Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Joe CorbettJoe Corbett has been living in Shanghai and Beijing since 2001. He has taught at American and Chinese universities using the AQAL model as an analytical tool in Western Literature, Sociology and Anthropology, Environmental Science, and Communications. He has a BA in Philosophy and Religion as well as an MA in Interdisciplinary Social Science, and did his PhD work on modern and postmodern discourses of self-development, all at public universities in San Francisco and Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at [email protected].


Universal Grammar and Universal Genome

Exploring Shared Features of Structure and Function, with an Afterword

Joe Corbett / ChatGPT

Frank Visser has been publishing a series of essays from chatgpt on a variety of topics. I would like to suggest that this can be especially productive from an integral point of view if we suggest interdisciplinary and integrative syntheses of knowledge for AI to search and put together in its strangely bland, secular, and soulless algorithmic way, and then offer some commentary on what AI has generated in a brief afterword from an integral perspective.

Prompt to ChatGPT:

  • Write a 1500 word essay on how a universal grammar and a universal genome, though distinct, may share some features of structure and function in common for linguistic and biological systems.



The study of language and genetics has long been at the forefront of scientific inquiry, with scholars attempting to unravel the underlying mechanisms that guide both linguistic and biological systems. While Universal Grammar (UG) focuses on the innate linguistic abilities and structures that are shared across all human languages, the Universal Genome (UGe) refers to the common genetic blueprint found in all organisms. This essay aims to explore the potential similarities between these two distinctive yet fundamental concepts, highlighting certain features of structure and function that both UG and UGe may share within linguistic and biological systems.

Innate Knowledge:

One of the crucial aspects uniting UG and UGe is the concept of innate knowledge. UG argues that humans possess an inherent linguistic predisposition, allowing us to acquire language effortlessly. Similarly, UGe proposes that living organisms inherit a genetic repertoire that determines the foundational features and functions of their physiological and behavioral traits. Therefore, both UG and UGe recognize the existence of innate knowledge or predispositions that influence the structure and function of linguistic and biological systems.

Hierarchical Structure:

Another similarity between UG and UGe lies in the hierarchical structure found in both linguistic and biological systems. Language exhibits a hierarchical organization, with smaller units combining to form larger ones (e.g., phonemes to morphemes to words). Likewise, the biological domain demonstrates a hierarchical structure, from sequences of nucleotides to genes to chromosomes and beyond. The existence of this hierarchical organization denotes fundamental patterns and structural features shared by both linguistic and biological systems.


Recursion is a crucial feature observed in both UG and UGe, contributing to their respective systems' complexity and versatility. In linguistics, recursion enables the generation and comprehension of an infinite number of sentences by nesting clauses within clauses, producing a virtually limitless language output. Similarly, in genetics, recursive mechanisms like DNA replication and protein synthesis allow the replication and production of countless copies of genetic material, facilitating the development and evolution of organisms. This shared feature emphasizes the importance of recursion for both linguistic and biological systems.

Variability and Constraints:

Both UG and UGe recognize a delicate balance between variability and constraints. In linguistics, UG suggests that while languages may differ in their surface features, there are universal constraints that limit the possible structures and operations within any language. Similarly, UGe acknowledges variability across organisms, yet within certain boundaries imposed by genetic constraints. This convergence highlights the existence of generic principles that govern both linguistic and biological systems, preventing them from deviating too far from each other.


UG and UGe also share an association with evolutionary processes. Language has evolved over time, with different languages sharing common ancestors. This evolutionary perspective mirrors the notion of common ancestry found within UGe, where organisms are believed to have a shared genetic heritage due to their evolutionary history. Evolutionary principles involving adaptation, mutation, and selection influence linguistic and biological systems, leading to the development of complex structures and functions.


In conclusion, although Universal Grammar (UG) and Universal Genome (UGe) pertain to separate fields of study, they exhibit shared features of structure and function in both linguistic and biological systems. The recognition of innate knowledge, hierarchical organization, recursion, the interplay of variability and constraints, and the influence of evolutionary processes provides evidence for a certain level of similarity between UG and UGe. Understanding these commonalities could potentially aid in the interdisciplinary study of language and genetics, shedding light on the intricate mechanisms that govern human language and biological systems.


In terms of how these features of structure and function in UG and UGe are divided-up and can be made relevant to the AQAL model, the innate knowledge feature seems to fit into the URQ as a form of embodied knowledge, a knowledge that is inherent to the form within which it resides, and assists that form in making decisions or enacting operations that are necessary to its functional existence naturally and effortlessly, as if by some guided process, indeed, even as a ball is guided by gravity in an optimal path as it falls to earth.

The features of hierarchical structure and recursion are aspects of the LRQ, or more specifically the syntactic principles of the successor function and "merge" in Noam Chomsky's theory of UG, which incidently generates the linguistic feature of infinite complexity similar to the kosmic holonic feature of increasingly complex systems made of parts that are themselves wholes, which we see at all scales in the infinitely complex forms of the universe, as if we are bearing witness to the very syntax of the universe itself in bearing witness to the infinite complexity of its holonic structures.

Finally, recursion as well as variability and constraints essentially describe the structural process of Kosmic Dynamics, the essential feature of the AQAL as a complex adaptive system (CAS). As I have explained in my many essays on this topic, this is the process by which the universe manifests itself from moment to moment, as a recursive oscillation between the past space-time memory field, implicate order, or akashic ground-storehouse of morphic fields that constrain the structure of forms in the LLQ, and the variable and subtle quantum field potentials of the future possible forms of things in the ULQ. This oscillation between the past and future possible forms of things is basically the wave function of all forms that manifest in the URQ as physical reality in the here and now.

With a little help from AI gathering and synthesizing knowledge from disparate fields and then applying that knowledge to what we know about the integral model, we can imagine what might be happening at the foundational levels of reality that generate the things AI can then explain to us in summary and matter of fact form.

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