February 22nd, 2009
“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

Today, our human crisis has become visible to most humans. It is now affecting nearly everyone and every form of life on the planet. This crisis did not begin in 2008 or 2009. To some of our wisest humans, it has been visible for decades. … As I have written elsewhere, to fix this crisis, all we have to do is change our minds. We simply have to understand our place in Universe, and then the rules for a sustainable and long life will become apparent.

In 2002, I wrote an article-essay to help my fellow humans understand our proper role in Universe. I am gratified to see that my article is still being circulated on the web. Perhaps as our growing crisis wakens more of our sleeping brethren, it will find even more interest. It is a long article by Internet standards, but understanding sometimes takes a little time. … From the SynEARTH Archives.

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.


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.


Plants ïïïïï

The fifth stage of process, the plants, make controlled choices in energy. Controlled choices require knowledge. For the plants it is a knowledge of energy. But the plants do not have the freedom to make controlled choices in space or time. The plants are said to have one degree of freedom.

Recall Alfred Korzybski’s General Theory of Time-binding (7) in which he designated the plants as energy-binders he explained that plants adapt to their environment through their awareness and control of energy. 


The power of plants is transformation, growth, and organization.

Plants have the ability to transform solar energy to organic chemical energy. The plant is a solar collector. It spreads its leaves and harvests the ultraviolet rays directly from the sun.

Energy-binders have the power of growth. The plant draws water and minerals from the soil organizes this energy and nutrients into growth through cell division. The growth of the energy-binder and its self-propagation through progeny are the resultant of cell division — if the cells remain together we have growth; if they split off into a separate entity we have progeny.

Energy-bindings have the power of organization. Organization possible through the ability to time the release and binding of energy. Timing based on knowledge — energy knowledge.

Recall life requires complexity. Take one of the simplest of energy-binders — a single celled bacteria.

We are looking at a simple rod-shaped one celled plant which can avoid dangers and seize opportunities. Inside this simple one celled plant — there are four “boss” molecules. These DNA molecules have a molecular weight of 2.5 billion each. Then we find 400,000 assistants to the bosses, RNA molecules of over 1000 types with an average molecular weight of 2 million each. Packed between all of these molecules are about 1 million protein molecules of over 2000 different types with an average molecular weight of 40,000 each. And to complete this simple cell we find 500 million smaller molecules of approximately 700 types with an average molecular weight of 300 each. All of these units working together to bind energy, making controlled choices, adapting to their environment, avoiding danger and embracing opportunity.

This description of a simple one celled energy-binder is mind boggling; but to keep our sense of proportion, we must recognize that life requires complexity. Energy-binders represent a much more complex order of organization that the most complex of nonliving molecules. If a molecule were likened to an automobile, then a cell is like an automotive factory — a vast organization of men, machines, and computers.

And so plants — the energy-binders are energy aware. They are aware and they process information about energy. They remember energy events and from that memory make controlled choices — energy choices. The plants think and decide.

This is not human thinking, not even animal thinking, but it is a form of intelligence — very powerful energy intelligence. The plants use their power to bind energy — to organize, to adapt to their environment. They must adapt by making controlled choices, which keep them within the narrow corridor of life or they will die. They must avoid the dangers threatening their survival and embrace the opportunities for growth and reproduction.

While the energy-binders have the power to collect and store energy, to make controlled choices of the use of that energy, they have limited adaptability. Limited because they cannot move. Plants are rooted to their environment. If a plant roots in the shade, it cannot move to a sunnier place. If it is dying for lack of water, it cannot move to a rainier spot. Plants lack the power of mobility.

Plant growth is movement, but movement towards an infinitely remote goal — the sun. Plant motion is in a constant direction, either away from gravity or towards the sun.


Neutral relationships originate in the plant world.

Sunlight provides unlimited energy for the plants. Each individual plant needs only the sun, and adequate water and minerals to survive. Plants are solar energy collectors. They use the sun’s radiant energy in photosynthesis to manufacture glucose, carbohydrate and other plant cells.

Individual plants do not relate to each other. They relate only to the earth and the sun.

Plant survival does not require any relationship with other. The plants unique ability to utilize sunlight directly to synthesize organic tissue frees them from the need for others. This fact makes plants the independent class of life — independent of other.

While no plant will deliberately hurt another plant, it will also never help another plant. A plant’s success or failure depends solely on its own efforts and talents. Individual plants have no relationship with each other. Plants have no awareness of each other, they ignore each other. To survive as a plant, you must be self-sufficient.

Plants are the only form of life that are truly independent.

If we analyze neutral relationships, we discover that individuals are unchanged by their relationship. They are neither less nor more after the relationship. They are the same. (1+1) = 2. Choices which do not hurt or help are neutral. Actions which do not hurt or help are neutral. Relationships which do not hurt or help are neutral.

Animals ïïïïïï

The sixth stage of process, the animals, make controlled choices in energy and space. The animals do not make controlled choices in time. Animals are said to have two degrees of freedom.

Recall Korzybski designated the animals as space-binders, he explained that the animals adapt to their environment through their awareness and control of space.


The power of space-binding is mobility — the ability to move about in space. This is not the simple motion of plants. This is mobility — running, jumping, leaping, swinging, swimming, creeping, stalking, crawling, diving, and flying.

The space-binder moves towards a specific and attainable goal — water, food, a mate, shelter — and in any direction. The mobility of the space-binder is not just motion, it is controlled motion. The space-binder moves in search of food. For grazing animals the quest is continuous; for predators, occasional but more strenuous. And all animals are under constant threat from natural enemies. The animal, therefore, requires sense awareness — awareness of the space in which he lives. The space-binder uses his awareness to find food and to warn him of the approach of enemies. A deer may be motivated by thirst to go to a waterhole, but if it senses a lion, it will refrain. It must continuously evaluate conflicting stimuli and choose between alternatives, alternatives of pleasure or pain, alternatives of good space or bad space. Space-binders are aware of space, they are aware and they think, they think and they decide — constantly making controlled choices as to where and when to move.

Thinking for the space-binder is wholistic. The animals base their decisions on the whole situation. When the rabbit hears a sound in the thicket, he must react instantly, “fight or flight” and the decision must be made now, based on the whole situation. There is no time for analysis. Only wholistic thinking has the rapidity and flexibility to allow survival in the adversary world of space-binders.

Spacial intelligence allows the animal to move instantly towards good space —  space that enables one to survive, and away from bad space — space that produces injury or death.

But the animals are not only space-binders, they also have some of the power of energy-binders. While they cannot transform solar energy directly into organic chemical energy, they can transform the tissues from the plants and animals they eat into organic chemical energy, they can also grow, and they can also organize energy.

To the fox who sees the rabbit, success at seizing this opportunity for a meal depends not just on his ability to know when and where to move, but also on his ability to control the energy which he will need to power his movement. He must have adequate energy stored so that he can release it at the proper moment to catch the rabbit. And the rabbit can only escape if it uses its knowledge of both space and energy effectively.


Adversary relationship originates on earth in the animal world. Earth supplies limited space for the animals. Space is finite. Good space is even more finite. It is very limited. There is only so much good water, so much good grazing land, so much good shelter, and so much good potential food. There is not enough to go around. The space-binders must compete for this limited amount of good space. They compete adversarily. They compete by fighting and flighting. They compete by attacking and killing other space-binders. They compete by devouring the energy-binders. The natural law of animals is adversity.

Animal survival depends entirely on finding others to eat. The herbivores depend on finding plants to eat. The carnivores depend on finding other animals to eat. The animals inability to utilize sunlight to synthesize organic tissue means they must eat organic tissue. Animals survive by eating either plants or animals. Animals are completely dependent on other for survival. This fact makes animals the dependent class of life — dependent on other.

Imagine a fox chasing a rabbit, if the fox is quick enough, it will win a meal, at the expense of the rabbit who loses its life. On the other hand, if the rabbit is quicker, the fox loses a meal, and the rabbit wins its life.

The animals live in an adversary world of losers and winners. This is a world of fighting and flighting — of pain and dying. To win in this world someone must lose. Winning is always at the cost of another.

All animals, from the smallest insect to the largest whale are struggling to avoid losing — struggling to avoid being hurt.

CONFLICT —def—> The struggle to avoid loss — the struggle to avoid being hurt.

The animals must fight and flee to stay alive, and they do. Always ready at a moments notice to go tooth and nail to avoid losing — to avoid death. Losers/winners is the harshest of games. Winning is always at the cost of another’s life.

The loser tends to resist with all of its might occasionally prevailing by killing or wounding its attacker. So both parties can lose, turning the game — losers/winners into losers/losers.

If we analyze adversary relationships, we discover that individuals are less after the relationship. (1+1) < 2. In the animal world where the loser forfeits its life (1+1) = 1. Or in the end game of losers/losers, both adversaries may die in battle, then (1+1) = 0.

Adversity is completely natural in the animal world. It is the law of Nature for dependent live forms. It is the way of all animal life. The adversary way is not bad for the animals, it is Nature’s way.

The animals have acquired the ability to move voluntarily, but they lack the ability to understand their environment. Their inability to understand locks them into the adversary world.

To be complete, some plants do not have chlorophyll. They cannot convert radiant energy to chemical energy. They lack the full power of energy-binding. They are dependent life forms like the animals and survive through adversary relationships with other forms of life. This includes pathological bacteria and parasitic plants. This also includes the carnivorous plants which possess a primitive form of mobility.

Humans ïïïïïïï

The seventh stage of process, the humans, make controlled choices in energy, space and time. This requires knowledge, knowledge of energy, knowledge of space and knowledge of time. Humans are said to have three degrees of freedom.

Recall Korzybski designated humans as time-binders, he explained that we humans adapt to our environment through our awareness and control of time.


The power of time-binding is understanding. With understanding the time-binder gains the ability to control their environment. On earth, we humans possess the power to understand and through that understanding to control and dominate our earth.

Understanding is what makes life meaningful. Without understanding life has no meaning.

Understanding becomes possible when an organism can observe and remember change over time. Understanding comes from the awareness of time — an awareness that allows the experience of time as sequential or linear.

Tomorrow follows today as today followed yesterday. Time always moves from the past to the present, from the present to the future. Change is bound in time. And time-binders can understand change in space because of their awareness of time.

Time-binding is a way of thinking — analytical thinking. The time-binder can make decisions based on understanding changes in his environment over time. Time-binding analysis is sequential analysis — linear analysis — focused on the parts rather than the whole.

Analytical thinking recognizes cause and effect. Time-binders are the masters of cause and effect. When humans understand cause and effect, they make scientific discovery. They make knowledge. When humans make choices based on knowledge, they make inventions. They make technology. Time-binders are the creators of knowledge and technology. When knowledge is incorporated into matter-energy, it becomes a tool.

Humans are above all else toolmakers. Most of our knowledge is embedded in our tools. Human knowledge grows continuously and without limit. As we incorporate our evermore powerful knowledge into our tools. We produce evermore powerful tools.

Head start

Time-binding is also that unique ability to pass that ‘knowing’ from one generation to the next generation. Both animal and human offspring begin their lives in nearly total ignorance. The differences that exist between them are small, but what advantage in ‘knowing’ that does exist belongs clearly to the animal. While the animal seems to begin life with a greater store of inherited ‘knowing’, it possesses little ability to learn from its parents. The animal is condemned to rediscover over and over, every generation must discover anew the ‘knowings’ of its parents. The wise old owl may know a great deal, but he has no way to pass what he knows to his offspring and they have no way to receive it. We humans are very different in that respect. We can and do pass our knowing from one generation to the next.

My grandmother was born in a house without telephone, radio, television, electricity, or running water. My mother was born in the same house, but with the addition of electricity, running water, and radio. I was born in a modern hospital, my mother was put to sleep for the delivery and I grew up in a house with electricity, running water, flush toilets, radios, and telephone, and when I was eight, we got a television.

My daughters were born in a hospital home birth center with my wife awake and participating. My daughters have grown up in a house with three televisions, two stereos, three radios, several telephones, two video recorders, and three personal computers.

We humans do not start our ‘knowing’ over every generation. My paternal grandfather had a 3rd grade education; my maternal grandfather had an 8th grade education. My parents were high school graduates. I have 26 years of formal education and a doctorate. My wife’s mother has a grade school education; her father finished high school. My wife completed 23 years of formal education and has a graduate degree.

Our two daughters are now teenagers attending college, but both were involved in organized and systematic educational programs since their births. I am not smarter than my grandparents or my parents, I am simply later. Present humanity is not smarter than past humanity, they are simply later. As Alfred Korzybski explained in 1921:

“Human beings possess a most remarkable capacity which is entirely peculiar to them — I mean the capacity to summarize, digest and appropriate the labors and experiences of the past; I mean the capacity to use the fruits of past labors and experiences as intellectual or spiritual capital for developments in the present; I mean the capacity to employ as instruments of increasing power the accumulated achievements of the all-previous lives of the past generations spent in trial and error, trial and success; I mean the capacity of human beings to conduct their lives in the ever increasing light of inherited wisdom; I mean the capacity in virtue of which man is at once the inheritor of the bygone ages and the trustee of posterity. And because humanity is just this magnificent natural agency by which the past lives in the present and the present for the future, I define humanity, in the universal tongue of mathematics and mechanics, to be the time-binding class of life.” (8)

We humans bind time and are bound together in time. The record of our time-binding is everywhere. It is in all that activity that we so innocently call progress. It is the very motor of obsolescence. It is embedded in just about everything associated with humans and yet most humans are unaware of the very power that makes them human. We humans catalogue and store our various knowings in libraries, universities, colleges, data banks, and information services. We store our knowing in many formats — books, tapes, films, movies, newspapers, magazines, video, microfilm, photos, computer files, etc., etc., etc..

We are time-binders and the mark of our human power is everywhere

But, humans are more than just time-binders with the power to understand. We also have the power of space-binding — mobility and the ability to think wholistically, and the power of energy-binding — conversion of plant and animal tissue to organic chemical energy, growth and organization of energy.

Human success depends not just on understanding, but also on knowing when, where and how to be mobile. And also on the ability to control the energy which we will need to power our movement. We must have adequate energy stored so that we can release it at the proper moment to adapt to our environment.


The synergic relationship originates in the human world. As Korzybski foresaw:

“The human class of life is a part and a product of nature, therefore, there must be fundamental laws which are natural for this class of life. A stone obeys the natural laws of stones; a liquid conforms to the natural law of liquids; a plant, to the natural laws of plants; an animal, to the natural laws of animals; it follows inevitably that there must be natural laws for humans.” (9)

Universe provides unlimited time for humans. This is in the sense of time-binding. Human lives are finite, but human ‘knowing’ is not. Humans discovered control of fire ~1.5 million years ago, and it has been in daily use since then.

Humans invented the wheel ~5500 years ago and its use is everywhere today. Because humans pass their knowing to their descendants, in a sense, collective human life is not limited. Understanding is not limited. Knowing is not limited. Technology is not limited. Quality of human life based on knowing and technology is not limited.

We first discover synergic relationship in the microscopic universe. It is the basis of human cellular organization. Each of us has approximately 40 trillion cells organized within our bodies. These cells are related synergically, each acting in a highly co-Operative way.

Synergic relationship becomes available to human individuals because of time-binding. Our ability to invent and to understand new ways of doing things creates a new possibility for co-Operation which does not exist in the world of the plants and animals.

Co-OPERATION —def—> Operating together to insure that both parties win, and that neither party loses. The negotiation to insure that both parties are helped, and that neither party is hurt.

Cooperation is an old word with lots of different meanings and feelings attached to it. Similar words are uniting, banding, combining, concurring, conjoining, and leaguing. Individuals who cooperate are affiliates, allies, associates, or confederates.

To some “cooperation” seems a losing word associated with socialism and communism. This is not what I mean. Co-Operation in synergic relationship means operating together to insure a win-win outcome.

Co-Operation is the mechanism of action necessary whenever an individual desires to accomplish a task beyond his individual abilities.

Imagine, you and a friend are moving a heavy piece of furniture. Neither of you are strong enough to move the furniture by yourself. You decide to co-operate. You decide to operate together during the lifting. You would negotiate to insure that both of you win — to insure that both of you are helped.

The conversation might go like this, “Are you ready?”    “OK.”    “Ready, 1.. 2.. 3.. lift!”, and if things are going well you continue the lift, but if one end gets too heavy then synergic co-Operation requires that you also protect each other from loss. “Whoops! Set it down.”

This is the synergic veto. This is the true meaning of co-Operation. The negotiation to insure that both parties win, and the synergic veto to stop the action if either party is losing.

A very limited form of cooperation exists among some animals. We see it the hunting pride of lions and within the hyena pack. Human co-Operation is a much more powerful mechanism. Animals have no voice with which to negotiate an action in which they win. They have no voice to veto an action in which they lose. Their primitive cooperation is guided by instinct, and it is quick to breakdown into the fighting and flighting of the adversary way.

We humans share the animal body, to survive we must also eat. We are omnivores. We meet our basic needs and survive by eating both plants and animals. Physiologically, we humans are also a dependent class of life. So adversary behavior comes to humans legitimately. But we humans are much more intelligent than the animals and that intelligence gives us the synergic option to avoid fighting or flighting.

True co-Operation — working together, teamwork, joint effort, alliances — these are only possible to a life form with symbolic intelligence — to a life form with a voice and with language — to a life form able to negotiate and veto. On earth, synergic relationships are only available only to humans.

Synergic relationship means sometimes I depend on other and sometimes other depends on me. Synergic relationship makes humans the interdependent class of life — interdependent on each other. Today, synergic relationship exists only within small groups of humans.

Today, we find synergic relationships within families, occasionally within small businesses. But, there are no examples of institutionalized Synergy. There are no synergic governments.

Co-Operation results when there are no losers and no one is ignored. When humans behave synergically, they seek their goals and needs as allies rather than as competitors. Human intelligence is most useful when we humans think of ways where all parties can win and where there is no need for losers. Synergic relationships can produce all-win scenarios. And when humans begin to co-Operate wonderful things can happen. When we analyze synergic relationships, we find that (1+1) > 2 , frequently it’s much greater (1+1) >> 2.

Synergic mechanism is basic to Life. Synergy is present in the energy-binders. If we examine the plants microscopically, we find that every cell within a plant is organized to work together, each contributing to the integrity of the whole plant. The whole plant is more than an accumulation of vegetable cells. However at the macroscopic level the plant is neutral. It has no relationship with other plants.

Synergy is present in the space-binders as well. If we examine the animals we will find that microscopically they are synergically organized. Their organelles are synergized into cells, their cells are synergized into tissues, their tissues are synergized into organs, their organs are synergized into the organism-as-a-whole. Every cell interacting synergistically with every other cell. But for space-binders this is where synergy stops. The space-binder is behaviorally an adversary — the very opposite of synergy.

The intelligence of space-binding is inadequate to allow space-binders to organize themselves into a synergic community. The lion kills the zebra with no thought of the effect on the community of animals. The space-binder is not irresponsible he is aresponsible. His adversary behavior is the result of innocence. He sees himself as the only “whole”. In the adversary world, there is only good space or bad space. The animal lives the life of true dependence. If he is to eat, he must kill other.

We humans are also microscopic synergies. However, on the macroscopic or behavioral level we have a choice as how to behave. We can choose Adversity, Neutrality or Synergy. Today2000 most of us choose Adversity and Neutrality, and most of our relationships are adversary and neutral.

Living Powers are Cumulative

Arthur Young delineates the powers of process as follows: Light has the power of potential. Particles develop the power of binding but retain the power of potential. Atoms develop the power of identity but retain the powers of binding and potential. Molecules develop the power of combination but retain the powers of identity, binding and potential. The plants develop the power of growth but retain the power of combination, identity, binding and potential. The animals develop the power of mobility but retain the powers of growth, combination, identity, binding and potential. And humans develop the power of understanding and understanding leads to dominion over the other stages of process, but humans retain the powers of mobility, growth, combination, identity, binding and potential.

Synergy is the associated behavior of ‘wholes’, not predicted by examination of the ‘parts’.

We can examine light, but we will not predict the binding of particles. We can examine particles, but we will not predict the identity of atoms. We can examine atoms, but we will not predict the combination of molecules. We can examine molecules, but we will not predict the growth of plants. We can examine plants, but we will not predict the mobility of animals. We can examine animals, but we will not predict the understanding of humans. This is synergy — a major truth of Nature. This is what Universe is.

Universe as Synergy

The hierarchy of Universe begins with light. Universe is a unity of unities — Universe is a synergy of synergies.

First cause in Universe is light. Light is the first unity — the first synergy. Light is first ‘whole’ in Universe. But light is also the ‘part’ that synergizes to form the ‘whole’ of particles.

Particles are the second unity — the second synergy of Universe. Particles are the second ‘whole’ in Universe. But Particles are also the ‘parts’ that synergizes to form the ‘whole’ of atoms.

Atoms are the third unity — the third synergy of Universe. Atoms are the third ‘whole’ in Universe. Atoms are also the ‘parts’ that synergizes to form the ‘whole’ of molecules.

Molecules are the fourth unity — the fourth synergy of Universe. Molecules are the fourth ‘whole’ in Universe. Molecules are also the ‘parts; that synergizes to form the ‘whole’ of plants.

Plants are the fifth unity — the fifth synergy of Universe. Plants are the fifth ‘whole’ in Universe. Plants are also the ‘parts’ that synergizes to form the ‘whole’ of animals.

Animals are the sixth unity — the sixth synergy of Universe. Animals are the sixth ‘whole’ in Universe. Animals are also the ‘parts’ that synergizes to form the ‘whole’ of humans.

And finally, Humans are the seventh unity — the seventh synergy of Universe. Humans are the seventh ‘whole’ in Universe.

The first half of the arc is where we find classical physics — focused on the processes of Light, Particles, Atoms, and simple Molecules. This is where the descent into determinancy occurs. This is where entropy—the trend to disorder prevails. Our knowledge of entropy comes from one of the major discoveries of classical physics called the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

The second half of the arc is where we will find synergic physics — focused on the living processes of complex Molecules, Plants, Animals, and Humans. This is where the ascent back to freedom occurs. This is where syntropy—the trend to order can prevail.

All that exists in space-time has both substance and form. The substance is matter-energy, and form is the order, organization, and pattern of that matter-energy. Jules Henri PoincarÈ stated in 1908:

“Science is built up of facts, as a house is with stones. But a collection of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house.” (10)

It is the order, organization, and pattern of the facts that make a science; and the order, organization, and pattern of the stones that make a house.

An understanding of this concept of syntropy or order — structure, organization, pattern, and form; and its opposite concept entropy or disorder — structurelessness, disorganization, patternlessness, and formlessness; is essential to a full understanding of Young’s Theory of Process.

The Universe is heterogeneous — some regions within the Universe are very hot (stars, nova, suns, etc.), and some regions within the Universe are very cold (open space). The Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us the hot regions are steadily cooling down, and the cold regions are steadily warming up. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that in any closed system, no process can occur that increases the net order (or decreases the net disorder) of the system.

Thermodynamics distinguishes between open and closed systems. A closed system is isolated from the rest of the environment and exchanges neither matter-energy or information with its surroundings. Classical physicists considered the Universe in its entirety to be a closed system. If this was true then the Second Law of Thermodynamics predicted that eventually the Universe as a whole would reach a state of thermodynamic equilibrium when everything in the Universe is the same temperature. At this point, all physical-chemical reactions would stop. This would be a state of maximum disorder — maximum entropy. They called this state of complete randomness and homogeneity without any order, or pattern the heat death of the Universe. This belief has dominated science for the past 150 years and still casts a dark shadow over the human spirit. If the end of the human story is oblivion, then all human action is in the end meaningless.

As Winifred Babcock1971 explains:

“For a hundred years, the drums of the Religion of Science have been rolling one note that accompanies every trill of discovery: Nihilism. Here is its pitch: Nature’s supreme law, the second law of thermodynamics, which has been found to govern every expression of energy — and to be involved even in the expression of the word, in communication — says that the Universe is dying a heat-death. Every celestial body in the system is dying. The organization of energy which provides the fuel that is consumed to supply the warmth that life needs is being constantly disorganized with subsequent loss of temperature — in every move made, or even if a system is left to itself — and there is no evidence in the purely physical sense that it is being reorganized.

“Let us hasten to say that not all scientists hold this view. In fact, more and more of them are now refusing it. But for a long time it held sway. This is the doctrine of an ungodly materialism wherein it is presumed that everything in creation feeds like a parasite upon the stuff of its Cosmic host until the host’s energy is consumed and both go down to destruction.

“Relatively speaking, not a handful of people on this planet have any idea of what nature’s supreme law is or how it works — not even the most highly educated people. But it is the scientists’ interpretation of this law that is grinding like the salt mill at the bottom of the ocean of modern knowledge, flavoring the whole of it so that it is no longer potable for man’s soul. Artists may not be aware of this law, but they are aware of the despair that flavors life; and they are aware of the repudiation by the young not only of today’s value system, but their repudiation of the idea that there can be a valid value system if life, evolution, and the Universe are meaningless and purely materialistic.

“To the degree that man believes he is a thing, product of blind and purposeless nature that is moving toward senseless oblivion, be assured that he will act according to this belief. Life is bereft of a motivating principle.

“Space age in a dying Universe? So what? An unmotivated audience amuses itself. And “happenings,” hapless, light the dark theater like fireflies on a warm June night. The bright promises of Science and technology fall on deaf ears. What value can there be in such a system, even if it will take billions of years before its witless curse is run? If this is actually the condition of the Universe, it hold forth no reason, no promise, to man.” (11)

Fortunately, Universe is not a closed system and the second law of thermodynamics is not the whole story, as R. Buckminster Fuller1975 explains:

“The mid-19th-century development of thermodynamics, and in particular its second law, introduced the concept that all systems always lose energy and do so in ever-increasingly disorderly and expansive ways. The academicians spontaneously interpreted the instantaneity and simultaneity of Universe as requiring that the Universe too must be categorized as a system; the academicians assumed that as a system Universe itself must be losing energy in increasingly expansive and disorderly ways. Any expenditure of energy by humans on Earth — to whom the stars in the heavens were just so much romantic scenery; no more, no less — would hasten the end of the Universe. This concept was the foundation of classical conservatism — economic, political, and philosophical. Those who “spent” energy were abhorred.

“This viewpoint was fortified by the hundred-years-earlier concept of classical science’s giant, Isaac Newton, who in his first law of motion stated that all bodies persist in a state of rest, or in a line of motion, except as affected by other bodies. This law posits a cosmic norm of at rest: change is abnormal. This viewpoint as yet persists in all the graphic-chart coordinates used by society today for plotting performance magnitudes against a time background wherein the baseline of “no change” is the norm. Change is taken spontaneously as being inherently abnormal and is as yet interpreted by many as being cause for fundamental social concern.

“In the era before the measurement of the speed of light scientists assumed an instant, unitarily conceptual, normally-at-rest (but for the moment, and only locally, perversely restless) Universe. Before the 20th-century discoveries of other galaxies and in the early days of thermodynamics and its disclosure of entropy — the inexorable systemic loss of energy — the scientists were prone to assume that the vast instantaneous cosmic machine as a thermodynamic system must itself be “running down” — that is, continually spending itself entropically and trending eventually to self-annihilation.

“Boltzmann contradicted that assumption by saying in effect that the a priori fact of the existence of billions of stars radiantly and entropically broadcasting their energies must require an as-yet-undiscovered but obviously operative energy redistribution system by which stars are elsewhere and elsewhen assemblingly formed. Boltzmann therefore assumed a cosmic complex of invisible energy-importing centers whose nonsimultaneous formations but sum-total, long-run energy importing exactly balances all the long-run cosmic exportings. The entropic radiance of the exporting centers makes them visible to us, while the importing centers are inherently invisible, except when starlight bounces reflectively off them as does Sunlight make the Moon — and the planets Venus, Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn — reflectively visible to us Earthians.

“Because Boltzmann could not demonstrate the astrophysical presence of such inherently invisible importing centers, his concept was not widely accepted by other scientists. Einstein, however, later supported Boltzmann’s concept as constituting a logical corollary of Einstein’s own implicit concept of the Universe as an aggregate of nonsimultaneous, variously enduring, and only partially overlapping energy events.

“With the accurate measurement, in 1887, of the speed of light in vacuo, science had comprehensively new, experimentally redemonstrable challenges to its cosmogony and cosmology. Inspired by the combined discoveries of the Brownian movement, black body radiation, and the photon of light, Einstein, Planck, and others recognized that energy-as-radiation has a top speed — ergo, is finitely terminated — but among them, Einstein seems to have convinced himself that his own cosmological deliberations should assume Boltzmann’s concept to be valid — ergo, always to be included in his own exploratory thoughts. There being no experimental evidence of energy ever being created or lost, universal energy is apparently conserved. Wherefore Boltzmann had hypothesized that energy progressively and broadcastingly exported from various localities in Universe must be progressively imported and reassembled at other localities in Universe.

“Boltzmann’s concept was analogous to that upon which was developed the theory and practice of the 20th-century meteorological weather forecasting, which recognizes that our terrestrial atmosphere’s plurality of high-pressure areas are being progressively exhausted at different rates by a plurality of neighboring low-pressure areas, which accumulate atmospheric molecules and energy until they in turn become new high- pressure areas, which are next to be progressively exhausted by other newly initiated low- pressure areas. The interpatterning of the various importing-exporting centers always changes kaleidoscopically because of varying speeds of moisture formation or precipitation, speeds and directions of travel, and local thermal conditions.

“Though they did not say it that way, the 20th-century leaders of scientific thinking inferred that physical Universe is apparently eternally regenerative.

“Einstein assumed hypothetically that energies given off omnidirectionally with the ever-increasing disorder of entropy by all the stars were being antientropically imported, sorted, and accumulated in various other elsewheres. He showed that when radiant energy interferes with itself, it can, and probably does, tie itself precessionally into local and orderly knots. Einstein must have noted that on Earth children do not disintegrate entropically but multiply their hydrocarbon molecules in an orderly fashion; little saplings grow in an orderly way to become big trees. Einstein assumed Earthian biology to be reverse entropy.” (12)

Life is Syntropic — Trending Towards Order

Living systems are clearly ordered. Living systems can be seen as localized regions in space-time where there is a continuous increase in order. Living systems are open systems. An open system is one in which exchanges of matter-energy and information occur.

Entropy, the trend towards disorder was discovered long before syntropy — the trend towards order was found. Classical Physics is much older than Synergic Physics. This difference in age resulted in the classical physicists calling syntropy either negative entropy or negentropy. Synergic Physicists have now all but abandoned the use of these double negative terms for syntropy. So while you may still see references to negentropy or negative entropy, a better term is syntropy.

Life is syntropic in part because of its ability to take in matter-energy of higher order than it excretes. Erwin Schrˆdinger1945 proposed this connection between life and Thermodynamics when he wrote:

“It (a living system) can only keep … alive by continually drawing from its environment negative entropy (syntropy)… What an organism feeds upon is negative entropy (syntropy) .” (13)

James G. Miller states that:

“Living systems maintain a steady state of negentropy (syntropy) even though entropic changes occur in them as they do everywhere else. They accomplish this by taking in inputs of foods or fuels, matter-energy higher in complexity or organization or negentropy (syntropy) (i.e.,lower in entropy) than their outputs.” (14)

While both Schrˆdinger and Miller are correct in their statements that life has the ability to take in matter-energy of higher order than it excretes. The synergic power of life is much greater than this.

Science2000 finds that life is much more than a filter for syntropy. Life is quite capable of creating syntropy within itself. It does this by making controlled choices. Choices based on knowledge.

Complex molecules and plants create syntropy by making controlled choices in energy. Controlled choices requiring knowledge of energy.

The animals create syntropy by making controlled choices in energy and space. Controlled choices requiring knowledge of energy and space.

We humans create syntropy by making controlled choices in energy, space and time. Controlled choices requiring knowledge of energy, space and time.

Science2002 further finds that both entropy and syntropy exist at every stage of process. Although entropy predominates in “dead”Universe — light, particles, atoms, and simple molecules, syntropy exists there as well. And while, syntropy predominates in “live”Universe — complex molecules, plants, animals, and humans, entropy exists here as well. All stages of process in the descent of the arc are predominately entropic. Light, particles,and atoms and simple molecules are decaying. This means their order, organization, pattern, and form are deteriorating. They move towards ever-increasing entropy or disorder — disorganization, chaos, randomness, patternlessness, formlessness, and homogeneity.

All stages of process in the ascent of the arc are predominately syntropic. Complex molecules, plants, animals, and humans are primarily syntropic — this means they are growing.

Life’s power is to create syntropy. This ability to ever increase order, organization, pattern, and form is the definition of evolution. Life evolves towards ever-increasing syntropy — ever increasing order — ever increasing organization, form, pattern, and heterogeneity.

Synergic Evolution then is one of the defining characteristics of life.

Synergic Evolution — def — > The transition of process from a state of lower syntropy — order, organization, pattern, and form to a state of higher syntropy — order, organization, pattern and form.


(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

7) Alfred Korzybski, The Manhood of Humanity, E.P. Dutton & Co., New York, 1921

8) Alfred Korzybski, The Manhood of Humanity, 1921, ibid<

9) Alfred Korzybski, The Manhood of Humanity, 1921, ibid

10) Winifed Babcock, The Single Reality, A Harold Institute Book—Dodd, Mead & Co.,New York, 1971

11) Ludwig Boltzmann, An Austrian physicist born in 1844. He worked on statistical mechanics using probability to describe how the properties of atoms determine the properties of matter. In particular his work relates to the Second Law of Thermodynamics which he derived from the principles of mechanics in the 1890s. Boltzmann asserted that entropy increases almost always, rather than always. Boltzmann’s ideas which were opposed by many European scientists; they misunderstood them, not fully grasping the statistical nature of his reasoning. Depressed and in bad health, Boltzmann committed suicide just before experiment verified his work in 1906.

12) R. Buckminster Fuller, SYNERGETICS—Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking, Volumes I & II, New York, Macmillan Publishing Co, 1975, 1979

13) Edwin Schrˆdinger, What is Life?, Private Monogram, 1945

14) James G. Miller, Living Systems, McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1978

Outline of Arthur Young’s Theory of Process

1) The Universe is a process put in motion by purpose.

2) The development of process occurs in stages.

3) There are seven stages.

4) Each stage develops a new power.

5) Powers are cumulative; each one retains the powers developed in the previous stages.

6) Powers are evolved sequentially in what are called kingdoms.


1.  Potential Light

2.  Binding (substance) Particles

3. Identity (form) Atoms

4. Combination Molecules

5. Growth (organization) Plants

6. Mobility Animals

7. Understanding (dominion) Humans

7) Arc of process: the early stages of process take on increasing constraint until constraint becomes maximal, at which point there is a turn. The later stages of process see the conquest of the constraints and the development of freedom. Freedom in the first half is random, in the last controlled. 


8) Levels: the descent and ascent pass through four levels in a V-shaped arc. Levels have successively zero, one, two, and three degrees of constraint, and three, two, one, and zero degrees of freedom. The stages on the right- and left-hand branches of the are at the same level have properties in common:

Level I Light 3∞ of freedom 0∞ of constraint  Humans
Level II Particles 2∞ of freedom 1∞ of constraint Animals
Level III Atoms 1∞ of freedom 2∞ of constraint  Plants
Level IV Molecules 0∞ of freedom 3∞ of constraint

Comments are closed.