Evolutionary tree of Concepts from the Big Bang
Copyright Allan Webber (BSc, Grad Dip Ed Admin),
The remarkable thing about concepts is
that on this planet humankind is the first to realise there is such a
thing as a concept. And further we know they have a recognisable
Memory, awareness and intelligence alongside many
other concepts all evolved while others such as happiness, anger and
emotions which are only in their earliest stages have reality only
through their impact on our physical reactions.
We have no difficulty accepting they exist and that
they can be labelled, classified and distinguished one from the other.
But none of these were eternal; they arose in this universe at different
times of its evolution.
If a concept has a beginning different from the
creation of our universe then there would have been a time when it
didn't exist but I believe that cannot be the case for it is in breach
of conservation principles. Each concept must have been able to become
real at an earlier stage or at a different location in the universe if
the physical conditions were right.
Concepts may be a human construct but none the less
they were and will remain there in the universes potential resources
from the beginning to the end of time.
However this is only a paradox when the definition
of any concept is given a meaning that limits the range of experiences
covered. Awareness for instance could be considered as conditional on
existence but from then on is inherent in everything. However rocks
would have a very different form of awareness to all living things
including bacteria. Some of the paradox is not intrinsic it is purely
due to the way the concept is perceived and recognised by humankind.
This enigma over awareness is equivalent to the
dilemma at the instant the universe began as an extremely intense
explosion. Yet there was either an equivalence of energy etc in the
pre-universe or the conservation principle is fallible. We cannot be so
cavalier with this principle since there is every reason to believe it
is the one guide that reconciles everything that has ever happened.
So that energy pre-existed and
that is the paradox.
One way to resolve the seeming contradiction is to
recognise what is different is the existence in the pre-universe of
aspects such as space and time which are essential for humans to detect
and measure any event.
The recognition of a class of events in which
space, matter, energy and time donít apply can provide relief from the
enigma of our origin but to offer a meaningful contribution to science
any such classification has to be confined by adequate discipline. To
this end there is already an existing means we can compare.
There is a vast body of human experience that is
accepted without question yet there is nothing of a physical nature that
offers evidence that it exists. Their existence is their only proof.
Numbers and geometric shapes fall into this category. No one has ever
possessed a one or a two or a triangle, all we have ever had is
something with those properties. Significantly you donít have to buy the
pattern for such things in order to use them. They are innate,
everywhere present yet intangible. They are concepts.
In order to deal with this class of intangible
attributes in a scientific way we need to define their bounds and these
will inevitably distinguish them from the class with attributes able to
be measured in space-time.
Concepts, including familiar ones such as number
and geometric patterns, share common properties of applying equally to
every point of space-time in our universe. So when and if you ever go to
Mars, Alpha Centauri or the edge of the Universe every concept is still
accessible. And if you could go back or forward in time they would
likewise be there unchanged. This universal accessibility is not true of
mass and energy where historical local factors such as gravity and
quantum mechanics can determine their presence.
It is to
this type of universal experience that I refer when applying the label
eternal zone to the realm where concepts are.
And from the human perspective the evolution of
concepts isnít about their creation point but about the space-time
values when they were first detectable in a tangible form in our
But as stated earlier total compliance with the
conservation principles should be one of the overarching regulators of
A significant consequence of the conservation
principle is eternal zones inevitably interact with zones of other type.
From the viewpoint of these other zones the processes or contents of any
eternal zone is accessible at every conceptual instance occurring within
it; it is this that makes the accessed zone eternal.
Now concepts such as awareness, existence and
memory fill a niche in our universe that parallels that of number and
geometry and patterning; each fits within the bounds of one or more
disciplines in which order and definition are dominant.
However although we have no difficulty in
associating number and geometry with every instant of our universe the
requisite eternal trait is not obvious in the case of
awareness, memory, choice and evolution etc.
Evolution is a conceptual process that also fits
into the class of an eternal zone. The evolutionary process can take
place within any organic, non-organic or pre-universe system; it is
eternal. Its fundamental requirements are mechanistic compliance with
both conservation and continuity principles together with an eternal
mechanism for transitioning across bounds that limit continuity.
In the evolutionary tree shown alongside I show the progress of the
evolution of these different concepts and relate it to the evolutionary
tale we already know.
The width and colour of lines that make up the tree
give, through colour changes, a rough guide to the time of first
creation and by width the stage of development.
We would be foolish to believe that this tree ends
with the evolution of beings able to conceive and understand concepts
even though the ability to have a concept of concepts suggests a
Like concepts, evolution also evolves and history
tells us it will take the universe into understandings beyond he peak
abilities of humankind.
In the table below I set out some of the important
factors related to the evolution of concepts. For an evolutionary model
to have substance it needs to be able to identify those changing things
that allow new designs to emerge. At each stage new zones of interaction
with the universe are exposed and expanded. I have tried to identify
enough of these factors to show the principle identifiers of each phase
of conceptual development.
The flow of evolution seems always towards greater
engagement with the hidden aspects of the universe. Even in our
enlightened times we still recognise there is much that is unknown. Dark
energy and dark matter as well as the true nature of space-time, matter
and light (electro-magnetic phenomena) suggest that nature still has
room for expansions outside our ability to comprehend.
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