April 5th, 2002

“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. ” — Albert Einstein

Understanding Humanity in Universe

Timothy Wilken, MD

The human story cannot be understood separate from the story of Universe. It is really one story. Our story begins approximately 15 billion years ago in — DARKNESS and HEAVINESS. In the beginning there was only darkness and heaviness. And then suddenly, there was light. Physicist Brian Swimme explains.

“To speak of the Universe’s origin is to bring to mind the great silent fire at the beginning of time. Imagine that furnace out of which everything came forth. This was a fire that filled the Universe — that was the Universe. There was no place in the Universe free from it. Every point of the cosmos was a point of this explosion of light. And all the particles of the Universe churned in extremes of heat and pressure, all that we see about us, all that now exists was there at the beginning, in that great burning explosion of light.

“How do we know about it?

“We can see it! We can see the light from the primeval fireball. Or at least the light from its edge, for it burned for nearly a million years. We can see the dawn of the Universe because the light from its edge reaches us only now, after traveling twenty billion years to get here. Scientists have only just learned to see the fireball. The light has always been there, but the ability to respond to it required a tremendous development of the human senses. It took millions of years to develop, but humans can now interact with the cosmic radiation from the origin of the Universe. We can now see the beginnings of time.” (1)

Arthur Young’s Theory of Process (2)

Arthur Young explained that the evolution of Universe occurs in seven discrete states of process. These seven stages are Light, Particles, Atoms, Molecules, Plants, Animals, and Humans. In the evolution of the seven stages of process in Universe we see that each stage develops a new power, a power that is characteristic of its stage and that differentiates it from the other stages.

And these powers are cumulative; each stage of process retains the powers developed in the previous stages. Universe is created by the dance of process. A dance between choice and restraint. The first stage of process, light has maximum motion and maximum freedom.

Arc of Process


The Arc of Process is created by the dance of choice and restraint, a dance which results in the dissipation of motion. Not a gradual dissipation of motion but a dissipation of motion which occurs in jumps or quanta. Young writing in 1976 explained:

“The evolution of process occurs in steps. In the first three steps there is a fall towards determinancy. With each step there is a loss of freedom. Let us imagine that you are trying to capture a wildcat that has climbed a tree. You lasso him with a rope and make the rope secure. The wildcat can still move about, but he can’t get away. Then you lasso him again and make the second rope fast. The wildcat can still move, but whereas his movement was first confined to a sphere, the pull of the two ropes will constrain it to a circular orbit on a plane. (A circle is the locus of a point equidistant from two given points.) A third rope will complete the process and hold the wildcat in one position.

“Similarly, the step down from light to the level of nuclear particles constrains the particle to motion within a sphere (which is the orbit of uncertainty of the electron as described by Heisenberg); the second downward step confines the electron to movement in a circle around the nucleus of the atom; then third to a fixed position of the atom , as in a crystal.” (3)

This phenomena of jumps or quanta in the changes of process was discovered most fundamentally in 1900 by the German scientist Max Planck. In that year he reluctantly presented a paper to his scientific colleagues which made him famous throughout the world. His theory explained that process changes speed in jumps or quanta, that process is granular or discontinuous. Arthur Young writing in 1990 stated elsewhere:
“Max Plank’s discovery of the quantum of action revolutionized physics and revised the very basis of scientific thought. This discovery provides the possibility of an entirely new view of the Universe. The older concept of a Universe made up of physical particles interacting according to fixed laws is no longer tenable. It is implicit in present findings that action rather than matter is basic.” (4)
Random Choice

And action begins with light.

Light ï
First born in Universe was light. All there was was light. And with light came came motion. So much light. So much motion. Radiant energy everywhere.

And the motion was free. For light is free of time, free of space, and free of energy. Light makes random choices in time, space, and energy. The cosmic dance had begun at a speed of 186,000 miles per second. And the dance was random, for light chooses without knowledge. A photon once released can be anywhere within a sphere of 186,000 miles in one second. It has just as much energy at the end of the journey as at the beginning, even a million million years later. This is the power of light, a power explained by human knowledge2000.

And the power of the first born in Universe was potential. Light held a promise in its speed, a promise in its freedom. From the cosmic dance of choice and restraint, a dance begun by light, six further stages of process world emerge. And the seventh stage of process, humans would realize the promise of light’s potential 15 billion years later.

The history of Universe is the history of humankind. We are Universe come alive. We are the Universe become intelligent. We are the children of light with the power to control time, to control space, and to control energy. But the story of seventh born of Universe, the human species, comes much later.

The second stage of process, the particles are more restrained in motion. There is no longer maximum motion and maximum freedom. The particles change speed in a jump or a quanta. This dissipation of motion results in a loss of freedom. Particles make random choices in space and energy, but they have lost their freedom from time. They are said to have two degrees of freedom.

Particles ïï
In primordial Universe, in the midst of all that light and motion, there was heat. Heat produced by the timeless dance of countless photons making random choices at 186,000 miles per second.

The high energy radiation was so intense, the Universe glowed from the heat. All was a thermonuclear explosion. And in this heat, the dance slowed, not gradually, but in a jump as the fast moving photons collided. The dance slowed to subluminal speed and space cooled with the emergence of particles.

Today, the creation of particles by colliding photons is believed to take place in some stars, but it was never observed in a laboratory before 1997. The energy required for such an experiment had always been beyond the reach of human scientists. Malcolm Browne writing in1997 describes this event:

“A trail blazing experiment at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in California has confirmed a longstanding prediction by theorists that light beams colliding with each other can goad the empty vacuum into creating something out of nothing. The weaker of the two light beams was produced by a trillion-watt green laser. The opposing beam of radiation was boosted by 47-billion-electronvolt electrons shot from the two-mile-long Stanford accelerator until it was some 10 billion times as powerful as the green laser beam. The collision resulted in the creation of two tiny specks of matter — an electron and its antimatter counterpart, a positron.” (5)
Within minutes of the birth of light, second born of Universe appeared — the particles. Countless collisions between photons produced protons and electrons in abundance and the particles joined light in Universe. The subluminal speed of particles, produced by the dissipation of motion was to grant particles the second power of Universe — the power of binding.

Second born of Universe was to have charge and mass. Charge allows the particles to bind one to another, allows protons to bind to electrons and creates the first condition for the emergence of matter. But the power of binding did not come without a price. The particles are not free from time. And the cosmic dance became linear in time.

The power of binding was itself restrained by time. What happened in one instant determined what could happen in the next. The particles still retained freedom from space and freedom from energy. We are uncertain of the position and momentum of particles.

Second born randomly chooses where it will go in space and when it will release or absorb energy. It is free from space and free from energy. With charge and mass, the particles create the conditions for the birth of matter in the next stage of process.

The third stage of process, the atoms are even more restrained and less free. The motion of atoms are even more limited. They have changed their motion in a jump or quantum. The atoms make random choices in energy. They are no longer free from space or free from time They are said to have one degree of freedom.

Atoms ïïï
Within an hour of the birth of light, the third born of Universe — atoms emerged. The abundant protons and electrons in Universe joined, bound together by their charge, and matter was created and all of the elements formed.

With the creation of the atoms, substance took on a center. Universe for the first time had form. Universe had identity. Atoms can be tagged, located in space, identified with distinct properties of their own. An atom is either oxygen or sodium. It is either gold or lead, its form gives it identity and the third power of Universe is identity. In trade for the power of identity, the dissipation of motion required for particles to become atoms results in the loss of the freedom in space. Identity requires certainty of location.

The third stage of process retains only one degree of freedom. Atoms retain the freedom of energy, the freedom to make random choices within their energy state. The atom can absorb or release its energy without prompting from from the outside. It makes random choices within its energy state.

With the emergence of third born Universe takes a rest. Light predominates in Universe for the next 30 million years. During these years, matter is a gas with a density comparable to the rare air of our earth’s upper atmosphere. The gas consisting of newly formed atoms, continued to expand, and the temperature dropped with the dissipation of motion.

With the rise of matter in Universe, gravity became the major restraint to choice. As gravity exerted its force, strain appeared in the homogenous matter-gas. Large fragments broke away creating the protogalaxies. And over the next several hundred million years, the protogalaxies condensed into the stars and the planets which are found in our Universe today.


The fourth stage of process, the molecules, make no choices. They have lost their freedom from time, space and energy. All is determined. The molecules complete the descent of the arc and are the stage of process where the “turn” occurs. And while random choice is lost to simple molecules as complexity increases they gain the power of controlled choice. It is here that life begins with the emergence of control. It is this point in the evolution of process that the arc begins to ascend back upwards and with the ascent of the arc we will see the return of freedoms in the next three stages of process.

Molecules ïïïï
The planet and Universe slowly cooled. The fourth stage of process, the molecules can only be created within a narrow range of temperature. And so after 15 billion years of gestation, Universe cooled enough to allow her to deliver her fourth born, the molecules.

With the evolution of the molecules Universe ends its fall into determinism. The last freedom, the freedom from energy, is given up in a jump. This freedom of random choice is trade for the power of combination. Whereas the atom organizes proton-electron pairs, the molecule combines atoms. There are only about 100 kinds of atoms; there are countless kinds of molecules. If we are to make atoms analogous to the letters of the alphabet, then molecules, being combinations of atoms, are analogous to words. Atoms, like letters, are limited in number; molecules , like words, may be constructed endlessly.

Molecules complete the descent of the arc of process. They are fully determined, they obey all the laws of Nature in a predictable way. They are constrained by time, space, and energy. The energy of molecules are locked in the covalent bond. The electrons shared in the bond are predictably held within the constraints of time, space and energy. There is no more freedom of random choice at the stage of process called the molecules. And while this fall into determinism would appear a one-way journey, we see the emergence of a much more powerful freedom.

This new freedom that emerges in molecules is not the random freedoms of light, particles or atoms. It is a hidden freedom, the hidden freedom of molecules — the freedom of timing.

With the freedom of timing comes the ability for process to control. In the complexity of the molecular stage of process we see the emergence of a new kind of choice, a controlled choice, choice made with knowledge. The molecule begins in the area of energy and has the ability to time the release and the absorption of energy. This ability is what allows the power of the molecular stage to operate the power of organization. By collecting energy it becomes possible to utilize that energy in the organization of structure and this process begins the ascent of the arc of process backwards back towards freedom, but a different kind of freedom ? controlled freedom. Timing is the ingredient that marks success in all human fields, whether it is the wrestler who overcomes a more powerful opponent, the success of a business venture, the performance of a musical composition. It is not energy; it is not force, now even the control of force; it is the correctly timed control of force, and this has to be learned. The fact that it has to be learned is important. The freedom of the ascent of process is not random choice. It is controlled choice. Choice made with knowledge.

Control begins with life and the next major contribution Young makes to our understanding of Universe in 2002, results from his discovery of the emergence of control in the “Arc of Process”.

Controlled Choice
This freedom of timing meant everything to the hierarchical development of the ascent of process. Energy could be collected, stored, and released in a nonrandom fashion ? in a timed and controlled way. This enables the molecule to communicate with its environment and process information. This enables the molecule to become alive. The dissipation of motion could now be controlled and directed. The integration of matter was now controlled, Universe was alive, the arc of process was now ascending.

Arthur Young on Control
One of the most important contributions to our understanding of Universe and Humanity is the discovery of the scientific basis for control. Young explained:

“Modern science had its origin in Isaac Newton’s extension of geometry to include motion. Until then geometry had been a science of position. The first order of motion was velocity, the rate of change of position with respect to time, or, as Newton called it, a fluxion. The second order of motion was the ratio of change of velocity to time, or acceleration. Gottfried Leibniz made the same discovery, and his name for these ratios, derivatives, is the term now used. Through the use of these derivatives Newton defined force as mass times acceleration, and momentum as mass times velocity. Energy, or work, was later found to be distance times force — or feet (distance) times pounds (force). Power was the rate of doing work, the derivative of energy.

“The quantities, most of which are derivatives with respect to time constituting the measure formulae of physics, have become the basic vocabulary of the science of motion. They make it possible to describe and predict the motion not only of the planets but of any inert body. This led to the philosophy of determinism, the theory that an all-knowing mathematician, the LaPlace mathematician, knowing the velocity and position of all the particles in the Universe, could predict their future.

“Note that these measure formulae, made possible by the concept of derivatives, with the exception of power, do not go beyond the second derivative. Energy is ML2/T3 (THE FAMOUS E=MC2), and power is ML2/T3, the third derivative of moment of inertia. Are there other third and higher derivatives? While in theory they would exist, such derivatives are not used, and have been ignored by theoretical science. To see why, we must remember the the laws of motion are considered to apply only when energy is not added to or subtracted from the system. Thus the laws of motion prescribe that a pendulum will swing indefinitely provided there is no friction. Science thus deals with a hands-off or ideal case. Newton thought the orderly motion of the planets was evidence of God, but Peirre LaPlace told Napoleon that their orderly motion made the hypothesis of God unnecessary. There began to be a split between science and free will, with science holding to the view that the laws of motion, which correctly predicted the behavior of most bodies, could also account for living organisms. As Albert Szent-Gyorgyi put it, “As scientists we cannot believe that the laws of nature lose their validity at the surface of the skin.” Szent-Gyorgyi didn’t leave it at that, but went on to show that something else, some drive, was needed.

“This split becomes apparent in the difference between science and engineering. The scientist tends to think of the laws of nature as inviolate; the engineer thinks of the laws of nature as something to be used to make machines that work. It does not occur to either of them that when they control a mechanical device — by adding or subtracting energy from the system — that this interference does not involve any violation of nature’s laws.

“Thus it is possible to control nature and make it do what you want it to do. While it would not be practical to cause Mars to change its orbit, it has been possible to control an orbiting satellite to fly past Mars, to visit Jupiter, and by guiding the satellite to take advantage of Jupiter’s gravitational field, to get the extra impetus to carry it to Saturn and beyond.

“But how, if the laws of nature are inviolate, can they be taken advantage of? How do we square this opportunism with Newton? How can creatures, themselves the product of laws, produce results that could not occur in nature as interpreted by science?

“To answer this question consider the derivatives beyond the first and second. What would the third derivative be? The first, or velocity, is rate of change of position (governs position). The second, acceleration, is rate of change of velocity. It follows that the third is the rate of change of acceleration. Now change of acceleration is what we do when we drive a car, by pushing more or less on the accelerator pedal, pushing the brake pedal, or steering. It is our control of the car, and is effected either by adding energy to the system or by withdrawing it. Control is a free option, to be used by the driver.

“So the laws of nature, so often invoked to support determinism, do nothing of the kind. The third derivative, or control, has the same right to status as velocity and acceleration. It is not so much one of the laws of nature as it is an implicit permission to use nature’s laws.

“But why is control ignored by theoretical science? It is true that since it is an option, it cannot be measured as can velocity ad acceleration. It may also be true that it does not contribute to the edifice of exact laws so respected by science. This does not justify the neglect of control in cosmology in the old sense, one that includes life, where the belief indeterminism would make self-maintenance, or control, an illusion. Surely plants grow and store energy against entropy by controlling their metabolism; and animals, while subject to instinctive drives, must use control in pursuit of prey or to avoid capture.

“Here we might take time to answer the claims of behaviorism, whose prestige is based on the assertion that living creatures are subject to “drives” just as inert bodies are subject to laws, and that therefore consciousness is superfluous or erroneous notion. But hold on a minute. Let us admit that when, say, a seal migrates northward in summer for breeding purposes, it does so in response to a drive triggered by the seasons. Even if this were interpreted to mean the seal has no free will, note that the seal is an organization of many trillions of cells, and each cell an organization of trillions of molecules. this enormously complex association of molecules behaves in unitary fashion, and not according to the Newtonian determinism that would apply to the individual molecules if they were not so organized. How does the seal control all those molecules in a way that Newton’s laws would not? Even if we say the seal has no free will, it does have control of its own metabolism, of its musculature, or its growth and self reproduction. Instinct is not due to laws of gravitation and electromagnetism.

“While we cannot release the behaviorist from some responsibility for his interpretation of instinct as equivalent to Newton’s laws, the real blame falls on the theoretical physicist who draws his credo, his dogma, from a partial reading of the derivatives.

“Of course the physicist is entitled to define his own discipline, and if he wants to base this discipline on the first two derivatives only, he is at liberty to do do so. By the same token, he cannot claim to know the workings of a Universe that includes life.

“What about the derivatives beyond the third: It might be thought that since the third derivative is an option, there is no point in going further. We cannot even measure free option, much less find its derivative, but a closer scrutiny shows that there is the equivalent of a fourth derivative. What is it that changes (governs) control? While control is an option, or at least not mechanically determined, it is also not completely free. If a child runs in front of the car, we steer to the side or put on the brakes. If the road curves, we steer accordingly. Out control of the car is continually governed by its position relative to other cars and objects. If fact, our destination is the ultimate governing factor.

“Our destination is a position — not the position we started with, but the same kind of measure. It is something we observe — it is not velocity, which we can compute, nor acceleration, which we feel; nor is it control, which we exercise. If the fourth derivative takes us back to position, which was the zeroth derivative, we have what is called a four-operator. After four 90∞ steps, we get back to the starting point, position.

“This concept has important implications for science. Not only does it limit the time derivatives to four, but it permits an important step in finding a definition of dimension in terms of angle. Since dividing by time four times brings us back to the start, we can equate division by time to a rotation of 90 degrees.” (6)
Young’s discovery of the scientific basis for control is enormously important in Universe2000. Control is the very basis of LIFE. Returning to our earlier discussion of choice, when a living system makes a choice based on the knowledge of its needs, based on the knowledge of its abilities it is making a controlled choice. When a living system chooses with knowledge, it is making a controlled choice — a choice made with knowledge.

So when does life start? When does physics become biology?

Life begins within the molecular stage of process. The primal power of life is memory. Memory is the power on which all other living powers depend. Memory is necessary for learning. and learning is necessary for timing. And timing is necessary for control, and life begins with control. Living systems make controlled choices, choices made with knowledge. This is why “the turn” occurs at the molecular stage of process. Universe comes alive at “the turn”.

The DNA molecule is clearly an example of molecular life. Although the simpler polymers exhibit many characteristics of life including this syntropic processing, it is the DNA molecule that is the masterpiece of living molecules. The gem of molecular wisdom, this crystal of intelligence makes decisions based on information. DNA remembers, DNA learns, and DNA controls. DNA controls its environment by making choices. At a simple level DNA thinks. It makes the system it controls more orderly, more structured, and more organized. It does this by observing and thinking — by thinking and deciding.

Life begins in the molecular stage of process and creates “the turn” in the arc of process. The three stages of process located on the ascent of the arc are alive and form the three great classes of life — plants, animals, and humans.

Then we see the ascent of the arc and the arc begins to ascend back upwards towards freedom. Plants have one degree of freedom, animals have two degrees of freedom, and humans, like light, have three degrees of freedom. However, the freedoms on the left hand side of the arc are very different than the freedoms on the right hand side. The freedoms on the left side of the arc are freedom to choose but to choose randomly. The freedoms on the the right side of the arc are freedoms to choose but to make controlled choices. Choices made with knowledge.

If we now examine Arthur Young’s “Arc of Process” we see that the arc first descends towards determinancy. Light has three freedoms, particles two, atoms one, molecules have lost all freedom and are fully restrained. In the realm of molecules there is a point in molecular evolution when a molecule starts to build up energy and begins to ascend back to freedom. Arthur Young denotes this point as the turn. It is when process becomes intelligent. It is when process makes controlled choices based on knowledge rather than random choices based on chance. This change becomes possible because of memory.



(1)  Brian Swimme, The Universe is a Green Dragon, Bear & Company, Inc., Santa Fe, 1985 

(2)  Arthur Young, The Reflexive Universe, Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence, 1976 

 (3) Arthur Young, The Reflexive Universe, 1976, ibid

(4) Arthur Young, Mathematics, Physics & Reality, Robert Briggs Associates, Portland, Oregon, 1990 

(5)  Malcolm Browne, Scientists Use Light to Create Particles, New York Times, September 16, 1997 

 (6) Arthur Young, The Geometry of Meaning, Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence, 1976

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