Saturday, March 16, 2013

It is not enough to say that human action is historical, and that history is an unfolding of unique events. Nothing fundamental separates the course of human history from the course of physical history, whether in the stars or in organic diversity. –Edward O. Wilson

We feel clearly that we are only now beginning to acquire reliable material for welding together the sum-total of what is known into a whole; but, on the other hand, it has become next to impossible for a single mind fully to command more than a small specialized portion of it. I can see no other escape from this dilemma (lest our true aim be lost for ever) than that some of us should venture to embark on a synthesis of facts and theories, albeit with second-hand and incomplete knowledge of some of them, and at the risk of making fools of themselves. –Erwin Schrödinger

Volume One Table of Contents

Notes on Usages and Other Matters    vii

Prologue   ix

I. First Things

Introduction    2

The Questions    14

Propositions and Premises    15

How It Looks to Us: The Human Frame of Reference    22

A Species Lost in Both Space and Time    26

The Search: The Existential Dilemma of the Human Being    33

II. Hidden Realities

That Which Is    52

Self-Organization and Emergence     53

The Rules of the Game: Preface     62

The Rules of the Game: The Original Rulebook    64

The Rules of the Game: The New Rulebook     77

Is Mathematics the Real Reality?     104

Randomness, Probability, and Coincidence   112

Chains of Unintended Consequences   121

Synergy and Feedback Loops   128

Patterns, Cycles, and Shapes   137

The World as a Set of Interrelated Systems   145

The World as a Non-Equilibrium System   152

The Worlds of Reality   160

III. The Emergence of Human Consciousness—A Chronology

Condensing the History of the Universe   166

Beginning   167

The First Stars   176

The First Galaxies   182

The Sun   188

The Earth Forms   195

The Earliest Life on Earth   204

The Dominance of the One-Celled Life Forms   226

Life in the Oceans: The Animals Evolve and Begin to Spread   243

The Plant Kingdom Begins to Colonize the Land   258

The Animal Kingdom Begins to Colonize the Land   267

The Reptiles and the Synapsids Evolve  275

The Mammals   282

A Life in the Trees: The Primates Evolve   294

Evolution of the Genus Homo   328

The Diaspora of Modern Consciousness: Homo Sapiens Spreads Throughout the World   356

Human Life Since the Advent of Written Records   391

IV. Humans as Physical Beings

Humans in the Context of Life   396

The Human Animal: A General Survey of Its Composition, Structure, Function, Capacities, and Limitations   405

Aging and the Human Lifespan  436

Appendix 442

Chapter Notes and Sources for Volume One 443

Index to Volume One   478

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