Introduction. Universality and Inexhaustibility of Evolution

Authors: Grinin, Leonid; Korotayev, Andrey
Almanac: Evolution:Evolutionary Trends, Aspects, and Patterns

From the very beginning, our Yearbook ‘Evolution’ has been devoted to searching for the common ground at different levels of development, to gradual elaboration of a mega-evolutionary paradigm (see Grinin et al. 2009), as well as to considering features of various evolutionary phenomena. As a matter of fact, in speaking of similarities, one should take into account the most important characteristics of phenomena and systems – their uniqueness. At the same time the common and unique sustain complex interaction. In particular, the uniqueness is never overall, it is always realized only in several aspects important in evolutionary terms. At the same time, the deeper we comprehend the balance between general development and general evolutionary trends, on the one hand, and breakthroughs to new levels of organization, on the other, the more clearly we perceive that an evolutionary breakthrough which occurred as a result of emerging unique conditions is never an element of randomness but always occurs due to a huge and consistent evolutionary advance in a certain direction. Thus, the new emerges far from inevitably. For the emergence of something new a number of peculiarities and coincidences of complicated conditions is required; at that, it is always difficult to conceive whether all these conditions were necessary or some were contingencies of minor importance. Therefore, the transition to a new evolutionary level is such a rare and important event. And still the gap between the levels is not as obvious as it sometimes seems.