I. Our Planatural Edition: A 21st Century PhiloSophia, Earthropo Ecosmic PediaVersion
B. Anthropocene Sapiensphere: A Major Emergent Transitional Phase
Kurakin, Alexei. Order without Design. Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling. 7/12, 2010. For the Russian American physician philosopher, by the word “design” is meant pre-ordained, engineered artifacts, within a physical machine paradigm. But nature’s actual nonlinear, dynamical evolutionary emergence, now gaining articulation worldwide, implies a different occasion of organized, episodic, cognizant “living matter.” As the third quote conveys, Kurakin basically broaches a natural genetic program at generative effect for every step of this developmental gestation.
The reinterpretation of biomolecules, cells, organisms, ecosystems, and societies in terms of open nonequilibrium organizations of energy/matter flow suggests that, in the domain of life, order and reproducibility do not come from design. Instead, they are natural and inevitable outcomes of self-organizing activities of evolutionary successful, and thus persistent, organizations co-evolving on multiple spatiotemporal scales as biomolecules, cells, organisms, ecosystems, and societies. (Abstract, 1)
The Self-Organizing Fractal Theory as a Universal Discovery Method: The Phenomenon of Life.
Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling.
The Russian-American author, with a 1993 Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Moscow Institute of Molecular Genetics, is presently a pathologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. This 66 page, 270 reference paper, in an “open access, peer-reviewed, online journal” updates and expands his entry to a revolutionary living universe whereof non-equilibrium dynamics organize themselves into a nested, evolutionary strata of complexity and consciousness. Kurakin’s thesis here is that this ubiquitous scale-invariance can inform research in subsequent areas of nature and society because the same structures and processes are in effect everywhere. Which is an immense, epochal discovery. While the quotes and text are filled with nonlinear abstractions, the whole creative scenario, along with other views (e.g., Kwapien/Drozdz), could be seen, in translation, as the expression of an actual, endemic cosmos to child genetic code. This is the indispensible, vital concept we need to explain, validate, and activate a human genesis universe.
A universal discovery method potentially applicable to all disciplines studying organizational phenomena has been developed. This method takes advantage of a new form of global symmetry, namely, scale-invariance of self-organizational dynamics of energy/matter at all levels of organizational hierarchy, from elementary particles through cells and organisms to the Universe as a whole. The method is based on an alternative conceptualization of physical reality postulating that the energy/matter comprising the Universe is far from equilibrium, that it exists as a flow, and that it develops via self-organization in accordance with the empirical laws of nonequilibrium thermodynamics. (Abstract, 1)
Kurakin, Alexei. The Universal Principles of Self-Organization and the Unity of Nature and Knowledge. www.alexeikurakin.org/text/thesoft.pdf. This 35 page posting by the Harvard Medical School pathologist is a 2007 working vision of his spontaneous, sequentially emergent genesis cosmos. We also record for its engaging quotes. Search Kurakin to find earlier and later articles that cogently build a remarkable case for a creative, organic universe.
It is argued that diverse complex adaptive systems, such as proteins, cells, organisms, organizations, societies and ecosystems, all together constitute one developing, multiscale continuum-economy composed of interacting and interdependent adaptive organizational forms that co-exist and co-evolve at different spatiotemporal scales, forming a nested set of interdependent organizational hierarchies. When reconceptualized in equivalent terms of self-organizing adaptive networks of energy/matter/information exchanges, complex systems of different scales appear to exhibit universal scale-invariant patterns in their organization and dynamics, suggesting the self-similarity of spatiotemporal scales and fractal organization of the living matter continuum. (1) Self-organization is proposed to be an ever-expanding process covering increasingly larger spatiotemporal scales through formation of interdependent organizational hierarchies. The process of self-organization blends Darwinian phases dominated by diversification, competition, and selection and organizational phases dominated by specialization, cooperation, and organization. (1)
Kurzweil, Ray. How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed. New York: Viking, 2012. Readers are likely to be familiar with the author’s prognostications of an imminent human-machine cyborgian singularity. We quote the book’s synopsis, but it is its last paragraph below that is worth notice. It rightly sights the cosmic vector of an evolutionary emergence and take over by a rising cognitive intelligence. But the whole shebang remains abstractly sterile, with still no sense of a greater genesis creation of which an intended, knowing phenomenon. So it is seen to pass from and supersede our valiant human phase for a technological triumph. And it is curious that the smart folks involved (Google “Singularity University and Summit”) keep missing life’s further major transition to a planetary progeny coming to her/his own cognizance and salutary wisdom.
Ray Kurzweil is arguably today’s most influential—and often controversial—futurist. In How to Create a Mind, Kurzweil presents a provocative exploration of the most important project in human-machine civilization—reverse engineering the brain to understand precisely how it works and using that knowledge to create even more intelligent machines. Kurzweil discusses how the brain functions, how the mind emerges from the brain, and the implications of vastly increasing the powers of our intelligence in addressing the world’s problems. He thoughtfully examines emotional and moral intelligence and the origins of consciousness and envisions the radical possibilities of our merging with the intelligent technology we are creating.
Kurzweil, Ray. The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. New York: Viking, 2005. This scenario of a cosmos which grows in intelligence to the singular point whence humankind can intentionally recreate itself via technological enhancement is reviewed at length in Part VII, Mind Over Matter.
Kuttner, Ran. The Wave/Particle Tension in Negotiation. Harvard Negotiation Law Review. 16/Spring, 2011. The author is a Creighton University professor of negotiation and dispute resolution with a doctorate in conflict management from Bar-Ilan University, Israel. It is first helpful to place work such as this within the 2010s worldwide scientific and philosophical synthesis. With Alexander Wendt and many others, human beings in their personal and social lives, as they become connected with a deepest quantum source, are seen as most distinguished by such an archetypal complementarity. Kuttner is also a scholar with the Taos Institute for a humane world, and as he describes the dynamic interplay of particulate persons with relational groupings, one could well imagine a perennial yang and yin within the eternal Tao.
In fact, the approach of quantum physics to the nature of matter, as expressed through the wave/particle duality, provides a similar perspective with regard to our physical world. I argue that the wave/particle duality provides a valuable metaphor for approaching the need to hold both seemingly contradicting negotiation approaches in a complementary manner. Moreover, I will show that quantum physics, by offering a radical and stimulating alternative to Aristotelian metaphysics and Newtonian physics, can open up new possibilities for apprehending and approaching negotiation settings. Using the wave/particle duality or tension, I will suggest that negotiators can gain from complementing the particle-like, more individualistically-oriented view of human interaction with a wave-like, co-emerging relational view of interpersonal dynamics. (333)
Last, Cadell. Big Historical Foundations for Deep Future Speculations. Foundations of Science. Online September, 2015. In this consummate decade, a Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Global Brain Institute, researcher can consider from our anthropocene vantage the whole past, present, and future expanse of a dynamic cosmos. In this integral scenario, an evolutionary emergence can be traced from a point origin to collaborative, planetary civilizations. Such a vista quite locates inquisitive humans at a singular center, which as the quote notes, belies reductionist despair and postmodern relativism. By this panaroma, human beings appear as a phenomenal stage through whom all cosmic development must pass if it is to transform into a learned, intentional creativity. A “self-organizing emergent global consciousness and intelligence” is newly evident, with qualities of its own “omni- science, presence, potence, and benevolence.” But it still remains in all these works to be perceived as gaining knowledge on its personsphere own. A technocultural “next evolution” is then broached as “directed by aware minds via symbolic/linguistic codes” going forward to a “deep future.” In sum, the pointless accident view fades before a revived cosmist optimism once foreseen by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, H. G. Wells, and Pierre Teilhard to a 21st century Evo Devo Universe vision of an ordained human, Earth, and solar significance.
However, at the same time, Weinberg’s cosmic nihilism is not entirely ridiculous. In fact, it is impossible to ignore the fact that sciences as diverse as astronomy, cosmology biology, and anthropology have played a role in symbolically removing humanity from ‘center stage’ of the cosmic drama, whether that imagined center represented a particular civilization, our species, life, our solar system, the galaxy, or the whole universe. The progressive ‘de-centering’ of the human story in relation to nature has been a source of collective historical psychological discomfort. What is the function and purpose of humanity? Are we mere epiphenomena, here for the blink of a cosmic eye, destined to perish on a universal stage that did not expect us and does not need us? Is the historical process really directionless and meaningless with no escape and no hope for a higher state of humanity in relation to each other and the universe? This is where cosmic evolutionary theory has a chance to re-organize our perspective and provide new insight. Throughout the development and evolution of our local universe there has been an interconnected growth of complexity from physical, chemical and biological systems, as well as cultural and technological systems. (3-4) In short, we stand on the frontier of cosmic evolution and a future of tremendous possibility unforeseen by most historical humans. (4)
Last, Cadell. Cosmic Evolutionary Philosophy and a Dialectical Approach to Technological Singularity. Information. 9/4, 2018. In this MDPI online journal, we cite an entry by a Free University of Brussels, Evolution, Cognition, and Complexity group scholar because as an example of conceptual vistas which attempt to treat whole universes as having a natural identity, properties and life of their own. In this way, a temporal development toward higher states and personifications of complexity and consciousness becomes evident. While in abstract terms, it goes beyond big history with an intent that if human beings can get a proper read on what is going on (a tacit assumption that something really is), such a vital knowledge can critically help guide future civilizations.
Laszlo, Ervin. Science and the Reenchantement of the Cosmos. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 2006. This latest work of the Renaissance systems thinker expands his Integral View of Reality which imagines a creative universe suffused by emergent spiritual consciousness. From a blend of quantum physics and Hindu wisdom is proposed a cosmic Akashic field, akin to David Bohm’s implicate order, as the source of evolutionary, personal and social self-organization. A distinguished array of affirmative commentaries then follows by visionaries such as Jane Goodall, Ewert Cousins, Christian de Quincey, Stanislaw Grof, and Ralph Abraham. The quote is from biologist Elisabet Sahtouris.
My holistic view of life, like Laszlo’s, is of a unified living cosmos that provides a framework for understanding, and more consciously creating, our own human trajectory within its greater process. (108) Life is defined as an intelligent, evolutionary, self-organization process, rather that as a collection of biological entities evolving by serial accidents in a non-living universe. Thus life is seen as a natural self-creating and recycling metabolism or process of the cosmos itself. (108)
Laughlin, Robert. A Different Universe. New York: Basic Books, 2005. When a Nobel Laureate in Physics announces a revolutionary new science and worldview, it is of significant notice. The 20th century phase of looking down into matter in search of fundamental particles and lawful certainty has run its course. Although a necessary step and not wrong, reducing the world to fragments misses its true character. Drawing upon novel conceptions of quantum physics, along with advances in nonlinear science, Laughlin takes the opposite viewpoint that nature is to be understood through an emergent, stratified complexity. In addition to things, innate principles of organization and relationship are at work. From many imperfect, inexact entities (molecules, organisms) yet arises a more predictable, collective order. It is just this nascent turn of perspective from mechanism to dynamic emergence that Natural Genesis is trying to express. (An endorsement by another physics laureate, Philip Anderson, can be found in Nature 434/701, 2005.)
Thus the tendency of nature to form a hierarchical society of physical laws is much more than an academic debating point. It is why the world is knowable. (8) In other words, superconducting behavior reveals to us through its exactness, that everyday reality is a collective organizational phenomenon. (32) What we are seeing is a transformation of worldview in which the objective of understanding nature by breaking it down into ever smaller parts is supplanted by the objective of understanding how nature organizes itself. (76) Emergence means complex organizational structure growing out of simple rules. (200) …I think a good case can be made that science has now moved from an Age of Reductionism to an Age of Emergence, a time when the search for ultimate causes of things shifts from the behavior of parts to the behavior of the collective. (208)
Laughlin, Robert. Self-Organization of Matter. http://large.stanford.edu/rbl/lectures/index.htm. A slide presentation of the Nobel laureate physicist’s conception of a different, emergent universe which is not referable to or mediated by a bottom “theory of everything.” By shifting one’s perspective toward what and whom nature can create, a dynamic materiality able to organize itself into an increasing animate complexity is revealed. Rather than a quantum arbiter down “there,” the same universal pattern and process is found “everywhere.” Our second, apropos quote here is then from a work on Ecological Networks, which restates Laughlin in this complex realm.
The true origin of these rules is the tendency of natural systems to organize themselves according to collective principles. Many phenomena in nature are like pointillist paintings. Observing the fine details yields nothing but meaningless fact. To correctly understand the painting one must step back and view it as a whole. In this situation a huge number of imperfect details can add up to larger entities of great perfection. We call this effect in the physical world emergence. (Slide 3)
Lehn, Jean-Marie. Supramolecular Chemistry: From Molecular Information Towards Self-Organization and Complex Matter. Reports on Progress in Physics. 67/3, 2004. A 2011 paper by Evelyn Fox Keller (search) extols this article by the Nobel chemist as a significant statement of a creative Informational essence. Lehn goes on to endorse an inherently “self-organizing universe” that proceeds on its long course from biocompounds to our reflective cognition. The title phrase is seen to apply beyond this field of study to a whole science of “complex matter, of informed, self-organized, evolutive matter,” a 21st century “science of informed matter.” As Lehn forcefully put in a 2009 lecture, (search) there is robust evidence such a developmental cosmos, if it could be allowed and assimilated. And might it be as simple as realizing and reading a “genetic informative code,” within a genesis universe?
In the beginning was the Big Bang, and physics reigned. Then chemistry came along at milder temperatures; particles formed atoms, these united to give more and more complex molecules, which in turn associated into organized aggregates and membranes, defining primitive cells out of which life emerged. From divided to condensed, organized, living, and up to thinking matter, the universe has evolved towards a progressive complexification of matter, through a process of self-organization under the pressure of information. (251)