A Tentative Model for a Living Universe
The Planetary Genome (Part One)

Elisabet Sahtouris, Ph.D. 

Dedicated to Jonas Salk

The ancient Greek word for science was philosophy - philos sophias, 
the love of wisdom. This name intended to set science on a course of 
searching for wisdom, for practical guidance in human affairs through 
understanding the natural order of the cosmos to which we belong. 

It was precisely this search that motivated me to study science and 
continues to motivate me, though only the rarest of western scientists 
I encountered shared it, most having abandoned that search in the 
belief that science should be neutral - i.e. free of values and social 
intent - or that the ever new technologies spawned by western science 
are all humanity needs to solve its problems and continue its “progress.” 

Jonas Salk, one of the rare scientists who never stopped pursuing 
wisdom and guidance for humanity through science, was marginalized in 
his own prestigious scientific institute. He sought me out as a 
kindred scientific spirit on the remote Greek Island to which I had 
retreated to work on my own, feeling a similar marginalization by my 
peers. I shall always be grateful for his recognition and encouragement.


Western science assumed the existence of an objective material 
universe that can be formally modeled through objective observation 
and measurement. Thomas Ehrich describes objectivity as follows: 

Objectivity is commonly taken to mean, “freedom from idiosyncrasies.” 
An idea is objective to the extent that it is unpolluted by the 
individual's beliefs or presuppositions; a critique is objective to 
the extent that the person making the criticisms and suggestions 
ignores their own personal feelings and biases. Objectivity in this 
sense is often defined as the negative of personal subjectivity, or as 
the opposite of personal opinion.

Science set out not only to eliminate idiosyncrasy and bias by 
decreeing the separation of subjectivity (our inner world) from 
objectivity (our outer world), but to create a comprehensive and 
detailed model of the outer world as a universe independent of any 
individual human conception of it (whether revelatory or observed) and 
independent of human participation within it - an undisputed, public 
model of a “reality” entirely independent of our thoughts and actions. 

The word physics is taken literally from the Greek word for nature: 
physis. European scientists from Galileo on assumed that physics in 
its modern meaning, including astronomy, was the true science of 
nature, while life sciences from organic chemistry to biology, 
evolution biology, and psychology were (and still are) deemed 

Natural laws are still limited to the physics of a 
non-living universe, into which biologists are expected to fit their 
explanations of life. Toward this end, the concept of negentropy was 
coined as a kind of swimming upstream that could increase order 
locally within the overall river of entropy. Negentropy is credited 
with the descent of man, according to Darwin, his predecessors and his 
followers, as the natural creature of an evolutionary process billions 
of years long. 

Consider what might have happened had Galileo looked down through a 
microscope into a drop of pond water teeming with gyrating life forms 
instead of up through a telescope into the heavens, already conceived 
in his time as celestial mechanics? Might biology, rather than 
physics, have become the leading science into whose models all others 
must fit themselves? Might scientists then have seen life not as a 
rare accidental occurrence in futile struggle to build up syntropic 
systems against the inevitably destructive tide of entropy, but as the 
fundamental nature of an exuberantly creative universe? 

Instead of projecting a universe of mechanism without inventor, 
assembling blindly through particular, atomic and molecular collisions 
a few of which came magically to life and further evolved by 
accidental mutations, I propose that there is reason to see the whole 
universe as alive, self-organizing endless fractal levels of living 
complexity as reflexive systems learning to play with possibilities in 
the intelligent co-creation of complex evolving systems. 

I propose that it is actually more reasonable to project our life onto 
the entire universe than our non-living machinery, which is a 
derivative of life, a truly emerging phenomenon, rather than a 
fundamental one. I propose that it is possible to create a scientific 
model of a living universe, and that such a model is not only 
scientifically justified but can lead to the wisdom required to build 
a better human life on and for our planet Earth as the ancient Greeks 
intuited it should. 

New Assumptions for an Integral Science

The current revolution - the impending paradigm shift - in science is 
forcing reconsideration of its most fundamental assumptions, that is, 
of the worldview described above, of the basic beliefs supporting the 
current scientific model of our universe or cosmos and ourselves 
within it. Cosmos is defined as “the universe as an orderly 
construct,” so because I am proposing an orderly model of the 
universe, I will usually prefer the word cosmos. 

Western science set itself the task of describing reality. In 
eliminating those aspects of the perceived world that are not 
measurable, it relegated them variously to subjective, mental, 
mythological, imaginary, storytelling, fictional, spiritual, and other 
categories identified as unreal. A few aspects of our world, such as 
taste, smell, and electromagnetism were shifted from unreal to real as 
ways of measuring them were discovered. 

To contribute to an Integral Science, my model of the cosmos must 
include all human experience. The goal of this new version of science 
is proposed to be: a) to model a coherent and self-consistent cosmos 
as a public reality conforming as much as possible to necessarily 
private individual realities; and b) to interpret this model for the 
purpose of orienting humanity within the cosmos and thus permitting it 
to understand its particular role within the greater cosmos.

Toward that end, I propose: 
1) The scientific definition of reality should be the collective human 
experience of self, world, and universe as inner and outer worlds 
perceived from individually unique perspectives. (We have no other 
legitimate basis for creating cosmic models.) 

2) Consciousness (awareness) shall be axiomatic for the simple and 
obvious reason that no human experience can happen outside it. 

3) Formal experiments have as their purpose the creation of publicly 
shareable models of reality that permit common understanding and 

4) Autopoiesis (continuous self-creation) shall be adopted as the core 
definition of life. Since galaxies, stars, planets, organisms, cells, 
molecules, atoms, and sub-atomic particles all fit this definition, 
this implies that life is the fundamental process of the cosmos, a 
self-creating living whole with self-creating living components in 
co-creative interaction. 

5) Nature shall be conceived in fractal levels of holons in holarchy, 
holons defined as relatively self-contained living entities such as 
those listed in (4) and holarchy defining their embeddedness and 
co-creative interdependence on energy, matter, and information exchange.  

Beginning with these few assumptions and definitions as a conceptual 
framework for an Integral Science, we can reassess the past findings 
of science based on previous models, discover past errors and redesign 
experiments as necessary. We can also look for new patterns of 
regularity. (I shall avoid the term laws because of its implication of 
a lawgiver.)

Reality as Direct Human Experience

The idea of defining reality in terms of human experience may seem 
strange to any western scientist accustomed to firm belief in a firm 
firmament that includes our Earth and humanity but exists separately 
from human experience of it. Yet the whole edifice of a separate, 
objective world has been built on a belief in objectivity that has 
been discredited by philosophers of science and increasingly by 
scientists themselves (see below). If the claim of basing science on 
reason - on experiment (a word derived from experience) and rational 
argument - is to be upheld, then we cannot postulate a world that is 
not within human experience as long as we have no way to be outside 
human experience. 

The simplest case for conceiving reality as human experience, as 
stated above, is that we have no other legitimate basis for creating 
cosmic models. Note that this definition happily eliminates the need 
to define nonreality.

Merriam Webster defines reality as:
1 : the quality or state of being real; 
2 a (1) : a real event, entity, or state of affairs (2) : the totality 
of real things and events; b : something that is neither derivative 
nor dependent but exists necessarily. 
The first three definitions tell us nothing as they define reality in 
terms of real. Only the final definition begins to tell us something 
meaningful, that reality “is neither derivative nor dependent but 
exists necessarily.” The only thing fitting this latter definition is 
direct perception, for once any perception is reported to another, 
whether by a three-year-old, a scientist, or a theologian, it clearly 
becomes derivative. 

The Cambridge English Language Dictionary adds “existing in fact; not 
imaginary” to its definition of reality, but a perusal of its 
definition of fact tells us: 

fact: something which is known to have happened or to exist, 
especially something for which proof exists, or about which there is 

The only way to truly know that something has happened or exists is to 
have direct experience of it, as we just determined. This clearly 
implies that truth can only be subjective. Unfortunately, western 
science has denied subjective (direct) experience as a valid reality 
in maintaining that the objective practice of science is the only way 
to demonstrate it. This belief is still strong among scientists, 
though philosophers of science have long held that science cannot 
reach truth but only useful hypotheses. 

The way in which hypotheses are determined to be useful or not lies, 
of course, is testing them experimentally. If the experimental outcome 
predicted by the hypothesis is found, they are considered useful. The 
validity of extrapolation beyond the experiment itself can only be 
judged in terms of consistency with our direct experience of the world. 

It has now been shown in very careful research, for example by 
Elisabeth Targ and Marilyn Schlitz, that remote intention and 
experimenter expectation clearly influence experimental outcome 
despite laboratory controls. The repercussions of such research have 
only begun to be felt, but certainly threaten to undermine the basic 
premises of western science if not its results. 

More generally, the objectivity so sacred to western science has 
proved logically impossible. As Gregory Bateson noted decades ago, 
philosopher of science Alfred Korzybski warned us (in discussing the 
relationship between scientific models and reality) that “the map 
isn’t the territory and the name is not the thing named.” As Bateson 
himself put it, “there are no pigs or coconuts in the brain.” In a 
Metalogue with his daughter Mary Catherine Bateson, they put it thus:

GB: …one thing you can be sure of is that the conversation isn't about 
"something solid and real." It can only be about ideas. No pigs, no 
coconut palms, no otters or puppy dogs. Just ideas of pigs and puppy dogs.

MCB: You know, I was giving a seminar… and Wendell Berry was arguing 
that it is possible to know the material world directly. And a bat 
flew into the room and was swooping around in a panic, making like 
Kant's Ding an sich. So I caught it with somebody's cowboy hat and put 
it outside. Wendell said, "Look, that bat was really in here, a piece 
of the real world," and I said, "Yes, but look, the idea of the bat is 
still in here, swooping around representing alternative 
epistemologies, and the argument between me and Wendell too."

No human has ever had a direct (real) experience except in the 
eternally present Now moment; all the rest can only be stories that 
weave particular and more general past experience into the present. We 
cannot directly experience the past or the future. Whatever we are 
experiencing, from whatever combination of inner or outer sources, is 
our in-the-moment reality. Esoteric traditions have made much of this 
fundamental truth - the only truth there can be - while western 
science has totally ignored it until now. The only exception I have 
found was on a scientific delegation to China (in 1974), where a 
Chinese scientist defined science as “the summation of people’s experience.” 

The task of Integral Science, accepting this fundamental truth, is to 
sort and order reports of direct experience into an abstract public 
model of reality, using tools of reason, math, logic, experiment, and 
narrative to construct it.

Consciousness as axiomatic

Sooner of later a certain truth is brought home to you [namely, that 
consciousness] is the inner side of the whole, just as human 
consciousness is the inside of one human being. Although it makes sense 
to inquire how and when consciousness developed into what we now 
experience as such, it makes no sense at all to inquire how and when 
mind emerged from matter. 

Once you have realized that there is indeed 
only one world, though with both an inside and an outside to it, only 
one world experienced by our senses from without, and by our 
consciousness from within, it is no longer plausible to fantasize an 
immemorial single-track evolution of the outside world alone. It is no 
longer possible to separate evolution from evolution of consciousness.
­ Owen Barfield

The fundamental assumptions of my model, as listed above, have to do 
with human experience of the universe and human conjecture about the 
universe based on, or derived from, human experience of it, because 
these are all we have to go on in creating models - scientific or 
other - of that universe. Human experience includes the perception of 
a tangible, substantive world, but this experience of a material world, 
even if coming through sense organs, lies entirely within human 
consciousness, or awareness. 

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines consciousness as “the quality 
or state of being aware” and awareness as “having or showing 
realization, perception, or knowledge.” The Cambridge International 
Dictionary of English calls consciousness “aware, thinking, knowing” 
and awareness as “knowing that something exists, or having knowledge 
or experience of a particular thing.” 

Consciousness and awareness are usually listed as synonyms of one 
another, though awareness is more often linked to the concept of 
knowledge than is consciousness. 

The problem with this link to knowing is that knowledge is clearly 
culture bound. I shall therefore distinguish cosmic consciousness, as 
a universal field of awareness such as that to which Owen Barfield 
refers, from human consciousness in its broadest, most fundamental, 
cross-cultural understanding as awareness of self-in-world and 

This human awareness of having an internal and external life perceived 
in images, sounds, touch, smells, feelings, thoughts, stories, etc. 
can be shared with others to a certain extent through verbal and other 
forms of language, thus giving rise to a broader cultural, or public, 
shared awareness of many-in-world. Once humans acquire language, this 
awareness arises in large part as verbal thought, which is why 
Descartes’ stated his bottom-line of knowing as: “I think, therefore I am.” 

Taking Descartes’ lead in seeking my most basic observations, they are: 
I experience myself and others as alive. 
I experience myself at the center of an apparently spatio-temporal 
"outer reality" or universe. 
I experience myself as an inner self of perceptions, feelings, and thoughts. 
I/we have no experience of the apparently spatial "outer world" 
outside of our conscious awareness. 
I/we have no direct experience outside of an eternal present or Now, 
yet I perceive my experience as though it lies on a continuum from 
past through Now to future. 
We can share our experiences in stories that transcend direct 
experience because of this timeline and our ability to communicate. 

Thus we clearly perceive ourselves as existing in a physical 
time-space world, and are able to describe it, model it symbolically, 
and create other sharable stories of past (memories, histories, 
evolutionary trajectories) and future (forecasts, projections, 
anticipations) experience within it. But we have no way of knowing 
whether any of it exists apart from human experience. 

Science can only order and model human experience within consciousness 
as communicated among humans; 
We cannot prove any "true" reality other than that composed of both 
uniquely personal and collectively shared experience 
Recognizing our formalization of spacetime as a model of perception, 
rather than an objective reality, it becomes an important way of 
ordering shared experience. 

That human individuals can and do share considerable (though far from 
perfect) agreement on external reality and varying degrees of 
agreement on internal reality is of very significant interest as it 
both makes society possible and produces a larger reality than any one 
individual can experience independently. 

The best argument we have for the existence of a “real” vast universe 
is the limitlessness of human conscious awareness, whether it is 
focused inward or outward. Every scientific or spiritual discovery can 
be contained within its expansive capacity. Inner focus, when 
sufficiently practiced through meditation and other spiritual practice 
gives rise to the experience of ultimate truth in a limitless Source, 
called I AM, Cosmic Consciousness, or God by many names across all 
cultures and felt as loving bliss. 

Outer focus, when sufficiently practiced through scientific study and 
reasoning gives rise to the experience of a coherent, comprehensible, 
though limitless universe or cosmos and recognition of arrival at its 
truth also produces “breakthroughs” felt as bliss. Those who practice 
both disciplines come to recognize the unity of these end results as a 
non-dual cosmic reality.

Thus, building a scientific model on the fundamental assumption of 
consciousness as the source of reality does not shrink the cosmos one 
whit. But it keeps us within that cosmos as co-creators of it, as 
reflections of cosmic creation at all other levels. For reality 
co-created by humans through a private and public collaborative 
process suggests a greater holarchic universe of collaborative 
process. All Nature can thus be elegantly conceived as conscious 
collaborative process, as I will try to show.

Sophisticated ancient cultures such as Vedic, Taoist, and Kotodama, 
along with many indigenous cultures, recognized the fundamental 
consciousness of all Nature, the entire Universe or Cosmos, and much 
in the findings and conceptualizations of physics today leads us in 
that direction, as I will show.

Note that as we have found no limits to human conscious awareness, our 
awareness is (necessarily) coextensive with any models we build of the 
entire universe. Anything we "discover" scientifically about the 
universe becomes part of our conscious awareness, and therefore of our 

Physics Meets Biology

One of the important requirements for an Integral Science from my 
perspective is to end the sharp distinction between physics and 
biology, to avoid having either one forced into the mold of the other. 
Rather, I seek out new models of cosmic physics that are naturally 
compatible with seeing the universe as embedded living systems. Since 
familiar biological life forms - from nucleic acids to bodies - take 
on fundamentally toroidal (vorticular) structure, which is the 
simplest structure meeting the definition of autopoiesis and is 
evident in proto-galactic clouds, galaxies and planetary energy 
configurations such as Earth’s electromagnetic field and surface 
weather patterns, I gravitate toward cosmic physics models that begin 
with this elementary living geometry. 

For me the beauty and usefulness of autopoiesis as a definition lies 
precisely in helping us see beyond our narrow focus on familiar life 
forms to their relationship with both smaller and larger entities from 
subatomic to galactic. The simplest entities I could find that fit the 
definition were a whirlpool in a river, a tornado, a proto-galactic 
cloud. I reasoned that any differential gradient, whether in water, 
our atmosphere, the supernova dust cloud that gave rise to Earth or 
the earliest universe itself, would cause things literally to curl in 
on themselves - to form vortices that held their form as matter/energy 
was pulled into and spat out again by them.

This concept became extraordinarily clear to me one day on the Greek 
island of Kos, considered the birthplace of the twins Apollo and 
Aphrodite. Walking across a flat field of sand with a friend, I was 
contemplating the universe and the concept of autopoiesis, picking up 
various seed pods and small shells as examples, each another version 
of the same spiraling form, musing aloud to the friend with me at how 
prevalent it was in the universe. My reverie took me deep into a 
cosmos of wheeling galaxies when suddenly the sand some twenty yards 
from us lifted into the air and formed a perfect funnel that swept a 
graceful curve and smacked directly into us.

As the day was otherwise completely calm and windless, my friend, 
getting the connection, asked in amazement “How did you do that?” I 
replied, “I didn’t!” and then, on further reflection, added, “But I 
may have attracted it.” He looked at me strangely and asked, “Does the 
motion in a vortex go inward or outward?” Without having thought about 
it for a moment, I shot back “Both ways!” I knew this with a certainty 
- that it had to be centripetal and centrifugal at once. Never having 
taken a single physics course, even in high school, I could not 
explain it; I simply knew it, and it surfaced in my consciousness then 
and there on the island of the Twins. I was sure the vortex was the 
real key to how the universe worked. 

Gregory Bateson, speaking of a conch shell, gives us a sense of how 
such structures play our at the familiar biological level in saying: 

This that you see is the product of a million steps, nobody knows how 
many steps of successive modulation in successive generations of 
genotype, DNA, and all that. So that's one story, because the shell 
has to be the kind of form that can evolve through such a series of 
steps. And the shell is made, just as you and I are, of repetitions of 
parts and repetitions of repetitions of parts…This conch is what's 
called a right-handed spiral, and spirals are sort of pretty things 
too - that shape which can be increased in one direction without 
altering its basic proportions. So the shell has the narrative of its 
individual growth pickled within its geometric form as well as the 
story of its evolution.

As a torus is a self-contained rotating vortex, continually turning 
itself inside out, I was delighted, not long after, to discover the 
“smoke ring universe” of Sir William Thomson, later Lord Kelvin, the 
father of thermodynamics, who was buried next to Newton in Westminster 

Dissatisfied with the prevailing theory of atoms as hard 
material objects, Thomson, like myself so much later, saw the essence 
of his vortex theory of the universe and his vortex atom in a flash, 
as described in a contemporary book on updated vortex theory by David 
Ash and Peter Hewett. His famous demonstration to the Royal Society of 
Edinburgh in 1867 involved the actual creation of smoke rings from a 
special device to demonstrate their remarkable integrity.

Thomson’s next breakthrough came when he learned that his friend 
Herman von Helmholtz, working with vortices in liquids, had realized 
that vortices would be permanent in a frictionless liquid. Thomson 
reasoned that the ether, believed in at that time, must be such a 
liquid and could therefore support permanent vortex (rotating toroid) 
atoms. With this model, Kelvin developed a unified theory of matter 
and light. 

His vortex theory attracted leading British physicists, 
including James Clerk Maxwell, who developed electromagnetic theory, 
making possible radio, television and radar. But the popularity of 
vortex theory was largely forgotten in the heady excitement of the 
explosive new developments in physics at the beginning of the 20th century.

Nevertheless, having come to a vortex theory of an autopoietic living 
universe - a universe of self-creating living geometry - I continued 
to seek out physicists working with vorticular, toroidal models of 
macrocosm and/or microcosm, especially looking for models with two-way 
(centripetal/centrifugal) motion. It is apparent that more and more 
physicists are coming to see inwardly and outwardly spiraling waves as 
the very essence of cosmic creation. 

Gary Schwartz has made an interesting model of the universe as a giant 
intelligent memory-encoding device based on recurrent (circular) 
feedback loops of radiation among objects in the universe. In essence 
it points out that everything in the cosmos continually emits its wave 
pattern of radiation (in-formation) outward to everything else, each 
object absorbing information reaching it from others, its own 
radiation thus being continually modulated. Any two objects 
“reflecting” each other in positive feedback loops store their own 
histories or memories including these interactions. 

Everyone is familiar with the example of looking into the night sky, 
absorbing historic photons from stars of different ages past in the 
same moment as our own radiation, however much weaker, goes 
continually outward toward them. Carl Sagan played with the same idea 
in having Hitler’s historic radio speech picked up again on Earth by a 
radio telescope in his book and movie Contact. 

Milo Wolff states that there are no spherical solutions for e-m waves 
but posits spherical quantum waves to build a very similar and much 
more formal geometric picture of the interactive Wave Structure of 
Matter in which quantum objects emit spherical outward waves the 
interactions among which actually generate the zero point energy field 
that gives rise to them in turn - an elegant model of co-creation at 
the quantum level from which he derives the classical laws of physics, 
though there is no mention of consciousness. 

Nassim Haramein, building on Walter Russell’s and others’ models of 
spherical interactive wave models, extends them significantly by 
positing a universe of galactic, stellar, planetary, cellular, 
molecular, atomic and particulate “wholes” that are simultaneously 
dynamically rotating white holes radiating (electromagnetic energy) 
infinitely outward from their centers and equally balanced dynamic 
black holes collapsing (gravitationally) infinitely inward through 
that same center.

This perfect balance of radiation and gravity in all universal objects 
of all size levels including the universe itself permits us to see all 
objects as continually and dynamically re-creating themselves in the 
zero point energy field, and is a strong candidate for the long-sought 
unification of gravity with electromagnetic energy. It also eliminates 
the need to postulate strong and weak nuclear forces, dark matter and 
dark energy, all of which Haramein proposes were invented to fill gaps 
in previous models.

His solution to the problem of the one-way degradation of entropy lies 
in balancing it with gravity’s generoactive centropy (close to my 
biological term, syntropy), thus eliminating the need for the 
imbalanced concept of negentropy to explain life. This model permits 
me to compare radiation/gravity or entropy/cen(syn)tropy with the 
biological metabolic process of anabolism/catabolism toward an 
integral science model of a self-creating universe filled with 
self-creating entities.

Further, Haramein provides a living geometry of wave interactions that 
co-creatively build complex entities and their histories-as-memory 
similar to Schwarz’s “living energy universe”, but in the more 
complete framework of creative recycling dynamics at all scalar levels 
of size. He sees the feedback looping quantum wave interference among 
co-creating objects at all fractal levels of size (read holarchy) up 
to the whole universe as both the source of scale generating structure 
in the vacuum (from microcosm to macrocosm) and as consciousness 
itself (private communication). 

In the next section I shall refer to Haramein’s model with parallels 
to a living systems model of the universe built up from human 
experience because it is the most complete and most compatible physics 
model I have encountered. 

The basic data of experience I listed above imply that “I” exist as a 
kind of boundary between infinite inner and infinite outer worlds - a 
boundary Haramein would call, in the language of physics, the “event 
horizon” of the black/white whole generated by my singularity. Since I 
observe that this seems true of every other human “I” as well, while 
each of us has an apparently different perspective on these inner and 
outer worlds, we seem to be both boundaries (event horizons) and 
unique points of perspective, quite as is required by Haramein’s model.

This biological perspective on the universe beginning with any 
particular observer agrees very well with Haramein’s abstract physical 
model of an integral omnicentric universe that extends both outward 
and inward via every object’s singularity in the vacuum.

Editor’s Note: You can find more work by Dr. Sahtouris at 

Part two

A Tentative Model for a Living Universe
Conclusion Elisabet Sahtouris, Ph.D.

The Planetary Genome

The human genome project made it clearer than ever before that our DNA 
is part of a planet-wide genomic language common to, and 
interchangeable among, all Earth’s life forms. Scientists involved in 
the project expressed surprise at how close our genomes were to those 
of “vastly lower life forms,” at how much “biological activity” goes 
on in our genomes, and at discovering ancient bacteria living within them. 
Much of what we know about bacterial evolution comes to us from the 
work of microbiologist Lynn Margulis and her research teams and 
students. Among their discoveries are that the diversity of form and 
function in the microbial world is far greater than that of all fungi, 
plants and animals put together.  Bacteria are still the first 
and last steps in the complex food chain - more properly called a 
recycling food cycle - that came to include all single and multi-celled 
creatures. This is because bacterial metabolism includes both the 
ability to live directly on minerals and the ability to break complex 
molecules down to simpler ones.

Half of Earth’s life was devoted solely to the evolution of bacteria, 
in which they not only experimented with countless versions of 
themselves and their lifestyles, inventing amazing technologies and 
infrastructures in the process, but also rearranged the Earth’s entire 
crust dramatically, creating everything from pure mineral veins to 
continental shelves as they moved minerals about, oxidized metals, ate 
into rock, created soils and altered the entire chemistry of seas and 
atmosphere. A living planet can make huge evolutionary progress 
without ever going beyond bacterial life.

As part of their massive and complex role in evolving Earth’s life, 
ancient bacteria set up what may be appropriately called the first 
WorldWide Web of information exchange.  To this day, as Lynn 
Margulis and her followers demonstrated, every bacterium of Earth can 
exchange DNA directly with any other, for which reason they cannot be 
classified as species, but only as genome shifting strains. 37 In 
addition to exchanging DNA by direct contact, bacteria seem to have 
devised plasmids, bacteriophages and viruses for launching DNA 
snippets and genome packets abroad in a world that is literally 
permeated by a vast system of exchangeable DNA information.

The staggering pervasiveness of DNA in the biological world is 
memorably depicted by Jeremy Narby.  Narby pointed out that if the 
six inches of DNA packed into the invisibly small nucleus of each of 
our one hundred trillion cells were stretched out end to end, a jet 
plane traveling one thousand kilometers per hour would fly more than 
two centuries to reach its end. After this surprising result, Narby 
calculated that a single handful of living soil contains more DNA than 
that of our entire bodies, bacteria being packed far more closely in 
soil than cellular nuclei are in us. 

The human genome project results, however, update Narby’s DNA 
measurement to six feet of DNA per human body cell, which leaves the 
jet pilot flying continually for over 21,000 years! If we revise the 
handful of soil accordingly into something between a handful and a 
garden wheelbarrow load at the most, we still see that literally 
everything in the natural world is permeated by a living DNA web of 
unimaginable complexity (mostly living, some fossilized), extending 
via the bacteria into the deepest seas, beneath polar ice, as far into 
the crust as we have been able to drill and high into the atmosphere, 
as well as throughout every cell and body in all “kingdoms of life.”

The giant nucleic acid molecules RNA and DNA can be seen as the means 
that the complex protein structures of cells and bodies use to encode 
and reproduce themselves, while RNA and DNA can be seen as using 
protein to express themselves as cells and bodies. These life forms 
found as part of the living Earth almost certainly exist on countless 
other planets that succeeded in coming to life for the same 
reasons - just described - that Earth did.

Like cosmic seeds, planets that come to life will be those found under 
similarly favorable circumstances. These life forms, as just proposed 
will thus occur midway between the microcosm and the macrocosm, a 
scalar level as critical to their evolution and continued existence as 
are the Earth’s distance from the Sun and the composition and mobility 
of its crustal materials. In any case, the nucleic acid and protein 
partnership is universal among all Earth’s creatures.

Little was known about DNA when its basic structure was deciphered in 
the mid 20th century. In time it became apparent that only a small 
portion of DNA (now measured as a mere 1 ½%) could be identified as 
different genes­sequences coding for specific proteins. Together with 
their copies, the genes account for about 5% of DNA, though we 
continue to refer to the entire DNA sequence in any cell as its genome.

Still in the mid 20th century, a vastly larger portion of DNA was 
identified in Nobel laureate Barbara McClintock’s pioneering work on 
transposable elements (TEs). McClintock showed that TEs not only move 
about, but also do so in response to stress on the organism . 39 Her 
results have been supported by many later researchers, including Temin 
and Engels. 

We now know that our human genomic system of DNA and proteins can edit 
and repair itself, and that it has huge numbers of genes available in 
its own nuclear libraries. It is not impossible that it could even 
draw on the flow of plasmids, viruses and bacteria available, through 
our lungs and digestive tracts, in our blood streams should it need 
genes it has not stored over its long evolutionary history. Certainly 
it behaves as an intelligent hive of activity.

Nuclear DNA twists, turns, shimmies and is constantly rearranging into 
hugely complex loops, knots and other yet undocumented configurations. 
In addition to packaging and structural proteins that are involved in 
creating these configurations, DNA-binding proteins travel rapidly 
along DNA throughout the nucleus seeking sequences to be copied, then 
helicase proteins unzip the relevant DNA sequences so that RNA 
polymerase proteins can transcribe the DNA to RNA, after which still 
other proteins provide transport around the cell to where new proteins 
are actually to be synthesized. 

Even in its standard, helical form, DNA is throwing up surprises. The 
molecule has long been known to form intimate relationships with 
proteins that help it to fold, and trigger or subdue gene activity. 
Until recently, these liaisons were thought mostly to be fixed, or to 
change only slowly with time. But this idea has collapsed, as improved 
cellular imaging technology has allowed biologists to watch living 
cells in real time. The resulting videos exposed an unexpected hubbub 
in the activity of proteins buzzing around DNA...Many researchers now 
believe that almost all nuclear proteins are scuttling constantly back 
and forth, moving at speeds that would allow them to traverse the 
nucleus in as little as five seconds. 

All of this activity continues to be seen as sheer mechanics, some 
proteins being described as motors because science has no way of 
seeing them as living entities in their own right. There is no sense 
that a fast-moving, gene-seeking protein could possibly know what it 
is doing, and no alternative explanation is offered.

Genetic expression - the translation of genes into proteins - is also far 
more complex than scientists expected when depicting it in neat 
textbook models. One-to-one correspondences between genes and proteins 
is a fiction of these models and is probably rarely, if ever, the case 
in reality. There are several levels of rearrangement and editing 
(‘editing’, is a metaphor implying intelligence) of the DNA code in 
the process of creating messenger and transfer RNAs for final protein 

The same genes have been shown to express in as many ways as the 
number of contexts in which they have been placed experimentally, just 
as the cloned seeds of one plant produce very different looking plants 
in different soils and climates. Even Gregor Mendel pointed out that 
flower color and one seed coat characteristic were the only traits he 
ever found in his pea plants that gave reliable predictions on inheritance. 

The worldwide organization, repair, rearrangement and trading of DNA 
suggests that evolution is based on something far from the Darwinian 
model of genetic changes through mutations selected along ancestral 
genetic lineages. In her latest work, Margulis documents how the 
evolutionary record is revealing the apparent trade of entire genomes, 
most obviously in cases of metamorphosing creatures such as many insects. 

Half a century of evidence, since DNA’s discovery, indicates that 
evolution does not proceed on the basis of selected random gene 
mutations. Rather, genomes have the capacity - and no doubt the 
imperative - to detect and repair such accidental changes, just as they 
have the ability to choose appropriate genes as needed to build 
complex new metabolic pathways in response to the challenges of stress 
on their organisms. 

Once we comprehend the extraordinary complexity of nuclear and 
cellular activity, we begin to see that it requires at least as much 
intelligence as it takes to run human technological societies. In 
fact, cellular technologies are more sophisticated than our own. Each 
of our one hundred trillion cells requires some 30,000 recycling 
centers, which feed obsolete or damaged proteins in at one end and 
issue healthy new proteins to replace them. 

Even beyond individual 
cells and organisms, the planetwide DNA system is clear evidence of 
self-organizing intelligence, for if genomes did not know what they 
were doing, life would quite likely revert to chaos in very short 
order (more on intelligence below).

Holarchy and The Evolutionary Vortex

Our understanding of the world is built up from innumerable layers. 
Each layer is worth exploring as long as we do not forget that it is 
one of many.

Erwin Chargaff 

The fifth and last of the assumptions I listed for an Integral Science 
stated that Nature shall be conceived in fractal levels of holons in 
holarchy, with holons defined as relatively self-contained living 
entities such as galaxies, stars, planets, organisms, cells, 
molecules, atoms and sub-atomic particles. Holarchy defines their 
embeddedness within each other, as well as their co-creative 
interdependence on energy, matter and information exchange.


A more inclusive holarchy would show the body within a family, 
community, ecosystem, nation, planet etc. as well as levels of 
holarchy within the cell down to particles. In any holarchy, the 
situation at any level is co-determined by other levels through 
interactions among them. This distinguishes holarchy from hierarchy 
with its unidirectional command and control organization. To 
understand a holarchy’s evolutionary process, and see the essence of 
biological evolution as a whole, one further concept is required.

In studying evolution, I was able to abstract a cycle that appears to 
hold for all levels of cosmic holarchy - a cycle of evolution. This 
cycle may be seen as a vortex with angular momentum. Each turn of the 
vortex is an open loop along which some unity individuates and the 
individuals go through successive stages of tension and conflict that 
may involve aggressive competition, then some tentative negotiations, 
followed by conflict resolution, cooperation and collaboration up to 
the weaving of a new unity if the cycle is completed, as shown in the 
second diagram.


This cycle played out on early Earth as cellular evolution from 
individual archebacteria (which had differentiated from a uniform 
crust) to the formation of cooperative nucleated cells, the greatest 
leap we know in all biological evolution. In the course of their 
tensions and conflicts, the ancient bacteria were pushed to creativity 
and a diversity of lifestyles by various crises they created, 
including global hunger and later global pollution, but eventually 
they negotiated their way into cooperative ventures culminating in 
colonies with a division of labor so successful that they evolved into 
the nucleated cell - the only kind of cell other than bacterial ever to 
evolve on our planet, the very cell that gave rise to the whole world 
of animals, plants and fungi visible to us.

This evolutionary cycle is especially apparent in different types of 
ecosystems. Immature ecosystems (called Type I ecosystems) are 
populated by immature species, while mature ecosystems (called Type 
III ecosystems) are populated by mature species that have learned to 
feed their competitors, thus turning them into collaborators. This 
makes it easy to see that all species not extinguished in their 
youthful competitive phase can mature from evolutionary competition to 
collaborative maturity. 

In the case of our human species, if we see the cycle reflected in our 
current struggle with today’s crises, we seem to linger in the 
tension/conflict phase while engaging in many negotiations and some 
cooperative resolutions in the forms of global communications, 
transport and travel, international treaties, etc. with more in 
negotiation among religions, scientists, economists and so on.

Seeing evolutionary events mirror each other at different holarchic 
(fractal or scalar) levels thus helps us see that the process of 
creating the nucleated cell through collaboration following a long 
competitive phase is the same process humanity is now going through in 
seeking ways to build global community in place of political and 
economic rivalries. 47 French chemist and computer scientist Joel de 
Rosnay also sees a cellular fractal biology of bacteria, nucleated 
cells and a currently forming planetary human/technological cybiont, 
48 the latter in place of my concept of emerging global community. The 
cycle can also be compared with human developmental models, both 
individual and cultural, such as self-actualization or Spiral Dynamics.

De Rosnay uses the term “symbionomic evolution” for a general theory 
of self-organization and the dynamics of complex systems, in 
particular the evolution of human societies toward his “cybiont” - a 
hybrid biological, mechanical and electronic superorganism that 
includes humans, machines, networks and societies. His big question 
concerns the organization of our planet for the good of all, which he 
sees as requiring “regulating the regulators, monitoring the cybiont’s 
real-time functions” in a world where “politics has been appropriated 
by those with a desire for power.” 

Religion and science have not escaped the same motives, yet he feels 
that the vision and construction of this new “life form” can unite us 
if our religion, too, evolves into something new with values that 
guarantee human freedom and encourage us to take on responsibility to 
make the cybiont serve human needs.

This is, at least, a refreshing switch on the “sci-fi” predictions of 
others that it will take over its designers and force our species into 
its own service or even destroy us and take over the Earth. Like 
Darwin, de Rosnay seems to feel that humans must go beyond Nature’s 
struggle-for-survival issues into a more ethical mode, which I propose 
is not new to Nature, but is its normal maturation mode.

Current evolution theories have all centered on competition, but have 
become divided about the ‘locus’ of competition. As described in my 
book EarthDance 28, Darwinian evolution itself is assumed to happen 
through random mutation and natural selection among competing 
organisms, but observations of within-species altruism led to an 
alternative neo-Darwinian view in which species compete in the search 
for ecological niches. A third alternative, proposed by Richard 
Dawkins, proposes that evolution is driven by competition among 
selfish genes seeking maximum expression in the gene pool.

My holarchic variant includes all of these positions in a single model 
proposing that self interest at each level of organization - genome, 
organism, species and ecosystem - causes tensions among the levels. The 
self-interest of every level at once is the evolutionary driver that 
pushes the system in one of two directions: self-destruction of the 
holarchic system or negotiations and cooperation toward the mutual 
benefit of all levels - the thrival of the system as a whole, a unity. 

Thus currently competitive evolution theories can be reconciled by 
seeing them holarchically. If the dynamic negotiations result in 
holarchic balance, the system survives, as in mature ecosystems such 
as rainforests and prairies. The same dynamic process occurs within 
the mature cellular ecosystems of bodies, among the levels of cells, 
organs, organ systems and bodies as wholes, most notably in our own 
one-hundred-trillion-cell collaborative bodies.

The Darwinian model of descent, or evolution, persisting as 
neo-Darwinism since the discovery of DNA, still prevails, but is stuck 
in the competitive phase of the evolution cycle. Though Darwin himself 
believed humans should go beyond the “lower creatures” and practice 
ethics in human relationships, as mentioned earlier, that part of his 
thought was not scientifically persuasive because it ran counter to 
his whole theory that Nature was set up as nothing more than a 
ruthless competitive game. He failed to see the evolutionary 
maturation cycle, with its inherent natural ethics.

Certainly it is necessary for all elements of a healthy living system 
to be in good health. In the holarchy of a body, its economy cannot 
remain healthy if significant numbers of individual cells lose their 
health. (Nor can a human world economy be healthy at the expense of 
local economies.) We now know that mutations in DNA are identified and 
repaired in very complex and specific ways, that 30,000 recycling 
centers keep every cell clear of damaged proteins and that cells in 
which either DNA or protein is damaged beyond repair and threatens 
other cells’ health will commit cell suicide, known as apoptosis, to 
promote the survival of the body as a whole.

One would expect a similar system at the level of ecosystems - a system 
working to promote each species’ health. Predator-prey relationships 
are one obviously cooperative means to this end, with prey feeding 
predators that maintain their prey species as a healthy food supply by 
recycling the least healthy, rather than going for the ‘prime rib.’ 
Indigenous cultures that depend on a single species, such as caribou 
in the far north, for food, clothing, housing, snowshoes, kayaks, 
sacred objects, etc., actually worshipped such species or at least 
respected and honored them as brothers, doing everything possible to 
ensure their health.

Indigenous peoples recognize consciousness to be inherent in all 
aspects of Nature and participate in their communion at non-physical 
levels. An Integral Science that understands this will promote better 
understanding of predator-prey relationships, not to mention all the 
other co-creative communications of Nature. It will also help us 
change our attitudes, for example, honoring the creative intelligence 
of the recycling centers in our cells, rather than referring to them 
as “Cellular chambers of doom,” as did the Scientific American in 
announcing their discovery,  or referring to the huge portions of 
our DNA we do not yet understand as “junk” or “desert” DNA. 

In seeing competition among individuals as the sole driving force of 
evolution, Darwin was seeing ‘rabbits in habitats’ rather than 
‘rhabitats’. Perhaps ecosystems as wholes were not yet understood well 
enough to recognize their evolution into mature cooperative systems. 
Darwin also failed to see that the Malthusian analysis of human 
reproduction and farming on which he had based his scarcity model was 
very unlike the rest of Nature. 

In human food production and consumption, one species grows and 
consumes the others of its choice with tremendous wastage, while in 
Nature all species together are balanced reciprocally as food 
producers, and food consumers, including recyclers. What we call a 
food chain is actually a loop in which the bacterial ‘bottom’ of the 
chain consumes the ‘top’ species upon death, and predator-prey 
relationships insure health. Nature’s complex scheme permits awesome 
diversity and newness together with equally awesome health and stability.

While young species indeed compete hard for their ecological niches, 
mature species give up antagonisms in favor of cooperation. Had this 
lesson not been learned long ago in early Earth evolution, there could 
never have been any evolution of nucleated cell cooperatives or 
multi-celled creatures functioning as huge collaborative collectives. 
Mars may have been a case of a planet coming to life at the bacterial 
level, but without completing the cycle to build larger life forms. 
Earth, having come to the point of human evolution, now risks her life 
because of our own destructive species immaturity.

Consciousness, Intelligence, Life

Franklin Harold, in bringing us up to date on cellular biology with a 
good deal of soul searching on the meaning of what we have learned, says:

There can be no simple answer to the question of “What is Life?” It is 
an invitation to explore the successive levels of biological reality 
It would be a gross mistake to brush off the higher levels of 
biological order as if they were secondary or derivative; on the 
contrary, how the parts come together must be key to any inquiry into 
the nature of life. 

Harold epitomizes the contemporary situation in biology without an 
Integral Science. His “successive levels of biological reality” are 
limited to the scientific framework provided by a physics of matter 
and energy now extending into the ZPE realm, but falling short of 
recognizing consciousness and the intelligence of life throughout the cosmos. 

His quest for “how the parts come together” is based on a model of 
assembly from the bottom up, in which accidental particle 
collisions - rather than intentional particle collusions - must ultimately 
account for the emergence of life from non-life, intelligence from 
non-intelligence and consciousness from non-consciousness. Yet Harold 
recognizes that something is missing in this science, when he says:

the problem remains that entities capable of converting energy into 
organization are not predictable from laws established by classical 
physics. This suggested to Schroedinger that organisms stand outside 
physics in some essential respect; or else, that physics contains 
additional principles that pertain to organized systems, which remain 
to be discovered. 51

Schroedinger speculated that the study of life would uncover other 
laws of Nature than those of physics, but that these would then be 
incorporated into physics itself. But if Schroedinger was right in 
suggesting that organisms stand outside of physics, perhaps the error 
of science lay, and still lies, in making biology subservient to 
physics - forcing the investigation of life into a non-living, entropic 
framework - rather than beginning with a science of life and seeing 
physics as a way of explaining life’s cosmic order, as I proposed in 
the Prologue. What we need is a very serious and open-minded 
collaboration of biologists and physicists within the new framework of 
Integral Science, where they can see each other’s work as complementary.

Many scientists are religious, with a strong belief in God as Creator 
of the physical universe. They are less likely than Descartes to 
conceive God as the Grand Engineer, and may leave their description to 
terms as vague as Mystery, but with only rare exceptions they are 
dualists separating religion from science, God from Creation.

Very few prominent western scientists have acknowledged something like 
conscious intelligence or mind as inherent and ubiquitous in the 
cosmos. Harvard University’s Nobel laureate biologist George Wald 
assumed cosmic mind operating throughout biological evolution as he 
could make sense of it in no other way, and he cited several of his 
predecessors and colleagues including astronomer/physicist Sir Arthur 
Eddington and biologist Carl F. von Weizsäcker, as having reached the 
same conclusions. 

More recently, physicist/biologist Eshel Ben Jacob, studying bacterial 
colonies responding to stress as wholes, concluded that the genomes of 
bacterial colonies function like group minds able to respond 
intelligently to stresses on their colonies. 

While this statement is far from assuming mind inherent in all Nature, 
it is a big step for a microbiologist. Similarly, on completion of the 
human genome project, Gene Myers, the Celera computer scientist who 
actually assembled the genome map, said:

The system is extremely complex. It’s like it was designed. There’s a 
huge intelligence there. I don’t see that as being unscientific. 
Others may, but not me. 

Physicist David Peat, who has long studied and written about the 
history of physics and collaborated with David Bohm 58 noted, in a 
seminar on the letters exchanged by psychologist Carl Jung and 
physicist Wolfgang Paul, that a number of the great pioneers of 20th 
century physics were frustrated in their own deep quests to comprehend 
the true Source of the physical universe - the deeper meaning of things 
they intuited but could not bring into their grasp. 

In a sense, they were going back to Newton’s quest to harmonize 
physics with alchemy and kabbalistic mysteries, which were ultimately 
about soul transformation. Even Einstein tried to integrate 
consciousness into his theory, acknowledging his deep faith in an 
intelligent universe by saying that what he really wanted to know was 
what God thinks, the rest being detail.

Wolgang Pauli attempted to create a neutral language for physics and 
psychology with the express hope this would lead to bringing soul back 
into science, but died with a sense of failure and serious regrets. 
Werner Heisenberg, too, was depressed by his sense of failure to 
understand the quantum world’s deep mystery. Neils Bohr, trying to 
relate complementarity in physics and in psyche concluded that our 
language, developed at the level of the visible world, was simply 
inadequate for understanding the quantum world. 

David Bohm spent many years in closest collaboration with the mystic 
Krishnamurti on the assumption this would help him gain direct access 
to Source, beyond language, but eventually he despaired of doing so 
and fell into his own deep depression before he died. All of them 
sought an intelligence they were certain lay behind the appearances of 
the physical world; none finding it to their satisfaction.

Contemporary physicist Fred Alan Wolf explicitly defines that source 
as “primal consciousness” and traces its creative actions in the 
temporal” 59, while engineer/physicist Norman Friedman draws on the 
Perennial Philosophy and the highly unusual “channeled” Seth material 
of Jane Roberts, now archived at Yale University, to expound a model 
of the conscious universe expressing in electromagnetic energy and 
matter. 60, 61

A major inspiration in the development of both Milo Wolff’s and Nassim 
Haramein’s physics was the extraordinary scientific work of Walter 
Russell, a painter, sculptor, musician, architect, philosopher, 
corporate consultant and scientist known as The Man Who Tapped the 
Secrets of the Universe. 

Russell worked out a very detailed and 
elegant model of a wave universe in which a spiritual “field of 
knowing” - a pure unitary light of ultimate truth, life, love, power, 
intelligence - gives rise to the universe as a duality of “simulated 
light” in its opposite extensions of expansion and contraction, 
radiation and gravity:

In this two-way universe, light which is inwardly directed toward 
gravity charges mass and discharges space. When directed toward space 
it charges space and discharges mass. All direction of force in Nature 
is spiral. 

Russell’s wave universe, with its duality springing from divine unity 
reflects the ancient Vedic, Taoist and Kotodama philosophies of the 
East. His physics model of continual creation, through the inward and 
outward motions of contraction (gravity) and expansion (radiation) 
with angular momentum, is reminiscent of the vortex model first 
proposed by Lord Kelvin and takes it to new levels. In turn, Russell 
inspires further development of the model in physicists such as Wolff 
and Haramein, cited earlier.

Of fundamental importance in Russell’s work is the absolute conviction 
that the universe can only arise from a deeper intelligence that gives 
it life and that this source Oneness remains within the individuated 
Universe, appearing as a longing of everything in it to return to this 
source. Further, everything from the smallest particle has the desire, 
the intelligence and the power to create harmony with all else. In 
Russell’s words:

Every…thing in Nature reflects the vibrations of every other thing, to 
fulfill its desire to synchronize its vibrations with every other 
thing...This is an electrically conditioned wave universe. All wave 
conditions are forever seeking oneness. For this reason all sensation 
responds to all other sensation. 

Where Newton, Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr and Bohm failed, Russell 
succeeded. Not only did he tap directly into the “spiritual universe 
of knowing” (as opposed to the wave universe of matter and motion), 
but also he demonstrated this direct connection in his own life by 
achieving unparalleled feats of creative genius in every field he 
touched, including those in which he had no prior training and 
achieved immediate acclaim. 

Russell’s universe of ‘desire’ for synchronization and oneness among 
mutually reflecting things (individualized being) in our universe is 
very close to Jane Roberts’ Seth material in which consciousness units 
(CUs, conscious singularities expanding infinitely outward and inward 
at once) express their free will in associating with other CUs to 
build intentional patterns by transforming into electromagnetic energy 
and matter in turn. 

In ancient eastern cultures, scientific techniques for merging 
individual consciousnesses not only with each other but also with the 
ultimate field of Cosmic Consciousness were developed over many 
centuries; some of them have now gained acceptance in western culture 
as meditation and yoga. Integral Science will look seriously to these 
inner ways of exploring the cosmos.

My own experience with non-western philosophies and indigenous 
cultures has made it very clear that western culture took an unusual 
turn in human history when its science - the authority of which replaced 
religious priesthoods - decreed an objective and non-living universe in 
which such natural human experiences as telepathy, dreams, communion 
with angels or the dead, remote viewing and dialogue with other 
species were simply dismissed as unreal. J. Allen Boone, an early film 
producer and correspondent for the Washington Post put it elegantly:

It is interesting to recall that people of certain ancient times 
appear to have been great virtuosos in the art of living, particularly 
skilled in the delicate science of being in right relations with 
everything, including animals. These people recognized the inseparable 
unity of Creator and creation. They were able to blend themselves with 
the universal Presence, Power and Purpose that is forever moving back 
of all things, in all things and through all things...

They refused to make any separating barriers between mineral and 
vegetable, between vegetable and man, or between man and the great 
Primal Cause which animates and governs all things. Every living thing 
was seen as a partner in a universal enterprise.... Everything lived 
for everything else, at all times and under all circumstances. Those 
were the days when ‘the whole earth was of one language and one 
speech... and all was one grand concord.’

J. Allen Boone Kinship With All Life, author’s Foreword 

The tentative Integral Science model presented here holds the promise 
of restoring the birthright of such communion to all humanity, with 
all the explanatory power of scientific reasoning and evidence behind 
it. A truly Integral Science, of course, will have to include far more 
(e.g. philosophy, logic, psychology, economics, etc.) than the physics 
and biology for which I have suggested a path toward unification

In an Integral model, the cosmos is a conscious intelligent 
self-organizing system in which all entities are alive, autopoietic 
(self-creating) and creatively collaborative. From smallest to 
largest, whether relatively simple or complex, they function by 
metabolic dynamics of radiation/ gravity, cen(syn)tropy/entropy, 
anabolism/catabolism. Further, all living entities are self-reflexive, 
conscious, able to learn and inextricably connected within an overall 
field of Consciousness within which each exists with a unique 
perspective and a unique role. 

Familiar cellular and multi-cellular Earth life forms, as well as the 
living Earth itself, are a special case of particularly complex living 
entities in the mid-size range between the microcosm and macrocosm of 
a conscious, intelligent self-creating living universe.

In such a science, specialties would focus on various physical levels 
or temporal spans (e.g. chemistry, astronomy, evolution) and 
particular research areas (e.g. behavioral psychology, spiritual 
psychology, ecological psychology) with a view to evolving such 
categories into more meaningful ones as the science itself evolves. 
The cosmic model would be learned by all new scientists and would 
always provide the context for their specialty as well as providing a 
framework for studying its interconnections with other areas of 
specialty and with the cosmic whole.

By building our science on the assumption of a conscious rather than 
non-conscious universe and seeking in it the patterns of life rather 
than non-life and intelligence rather than non-intelligent accident, 
we stand to gain nothing less than a scientific model that conforms 
better to human experience and offers guidance in building a thriving 
and sustainable human future. This would fulfill the ancient Greek 
intent to find guidance in human affairs through scientific 
understanding of the natural cosmos.

Editor’s Note: You can find more work by Dr. Sahtouris at