Expansion and Integration Phases in the Major Stages of Big History


Author: LePoire, David
Almanac: Evolution:Evolutionary Trends, Aspects, and Patterns

Abstract

The three major stages in extended evolution towards increasing complexity: life, humans, and civilization, can be viewed as separate logistic developments (or learning curves). Each stage has an initial rapid expansion into a new niche followed by a slower integration and synthesis in preparing for the next growth stage. These expansion and integration stages are summarized as: 1) life extending around the Earth then integrating towards primates; 2) the expansion of the primate branch from forests leading to adaptive humans with an integration of tools and language in agricultural villages; and 3) expansion of civilizations towards an integrated technological-based system. This is also seen in the earlier physical development of the Universe from the expansion after the Big Bang towards planet formation through gravitational collapse. There are also indications of substructure and geometric temporal patterns in each major stage. The duration of each subsequent stage is reduced by about a factor of 1,000 (i.e., life beginning about 5 billion years ago, human evolution about 5 million years ago, and civilization about 5 thousand years ago). Each stage seems to be formed by about 6 nested sequential transitions (steps) with the duration of each subsequent transition being reduced by about a factor of 3 (note the 6 factors of 3 between steps give the factor of 1,000 between stages). Some possible explanations for these factors are reviewed.

Keywords: energy, environment, information, logistic.