INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
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Jóse Díez Faixat is an architect, non-violent conscientious objector, ecologist, rural community member.From 1979 he has focused on research into basic reality, of form both as experienced (mystical, non-dualistic) and as theoretical (study of spiritual traditions and the sciences of the New Paradigm). In 1993, he published his hypothesis in the journal of general evolution World Futures, edited by Ervin Laszlo, and later, in 1996, develops this work in the book Between Evolution and Eternity (Editorial Kairos). He later published Being nothing, I am All (Editorial Dilema).
A Response to Faixat's Musicological Musings on Evolution
The Hidden Rhythm of Evolution
JOSÉ DÍEZ FAIXAT
PIERRE TEILHARD DE CHARDIN
This article surprisingly reveals the existence of a very precise spiral rhythm in the emergence of the evolutionary leaps that mark the history of the universe.
The proposed hypothesis is very simple: just as in any musical instrument successive second harmonics (1/3 of the vibrating unit) progressively generate new sounds; these same second harmonics generate all the major evolutionary novelties in universal dynamics as a whole. It is truly surprising that such a simple proposal is found to be precise and categorical when cross-checked against historical data. Let us see.
Fitting our 'periodic table' of rhythms to the date of the appearance of matterthe Big Bangand of organic life, we see that every single instant of the emergence of successive taxonomic degrees of human phylogeny is marked out with utter precision: Kingdom: animal, Phylum: chordata, Class: mammal, Order: primate, Superfamily: hominoid, Family: hominid and Genus: homo! The same then occurs with all the stages of maturation of our primitive ancestors: H. habilis, H. erectus, archaic H. sapiens, H. sapiens and H. sapiens sapiens! Once more, the precision of our hypothesis is repeated in the successive transformations that humanity has experienced in its more recent history: the Neolithic, Antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Modern Age and the emergent Postmodern Age! If, as we see it, all these stages resoundingly fit the provisions of the 'periodic table' of rhythms that we have proposed, it is more than likely that our hypothesis may also provide the key to glimpse the successive phases yet to be deployed in the years to come in an ever-accelerating process that will eventually lead to a moment of infinite creativityOmegawithin a couple of centuries.
All this is, indeed, unexpected and surprising, but is now almost certain when we verify that the same hypothesis that has behaved with utter precision when applied to the process of global evolution, also does so when cross-checked against the process of development of the individual human being! Within the same time frame, with the same pattern of folding and unfolding, and passing through the same stages, our 'periodic table' of rhythms periodically marks outstep by stepthe successive phases embryologists, developmental psychologists and spiritual teachers talk of, thus confirming the old idea of phylogenetic-ontogenetic parallelism and pointing very specifically to an astonishing fractal and holographic universe.
It is impossible, absolutely impossible, that all this accumulation of linked “coincidences”in both the field of overall development and that of individual human developmenthighlighted in this paper is the product of mere chance. The conclusions that emerge from all this clash head on with many assumptions of predominant materialistic science. Our proposal, which provides a better fit to the presented data, points to the non-duality of energy and consciousness, as posed by many traditions of wisdom. From these pages, we invite all our readers to participate in this emerging experiential and theoretical research in which dazzling prospects can be glimpsed.
It thus seems that we are literally made of music, that we are pure abstract relationships in an unsubstantial reality, the acoustic appearance of the quantum void.
For many years, I have been intrigued by the fascinating creativity of the universe, in its material, biological and mental aspects. More than forty years ago, I tried to find an answer to the surprising evolutionary phenomenon, passionately investigating within the diverse branches of Western science and simultaneously in the rich existential research of the Eastern traditions of wisdom. Suddenly, unexpectedly, all that research crystallized in January 1981 in a very precise hypothesis about the rate of the evolution.
On collating this hypothesiswhich in principle seemed to be a simple, ingenious and daring insight that had fall out of the bluewith empirical data from different spheres of reality (paleontological, anthropological, historical, embryological, psychological, etc.) and verifying its surprising validity and precision, over the years it has been become a solid scientific (falsifiable) proposal that shows an unexpected periodic pattern in the emergence of evolutionary novelties and that hence clashes head-on with the still prevailing view of how the world works.
As this paper has been written single-handedly during this time, with no other company than hundreds of books, and given the breadth and scope of the proposal, it seems advisable to open this hypothesis regarding “the hidden rate of evolution” to public criticism so that those interested can carry out their own inquiries with a view to testing its validity and, if need be, make any adjustments they deem necessary. You are cordially invited to do so!
To start off, to set the scene, I will outline the general scenario within which we will develop our proposal. Things are changing.
A new universe
An unstoppable evolutionary current runs through entire history of the cosmos, one that generates all types of novelties.
During recent decades, the apparently solid view of the mechanistic and materialistic world has started to show alarming cracks. Approaches that a century ago were taken as rigorous and almost irrefutable are starting to be seriously questioned.
These approaches postulated that the universe is moved by a simple game of chance, in progressive degradation and inexorably tending toward thermal death. In major contrast with these dark auguries, new science viewsbeset with surprisea fascinating creativity in all spheres of reality. An unstoppable evolutionary current runs through entire history of the cosmos, one that generates all types of novelties. The supposed universal machine, virtually condemned to the scrapyard, is now revealed as a rare living being animated by a self-creative permanent force. It seems that Nature starts to reveal the secrets of its holistic inner tendency, one which drives it to climb the ladder of organized complexity. This ascending drive has been creating progressively differentiated, integrated and inclusive units step by step.
Mechanistic Science harbored the reductionist dream of explaining the functioning of complex structures starting out, exclusively, from its most basic components. New science has forsaken that dream on verifying repeatedly and in diverse levels of reality that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The flow of evolution engenders novelties which, though logically compatible with precedent structures, cannot however be explained by them. There is thus a dynamic, hierarchical schema of the world in which emerging levels are integrated with previous ones, thereby generating more complex, inclusive organisms with increasing awareness. Elemental particles form part of atoms, atoms part of molecules, molecules part of cells, cells part of organisms and so on. The universe thus reveals itself as a hierarchy that extends unlimitedly upward and downwards throughout the course of evolution.
On the other hand, each one of these levels of universal reality is structured by an infinite reciprocal interplay among individuals and communities. Some and many are involved like reflections in a grid of mirrors facing one another. An individual devoid of an environment is not possible, neither is a group without the individuals that compose it. We cannot separate off isolated unities in these universal networks of interrelationships and interconnections. As Quantum Physics has demonstrated, the scope of these complex webs of relations goes beyond what is humanly conceivable, even transcending our time and space schemata. There are no actually separated “parts” in any level of the evolutionary scale. On the contrary, as in a holographic plate, each “fragment” of the world is no more than a concrete expression of the same, unique totality. The universe starts to reveal itself to the eyes of new science as a unified field that is dynamically reflected in each and every corner of itself.
Attempts were made to build the world upon the solid and strong foundations of matter, but this myth has not stood up to empirical testing. Subatomic analysis has literally taken the floor away from under our feet. Our supposedly indestructible material basis has dissolved in pure forms, patterns, orders and relationships in a fabric that is no longer substantial, but purely abstract instead. We are supported by evanescent forms that vertiginously emerge and disappear in an intangible void. Within the scientific community, it has even been asserted that the universe is beginning to look more like a great thought than a great machine.
The materialistic focus of classical science also aimed to describe the world “objectively”, placing the “subject” making the description on the sidelines. However, the emergent postmodern perspective has once more revealed the complete ingenuity of this project. The observing mind is inevitably part of the observed universe. There is not object without subject, no outside without inside, no reality without consciousness. Both terms are definitively interrelated and therefore any attempt to comprehend the phenomenal world integrally must necessarily include both facets. The dynamics of evolution is thus perceived as a generator of entities, not only progressively more organized and complex in their external appearance, but also, at the same time, of greater inner awareness. We cannot limit our vision solely to the surface of things, because, although we try to ignore them, the depths of lucidity will finally become patent to us over and over again.
The universe that surprisingly begins to reveal itself before our gaze has little to do with that blind, insensitive artifact, that mechanical and inert world in which the human being imagining it, did not even have a place in it. The new approaches that study reality no longer consider us aberrant creatures in a world without sense, but rather as redolent expressions of the creative flow of totality, authentic microcosms that reflect with increasing clarity, the infinite richness of a fascinating macrocosm.
Our research on the rhythm of evolution falls within this new perspective of a universe that is self-creatinga generator of progressively more complex and organized novelties,, hierarchicalin which each new level transcends and becomes integrated with all previous levels, holographicin which each part reflects the totality, impermanentin a continuous dance of creation and destruction, lucidcapable of knowing itself, and voidwithout a basic substance that supports it.
In this new emerging outlook, our daring proposal that a harmonious pattern that governs the rhythm of evolution exists no longer sounds so shocking. Let us see.
The crisis of Darwinism
Nowadays science agrees that evolution is a core feature of the universe. There is a complete consensus regarding the dynamic and creative features of phenomenal reality in all fields of human knowledgeastrophysics, biology, psychology, sociology, and others. Nevertheless, there are discrepancies in the interpretation of the facts. Darwin's theory of evolution was primarily based on random mutations and the “survival of the fittest”. The “synthetic theory” extended these formulations in the late 1930s and early 40s with the contributions of Mendelian genetics and population-based genetics, maintaining as explanatory basic elements the aforementioned random mutation and natural selection. This synthetic theory enjoyed almost unanimous acceptance for two or three decades, but gave rise to a great wave of dissent from 1970 on. The idea that the synthetic theory is wrong is beginning to take shape for many paleontologists, geneticists, embryologists and taxonomists, who refute the random factor as the sole principle governing the evolutionary process. They disagree that natural selection explains the emergence of new species. They affirm that fossil records do not fit Darwinian gradualism and denounce that the theory does not reflect the phenomenon of increasing complexity.
Biologists find it very difficult to understand how a fundamentally random search among an extremely high number of possibilities could result in the emergence of living beings with their evident level of complexity. As we understand it today, evolution cannot be conceived as having random variations as its sole material. Organisms vary as a whole; huge numbers of mutations would hence be required to occur simultaneously, in the appropriate way, when their “need” arose and with a close links among them... How could all this be fulfilled by chance? The same could be said of the formation of any of the complex organs, for example, the internal ear or the brain. A classic problem has been the difficulty in explaining intermediate forms in the development of complex adaptations, as in the case of the eyes. Darwin himself confessed that it was absurd to imagine that the eye could have evolved by natural selection.
Darwin's original idea about new species emerging gradually at the initiative of natural selection along the course of time is currently being questioned. The simple principle of natural selection seems inadequate to understand and predict all evolutionary processes. Spontaneous mutations may explain variations within a certain species, but not the subsequent variations among them.
Long before Mendel's laws were known, many varieties of plants and breeds of domestic animals were already being developed by means of selective breeding. There is no reason to doubt that a similar development of breeds and varieties may arise in Nature under the influence of natural selection instead of artificial selection. The mechanisms of microevolutionsmall evolutionary changes consisting in minor disturbances in genetic proportions, the number of chromosomes or chromosomal abnormalitiesmay be explained by the Neodarwinian theory as a function of random mutations , Mendelian genetics and natural selection. However, this mechanistic scheme, which may be valid at a small scalein a given species, encounters countless problems when trying to explain the origin of new speciesknown as “speciation”and even greater difficulties when faced with the emergence of genus, families or higher taxonomic divisions. Macroevolution or typogenesisthe evolution of these higher-order taxonomic categoriesshow far too pronounced differences among divisions to have arisen from gradual transformations. The conclusion seems to be that the laws that govern large-scale processessuch as the origin of new types or the extinction of speciesare different to those ruling the simple processes of adaptation to the environmental. Thus, the reductionist expectations of “macro” scale processes being immediately inferable from the “micro” scale are fully refuted. In the words of C.H. Waddington: “one of the most fundamental problems of the Theory of Evolution is that of understanding how the evident discontinuities found among the main taxonomic ranks: phylum, family, species, et cetera, have emerged”.
The growing sensation prevails that it is no longer possible to explain speciation simply by natural selection. Some have even asserted that natural selection does not in fact have anything to do with the emergence of new species. In recent years, the gradualist conception of evolution has been seen to be responsible for only a small part of evolutionary change. Furthermore, deepest changes in the biological evolution have been seen to take place in specific moments of the history of groups, occurring in a very rapid manner and giving rise to stable species that suffer very few subsequent variations.
Fossil records mainly consist in thick layers of earth in which some species are evenly distributed, separated by thin surfaces through which species suddenly change in a process of multiple speciation. Many paleontologists think that this intermittent history shown by fossils should not be attributed to simple gaps in the record, but that it basically demonstrates the rhythm with which life has evolved. Therefore, many of them have started to dispute the classical conception of the tempo of evolution. The Darwinian version of a slow, continuous and gradual process has given way to the interpretation characterized by discontinuous, sudden leaps and changes. There is hence an evident renaissance of the idea of vigorous, sudden and energetic speciation, versus calm gradation, strongly giving rise to the perception that fossil records contain much more information than what might be imagined via natural selection alone. This is due to the emergence of non-predictable patterns thanks to our present knowledge about small-scale populations and processes.
In 1972, S. J. Gould and N. Eldredge published a seminal paper in which they demonstrated that nature progresses by sudden leaps and profound transformations and not through small adaptations. According to the theory of punctuated equilibria, evolutionary leaps are relatively sudden processes; speciation stops for long periods in which existing species persist without fundamental variations and without creating new species (stasis). While a species persists, it remains relatively invariable; its legacy of genetic information is transmitted without major changes to the following generations. At some point, however, this stasis is suddenly broken and an evolutionary leap forward takes place. As Gould puts it, “the history of any one part of the earth, like the life of a soldier, consists of long periods of boredom and short periods of terror”.
However, the synthetic theory has difficulties in explaining not only the sudden changes in species, but also the long periods of stasis. Therefore, some researchers have begun to seek possible explanations for the sudden emergences of new speciesanalyzing changes in the rhythm of embryonic processes that may produce major effects in adult organismsas well as the surprising stages of stasisstudying the possibility that the genetic or biological development of organisms may permit no more than the monitoring of certain morphological routes. In that case, once the species has found a good solution to environmental problems, it will adhere to it by means of numerous changes and secondary genetic disturbances, not changing again until it has achieved a suitable stable solution for the future. Specialists in macroevolution make other provocative observations about fossil records that are difficult to explain from simple Neodarwinian postulates. For example, the fact that the simpler an organism is, the longer its period of permanence period, or the fact that complete diversity seems to be closer to a stationary state (or stasis), i.e. the tree of life has stopped sprouting branches and has reached a certain equilibrium, or the ever present puzzle that practically all of the animal phylatypes of animalshave emerged precisely among the earliest remains of the Cambric explosion, 530 million years ago, or the evident growth in complexity of organisms throughout evolution.
A new and fascinating paradigm is beginning to emerge. The paradigm of the creative universe that recognizes the surprisingly innovative and progressive nature of universal dynamics.
Classical science tried to explain the novel events of evolution as mere products of whimsical chance, happenstances that go against the tide in an absurd universe fatally doomed to total chaos. It was said that the emergence of life and mind was only a virtually impossible, odd anecdote in a world of inert and inanimate material.
It is also curious how a theory such as that of natural selection, which aims to clarify the origin of the species, offers no explanationas Darwin himself admitted on several occasionsfor the phenomena of the increase in complexity, which is the essential feature of evolution. According to J. Maynard Smithone of the main theorists of Evolutionism: “There is nothing in Neodarwinism which enables us to predict a long-term increase in complexity”. In other words, natural selection does not imply any directionality in time. Moreover, observing the overall picture of evolution, we can perceive a characteristic arrow in the process with pristine clarity: over time, living beings have mostly proceeded from a simple structure to a more complex one, their psyche and their autonomy increasing in parallel to this process. Paleontological documents clearly reveal the major currents of increasing complexity in structures and relational functions, as well as the simultaneous advancement of the capacity of such organisms to capture and process information from the environment. All this has led many researchers to propose alternative or complementary theories that attempt to explain the observed phenomena.
As previously stated, science is starting to understand that, simultaneous to the process of growth in homogeneity and positive entropychaosperceived in the universe, the reverse phenomena occurs with the same naturalness, i.e. the progressive increase in heterogeneity and negative entropy. The latter is a mathematical counterpart of the concept of information which may be considered as a new measure for order and organization. Contrary to classic thermodynamics, which aimed to reduce the processes of self-organization to mere accidental events, to simple insignificant anecdotes, today's thermodynamics of disequilibrium allows us to understand the progressive and accelerated evolution of living beings and our own human history as something more than mere strange accidents in cosmic evolution.
Up until the 1970s, researches tended to hold the conceptionpresented in the most expressive way by Jacques Monodthat evolution acts mainly due to causal factors. In the 1980s, however, many scientists started to be convinced that evolution is not an accident, but a necessary event that occurs when certain parametrical conditions are fulfilled. Laboratory experiments and quantitative formulations confirm the non-accidental character of the evolutionary processes. It is beginning to be evident that the continuous deployment of the organized complexity of the universe, its intrinsic sporadic capacity for sporadic self-organization constitutes a fundamental and profoundly mysterious property of reality. A new and fascinating paradigm is beginning to emerge, that of a creative universe, one that recognizes the surprisingly innovative and progressive nature of universal dynamics. There is much talk of the crazy organizing frenzy of matter, of the animated evolutionary ghost that starts to appear in our worldview, of the strange self-organizing capacity of nature, of its mysterious tendency to ascend the steps of complexity, those of the autopoietic dynamicsself-creationof the whole universe.
The new sciences of evolution thus perceive a new harmonious and natural coherence throughout the creative universal process from the mere originating instant. They deny that the random factor is the only explicative argument of novel phenomena and they claim that the old theory does not explain the surprising emergence of increasing complexity at all. On the contrary, they advocate the non-accidental character of evolutionary processes and provide numerous proofs that all dynamical systems, at different levels of reality, develop similar creative patterns. The new approaches show how any dynamic system far from a state of equilibrium may leave its permanent state when some of its environmental parameters change. In these situations, systems may spontaneously reach new states of equilibrium of greater complexity subsequent to a chaotic and indeterminate phase. The overall course of evolution thus looks like stairs in which horizontal steps alternate, almost without changes, with abrupt leaps in level.
Both within theoretical or empirical works and in hard or soft sciences, the aim is to understand the innate creative tendency of nature; the surprising patterns of organization in which the game of chance is channeled. We hear about: dynamic attractors, morphogenetic fields, archetypal channels, implicate orders, fractal structuresself-similar, and also stratified stabilities. It now seems evident that creativity cannot be reduced to a mere random product, but rather to the holistic intervention of unified fields that may explain both the overall totality of creative phenomena and their quality of instantaneity. The implacable integrity of these fields would also explain their capacity to organize diverse and independent elements in a harmonious way by means of a unique momentum.
Our hypothesis about the rhythm of evolution contributes novel features to this research and may also offer a line of work full of pleasant surprises.
A harmonious solution
We were saying that the supposed solidity of matter, upon which the world was supposedly raised, has faded away before the gaze of New Science into pure forms and relationships within an abstract, insubstantial fabric. Thus, the ancient dispute between several Greeks schools arises once again in our time. While for Ionic philosophers the most important issue consisted in discovering the corporeal substance of the world, for the Platonic and Pythagorean schools the key was to be found in patterns and orders. The science of today essentially moves along this second line of thought.
The most fundamental statement of the Pythagoreans was that numbers constitute the unmovable principle of the world; the very essence of reality. When they discovered that the proportions among musical harmonics could be expressed in a simple and exact form, they considered that the cosmos itself was a harmonious system of numerical reasoning: all reality could be expressed by means of relationships among numbers. According to the Pythagorean's, the inherent numerical order of sounds was directly related with the very organization of the universe. For them, music was therefore nothing other than the expression of the inner relationships of the cosmos. They even affirmed that all material manifestation was the result of the concert of universal vibrations.
At the beginning of 20th century, physicists were confused on discovering that, far from presenting itself as predicted as a continuous flow, the energy emitted or absorbed by atoms presents itself in a quantifiable way, in very precise packages,. For several decades, they tried to explain this strange phenomenon by seeking a sound new mathematical theory for the atom that would generate these quantum numbers in a natural way. The solution arrived with the proposition of the similarity between the world of electrons and that of musical harmonicsstanding waves, thereby happily giving rise to the surprisingly precise wave equation as the fundamental piece of revolutionary Quantum Physics. It thus seems that we are literally made of music, that we are pure abstract relationships in an unsubstantial reality, the acoustic appearance of the quantum void, the silent music and the sonorous solitude that amazed our mystics so much.
Standing waves are known by anyone that has played a musical instrument. The main feature of these waves is that they divide the vibrating elementstring, tube or hoopinto completely equal sections. A guitar string, for example, cannot vibrate randomlydue to the fact that it has fixed ends and therefore has to vibrate in such a way that its ends remain motionless. This is what limits its possible variations and introduces whole numbers. The string can undulate as a whole (see Fig. 1-A), in two parts (see Fig. 1-B,), in three (see Fig. 1-C), in four, or in some other whole number of equal parts, but it cannot vibrate, for example, in three and a half parts or in five and a quarter.
In music theory, these successive standing waves are called “harmonic sounds” or “harmonics”. The unlimited series of these harmonics, originating from the “fundamental sound” of the complete original unity, define the varying degrees of the sonorous vibrations very precisely, i.e. the entire hierarchy of the levels of stability of the flow of music.
We thus see that both in the microscopic world of Quantum Physics and in the macroscopic reality of musical instruments, the “energies”vibrationsdo not occur continuously, but in a quantified way according to a hierarchy of standing waves. At any level of reality, a vibrating elementatoms or guitar stringsintrinsically possesses very precise potential levels within which the flows of energy are stabilized.
We stated previously that the new science considers the universe in a holistic way; in other words, that it perceives nature as an integrated wholeness, as a non-fragmented, undivided overall movement. We have also seen how the evolutionary dynamics of this unified universe displays its novelties in a discontinuous manner; just as the deepest transformations of evolution come about suddenly and abruptly. This generates a progressively more complex and more inclusive hierarchy of organization levels. We find, once again, a vibrating elementthe evolving universethat channels its energy flow in a highly defined series of levels of stability. Like atoms. Like musical instruments.
Both in the world of atomic physics as in the world of music, the secret of their sudden leaps and discontinuities in sound was revealed thanks to standing waves and musical harmonics. Could not the same occur in the field of evolution? Does it not sound very coherent that this unified universe that we are starting to discover generates similar creative patterns at its different levels of organization? Does it not therefore sound appealing that the sudden evolutionary changes in the history of the universe respond precisely to these same standing waves that are the explanatory key of both the subatomic and musical world? This has been the basic intuition that has given rise to our hypothesis regarding the rhythm of evolution which we will now summarize below.
Presentation of the hypothesis
A new theory has recently been posited regarding a unique process that explains hierarchically ordered diversity without any recourse to reductionism. This theory suggests, as a general cosmologic principle, the concept of the “stratified stability of potential levels” as the key to understanding the evolution of systems in disequilibrium. It basically suggests the existence of specific levels of stability around which energy streams gather and are organized, thereby permitting the subsequent and sudden upward leaps toward new layers or levels of progressively greater complexity. Our hypothesis constitutes a very precise specification in this appealing approach. Let us examine it in greater detail.
Taking the example once again of the guitar string, let us imagine that the guitar is tuned to Cthe fundamental sound. If we make half of its length vibratethe first harmonic, we will obtain the same original note in a higher octave. If we induce the vibration in a third of the stringthe second harmonicwe will get a different note, which in this case will be G. This means that a tonal novelty emerges with the second harmonic. Taking the new note as a fundamental sound, we can likewise iterate the experience as many times as we wish and we will always obtain successive scaled sound novelties with each second harmonic. Thus, when we induce the vibration of a third of the length of the string, a creative leap will appear and with a third of the third, another one, and with a third of the third of the third, another new one, and so on. This simple fact provides the key to our hypothesis. The proposal is very simple: considering the totality of time as a vibratory elementsee Figs. 2, the consecutive linked second harmonics, i.e. the successive thirds of the duration, will mark the emergence of evolutionary novelties. In other words, the second harmonics will define the “potential levels of stratified stability” through which nature's creativity channels itself or the steps in the ladder of evolution through which the energy streams flow in their ascending process of creation of progressively more complex and conscious organisms. Figs. 2 show the overall process in graphic form. If we take the entire course of timefrom the “origin” to the “end”as the fundamental sound, we have sketched the consecutive leaps in level in both directions: in Fig. 2-B, the section from the origin to the second node “P” of exteriorization, called the “exit” or “outwards” section; and in Fig. 2-A, the section from that same second node until the endthe “return” or “inwards” section. Fig. 2-C shows the joint trajectory, the overall ladder of evolution.
Summarizing our approach, we could say that, just like when a musical instrument emits a specific note, a wide range of its harmonics sound simultaneously, the universe as a whole likewise has, from its first original vibratory instant, a complete potential hierarchy of standing waves through which its creative flows can ascend. According to our scheme, starting out from the precise vibration that gave rise to the origin to the universe, the universal process commenced with a vertiginous explosion of creativity and leaps in level, gradually slowing down its rhythm on its ascending path toward a specific layer of the spectrum“the fundamental sound”, and from there on starts to progressively accelerate the rhythm of its leaps in novelty once again. And so on along the ascending path towards an unstoppable one-time vibration bringing infinite creativity to an end. Later on, we shall consider the profound meaning of these surprising poles: origin and endAlpha & Omega, as it is precisely there where we shall find the key to many of our questions.
Finally, in order to provide a coherent and ordered framework for our musical proposal of evolutionary rhythms, we shall now present another observation. As stated earlier, if we tune a guitar string to C, its second harmonic1/3 of its lengthwill be a G. Similarly, the second harmonic of this G will be a D. And that of this D will be an A. If we repeat the same operation indefinitely, over and over again, we will obtain a chain of soundsC, G, D, A, E, B, F#, C#, G#..., that exactly reproduce the order of the “sharp tones”. If we consider each note in this chain to constitute the characteristic sound of a determined “cycle”, we will thus obtain, with each 1/3 of the duration, a completely new sound and therefore a “leap in cycle”. Figure 3-A presents the successive fundamental sounds with their corresponding harmonics, while Fig. 3-B shows the order in which these sounds emerge, without taking in account the scale at which they appear. As we can see, after every seven cycles, the same series of notes is repeated in a higher semi-tone. We shall therefore use the term “series” to refer to each one of the subsequent groups of seven cycles that keep on appearing, and “series leap” to refer to the transitions between them.
Our entire hypothesis of evolutionary rhythms can be reduced to what we have just presented. Just that. As simple as that: a "cyclic leap" appears with each third of the duration, and after seven cyclic leaps a "series leap" appears. It is truly amazing for such a simple scheme to provide such adjustment good fit to the all the key steps of evolution, both in the global macrocosmpaleontological, anthropological and historicalas in the human microcosmembryological and psychological. I am certain, dear reader, that after examining the test of the hypothesis that we are about to carry out below, you will be convinced that there is, in fact, some hidden secret and you will be even more surprised that no one has recognized this evident, clamorous scheduled rhythm of events. One cannot see the woods for the trees. Get ready!
Verification of the hypothesis in the macrocosm
After having introduced our theoretical framework of rhythms of “cycles” and “series”, we shall now test whether such a “periodic table” fits the data that science presently offers.
Before starting, we would like to point out that the graphs we shall be using are of two types: rectilinearFig. 4-A, in which you will see the evolutionary ladder corresponding to each series; and circularFig. 4-B, in which each cycle is detailed independently. This will enable us to observe the multiple correspondences among the two. However, let us not forget that they are simply two different ways of expressing the same data.
According to our proposal, at the origin of each cycle emerges the seed of its own characteristic “sound”, around the first node it starts to be drawn and close to the second node it manifests completely, a leap in cycle then occurring.
For enthusiasts of the new evolutionary sciences, we would say that these second nodes of each cycle correspond to moments of the “chaos”, “creative unbalance” (I. Prigogine) or “beneficial catastrophes” (R. Thom), in which leaps in level or “bifurcations” occur. At these points, the “attractors” defining the previously expressed pattern disappear and those that define a new state subsequently appear “out of the blue”. Abruptly, the fundamental sound changes to its second harmonic.
Knowing that each cycle has a duration of 1/3 with respect to the previous one and that each series of seven cycles is therefore 37 times shorter than the previous one, it suffices to know the dates of some key events in the history of evolution to start “focusing” our theoretical framework on actual facts.
We know that the Big Bang, the seed of the universe, started some 13,500 million years ago, that following the formation of the Earth organic macromolecules, the seed of life, appeared more than 4.500 million years ago (1/3 of the duration of the universe) and that the emergence of the first human beingHomo habilis, the seed of self-awareness, occurred little more than 2 million years ago (a period in time 37 times shorter than that of all life).
Placing the Big Bang, then, as the origin of the overall course of evolution and the formation of the Earth as the second node of this course, we shall callas in Fig. 2-Cthe path travelled between both pointsfrom the potential energy of the original void to the formation of complex materialthe “exit” process and the entire evolutionary unfolding of all life from then on the “return” process.
We shall now examine precisely this “return” section in greater detail. However, before doing so, we would like to remember the reader that one of the fundamental problems of the classic theory of evolution consists in explaining the marked discontinuities observed between the main taxonomic groups. Our scheme of rhythms, on the other hand, specifically marks the emerging moments of the subsequent taxonomical degrees of the phylogenetic process of human beings with extreme accuracy: Kingdom: Animal, in the first cycle, Phylum: Chordate, in the second cycle, Class: Mammal, in the third cycle, Order: Primate, in the fourth cycle, (Superfamily: Hominoid, in the fifth cycle), Family: Hominid in the sixth cycle; and finally Genus: Homo, in the seventh cycle!!! Let us look into this in detail step by step. I suggest that the reader switches between looking at Figs. 5 & 6 and reading the text.
The first cycle (A-1) of the return evolutionary process begins in the precise moment of the emergence of organic macromolecules, after the formation of the Earth and the rest of our solar system. In the course of evolution approached the first node (approx. 3.000 million years ago), prokaryotic cellscells without a nucleusbegan to form, the same occurring with eukaryotic cellscells with nucleuson approaching the second node (approx. 1.500 million years ago). It is precisely then when the first of the aforementioned major taxonomic bifurcations takes place, between the Plant and Animal Kingdoms, with the emergence of differentiation between autotrophic eukaryotic cells with cellulosic cell walls, many of which contained chlorophyllplants, and heterotrophic eukaryotic cells with only a fine plasmatic membrane never containing chlorophyllanimals. There is then a leap in cycle.
The second cycle (A-2) then starts with the formation of eukaryotic cells. The first multi-cellular organisms begin to emerge around the first node (approx. 1,000 million years ago), developing their integration at the beginning of the Primary Era with the rapid expansion of marine invertebrates, giving rise to the first vertebratesfishwhen reaching the second node (approx. 500 million years ago). It is exactly in the ascent towards this second nodeas foreseen by our scheme of evolutionary rhythmswhen the explosive and surprising appearance of all the animal Filatypestakes place, with our chordate ancestors last of all, giving rise to the first vertebrate fish. New change in cycle.
We would like to point out here that classical paleontologists, when analyzing the fossil remains in the consecutive layers of sedimentary rocks, found some clearly delineated borders in which there existed a sudden change in the nature of the actual fossils. Based on such findings, they established the major Eras in Earth's History: the Primary Era or Paleozoic; the Secondary or Mesozoic; and the Tertiary or Cenozoic. Progressive oxygenation of Earth's atmosphere during the Precambrian period led to the death of many organisms. At the same time, however, it enabled others to use this new energy source to develop suddenly, in novel and diversified ways at the beginning of the Primary Era, during the so-called “Cambrian explosion” or “zoological Big Bang”. This Primary Era ended with the massive extinction of the Permian period, in which almost 95% of all existing species were annihilated. This fact facilitated the major expansion of reptiles and the emergence of primitive mammals at the beginning of the Secondary Era. This Secondary Era also ended with the major extinction of the Cretaceous Period, which led to the disappearance of dinosaurs and permitted the great expansion of the modern placentals at the start of the Tertiary Era. These three expansive processes, with which the three major Eras of Earth history begin, occurof course!as the course of evolution approaches the second nodes in cycles A-2, A-3, A-4, respectively. Let us continue.
Referring back to the description of these cycles, we will say that the third (A-3) starts, as we saw previously, with the formation of the first vertebrate fish. On the path toward the first node (approx. 330 million year ago), we find that amphibians start to conquer dry land, an undertaking which, with the beginning of the Secondary Era, was finally completed by reptiles in their peak of development as the course of evolution approached the second node (approx. 165 million years ago). During the same period, primitive mammals started to emerge whichprecisely!constitute the third basic taxonomic bifurcationClassof human phylogeny. Change in cycle. The fourth cycle (A-4), which starts with the appearance of mammals, has its first node (approx. 110 million years ago) at the moment when primitive placentalsinsectivorousappeared, which developed in a radiant and explosive way at the start of the Tertiary Era with the modern placentalspro-simianson approaching the second node (approx. 54 million years ago). It isonce more!during the ascent towards the second node when the appearance of the primate Order takes place, defining a new basic level in our phylogenic journey. Leap in cycle.
The fifth cycle (A-5), which commences with the deployment of modern placental mammals, has its first node (36 million years ago) when actual monkeysaegyptopithecusappear. These were to develop when evolution approached the second node (18 million years ago) with the emergence of hominoidsdryopithecus, which constitute the Superfamily of human phylogeny. Yet another change in cycle.
The sixth cycle (A-6) starts with hominoids, having its first node (12 million years ago) when pre-hominidsramapithecusappear and its second node (6 million years ago) with the emergence of hominidsardipithecus ramidusIt is precisely in this period of ascent towards the second node when a new basic level of our phylogeny is createdthe Family of hominids, which separates us from our closest relatives, the Pongids.
The seventh cycle (A-7) thus begins with the appearance of hominids. In the approach to its first node (4 million years ago), we find Australopithecus anamensis, which already showed biped locomotion, while on the ascent toward the second node (2 million years ago) Homo habilis comes into play, who starts to make rustic stone tools and inaugurates the category of Genushomoin our own phylogeny.
We have now travelled through the course of the first series (A) of our pattern of rhythms, and as stated, with the arrival of the second nodes in each cycleseven in allthe totality of all the basic taxonomic levels of our species have appeared one after the other. That is, we have discovered that the major successive somatic transformations that our ancestors experienced. However, evolution continues unfolding and we shall now present a new series (B), which will reveal step-by-step the different stages that human beings have already covered in their way to modernity. Moreover, starting out from the generally accepted system in international archaeology proposed by Grahame Clark, we shall see how the successive Stone Age industries developed by our ancestors display the rhythm of our cycles precisely. Thus, “technical mode 1” (Oldowan) and its very long transition to mature Acheulean are developed in our cycle B-1; “technical mode 2” (full Acheulean), in our cycle B-2; “technical mode 3” (Mousterian), in our cycle B-3; “technical mode 4” (upper Palaeolithic), in our cycle B-4; and “technical mode 5” (Mesolithic), in our cycle B-5. As can be seen, the avalanche of linked “coincidences” continues!
We wish to make a brief parenthesis here to recognize that the accelerated pattern we observe in the generation of successive Stone Age modes was highlighted some time ago by French geologist André de Cayeux. In an article entitled Quelle courbe suit l'Humanite?, he drew a graph that clearly revealed the “rapid acceleration” of the evolutionary process of human beings. The stages he proposed were precisely “initial lithic culture”, “Acheulean”, “Mousterian”, “Aurignacian”, “Mesolithic”, “Age of Metals”, “Age of Machinism” and “Atomic Age”, in almost complete harmony with the cycles of our hypothesis.
Returning now to the testing of our hypothesis, we began the second series with the first cycle (B-1) which starts, as stated, with the presence of Homo habilis. According to the traditional approach, we could say that as we approach the first node (1.3 million years ago), we would encounter the emergence of Homo erectus, who would be the sole leading figure in this cycle with its expansion and development toward the second node (0.6 million years ago). A more recent approach seems to point in another direction as regards our line of ancestors. Homo ergasterone of the first specimens of African Homo erectus, would actually be the one that was to evolve toward Homo antecessor in the ascent towards the second node in this cycle.
The second cycle (B-2) would hence start with the presence of Homo antecessor, who on the ascent towards the first node (0.45 million years ago) was to derive in Europe towards Homo Heidelbergensis and in Africa towards Homo Rhodesiensis, both considered in traditional terminology as archaic Homo sapiens. They were to develop on the path to the second node (0.22 million years ago) in their own respective areas. Change in cycle.
The third cycle (B-3), would then commence with the presence of the two branches of archaic Homo sapiens. In Europe, Homo Heidelbergensis was to evolve towards Homo sapiens Neanderthalensis on approaching the first node (around 150,000 years ago), while in Africa, Homo Rhodesiensis was to evolve towards Homo sapiens idaltu, sometimes known as “protomodern” man because it already has all the characteristics of our species. Both branches were developing a type of Stone Age industry very similar to the one in Mode 3Mousterianon the path towards the second node (around 75,000 years ago). Leap in cycle.
The fourth cycle (B-4) thus commences with the presence of the two branches of Homo sapiens living independently. However, as the course of evolution approaches the first node (around 50,000 years ago), the African species was to migrate toward Europe and, after a period of coexistence, Neanderthal man would end up disappearing, while Homo sapiens sapiens or Cro-Magnon would keep on developing, creating a Mode 4Magdaleniantechnology on the path toward the second node (around 25,000 years ago), a point at which it was now the only species of the genus Homo on Earth. Change in cycle.
We shall make a pause here in our description of the cycles of this series B in order to explain that, from this time on, evolution will not be expressed biologically, that is to say via anatomic and physiological transformations, but rather that the cyclic leaps will basically be expressed through psychological and socio-cultural changes. In order to leave it very clear that the leaps we shall discuss below fit perfectly en bloc to historical data, we reproduce a few paragraphs from Ervin Laszlo's book Evolution: The Grand Synthesis:
“In the span encompassed by Paleolithic societies on the one end and modern information-based societies on the other, an entire succession of societal forms has unfolded. The nomadic tribes of the Paleolithic transformed into the settled villages of the Neolithic; these in turn gave way to archaic empires and to local kingdoms and city-states. The classical empires were followed by medieval princedoms, and these yielded to the rise of nation-states, some with vast colonies. Today the colonies have disappeared, and modern nation-states have spread to the four corners of the world.
With attention to both the technological and the social factors we can perceive a series of dynamic transformations in the development of societies. Nomadic hunting-gathering tribes domesticate plants and animals and transform into settled agrarian-pastoral societies; agrarian-pastoral socieities evolve such technologies as irrigation and crop rotation and transform into agricultural ones; agricultural societies develop handicrafts and simple manufacturing technologies and thus transform into industrial societies; and industrial societies, under the impact of new, mainly information- and communication-oriented technologies, evolve into postindustrial societes.
History's arrow of time does not fly smoothly. Although the historical record is always complex and frequently obscure, it gives good reasons to believe that societies, the same as biological species, do not change at all times and in small increments. Rather, the mode of change appears saltatory and intermittent...”
I suggest, dear reader, that you be prepared for new surprises, because all of these stages proposed by Erwin Lazlowhich match the traditional classification of: Upper Paleolithic, Neolithic, Ancient Times, Middle Ages, Modern Age and Postmodern Age (in which we are really entering nowadays)do fit, with absolute precision, to each and every one of the anticipated cycles of our hypothesis of evolutionary rhythms! Let us verify this.
Remember that we had left our test in the fourth cycle (B-4) of the second series, with the development of Cro-Magnon, a cycle that corresponds to the stage of nomadic tribes of the Upper Paleolithic as well as hunting-gatherer societies.
During the fifth cycle (B-5), which commences with Cro-Magnon, we find near the first node (just over 16,000 years ago) an increase in gathering and the expansion of humanity. This was to lead, close to the second node (just over 8,000 years ago), to a generalization of Neolithic life, with the aforementioned settlements and agro-pastoral mode. A new cycle then commences (around 6,000 years BC).
The sixth cycle (B-6) starts with this Neolithic man. Around the first node (more or less 3,300 years BC), copper metallurgy arose, writing appearedHistory per se. As we approach the second node (550 BC), the so-called “axial age” of the astounding 6th century BC arose. This was the time of pre-Socratic philosophers, Israel's prophets, Buddha, Mahavira, the rishis of the Upanishads, Confucius, Lao Tse and Zaratustra, among others. Between both nodes, archaic empires, kingdoms and state cities developed. In other words, the mode of agricultural life or what is known as the Ancient Times. Change in cycle
The seventh cycle (B-7) of this second series starts with the emergence of philosophic man around 550 BC, who places the mythical thinking of the previous cycle in doubt. As the course of evolution approaches the first node (around the 370 AD), we see the appearance of Patristic philosophy in the Western tradition. This philosophy was fully developed as the second node approached (around the 1295 AD) with Scholastic philosophy. This cycle is the one that has been called the Middle Ages, with all its special features: princedoms and pre-industrial modes of life. With the appearance of Nominalism and the pre-Renaissance, still in this same second node, the abstract and metaphysical rationality of the medieval world was transformed into concrete and empirical rationality of the Modern world. And with the crisis, a new cycle appears. A new series: C.
The first cycle (C-1) of this new series thus commences with the nominalist-scholastic crisis that was to be the seed that germinated autonomously in Western culture, but was eventually to end up transforming the life of all human beings on the planet. Close to the first node (around the year 1600), mechanistic empiricism started to appear, developing to its fullest as the course of evolution approached the second node (around the year 1910) when Positivist Science was at its peak. The features of this cycle coincide with those of the Modern Age, the forming of states and the industrial way of life. At this point, the same crisis of the previous paradigm arose; on this occasion, the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics were the ones that were to stick the knife in the limitations of the mechanistic viewpoint. Change in cycle.
The second cycle (C-2) thus commences with Planck and Einstein and is not to have its first node until 2012. The new Postmodern, environmental, relativistic and pluralistic paradigm is thus in course. You are invited to take part!
If all of the basic steps of Evolution, from the formation of the Earth up to now, have fitted the projected rhythm in our “periodic table” with absolute precision, we may presume that it will keep on doing so in the future. If this is so, an accelerated process of transformations will be experienced over the next two centuries that will dramatically conclude around 2217, in a moment of infinite creativity. Tell your great-great-grandchildren to start getting ready.
Before continuing, we would like to state that the hypothesis being presented here regarding a spiral evolution the rate of which accelerates on the way towards a final pole of attraction was initially inspired by the pioneering proposals of Teilhard de Chardinon “the convergence towards Omega”and Aurobindo Ghoseon “the ascent towards Supermind”, which in their time were considered completely preposterous by the world of official science. In recent decades, however, increasingly more research has been carried out in diverse fields and from different approaches, highlighting evolutionary acceleration and its orientation towards a singularity, findings with which our hypothesis obviously has many points of coincidence.
Let us mention here, for example, among the scholars of “Big History”, Akop P. Nazaretyan, Alexander D. Panov and Graeme D. Snooks and their “Snooks-Panov Vertical” theory, as our hypothesis coincides almost completely with the stages proposed by Panov, as well as with the rate of acceleration of 1/3 proposed by Snooks. We also coincide to a great extent with: the work by Luigi Fontappiè's on the law of “Syntropy”, developed by Ulisse di Corpo and Antonella Vannini; the “Neo-orthogenesis” raised by my recently deceased fellow countryman Juan Luis Doménech Quesada; Carter Vincent Smith's proposal regarding the “Accelerating Evolution of Integral Consciousness”; the “White Hole in Time” described by Peter Russell; John Stewart's “Evolution's Arrow”; Ken Wilber's “Evolutionary Holoarchy”; Steve McIntosh's “Evolution's Purpose”; the “Spiral Dynamics” posited by Clare W. Graves, Don E. Beck and Chris Cowan; the studies by François Meyer and André de Cayeux on the “vertiginous acceleration of evolution and history”; the proposal by Jean Chaline, Laurent Nottale and Pierre Grou regarding “the fractal structure of the tree of life”; Richard L. Coren's “Theory of Cybernetic Evolution”; John M. Smart's “Acceleration Watch”; the “Singularity” of which Ray Kurzweil and the transhumanists speak. Terence McKenna's “Timewave Zero”; and so on... It is clear that the paradigm is shifting, as Carter Phipps summarizes in his book on “Evolutionaries”. Let us continue investigating this.
About the chakras
Up to this point, we have presented our own verification of the hypothesis, basically with the data provided by Western science, which, for four centuries, has painstakingly studied the world of “outer” forms. It may be useful, however, to also take in account the observations that Eastern traditions have made which, for close to three millennia of the world of “inner” forms. Because evolution, as we stated at first, does not only keep on generating progressively more complex, more organized structures of energy and matter, but also keeps on unfolding deeper and more lucid levels of consciousness, simultaneously.
In this regard, the three series of cycles that we have been analyzing so far could be approached as follows. With the emergence of life in cycle A-1, consciousness, which up to this cycle was absorbed in matter, takes an inward leap, being identified with an incipient living organismwith a “subject”that, on perceiving its environment full of “objects”, can act upon it and manipulate it in its own benefit. All of the first A series can be understood as a steady maturation of its capacity to act and perceive. With the emergence of the first human individual, in cycle B-1 of the second series, the conscious subject that already perceived the environment with great precision, takes a new inward leap and starts to perceive itself as an individual separated from the environment. This is the surprising phenomenon of self-awareness, the “original sin” of the biblical story, the expulsion of human beings from the “paradise” of non-awareness. The entire second series concludes with the emergence of rationality in the “axial age” with a new leap toward consciousness, thus enabling the mind to think about itself and the discovery of the magic of self-reflexivity. The new seriesC, that then commences will leadaccording to our hypothesistoward a major evolutionary peak in the year 2217, in which humanity in general will reach the state of “transpersonal witness”. In this state, there will only remain a subtle form of dualism between the observer and that which is observed; a dualism that will finally disintegrate on discovering that boththe observer and the observedare in fact one and the same thing and that they had never actually been separate.
As we stated previously, the Eastern mystic traditions have painstakingly delved into these deeper areas of consciousness, and have described their findings in great detail. Thus, the millenary Psychophysiology of the Hindus and in most especially, the Tantric tradition, has conscientiously studied the energy structures within human being and the universe. They claim that the flow of energypranacirculates through channelsnadisand accumulates in vorticeschakrasconstituting veritable storage batteries, transformers and distributors of this energy. Each one of these chakras is related to a nervous plexus and an endocrine gland. They therefore act as contact points between the physical body and the subtle structures, having specific psychological and spiritual functions. They claim that there are seven chakras distributed between the base of the spinal column and the top of the head and that they differ according to their different sound vibrations and characteristic activities: Muladhara (matter), Svadhistana (life and sex), Manipura (power and desire), Anahata (love), Vishuddha (expression), Ajna (intelligence-mind) and Sahasrara (soul-spirit).
As we can see, Hindu Psychophysiology presents a wide spectrum of seven levels of energy stabilization that manifest in at least three different wrappings: biological, psychological and spiritual. As this evidently sounds very similar to what we have described in our scheme of rhythmsseven cycles in three subsequent series, we shall now investigate whether the characteristics that define each of the chakras have any correspondence with the evolutionary cycles that we have previously described. Should there be considerable points in common between both approaches, we may find that not only the “rhythm” of evolutionary cycles is defined from the beginning, but also the characteristic contentthe “sound”of each one of them! Who mentioned chance?
At the top of Fig. 6, we have noted the complete series of the seven chakras in parallel with series A, B and C of the seven cycles of our hypothesis. In the case of our suspicion of correspondence between both approachesthat of the chakras and that of evolutionary stagesbeing correct, all of the correlative cycles of the different seriesfor example cycles A-5, B-5 and C-5, should develop a common theme. Let us see.
The first chakra, Muladhara, is the basic center and sustainer of life, representing the domain of simple sensations and perceptions that belong to the material and physical world. It is related to the instincts of individual safety and survival, without which no life could exist. Its most characteristic behavior pattern is the simple stimulus and response. All of this perfectly matches unicellular life in our first cycle (A-1), which, let us recall, spans the appearance of organic macromolecules after the formation of the Earth right up to the emergence of eukaryote cells.
The second chakra, Svadhistana, is related to sexuality, the conservation of the species and the propagation of life; relationships between organs now take on significant importance. All of this is evidently in tune with our second cycle (A-2), which commenced with eukaryote cells, generated the first multi-cellular organisms, gave rise to sexual reproduction and deployed all its vital potential following the Cambric explosion the “zoological Big Bang”.
The third chakra, Manipura, is associated with power, will, desire and intentionality; the basic theme of this center is the fight for power, competing, ambition and domination. The third cycle (A-3) of this first series, let us recall, ended with the dominating expansion of the dinosaurs, in utter consonance with this chakra.
The fourth chakra, Anahata, is linked to love, compassion, affection and commitment; here rivalry gives way to cooperation and unconditional service. It is the center of the heart, the motherly instinct. All of this fully links to our A-4 cycle, which commenced with the emergence of primitive mammals and birdsof which it has been said that, because they are the only organisms that take care of their offspring, they are the “inventors” of love and affectivityand ended with the radiant and explosive emergence of modern placental animals, opening the “age of the mammals”.
The fifth chakra, Vishuddha, is the effective center of communication, that of expression and self-projection and creative inspiration. It would match our A-5 cycle, which, let us recall, started with the emergence of the pro-simians, saw the development of the great apes and ended with the anthropoids, which, as is well known, possess a great variety and complexity of the modes of expressionlanguage of gestures, sounds, attitudes, movements, facial mimic, and so on, in clear consonance with this fifth chakra.
The sixth chakra, Ajna, the center of intelligence, of knowledge, of wisdom, corresponds to cycle A-6, which, let us recall, encompasses the anthropoids right up to the emergence of the first hominids. As is widely known, besides human beings, all currently living species that still have the same basic features of that evolutionary stage are the animals with the highest intelligence on the planet, in clear consonance with the chakra we are talking now discussing.
The opening of the seventh and last chakra, Sahasrara, means the full flourishing of spiritual potential. It corresponds to the peak cycle, A-7, of the first series, which started with the emergence of hominids and ended with the appearance of Homo habilis, the first member of our human race, now entering the new area of self-awareness and evidently corresponding to this chakra of the “thousand petals”.
We have thus covered the entire chain of the seven chakras, from Muladharasustaining the material baseto Sahasraradeploying spiritual energyin total the consonance with our series of cycles, from the organic matter of A-1 up to the self-consciousness of A-7! Could it be that chance does not constitute, by any means, the ultimate criterion for understanding the creative dynamics of the evolutionary process? Let us continue with our investigation.
Within the first cycles of the second series, those relating to the most primitive humans, instead of only “checking” the connections with their correlative chakras, we shall simply “suggest” this correspondence. Later on, when applying our hypothesis of rhythms to the human microcosm and on observing the phylogenetic-ontogenetic parallelisms, we shall have more arguments with which to confirm these correspondences.
It is to be expected that in the first cycle (B-1) of the second series, physical self-awareness would gradually deployfirst with Homo habilis and later with Homo erectus (or Homo ergaster), subsequently emerging from merely unconscious fusion with the natural environment. These first human beings would thus have started to perceive their physical body, distinguished from the surrounding environment, and therefore would have been able to act consciously upon it, manipulating it to their own benefittools, mastery of fire, and so on. All this is in consonance with the features of the first chakra, which, as we stated, represents control over the most basic sensations and perceptions pertaining to the material and physical world.
In the second cycle (B-2), archaic Homo sapiens started to become aware of their vital and pranic drives and their motivations would basically revolve around pain-pleasure principles. In that case, this stage would clearly match the “vital” feature of the second chakra.
In the third cycle (B-3), the first H. sapiens will have deployed the “intentional mind” with the emergence of the wide-ranging capacity to create images, which allows the experiencing of prolonged emotions such as anguish and desire. This would be in consonance with the third chakra, which, let us recall, is associated with power, will, desire and intentionality.
The fourth chakra, as we said, is linked to love, compassion, affectivity and commitment. Our fourth cycle (B-4) in this second series spanned the period during which the Neanderthals first and Cro-Magnons later took center stage on the European continent. It is then when the nuclear family was given a boost and human beings start to worry about treating their sicknesses and the future of their dead. It is perhaps in this time when language started to develop, allowing the broadening and intensification of human relationships as well as the appearance of the “group mind”. All of this is clearly in agreement with the “affective” features of the Anahata chakra.
The fifth chakra is associated with communication, psychological expression and creative inspiration, which is fully in consonance with what happened in our cycle B-5, in which modern manHomo sapiens sapiens, deployed all his artistic potential. Poorly developed up until then, Culture exploded in a multitude of facets: in the world of language, in the dazzling and surprising rock art of Altamira and Lascaux, in sculptures such as the Willendorf Venus, in reliefs, in horn and ivory works and so on.
The sixth chakra, as we have already stated, is the center of knowledge, intelligence and wisdom. Our sixth cycle (B-6), let us recall, starts with the appearance of Neolithic culturein which human beings started to understand natural processes and by doing so were able to control and transform them (taming animals, planting seeds and so on), and via the development of civilizations, the discovery of the alphabet and the progressive use of metals, reaches the “axial age”, with the emergence of the first philosophers. Its consonance with the Ajna chakra is clearly evident.
The opening of the seventh chakra, as already mentioned, means the full flourishing of spiritual potential. Our cycle B-7, as we have just seen, starts with the crisis of mythic thinking, as well as with the sudden emergence of the rational thinking in the “axial age”. In Western culture, this process spans Greek philosophy, through Patristic philosophy and up to the Scholastic philosophy at the end of the 13th century. The way of thinking developed in this period was mainly abstract, spiritualized and metaphysical, clearly matching the Sahasrara chakra. Simultaneously, this was also the time of the great sages and humanity's non-dualistic mystics: Buddha, the rishis of the Upanishads, Lao Tse, Chuang-Tse, Jesus de Nazareth, Nagarjuna, Plotinus, Asanga, Bodhidharma, Hui Neng, Shankara, Huang-Po, Padmasambhava, Al-Hallaj, Ibn-Arabi, Dogen, Rumi, Meister Eckhart and the like. None of them “thought” about an external Divinity, but “knew by their own embodiment” that their truthful identity was in fact that Divinity. That is why we believe that, although they were in tune with the Sahasrara chakra, they better resonated with its expression in the following serieswith cycle C-7, in which humanity in general will discover, like all these sages had done before, that matter and spirit, energy and consciousness, object and subject are in fact non-dual polarized expressions of the unique absolute reality: the simple, ever-present Self-evidence. We shall return to this point later.
We have now concluded the second series, and the correspondence with the chain of the chakras has been very clear, from the mere physical awareness of Homo habilis through to the metaphysical rationality of the Scholastic philosopher. We shall therefore continue, testing now our third seriesC, at least in the cycle and peak that we have already covered.
The first cycle (C-1) of the third series started with the emergence of Nominalistic philosophy, which, due to placing emphasis on the specific, led to a crisis in the metaphysical thinking of the Scholastics. It then continued with all the deployment of empirical science and reached a peak with the materialistic Positivism of the 19th century. All this corresponds fully with the characteristics of the first chakra, which represents the physical and material world, as we have seen in previous series.
Allow us now to clarify what we have just been discussing. From the traditional perspective, the materialistic approach is rejected because it is believed to be a step back in relation to metaphysical thinking. However, according to our scheme, modern materialistic empiricism paradoxically represents a step forward in the spiritual process in relation to medieval religious “beliefs”. This is so because while the latter occupied the highest stage in the second seriesB, modern empiricism is situated at the beginning of the third seriesC, which, as it has greater depth and lucidity, is hence more “spiritual”, although its contents may have been only physical so far. In the long term, according to our pattern of rhythms this path will lead not to the “belief” in the world of the Absolute, but rather to “empirical” evidence of our own identity with the Absolute Itself.
As we have just stated, the second cycle (C-2) started with the first years of the 20th century, when the apparently solid mechanistic and materialistic paradigm of the Modern Age started to fracture with the emergence of the Theories of Relativity and Quantum Physics. As opposed to the cold inflexibility, dogmatism and linear logic of the previous cycle, the new approach introduces reticular logic, perspectivism, environmental awareness, indetermination, pluralistic relativism, multiculturalism, respect and care for mother Earth, Gaia and life itself. The Postmodern Age that is starting is clearly in consonance with the second chakra, the focus of which, let us recall, is the conservation and promotion of life.
Summing up: the pattern of rhythms we have proposed fully matches both in rhythm and content, the empirical data from the sciences of Evolution and History. The first sixteen cycles of our “Evolutionary periodic table” coincide with absolute precision with the totality of the stages that have occurred so far. It is obvious that the five remaining cycles of this third seriesC, will also mark the pattern of the accelerating process that will lead humanity towards the great evolutionary Peak in a couple of centuries, around the year 2217. The cycle of “ecological” content in which we are immersed right now, C-2, will reach its zenith within a century, around the year 2114. The following cycle, C-3, the focus of which will be the “desire for realization” will span the period up to 2183. Next, cycle C-4, whose central theme will be “universal love”, will reach its peak at the beginning of the 23rd century, around the year 2205. Cycle C-5, the focus of which will be “creative expression”, will develop through to the year 2213. The “integral wisdom” of cycle C-6 will reach its apogee in the year 2215. Finally, humanity's “spiritual realization” will take place around 2217.
Regarding phylogenetic-ontogenetic parallelism
We start out from the classical idea, present in very different cultures, that the human organism encapsulates everything; it constitutes an individual concentration of the world, a unity that reflects, as in a mirror, the totality of the universe. According to this approach, human development is a rapid recapitulation and integration of all the levels gradually deployed within the evolutionary process of the universe throughout its slow, drawn-out paleontological development.
Haeckel's major contribution to the theory of evolution is what he called “the law of fundamental Biogenetics”, i.e., the parallelism between the growth of the individual embryo and the development of the species to which it belongs: “ontogeny, that is, the growth of an individual, is a short and fast repetition (a recapitulation) of the phylogeny or evolution of the lineage to which the individual belongs”. This means that during the course of individual development, the organism recapitulates its own evolutionary lineage so that the diverse forms which the embryo passes through represent the predecessors of such an organism. Note, however, that this is not a repetition of adult forms of these predecessors; it is their embryonic and developmental stages that are reproduced. This is why organisms which are close in the evolutionary scalethose that had a common descent until very recent periodshave similar embryos in their initial phases of gestation. It is only during the latter stages when differences become evident. In other words, because ontogeny reproduces phylogeny, the embryonic development of historically related animals passes through similar transformative processes which are longer lasting, the closer the degree of kinship. Darwin himself wrote in his Origin of the Species “community in embryonic structure reveals community of descent”.
In 1828, Karl von Baer, the major embryologist of his time, exclaimed, “I have two small embryos both kept in alcohol and I forgot to label them. Now I'm not able to distinguish their genus. They could be lizards, small birds or even mammals”. This is because all embryos from the chordate phylumfish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammalsare almost identical during early developmental stages: zygote, blastula, gastrula, etc. Only subsequently do the special characteristic of class, order, family, genus and species start to appear successively.
Given that embryonic development reveals the ancestry of a species, within classic taxonomyin the classification of living beings, the most reliable criterion for affirming that two species had an immediate common ancestor above and beyond anatomical similarities was the similarity of their ontogenetic pathway. It is for this reason that phylogenic taxonomyalready defined in the 19th century by Haeckel and Sachsstates that the systematic ordering of biological groups represents a schematization of evolutionary stages achieved over the course of time and, indicates the order of appearance of the different organisms that emerged upon the Earth.
It is becoming increasingly clear that evolutionary leaps essentially occur via branching within embryological processes: new pathways of embryonic and larval development separate at some point from the pre-existing ancestral pathways. The innovations responsible for the appearance of new species will thus occur, not only via simple mutation in a small segment of DNA, but through modifications introduced in the process of individual development, i.e., through “heterochronies” or discrepancies in the rhythm of ontogenetic processes. Of special interest within these heterochronies are the processes of “pedomorphosis”the conservation of ancestral juvenile traits by the following ontogenetic stages of offspringand also “neotenia”pedomorphosis produced by retardation of somatic development. Many of these cases of evolution by means of neotenia are well known, ranging from vertebratesconsidered as tunicated neotenic larvaethrough to human beings themselves, as proposed by Stephen Jay Gould on observing the clear similarity between the human adult and the young chimpanzee. Thus, the mechanisms of evolution may be due not only to the gradual selection of individual traits, but by these changes in rhythm given rise to profound anatomic modifications while opening up novel ecological possibilities. These sudden changes would also explain the absence of many “intermediate forms” in the fossil registry as these forms would never actually have existed.
In 1922, Grandjean corrected Haeckel's claim that “ontogeny reproduces phylogeny” and proposed a complementary formulation: “ontogeny does not reproduce phylogeny, it creates it”, thereby suggesting that these branches in the ontogenetic pathway are precisely the ones that generate the novel leaps in phylogenetic pathways. These same approaches from the world of Biology are similarly repeated in the socio-cultural sphere when addressing the issue of whether anthropological development precedes the evolution of institutions, is a consequence of it, or both.
In line with the theory of “internal logic” in historical development, history is conceived as a self-deployment of inherent categories of humanity from the outset. All organicist approaches defend this approach and understand history as the “history of human life”, based on the parallelism between phylogeny and ontogeny. Thus, according to Vico, culture passes through the same phases as the individuals that compose it. Or according to Habermas, the internal logic of the cognitive development of a child serves as an analogy for the self-understanding of communicative rationality throughout human history. Even Marx was also occasionally inclined to work with the theory of internal logic. In the Paris manuscripts, he holds that human beings may only develop the fundamental constitutive elements of the human essence and that progress is thus the unfolding of this essence.
According to our hypothesis, both the phylogenetic, historic or macrocosmic process and the ontogenetic, individual or microcosmic process are both overall or specific expressions of one and the same unique archetype of rhythms that define the dynamics of exit and return in the manifestation of the universe in time. Thus, both individuals and societies are constrained to progressively updating the successive levels of potential stability of the original matrix. Returning to the embryologic issue we were discussing and focusing now on human beings, we have to say that, like other animals, human beings pass through the consecutive embryonic stages characteristic of their phylogeny before developing the physiological traits that verify their condition as humans. Their ontogenetic process then becomes much more similar to that of other species; the more so, the closer they are to their evolutionary scale. In the words of evolutionary scholar Francisco J. Ayala, “the human body is built following the same general scheme as other animal bodies, being more similar to anthropoids, primates, mammals and vertebrates in this descending order”. As we have seen previously, these stages correspond exactly to the four successive cycles of our hypothesis: A-5, A-4, A-3 and A-2.
Similar to the embryological process, the psychological development of human beings seems to recapitulate the successive perspectives displayed by their ancestors. John C. Eccles states that it may be postulated that all the transitions that are produced ontogenetically when passing from the baby to the child and then to the adult are situated precisely within the phylogenic process of human evolution, “the progressive development from the consciousness of the baby to the self-consciousness in the child provides a good model for the emergent evolution of self-consciousness in the hominids”. Likewise, the psychologist Jean Piaget states that the development of thinking in the child shows an intimate conformity with the evolution of consciousness in our species.
Along these same lines, Jung, after recalling Nietzsche words, “in sleeping and dreaming we once again work through the lessons of earlier humanity”, and added, “The supposition is therefore justified that ontogenesis corresponds in psychology to phylogenesis”. Ken Wilber equally states, “the same force that produced human beings from ameobas produces adults from infants. That is, a person's growth, from infancy to adulthood, is simply a microscopic version of cosmic evolution”. He likewise affirms, “Very like the geological formation of the earth, psychological development proceeds, stratum by stratum, level by level, stage by stage, with each successive level superimposed upon its predecessor in such a way that it includes but transcends it.” Ken Wilber also states, “... there is an increasing reacceptance, among developmental structuralists, of the notion of phylogenetic/ontogenetic parallel: Primitive-paleolithic magic is similar in deep structure (not surface structure) to infantile-early childhood preoperational thinking; classic religio-mythic expressions are similar in deep structure to late childhood pre-operational thinking and beginning concrete operative thinking; and modern rational science is top of the hierarchy with adolescent-to-adult formal operative and hypothetico-deductive reasoning.”
According to Wilber, the overall process of psychological evolutionthat is the manner in which cosmic evolution operates in human beingsoccurs in a most significant and coherent way. In each stage, there is a higher-level structureone that is more complex and therefore more unifiedwhich emerges by means of differentiation from the lower-order level that precedes it. This higher-order structure is introduced into consciousness and the self ends up identifying with this emergent structure. As it has differentiated from the preceding structure, the self transcends it and can thus operate on this lower structure using the instruments that the new emerging structure offers.
Ken Wilber denotes by “deep structure” the characteristic manner of any given levela form that materializes all possibilities and limitationsand by “surface structure”, the specific manifestation of deep structure. All deep structures are undifferentiated, folded or enveloped in the unconscious field. The unconscious substratum is almost completely void of surface structures. This is something similar to Jung's idea of the archetypes as “forms without content”. In Jung's words, an archetype (deep structure) “is determined as to its content (surface structure) only when it has become conscious and is therefore filled with the material of conscious experience”. We all inherit the same essential deep structures, but each of us learns our own individual surface structures.
According to Ken Wilber, the fetus has fundamental ground unconscious, “In essence, it is all the deep structures existing as potentials ready to emerge, via remembrance, a some future point.” All deep structures are included or related to ground unconscious: the “archaic unconsciousness” is the past of humanity and the “emerging unconsciousness” is the future. Given that the higher structures embrace the lower ones, the higher ones have to be the last ones in developing. The transpersonal cannot be realized while the personal has not yet been formed. Developmentor evolutionconsist in a series of hierarchical deployments of deep structures parting from ground unconsciousness, starting from the lowestmatterand ending with the highestconsciousness. Whenand ifthe totality of ground unconscious has emerged, then there will only be consciousness; all is consciousness as the Whole. As Aristotle put it, when the potential has been actualized, the only result is God.
Verification of the hypothesis in the microcosm
Having previously verified the validity of our scheme of rhythms in the evolutionary dynamics of the universethe macrocosm, we shall now see whether this same scheme is also reflected in the developmental process of individual beingsthe microcosm.
Assuming that human beings are in tune with the rhythms of the evolutionary cycles we have previously analyzed, and in the knowledge that, according to the study by Richard M. Bucke, the spontaneous emergence of what he called “cosmic consciousness” takes place around 34 years of age, we shall take cycle C-4, which has a duration of 34.17 years, as the base cycle to proceed with the verification of our hypothesis in the individual development of a fully realized human being.
Applying our overall scheme of rhythmspreviously presented in Fig. 2-Cwe obtain a first approximation to our proposal about this cycle of 34.17 years of duration as shown in Fig. 7-B. This figure shows the full course of a life, which, starting from the moment of engendering, deploys in a progressively drawn-out way to the “exit” sectionor “outward arc” toward the pole of the “ego”, situated around 22 years of agematching Wilber's affirmation that the return process or “inward arc” does not generally start before 21 years of ageand initiates this section of “return”, in a progressively accelerated way now towards the final pole of illumination. In accordance to this scheme, in the “exit” section toward the maturation of “ego” a human being traverses both the complete series Alifeand Bmindof our evolutionary periodic table and undertakes the return section through the C seriessouland the following series in order to achieve full illumination around 34.17 years of age.
Comparing figures 7-A and 7-B, note how the overall macrocosmic and microcosmic patterns of development have identical structures. The only difference between them lies in the level at which pole P is positioned; that is, the pole toward which the “exit” section is oriented in each one of these patterns. In the macrocosm, it is situated at the “series leap” between “matter” and “life”the appearance of organic macromolecules after the formation of the Earth; while in the microcosm, it is situated at the “series leap” between the “mind” and the “soul”the formation of the mature ego.
Attention! Take note of what we are proposing so as to enjoy the “magic” revealed in the following paragraphs. Pay special attention to the extreme simplicity of our proposal. We take, as such, the duration (34.17 years) of cycle C-4. We simply apply to this our overall pattern of rhythms. Then, setting the characteristic of a single point the “mature ego” at pole P (21.92 years), the complete course of a human life is automatically delineated in full, in terms of both the rate of displaying the successive stages it goes through and the specific content of each of these stages. Pure “magic”! If our proposal is correct which we shall soon test, our life will be revealed as a fascinating dance to the beat of the music of the universe. Or, in other words, we will be nothing less than a radiant, condensed expression of the great cosmic symphony.
We shall now verify whether our forecasts fit the data provided by embryologistsfor the intrauterine phaseand developmental psychologistsfor the postnatal phase. We recommend simultaneously consulting Figs. 8 and 9 while reading the text.
We start by verifying the unicellular living phase, which in the macrocosm we called A-1, and which coincided with the emergence of prokaryotes first and then eukaryotes. The 28 days of women's menstrual cycle is governed by a complex mechanism involving diverse organs and substances. During the first part of this 14-day cycle, the follicular maturation takes places, stimulated by the pituitary anterior lobe or gonadotrophic hormones, mainly the FSH. The primordial follicle contains a central cellovogoniathat first becomes a first-order ovocyte with a more robust nucleus and laterafter being excreted during ovulationtransforms into a second-order ovocytewith the corresponding chromatin depletion, rendering it apt for fecundation. The A-1 cycle of our hypothesis, i.e. the one that deploys the unicellular stage in the macrocosm, according to our microcosmic scheme has a duration of precisely 14 days, which coincides exactly with half of the menstrual cycle of follicular maturation until fecundation.
After being fecundated, the ovule starts a period of rapid mitotic divisions in which the zygote passes through stages of 2, 4, 8, etc. cells or blastomeres. The cells continue dividing, first forming a solid ballmorula, which subsequently becomes hollowblastula. The three germinative layers then start to differentiateendoderm, ectoderm and mesodermand the cavity of the body or coeloma is soon formed. The dorsal nervous cord begins as a longitudinal depression that becomes progressively deeper until finally its edges join together, transforming into a tubular nerve cord. A sustaining cordoned-off formation is produced directly below, derived from the mesoderm, called the notochordbackbonethat is common to the chordate phylum as a whole, and from which it receives its name. The entire process takes place from the fecundation of the egg cell through to the third week of pregnancy.
As we have already seen, the characteristic stage of A-2 in the macrocosm is the one that displays multi-cellular organisms through to the formation of the diverse typesphylaof animals, such as chordates. In our scheme for the microcosm, this cycle spans from a little more than three weeks from fecundation, which once again matches the embryologic data fully, not only in content, but also in duration.
The human embryo, as it nears the end of the first month, develops some muscular segments, called miosomas, at each side of the neural tube, which represent the origin of the skeletal muscle system, typical of all vertebrates. From the fourth week on, limbsupper and loweralso start to be formed. At first, they are only small protuberances or mamelons. However, they soon start to grow and, during the sixth week, already constitute small, paddle-shaped expansions that will evolve into hands and feet. Fingers finally develop during the seventh and eight week. During that time, the amnios, which during the first weeks of gestation was a very small vesicle, starts to increase in volume and progressively cover the embryo completely.
Cycle A-3 of our hypothesis started, in the macrocosm, with the first marine vertebratesfishand embraced the progressive conquest of dry land, first with the appearance of limbs in the tetrapodsamphibiansand then with the invention of that smooth, transparent membranethe amnioswhich protects reptile and mammal embryos. In our scheme for the microcosm, this cycle spans from the fourth week to the eighth, once again totally matching embryological data.
At the start of the third month of gestation, the embryo begins to be called the fetusuntil the end of its intrauterine lifeand the placenta begins to be formed. The hormonal functions of the ovary are progressively reduced until being replaced by this organ that acts exclusively from the fourth month onward. Thus, from this moment onward, the oxygen and all the other nutrients that the fetus needs will be absorbed from the mother's blood through the umbilical cord and the placenta, which will maintain the same general structure until the end of the pregnancy. It is also during this time when the typical hair of mammals starts to grow.
As we have seen in the study of the macrocosm, cycle A-4 of our hypothesis embraces the whole development of placental mammals, from the primitive insectivores through to modern primates. According to our scheme of the macrocosm, this cycle deploys itself from the eighth week of pregnancy to the middle of the fourth month. Preciseness is once more present in terms of both content and rhythm.
From the fifth month of gestation on, the processes of the human fetus and those of the pongids continue with similar characteristics; for example, in chimpanzee, the form and size of the head, weight of the brain, position of the fontanelle, hair distribution and so on. As we have already stated, all these traits led S. J. Gould to propose that the appearance of hominids is due to a case of neoteny in our anthropoid ancestors.
The prediction in our scheme of the microcosm is that cycle A-5 displays itself from the middle of the fourth month of pregnancy to the end of the sixth month thus appears more than acceptable. Let us recall that apes developed first in this cycle in the macrocosm, followed by hominoids.
Cycle A-6 would then be the one that develops the specific characteristics of the hominid family. Although there is no longer any other species of this family but Homo sapiens sapiensand therefore we cannot verify the similarities that we propose, there are some indications that point in the right direction. That is, the similarities would be even greater than with the pongids. The key to explaining the gradual differentiation of human beings with respect to our anthropoid relatives lies mainly in the progressive slowing-down of our development, exactly as predicted in the overall pattern we propose. Therefore, although human beings and chimpanzees have more than 99% of structural genes in common and a strong resemblance in our fetal forms, there are small alterations in regulatory genesthose controlling the time of activation and deactivation of structural genes, altering the rhythms in body growth processes and producing relatively major differences in adult formsbrain, hands, legs and so onas well as in behavior. Retarded development and growth have allowed an astounding development of cerebralization in human beings, by prolonging the rapid cerebral growth typical of the fetus until later life. Or, likewise, the lower limbs in human beings, which are similar to those of the great apes at birthit has been said that “babies are primates with short legs”, in our case keep on growing for a long time, while those of our simian relatives, in comparison, remain underdeveloped.
It thus seems that due to this slowing-down of development, the similarities between human neonates and primitive hominoids would be even greater than with respect to simians. Suffice is to state the following: while chimpanzees reach 45% of their cranial capacity at birth and human beings, only the 23%, the australopitecines are in between, around 30%. The duration of this A-6 cycle, according to our scheme of rhythms, extends from the end of the sixth month of gestation until shortly after the ninth month, practically concurring with the time of birth. Or, in other words, when the cycle in which self-consciousness is about to flourish commences, the one that led to the expulsion of hominids from the “paradise” of animal integration with mother nature, the human creature is also expelled from the mother's womb.
After birth, the human baby continues the slowing down of the developmental process, so much so, that it is been said that we spend our first year as an extra-uterine fetus. In fact, we are the only animal that grows more slowly and there is no other animal in which full development takes so long to achieve after birth. Orangutan, gorillas and chimpanzees grow until 11 years of age, while human beings keep on developing until they are 20 years old. This delayed growth is expressed through late maturation and extended infancy. As S. J. Gould states in his book Ontogeny and Phylogeny, this delay has reacted synergically with another two distinctive human traits: intelligenceas the brain increases in size due to the prolongation of the trends of fetal growth, as well as providing a longer period of childhood learningand socializationas family units consolidate by means of increasing care from parents towards children that develop so slowly.
We shall digress briefly so as to make a few comments on the evolution and development of the nervous system.
A few decades ago, the American physician Paul MacLean proposed a thought-provoking model, known as the “triunic brain” or “triune brain”. This model aimed to explain the function of existing traces of evolution in the structure of the human brain. MacLean argued that our skull actually contains three brains: the reptilian, the limbic system and the neocortex, each of which represents a different evolutionary state. They are formed one after another in an overlapping manner, from the inside out, ontogenetically during embryonic and foetal development and phylogenetically during the course of evolution from the first fish to modern man. These three brains are connected to one another, like “three interconnected biological computers”, though each retains its own distinct characteristics.
The R-complex (or reptilian brain), which comprises the brainstem and cerebellum, began to form evolutionarily about 500 million years ago and developed throughout our cycle A-3, after the formation of the nerve cord in the previous cycle. It is basically responsible for the primary vital functions, i.e. basic survival instincts. It is an action-oriented brain, responsible for automatic impulsive behaviour, i.e. fight-or-flight, reacting to direct stimuli, without involving any emotional process.
The limbic system (or paleomammalian brain), which includes the hypothalamus, hippocampus and amygdala, originated over 150 million years ago and evolved throughout our cycle A-4. As a whole, it is the seat of emotions and affective memory. This ability to bring the past into the present encourages learning and facilitates relationships, as evidenced by the evolution of mammals.
The neocortex (or neomammalian brain), formed by the neuronal layer covering the outer area of the brain, began to develop some 60 million years ago and gradually increased in size during in our cycle A-5 and the following. There is a direct relationship between this development of the cerebral cortex and social development: the more complex and organized societies are, the greater the size of the neocortex of its members. The neocortical system is responsible for the higher intellectual processes and is the source of the increasing cognitive abilities of higher primates.
This same evolutionary sequence: brainstem, R-complex, limbic system and neocortex, develops approximately from the inside out, during the embryonic and foetal development of every human being. As already stated, the neural tube begins to form in the 3rd week of gestation and, after it has closed completely, the cephalic end begins to expand substantially past the 4th week, giving rise to the three primary vesicles, from which the entire brain originates. Or, for example, the medulla oblongata (R-complex component), which emerges at the end of the 8th week from the myelencephalon one of the five secondary vesicles, achieves its definitive form around the 20th week of gestation. Or the hippocampus (limbic system component), which has a similar appearance in all mammals, begins to unfold from the 13th week onwards, acquiring the adult form a month and a half later. The cerebral cortex (neocortex) develops later, mainly from the 5th month of pregnancy onward, when the surface of the hemispheres, which until then is almost completely smooth, begins to generate grooves and convolutions during the 6th and 7th months. These features dramatically enhance the surface area of the brain and facilitate the number of connections between neurons.
This parallelism between the phylogenetic and ontogenetic sequences of the development of the nervous system continues even after birth. For instance, there are some neurons known as fusiform neurons responsible for connecting different regions of the brain that are only found in humans and some great apes. It seems that the number of these neurons increased rapidly and dramatically with the emergence of Homo sapiens. Their most thought-provoking aspect, however, is that these cells currently do not exist in new-born babies, but begin to appear within a few months after birth. They then increase significantly in number between one and three years of age, coinciding precisely with our forecasts for the correlative stage for the emergence of H. sapiens in our individual development, as we shall see below.
We close this digression on the evolution of the nervous system here and now continue with the testing of our proposal. We had left off at the movement of birth, after our cycle A-6. From this point on, we shall take as our reference framework the hierarchy of psychological levels so thoroughly presented by Ken Wilber throughout his body of work. Let us see the first of these levels, which, according to our pattern of rhythms should correspond to the transition from cycle A-7 to cycle B-1, as the former involves gestation and is the latter, deployment.
Uroboric-axial body. Shortly after birth, the child's perception begins to float in what is known as the pre-personal “uroboric” kingdom. The uroboros is still collective, archaic and primordially oceanic, but it already possesses some type of self-limitation. When the sensation of the infant self begins its evolution from the pre-personal uroboros to the individual organism, we see the emergence and creation of the organic and bodily self. By the term “axial body”, we are mainly referring to the fact of feeling the physical body as something that differs from the environment. The baby has a physical body at birth, but it does not recognize the axial body until the fourth or sixth month of age. As the self-awareness of the child self begins to be centered and distinguish its individual organism, it also assimilates an ambiguous, yet still undefined threat of extinction. Therefore, simple, brief survival becomes a priority in this stage. Aurobindo calls this level, the “physical” level.
This stage corresponds with cycle A-7 (and B-1), which roughly spans from birth to the middle of the first year and leads to the emergence of the Mulahara chakra, whose main feature is “physical consciousness”. It is also related to the simplest sensations and perceptions of the material world, along with the survival instinct. In the macrocosm, this phase corresponds with the appearance of self-awareness in Homo habilis. The precise correspondence is therefore complete in terms of both rhythm and content.
Pranic Body. Given that a specific organic self begins to emerge, the typical emotions of this self likewise emerge. This basic emotional behavior is called the “pranic level” or “pranic body”. Although emotions are still relatively simple and primitive in this stage, the incipient ego has a certain consciousness of the qualities of pleasure and pain and therefore the search for pleasure and the avoidance of suffering become a strong psychological force in this period. This level is also characterized for being full of an overall, still undifferentiated sexuality. Aurobindo calls this phase “vital consciousness”.
In our hypothesis, this phase corresponds with cycle B-1 (and B-2), which develops between 5.7 months and 1.1 years of age and leads to the emergence of the Svadhistana chakra, whose core feature is “vital and sexual consciousness”. The correspondence is once again absolutely clear. In the macrocosm, this stage corresponds to Homo erectus.
Imaginal body. The emergence of the infant's ability to extensively create images marks a decisive point in the development process. When babies are about to reach the age of two, they are able to imagine objects that are not present with great accuracy. This enables an enormous burgeoning of their emotional life, as images are capable of evoking the same types of emotions and feelings as the actual object or person. Moreover, for the first time, the child may experience prolonged emotions, both of anguishwhich is none other thing than imagined and hence maintained fearand desirewhich is none other than imagined pleasure. The image leads to the satisfying of desires and the lessening of anguish.
In our table of rhythms, this stage corresponds to cycle B-2 (and B-3), which develop between 1.1 and 2.1 years of age and leads towards the emergence of the Manipura chakra, whose main theme has to do with desire and the intentional mind. The accuracy of our scheme is therefore complete.
Social cognition (Symbolic pre-operational mind). Between two and four years of age, the child starts to awaken to symbolic representation. A symbol goes beyond a simple image, because while images represent objects pictorially, symbols do not represent them figuratively, but verbally. The emergence and acquisition of language is, by all odds, the most significant period of the “exit” section in the vital cycle of the individual. Language and emergent abstract thought functions greatly expand the affective and kinesthetic world of the child. Through language, one may anticipate the future, make projects and channel the actions of today towards the future. This enables the onset of the sublimation of emotive-sexual energy, transforming it into more subtle, more complex, fully developed activities. As it moves forward toward cognition and social consciousness, the system of self is faced with the need to belongand lovea social group that is greater than the individual bodily self.
This phase corresponds with cycle B-3 (and B-4) of our hypothesis, which develops between 2.1 and 3.6 years of age and leads to the emergence of the Anahata chakra, whose characteristic feature revolves around “affective life”. The correspondence can once more be seen to be very clear, in terms of both the temporal rhythm and content.
Early ego/personic stage. (Conceptual pre-operational mind). The child starts to transfer its central identity to verbal and mental realms. Usually, between 4 and 7 years of age, the child starts to discover the world and its conceptual representations. A concept is a symbol that not only represents the object or an action, but also a class of objects or actions. Although children still cannot operate or coordinate upon these conceptual representations in this phase, they already have a fairly coherent mental ego which differs from the body, transcends the simple biological world and can hence operate to a certain extent in said biological world as well as in the previous physical world, using the instrument of the simple representative mind. It is the level that Piaget calls “preoperational intuitive”.
In our hypothesis, this stage is equivalent to cycle B-4 (and B-5), which develops between 3.6 and 6 years and leads to the emergence of the Vishudha chakra, whose characteristic theme is “psychological expression”. The correspondence is yet again much more than acceptable.
Mid egoic/personic stage. (Concrete operational mind). The trend pointed out in the previous cycle is consolidated as a whole with the emergencegenerally from the age of 7 years onwardsof what Piaget calls “concrete operational thinking”. That is, the conviction of being able to operate in both the concrete and bodily world by means of concepts. This mental level, which dominates the ego/person mid stage, is not capable of imagining possible or hypothetical relationships, and still cannot operate upon itself. Nevertheless, unlike its predecessorthe representative mind, the concrete operative mind can start to assume the place or role of others. It is also the first structure that can really start to develop regulated operations, such as multiplications, divisions, classifications, the capacity to create hierarchies and so on.
This phase corresponds to cycle B-5 (and B-6) of our table of rhythms, which develops between 5.9 and 9.3 years of age and leads to the emergence of the Ajna chakra, whose central feature is “intellectual life”. The matching is once again very clear.
Advanced ego/personic stage (Formal operational mind). Within the period of adolescence, later ego/person stage, another extraordinary differentiation starts to take place. Basically, the self simply begins to diversify from the concrete thinking process. On doing so, the self can, to a certain extent, transcend this process and thus operate in it. It is not surprising, therefore, that Piaget calls this stage the “formal operational stage”, as it enables one to operate upon one's own concrete thinkingto think about thoughts, or, in other words, to work with formal or linguistic objects as well as with physical or concrete objects. It is the first clearly introspective and self-reflective level, which is able deal with the subjective mind and is capable of imagining possibilities that are not present, at the same time as carrying out hypothetical-deductive or propositional reasoning. Among other things, this enables the individual to adopt different points of view which are plural and universal. This stage starts to emerge around 12 or 13 years of age.
In his book Up from Eden, Ken Wilber divides this “advanced egoic/person” period we are discussing here into three phases: lower (that spans from Old Age to 500 BC), middle (from 500 years BC to 1500 AD) and upper from 1500 to the XX century), all three of which exactly correspond to cycles B-6, B7 and C-1 of our hypothesis.
The lower phase of this stage of “formal operational thinking” corresponds, as we have just stated, in our hypothesis of rhythms to cycles B-6 (and B-7), which develop between 9.3 and 14.3 years of ageexactly coinciding with the emergence of this modality of thinking in the adolescencebringing with it, the emergence of the Sahasrara chakra, whose main feature revolves around “spiritual energy”, which appeared in the “axial age”, in clear consonance with the self-reflective, introspective and subjective capacities of this level. Correspondence is once again very clear.
The middle phase of this stage of “formal operative thinking”, as stated, corresponds in our pattern of rhythms with cycle B-7 (and C-1), which develops between 14.3 and 21.9 years of age and leads to the emergence of the Muladhara chakra, whose central theme is related to the achievement of material objectives in a primordially materialistic world. All this perfectly matches the transition from “idealism”, typical of youth, to “pragmatism”, typical of incipient maturity. It is here whenin line with Wilber's opinionthe “return” route commences.
The upper phase of this stage of “formal operative thinking”which Wilber refers to as the “mature ego”, corresponds, as mentioned, to cycle C-1 (and C-2), which develops between 21.9 and 29.5 years of age and leads to the emergence of the Svadhistana chakra, whose main characteristic is the conservation and spreading of life. All of this is clearly in consonance with the growing ecological sensitivity of this stage of life.
In cycle C-2, between the age of 29.5 and 32, the individual develops what is called the “pluralist mind”, which places emphasis on relationships, dialogue, networking, diversity, multiculturalism, the revitalizing of values relativity, respect and care for life, all of which define, in general, the emerging ecological paradigm. We are thus entering a higher cognitive structure to formal operative thinking. This new level, which has been called “integrative”, “creative synthetic” or “vision-logic”, is not limited to establishing linear relationships, but organizes networks of relationships. This means that, just as the formal operative mind “operates with” the concrete operative mind, the vision-logic mind “operates with” the formal operative mind. The panoramic vision-logic level thus apprehends a massive network of ideas, in addition to its mutual ideas and interrelationships. This structure constitutes the onset of a higher capacity to synthesize, establish connections, establish relationships between truths, coordinate ideas and integrate concepts.
According to our hypothesis, this new cognitive structure will deploy collectively in cycle C-3, which will start to emerge in a century's time, and in individual human beings may flourish around 32 years of age. Verification of all this, as well as the forecasts of successive cycles will have to await future generations. What can be deduced from our periodic table is that around 2217, human beings around the age of 33like Buddha and Christwill be able to attain full spiritual realization at the peak of evolution. At the end of the road, definitive Reality will be revealed, which, far from simply being yet another stage, will surprisingly be revealed to be the very substance of all the transited stage. That is to say, there will not be a new level, but we will perceive that in fact we have never left this total Reality that is, and always has been, our ultimate Identity.
Some final observations
Having tested our hypothesis of developmental and evolutionary rhythms' with both the data referring to the macrocosmpaleontological, anthropological and historicaland with the microcosmembryologic and psychological, and having verified the absolute precision of the forecasts, both in terms of the chronology of the cycles and their contentmatching the hierarchy of the chakras, it is obvious that we cannot talk of “fortuity”. It does not have anything to do with chance, and we can categorically state that there is something fishy going on in Evolution.
From the materialistic paradigm, all of this seems inconceivable. It does not coincide at all with many of the core dogmas of official science. However, the facts are there and it is not possible to ignore the evidence. From this platform, I invite anyone that wishes to do so to seek an explanation to this massive avalanche of closely coordinated chained “coincidences” in diverse fields.
Let us now telegraphically outline our “philosophical” proposal so as to understand the ultimate significance of all that we have discussed so far.
All manifested reality appears, inextricably, in the form of dualities. No form of expression is possible outside this play of the opposites. We cannot find sound without silence, subject without object, inside without outside, and so on. All opposites are mutually dependent and therefore we can understand them as polar manifestations of a reality that transcends them and that is “prior” to this duality itself.
In the various graphs that we have used, for example Fig. 7-A and 7-B, we can see how the course of evolution starts at a pole of maximum energy (and practically no consciousness at all) and ends at another pole of maximum consciousness (and practically null energy). Physicists talk about an infinite potential energy amidst the original quantum void, while sages talk about a clear infinite consciousness in the final mystical void. We propose that these two voids are the same and unique Void, perceived by physicists objectively and by contemplative people subjectively, which in itself, is neither objective nor subjective, but “prior” to that dual perspective. And the most fascinating thing of all is that this Void is not a distant metaphysical reality, but the simple and pure Self-evidence of each and every present moment.
As there is no separation between subject and object in this Self-evidence, it is not possible to see it, because there is not “anything” that could be seen by “someone”, but neither is it “nothing”, because in fact all things in the universeboth objective and subjectiveare mere partial and relative forms of this Self-evidence. And although it is, therefore, unutterable, unexplainable, we may point to It, talking about the empty, self-luminous plenitude.
In order to be able to “see” Self-Evidence, it needs to polarize Itself, at least apparently in subject and object, the same as 0 may become dual in +1 and -1 without changing, other than formally, its absolute value. We say this because our ultimate proposal is that, in order for Self-Evidence to contemplate Itself, it apparently splits in two poles: the original (basically, energy) and the final (basically, consciousness), generating an illusory distance among them which, on vibratinglike the guitar string in our hypothesisgives rise to a whole scale of harmonics, which are precisely the levels of stability that create the evolutionary cycles that we have discussed here which span the entire range, from the most basicof enormous energy and little consciousnessto the highestof little energy and enormous consciousness, that harmoniously channel the so-called game of chance. (Note the parallelism between the hypothesis we are proposing here and “superstring theory”, although the scope of application in our case is not simply reduced to the world of microphysics, but embraces the entire spectrum of reality).
If we see the things from this perspective, the entire avalanche of “coincidences” that we have revealed here, which are totally unacceptable for the materialistic worldview, are shown to be natural manifestations of That-Which-Is. Or the teleological character of evolution, so denigrated by official science, is understood here as the logical expression of the fundamental structure of what is Real. Or the progressive emergence of consciousness, which is often completely forgotten in many branches of sciences, is presented in our non-dualistic approach as a simple appearance of the infinite lucidity of the ever-present Self-Evidence. Is it not time already to change the paradigm?
Fondest regards to all,
A first approach of the hypothesis presented here was published in 1993 by the journal of general evolution World Futures Vol. 36, pp. 31-56, edited by Ervin Lazlo under the title “A hypothesis on the Rhythm of Becoming”.
Three years later, Ed. Kairós edited and published a new corrected and expanded version of the same hypothesis under the title Entre la evolución y la eternidad (Between Evolution and Eternity) in which it emphasized its inclusion in the new sciences of Evolution.
In 2008, Ed. Dilema published another paper entitled Siendo nada, soy todo (Not being anything, I am everything) in which I attempted to study the ultimate implications of the hypothesis from the viewpoint of perennial philosophy and the non-dualistic mystics.
I have recently made some adjustments to the periodic table of our hypothesis that have generated new confirmations of its validity, and therefore we think that it is convenient to offer it to the general public. And here it is... Beyond Darwin.
GOULD, STEPHEN JAY: Ontogenia y filogenia. (Ontogeny and philogeny). Ed. Crítica. Barcelona, 2010.
LASZLO, ERVIN: Evolución: la gran síntesis. (Evolution: the grand synthesis). Ed. Espasa-Calpe. Madrid, 1988.
RUSSELL, PETER: El agujero blanco en el tiempo. (The white hole in time). Ed. Gaia. Madrid, 1992.
SATPREM: Sri Aurobindo o la aventura de la consciencia. Ed. Obelisco. Barcelona, 1984.
WILBER; KEN: El proyecto Atman. (The Atman Project). Ed. Kairós. Barcelona, 1989.
WILBER, KEN: Después del Edén. (Up from Eden). Ed. Kairós. Barcelona, 1995.
Translation: Raquel Torrent Guerrero
Editing: Paul Barnes (May 2015)