Imagine a planet-wide community of seamless intelligence where you could log on to the mind of a coral reef as easily as you could log on to the Internet.

Terence McKenna

Future of Art



Evolution is the process by which populations of organisms change over generations. It occurs through changes in heritable traits of individuals - that is, characteristics that can be passed on from parent to offspring. Over time, these changes accumulate in a population and can lead to the emergence of new species. Evolution is driven by natural selection, whereby individuals with favorable traits that allow them to better adapt to their environment tend to survive and reproduce at higher rates than those with less favorable traits.

There is an enormous amount of evidence supporting the theory of evolution. Fossil records show that species change over long periods of time and that new species arise while others go extinct. We see evidence of evolution happening today as bacteria evolve resistance to antibiotics and insects adapt to pesticides. Evolutionary biology helps explain similarities we see across all life on Earth, showing us how humans and chimpanzees share a relatively recent common ancestor, for example. Evolution continues shaping the diversity of life to this present day. Ongoing research sheds light on key mechanisms like genetic drift, gene flow between populations, and developmental processes, enriching our understanding of this central theory in biology.


Pierre Teilhard de Chardin   (1945)

A Great Event Foreshadowed

The Planetization of Mankind

Teilhard explores the rise of the masses and the socialization of humanity. He predicts a future Earth where human consciousness evolves to its peak, achieving a maximum of complexity and unity through a process of “planetization,” and argues that collective unity is not a threat but a path to personalization and humanization. As we head towards an interconnected world, he challenges us to embrace a sense of evolution and celebrate our shared destiny. Originally written in Peking during Christmas 1945, later published in the August–September 1946 edition of Cahiers du Monde Nouveau with the title La planétisation humaine.

Terence McKenna   (1993)

A Weekend with Terence McKenna

“Healing the inner elf through trance, dance, and diet”—the session for true McKenna enthusiasts: twelve hours with the bard himself, in which he touches upon practically all of his trademark topics.

Terence McKenna   (1997)

Appreciating Imagination

Join Terence McKenna in this weekend workshop as he takes us on an imaginative journey into the depths of human creativity. Through eloquent exploration of psychedelics, virtual worlds, and shamanic states of consciousness, McKenna reveals how embracing our imagination allows us to envision and manifest alternate realities beyond cultural conditioning. By cultivating our creative faculties with mathematical reasoning, intuition, and immersion in nature, he guides us toward transcending ideological limits into an enlightened future of compassion. Ultimately, breaking boundaries through the power of imagination will inspire us to reach new heights of understanding and connectivity.

Stuart Kauffman   (1996)

At Home in the Universe

The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity

Stuart Kauffman’s At Home in the Universe unveils a scientific revolution centered on spontaneous order in complex systems. Kauffman argues that complexity itself triggers self-organization, revealing life as a natural outcome rather than a chance event. From cell development to cultural evolution, he explores how this principle shapes diverse phenomena. Praised as a visionary by Stephen Jay Gould and Philip Anderson, Kauffman’s work extends Darwin’s theory and offers profound insights into the essence of life.

Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela   (1972)

Autopoiesis and Cognition

The Realization of the Living

What makes a living system a living system? What kind of biological phenomenon is the phenomenon of cognition? These two questions have been frequently considered, but, in this volume, the authors consider them as concrete biological questions. Their analysis is bold and provocative, for the authors have constructed a systematic theoretical biology which attempts to define living systems not as objects of observation and description, nor even as interacting systems, but as self-contained unities whose only reference is to themselves. the consequence of their investigations and of their living systems as self-making, self-referring autonomous unities, is that they discovered that the two questions have a common answer: living systems are cognitive systems, and living as a process is a process of cognition. The result of their investigations is a completely new perspective of biological (human) phenomena. During the investigations, it was found that a complete linguistic description pertaining to the "organization of the living" was lacking and, in fact, was hampering the reporting of results. Hence, the authors have coined the word "autopoiesis" to replace the expression "circular organization." Autopoiesis conveys, by itself, the central feature of the organization of the living, which is autonomy.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin   (1916)

Cosmic Life

Teilhard de Chardin seeks to harmonize his ardent faith with a boundless love for the cosmos. He finds solace in the belief that the incarnation unites all. Thus, surrendering oneself to the cosmic forces and gently guiding them towards good enables all beings to participate in softly unfolding a new era of harmony. Cosmic Life was the first of Teilhard’s extant writings in his characteristic style. Knowing what risks he was exposed to at the warfront, he wrote it as his intellectual testament, and it contains in embryo all that was later to be developed in his thought; the “fire in his vision” which he tried to communicate.

Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan   (1980)

One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue

Cosmos, Episode 2

Sagan discusses the story of the Heike crab and artificial selection of crabs resembling samurai warriors, as an opening into a larger discussion of evolution through natural selection (and the pitfalls of intelligent design). Among the topics are the development of life on the Cosmic Calendar and the Cambrian explosion; the function of DNA in growth; genetic replication, repairs, and mutation; the common biochemistry of terrestrial organisms; the creation of the molecules of life in the Miller-Urey experiment; and speculation on alien life (such as life in Jupiter's clouds). In the Cosmos Update ten years later, Sagan remarks on RNA also controlling chemical reactions and reproducing itself and the different roles of comets (potentially carrying organic molecules or causing the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event).

Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan   (1980)

The Persistence of Memory

Cosmos, Episode 11

The idea of intelligence is explored in the concepts of computers (using bits as their basic units of information), whales (in their songs and their disruptions by human activities), DNA, the human brain (the evolution of the brain stem, frontal lobes, neurons, cerebral hemispheres, and corpus callosum under the Triune Brain Model), and man-made structures for collective intelligence (cities, libraries, books, computers, and satellites). The episode ends with speculation on alien intelligence and the information conveyed on the Voyager Golden Record.

Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan   (1980)

Encyclopædia Galactica

Cosmos, Episode 12

Questions are raised about the search for intelligent life beyond the Earth, with UFOs and other close encounters refuted in favor of communications through SETI and radio telescope such as the Arecibo Observatory. The probability of technically advanced civilizations existing elsewhere in the Milky Way is interpreted using the Drake equation and a future hypothetical Encyclopedia Galactica is discussed as a repository of information about other worlds in the galaxy. The Cosmos Update notes that there have been fewer sightings of UFOs and more stories of abductions, while mentioning the META scanning the skies for signals.

Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan   (1980)

Who Speaks for Earth?

Cosmos, Episode 13

Sagan reflects on the future of humanity and the question of "who speaks for Earth?" when meeting extraterrestrials. He discusses the very different meetings of the Tlingit people and explorer Jean-Francois de La Perouse with the destruction of the Aztecs by Spanish conquistadors, the looming threat of nuclear warfare, and the threats shown by destruction of the Library of Alexandria and the murder of Hypatia. The episode ends with an overview of the beginning of the universe, the evolution of life, and the accomplishments of humanity and makes a plea to mankind to cherish life and continue its journey in the cosmos. The Cosmos Update notes the preliminary reconnaissance of planets with spacecraft, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of apartheid in South Africa, and measures towards the reduction of nuclear weapons.

Terence McKenna   (1999)

Culture and Ideology are not Your Friends

Delivered at the Whole Life Expo, Terence focuses on one of his favorite questions: what does it mean to be human in this cosmos?

Jonas Salk   (1975)

Determining our Future

Jonas Salk opened the 1975 Lindisfarne Association Conference with a talk proposing that humanity’s becoming conscious of the evolutionary process implies the ability to develop strategies to avoid catastrophe and determine the future.

Alan Watts

Four Ways to the Center

Can an ego overcome egocentrism? Can a self become selfless? Is there even any value in this pursuit, and if so, how should one approach it? Through renunciation and repentance, or through acceptance and merging into it? Many consciousnesses encounter this conundrum on the brisk seas of being, and Alan invites us to take a closer look at our so-called individuality.

Boris Shoshitaishvili   (2020)

From Anthropocene to Noosphere

The Great Acceleration

Since 1950, humanity has accelerated its population growth, energy use, and release of greenhouse gases, along with a variety of other environmentally and socio-economically significant trends. Taken together, this set of accelerated human-driven trends has been called the “Great Acceleration,” and its occurrence helps explain recent climate change and ecological disturbance. In this article, I explore two dominant but divergent paradigms for what is happening to our species as it becomes globalized and continues in the Great Acceleration. One of the paradigms is related to the newly proposed geological epoch of the “Anthropocene” (the Age of the Human Being), which sees the Great Acceleration as a rupture in our relationship to the Earth System. The other paradigm centers on the concept of a “Noosphere” (a sphere of thought) and proposes that human beings are forming a planetary awareness through these interlocking and accelerating trends. I argue that we need to learn from both paradigms to achieve a balanced understanding of the Great Acceleration.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin   (1950)

How May We Conceive And Hope That Human Unanimization Will Be Realized On Earth?

Amid the depressing spectacle of human chaos, Teilhard sees glimmers of hope for unanimity. Geographic crowding and intellectual cross-pollination compress us, while deeper forces of attraction pull us together—a rekindled sense of shared species-destiny, and for some, a longing for a “universal lover” at the apex of cosmic evolution to which all egos could converge. Might such planetary energies of compression and gravitational yearning ultimately triumph over our instincts for dispersal? Teilhard dares to envision an inexorable trajectory toward an “Omega” unifying human consciousness.

Elon Musk and Joe Rogan   (2018)

Human Civilization and AI

Musk and Rogan discuss the existential risk of uncontrolled artificial intelligence. They explore possibilities for regulation and oversight, the potential for human-AI symbiosis through brain-computer interfaces, and the philosophical implications of advanced AI surpassing human intelligence.

Cadell Last   (2015)

Human Metasystem Transition (HMST) Theory

This article proposes a theory of human evolution termed Human Metasystem Transition (HMST), suggesting that major transitions in human organization have been facilitated by the emergence of new information media and energy sources. It posits that the current convergence of the Internet and renewable energy could catalyze a fourth metasystem transition, leading to a global superorganism with compressed spatial and temporal dimensions of human interaction.

Terence McKenna   (1998)

In the Valley of Novelty

Journeying through multiple dimensions of psychedelic consciousness, Terence McKenna's visionary weekend workshop invites us on an entheogenic voyage to the frontiers of the mind and its imminent conquering of matter. Blending scientific insights with shamanic wisdom, McKenna argues that natural plant medicines like psilocybin and DMT provide portals into mystical realms and alien dimensions, catalyzing revelations about nature, reality, and the human psyche. He urges us to courageously explore these consciousness-expanding substances, seeking the gratuitous beauty and truths they unveil. For McKenna, the psychedelic experience holds secrets to our world and ourselves—if only we dare lift the veil.

Cadell Last   (2015)

Information-Energy Metasystem Model

The human system is developing into a global biocultural superorganism, yet existing control systems appear inadequate for aligning a stable global goal state. Cadell Last proposes the Information-Energy Metasystem Model (IEMM), exploring human control system transitions throughout history. Drawing from cybernetic theories, the IEMM posits that major control transitions depend on specific information-energy control and feedback properties. As humanity approaches a potential fourth metasystem, Last argues for distributed, digital, and democratic mechanisms to organize a global commons, harnessing collective intelligence and direct democracy.

Stuart Kauffman   (2024)

Is the Emergence of Life an Expected Phase Transition in the Evolving Universe?

This article proposes a new definition of life as chemical systems that achieve catalytic closure, constraint closure, and spatial closure. It argues that the emergence of such living systems is an expected phase transition in the evolving universe. However, the ever-creative evolution of life thereafter cannot be explained by physics alone, showing the limits of reductionism. Life is a double miracle—expected yet unexplainable.

Gregory Bateson   (1975)

Learning to Think in a New Way

Delivered at the second Lindisfarne Association conference, Bateson challenged the relationship between “consciousness” and “evolution” and suggested what it might mean to “learn to think in a new way.”

Terence McKenna   (1992)

Limits of Art and Edges of Science

Terence McKenna proposes a radical view of history as a self-limiting process, driven by an attractor pulling us toward a transcendent, alien encounter that will transform human experience. He advocates the transformative power of psychedelics to unlock our collective potential, urging a forced evolution of language and consciousness to navigate the looming collapse of civilization and embrace the cosmic destiny of our species.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin   (1966)

Man's Place in Nature

The Human Zoological Group

In this book Teilhard expounds the evolutionary history of the Earth, the arrival of the human species, and its destiny in the far future. He identifies certain threads of recurrence in evolution's past, and uses these laws of recurrence to project the most probable future destiny of the planet. Teilhard's ingenious conclusion is that evolution is in fact involuting on itself, meaning that the future (like the past) is one of convergence and synthesis, heading towards a single unity he calls the Omega Point.

Dean Wooldridge   (1968)

Mechanical Man

The Physical Basis of Intelligent Life

A report on modern attempts to account for the origin and properties of living organisms, including man, by means of the principles of physics. It concludes that biology is a branch of physical science, and man is only (and astoundingly) a complex kind of machine.

Gregory Bateson   (1979)

Mind and Nature

A Necessary Unity

Renowned for his contributions to anthropology, biology, and the social sciences, Bateson asserts that man must think as Nature does to live in harmony on the earth and, citing examples from the natural world, he maintains that biological evolution is a mental process.

Terence McKenna   (1998)

Nature Loves Complexity

Terence argues that psychedelics reconnect us to archaic values like community, reverence for nature, and direct felt experience. He sees psychedelics as part of nature's tendency to conserve complexity and novelty. McKenna critiques science's misapplication of probability theory and suggests time itself fluctuates, finally proposing an ethics of aligning with nature's creative unfolding.

Ilya Prigogine   (1976)

Order Through Fluctuation

Self-Organization and Social System

A thorough mathematical analysis of the spontaneous arising of new order in a fluctuating system, and how insights from dissipative chemical systems may be applied to large-scale social contexts.

Terence McKenna   (1997)

Our Cyberspiritual Future

Terence holds court on our civilization's journey toward the eschaton at this weekend Esalen gathering. He riffs on topics from psychedelic states and alien intelligences to time travel and VR. McKenna argues we're evolving toward an unimaginable state of accelerating novelty, propelled by advancing technology. A mind-expanding ride for the open-minded psychonaut or armchair traveler, guided by one of the twentieth century's most eclectic thinkers.

Kevin Kelly   (1992)

Out of Control

The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World

Out of Control is a summary of what we know about self-sustaining systems, both living ones such as a tropical wetland, or an artificial one, such as a computer simulation of our planet. The last chapter of the book, “The Nine Laws of God,” is a distillation of the nine common principles that all life-like systems share.

Terence McKenna, Rupert Sheldrake and Ralph Abraham   (1992)

Psychedelics and Mathematical Vision

Through visions and swirling fractal forms, three trailblazers embarked on a cosmic journey to the furthest frontiers of consciousness. Seeking to map the mathematical landscapes glimpsed in psychedelic states, they pondered perplexing philosophies and disputed the deepest quandaries of science and spirit. Though technology promises portals to enchanted realms of pattern and meaning, can cold silicon chips ever capture the warmth of Gaia's embrace?

Terence McKenna, Rupert Sheldrake and Ralph Abraham   (1991)

Psychedelics and the Computer Revolution

Psychedelics unlock the mind's eye, let mathematicians fly To landscapes unseen, where patterns careen in colors serene. As symbols may hide truths inside, these vines we must untwine. With psychedelics we'll refine new ways for minds to shine: Computers give form, classics reborn, realms to adorn. Together they'll fuse, creativity diffuse, inventions produce! So let inhibitions loose, imagine the use, as we choose the hues Of mathematical views, and virtual worlds that enthuse!

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin   (1953)

Reflection on the Compression of Mankind

In this compressed world, humanity feels the squeeze. But despair not! This pressure cooker of co-reflection may be evolution's secret recipe for elevating consciousness. As we rub elbows and neurons, a tantalizing possibility emerges on the horizon: a cosmic convergence of minds, a "conspiration" of monads. Will this psychic attraction be our salvation, harmonizing the restless billions? The thinking earth must choose: chaotic crush or convergent release. Intriguing times ahead!

Terence McKenna and Michael Toms   (1991)

Reviving the Archaic

A New View of Evolution

Terence McKenna unveils an “archaic revival” that could save humanity and our planet. He makes the controversial claim that psychedelic plants catalyzed the emergence of human consciousness, language, and our fertile imaginations eons ago. McKenna advocates reviving the shamanic practices and partnership values of our prehistoric ancestors to transcend the isolated ego and re-establish a symbiotic relationship with nature’s “great piece of integrated linguistic machinery.” His boundary-dissolving ideas shatter conventional thinking about our past, present, and the transformative possibilities for our collective future.

Gregory Bateson   (1972)

Steps to an Ecology of Mind

Here is the book which develops a new way of thinking about the nature of order and organization in living systems, a unified body of theory so encompassing that it illuminates all particular areas of study of biology and behavior. It is interdisciplinary, not in the usual and simple sense of exchanging information across lines of discipline, but in discovering patterns common to many disciplines.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin   (1961)


Teilhard de Chardin's book, The Phenomenon of Man, reinterpreted in a visual format to illustrate the complex topics covered therein.

Kevin Kelly   (2014)

Technium Unbound

What comes after the Internet? What is bigger than the web? What will produce more wealth than all the startups to date? The answer is a planetary superorganism comprised of 4 billion mobile phones, 80 quintillion transistor chips, a million miles of fiber optic cables, and 6 billion human minds all wired together. The whole thing acts like a single organism, with its own behavior and character—but at a scale we have little experience with. This is more than just a metaphor. Kevin Kelly takes the idea of a global superorganism seriously by describing what we know about it so far, how it is growing, where its boundaries are, and what it will mean for us as individuals and collectively.

Vladimir Vernadsky   (1926)

The Biosphere

Long unknown in the West, The Biosphere established the field of biogeochemistry and is one of the classic founding documents of what later became known as Gaia theory. It is the first sustained expression of the idea that living matter is a geological force that can shape Earth’s evolution, changing its landforms, climate, and atmosphere. This groundbreaking work sheds light on the interconnectedness of life and geology, offering profound insights into the Earth's ecological balance and the impact of human activities on the planet.

Michael Levin   (2019)

The Computational Boundary of a “Self”

Developmental Bioelectricity Drives Multicellularity and Scale-Free Cognition

All epistemic agents physically consist of parts that must somehow comprise an integrated cognitive self. Biological individuals consist of subunits (organs, cells, and molecular networks) that are themselves complex and competent in their own native contexts. How do coherent biological Individuals result from the activity of smaller sub-agents?

John von Neumann   (1958)

The Computer and the Brain

John von Neumann's unfinished book, begun shortly before his death and published posthumously. He discusses how the brain can be viewed as a computing machine, touching on several important differences between brains and computers of his day (such as processing speed and parallelism), as well as suggesting directions for future research.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin   (1951)

The Convergence of the Universe

In examining cosmic drift, Teilhard illuminates humankind's role in the universe's inexorable convergence. We stand at an evolutionary precipice, our dawning self-reflection nurturing new heights of consciousness. To embrace this transformation, we must unite, reassess our core values, and pursue collective actualization. Teilhard's vision beckons us to become active participants in cosmogenesis, threads consciously weaving the tapestry of existence. His ideas challenge us to forge an enlightened path, infinite possibilities awaiting our cosmic citizenship. Originally written in Cape Town and published posthumously in Activation of Energy.

Terence McKenna, Rupert Sheldrake and Ralph Abraham   (1998)

The Evolutionary Mind

What could have been the cause for the breakthrough in the evolution of human consciousness around 50,000 years ago? Part of the Trialogues at the Edge of the Unthinkable held at the University of California.

Francis Heylighen   (2002)

The Global Brain as a New Utopia

The global brain can be conceived most fundamentally as a higher level of evolution, the way humans form a higher level of organization that evolved out of the animals. Although the analogy between an organism and a society can be applied even to primitive societies, it becomes clearly more applicable as technology develops. As transport and communication become more efficient, different parts of global society become more interdependent. At the same time, the variety of ideas, specializations, and subcultures increases. This simultaneous integration and differentiation creates an increasingly coherent system, functioning at a much higher level of complexity.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin   (1939)

The Grand Option

Teilhard explores the choices facing humanity as it undergoes the process of socialization, and examines four paths: pessimism, optimism with withdrawal, individualistic pluralism, and convergent unity. He argues for the path of convergent unity, where socialization leads not to loss of individuality but to differentiation and personalization within a unifying whole, fulfilling humanity’s evolutionary trajectory toward higher consciousness.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin   (1947)

The Human Rebound of Evolution and its Consequences

This essay follows Teilhard's train of thought on the aftermath of a potential fusing-together of humanity.

Lancelot Law Whyte   (1944)

The Next Development in Man

This searching examination of human development provides new perspectives on the moral, political, scientific, emotional, and intellectual divisions of our time. A physicist by profession, Whyte looked beyond the boundaries of specialization for creative ways to approach the basic problem facing modern Western civilization: Why are we so competent technically and yet unable to order our own affairs, socially and personally? He takes the reader with him on a journey that is nothing less than a new interpretation of the general development of human consciousness.

Humberto Maturana   (1974)

The Organization of the Living

A Theory of the Living Organization

What makes something alive? This bold theory argues living systems are like machines that build themselves. Called “autopoietic,” they constantly churn out parts that self-assemble into a whole. Likewise, the nervous system loops activity back into more activity. We don't compute information, but structurally couple to the world. Cognition emerges from how our nervous system meshes with reality, not from complex symbol manipulation as commonly believed.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin   (1955)

The Phenomenon of Man

Visionary theologian and evolutionary theorist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin applied his whole life, his tremendous intellect, and his great spiritual faith to building a philosophy that would reconcile religion with the scientific theory of evolution. In this timeless book (whose original French title better translates to “The Human Phenomenon”), Teilhard argues that just as living organisms sprung from inorganic matter and evolved into ever more complex thinking beings, humans are evolving toward an “omega point”—defined by Teilhard as a convergence with the Divine.

Erich Jantsch   (1980)

The Self-Organizing Universe

Scientific and Human Implications of the Emerging Paradigm of Evolution

The evolution of the universe—ranging from cosmic and biological to sociocultural evolution—is viewed in terms of the unifying paradigm of self-organization. The contours of this paradigm emerge from the synthesis of a number of important concepts, and provide a scientific foundation to a new world-view which emphasizes process over structure, nonequilibrium over equilibrium, evolution over permanency, and individual creativity over collective stabilization. The book, with its emphasis on the interaction of microstructures with the entire biosphere, ecosystems etc., and on how micro- and macrocosmos mutually create the conditions for their further evolution, provides a comprehensive framework for a deeper understanding of human creativity in a time of transition.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin   (1951)

The Transformation and Continuation in Man of the Mechanism of Evolution

How does humanity fit into evolution's arc? Teilhard de Chardin argues that we represent not an endpoint, but an intensification of evolution's complexity and consciousness. As technology and social bonds grow, he sees not disaster but hope—perhaps mankind is evolving toward an “ultra-hominization,” a perfected global mind.

Terence McKenna and Ralph Abraham   (1998)

The World Wide Web and the Millennium

Seldom do we have an opportunity to test the accuracy of oracular predictions, but this fascinating conversation between two great thinkers has already proven to be right on target. Speculations include the future evolutionary development of the Internet, whether it is an embryonic intelligence, whether it will merge our minds into a planetary consciousness, or whether it is an alien brain waiting for humanity to cross an evolutionary threshold. Let the bard and the chaos theorist weave an exquisite cybernetic fantasy for you in this evening seminar.

David Sloan Wilson   (2019)

This View of Life

Completing the Darwinian Revolution

It is widely understood that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution completely revolutionized the study of biology. Yet, according to David Sloan Wilson, the Darwinian revolution won’t be truly complete until it is applied more broadly—to everything associated with the words “human,” “culture,” and “policy.” In a series of engaging and insightful examples—from the breeding of hens to the timing of cataract surgeries to the organization of an automobile plant—Wilson shows how an evolutionary worldview provides a practical tool kit for understanding not only genetic evolution but also the fast-paced changes that are having an impact on our world and ourselves. What emerges is an incredibly empowering argument: If we can become wise managers of evolutionary processes, we can solve the problems of our age at all scales—from the efficacy of our groups to our well-being as individuals to our stewardship of the planet Earth.

Erich Jantsch   (1981)

Unifying Principles of Evolution

In the light of the emerging self-organization paradigm, principles may be found which unify the description of evolution in two important dimensions: (1) across the hierarchy of evolutionary dynamics from ontogeny through phylogeny to anagenesis (the evolution of new levels of evolutionary dynamics), and (2) across domains of reality from the physical (cosmic) through the biological (sociobiological, ecological) to the sociocultural domain. Ten such principles, partly containing each other, are tentatively proposed here: Non-equilibrium, spontaneous symmetry breaking, self-reference, self-transcendence, irreversibility, metastability (complementarity of stochastic and deterministic factors), epigenealogical process (cognition and memory), autonomy, symbiosis, and indeterminacy (openness). Examples are provided which are suggestive of the applicability and unifying quality of these principles along the two dimensions.

Erwin Schrödinger   (1944)

What Is Life?

The Physical Aspect of the Living Cell

This book was based on a course of public lectures delivered by Schrödinger in February 1943, under the auspices of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies at Trinity College, Dublin. The lectures attracted an audience of about 400, who were warned "that the subject-matter was a difficult one and that the lectures could not be termed popular, even though the physicist’s most dreaded weapon, mathematical deduction, would hardly be utilized." Schrödinger's lecture focused on one important question: How can the events in space and time—which take place within the spatial boundary of a living organism—be accounted for by physics and chemistry?

Kevin Kelly   (2010)

What Technology Wants

One of today's most respected thinkers turns the conversation about technology on its head by viewing technology as a natural system, an extension of biological evolution. By mapping the behavior of life, we paradoxically get a glimpse at where technology is headed—or "what it wants." Kevin Kelly offers a dozen trajectories in the coming decades for this near-living system. And as we align ourselves with technology's agenda, we can capture its colossal potential. This visionary and optimistic book explores how technology gives our lives greater meaning and is a must-read for anyone curious about the future.