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Full Circle

The Moral Force of Unified Science

ed. by Edward Haskell

Gordon and Breach, New York, London & Paris, 1972

This book has been out of print for a long time, but has recently been issued in a free complete on-line html edition.

Full Circle - Complete On-line Edition

From the synopsis

Full Circle argues that scientific specialisation has destroyed those concepts and values crusial to the survival and regeneration of Western democracy.  These values are boldly restated as an assembly of the sciences - physical, biological, and psycho-social - within a single system, the periodic cordinate system of of Unified Science, modelled on Leibnitz's Universal Characteristic....."
In this section I'll briefly

Haskell and his co-workers developed a number of important insights, each building upon the preceeding:

Three classes of relationships. - this adds to positive or enhanced (+) and negative or decreased (-) (or in more holistic terms Synergy and Adversity), a third class that is unaffected or Neutrality (0). These three classes of relationship represent the building blocks of the whole system.

9 Co-Actions - when you have two co-acting entities, each with three classes of relationship, you have nine possible co-actions. A relationship may be good for one party but bad for another, or neutral for one but positive for another, and so on. This is expressed in the following table

9 Co-Actions

The Co-Action Compass or PCS (Periodic Coordinate System) - This replaces the table of 9 Co-Actions with a simple but extremely profound diagram showing the varying degrees of negative, positive, and neutral coactions. Adapting cybernetic concepts, one element of the system (here represented as the vertical or Y axis) represents the dominant element, the controller or governor, and the other (here shown as the horizontal or X axis) represents the work component.

The Moral Law of the Unified Science This one seems rather strange at first. Haskell restates the spiritual principle "as you sow, so shall you reap", as a scientific law of Nature that applied in all the stages of evolution, using the Mendeleevian Periodic Table as a starting point "where reaping is the properties of the chemical elements and sowing is the co-Action between the atom's two components its vast, light, electron cloud, and its tiny, massive nucleus."

According to Haskel these two components the electron cloud (work component) and the nucleus (governor) related in only three ways positive, neutral, or negative - and that by plotting these on the Co-Action Compass you have have the basic arrangement, as follows:

Mendeleev Table on Co-Action Compass

The most positive state is the one in which both parties have a positive action, resulting in maximum organisation, symbiosis (here taken as a generic term for all the levels of evolution, not just the biological) and mutual evolution (ultimately to omega (of Teilhard) or godhead). The most negative is the entropic one in which the relationship is mutually destructive. There are many gradations between these two extremes. Haskell called this dynamic give and take interaction the Moral Law of Unified Science.

The diagram is periodic because the same pattern applies at all levels of being, as shown here.

General Co-Action Compass

At the biological level, the point of omega or maximum organisation is represented by a symbiotic relationship between two organisms, in which both benefit. Predation (the dominant preys on the weaker), Parasitism (the weaker preys on the dominant), Commensialism (one organism benefist and the other is unaffected) and various other ecological interactions can all be plotted. Although in the book this principle is applied to ecological communities, it can also be adopted (even more precisely) to individuals.

Biological - Ecological Co-Action Compass

Haskell and his coworkers also plotted human societies in the same way, although I find the formualtion somewhat simplistic (human history and technology does not develop in a strictly linear manner, for taht matter neither does biological evolution). However, ignoring the details and just looking at the basics, Unified Science does argue very coherently that the same patterns of relationship occur between particles, atoms, molecules, plants, animals, and human societies. In this way there is an integration of the sciences on the basis of the hypothesis that all natural systems have a common underlying structure, with the Periodic Table of chemical elements as its special atomic case, allowing a universal formulation.

The following diagram illustrates the way the various evolutionary strata are integrated, one within the other, in a single evolutionary process.

all the evolutionary stages or periods combined

There is an interesting parallel here with Arthur Young's Theory of Process - both are theories of a universal science in terms of a number of discrete stages that evolve in a sort of cybernetic (in the original sense of the word) feedback mechanism.  They even share many of the same major stages.  There are however also many important differences between the two.

Web links Links Web links

external link Future Positive - Edward Haskell

external link About Edward Haskell - biography

See also Anthony Judge's essay external link Cardioid Attractor Fundamental to Sustainability - 8 transactional games forming the heart of sustainable relationship, which combines the Carnot Cycle (an idealized thermodynamic heat engine), the Coaction Cardioid of Edward Haskell (Unified Science), the Eight Trigrams, and other subjects (part of the enormous external link Laetus in Praesens website

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content by M.Alan Kazlev,
page first revised 22 April 1999, last modified 19 November 2005