment and discovery
Life’s evolution: Aimless contingent, no source, direction or goal - Embryonic a proactive quickening, developmental gestation
Mind, consciousness: Spurious only appears from complex brains - Fundamental milieu for a living, personal cosmos
Human beings: Arbitrary accidents, no place or purpose - Phenomenal people for cosmic witness, knowledge and selection
Brain hemispheres: Left only - discrete detail sans any context - Whole right image + left pixel = integral wisdom
Gender basis: Men to women ten to one, less, or excluded - Complementary teams of women and men
Communication venue: Local paper books, journals, slow publication - Worldwide online instant posting, feedback, revision, access
ANTHROPO SAPIENS: THE EMERGENCE OF A PERSONSPHERE AND NOOSPHERE
1.0 Noosphere: The Formation of a Global Cerebral Faculty
2.0 Sociosphere: Divergence and Convergence
2.1 A Major Evolutionary Transition
2.2 A Complementarity of Civilizations
2.3 The State of Religious Belief Systems
2.4 The State of Conceptual and Philosophical Thought
2.5 The State of a Worldwise Collaborative Science
3.0 Biosphere: Our Critical Life Support Condition
3.1 Global Climate as a Complex Dynamical System
3.2 Sustainable Ecovillages
3.3 An Organic, Symbiotic Democracy
3.4 A Viable Gaia
4.0 Knowsphere: A New Natural Creation
The authorship for this annotated anthology is the evolutionary formation over the Earth of a global organic entity, akin to people, whom can be seen gaining her/his own knowledge. Here are some appearances over the past years of a relative body, brain, culture, and collaborative ability. Cosmo Sapiens: Our Unification and Discovery of a Genesis UniVerse will follow with a scientific story. Both sections have as a main theme the occasion of historic unifications, Cosmo of the many natural fields, and for Anthropo a social anatomy, physiology and neural cognizance.
A valuable guide can be a perception of a worldly stage of the popular “major evolutionary transition scale” in the guise of our humankinder progeny. While bodily metabolism, health and welfare delay, a robust cerebral capacity with similar bicameral complements and its own cognitive intelligence and comprehension is well along. We respectfully gather, arrange, and report some key trends, current events, stuff happening, much progress and dire problems. And as a caveat upfront, as the whole site well documents across creaturely kingdoms, one’s membership in a viable, supportive community is actually seen to enhance personal freedom and prosperity, an individual can be both ethnic and earthling.
In addition, by a wealth of palliative, material, innovative advances, if ethically engaged, a new genesis creation of benefit to life, person, planet, and universe may commence. As another caveat, this does not imply, nor do we endorse, the near “singularity” technological takeover. Rather, as wise women know and propose, our embryonic earthkinder is in fact at the verge of a nativity event. But a whole anatomy and physiology body, or coherent sanity, does not accompany. Biospheric vitality, beset by archaic violence, rapacious consumption, environmental wastelands, the long litany, is approaching a critical condition.
We realize this section recites daily news that readers are familiar with. The difference would be to orient these occurrences within a global coalescence of a planetary progeny forming by their own. We begin with a cerebral and cognitive presence in the semblance of the worldwide electronic webwork. Civilizational, societal, cultural trendings with a glimpse at future potentials then follow.
1.0 Noosphere: The Formation of a Global Cerebral Faculty
In 2005 when I spoke at Palacky University in the eastern Czech Republic, attendees told me that this bibliographic resource from Massachusetts was helpful because their access to the literature was limited. Scientific journals and books were not then available online. Around 2010 everything changed with the historic shift from paper to screen, or as noted from Gutenberg to Google. An encyclopedic repository of periodicals and volumes is now instantly accessible to almost anyone, everywhere. Since circa 2004, a profusion of every kind of web venue and genre, some trillion postings and pages, whelms, informs, and inspires. A vast electronic Internet grows into cloud computing, deep learning, massive open online courses, knowledge mining, big data, as if a nascent eEarth. Indeed an iPad tablet device today could fulfill the apocryphal expectation of an Aleph locus whence all spatial and temporal creation can be seen in one place and time.
The study of social networks is, in fact, part of a much broader assembly project in modern science. For the past four centuries, swept up by a reductionistic fervor and by considerable success, scientists have been purposefully examining ever-smaller bits of nature in order to understand the whole. But across many disciplines, scientists are now trying to put the parts back together – whether macromolecules into cells, neurons into brains, species into ecosystems, nutrients into foods, or people into networks.
The networks we create have lives of their own. They grow, change, reproduce, survive, and die. Things flow and move within them. A social network is a kind of human superorganism, with an anatomy and physiology – a structure and function – of its own.
The great project of the twenty-first century – understanding how the whole of humanity comes to be greater than the sum of its parts – is just beginning. Like an awakening child, the human superorganism is becoming self-aware, and this will surely help us to achieve our goals. (Connected, Christakis and Fowler, 2009)
Yet perhaps as we become parts of the “Intermind,” we will also develop a new intelligence, one that is no longer anchored in the local memories that are housed only in our own brains. As we are freed from the necessity of remembering facts, we may be able as individuals to use our newly available mental resources for ambitious undertakings. And perhaps the evolving Intermind can bring together the creativity of the individual human mind with the Internet’s breadth of knowledge to create a better world – and for the set of messes we have made so far. (Wegner and Ward, 2013)
A external library of cosmos accrues with the shift to increasingly digital private, and public, and academic libraries. Alas human scale paper script disappears from schools and colleges, we are prompted to scroll in a one way operation. Surely we can peruse many journals in a sitting, almost any article ever in print can be found, at machine speed. Facebook, Twitter, Bluetooth, Flickr, and so on, as if a central nervous system, connects and captivates. People seem to be morphing into composite beings, as if mutual human and humankind symbionts. iPhones unite and entertain, while GPS locates and maps. But as neurons in networks in our brains need to each have their own input, a vital human pace and opinion is lost.
Going on, the same webwork architecture and self-organized dynamic criticality that graces a human brain is similarly evident in this enveloping world cerebrum, both for development and cogitation. As the citations in Mindkind attest, global brain and collective intelligence metaphors are rife, but not taken further. A new evolutionary entity in transition envelopes and suffuses, whom we really need in a reciprocal, salutary way, to recognize, engage and foster. But the step or leap not yet taken would be to imagine this planetary personage coming to her/his own knowledge of a revolutionary genesis universe. If this might be so availed, we might learn how to save the fraught, courageous beings and precious bioworld from whence she and he came.
What is the expected impact of a new transition, biological or other, on human society? It is evident that even over the short time period of human evolution, various new networks have emerged and transitions occurred. A recent and perhaps most revolutionizing network in terms of human experience is the internet. As the complexity of the internet increases, is it possible to live through a phase transition such that the internet acquires some form of intelligence or consciousness? Also, consciousness is certainly an emergent phenomenon arising from the neural network connectivity of the brain. Could the human species undergo yet another phase transition? (Bela Suki, 2012)
2.0 Sociosphere: Divergence and Convergence
2.1 A Major Evolutionary Transition
We advantage this model, explained more in the Science review, to help encounter the social froth in every aspect of our lives. By this vista human beings seem poised between a prior individual phase and collective association with an organism-like persona. As this emergence may go forward, drawn by a global cerebral capacity, it causes all sorts of historic impacts, stresses, contradictions, as entities and allegiances try to accommodate human and humankind, self and personsphere. But as long as we remain unawares of such an earthly destiny, in absence of a greater appropriate reality, a retreat backwards goes on. Of course we can only gloss, we here cite a doctoral study by Selin Kesebir, a Turkish-American scholar, and Roger Downs, Penn State geographer.
Looking at human societies through a superorganism lens allows for a clearer appreciation of the full scope of human existence. A unifying narrative emerges for phenomena that are treated piecemeal within an individualist paradigm. According to this narrative, cultural meaning systems, shared intentionality, norm compliance, deference to authority, social identity processes, religiosity, and morality can be understood parsimoniously as manifestations of the same dynamics that create superorganism-like social structures. Superorganisms thus offer a useful heuristic around which to organize our understanding of human sociality. (Selin Kesebir, The Superorganism Account of Human Sociality)
The geospatial revolution has two human implications. First, as knowing actors, people make choices based on the analysis and presentation of geospatial data. Second, as known subjects, people’s choices become data as their behavior is monitored through real-time tracking. As a consequence, the geospatial revolution is reshaping the worlds of education, business, entertainment, government, security, and travel. The impacts are felt by individuals, families, and societies. The effects can be discretionary and voluntary, or imposed and unavoidable; some are empowering and liberating, others restraining and subjecting. (Roger Downs, Coming of Age in the Geospatial Revolution)
2.2 A Complementarity of Civilizations
Over the decade and over the world, Rudyard Kipling’s classic East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet has lately been quantified to reveal, rather than an opposition, a true archetypal complementarity. A leading proponent is Richard Nisbett, a University of Michigan psychologist, with many international colleagues. Daphna Oyserman, Ari Norenzayan, Helen Markus, Thorsten Pattberg and others cited in this section contribute to its verification, properly understood. As long intimated, a spatial semblance of planetary bilateral hemispheres appears quite in place.
There is recent evidence that perceptual processes are influenced by culture. Westerners tend to engage in context-independent and analytic perceptual processes by focusing on a salient object independently of its context, whereas Asians tend to engage in context-dependent and holistic perceptual processes by attending to the relationship between the object and the context in which the object is located. (Nisbett and Miyamoto, 2005)
The written human language is one of the most important examples of complex systems in nature. Words are the simple elements that combine to form complex structures of this system. If we consider each word as a vertex and their interactions as links between them, then the written human language can be modeled by complex networks. (2561) The above results together indicate that the hub-like words in the English text play a more important role of structural organization than in the Chinese text, while the connections between Chinese characters have larger intensity and density than between English works, which means phrases prevail more in Chinese language than in English. (Sheng and Li. 2009)
In the same period and before, as noted in World Philosophy, Rosetta Cosmos and elsewhere, the presence of a similar South and North reciprocity has been illuminated. Particulate, mechanical northern options and southern organic, integral propensities again form bicameral halves. And senior scholars such as Sachiko Murata, William Chittick and Tu Weiming find the prism of Islam to be an actual blend of both persuasions. In our midst, if we just might observe, the span from Morocco to Indonesia is where a relative corpus callosum inter-connection would be for each east/west and south/north instance.
From ancient African tradition, a common natural principle of reciprocal mutuality is conveyed by the Ubuntu phrase “I am because We are” as more membership in a supportive community actually increases a person’s free wellbeing. Can we imagine and abide a Ubuntu universe to save us?
Complementary reflection makes recourse to the principle of complementarity as a philosophical paradigm concerning the type of solution needed in our world today. It reformulates this principle, which it borrows from the ambience of traditional African philosophy and makes it a tool of explanation and understanding in a comprehensive, total, and universal manner. (Innocent Asouzu, 2005)
2.3 The State of Religious Belief Systems
As I write on October 14, in the news is an announcement of Pope Francis’ historic tolerance to all manner of single, divorced, remarried, gay, lesbian peoples, whom it is noted provide “precious support” to each other. Surely a good sign, but the past decade as we know, has been one of extreme intolerant, violent, barbaric conflict between religious, sectarian, ethnic, factional, tribal allegiances. Centuries of injustices, genocides, separatists, rogue nations, warlords, fraudulent invasions, and more roil and boil on an electronic planet. Churches, weddings, funerals, civilians, bazaars, apartment houses, are righteous targets for ground and aerial bombardment. Dichotomies of divinity and humanity, heaven and earth, transcendence and immanence, apocalypse or sustainability, all clash in our consummate age.
In some regard, I was co-editor with theologian Donald St. John, and many colleagues such as Thomas Berry, Mary Evelyn Tucker, and John Grim, of Teilhard in the 21st Century: The Emerging Spirit of Earth> (Orbis Books) which was the Catholic Press Association 2003 book of the year. It was chosen out of hundreds for glimpses of a new vista whereof people and planet, here and now, are of central, participatory import and destiny to a numinous cosmic procreation.
But in late 2014, the cradle of civilization and its millennia of internecine war seems to have reached a final frenzy. By way of misinterpreted scriptures it has become a senseless, brutal orgy of machine weaponry and social media. We note in passing that a Part III of this review will allude to, along with much else, a 21st century worldwise fulfillment of the long anticipated second “book” of a natural testament.
A hopeful theological turn of the past years is Pan-en-theism, a composite term and concept that neatly resolves an ancient opposition and contradiction. Rather than an otherworldly deity at odds with this earthly realm, it allows both the presence of a transcendent creator God, along with a sacred, worldly immanence, an earlier pantheism. One might even then perceive a paternal and maternal essence. Sources are in Bicameral World Religions, see especially Panentheism: The Other God of the Philosophers by John W. Cooper.
In the West panentheism is known as the view that the world is contained within the divine, though God is also more than the world. I trace the history of this school of philosophy in both Eastern and Western traditions. Although the term is not widely known, the position in fact draws together a broad range of important positions in 20th and 21st century metaphysics, theology, and philosophy of religion. I conclude with some reflections on the practical importance of this position. (Clayton, 2010)
2.4 The State of Conceptual and Philosophical Thought
A general surmise has been that the academic pursuit of philosophical inquiry and reflection has taken leave of any reality, and removed itself from the discussion. A 2013 lecture series at close by Amherst College was titled “Is Philosophy Nonsense?.” Since the 1980s a “postmodern” school has pervaded critical literary theory and beyond with a conclusion that no self-existing “metanarrative” exists, nor should be permitted. Of course, this dereliction is rejected by many thinkers as inane, but it persists and taints. For some beacons we note the British moral philosopher Mary Midgley in her The Solitary Self (2012) and the philosopher of science Philip Kitcher (search both) who advocates in Metaphilosophy (2012) a major course correction.
Nevertheless, the unified theory ultimately is closer to modernist approaches that postmodern ones. This is primarily because the unified theory is directly at odds with one of the tenets of postmodernism, anti-foundationalism, which is the explicit rejection of any overarching set of ideas that will effectively and accurately organize knowledge in the human sciences. The unified theory, as implied by its name, is foundationalist to the core. It proclaims universal truths about the universe and the human condition, and it connects human science to the natural sciences. (Gregg Henriques, 2011)
But a postmodern relativism sans any conceivable basis, has seeped into physics and cosmology as well. For one example see Why Does the World Exist?, (2012) from interviews with male physicists delving into string or multiverse theories. It received a scathing review by Freeman Dyson (search) who lamented the loss of a natural philosophy guidance with which science began long ago. In 2005, I shared a podium with Dyson at Marist College. He gave an afternoon talk on the future of the universe (human beings takeover evolution for the better), and in the morning my talk was Cosmic Genesis in the 21st Century (posted on the home page). There is much work for us all to do, only if we can allow a Sophia sapiens of woman’s wisdom.
In more recent centuries, philosophers were still leaders of human destiny. Descartes and Montesquieu in France, Spinoza in Holland, Hobbes and Locke in England, Hegel and Nietzsche in Germany, set their stamp on the divergent styles of nations as nationalism became the driving force in the history of Europe. Through all the vicissitudes of history, from classical Greece and China until the end of the nineteenth century, philosophers were giants playing a dominant role in the kingdom of the mind. Holt’s philosophers belong to the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Compared with the giants of the past, they are a sorry bunch of dwarfs. They are thinking deep thoughts and giving scholarly lectures to academic audiences, but hardly anybody in the world outside is listening. They are historically insignificant. At some time toward the end of the nineteenth century, philosophers faded from public life. (Freeman Dyson, 2012)
Another apropos theme was a recognition that this sorry state, both of academe in both cultures, and a consequent imperiled planet, could be attributed to a dominance of the left brain hemisphere. With a partiality for fine detail, dots sans connections, it results in a mechanical scheme incapable of considering any meaningful authenticity. A major volume was The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World (2009) by the British psychologist Iain McGilchrist. The “master” or original source is the right side, of which the left half detaches and takes leave of sanity. This view informs Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning (2012) as he seeks a palliative solution. A good companion work is Truth or Beauty: Science and the Quest for Order (2012) by the Canadian physicist David Orrell who delineates two asymmetric universe models, and goes on to give a gender-based explanation.
If one had to encapsulate the principal differences in the experience mediated by the two hemispheres, their two modes of being, one could put it like this. The world of the left hemisphere, dependent on denotative language and abstraction, yields clarity and power to manipulate things that are known, fixed, static, isolated, decontextualized, explicit, disembodied, general in nature, but ultimately lifeless. The right hemisphere, by contract, yields a world of individual, changing, evolving, interconnected, implicity, incarnate, living begins within the context of the lived world, but in the nature of things never fully graspable, always imperfectly known – and to the world it exists in a relationship of care. (McGilchrist)
The left brain favors rational intellect over intuition, linearity over complexity, stability over change, analysis over a holistic approach, and objectivity over subjectivity. In aesthetic terms, it favors simple symmetry and straight lines. To say – in a rational, objective kind of way – that science tilts in favor of the left brain would not be a risky statement. What would the implications be for different areas of science, including physics, biology, and economics, if our scientific quest for beauty engaged both side of our brain? (Orrell)
2.5 The State of a Worldwise Collaborative Science
As earlier noted, an epochal shift has been the reallocation of our intellectual project from human individuals and paper pages to a collective humankind with available content in Internet cyberspace. A pivotal year seems to be 2010 going forward when journals and books became fully available online, often to their first issue. While a user gains instant, total access, library shelves became empty, a human scale of meditative reading and wonderment is lost.
But for scientific research, a burst of regional and international collaboration was fostered. When I spoke in the eastern Czech Republic in 2005 I was told this site Massachusetts was a useful resource, because they were not able to retrieve such material. Nowadays it is not uncommon to see an article by a multiple team of authors, say from Slovenia, China, and Mexico. As a result of this emergent evolutionary transition, a grand worldwide collaborative endeavor and method has just commenced, that we here try to glean and report.
A further aspect of this 21st century scientific revolution is a rapid acceleration of the pace of research, communication, publication, feedback, debate and discovery. Along with instrumental and computational advances, from galaxies to genomes what took many years before is now condensed into months or minutes. An especial beneficiary is medical progress where this global knowledge repository can be increasingly accessed and facilitated to heal the fraught beings from which it arose.
In Reinventing Discovery, Michael Nielsen argues that we are living at the dawn of the most dramatic change in science in more than 300 years. This change is being driven by powerful new cognitive tools, enabled by the internet, which are greatly accelerating scientific discovery. There are many books about how the internet is changing business or the workplace or government. But this is the first book about something much more fundamental: how the internet is transforming the nature of our collective intelligence and how we understand the world. (Publisher) A similar pattern of discovery is being used across science. Scientists in many fields are collaborating online to create enormous databases that map out the structure of the universe, the world’s climate, the world’s oceans, human languages, and even all the species of life. By integrating the work of hundreds or thousands of scientists, we are collectively mapping out the entire world. (Michael Neilsen, 2011)
3.0 Biosphere: Our Critical Life Support Condition
While an overarching brain may be in place and proceeds, a bodily biospheric homeostasis and sustainability is not, and may be in a terminal condition. Our human Anthropocene phase now responsible for its environmental maintenance splits on many fault lines. Religions still deny the value of this worldly sojourn, businesses worry about remediation costs, a rapacious militarism distracts, resources are wasted, you know the litany. In 1947 Pierre Teilhard wrote The age of nations is past, the task before us now, if we would not perish, is to build the earth. But the years since have been just the opposite of incessant cold and hot wars. Instead of uniting, converging, and emerging over a common finite, precious sphere, in this 100 year anniversary of WW I, nothing seems to have changed or been learned. Instead of new age of life and light, we are bent on going back to a dark age. However might we become proud planetary patriots?
Advances have surely been made in local and regional energy usage, urban ecology, sensible consumption, recycling centers, and so on. An Environmental Performance Index, (Google) based on air, water, and sanitation quality, agriculture, forests, energy usage, and so on, lists Switzerland, Australia, Singapore, Czech Republic, mostly European countries, in the top ten. But the United States, Russia, Brazil, and China are rated 33, 73, 77 and 118. After about rank 80 some 100 destitute lands are cited from Morocco to Pakistan to sad Somali. United Nations Environmental Programme conferences are well intentioned, yet unable to break with national sovereignties. The large resource section A Genesis Future: The Old Earth offers many contributions, voices, and pathways if we are to revive, survive and sustain.
If humanity is to achieve a transition to sustainability, it will likely require a fundamental shift in the prevailing view of the world: from linear, compartmental, mechanical to complex, interconnected, living. In this, Gaia may provide some hope and some answers. (Hans Schellnhuber, 2004)
In conclusion, I have argued that the way forward for bio-inclusive environmentalism in the era of climate change is not merely biophysical, in the Gaian-type sense, involving the engineering of the physical conditions requisite for life on the planet; not merely biomimetic, in some sense replicating, in our technologies, the patterns of organization characteristic of life; but bio-synergistic, in the sense of entering into active partnership with actual ecosystems to ensure both the regulation of the climate system and the sustainable provision of our own needs. (Freya Mathews, 2011)
Astrobiology, the study of life in the universe, offers profound insights into human sustainability. This paper develops three topics connecting astrobiology to sustainability: constraints on what zones in the universe are habitable, the absence of observations of extraterrestrial civilizations, and the physical fate of the universe. These topics have major implications for our thinking and action on sustainability. While we may not be doomed, we must take certain actions to sustain ourselves in this universe. The topics also suggest that our current sustainability efforts may be of literally galactic importance. (Seth Baum, 2010)
3.1 Global Climate as a Complex Dynamical System
This section was added in 2011 to gather various approaches to reinterpret, as every other domain, this realm of ultra-intricate regional and world weather in such nonlinear terms. Scientists from physicists to geographers such as Tim Palmer, Valerio Lucarini, Hans Schullnhuber, Timothy Lenton, Carolyn Snyder, Shaun Lovejoy, Marten Scheffer, and others press the limits of test and theory. As any complex system, atmospheric, polar, glacial, oceanic, bioregional climates are oscillating between record extremes, with more signs of a tipping point to an abrupt change of state. Global warming by a few degrees is a serious misnomer. On this November 18 in New England, a midwinter cold wave is in effect. Super storms, droughts, tornados, heat waves, forest fires, floods and worse often lead the TV news. Yet we tarry, the recent U.S. election having swung to the Republicans brought renewed cries this is all is a hoax.
The climate is an excellent example of a forced, dissipative system dominated by nonlinear processes and featuring non-trivial dynamics of a vast range of spatial and temporal scales. The understanding of the climate's structural and multiscale properties is crucial for the provision of a unifying picture of its dynamics and for the implementation of accurate and efficient numerical models. In this interdisciplinary review, we are guided by our interest in exploring the nexus between climate and concepts such as energy, entropy, symmetry, response, multiscale interactions, and its potential relevance in terms of numerical modeling. We focus on the very promising results on the statistical mechanics of quasi-equilibrium geophysical flows, which are extremely useful in the direction of constructing a robust theory of geophysical macro turbulence. (Lucarini, et al, 2013)
3.2 Sustainable Ecovillages
As the section documents, by this title is meant a generic model of intentional human communities of an average 100 members, who own, plan, and lightly guide their settlement. Prime attributes are a much reduced economic burden, a balance of personal space and communal sharing, egalitarian tolerance, and true sustainability. Over the decade, hundreds of new rural and urban assemblies have appeared in the United States and Canada, with thousands worldwide. Google the Global Ecovillage Network and links for information. An especial prevalence is forming in West Africa, which accords with their ubuntu tradition. In this 21st century it might be It Takes an Ecovillage.
Unlike earlier intentional communities and back-to-the-land experiments, ecovillages are not isolated enclaves. They tend to be active in local, national, and transnational politics. Most of the ecovillagers I encountered saw themselves as engaged participants in planetary socioecological systems rather than as utopian fugitives. On a principled level, they view their lives as pragmatic responses to the interrelated global dynamics of North-South inequity, global commodity chains, structural violence, and fossil fuel consumption. At the level of action, ecovillage activists have been prominent players in the movements for peace, human rights, and global justice. (Karen Litfin, 2012)
3.3 An Organic, Symbiotic Democracy
For another societal issue, populaces in every land seem unable to attain any equitable governance that serves peoples rather than itself. In many cases, parties, factions, ideologies ever divide into archetypal right/left, red/blue, me vs. We, gender-like polarities. Elections come out almost exactly in half. The 2000 presidential vote was down to a few dozen out of a hundred million between Republican and Democrat, and so many tragedies were the result. The 2014 Massachusetts governor count was 49 to 48 percent. The same opposites persist around the world such as France, Mexico, Germany, and India. This is anything but democratic.
Yet it is amazing that an academic political scientist, or any pundit, can not see an obvious Yang – Yin complementarity. Our public cerebral hemispheres remain trapped in either/or, win/lose gridlock. Whenever there is a major investigation, the panel is formed half and half from each party. By way of our worldwise humankinder and a genesis family comsos, life’s deep constant principle of personal and communal mutuality, of freedom in community, can intentionally be availed to heal, resolve and unite going forward.
4.0 Sapiensphere: A New Natural Creation
At the same while, in the future lane, an incredible scientific, technological, and medical progress could infer that the cosmic material and cognitive development is meant to be taken up by our creative continuance. With the occasion of full online communicative sharing, a cornucopia of discoveries, advances, inventions, with no limit in sight, is rushing upon us. For one example, the British site Nature Scientific Reports has daily postings from around the world whose articles can run from quantum computers and better batteries to proteomics, connectomes, and curative medicinal remedies. We homo, anthropo, Sophia, and cosmo sapiens then become phenomenal participants in a new genesis.
As a caveat, the popular near “singularity” view of a technological takeover is just the opposite of what we are trying to say. At present, without any encompassing vision of who and why we are, the very idea eludes and daunts, there is no greater guidance about what to do and make of such abilities and potentials. The capability of human inquiry and ingenuity, lately of a global scale, to gain systemic knowledge from multiverse to quantum, and as equally able to intentionally, respectfully, begin a new nature must be of awesome inclusion and import.
Engineered materials such as chip-grade silicon and fiber-optic glass underpin the modern world. Yet designing new materials has historically involved a frustrating and inefficient amount of guesswork. Streamlined versions of the equations of quantum mechanics – along with supercomputers that, using those equations, virtually test thousands of materials at a time – are eliminating much of that guesswork. Researchers are now using this method, called high-throughput computational material design, to develop new batteries, solar cells, fuel cells, computer chips, and other technologies. (Ceder and Persson, The Stuff of Dreams, 2013)
My gut feeling is that, despite limitations of space and time, we humans can suddenly start to evolve thousands of times faster than the impressive Cambrian era, and that we can direct this diversity toward our material needs instead of letting it occur randomly. (73) As a general goal I propose that, as a minimum, we ought to avoid the loss of all intelligent life in the universe. The genome should become not the genome of one lonely being or one planet. It should become the genome of the Universe. (244) (George Church, 2012)
As 21st century synopsis to date, from our global Anthropo vantage may be realized a major evolutionary transition to a humankind personage with a semblance of a bicameral brain learning on her/his own. By virtue of such novel knowledge we seem in the midst of a cosmic Copernican revolution from pointless mechanism to an organic genesis, to be reviewed next. A worldwide collaborative science has achieved material, technological, biological, and medical advances to presage a new, palliative, sustainable creation.
But the immortal words of Charles Dickens below could not be more apt. The ethnic body politic remains fractured along every fault, trapped in a past human phase. While a noosphere awakens with answers, the biosphere lies in a critical life support condition, further inflamed by an epidemic of internecine conflicts. We offer this website as a narrative tale of a new nature to help to find a way and path.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way (Charles Dickens, 1859)
C. Cosmo Sapiens: A 2004 - 2014 Decadal Review
The Two Infinities of a Particulate Multiverse
1.0 Infinite Cosmic Breadth
2.0 Infinitesimal Atomic Depth
A Third Infinity of Life, Code, Complexity, Mind, and Symbiotic Selves
1.0 A 21st Century Systems Synthesis
2.0 Ecosmos: A Fertile Spacescape
2.1 Physics and Biology Reunite
2.2 Astrochemistry and Astrobiology
2.3 Quantum-Classical Integration
2.4 Statistical Mechanics and Complexity Science
2.5 Active Matter
2.6 Systems Cosmology
2.7 Organism as Machine Metaphor
2.8 Cosmic Consciousness
2.9 Universal Darwinism
3.0 Habitable Heavens: A Proliferation of Planets
4.0 Cosmome: A Mathematic Materiality
4.1 An Information Milieu
4.2 Algorithmic Computation
4.3 Cellular Automata
4.4 Nonlinear Complex Self-Organization Sciences
5.0 A Genesis Evolutionary Synthesis
5.1 A Skeletal Scaffold
5.1.1 The Origins of Life
5.1.2 The Major Transitions Scale
5.1.3 A New Evolutionary Synthesis
5.2 A Natural Genotype
5.3 Embryogeny: Evolution and Development
5.3.1 Anatomy and Physiology
5.3.2 A Constant Convergence
5.3.3 Encephalization – A Neural, Cognitive, Learning Experience
5.3.4 The Prevalence and Primacy of Cooperation
5.4 Animal Consciousness, Intelligence, Personality, Behavior, Sociality, Culture
5.5 A Ubuntu Universe: Our Symbiotic Selves
6.0 A Human and Humankinder Epitome
6.1 Phenomenal Persons
6.1.1 Systems Physiology and Psychology
6.1.2 Systems Neuroscience: Our Mindful Microcosm
6.1.3 Our Conscious Knowledge
6.2 An Emergent Humankind
6.2.1 Cultural Code: Systems Linguistics
6.2.2 Complex Symbiotic Societies
6.2.3. A Planetary Physiosphere: Anatomics, Economics, Urbanomics
6.2.4 Systems History: Planetary Individuation
With an acquaintance with our resident planetary progeny in place, we move on to humankinder’s collaborative witness of an organic procreative uniVerse as an ecosmos Copernican revolution. For this vista, as the Human and UniVerse table conveyed, an overall theme and motif becomes evident. While the 20th century and earlier was a prior, necessary scientific phase of taking matter, life, earth, and nature apart for reductive, particulate analysis, dividing into many topical fields, today a subsequent global reunification of a cosmic genesis and phenomenal people is much underway.
At the outset it serves to contrast past and future models, paradigms or scenarios. To do so we draw upon a working “three infinities” view. An initial exploration and research sought to plumb large cosmic and small atomic dimensions. Presently, a “third infinity” or stage has been engaged to study life’s emergent complexity and consciousness. Presciently cited by Pierre Teilhard in the 1930s, this phrase is the title of a 2013 Max Planck Institute conference on the Physics of Biological and Complex Systems (search Domany). It is this latter turn that we are most trying to express and document.
We begin with a look at The Two Infinities of a Particulate Multiverse. Beyond this prior matrix, we survey A Third Infinity of Life, Code, Organization, Mind, and Symbiotic Selves. This waxing phase has general sections of Systems Shift, Organic Life and Substantial Cosmos, Earth and Heavens, Mathematics and Materiality, Genesis Evolutionary Synthesis, UniVerse and Human Epitome.
The Two Infinities of a Particulate Multiverse
Two days after the 2014 Nobel physics prize, Nigel Goldenfeld (search) spoke at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he announced “Biology is the physics of the 21st century.” We seem in the midst of an epochal traverse between an old and new universe, which Natural Genesis attempts to collate and document.
Surely readers are familiar with the legendary chronicle from the 17th century scientific revolution to explore and experiment. The project proceeded to this day to collect, identify, name, characterize, and sort all the parts and facets from quarks, bosons and quasars to elements, chemicals, fossils, creatures, continents, bubble cosmoses, every last thing. This initial, necessary stage of object emphasis sought all the “cosmic Legos” building blocks, per Max Tegmark (2014). But the pursuit has stopped there, unable to connect the dots, so concludes nature is pointless and signifies nothing. To a large degree, any systemic relations in between, or an implicate generative source, a systems physics, has remained outside its machine model. We next register Infinite and Infinitesimal aspects, which in the past two years have reached closure with findings of the Higgs Boson and signs of original gravitational waves.
1.0 Infinite Cosmic Breath What a fantastic journey human beings have been on from a home world once at the center of starry raiment to orbiting a sun, Milky Way galaxy, then myriad galaxies, a singular point of cosmic origin, and now a multitude of vicarious universes. Whoever are we altogether to be able to do and learn this, surely there must be a reason and discovery of cosmic significance.
As an entry we cite an arXiv:1402.0527 eprint entitled Inflationary Cosmology after Planck 2013 where the Russian-American physicist Andrei Linde posts his latest views of an initial expansive event. Linde, with Alan Guth, were prime conceivers of this theory in the 1980s. In September 1983 I attended Linde’s first public lecture in the United States at Harvard, where he spoke of bubbling fractal cosmoses. He remains on message decades later, as does Guth who I have also heard. But speculative versions still vie, often as opinions and/or metaphysics, with little or no reference to an independent mathematics or greater reality. Our human acumen that can quantify such reaches are rarely factored in or given a place and purpose.
And readers know, in March 2014 it was announced as front page news that the BICEP2 (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) project at the South Pole seemed to detect gravity waves from the early universe that if real would prove an inflationary start, and the overall cosmological scenario. Its main posting is arXiv:1403.3985. In the meantime this report has come under much scrutiny, for example in Physics Review Letters Editorial: Signals from the Dawn of Time? (112/240001, 2014) – is it just dust or what.
For another angle, from a string theory school, whence physical particles are seen as one-dimensional objects called strings, (search Google) these latest quantum cosmology results are taken as confirmation of a numberless flickering universes, maybe parallel or serial, a multiverse milieu. (This evident scenario will be seen in the Part III posting to have a genesis essence.) But alas our habitable cosmos is then a rare, accidental concatenation. Quite up for grabs, for example The Singular Universe (December 2014) by physicist Lee Smolin and philosopher Roberto Unger contend they only occur one at a time but remain inane happenstance.
2.0 Infinitesimal Atomic Depth
At the other extreme, the ever deeper descent begun by Max Planck, Niels Bohr, a renowned cast, from opaque atoms to a proton/neutron center and orbital electrons onto a colorful zoo such as baryons, muons, gluons, leptons, charmed quarks in scalar or nested forms. We mention Nobel laureates Murray Gell-Mann, Sheldon Glashow (who I heard speak in October), Steven Weinberg, and Abdus Salam, amongst thousands of contributors. A grand triumph in 2012 was the detection in the ten billion dollar Large Hadron Collider built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) of the subatomic Higgs boson, whose finding was crucial to the particle physics standard model. This finding confirmed a long period of theory and test, but is seen as bringing an end to that stage. Commentators have wondered what might it signify, if anything, and whatever to do next.
So this historic exploration of the opposite breadth and depth environments, with valiant earthlings in between has much run its course. But in some Ptolemaic way, as lately noted, some critical quality is missing to explain sentient peoples able to traverse such magnitudes. Into the 21st century, as if a parallel paradigm, by a worldwise science and scholarship, a network systems cosmology, physics, chemistry, and developmental evolution, along with every realm, a Copernican revolution is well along. Uniquely facilitated by the enveloping collaborative Internet, nature’s material substance is again becoming active, fertile, a conducive matheMatter spacescape. We next introduce a third infinity of life’s quickening complexity and consciousness. OK
A Third Infinity of Life, Code, Organization, Mind, and Symbiotic Selves
An overall theme can distinguish this occasion. By our humankinder vista, circa 2014, the many disparate domains from interstellar to social media are in the midst of a holistic reassembly and reunion unto one whole animate dynamic universe. What was first necessary to take apart as a machine, is now being put back together in an organic way. A measure is the complex network systems turn underway in every field from biology and genetics to quantum and cosmos. It is then apparent that an iterative repetition of the same pattern and process occurs in relative kind at each stage and instance. As a consequence, an independent, mathematical, recurrent universality, intimated through history, is at last proven. OK
In regard, as a ready name we offer “uniVerse” with a capital V to indicate its heretofore missing narrative script. Another term might be “Ecosmos” for an ecological spacescape. We next arrange this global unification into general sections: Systems Synthesis, Ecosmos: An Organic UniVerse, Earths and Heavens, Mathematics and Materiality, A Genesis Evolutionary Synthesis, UniVerse and Human Epitome.
1.0 A 21st Century Systems Synthesis A familiar entry would be the systems biology turn from a prior emphasis on biomolecular components to equally important relations, interactions, webworks and cross-communication in between. In 2001 leading human genome sequencers such as Francis Collins, Craig Venter, Leroy Hood, and others were quick to say that finding the discrete genes was only half the task. While the goal of one gene to one trait or disease has not worked out, much progress since has discerned interconnective modules and nested networks for nucleotides, proteomes, epigenomes, metabolomes, onto neural connectomes and more.
The Natural Genesis resource site tries to document this course correction and holistic completion, which now has an “–omics” interpretation from cosmos to cultures. It is reflected in the outline across Quantum, Astrobiology and Chemistry realms to Neuroscience, Psychology and History as well, and in cases as Systems Physics when not yet at the fore. A 2014 volume A Systems View of Life by Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi is an excellent survey, which we cite next.
Such a new understanding of life is now emerging. At the forefront of contemporary science, we no longer see the universe as a machine composed of elementary building blocks. We have discovered that the material world, ultimately, is a network of inseparable patterns of relationships; that the planet as a whole is a living, self-regulating system. The view of the human body as a machine and of the mind as a separate entity is being replaced by one that sees not only the brain, but also the immune system, the bodily tissues, and even each cell as a living, cognitive system. (Capra and Luisi)
Within our humankind purview, to express the extent of this revolution we note its copious scope in scientific fields such as astrobiology and traditional chemistry which have seen fit to reinvent themselves as Systems studies.
What is Systems Chemistry? It’s the study of complex systems, or networks, of molecules. Tools for analyzing complex networks are being developed and employed in fields as diverse as computer science and sociology. By applying these tools to systems of interacting molecules – molecules that might link together into larger superstructures, or catalyse one another’s formation – chemists can investigate how interactions between members propagate through networks, allowing complex behaviour to emerge. (Jonathan Nitschke)
We have attempted to illustrate how systems astrobiology assumes a new role in the science of astrobiology. In our theory of life in the universe, we have underlined several stages that are analogous with the standard systems biology, namely: 1. The theory: the universe is treated as a complex system with evolutionary convergence. 2. The computational modelling: statistical correlations of astronomical data are needed from Kepler and subsequent missions and spectroscopic data from the HST and the next generation of space telescopes. 3. A testable hypothesis: the Earth-like exoplanets in HZs of MS stars will yield anomalous fractions of biogenic gases in the spectroscopic analyses of their atmospheres. 4. The complex system: the universe itself is interpreted as a complex system. (Julian Chela-Flores)
This radical, imperative shift across the sciences is evident by noting that social studies, psychology and linguistics, many other fields, have also strongly endorsed. While environmentalists perceived intricate eco-systems from the early days, economies and cities are now likewise viewed as animate organizations, as A Planetary Physiosphere reports. Another affirmation is expressed by Temple University psychologist Willis Overton, and colleagues, in the next quote. Similarly Clay Beckner, speaking for an extended team, applies the same “complex adaptive systems” model to language and dialogue.
This chapter argues that the Cartesian-split-mechanistic scientific paradigm that until recently functioned as the standard conceptual framework for subfields of developmental science (including inheritance, evolution, and organismic—prenatal, cognitive, emotional, motivational, sociocultural—development) has been progressively failing as a scientific research program. An alternative scientific paradigm composed of nested metatheories with relationism at the broadest level and relational developmental systems as a midrange metatheory is offered as a more progressive conceptual framework for developmental science. (Overton, 2013)
Language as a CAS involves the following key features: The system consists of multiple agents (the speakers in the speech community) interacting with one another. The system is adaptive, that is, speakers’ behavior is based on their past interactions, and current and past interactions together feed forward into future behavior. The structures of language emerge from interrelated patterns of experience, social interaction, and cognitive mechanisms. The CAS approach reveals commonalities in many areas of language research, including first and second language acquisition, historical linguistics, psycholinguistics, language evolution and computational modeling. (Beckner, 2008)
This Systems re-unification by a bicameral humanity, if to admit the very vista, is a main feature of our revolutionary reconception from a barren material mechanism to an quickening organic development, which we review next. OK
2.0 Ecosmos: A Fertile Spacescape
In our planetary purview, an independently innate organic, proactive presence is being encountered from several approaches. Among these are the vital reunion of physics and biology, astrochemistry and astrobiology, a quantum-classical synthesis, an “active matter” appreciation, “systems physics” as statistical mechanics joins complexity theory, and much more. OK
2.1 Physics and Biology Reunite As the Revolution Table shows, since the 17th century, an inane dichotomy has existed between an inhospitable physical cosmos and the presence of living, evolving, personal, sentient beings. This disconnect and impediment is at last being resolved, as it must be, by our global genius. The Systems Physics, Active Matter: The Reunion of Biology and Physics, Systems Cosmology sections, and elsewhere cite many contributions that quantify and approve. Among advocates and theorists are William Bialek, Sriram Ramaswamy, Cristina Marchetti, Andrea Cavagna, Irene Giardina, Nicholas Ouelette, Erwin Frey, and Nigel Goldenfeld, who we quote next.
With the growing recognition of the importance of collective phenomena in evolution, but also in ecology, immunology, microbiology and even global climate change, it is timely to assess the extent to which a condensed matter physics perspective—with its unifying principles of collective behavior arising from interactions—can be illuminating in biology. Equally fascinating is the notion that biology may extend the frontier of non-equilibrium physics, revealing principles of self-organization that seem absent in purely physical processes such as pattern formation. (Goldenfeld/Woese, 2011)
2.2 Astrochemistry and Astrobiology In a July 2011 TED talk “The Stuff of Life: Making Matter Come Alive,” Lee Cronin (search), a University of Glasgow professor of chemistry advised that cellular beings seem to be as encoded into the universe as the stellar galaxies. Over the past decade, an interdisciplinary cross-fertilization has led to an ever deeper rooting of living systems into an increasingly conducive cosmos. As reported throughout Organic Universe, an innate natural propensity is being found and quantified from elemental nucleosynthesis to an array of complex biochemicals across the interstellar medium. A gravid cosmic genesis is now known to form bioprecursors for evolving organisms and cognitive sapiens by its own quintessence.
But there's a problem, because up until maybe a decade ago, we were told that life was impossible and that we were the most incredible miracle in the universe. In fact, we were the only people in the universe. So as a chemist, I wanted to say, "Hold on. What is going on here? Is life that improbable?" And this is really the question. I think that perhaps the emergence of the first cells was as probable as the emergence of the stars. And in fact, let's take that one step further. Let's say that if the physics of fusion is encoded into the universe, maybe the physics of life is as well. (Lee Cronin)
2.3 Quantum-Classical Integration: Another untenable divide has persisted for a century between this infinitesimal, subatomic domain and overt macroscopic forms and phases. Technical terms such as entanglement, superposition, uncertainty, decoherence, nonlocality led to an arcane, off-putting strangeness, daunting efforts to unify and make sense of things. Around 2003 this began to change by realizations that quantum phenomena seems to be most characterized by information and its processing. With an incentive of quantum computers, these real properties are much researched and employed, as noted in the Information Computation section.
But since 2010, as every other natural and social strata, the complexity turn spread to these depths as it became clear that nonlinear complexities are just as prevalent there. Here is a good example of a mostly unnoticed advance that can be apparent by our humankind ken. One can now search arXiv e-prints for “quantum” self-organization, networks, modularity, and get a growing number of responses. A 2014 posting there by the Nobel laureate Gerard ‘t Hooft (search) is an emphatic statement not only of this merger but of the necessary existence of a greater intelligible reality from which all arises. A Quantum Complex Systems section has been added for this literature. International conferences such as Emergent Quantum Mechanics 2011 and 2013 (Google “EmQM” and search here), and the Heinz von Forester Self-Organization and Emergence Congress (2011) did much to establish their presence and basis. OK
We hope to inspire more physicists to do so, to consider seriously the possibility that quantum mechanics as we know it is not a fundamental, mysterious, impenetrable feature of our physical world, but rather an instrument to statistically describe a world where the physical laws, at their most basic roots, are not quantum mechanical at all. (‘t Hooft, 2014)
Another significant aspect then came to light. As the micro-macro rift is healed, it is being concluded this is where the turtles bottom out, no further material stage lies beneath. Rather both quantum and classical realms can be understood as arising from a deeper, non-material, mathematical source. In the other direction, as nonlinear quantum complexities are explored, the presence of quantum-like effects has become evident in regnant nature and society. Recent books such as Quantum Effects in Biology Decision by Masoud Mohseni and Yasser Omar discuss equivalent effects in biological, psychological, cognitive, and societal aspects.
In a historical train, it is worth notice that two prescient, sage scientists are often referred to. John Archibald Wheeler’s (1911-2008) famous “It from Bit” phrase whence “under and behind quantum mechanics lies some deep and wonderful principle yet to be discovered” (Tegmark 2014) is availed as an overall model. Similarly David Bohm (1917-1992) described a dual reality of an independent “implicate” order from which “explicate” manifest worlds spring and exemplify. And of course homage is paid to Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) who wrote that the book of nature must be read in terms of its mathematical language, which maybe we can at long last decipher. OK
2.4 Statistical Mechanics and Complexity Science Around 2007 the traditional fields of statistical, condensed matter, many-body physics began an assimilation and accommodation with nonlinear systems theories because it was realized they studied the same phenomena from different approaches. The endeavor presently comes under Interdisciplinary, Biological Physics, Econophysics, Soft Matter, and so on labels, not really suitable. The nascent synthesis can be seen in journals such as Annals of Physics, Physical Review, Reviews of Modern Physics, Europhysics Letters, Physics Reports wherein complex biological or social phenomena were rarely included. Today more than half of the articles pertain to this subject. For example, the August 15, 2014 contents of Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications is mostly listed as Dynamical processes, Biological, ecological and evolutionary systems, Econophysics, Other complex systems, Networks, and Systems biology.
2.5 Active Matter This phrase to denote a material spontaneity proceeding on its own was coined in a 2010 paper in the Annual Review of Condensed Matter Physics by Siram Ramaswamy of the Indian Institute of Science. Since it aptly described natural self-organizing phenomena that many researchers were studying, it has become widely used. For an example, Andrea Cavagna and Irene Giardina of the University of Rome (2014) see fit to interpret dynamic bird flocks in this way. A common implication is an independent, universally applicable source that serves to structure and guide nonequilibrium animation from sensitive colloids to creaturely colonies. The new Active Matter section contains current references.
Even more active is a colony of bacteria, each member of which can carry out sustained motion as well as complex signaling and coordination with others. Or think of a flock of birds or herd of migratory animals. Despite obvious differences, these systems all share a similar character as collectives of interacting and self-propelling elements with internal sources of energy. It’s natural to think of all of these as examples of a more general kind of “active” matter – a new frontier where ideas from physics on the principles of order and organization are proving very useful. (Mark Buchanan)
2.6 Systems Cosmology This is title phrase was added in 2012 to Fractal SpaceTimeMatter with the posting of paper on Network Cosmology by Dmitri Krioulov, et al. The concurrent work of Markus Aschwanden and colleagues on self-organized criticalities in astrophysics such as interstellar webs and solar flares, and similar citations, contributes to this novel sense of a celestial ecosystem. This section engages the two, far removed, infinities of quantum and cosmos to show how they are better understood in terms of the same nonlinear dynamical patterns as everywhere in between. Here you will find reports of self-similarity from subatomic charged pions and quantum fluids to particulate clouds and galactic clusters. If to collate these separate accounts within a humankind purview, in our midst a revolutionary systems spacescape akin to a living environment is just being realized.
2.7 The Organism as Machine Metaphor Since this is a natural philosophy endeavor, it is vital that a long-standing conflation with and description of living entities and activities in mechanical terms needs to be addressed. We began this Systems Synthesis with Fritjof Capra and Pier Luisi’s confrontation of the dichotomy. In biological, genetic, and even ecological articles and books, it is standard fare. We read of nucleotide or protein machinery, cells are factories, evolution as a thermodynamic engine. Books have titles such as The Mind’s Machine (psychology) and The Earth Machine (geosciences). Type machinery into the search box on the home page to get more examples. This is an unhelpful contradiction, a fundamental misnomer, yet little if any notice or correction is made.
In regard, we want to cite a recent effort by Daniel Nicholson, an Israeli-British philosopher now at the University of Exeter, who confronts this erroneous usage in evolutionary and developmental paradigms in Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (search). A 2012 essay is entitled Organisms ≠ Machines, and in 2014 as The Machine Conception of the Organism in Development and Evolution.
The machine conception of the organism (MCO) is one of the most pervasive notions in modern biology. However, it has not yet received much attention by philosophers of biology. The MCO has its origins in Cartesian natural philosophy, and it is based on the metaphorical redescription of the organism as a machine. In this paper I argue that although organisms and machines resemble each other in some basic respects, they are actually very different kinds of systems. I submit that the most significant difference between organisms and machines is that the former are intrinsically purposive whereas the latter are extrinsically purposive. (Nicholson, 2012)
Although both organisms and machines operate towards the attainment of particular ends - that is, both are purposive systems - the former are intrinsically purposive whereas the latter are extrinsically purposive. A machine is extrinsically purposive in the sense that it works towards an end that is external to itself; that is, it does not serve its own interests but those of its maker or user. An organism, on the other hand, is intrinsically purposive in the sense that its activities are directed towards the maintenance of its own organization; that is, it acts on its own behalf. The intrinsic purposiveness of organisms is grounded on the fact that they are self-organizing, self-producing, self-maintaining, and self-regenerating. (Nicholson, 2014)
2.8 Cosmic Consciousness Still another animate quality comes from novel recognitions of an immanent mindfulness that both suffuses natural materiality and ascends with our evolutionary gestation. We revive this phrase from a century ago to evoke this reunion of matter and mind, rather than an incongruous separation. An admission that aware, informed, knowing sentience is not an “epiphenomenon” but a legitimate subject of science and philosophy is now established. Through sophisticated neuroimaging, international collaborations, better theories, wakeful cognizance is real and amenable to study. This cerebral faculty is seen to arise, as long intimated, by relative degrees through life’s creaturely sequence. While Conscious Knowledge reports on its validity in human persons, Intrinsic Consciousness and Intelligence attests to a natural universe graced with primordial, procreative mind from its original vitality.
Major affirmations were independently made in the 2010s. Mind and Nature by the philosopher Thomas Nagel makes states that by virtue of our own reflective awareness, a cosmic milieu and source must exist from which this acumen arose. A significant parallel has also been drawn between consciousness and a relative knowledge content. The integrated information and global workspace theories of Giulio Tononi, Christof Koch, Bernard Baars, Antonio Damasio, Todd Feinberg, and colleagues, are much along to a mature synthesis. An episodic tandem of and neural complexity and knowing sentience, as Pierre Teilhard once advised, does indeed track and distinguish life’s developmental embryogeny. These same authors, together with physicists Max Tegmark, Alwyn Scott, and Henry Stapp, philosophers Nagel, Francoise Tibika, Menas Kafatos, and Elizabeth Swan, linguists such as Yoshimi Kawade, and a growing chorus now affirm a mindful cosmos which then arises and awakens through nested individuations to ourselves.
We examine the hypothesis that consciousness can be understood as a state of matter, with distinctive information processing abilities. Our approach generalizes Giulio Tononi's integrated information framework for neural-network-based consciousness to arbitrary quantum systems, and we find interesting links to error-correcting codes, condensed matter criticality, and the Quantum Darwinism program, as well as an interesting connection between the emergence of consciousness and the emergence of time. (Tegmark, 2014)
2.9 Universal Darwinism This is a new section in Autumn 2014 for an array of concurrent research methods that are being employed to study a locally stochastic yet globally lawful nature. The working title comes from one view that an evolutionary self-organization and selective optimization may even apply across the celestial reaches. The citations are drawn from the site and convey various interpretations. By turns, Bayesian statistics or inference, genetic and algorithmic computations, Markov processes, neural connectionism, multiple variation and selective retention, iterative maximizations, and so on, are being sensed from quantum and biological phases to planetary, solar and galactic realms.
A 2004 – 2014 survey of an Ecosmos: A Fertile Spacescape can well verify a “Creative, Organic Universe” revolution that the website first set out to document. Before we get to its genetic code source, we enter the grandest discovery of the period, as readers know, of a conducive cosmos, a natural nursery, filled with as many planets as stars.
3.0 A Proliferation of Planets
Although anticipated by visionaries long ago, we had to wait until 1995 for the first actual detection of an orbiting planet in a solar system other than our own. By various methods, independent observatories, and international teams, the number grew into the hundreds in the 2000s. But since the 2009 NASA Kepler Planet Finder Satellite launch, thousands of orbital orrerys from gaseous giants to rocky Earth-analogs have been found everywhere. A radical profligate universe is revealed which by its own energetic and material propensities spawns a profusion of solar systems and bioworlds.
Circa 2012, astronomers have been homing in on a true earth-like neighbor. Solar system depictions in popular magazines and even textbooks come with an intermediate “habitable zone” of favorable thermal and environmental conditions for organic life to originate and evolve. With Nobel laureate Christian de Duve, a fertile raiment is “pregnant” with life, and now with planets, which is not an accident. With more license, a heavenly hatchery seems filled with “solar incubators” for a personal and communal intelligence to emerge and wonder in retrospect. And this epic revolution has hardly dawned upon us.
A major question is whether planets suitable for biochemistry are common or rare in the universe. Small rocky planets with liquid water enjoy key ingredients for biology. We used the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Kepler telescope to survey 42,000 Sun-like stars for periodic dimmings that occur when a planet crosses in front of its host star. We find that 22% of Sun-like stars harbor Earth-size planets orbiting in their habitable zones. The nearest such planet may be within 12 light-years. (Erik Petigura)
The known odds of something — or someone — living far, far away from Earth improved beyond astronomers’ boldest dreams on Monday. Astronomers reported that there could be as many as 40 billion habitable Earth-size planets in the galaxy, based on a new analysis of data from NASA’s Kepler spacecraft. One out of every five sunlike stars in the galaxy has a planet the size of Earth circling it in the Goldilocks zone — not too hot, not too cold — where surface temperatures should be compatible with liquid water. (Dennis Overbye)
This celestial community and neighborhood, often front page news, would imply a gravid genesis of starry galaxies with ovular bioplanets. But a major, explanatory aspect is missing to fulfill an organic familial procreation. The prior scientific project is mostly engaged with overt objects much as resultant “phenotypes.” But over past years, the presence of a natural “genotype” is being realized from many approaches which we review next. OK
4.0 Cosmome: A Mathematic Materiality
At the outset, the scientific perception of an intrinsic formative source is so significant that it ought to have an appropriate name. As a suggestion, “matheMatter” for a spontaneous substantial cosmos with its own informed organization and vitality. Another coinage, noted earlier, is “uniVerse” as an easy way to cite a once and future doubleness that adds to manifest entities and earths a heretofore absent narrative, genetic script.
After the large and small infinities, as if a transitional version and phase, a number of theorists contend that some kind of computational, generative process does seem to be in effect. We mentioned John A. Wheeler’s It from Bit, David Bohm’s implicate/explicate modes, and a quantum rising from a deeper, immaterial basis. We next tour some aspects and schools that presage a cosmic code - an Information Milieu, Algorithmic Computation, Cellular Automata, Nonlinear Complexity Self-Organization, Natural Networks, Complex Adaptive Systems, and a Universality they each infer.
As an entry, the Cosmic Code chapter opens with a 30 page history, topical glossary, and synthesis for the new sciences of complex living systems. Circa 2004, the field remained an eclectic array of facets, emphasis, techniques and approaches being worked through, with arcane terms and little consilience. Here is a list: Agent-Based Modeling, Autopoiesis, Biosemiotics, Cellular Automata, Chaos Theory, Complex Adaptive Systems, Computational Information, Developmental Systems Theory, Dissipative Structures, Dynamical Systems Theory, Econophysics, Ecosystems, Emergence, Fractal Geometry, General Systems Theory, Hierarchy Theory, Multi-Agent Systems, Neural Networks, Non-equilibrium Thermodynamics, Nonlinear Phenomena, Renormalization Group Theory, Scale-Free Networks, Scale Invariance, Self-Organized Criticality, Self-Organization, Small-World Network, Statistical Physics, Swarm Intelligence, Symbiosis, Synergetics, Synergy, Universality. But by this 2014 a unification is underway which we now try to convey.
4.1 An Information Communicative Milieu: Into the 21st century, novel realizations have arisen that physical domains are suffused with a prescriptive content, a prime quality along with and prior to space, time, matter and energy. As James Gleick did for chaos theory in 1987, his 2011 opus The Information lucidly chronicles its occasion. A technical entry could be Information and the Nature of Reality (2010) edited by Paul Davies and Neils Gregersen, and other works in the subject section. To fill out, we note some certain facets such as quantum computation, biological communication, an algorithmic nature, as they form a consensus.
A reformation of Quantum Physicsis underway with information and conveyance as its distinctive feature. Vlatko Vedral, Christopher Timpson, Seth Lloyd, Jeffery Bub and others find it theoretically imperative to admit and include something deeply textual about ponderable things. The promise of super quantum computers is a large factor driving the effort.
Another engagement is concerned with internal and external biological messaging known as Biosemiotics. The term is due to Thomas Sebeok (1920-2001) from “semiotics” or science of signs to express constant communications in organic, animal, and human phases. A major advocate has been Marcello Barbieri, who is editor of a journal with this name, along with expositors such as Jesper Hoffmeyer, Claus Emmeche, Wendy Wheeler, and a prolific Danish-Estonian-Scandinavian nexus. A burst of books can be found at the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies website. Please see the new Life as Biosemiotics section for these many references.
4.2 Algorithmic Computation : A companion effort, often with an information rubric, treats natural, viable, evolving complexity as emerging from a necessary software-like program. This is a “digital universe” view whereof appropriate software-like equations calculate, iterate, and generate from cosmoses to cultures. With the Alan Turing centennial in 2012, many conferences and publications provided endorsements and explanations. A leading advocate is the Serbian-Swedish philosopher Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic, along with Mark Burgin, Barry Cooper, Gregory Chaitin, Hector Zenil, a host of others. A good start could be Turing’s Cathedral by George Dyson. For much more, we have just added a dedicated section, Natural Algorithms, to the main site.
4.3 Cellular Automata The contributions of polymath physicist Stephen Wolfram also merit notice. As his 2002 tome A New Kind of Science describes, this is a technical term for nonlinear programs which as they run produce emergent, animate complexities. On Wolfram’s Blog this approach is “computational knowledge, symbolic programming, dynamic interactivity, algorithm ontology and discovery, we must be on to Something Very Big.” But a greater independent reality, which Wolfram does aver, remains machine or hardware-like, not yet alive and well. To bracket our decade, a 2014 arXiv entry The Cellular Automaton Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics by Nobel laureate physicist Gerard ‘t Hooft, noted earlier, affirms a unified, coherent uniVerse made sensible by such insights.
Our models suggest that Einstein may still have been right, when he objected against the conclusions drawn by Bohr and Heisenberg. It may well be that, at its most basic level, there is no randomness in nature, no fundamentally statistical aspect to the laws of evolution. Everything, up to the most minute detail, is controlled by invariable laws. Every significant event in our universe takes place for a reason, it was caused by the action of physical law, not just by chance. This is the general picture conveyed by this report. (‘t Hooft)
With these various entries in place, we can introduce a huge transformative advance, namely the sciences of complex, self-organizing network systems, which quite exemplify an organic and genetic MatheMatter. OK
4.4 Nonlinear Complex Self-Organization Sciences: A suitable name for the scientific study of nature’s nonlinear dynamic network spontaneities, with many abstract terms, has not yet arisen, to its deficit. As noted, at the request of Yale University colleagues in 2010 I wrote an extended introduction to Part IV: Cosmic Code to arrange and introduce these multiple entries as they try to quantify and express a lively nature that is organizing, developing, becoming by itself. Apropos, Part VI: Universal Principles goes on to report findings of a similar, recurrent pattern and process at each scale and instance from cosmos to civilization.
Our decade neatly brackets a consolidation and maturity of this “theory of everywhere,” more true to life, alternative. While an incipient notice began in the 1980s and earlier, such as general systems theory, from the 1984 Santa Fe Institute to the early 2000s was a preparatory working through its myriad intricacies and facets. For example, ubiquitous scale-free networks only came to light with Albert-Laszlo Barabasi and Reka Albert in 1998.
The situation in 2005 might be conveyed by a book Self-Organization and Evolution of Social Systems, edited by Charlotte Hemelrijk. With e-books, or publisher’s sites, not yet online, one had to find a paper copy. As library catalogs were just on the web, I located one at Yale University. The volume (search CH) was one of the first collections to gather and realize that similar dynamics were in formative effect from microbial colonies to animal groups and even to linguistic discourse. Just nine years later, we mention Yale computational biophysicist Nicholas Ouellette (search) who advised in a talk it didn’t matter which critter or species he choose to study in his laboratory from midges (his choice) to starlings or wildebeests since they each exemplify the same phenomena.
This book contains a collection of studies of social behaviour that are mainly biologically oriented and are carried out from the perspective of emergent effects and self-organization…..the entire range of organisms (from single-celled organisms via slugs, insects, fish and primates to humans). The book treats the broadest range of organisms as regards self-organization and social behavior that has been treated so far in one book. (Hemelrijk, 2005)
As readers know, the whole scene and project has radically shifted into worldwide cyberspace. Printed books are on the wane, paper journals gone from shelves, a revolution dubbed “from Gutenberg to Google” by Peter Burke has overtaken us. With the University of Massachusetts at Amherst close by, at their libraries, or at home, one can log on, access, and print from many thousands of texts and periodicals. Along the way complexity departments or groups have formed across academia and institutes such as the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research at Indiana University, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, and a Complexity Science Initiative at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
In the interim years, ubiquitous nonlinear phenomena have now been well researched, terms clarified, with every subject field from cosmology and chemistry to sociology and history redefined and better understood by way of these theories. Mostly independent of each other, planetary motions, river topologies, bacterial films, child psychology, human migrations, and so on are newly appreciated as dynamic complex network systems. The promise of universal, totally repetitive, natural principles has at last been fulfilled. This is an historic discovery which has not registered because it need be attributed to our composite worldwise humankind. With so many constant overt exemplifications in place, it is becoming increasingly evident that there must be an independent mathematical source in generative effect which they manifest.
Complexity science is the study of systems with many interdependent components, which, in turn, may interact through many different channels. Such systems – and the self-organization and emergent phenomena they manifest – lie at the heart of many challenges of global importance for the future of the Worldwide Knowledge Society. The development of this science is providing radical new ways of understanding many different mechanisms and processes from physical, social, engineering, information and biological sciences. (Boccaletti, et al, 2014)
From about 2012 on, papers usually have a lead paragraph saying that just as everywhere else from interstellar media to protein webs and social media, our certain area, say neural memory, evinces the same model. For examples we quote from Individual and Meta-Immune Networks by Sharron Bransburg-Zabary, et al (2013). Its Physical Biology journal is just ten years old. Another is Epidemic Processes in Complex Processes by Romualdo Pastor-Satorras, et al. at the e-print site arXiv:1408.2701.
Complex networks can be found everywhere, in man-made systems and in human social systems, in organic and non-organic matter, in natural and anthropogenic structures as well as in biological systems. Examples include linked molecular or cellular structures, climate networks, communication and infrastructure networks, social and economic networks, gene networks, neuron networks and immune networks. (S B-Z)
In recent years the research community has accumulated overwhelming evidence for the emergence of complex and heterogeneous connectivity patterns in a wide range of biological and socio-technical systems. Here we present a coherent and comprehensive review of the vast research activity concerning epidemic processes, detailing the successful theoretical approaches as well as making their limits and assumptions clear. (R P-S)
For another input, the physicist philosopher Geoffrey West testified in a talk (2011) that the same complex scale invariance recurs over 50 orders of magnitude from microbes to a metropolis. In our online 2014, one can access a conference summary, “25 Years of Self-Organized Criticality” by Markus Aschwanden, et al, that proclaims not only a “universality” of one creative dynamics everywhere, especially in astrophysics, but the strongly implied presence of an independent, mathematical origin.
In another view, Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, whose lineage goes back to the 1930s, is now more filled with “Organics” with rubrics as soft condensed matter, dynamical processes, biological, ecological and evolutionary systems, econophysics. A July 2014, Volume 405, sample of papers attests to a global witness of the same something going on at every stage and instance from universe to us: An Introduction to the Physics of Active Matter, Fractals and Self-Organized Criticality in Proteins, Continuum Modelling of Pedestrian Flows, Evolutionary Model of Stock Markets, Evolutionary Model of Stock Markets, and Diffusion of Knowledge and Globalization in the Web of Twentieth Science.
From these divergent and convergent findings, the phrase “Complex Adaptive System” has come into most popular use. In general, it stands for many discrete agents or entities in interaction, guided by tacit rules, in response to variable environments, which altogether self-organize and emerge into a viable whole. Such components could be a prokaryotic bacterium or a financial investor, while communicative interconnections are chemical quorum sensing for microbes, or no insider trading for markets. An important quality to appreciate is that they abide a reciprocal mutuality by semi-autonomous components within a supportive, bounded grouping. And as noted in Systems Science (Yi Lin, et al, 2012) written be Chinese scientists, these dual modes of agent and community can be seen as a 21st century confirmation of Yang and Yin as they form an archetypal gender complementarity. OK
A good introduction would be Complexity: A Guided Tour by Melanie Mitchell which clearly explains nature’s propensities for scale-free networks, power laws, cellular automata, genetic algorithms, cross-conversation, evolvability, and so on, along with founders and researchers. For websites, one could visit the New England Complex Systems Institute, Complexity Digest, Santa Fe Institute, and others around the world.
Altogether as humankind learns by her/his self these decadal findings and reports are an epochal discovery in our midst. Instead of barren, accidental, blind matter and mechanism, a animate, quickening genesis with its own procreative code and phenomenal people to read and realize is just adawning. Such a conducive, expectant spacescape is a fertile ground or womb for life’s emergent development, which we review next.
5.0 A Genesis Evolutionary Synthesis
Within our cosmic revolution theme, older and newer versions of evolutionary theory are similarly in contention. The 1950s Modern Synthesis which joined Darwinian natural selection with Mendelian genetic mutation is seen in need of much updating and extension, if not replacement. But this has not yet occurred and a strident minority claims that chance and winnowing are all that is necessary, or going on. This textbook misinterpretation denies any teleological drive, direction or purpose, which is at the root of a religious or popular rejection. The problem is not so much evolutionary science but this elective distortion and misinterpretation.
Again the two options involve a prior emphasis on particulate objects or a novel sense of informed systemic interconnections. Naturalists first explored and collected the creaturely, cellular, and lately molecular components, the phenotype entities from skeletal fossils to living forms. The voyages and writings of Alexander von Humboldt, Charles Darwin, and Alfred Russel Wallace are legendary. But although the genomes of individual organisms have now been sequenced, evolutionary theory still proceeds without any equivalent natural genotype, much because life is situated in a mechanical, moribund cosmos. By our biological uniVerse or ecosmos coming into view and veracity, this missing concept and quality can be realized as an active matheMatter takes on a genetic essence.
The 21st century advent of a third infinity of animate complexity and consciousness (by literary license we might attribute to a Charles, and Mary EarthWin), is based upon confirmations across a wide array of disciplines and discoveries. Among these are the origin of life, intrinsic self-organization, algorithmic computation, epigenetics, evolution and development aka evo-devo, constant convergence, social cooperation, a major transitions scale, modules and networks everywhere, a deep homology, structural morphogenesis, neural anatomy and intelligence as encephalization, proactive autonomy and behavior, integral symbiotic selves, biosemiotic dialogue, and much more. These topics, as they come to life altogether, are noted here, supported by Part II references, and the whole sourcebook site. A grand achievement of our time can be to realize that life’s long nested maturation is truly an embryonic gestation.
As a general plan, our sapient reconstruction of how we came to be on earth as it is in heaven will be in four parts. An initial skeletal section looks at origins of life, major transitions, and an evolution revolution. Various receptions of an equivalent natural genotype are next. With this in place, the multi-faceted record of life’s developmental emergence via a deeply homologous and convergent morphogenetic anatomy, physiology, and neural system is entered. With body and brain in embryo, a quickening intelligence, personality, autonomy, knowledge, culture, and sociality follows. Finally, we note a 2010s symbiotic synthesis as an integral understanding of individual entities and ambient cooperative groupings.
5.1 A Skeletal Scaffold
5.1.1 The Origins of Life
As we saw in Ecosmos above, the occasion of rudimentary organisms has been traced ever deeper into biochemistry and biophysics. Before the 1960s an abysmal void separated living entities from a physical substrate. Through the 1970s and 1980s I heard researchers such as Cyril Ponnamperuma, Sidney Fox, Gunter Wachtershauser, and Harold Morowitz as they and colleagues methodically explored, filled in and articulated the ancient scenario. Into the 2000s a turn toward experimental and theoretical integration began.
Readers have seen attempts to define “life,” often with a long list of features. Around 2010, by philosophers Carol Cleland, Mark Bedau and others, three aspects came to the fore – physiological metabolism, a replicative, informational program, and membrane containment, a minimal vesicle or cell. Another issue settled was a priority and primacy of either RNA nucleotides or of metabolic functions. Actually both modes appear in some concerted way, see for example How did Metabolism and Genetic Replication Get Married by Vic Norris, et al (2013).
A viable explanation was then completed by factoring in the effect of implicate nonlinear self-organizing imperatives such as autocatalysis. For some examples, see Self-Organization at the Origin of Life as broached by Athol Cornish-Bowden and Maria Luz Cardenas (2008) and Theory, Modelling and Simulation in Origin of Life Studies by Peter Coveney, et al (2012).
5.1.2 The Major Transitions Scale
At the same time that scientific controversy goes on over whether life has an inherent drive or a teleological direction, evolutionary theory, as now pursued by a composite humanity, has actually entered a whole new phase of integral coherence. Instead of gradual, aimless drift, an organizational procession traces an emergent, nested succession or hierarchy of stages from biomolecules to animals to human sociality. Originally conceived by John Maynard Smith and Eors Szathmary in the 1990s over atomic, genetic, cellular, neuronal, organism, primate, and people phases, each with an information carrier from chemicals to language, it has lately come into much use and embellishment.
An overall evolutionary progression to replace aimless blind variation and selective retention is thus well in place. A recent volume is The Major Transitions in Evolution Revisited (2011) edited by Brett Calcott and Kim Sterelny. Another example among many would be Geometry Shapes Evolution of Early Multicellularity by Eric Libby, et al (PLoS Computational Biology 10/9, 2014) which opens with the sentence Organisms have increased in complexity through a series of evolutionary transitions, in which autonomous entities become parts of a novel higher-level entity.
A concurrent effort is contained in Evolution in Four Dimensions: Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral, and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life (2005/2014) by Eva Jablonka and Marion Lamb. Again for each stage, with some subdivisions, a code quality is seen to accompany and inform the ascent. So a sharp dichotomy, indicative of a Copernican revolution, is quite in our midst if we might attend, which seems to need a good push to make happen.
In an influential work, Maynard Smith and Szathmáry argued that the majority of the increase in complexity is not gradual, but it is associated with a few so-called major transitions along the way of the evolution of life. For each major transition, they identified specific mechanisms that could account for the change in complexity related to information transmission across generations. In this work, I propose that the sudden and unexpected improvement in the functionality of an organism that followed a major transition was enabled by a phase transition in the network structure associated with that function. (Bela Suki, 2012).
The theory of major transitions has the merit of defining evolutionary increases in complexity both at the phenotypic-organizational (the newly evolved super-units) and genotypic-informational (the new methods of transmitting biological information) levels. Major transitions and the rationale they present for evolutionary increases in complexity suggest that Darwin’s belief in evolutionary progress was not completely unjustified. (Lucio Vinicius, 2010).
5.1.3 A New Evolutionary Synthesis
As Part V: Systems Evolution documents with some 250 entries, research findings from many areas make a novel holistic theory of life’s oriented gestation increasingly imperative. But a vested paradigm and cadre claims that post selection upon passive organisms is the only force necessary or responsible. A mantra has been that “if the tape was played over again” since all is contingent happenstance, human-like beings would not appear a second time.
At the same while, if the wealth of these independent advances via humankind are gathered together, they attest to a quite different picture. An episodic tandem reiteration of bodily form, morphogenesis, cooperative behavior, recapitulations, cumulative cerebration and knowledge gain, and so on from the earliest rudiments now explain life’s evolutionary course much as an embryonic development. This is a huge, corrective achievement which has not yet registered.
A further addition, the crucial missing piece, is an innate formative agency for the myriad phenotypes. Researchers now increasingly assume some manner of intrinsic self-organizing, algorithmic dynamics at work across the systemic, modular and network topologies of the organic kingdoms. A pioneer theorist has been physician and biologist Stuart Kauffman who has long pressed a view that includes both self-organization and selection. In late 2014, an strong affirmation was entered by University of Zurich biologist Andreas Wagner in Arrival of the Fittest wherein nature’s pervasive network propensities serve to complete Darwin’s project by explaining how species appear in the first place. Another instance is a paper The Evolution of Phenotypic Correlations and “Developmental Memory” by Richard Watson, et al (2014) who propose life’s maturation as akin to how a brain forms and learns. Here are samples among a rising chorus. OK
We trace the history of the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis, and of genetic Darwinism generally, with a view to showing why, even in its current versions, it can no longer serve as a general framework for evolutionary theory. The main reason is empirical. Genetical Darwinism cannot accommodate the role of development (and of genes in development) in many evolutionary processes. We go on to discuss two conceptual issues: whether natural selection can be the “creative factor” in a new, more general framework for evolutionary theorizing; and whether in such a framework organisms must be conceived as self-organizing systems embedded in self-organizing ecological systems. (Depew and Weber, 2012)
Our basic claim is that biological thinking about heredity and evolution is undergoing a revolutionary change. What is emerging is a new synthesis, which challenges the gene-centered version of neo-Darwinism that has dominated biological thought for the last fifty years. (Eva Jablonka and Marion Lamb, 2005/2014)
Self-organization permeates the universe so completely that most of us don’t even notice it. Much older that life and natural selection, self-organization is how stars and solar systems form, how the earth accreted, how it acquires a moon, oceans, and an atmosphere, and how the continents started to shift. We shouldn’t be surprised to find self-organization in life’s precursors, because it is everywhere else too. (57) Genotype networks are yet another example of pervasive self-organization – the same phenomenon that pervades both the living and nonliving worlds, from the formation of galaxies to the assembly of membranes. They exist in the timeless eternal realm of nature’s libraries. But they certainly have a form of organization so complex that we are just beginning to understand it, and this organization arises all by itself. (Andreas Wagner, 2014)
That is, the direction of selective pressures on individual relational loci described above has the same relationship with a selective environment that the direction of changes to synaptic connections in a learning neural network has with a training pattern. In other words, gene networks evolve like neural networks learn. Bringing together these two observations with this new in-sight explains the memory behaviors we observe in an evolved network of recurrent nonlinear interactions. (Watson, 2014)
5.2 A Natural Genotype
Again, our premise is that as an evolutionary transition itself fledgling humankinder is proceeding to learn and discover on her/his collaborative own. By this worldwise perspective an animate generative agency prior to, and in concert with, selective effects is being identified and proven. Such an equivalent cosmic genetic code is the crucial missing explanatory element needed to integrate and inform life’s evolutionary gestation in an organic uniVerse.
Over the decade, studies have variously engaged its presence and effect through complex system, algorithmic venues and more. As Cosmome: A Mathematic Materiality above reports, this global project has taken a dual dimension. Across creaturely kingdoms from microbes to sapiens, their exemplary presence and activity is evident at each plane and instance. As a consequence, it has become obvious that some common, independent source must be at work. Generic complex adaptive systems via many agents or entities in communicative interaction appear as self-organized criticalities, gene regulatory networks, and neural connectomes, nested modular communities, and so on as they display a recurrent scale invariance. As prior sections note, these lineaments are further seen in accord with and to spring from with statistical physics phenomena, renormalization groups, algorithmic programs, whatever is their true translation.
One result is the spread and usage of biological –omics designations everywhere such as proteome, metabolome, transcriptome, cellular interactomes, cerebral connectomes, microbiome, organome, phenome, onto culturomics, scientomics, the list goes on. Might we muse a naturome, cosmome, human epitome?
A companion aspect, recorded in the main Cultural Code, is a confirmation, intimated since the 1970s, that genetics and linguistics are deeply alike, as if equivalent projections, and can be studied by similar techniques (Atkinson, 2013). By our purview, they could appear as earlier and later instantiations of life’s informative, genomic passage, might one suggest “languagome.” In a further guise, the nascent field of biosemiotics (see 4.1) is effectively articulating evolution and development as a pervasive array of “organic codes.”
As a contribution to the history of scientific investigations, we trace here a sequence of steps of conceptual and experimental approaches to understand microbial evolution at the molecular level. This shall allow us to extrapolate to generally valid laws of nature guiding biological evolution by self-organization. (Nobel laureate Werner Arber, 2013)
The shared insight from these different approaches is that biological processes are inclined to self-organize, in which a network of localized interactions yields an emergent structure that subsequently feeds back on and strengthens the original network. Our analysis demonstrates that the networks of coregulated gene expression and chromosomal association are indeed mutually related during differentiation, resulting in the self-organization of lineage-specific chromosomal topologies. (Tom Misteli, 2009)
The Neo-Darwinian concept of natural selection is plausible when one assumes a straightforward causation of phenotype by genotype. However, such simple 1:1 mapping must now give place to the modern concepts of gene regulatory networks and gene expression noise. Both can, in the absence of genetic mutations, jointly generate a diversity of inheritable randomly occupied phenotypic states that could also serve as a substrate for natural selection. This form of epigenetic dynamics challenges Neo-Darwinism. It needs to incorporate the non-linear, stochastic dynamics of gene networks. (Sui Huang, 2012)
The contemporary concept of life forms as self-modifying beings coincides with the shift in biology from a mechanistic to informatic view of living organisms. Paralleling the contemporaneous transformation from a largely mechanical-industrial society to a densely interconnected information-driven society, the life sciences have converged with other disciplines to focus on questions of acquiring, processing, and transmitting information to ensure the correct operation of complex vital systems. (James Shapiro, Evolution: A View from the 21st Century, 2011)
5.3 Embryogeny: Evolution and Development
A vital re-integration of evolutionary phylogeny with developmental ontogeny, aka Evo-Devo, has been underway since the 1990s. Along with a missing genome, this reunification of embryology and evolution resolves the separation which took place at the turn of the 20th century. Its robust verification is aided by sorting the endeavor into three phases, namely body, brain and behavior, which are noted next.
5.3.1 Anatomy and Physiology
As an entry, evolutionary biologists Sean Carroll, Neil Shubin and colleagues coined the phrase Deep Homology to convey how animal anatomies and physiologies can be seen to ramify in kind all the way from pre-Cambrian rudiments. For an example, tetrapod, reticulated limbs can be traced from ourselves to amphibians. One might say, along with Shubin’s book title, that people are fish on feet. After a century apart, it is becoming evident that a basic bodily structure as an archetypal Bauplan was in place from the onset. Life’s evolutionary gestation, as each individual embryo, as now filled in, appears as an expansive elaboration via mosaic modules and concerted continuity from the earliest eons to homo and anthropo sapiens.
Homology, as classically defined, refers to a historical continuity in which morphological features in related species are similar in pattern or form because they evolved from a corresponding structure in a common ancestor. Deep homology also implies a historical continuity, but in this case the continuity may not be so evident in particular morphologies; it lies in the complex regulatory circuitry inherited from a common ancestor. The deep homology of generative processes and cell-type specification mechanisms in animal development has provided the foundation for the independent evolution of a great variety of structures. (Shubin, et al, 2009)
The companion experimental and theoretical study of anatomical development and its evolutionary course known as Morphogenesis likewise describes an ancient heritage of form and function. Salient contributions would be Morphogenesis: Origins of Patterns and Shapes (2010) edited by Paul Bourgine and Annick Lesne, and Life Unfolding: How the Human Body Creates Itself (2014) by the Scottish embryologist Jamie Davies. These recent achievements trace our corporeal soma to chemical and physical origins, which is seen to confirm the 20th century prescience of D’Arcy Thompson and Alan Turing.
The way in which adaptive self-organization allows non-living molecules to produce a living cell, and allows cells with very limited individual abilities to produce a very able multicellular body, will form a theme that runs through all of this book because it is the core of development. (Davies)
Another benefit is an appreciation of nature’s essential correspondence between an organism’s developmental ontogeny and life’s maturation as an evolutionary phylogeny. While “universal gestation” was a guiding principle in Darwin’s 19th century day and before, this view was later rejected in its preliminary stage. But as the website section documents, real parallels and recapitulations are now apparent not only for anatomies, but also for language learning, behavioral repertoires, kinetic movement, and more. An especial paper is Von Baer’s Law for the Ages: Lost and Found Principles of Developmental Evolution by the Harvard University geneticist Arhat Abzhanov.
5.3.2 A Constant Convergence
Another relevant aspect of an oriented expression is the verification that life’s long development proceeds and converges from diverse, disparate occasions upon the same solution. Over and over, similar bodily forms and appendages, sensory capacities for sight, hearing, smell, neural network cerebral attributes, onto reciprocal groupings are reached. A foremost advocate, once under attack from deniers, is the Cambridge University paleontologist Simon Conway Morris, as for example in his edited volume The Deep Structure of Biology. A consummate work would be Convergent Evolution (2011) by George McGhee which cites cases in every kingdom of the same result occurring in relative kind again and again. Here is strong evidence at odds with the old vested version of nothing going on but vicarious, aimless selection. OK
In summary, convergent evolution occurs across the entire spectrum of molecules that make up life. We have studied examples of the convergent evolution of identical nucleotide substitutions in nuclear and mtDNA molecules of distantly related organisms, similar amino acid sequences in unrelated protein molecules, similar structural geometries in proteins with different amino acid sequences, and similar protein functions by gene sharing; the convergent evolution of the same enzyme function produced by the convergent evolution of the same protein producing that function;….and the convergent evolution of the same macromolecular structure in unrelated enzymes. The number of molecular evolutionary pathways available to life is not endless but is quite restricted, and convergent evolution is the direct result. (McGhee)
5.3.3 Encephalization - A Neural, Cognitive, Learning Experience
Again via retrospective humankind a similar elaboration has been found for central nervous systems and cerebral structures, as if a brain Bauplan. We will say more about a progressive intelligence and knowledge, as a starter one might consult the PNAS volume In the Light of Evolution VII: The Human Mental Machinery (Cela-Conde 2013), along with The Custom-Made Brain (Lledo 2014) which has a section entitled Behind Diversity in the Animal Kingdom, a Single Plan. For a specific paper try Evolution and Development of Brain Networks: From Caenorhabditis elegans to Homo Sapiens (2011) by Marcus Kaiser and Sreedevi Varier with this Abstract.
Neural networks show a progressive increase in complexity during the time course of evolution. From diffuse nerve nets in Cnidaria to modular, hierarchical systems in macaque and humans, there is a gradual shift from simple processes involving a limited amount of tasks and modalities to complex functional and behavioral processing integrating different kinds of information from highly specialized tissue. However, studies in a range of species suggest that fundamental similarities, in spatial and topological features as well as in developmental mechanisms for network formation, are retained across evolution. (143)
A prime aspect to be included is an occurrence and passage throughout the Metazoan kingdoms of similar bilateral, complementary brain hemispheres as our homo sapiens faculty. The 2013 volume Divided Brains: The Biology and Behavior of Brain Asymmetries gathers many findings not only for primates, but for mammalian, avian, aquatic, reptile, even arthropod crustaceans. In each case a common neural asymmetry is retained along with a left side penchant for fine detail and a right half for composite perceptions. Evolution found it best early on to separate these functions so as to both seek edible food and avoid predator at the same time. As every other age and culture knows, phenomenal people, life’s long procreation, and a dynamic genesis universe are one and the same, an iconic mirror and revelation.
Ultimately, we conclude that the neurobiological structure of the vertebrate central nervous system is evolutionarily ancient and highly conserved across species and that the basic neurophysiologic mechanisms supporting consciousness in humans are found at the earliest points of vertebrate brain evolution. (Mashour & Alkire, PNAS 2013)
As life’s emergence becomes increasingly appreciated as an embryonic maturation, and as this development is seen to involve brain and behavior more than body, researchers have begun to interpret it by way of neural net dynamics and consequent learning processes. Richard Watson and colleagues at the University of Southampton, UK, are pursuing this approach within a general “evolutionary connectionism.” A 2014 paper The Evolution and Phenotypic Correlations and “Developmental Memory” in the journal Evolution by Watson, with Gunter Wagner and others is a good summary wherein life proceeds similar to a brain by comparing new experience with prior representations. A companion entry by neuroscientists Jeremice Cabessa and Hava Siegelmann (2012) is also noted next.
In this article, we have demonstrated a formal equivalence between the direction of selection on phenotypic correlations and associative learning mechanisms. In the context of neural network research and connectionist models of memory and learning, simple associative learning with the ability to produce an associative memory, to store and recall multiple patterns, categorize patterns from partial or corrupted stimuli, and produce generalized patterns from a set of structurally similar training patterns has been well studied. The insight that the selective pressures on developmental correlations are equivalent to associative learning thus provides the opportunity to utilize well-established theoretical and conceptual frameworks from associative learning theory to identify organizational principles involved in the evolution of development. (Watson, et al)
Indeed, in the brain (or in organic life in general), information is processed in an interactive way, where previous experience must affect the perception of future inputs and older memories themselves may change with response to new inputs. Hence, neural networks should be conceived as performing sequential interactions or communications with their environments and be provided with memory that remains active throughout the whole computational process. Accordingly, we propose to study the computational power of recurrent neural networks from the rising perspective of interactive computation. (Cabessa & Siegelmann, 2012)
5.3.4 The Prevalence and Primacy of Cooperation
Ever since Darwin, and misunderstandings of his theories, survival of the fittest was seen to imply competition and conflict as the rule in nature. Again since circa 2000 studies across species, genera, and phyla have quantified that animals persistently tend to form salutary cooperative groupings. Reciprocal caring and sharing in fact increases both the chances of each member and of the relative colony, troop, flock, and community to get sustenance, avoid dangers, survive, reproduce, and thrive.
As Part II and the site documents, mutual, reciprocal aid occurs as a self-organized division of labor of benefit to all. Leading researchers and advocates are Martin Nowak of Harvard, Kenneth Weiss and Anne Buchanan of Penn State, and many colleagues. Salient works might be Collective Animal Behavior (2010) by David Sumpter, The Age of Empathy, (2009) Frans De Waal, Principles of Social Evolution (2011) by Andrew Bourke, and Cooperation and its Evolution (2103) edited by Kim Sterelny and Richard Joyce. Here is one more example of a radical revolution from entities ever at odds and war to an endemic propensity for the golden rule.
Last but not least – or should we say last but perhaps most – the principles of life we have described imply a variety of forms of cooperation. Cooperation, that is, literally co-operation, refers to different components working together successfully by some criterion, including that of evolutionary viability. The signals that produce branching, modular, and hierarchically nested organization inherently work cooperatively – indeed, signaling means the co-expression of all the sending and receiving factors. Cooperative communication enables sequestered parts to be coordinated so that the system can function as a whole. (Weiss and Buchanan, 2009)
5.4 Animal Consciousness, Intelligence, Personality, Behavior, Sociality, Culture
In addition, the study of these title attributes has moved from initial denials and doubts to a robust confirmation. As the Animal Intelligence section conveys, abilities of forethought, stored memory, improvisation, mimesis, clever, cooperative behavior, stretches through the Metazoan kingdoms to cephalopods, insects and earliest invertebrates. While human beings are uniquely graced by linguistic and societal intensities, who can reconstruct from whence they came, an anthropometric familiarity and relative continuity is quite evident.
Of course, we all know this as ever amazed by the sensitive affect and playfulness of our creaturely companions. An international conference, Consciousness in Human and Non-Human Animals, (2012) wrote a manifesto to affirm its real presence from an ancient awakening. A concurrent volume Animal Personalities (2013) averred a wide array of familiar behaviors amongst animal groupings of every kind, which would be their own cultural dimension. One could cite the TV series Meerkat Manor, dolphin pods, migratory herds, hunting parties, social insects, we are one family.
While textbook evolution views organisms as passive subjects impacted by capricious environments, it is now established that all manner of animals engage in proactive behaviors to improve their fitness and survival. As Kevin Laland, John Olding-Smee, and others have articulate, a constant process of “niche construction” of nests, bowers, caches, stashes, hives, beaver dams goes on.
With these novel perceptions, it has become necessary to factor such intentional activities of organisms and groups into revised evolutionary theories. A special 2014 issue of the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (112/2) on The Role of Behavior in Evolution contains several papers such as New Thinking about Biological Evolution by Patrick Bateson, and Adaptive Evolution without Natural Selection by Kalevi Kull. OK
My sense is that the theories of biological evolution have been reinvigorated by the convergence of different disciplines. The combination of developmental and behavioral biology, ecology, evolutionary biology, and now microbiology has shown how important the active roles of the organism are in the evolution of its descendants. (Bateson)
5.5 A Ubuntu Universe: Our Symbiotic Selves
By our vista, in the past few years an historic understanding about personal organisms, social memberships, and a natural principles of autonomy and community, stability and change has occurred. Human beings, and organisms in general, are rightly appreciated as composite entities of microbiomes, organelles, and ones overall individuality. Since the 1970s, as perceived and championed by microbiologist Lynn Margulis (1938-2011), eukaryotic nucleated cells are known to have evolved by and made up of a beneficial symbiosis between disparate (mitochondria, undulipodia, cilia) components in a bounded compartment. After decades of research this arrangement is robustly proven not only for cells, but is being extended across emergent life to people and societies.
A synoptic volume might be The New Foundations of Evolution (2009) by the York University biologist Jan Sapp. A succinct paper is A Symbiotic View of Life: We Have Never Been Individuals by Scott Gilbert, Alfred Tauber, and Sapp in the Quarterly Review of Biology (2012). Gilbert, a Swarthmore College embryologist and author, has taken up Lynn Margulis’ mission to aver that an organism’s identity is actually a viable mutuality between myriad microbiota and an integral self, dubbed a symbiont or holobiont community. See also Gilbert’s luminous 2013 paper Wonder and the Necessary Alliances of Science and Religion.
Molecular analyses of symbiotic relationships are challenging our biological definitions of individuality and supplanting them with a new notion of normal part–whole relationships. This new notion is that of a ‘holobiont’, a consortium of organisms that becomes a functionally integrated ‘whole’. This holobiont includes the zoological organism (the ‘animal’) as well as its persistent microbial symbionts. This new individuality is seen on anatomical and physiological levels, where a diversity of symbionts form a new ‘organ system’ within the zoological organism and become integrated into its metabolism and development. Symbionts have also been found to constitute a second mode of genetic inheritance, providing selectable genetic variation for natural selection. We develop, grow and evolve as multi-genomic consortia/teams/ecosystems. (Scott Gilbert)
On a communal level, animal entities are found to survive and flourish by way of similar reciprocities between diverse members and relative groupings from bacterial to sapient creatures. For each nested evolutionary stage, the same symbiotic mutuality repeats in turn each time. One could mention biofilms, troops, clans, pods, herds, flocks, allegiances, teams, bands, sects, and so on. In each instance, a reciprocity of competition and cooperation, semi-autonomy and supportive whole, entity and empathy, of benefit both to both free beings and group sustenance and survival is nature’s preference.
From these many studies can be gleaned a recurrent principle, intimated over the ages, of indispensible value today. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin coined “creative union,” decades later the French biologist Vic Norris cites a “competitive coherence,” Elizabeth Hussa and Heidi Goodrich-Blair offer “multipartite interdependence.” There are many more versions throughout the site. As readers know, Asian wisdom teaches an integral Yin/Yang balance, akin to African ubuntu or MesoAmerican teotl traditions (search terms). A premier quality to then emphasize, often stressed by Teilhard, is that the more a person becomes part of a shared assembly, the more liberated and empowered they actually are. As noted in Organic Democracy above, a capsule might be: me + We = US. A budding social instance is entered in Sustainable Ecovillages.
Microbial symbioses, in which microbes have either positive (mutualistic) or negative (parasitic) impacts on host fitness, are integral to all aspects of biology, from ecology to human health. Even in relatively simple associations, symbiont-derived benefits can be context dependent and influenced by other host-associated or environmental microbes. Furthermore, naturally occurring symbioses are typically complex, in which multiple symbionts exhibit coordinated, competing, or independent influences on host physiology, or in which individual symbionts affect multiple interacting hosts. (Hussa and Goodrich-Blair, It Takes a Village)
Another penchant of nature’s dynamic balance which has lately gained veracity, drawn from specific instances and implied generalities, is for living systems to seek a maximum vitality poised between order and chaos, stability and flexibility. By various names, it is a self-organized criticality or metastable state. A well-studied case is the way our brains think via a reciprocal interplay between semi-autonomous neurons and their relative networks. The contributions of Stuart Kauffman, Scott Kelso, Stephen Grossberg, Vic Norris, Jorge Hildago and many colleagues over the years are a prime resource. A quote from Outline of a General Theory of Behavior and Brain Coordination by Scott Kelso, et al (2013) can give the gist.
According to the present theory, the normal brain realizes its complexity at all scales not in its most ordered form (integration qua synchronization) or disordered form (segregation qua desynchronization), but in a subtle blend of both tendencies. Dual tendencies for integration and segregation constitute a complementary pair very much along the lines proposed by Stephen Grossberg, one of the pioneers of the field of Neural Networks: the brain is organized to obey principles of complementarity. (Kelso)
And from our own microcosm, we can go far afield to Self-Organized Criticality in Astrophysics (2011) by Martin Aschwanden, Evolution and Selection of River Networks (2014) by Andrea Rinaldo, et al, Patterns in Our Planet (2010) Alison Ord, et al, and the synoptic Emergence of Criticality in Living Systems through Adaptation and Evolution by Jorge Hidalgo, et al (2013). An example of the scientific acceptance of a dynamic creativity could be Power Laws and Self-Organized Criticality in Theory and Nature by Dimitrije Markovic and Claudius Gros in Physics Reports (2014).
Empirical evidence has proliferated that living systems might operate at the vicinity of critical points with examples ranging from spontaneous brain activity to flock dynamics. Here we employ tools from statistical mechanics and information theory to prove that systems poised at criticality are much more efficient in ensuring that their internal maps are good proxies of reality. Analytical and computational evolutionary models vividly illustrate that a community of such systems dynamically self-tunes toward a critical state either as the complexity of the environment increases or even upon attempting to map with fidelity the other agents in the community. Our approach constitutes a general explanation for the emergence of critical-like behavior in complex adaptive systems. (Hidalgo)
We have now traced the Third Infinity from a lively Ecosmos, via formative Mathematter, through a quickening Genesis Evolutionary Synthesis. The grand achievement of this late hour, and our transition as free members of a personsphere progeny, is the long foreordained discovery of a true universal repetition of the same iconic gender archetype everywhere. We can now consider and report its notice and presence in our individual and social selves.
6.0 A Human and Humankinder Epitome
6.1 Phenomenal Persons
This first part, in accord with the site outline, will note complex system advances in body, brain, psyche, and knowing awareness.
6.1.1 Systems Physiology and Psychology
As citations in Part II, and this website section attest, from a later 1990s “dynamic systems theory” by Esther Thelen and Linda Smith of Indiana University every aspect of our lives from infants to seniors is now better understood by way of invariant self-organizing, network nonlinearities. In early childhood, progress in anatomic maturation, visual perception, kinetic agility, social behavior and sequential stages of cognition are each guided by these natural propensities. A major statement is Volume 44, Embodiment and Epigenesis, of Advances in Child Development and Behavior (Lerner, 2013) under the banner of a corrective “relational” turn for the field, as championed by Willis Overton, the veteran Temple University psychologist.
Anyone who has witnessed a newborn baby grow up into a toddler and then a schoolchild, an adolescent, and an adult has an intuitive appreciation of the fact that developmental processes are prime examples of nonlinear dynamical systems. (243) The course of human development over the life span is a prime example of a complex, nonlinear dynamical system. The process of development is recursive and self-organizing. It occurs simultaneously at many levels of organization – for example, the individual person and the person in interaction with others, institutions, and cultures to which the person relates. (271) (Paul Van Geert, 2009)
For our adult years, an international team of physicians and systems scientists reports in the article Network Physiology Reveals Relations between Network Topology and Physiological Function (Bashan, 2011) how along with homeostasis, a person’s condition most depends on being in a state of critical poise between order and disorder. Indeed ones true health can be accessed by how well one maintains this balance, often by degrees of fractalness. And onto senescence, by how much this vitality and form quite deteriorates.
The human organism is an integrated network where complex physiological systems, each with its own regulatory mechanisms, continuously interact, and where failure of one system can trigger a breakdown of the entire network. Here we develop a framework to probe interactions among diverse systems, and we identify a physiological network. We find that each physiological state is characterized by a specific network structure, demonstrating a robust interplay between network topology and function. The proposed system-wide integrative approach may facilitate the development of a new field, Network Physiology. (Bashan)
6.1.2 Systems Neuroscience: Our Mindful Microcosm
Certain vital realms of nature, evolution, and humanity have become especial subjects of research, and are exemplary portals upon a greater genesis. Microbial colonies and dynamic genomes are examples. Another prime focus of the complex systems revolution is its application to understand our own neural endowment and intelligence. A human brain, both in neural development and cogitation, is now seen as to epitomize a dynamic, self-organizing, critically poised, fractal, nested network, modular system, aka connectomes. For the whole brain/mind, a global workspace theory or working memory have gained acceptance to explain how we effectively remember and respond.
As an instance, both the United States and Europe have initiated mega scientific consortiums to totally analyze and map brain anatomies and faculties. In regard, a good entry is the edited volume The Future of the Brain (2014) with a chapter by George Church entitled Rosetta Brain. By still another take the same structure and message occur and repeat at every micro and macro phase. My we observe that these collaborative projects and achievements are due to an emergent global faculty whom seems retrospectively trying to map, describe, quantify and qualify the brave human brains that such a noosphere has arisen from.
In addition, as we saw for evolving animals, A Complementary Brain and Thought Process attests that for our own bicameral hemispheres the left side penchant for dot detail and right for contextual connections is now established. Or in another way, we have archetypal yang and yin genders in our very heads, if we could only abide. By our global vista, microcosmic human and macrocosmic universe become more of an iconic mirror to each other than ever imagined. In an especial work The Master and His Emissary (2009), the British psychologist Iain McGilchrist conveyed this so well, as we sample next.
My thesis is that for us as human beings there are two fundamentally opposed realities, two different modes of experience; that each is of ultimate importance in bringing about the recognisably human world; and that their difference is rooted in the bihemispheric structure of the brain. It follows that the hemispheres need to co-operate, but I believe they are in fact involved in a sort of power struggle, and that this explains many aspects of contemporary Western culture. (3)
In the opening pages of this book, I wrote that I believed it to be profoundly true that the inner structure of our intellect reflects the structure of the universe. By ‘profoundly’ I meant not just true by definition, as would be the case for those who believe that the universe is in any case a creation of our brains. I think it goes further than that. I believe our brains not only dictate the shape of the experience we have of the world, but are likely themselves to reflect, in their structure and functioning, the nature of the universe in which they have come about. (460)
6.1.3 Our Conscious Knowledge
While Cosmic Consciousness noted new admissions of its natural presence, here we record scientific affirmations of a true self awareness in ourselves, mind you. Although some who remain in the materialist paradigm still deny, actual this real phenomenon is accredited as a proper field for study. Our wakeful sentience is quite evident and real on its own. Advances in neural imaging can now attribute to specific cerebral cortex areas and even to neuron and network firings. A significant equation of perceptive consciousness with a relative information content, championed by Giulio Tononi, Christoph Koch (search) and others, has become a leading explanation. By these lights, an ancient evolutionary continuity, a long stirring, quickening, learning, knowing individual and social mindfulness, is lately revealed as a fact.
6.2 An Emergent Humankind
As we may convey, a pervasive achievement over the past years is a reconception of every field from cosmology and geology to genomes, brains, psyches and behaviors in terms of the nonlinear, self-organizing, complexity network sciences. In the previous section, we saw their avail for integral persons. As the site documents, this novel approach is of equal value for all manner of literacy, social, urban, economic, civilizational and even historic phases, which we note next.
6.2.1 A Cultural Code
As this site section reports, human language in both grammar and syntax linguistic and textual or conversational modes has also been amenable to this nascent interpretation. Rosetta Cosmos documents how our written literary corpus is being found to manifest and exemplify the universal complex network self-organization. A Chinese-Spanish nexus has made many contributions, often comparing the logogram and alphabetic scripts.
In Systems Linguistics we mean a waxing view of language that likewise exemplifies a dynamic fractal scale-invariance, so to speak. A breakthrough work might be Complex Systems and Applied Linguistics (2008) by Diane Larsen-Freeman and Lynne Cameron. Around 2009 going forward a team effort with a Santa Fe Institute – University of Michigan core, including John Holland, affirmed Language as a Complex System (search Clay Beckner).
Language as a CAS involves the following key features: The system consists of multiple agents (the speakers in the speech community) interacting with one another. The system is adaptive, that is, speakers’ behavior is based on their past interactions, and current and past interactions together feed forward into future behavior. A speaker’s behavior is the consequence of competing factors ranging from perceptual constraints to social motivations. The structures of language emerge from interrelated patterns of experience, social interaction, and cognitive mechanisms. The CAS approach reveals commonalities in many areas of language research, including first and second language acquisition, historical linguistics, psycholinguistics, language evolution and computational modeling.
The advantage of viewing language as a CAS is that it allows us to provide a unified account of seemingly unrelated linguistic phenomena. These phenomena include the following: variation at all levels of linguistic organization; the probabilistic nature of linguistic behavior; continuous change within agents and across speech communities; the emergence of grammatical regularities from the interaction of agents in language use; and stagelike transitions due to underlying nonlinear processes. We outline how the CAS approach reveals commonalities in many areas of language research, including cognitive linguistics, sociolinguistics, first and second language acquisition, psycholinguistics, historical linguistics, and language evolution. (Beckner, et al)
Other work traces a common continuity of our speech patterns with birdsong and throughout the talkative creatures. The biosemiotic approach is keen on this. And as we saw contributions work both ways – genomes are now parsed for linguistic features, while cultural discourse is being realized to have many genetic affinities. A 2011 paper Statistical Physics and Language Dynamics (Loreto) goes on to trace etiologies to these root realms. As this scenario fills in, a singular formative code seems to emerge and reiterate with evolutionary transitions from nucleotides to libraries. This is an auspicious discovery in the air by humanity’s knowsphere. OK
6.2.2 Complex Symbiotic Societies
As our daily lives become ever intricately intertwined, whether in local environs, or by global communications and breaking news, again their fabric equally imbues and is guided by the same mathematical source. Rather than one thing after another sans any deeper context, complex dynamic systems are similarly found to organize the form and activities of groups, neighborhoods, settlements, cities, nations, every human polity.
To give a sense, one aspect has been to quantify that human assemblies as they hold forth take on a character as a higher level, organism-like entity. The work of Robert Goldstone, Anita Woolley, Thomas Malone, David Sloan Wilson, and others, such as group selection and collective intelligence, augur for a further evolutionary iteration. With the burst of social media like Facebook and Twitter, along with mobile phones and tablets, vast amounts of data are available for their usage, which can be shown to exhibit modular network dynamics akin to neural architectures.
Just as neurons interconnect in networks that create structured thoughts beyond the ken of any individual neuron, so people spontaneously organize themselves into groups to create emergent organizations that no individual may intend, comprehend, or even perceive. (10) Social phenomena such as the spread of gossip, the World-Wide Web, the popularity of cultural icons, legal systems, and scientific establishments all take on a life of their owe, complete with their own self-organized divisions of labor and specialization, feedback loops, growth, and adaptations. (Goldstone, 2008)
Life forms are organized in nested clusters. Genes are bundled in chromosomes that occur in cells. Cells are joined together in multi-cellular organisms, and some multi-cellular organisms live in societies. This hierarchical organization strongly suggests that the amazing diversity of life forms is partly due to the grouping of biological units into higher-level units. The dynamic underlying the hierarchical organization of life forms has been called major transitions in evolution (which) occurs when individual organisms become so integrated that they transform into a higher-level organism in their own right. (Selin Kesebir, 2012)
6.2.3 Planetary Physiosphere: Anatomics, Economics, Urbanomics
This section weaves several aspects of potential emergent transitions to a more organically conceived and healthy viability of human societies. Neighborhoods, villages and towns onto cities, urban areas, bioregions and a physiological, neural anatomy of an anthroposphere (Baccini) are presently morphing, growing, coming into their own. Consequent commercial economies from financial markets to ethnic migrations are being realized understood as dynamical network phenomena with a fractal self-similarity, quite an animate in kind.
For human settlements, a pioneer of the complexity revolution has been the British systems geographer Michael Batty. A current work is The New Science of Cities (2013). Another advocate is the Israeli urban planner Juval Portugali, his latest book is Complexity Theories of Cities Have Come of Age (2012). Another nonlinear take is achieved by a team from the American Southwest, such as Geoffrey West, Luis Bettencourt, Jose Lobo, Deborah Strumsky, and colleagues, who extend a prior ecological invariance to over 50 orders of magnitude from microbes to a metropolis.
We have shown that power law scaling is a pervasive property of human social organization and dynamics in cities and holds across time and for different nations with very different levels of development, economic sector distribution, and with different cultural norms and geographic location. This is an extraordinary assertion indicating that, on average, different cities are scaled up versions of each other, particularly in terms of rhythms of social activity – such as the creation of wealth and ideas, infectious contacts and crime, and patterns of human behavior. (Bettencourt, et al, 2009)
On the basis of these structures we propose a new universal definition of a city as a network of linked centres at all scales set into a background network of residential space. We then show that this universal pattern comes about in tow interlinked but conceptually separable phases: a spatial process through which simple spatial laws govern the emergence of characteristically urban patterns of space from the aggregations of buildings; and a functional process through which equally simple spatio-functional laws govern the way in which aggregates of buildings become living cities. It is this dual process that is suggested can lead us in the direction of a ‘genetic’ code for cities. (Bill Hillier, 2012)
A companion aspect would be financial market economies, as engaged from a number of angles. A hybrid field dubbed econophysics uses statistical mechanics to better study industry and trade. A founder and prime theorist has been Eugene Stanley of Boston University. From the Santa Fe Institute, an endeavor initiated by Kenneth Arrow, Brian Arthur and others applies self-organizing complexity theories to sponsor a nonlinear economics. A veteran journal such as Physica A is now filled with sophisticated analyses of stock exchanges, business cycles, and so on which again exemplify universal principles. An especial entry is The Origin of Wealth (2006) by London economist Eric Beinhocker which draws both reinterprets evolutionary theory and commerce by way of complex adaptive systems.
Similar efforts have informed a broad field of societal studies. For example Agent-Based Models of Geographical Systems edited by Alison Heppenstall, et al (search) consider complex cellular topologies from land cover changes to demographics, epidemics, pedestrian and vehicular traffic, crime waves, migrations, even battlefields. These global sciences are of indispensible value to analyze, and control disease vectors. The Peking University information theorist Hai Zhuge, with whom I have had an email correspondence, was able to quantify the SARS epidemic this way.
As these efforts matured and merged into the 2010s, witnesses of a planetary, social and urban “anthropocene metabolism” have grown, as recent volumes herein express. This promise has inspired architecture from Frank Lloyd Wright and Christopher Alexander to Paul Downton and James Harris, with many local and urban practitioners. But an intentional integral ascent to a sustainable, organism-like Ecozoic era, the great work of our time advised by Thomas Berry, will not be accomplished without a radical breakthrough to a common planet-wise knowledge.
6.2.4 Systems History: Planetary Individuation
While the “individuation” aspect has not yet occurred, as these rarefied references attest the complex systems revolution is being extended even to the fraught, brutal course of perpetual, internecine war, nation building, fracture, conquest, migrations, diasporas, over the millennia. As The Phenomenon of Humankind, and this review attest, the universal complex dynamic network of agent entity, community relation, and whole system equally applies to the august temporal and spatial past and present of homo unto anthropo sapiens.
During this period, with the publication of David Christian’s Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History (2005) an imperative, necessary joining of human millennia with cosmic evolutionary duration was achieved. This expansive integration has led to a spate of similar volumes and updates, an International Association, conferences, a Big History Project, (Google each) with ambitions to situate our earthly abide in its celestial context. As Christian observed, over this vista the prime vectors were an increasing complexity, and a proactive intelligence, now shifting to a global scale.
A parallel effort was initiated by the University of Connecticut historian Peter Turchin, the son of Russian-American systems philosopher Valentin Turchin, to explore ways to recast the course of civilizations by way of the complexity sciences. An online journal Cliodynamics: Journal of Theoretical and Mathematical History was posted in 2010 for articles that express such deeper forces and lineaments at work behind the crush of events, as long intimated. We note in a 2011 issue papers by Santa Fe Institute theorists David Krakauer and Geoffrey West, see Part II.
Of course this is a huge subject, we saw above, and on the website, how even the most tragic, seemingly chaotic events of our roiling human condition can yet reflect a common mathematics. A 2014 work Complexity Science and World Affairs by Boston University scholar Walter Clemens is a salient volume in this regard. We ought to cite that the eminent historian William McNeill broached this scenario in a 2001 article The Convergence of Evolutionary Science with Scientific History (search). A 2011 edition Deep History by Andrew Shryock and Daniel Smail is a good evocation of this vital rooting, as next.
The goal of this book is to offer a set of tools – patterns, frames, metaphors – for the telling of deep histories. These include kinshipping, fractal replication, exchange, hospitality, networks, trees, extensions, scalar integration, and the spiraling patterns of feedback intrinsic to all coevolutionary processes. Skillfully deployed, these frames and the narratives and evidence they create offer a dynamic of connectedness that can render deep time accessible to modern scholarship, thereby bringing the long ages of human history together in a single story. (Shryock and Smail)
As we did for Anthropo, here is a summary of 21st century scientific discoveries by Cosmo Sapiens. As our prior human stage sought to explore and examine, humanity is altogether revising every field to a systems synthesis of parts, relations and integral wholes. We note again physics and biology, quantum and classical, statistical mechanics and complexity theory, as active matter comes alive again. A dramatic accomplishment is surely a gravid cosmos filled with as many planets as stars. Suns appear as solar incubators for habitable zones. While large and small infinities have run their course, a missing mathematical, formative agency has been articulated that takes on a guise of a natural genetic code. In accord, a new evolutionary synthesis is in the air as life’s emergence becomes an embryonic gestation. We refer the reader on to Part II for select reference highlights over the period, and especially into the 2010s to document in support.
D. Pedia Sapiens: A 1990 - 2020 - 2050 Geonate Event