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The Big Answer


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At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity

a book by Stuart Kauffman

(our site's book review)

Darwin’s natural selection is not enough, says Kauffman. There are also systems evolving that exhibit spontaneous order, and these act on the natural selection.

Though Marxian dialectical materialism has been proven wrong, Hegel’s dialectical synthesis—which Marx warped and stood on its head for his own misguided purposes—turns out to still have plenty of merit, and dovetails with many good logical methods as well as evolution itself, according to the author. Thesis, antithesis and synthesis is about as close as one can get to describing the evolutionary process as a holistic system, and this includes not just biological and genetic evolution, but political, cultural and historical evolution as well.

Kauffman acknowledges the gains achieved by the reductionistic sciences of the old, mechanistic-reductionistic paradigm, but is eager for the new, ecological-holistic paradigm to move faster
Kauffman acknowledges the gains achieved by the reductionistic sciences of the old, mechanistic-reductionistic paradigm, but is eager for the new, ecological-holistic paradigm to move faster

He acknowledges the gains achieved by the reductionistic sciences of the old, mechanistic-reductionistic paradigm, but is eager for the new, ecological-holistic paradigm to get moving faster to help us answer questions like: “How do we use the information gleaned about the parts to build up a theory of the whole?” This book, which includes chaos theory and complexity theory, asks many of the right questions. And it is said that if you can ask exactly the right question in exactly the right way, you’re already half way to the solution.

Chaos theory studies the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions, an effect which is popularly referred to as the butterfly effect: here a guy is trying to flap the wings of a butterfly to get a hurricane
Chaos theory studies the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions, an effect which is popularly referred to as the butterfly effect: here a guy is trying to flap the wings of a butterfly to get a hurricane

Hopefully, in a few years people like Kauffman will present to the world some of the big systems theory answers that science, the new ecological-holistic paradigm, the biosphere and mankind in general have been needing for some time both to balance out the overemphasis on reductionism and to grasp some of the most critical meta-laws of the universe.