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Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
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).
The Hidden Rhythm of Evolution
Addendum 5: Further coincidences (David J. LePoire)
JOSÉ DÍEZ FAIXAT
I have been fortunate to find recently some articles by American software engineer David J. LePoire, in which he investigates the global pattern of evolution, fundamentally in the fields of energy, the environment and technology. Although his starting point and final forecasts differ from my proposal, the coincidences between our respective analyses of the evolutionary process are truly surprising. Therefore, I do not wish to miss the opportunity to include in these pages at least a reference to these suggestive coincidences with LePoire's work.
In the initial abstract of his article Potential nested accelerating returns logistic growth in Big History, Dave states the following:
“The discussions about the trends in rates of change, especially in technology, have led to a range of interpretative models including accelerating rates of change and logistic progress. These models are reviewed and a new model is constructed that can be used to interpret Big History. This interpretation includes the increasing rates of the evolutionary events and phases of life, humans, and civilization. These three phases, previously identified by others, have different information processing mechanisms (genes, brains, and writing). The accelerating returns aspect of the new model replicates the exponential part of the progress as the transitions in these three phases started roughly 5 billion, 5 million, and 5,000 years ago. Each of these three phases might be composed of a further level of about six nested transitions with each transition proceeding faster by a factor of about three with corresponding changes in free energy flow and organization to handle the increased generation rate of entropy from the system. Nested logistic transitions have been observed before, for example in the ongoing exploration of fundamental physics, where the progress so far suggests that the complete transition will include about 7 nested transitions (sets of subfields). The reason for this number of nested transitions within a larger transition is not known, although it may be related to the initial step of understanding a fraction of the full problem.”
In Table 1, LePoire describes, one by one, the different evolutionary stages, defined by the successive changes in energy flows [I indicate in brackets the correspondence with our evolutionary cycles]: Gravitational [Big Bang], Planet/Life [Formation of the Earth], Complex Cells [A-1], Cambrian [A-2], Mammals [A-3], Primates [A-4], Hominids [A-6], Humans [A-7], Speech [B-1], Fire [B-2], Ecoadaptation [B-3], Modern Humans [B-4], Agriculture [B-5], Civilization [B-6], Commercial Revolution [B-7], Scientific/Exploration, Industrial [C-1], Information [C-2]. The parallelism is practically total!
Coinciding with our hypothesis, Dave proposes a temporal contraction factor between the successive evolutionary cycles of 3. He states,
“A time contraction factor of about 3 is similar to time and energy contraction factors found by Snooks (2005) and Bejan and Zane (2012). […] Note that just one time contraction factor was realized from the Big Bang to the beginning of life on Earth.” He then adds, “Alexander Panov (2011) also organized evolutionary history with 19 evolutionary crisis transitions with decreasing duration (by about a factor of 3). This is called the scaling law of evolution.”
In the article Interpreting Big History as Complex Adaptive System Dynamics with Nested Logistic Transitions in Energy Flow and Organization, LePoire represents the global dynamics of evolution by means of the following figure:
In the text he states,
“The overall logistic of the Big History might be viewed as consisting of three spirals on one side of a double cone representing the evolution of life, mind and human civilization [see Figure]. Each spiral would consist of six to seven nested smaller logistic growth phases with time durations decreasing by about a third. The astronomical period before life began (i.e. 13.8 billion to 5 billion years ago) is a factor of three times the duration represented in the cone. This period was driven by gravitation and expansion as the universe's temperature dropped, at first quickly but then slowing down. This can be represented by a cone pointed in the opposite direction. After the inflection point, a reflection in the duration of phases might occur.” The bold lettering is mine].
As can be appreciated, our descriptions of the overall pattern of evolution coincide practically totally. Dave talks about THREE spirals that represent the evolution of life, mind and civilization (recall our three series: “life”, “mind” and “intellect”), with SEVEN stages of smaller logistic growth nested in each one (recall the seven cycles that each of our series encompasses), the temporal duration of each stage being a THIRD of the preceding one (recall the length of 1/3 of our successive second harmonics). Moreover, the astronomical period is THREE times the duration represented by the three turns of the cone (as we have observed in our research). It is fascinating to see how the aforementioned paragraph by Dave is a perfect summary of the hypothesis we are proposing!
Nonetheless, it would also be appropriate here to add that LePoire's interpretation of the direction of the vertex of the evolutionary spiral differs from the one we are proposing in this book. Instead of foreseeing a final singularity of infinite creativity, as we have done, Dave predicts a simple inflection point in the evolutionary pattern, at which the accelerated process of evolution reverses its direction, thus initiating a gradual slowdown in the rhythm of transformations.
In the article An Exploration of Historical Transitions with Simple System Dynamics Models, Dave focuses his research on the six main social and technological transitions of human evolution, i.e. between hunter-gatherers [B-4], agricultural societies [B-5], early civilizations [B-6], market development [B-7], industrialization [C-1] and sustainable societies [C-2]. We have included in brackets the correspondences with our cycles, because, as can be seen, they coincide completely]. He states, “The more recent periods arrive after shorter durations about 1/3 the time between the transitions. This factor of 3 is also an approximation for changes in accelerating periods for both natural biological evolution and cultural human evolution as well as this human historical revolution heavily influenced by technology”.
LePoire interprets the whole series of evolutionary stages as a chain of nested logistic curves (S), and points out, in each one of them, an “inflection point” –or change of curvature– at which the stage begins its decline at the moment of greatest creativity. These “inflection points” coincide precisely with the “second nodes” in each of our cycles, in which, as we have explained, the old paradigm reaches its peak and then starts to decline as the seed of a new model arises. To visualize these coincidences, we will indicate LePoire's proposals below in three specific cases that he cites in his article An Exploration of Historical Transitions:
In the section on “agricultural societies”, he states in the text: “The inflection point was about 9,000 years ago” and Figure 9 clearly illustrates this change of curvature. (Recall that the “second node” of our cycle B-5 took place approximately 8,300 years ago).
In the section on “early civilizations”, he states in the text, “The inflection point of this process occurred at about 600 BCE which is known as the Axial Age”, the corresponding figure clearly illustrating this change of curvature. (Recall that the “second node” of our cycle B-6 took place approximately in the year 550 BCE).
In the section on “industrialization”, he states in the text, “Analysis of a different set of data show the peak in innovation per capita at around 1900” and the corresponding figure clearly illustrates this change of curvature. (Recall that the “second node” of our cycle C-1 took place approximately in the year 1910 AD).
It is truly fascinating that the coincidences between our separate investigations not only refer to the overall list of cycles of evolution and history, but also include minor details such as the specific dates of the “inflection points” between these cycles. It is even more fascinating bearing in mind the different perspectives from which our work has been proposed. We are sure that the reader will be aware of the profound implications of these coincidences.
LePoire, D.J., An Exploration of Historical Transitions with Simple System Dynamics Models. First International Big History Conference, Grand Rapids MI, Aug 2-5, 2012.
LePoire, D.J., Potential nested accelerating returns logistic growth in Big History. In Evolution: From Big Bang to Nanorobots. Edited by: Leonid Grinin and Andrey Korotayev. Volgograd: 'Uchitel' Publishing House, 2015.
LePoire, D.J., Interpreting Big History as Complex Adaptive System Dynamics with Nested Logistic Transitions in Energy Flow and Organization. Emergence: Complexity & Organization, accepted 3/28/2015.