Kheper Home | Provisional Metaphysical Theory of Everything Home | A New Integral Paradigm Home | Topics Index | New or updated | Search


Glossary of Evolutionary and Ontodynamic terms

I originally intended to formulate an ontodynamic theory in terms of a number of well organized fundamental principles, like the axiis of manifestation in the quadontology section. But instead this section became a sort of mini-encyclopaedia, and in the end I merged the ontodynamics and quadontology, and ontodynamics and evolution. The result was the following an alphabetical listing and glossary.

Anagenesis evolutionary change in a single lineage that does not result in a new evolutionary branch or clade

Axial Evolution - evolution that represents an ascent from a lesser to a greater state of physical existence - e.g. the evolution of life from inanimate matter. The term is identical to what Teilhard de Chardin calls "Radial Evolution".

Clade - a monophyletic group, a group of organisms consisting of a common ancestor and all that ancestor's descendants. "Class Reptilia" is not a clade because some reptiles (dinosaurs) evolved into birds (non-reptiles). Sci Fi writer Bruce Stirling [Stirling, Schizmatrix], and following him Orion's Arm, also use the term to refer to the evolutionary divergence of humanity or posthumanity. e.g. a race of genetically engineered space adapted humans would constitute a distinct clade from baseline humanity (technically, a Daughter Clade of the Human Parent Clade)

Emergent Evolution - the evolutionary appearance of qualitive phenomena that cannot be explained in terms of their component parts, and which appear in physical reality with each higher or larger level of complexity. e.g. chemistry emerges at the level of atoms amd molocules, and cannot be explaine din terms of quantum phenomena alone. Life emerges at the level of cells, and cannot be explained simply in terms of the chemistry of molocules. At the same time, aspects of the lower are lost - quantum physics pertians only to the smallest scales, biochemistry doesnt work on the level of planets, and so on.

Cladogenesis evolutionary change that results in the splitting of a lineage and a new branch or clade of the phylogenetic tree

Co-action Compass - universally applicable cybernetic diagram presented by Edward Haskell and his associates, which shows the interactions between any two entities or elements of the same entity. more

Compound - consisting of parts; not simple. These parts may or may not be holons

Cosmos - creation, the totality; everything. Also spelt "Kosmos". From the Greek "ornament". There are also indidual cosmoses or worlds which make up elements or nodes or aspects of the larger Cosmos as a whole.

Emanation - the effect that any entity, system, and/or being has on its environment. The Absolute Reality, being infinite, generates cosmos-creating emanation, through which all manifest existence comes about. Of course, the Absolute is also all that is, so it only affects Itself; even so this still includes creation, the totality; everything. Gods and other hierarchies of beings produce emanations of entire autonomous beings, even worlds. Humans, as physically embodied beings, produce a constant stream of mental and astral thought-forms, an etheric aura, and physical molocules, skin flakes, and a weak electromagnetic field, as "emanation". A sub-atomic [particle produces its own "emanation" of virtual particles. More

Entropy. The progression from more complex to simpler structures through through lose-lose (-/-) co-action. The reverse of evolution.

Evolution - linear, branching, or converging change or succession or series from an original (usually although not always simpler) state or ancestor or group to another (usually although not always more complex) state or descendents or group. Evolution may occur anywhere along the holarchy or universal-individual axis, using many or few elements of the holarchy. So there can be individual evolution, collective evolution, cosmic evolution, and so on. Evolution may be physical, psychic, spiritual, or of any pother nature. In fact evolution is a fundamental law or principle of the Cosmos. Evolution is only possible in an open system; in other words, either or both X / Work Component and Y / Controller (see Co-action Compass) must include at some elements outside the individual being. These elements may pertain to any axis or parameter of reality, and/or to the Absolute which is beyond all such dualities.

Evolutionary Radiation - the sudden emergence of a large number of novel evolutionary forms (organisms or systems), as the result of a new adaptation or adaptations (e.g. Cambrian Explosion), or sudden vacant ecological niches following a mass extinction (e.f. placental Mammals).

Feedback and Feedforth - the flow of being (which may be energy, matter, information, ch'i, consciosuness, or anything else) between components within an individual system, as well as from the individual itself to other (equivalent, larger, or smaller) individuals or systems

Cybernetics understands feedback (within a system), but not feedforth (beyond a system). In the Unified Science paradigm of Edward Haskell and his co-workers, the various levels or systems, develop and relate through a feedback and feedforth both within and between each level, which is as follows:

Edward Haskell (ed.) Full Circle - The Moral Force of Unified Science, p. xxx

Holarchy. A hierarchy of holons

In Janus, a Summing Up, Arthur Koestler presents the theory of holons, as a third way between atomism and holism. Each entity at each hierarchical level, each "holon" as Koestler termed them, is both a whole of the parts or entities of the level below, and a part of the whole above. Atoms are made of subatomic particles, molocules of atoms, biological cells of molocules, and so on, upto the entire cosmos as a whole. Koestler coined the term Holarchy ( Wikipedia link wikipedia page) to describe this particular hierarchy. This term was then adopted by Ken Wilber who added a lot of additional ideas, and created a sort of monadology based on the idea that all that exist are Holons and nothing else (Wilber 2000b pp.17f. etc). This, in my opinion, makes the concept of holarchy too amorphous (if everything is a holon, why even say "holon"?). Also, there may well be entities like the Samkhyan concept of purushas that are not a part of or made up of, other units.

Holon - a system that is itself a part of a larger system.

In interepreting holons I have taken a position opposite that of Ken Wilber, who reduces the entire cosmos to nothing but holons, each of which are made up of four quadrants and so on, and other integral theorists who present holons in too generic a sense of any a whole that is itself a part of a larger whole. As indicated in the following diagram, holons are not "atoms", but autonomous systems in the sense of the term used by Erich Jantsch.

Interaction - co-action between two or more beings

Karma - the effect a system's or a being's action on other systems or beings has on itself

Karma implies that all beings are actually co-essential, because by affecting another one also affects oneself.

Kingdom - in Linnean terms (biology), the largest category of living organisms (since superceded by the Domain). In esotericism, a major category of beings, usually defined by the level of consciousness and faculties of the soul.

Novelty the emergence ofa new caharcteristic that did not prevbiously exist in the physical universe

Omega - the final goal or state to which the Cosmos is proceeding (imples teleology) . The term Omega Point was coined by Teilhard de Chardin to refer to what is here called Theogenesis

Ontogeny - the developmental history of the individual, as opposed to the group (phylogeny)

Open System - A system that interacts with and is acted upon by its larger environment.

The laws of thermodynamics proved that for life (which builds up complex systems, in apparent violation of the second law of thermodynamics) to occur an open system is necessary, because entropy must be dumped outside the individual being. The only way you could have life in a closed system would be as a perpetual motion machine, a physical impossibility.

Note that this does not have to refer to only the dense physical dynamics of matter and energy; Steven Guth and I have proposed the concept of Astrognosis, whereby cosmic influences ray down on Earth. The Earth is not a closed system, a little bubble separate from everything else, but a holon that is part of a larger, galactic, ecology which incorporates "astrodevic" forces.

Orthogenesis evolutionary change which proceeds in a straight line; a single theme is carried on and developed through successive species.

Phylogeny - the history of the race or group or clade or even kingdom (Jantsch for example speaks of the "phylogeny of matter") as opposed to the individual (ontogeny). Phylogeny involves evolutionary ancestry and descent through time.

Simple - not made up of component parts.

Singularity - an axial ascent (emergant evolution) from one toposophic level to the next, such that it is impossible to understand the outcome or nature of the new evolution using only the understanding and experience of the previous or lower toposophic level. The concept was originally developed by sci fi writer Vernor Vinge [ref xxxx]. Every singularity event involves a radical degree of novelty.

Syntropy - evolution through win-win (+/+) co-action.

Whenever syntropy occurs, the result is progressive evolution, leading to novelty and higher order structures. Hence evolutionary developments are indicated at the top right of the co-action compass, as shown here

System - a dynamic compound being; consciousness in (usually but not necessarily) physical evolution.

The following list of Characteristics of Self-organizing systems is from the Self-Organising Syustems FAQs page (and is reproduced on Integrative Spirituality Org):

Tangental Evolution - Teilhard de Chardin's term for evolution that does not involve progression to a new and greater state; evolutionary radiation.

Teleology - goal-directed evolutionary process, movement towards omega. Physicalist evolutionary science does not accept teleology

Toposophic Level - a singularity level, a quantum level of the physical evolution of consciousness. The term was originally coined for Orion's Arm


Wilber, Ken (2000b) A Brief History of Everything, Shambhala, Boston & London, 1996, 2nd edition 2000


Kheper index page
Theory of Everything Home
New Integral Paradigm Home

Kheper Home | Provisional Metaphysical Theory of Everything Home | A New Integral Paradigm Home | Topics Index | New or updated | Search

Creative Commons License
Unless otherwise attributed or quoted, all text and original images are licensed under
the Creative Commons License 1.0 and a 2.0. Other images are copyright their respective owners.

images not loading? | error messages? | broken links? | suggestions? | criticism?

contact me

text content and original diagrams by M.Alan Kazlev
uploaded as separate page 26 August 2005