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Elisabet Sahtouris

Thanks, Ursula,


for the prompt to continue. Note that in this continuing quote I suggest that assuming (conceptualizing) the universe as living is more plausible that assuming it to be non-living. I remind you all, that fundamental assumptions are by definition not provable, just plausible. Okay, I quote myself again:


The fundamental assumptions—the ‘self evident truths’ or axioms underlying western science—included the following:


  1. a) that the universe exists objectively (not subjectively) as matter located in three-dimensional space and linear time,
  2. b) that the universe is non-living, describable and measurable in terms of matter and energy,
  3. c) that the universe has linear causal order discoverable through the science of physics, using mathematical models supported by logical reason (including induction and deduction),
  4. d) that the material universe is accidentally assembled from the smallest physical units into larger structures and interactive patterns through the workings of discoverable natural laws,
  5. e) that large structures can be understood by reducing them to their component parts, and
  6. f) that life is a rare and peculiar emergent phenomenon in a non-living universe, possibly restricted to a single planet’s surface and ultimately subject to the laws of physics.


The most fundamental laws of physics were formulated (on the basis of these axiomatic ‘truths’) in contained laboratory experiments and then extrapolated from laboratory to cosmos. They are well known as Newton’s laws, including inertia, energy conservation and entropy—the dissipation of working energy, and with it the disintegration of order, along the “arrow of time.”

Much, of course, has happened in the world of physics since these axioms were formulated and the laws ‘discovered’. Further understanding of light and the broader electromagnetic spectrum, Big Bang theory, Einstein’s equivalence of matter and energy and adjustments to laws of time and motion, the dissolution of hard particles into quantum waves, string theories, multi-dimensional worlds, zero point energy, non-locality have produced many candidates for a Grand Unified Theory, but none has yet been officially accepted. Physicists remain divided about the role of consciousness.

My Assumptions for a more Integral Global Science:

…I propose that it is actually more reasonable to project our life onto the entire universe than our non-living machinery, which is a derivative of life, a truly emerging phenomenon, rather than a fundamental one. I propose that it is possible to create a scientific model of a living universe, and that such a model is not only scientifically justified but can lead to the wisdom required to build a better future for human life on and for our planet Earth as the ancient Greeks intuited it should.


Toward that end, I propose:


  1. The scientific definition of reality should be the collective human experience of self, world and universe as consciously perceived inner and outer worlds seen from individual perspectives. (We have no other legitimate basis for creating cosmic models.)
  2. Consciousness shall be axiomatic for the simple and obvious reason that no human experience can happen outside it.
  3. Formal experiments have as their purpose the creation of publicly shareable models of reality that permit common understanding and prediction where appropriate.
  4. Autopoiesis (continuous self-creation within a cntext) shall be adopted as the core definition of life. Since galaxies, stars, planets, organisms, cells, molecules, atoms and sub-atomic particles all fit this definition, this implies that, using this definition, life is the fundamental process of the cosmos, a self-creating living whole with self-creating living components in co-creative interaction.
  5. Nature shall be conceived in size-scale levels or units of holons in holarchy, with holons defined as relatively self-contained living entities such as those listed in d) and holarchy defining their embeddedness and co-creative interdependence on energy, matter and information exchange. Beginning with these few assumptions and definitions as a conceptual framework for an integral consciousness-based science, we can reassess the past findings of science based on previous models, discover past errors and redesign experiments as necessary. We can also look for new patterns of regularity. (I shall avoid the term laws because of its implication of a lawgiver.) Cosmic autopoiesis—the self-creation of a living universe—promises to become an elegant view of the whole, with essentially the same production and recycling processes at all scalar or fractal levels. The highly complex life forms familiar as “biological” are seen to emerge uniquely at a holarchic level halfway between microcosm and macrocosm. An autopoietic universe is a universe of continual creation. Much evidence has been amassed against Big Bang theory and against the concept of entropy overwhelming the negentropic efforts of life, including the review of such reported by Samanta-Laughton6. The most commonly proposed alternative is a universe in dynamic balance between centrifugal radiation and centripetal gravitation; in terms of autopoietic/biologic systems, the balance between anabolism and catabolism, entropy and syntropy.   With regard to evolution theory, we note that while Darwin’s theory of evolution through competition in scarcity was adopted by the capitalist West, Kropotkin’s theory of evolution through cooperation was adopted by the communist East, clearly indicating the coupling between science and political economy on both sides. In my own view, both theories are half-right and together can make a whole. I have expounded my own syncretic theory in detail11,12 as an amalgamation of the two. The competitive (Darwinian) phase, represented by Type I ‘pioneer’ ecosystem species, is a highly competitive and creative juvenile phase of species that eventually become cooperative (Kropotkinian) in their mature phase, represented by species of Type III ‘climax’ ecosystems. Why? In the simplest version of a complex evolutionary process, because hostile competition becomes too energy costly and the advantages of cooperation lead to change in that direction. The biological fact that fighting or killing your enemy is more energy expensive than feeding or otherwise cooperating needs recognition. From the most ancient bacterial dawn of Earthlife to the present, this lesson has been learned again and again. There is a strong possibility that the human species is now involved in exactly that maturation cycle shift, and a more accurate understanding of evolution in the framework of a scientific co-creative cosmology may do much to help encourage it. This current revolution—this impending paradigm shift—in science is forcing reconsideration of its most fundamental assumptions, that is, of the worldview described above, of the basic beliefs supporting the current scientific model of our universe or cosmos and ourselves within it. Cosmos is defined as “the universe as an orderly construct,” so because I am proposing an orderly model of the universe, I will usually prefer the word cosmos. In eliminating those aspects of the perceived world that are not measurable, western science relegated them variously to subjective, mental, mythological, imaginary, storytelling, fictional, spiritual and other categories identified as unreal. A few aspects of our world, such as taste, smell and electromagnetism were shifted from unreal to real as ways of measuring them were discovered. My model of the cosmos includes all human experience. The goal of this new framework for science is proposed to be a) to model a coherent and self-consistent cosmos as a public reality conforming as much as possible to necessarily private individual realities, and b) to interpret this model for the purpose of orienting humanity within the cosmos and thus permitting it to understand its particular role within the greater cosmos.