. 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)