I. Our Earthuman Edition: A 21st Century, PhiloSophia, eLibrary of eCosmos, PediaPedia Resource
B. An Earthropo to Ecosmo Sapience Finds a Phenomenal, Independent. UniVerse to WumanVerse
Drob, Sanford. The Sefirot: Kabbalistic Archetypes of Mind and Creation. Cross Currents. 47/1, 1997. A psychologist draws on Judaic tradition to evoke a modern evolutionary testament of a necessarily personifying genesis.
The goal of both the cosmos and humanity is a union between self and other, psychologically between masculine and feminine principles, interpersonally between man and woman, and cosmically between God and humanity. Such an encounter and union is, accordingly to the Kabbalists, the goal of both cosmic and personal existence. However, the cosmos and the individual must each become fully individuated prior to being reunited with the creator.
Duarte, German. Fractal Narrative: About the Relationship Between Geometries and Technology and Its Impact on Narrative Spaces. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 2014. The edition is a 2013 doctoral thesis in media studies from Ruhr-Universitat Bochum which illuminates and extols the pervasive range of natural, social, and artistic self-similarity. The past centuries and millennia of idealized linearity have missed this dynamic, nested, iterative universality until just now. In a unique volume and venue, another witness is achieved of a grand spatial and temporal repetition in unity and diversity, as if a genetic code in creative effect, which is the micro-macro secret heart of wisdom.
Fractals suggest recursivity, infinity, and the repetition of a principle of order. But they are not just infinite images, wonderful infinite images in a space. They are processes. Fractals are digital pictures of the universe's continuous movement. Attempting to explain the state of fractals, one can only posit that their state is pure becoming. (Preface)
Dyson, Freeman. A Vision of a Green Universe. New York Review of Books. October 13, 2016. The nonagenarian Princeton astrophysicist and natural philosopher is a steady book reviewer for the bimonthly paper. This essay review of How to Make a Spaceship by John Guthrie, Beyond Earth by Charles Wohlforth and Amanda Hendrix, and All These Worlds Are Yours by Jon Willis, which he finds bereft of imagination, leads up to a 2010s version of his lively cosmic vistas. I first heard him speak on his phrase The Greening of the Galaxy in New York in 1972. A fertile, arable cosmos has since been finessed in many books and articles, to which he adds a new dimension of our biotechnological ingenuity. As the first quote says, rather than microbes or starships, better to use flora vegetations to respectfully seed and cultivate suitable worlds near and far. By such achievements, an earthly destiny of grand significance is realized. He goes on to align this vision with the Russian cosmist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857-1935) and later the British philosopher Olaf Stapledon (1886-1950), see second quote. For another note, in 2005 at Marist College, I shared a program with Dyson where he spoke on the future of the universe, and by some default, my role was the past and present, see Cosmic Genesis slides on the home page.
An illustration of Freeman Dyson’s vision of ‘Noah’s Ark culture’—a space operation in which, ‘sometime in the next few hundred years, biotechnology will have advanced to the point where we can design and breed entire ecologies of living creatures adapted to survive in remote places away from Earth.’ Spacecraft resembling ostrich eggs will bring ‘living seeds with genetic instructions’ to planets, moons, and other ‘suitable places where life could take root.’ A new species of warm-blooded plants, ‘kept warm by sunlight or starlight concentrated onto it by mirrors outside,’ will enable the Noah’s Ark communities to survive. (Artwork caption)
Egmond, Klaas van.
London: Palgrave Macmillan,
The Utrecht University geoscientist and environmentalist offers an informed contribution, but with a unique difference. Worldwide peoples, me and We, will not be motivated to achieve any ecological remediation until a common, conceptual wisdom and guide is attained in practice. The once and future project is a distillation of an ancient and modern, West and East, South and North, integral philosophy. An initial basis is a 2006 Dutch personal and public values survey as depicted in a pie chart as a yin/yang image at once vertical – materialist/idealist - and horizontal – individual/communal. Thus put, they form eternal complementarities such as feminine/masculine, self/other, earth/heaven, conservative/progressive.
Western civilization has entered a new fundamental crisis that can be explained by a very one-sided orientation of social values based on materialism and egocentrism, which is disrupting the delicate balance between the opposing forces of 'mind' and 'matter', and of 'I' and 'the others'. Many sources – from the great works of philosophy, religion, art and culture to social surveys and the course of history – qualify sustainability as the dynamic equilibrium between fundamental opposing forces. This insight and the ethical ability to better discriminate between stabilizing and destabilizing forces would allow further justification of human rights and new institutional arrangements in society at large and, in particular, in politics, economy and finance. It would enable a sustainable civilization to flourish within the boundaries of freedom and human dignity. (Publisher)
From Strange Simplicity to Complex Familiarity: A Treatise on Matter, Information, Life and Thought.
New York: Oxford University Press,
The octogenarian Nobel biochemist (1967) achieves a 700 page treatise an integral synopsis of the past century of an evolutionary and participatory cosmos from Charles Darwin to the latest nonlinear sciences as one person might write today. For many years he was director of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Gottingen. Five chapters build from Matter and Energy, Energy and Entropy, Entropy and Information, Information and Complexity, onto Complexity and Self-Organization. If a surmise might begin an intent and thesis is to follow up to Erwin Schrodinger’s 1943 What Is Life? to lately aver that there must indeed be some natural operative principle, a deeply “viable matter,” at work prior to and in tandem with selective effects.
This book presents a vivid argument for the almost lost idea of a unity of all natural sciences. It starts with the "strange" physics of matter, including particle physics, atomic physics and quantum mechanics, cosmology, relativity and their consequences, and it continues by describing the properties of material systems that are best understood by statistical and phase-space concepts. These lead to entropy and to the classical picture of quantitative information, initially devoid of value and meaning. Finally, "information space" and dynamics within it are introduced as a basis for semantics, leading to an exploration of life and thought as new problems in physics. Dynamic equations - again of a strange (but very general) nature - bring about the complex familiarity of the world we live in. Surprising new results in the life sciences open our eyes to the richness of physical thought, and they show us what can and what cannot be explained by a Darwinian approach. The abstract physical approach is applicable to the origins of life, of meaningful information and even of our universe. (Publisher)
Ellis, George. Top-Down Effects in the Brain. Physics of Life Reviews. Online July, 2018. The veteran University of Cape Town mathematical cosmologist and philosopher (search) continues his project to articulate how life’s evolutionary development in episodic stages from atomic matter to global societies ought to be understood by way of a bottom-up to an emergent top-down cerebral influence. In so many words, a retrospective self-realizing procreation is lately becoming evident whose aware cognizance can both be fed back to palliate and take up and over going forward. Inputs from Merlin Donald, Robin Dunbar, Karl Friston and others are availed so to view our welling social sapience as a participatory and anticipatory in kind.
The purpose of this investigation is to demonstrate that one is unable to understand the operation of the brain without taking top-down effects into account. This is demonstrated by looking in turn at evolutionary and developmental aspects, then at functional aspects related to sensory systems, learning processes, and motor processes that lead to action on the world. It is also clear in terms of the effects of a society on brains located in that society. The possibility of top down affects exists both because of multiple realisability of higher level processes at lower levels, and because lower level elements are adapted to perform their higher level functions. These top-down processes validate a non-reductionist approach to how the brain works. (Abstract)
Ellis, George, F. R. Physics and the Real World. Physics Today. July, 2005. An emeritus mathematician at the University of Cape Town has for some years worked on a theoretical basis for an emergent universe by way of modular hierarchies that human beings arise from. This article summarizes documents which can be accessed at: www.mth.uct.ac.za/~ellis/realworld.doc. In so doing, Ellis joins a growing school - Robert Laughlin, Philip Clayton, Philip Anderson, et al – which recognizes a nascent cosmos whose innate properties sequentially develop into sentient life and moral consciousness.
Emmeche, Claus. At Home in a Complex World. Niekerk, Kees van Kooten and Hans Buhl, eds. The Significance of Complexity. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2004. The Danish biologist and philosopher discusses the implications of a newly perceived, inherently complexifying cosmos. The Enlightenment Great Chain of Being legislated from above is thus replaced by a Great Story of Becoming as the universe proceeds to develop, organize, and signify itself.
Time-asymmetrical self-organization – from small and meso-scale phenomena to the cosmic scale, from the time of the Big Bang (with its simplicity and featureness) to the present – is a real phenomenon of the physical universe. (31)
Escobar, Arturo. Territories of Difference: Place, Movement, Life, Redes. Durham: Duke University Press, 2008. A work in the New Ecologies for the Twenty-First Century series. ‘Redes’ is Spanish for ‘networks’ and could be translated as the ‘assemblages’ which appear to distinguish nascent social movements. The University of North Carolina philosophical anthropologist and activist writes an opus that worries much about the struggles of post-colonial peoples, especially along the Pacific coast of western Columbia, to regain viable societies and cultures. We can only sample its rich insights in a brief review. A tour of academic epistemologies from essentialism (an innate reality) to constructivism (made up as it goes along) provides an initial context. Escobar presses on, against most postmodern grain, toward a resolve and synthesis of both poles. His large contribution is to draw at length upon the complexity science of self-organizing systems to reach novel understandings of and guidance for decentralization, empowerment, sense of biotic place, and communal resilience. An exemplary guide is the thought of Brian Goodwin, see below and search herein, so as to advocate a ‘holistic realism’ which can engage and revive a natural, salutary wisdom.
I will end with a recent discussion by the biologist Brian Goodwin, a complexity theorist and wise elder of an alternative West, about these trends. “We need to hold a vision of what is just dawning,” he said, by which he meant that emergent, self-referential networks are indicative of a certain dynamics, signaling an unprecedented epoch and culture for which a new vocabulary is needed. (298) If the shadow of modernity is death – its greatest fear – the message of biological worlds (from neurons to rivers, from atoms to lightning, from species to ecosystems and evolution) is that of self-organization and self-similarity. If language and meaning, as some of these biologists suggest, are properties of all living beings and not only of humans – that is, if the world is one of pansentience – can activists and others and learn to become “readers of the book of life” (Markos) and avail themselves of this reading to illuminate their reveries and strategies? (298)
Fabel, Arthur. Environmental Ethics and the Question of Cosmic Purpose. Environmental Ethics. 16/3, 1994. By the compiler of this bibliography, an article which picks up on a theme of the theologian John Haught to argue that the reigning mechanical model whereof life and earth have no purpose will ultimately undercut efforts to heal and sustain the biosphere and needs to be supplanted by a genesis cosmology just beginning to gain credence.
Fabel, Arthur. Natural Genesis: An Introduction to the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative, Organic Universe. Ultimate Reality and Meaning. 28/1, 2005. A Jesuit edited philosophical journal published by the University of Toronto Press. A complement to this website which surveys the cosmic Copernican Revolution from a 20th century machine model not made for human beings to a 21st century vision of an innate evolutionary development of life, mind, persons and a new future creation.
Falk, Dan. Learning to Live in Steven Weinberg’s Pointless Universe. Scientific American. July, 2021. As Thomas Kuhn famously cited in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1970) in a time of total paradigm revision, old and new worldviews can exist side by side. On the occasion of for Nobel physicist Stephen Weinberg’s passing, a science writes notes how his 1977 pointless claim has permeated and set in as a final verdict. But a tragic loss is a deep natural guidance for local and global complementary societies, which is currently prohibited in any discourse.
“The philosophy that Weinberg laid out in The First Three Minutes is now echoed in many popular physics books. In The Big Picture (2016), Sean Carroll sees nothing to fear in an amoral universe. Our task, he writes, is “to make peace with a universe that doesn’t care what we do, and take pride in the fact that we care anyway.” In a similar vein, string theorist Brian Greene is adamant that it’s physics all the way down. In Until the End of Time (2020) he writes: “Particles and fields. Physical laws and initial conditions. To the depth of reality we have so far plumbed, there is no evidence for anything else.” (Falk)