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A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
Table of Contents
Genesis Vision
Learning Planet
Organic Universe
Earth Life Emerge
Genesis Future
Recent Additions

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)

Since the cell is an open nonequilibrium physicochemical system of interacting molecules, the cell is expected to exist and function as a complex metastable organization of conjugated fluxes, steady-state compartments, and interdependent gradients. This implies that molecular partitioning, ordering, and macro-organization within the cell are not pre-determined by a pre-existing design, but are driven by the same physical principles and forces that drive self-organization in open, inorganic, far-from-equilibrium systems studied in the field of nonequilibrium thermodynamics. As suggested elsewhere, (search) one of the principal differences between nonliving and living organizational processes is that functional constituents of living systems (on each and every level of biological organizational hierarchy) are complex living organizations in themselves, whose structures and dynamics have been shaped (but not specified) by evolution. (5)

To conclude, in the domain of life, order and reproducibility do not come from design. Instead, they come from what can be called knowledge or intelligence, a combined and self-organized product of living experience represented by and preserved in the structures and dynamics of interdependent and interconnected living organizations co-evolving on multiple scales of space and time. Evolutionary memories in the form of proteins, cells, organisms, ecosystems, organizations, and economies continuously recall the past by virtue of their own incessant reproduction, adapt to the present by making individual choices and acting upon them, and mold the future by interacting with and molding their environments that, in turn, mold them. (9)

Kurakin, Alexei. The Self-Organizing Fractal Theory as a Universal Discovery Method: The Phenomenon of Life. Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling. 8/4, 2011. 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.

And, one notices in this endeavor, and his companion writings, the abiding guidance of Vladimir Vernadsky, who worked with Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in Paris in the 1920s, and their collaborative vision of nature’s “living matter” as it engenders biosphere and noosphere. Among Kurakin’s prior papers is “Scale-Free Flow of Life: On the Biology, Economics, and Physics of the Cell” in the same journal (6/6, 2009), “The Universal Principles of Self-Organization and the Unity of Nature and Knowledge” (Online 2007, search), “Self-Organization versus Watchmaker: Stochastic Dynamics of Cellular Dynamics” in Biological Chemistry (386/3, 2005). A concurrent paper “Order without Design” in the above journal (7/12, 2010) makes a strong case from another perspective. The achievement merits extended quotations.

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)

It is postulated that the energy/matter flowing through and comprising the Universe evolves as a multiscale, self-similar structure-process, i.e., as a self-organizing fractal. This means that certain organizational structures and processes are scale-invariant and are reproduced at all levels of the organizational hierarchy. Being a form of symmetry, scale invariance naturally lends itself to a new discovery method that allows for the deduction of missing information by comparing scale-invariant organizational patterns across different levels of the organizational hierarchy. (Abstract, 1)

The presented findings lead to a radically new perspective on the nature and origin of life, suggesting that living matter is an organizational state/phase of nonliving matter and a natural consequence of the evolution and self-organization of nonliving matter. The presented paradigm opens doors for explosive advances in many disciplines, by uniting them within a single conceptual framework and providing a discovery method that allows for the systematic generation of knowledge through comparison and complementation of empirical data across different sciences and disciplines. (Abstract, 1)

To summarize, the planet Earth represents a self-organizing, nonequilibrium, multiscale structure-process of energy/matter flow/circulation, which is driven by interdependent and ultimately inseparable nonliving and living processes, where living matter plays an increasingly influential organizing role. In turn, the planet Earth is an integral and inseparable part of the self-organizing and evolving Universe. According to the SOFT-NET (Self-Organizing Fractal Theory, Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics) theory, the process of self-organization is scale-invariant and proceeds through sequential organizational state transitions, in a manner characteristic of far from equilibrium systems, with macrostructures-processes emerging via condensation and self-organization of microstructures-processes. (50)

Such processes are responsible for the continuous birth, death, and transformation of energy/matter forms. Notice an uncanny conceptual analogy with the image of the world painted by great Eastern religions and philosophies such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism and by great Western philosophers such as Heraclitus and Hegel. Because the self-organizing, nonequilibrium Universe as a whole appears to grow in size and complexity over time, the SOFT-NET theory predicts the existence of a source(s) of and sink(s) for the energy/matter that flows through, supports, and is supported by the self-organizing Universe. The SOFT-NET interpretation also implies that there is no divide between living and nonliving matter and that the adjectives “living” and “nonliving” refer only to a difference in the organizational state of energy/ matter. (51)

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)

Unlike mechanistic interpretations, emerging concepts of self-organization appear to be consistent with experimental reality at all scales of biological organization and are universally meaningful whether one speaks about biomolecules, sub-cellular structures, cells, organisms or social and business organizations, and whether one considers phylogenetic or ontogenetic time scales. In other words, the concepts of self-organization appear to be scale-invariant, suggesting that they may reflect certain universal attributes common to diverse complex phenomena taking place at different spatiotemporal scales. The universality of organizational patterns across scales of biological complexity becomes especially apparent when complex phenomena/systems of different scales, such as proteins, cells, organisms, ecosystems, organizations, societies and economies, are reconceptualized in equivalent terms of self-organizing adaptive networks of energy/matter/information exchanges. (2)

It is argued in this essay that the apparent self-similarity of scales in biological (broadly defined) systems is a consequence of the unity and fractality of living matter, which exists and evolves in reality as one dynamic multiscale organization/continuum of intelligence composed of the interdependent and mutually defining/morphing adaptive organizational forms of energy/matter/information exchanges manifested as biomolecules, cells, organisms, ecosystems, organizations, societies and so forth. It is only the culturally acquired habit of misconceptualizing living matter in mechanistic terms that makes biomolecules, cells, organisms, ecosystems, organizations and societies to appear to the reductionist mind of the human observer as if they were isolated, self-defined, standardized and interchangeable systems of the mechanistic type, designed for some purpose, i.e. as parts of the Machine. (2)

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.

Cosmologists argue about whether the world will end in fire or ice, but this does not take into account the power of intelligence, as if its emergence were just an entertaining sideshow to the grand celestial mechanics that now rule the universe. How long will it take for us to spread our intelligence in its nonbiological from throughout the universe? If we can transcend the speed of light – for example, by using wormholes through space (which are consistent with our current understanding of physics), it could be achieved in a few centuries. Otherwise, it will likely take much longer. In either scenario, waking up the universe, and then intelligently deciding its fate by infusing it with our human intelligence in its nonbiological form, is our destiny. (282)

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)

From the cosmic evolutionary view this means that it is our function and purpose to create the next level of the evolutionary process, simultaneously revealing that we are not irrelevant epiphenomena but critical evolutionary actors, and also within a historical process with directionality towards a higher universal goal achievable through full symbolic differentiation. The big bang gave birth to physical evolution, abiogenesis gave birth to biological evolution, and human civilization through the biocultural evolutionary process of atechnogenesis appears to be giving birth to a completely new technocultural evolutionary process. (71)

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)

We emphasize a dynamic view of whole-system robustness that is consonant with, and can emerge from instability at smaller scales. (Pascual & Dunne, 2006, p. 353)

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)

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