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Diagrams of Emergence

SERIES: Diagrammatic Emergence
AUTHOR: Jim Schofield


The paper traces a period of development of ideas concerned with Development itself, and the special case of Emergences, by means of a series of diagrams attempting to capture the trajectory of both Quantitative and Qualitative change in these crucial processes. It became clear that our usual conceptions of significant change were profoundly mistaken, particularly in the episodes when major turnovers were involved, for what we thought were the incremental mechanisms of progress could on close inspection be revealed to be only those of dissolution. The staircase to major change was, in fact, not climbing ever higher, but on the contrary forming some sort of “chute” – going down. Real progress was actually well hidden in isolated, revolutionary Events termed Emergences, and what had to be tackled, and indeed solved, was the alternation between long periods of Stability, and their ultimate dissolution leading to a resultant period of extremely rapid and indeed creative construction. And this episode was no escalator “upwards”, but an oscillation in both directions only finally coalescing on an upward swing into an entirely new and stable Level.

The elements of the subsequent Theory of Emergences were based initially on this series of diagrams, as was the persistence of all Levels and their interrelationships.


1.The usual conception of incremental progress is addressed with particular reference to the Origin of Life, and dismissed as inappropriate and indeed wrong.

2.The alternative of progress via Emergent Events, which in turn established new Levels of Reality, was put forward, and the relationship the alternation of periods of Stability (at a given Level) and interludes of revolutionary change (to a new Level) were described.

3.The Second Law of Thermodynamics as a general Law of Dissolution was countered by an opposing Law of Creative Construction, and the relationship these laws to the state or mode of Reality was explained. Unavoidable alternating between the dominance of these two showed themselves not only in epochs and interludes, but also in much shorter-term oscillations between them in the Creative Phase of Emergences.

4.The continuance and interrelationships between Levels was then described, and the significance of both Sequences and Cycles of Metabolic Pathways in their presumed original embodiment in non-living Reality explained.

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