Complexity + consciousness: a model of Big History based on self-organising complexity, incorporating consciousness


Voros, Joseph

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Current models of Big History usually consider the observed increases over cosmic time-scales of material-energetic complexity as a foundational concept, but do not have as clear a way to also consider the observed increases in the complexity of human cognitive experiences ('interiority') over the time-frame that we have been able to observe it. A model of Big History is presented which seeks to unify the material-energetic-complexity view of Big History, founded on the physical sciences, especially physics and chemistry, based on the seminal work of Erich Jantsch, with an 'increasing complexity of interiority' view, which has recently emerged from the humanities, especially psychology and anthropology, drawn from the synthesising theoretical work of Ken Wilber. Such a unified view can do justice to the enduring insights and truths from the sciences while also incorporating the emerging insights and theoretical advances which have come to light over the last century or so of research into human psychology and culture. This high-level model of 'orienting generalisations' is useful as a way to organise the various knowledge domains that need to be drawn upon in Big History, and it also provides a useful framework for thinking about the future of our civilisation, species, and planet, from a 'macro' perspective commensurate with the scope and perspective of Big History.

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Conference paper


Teaching and researching Big History: exploring a new scholarly field, the Inaugural International Big History Association Conference, Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States, 02-05 August 2012


Grand Valley State University

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Copyright © 2012.