These essays or blogs are an unconventional way to share evolutionary theory. This is not a peer-reviewed journal and I am not an academician. There are the less obvious reasons why this blog is unconventional. For example, I share some ideas before they are fully formed.

Many of the ideas expressed on this blog had their origins ten years ago. Click here to travel to a site that goes into those details. Those ideas have been fully cited (click here) though no peer-review process has presented them to a community that might absorb them. This blog offers me an opportunity to share those ideas in the context of contemporary events that might suggest their utility. The most obvious example is that the theory hypothesizes that autism has evolutionary origins and is a direct result of changes in our society’s transformation from patrifocal to matrifocal social structure. Almost thirty predictions come from the hypothesis. Click here for details.

Writing these blogs often led to insights. Since starting these entries last April 1, a number of ideas have occurred to me that bridge off of the original theses. Some of these ideas are appearing on this website without the benefit of time to let them steep or a withdrawal to explore the background literature that includes supporting and opposing positions.

So, in addition to sharing the original thesis, I’m experiencing new insights leading off into unexplored territory. At the same time, I’m often describing my personal experience while taking this journey.

Through the spring into the summer it became clearer how the dynamics of individual ontogeny inform the growth and transformation of societies. First, it became evident that the features of aboriginal societies, the “lower” classes and the street arts were manifesting themselves in society today in ways that were directly related to the dynamics of neoteny and the manifestation of ancestor-infant features in the adults of their descendants, or the humans of today. Society was recapitulating ontogeny.

Still, this is different from the Haeckelian (or even Hegelian) hypothesis of a hundred years ago. It wasn’t that a succession of societal stages reflected a succession of human stages or vice versa. One could observe a process by which specific features of earlier social ontogeny were manifesting later in contemporary times, driven by changes in social structure. With a shift to patrifocal social structure beginning maybe 50,000 to 25,000 years ago, gaining momentum 6,000 years ago, society moved toward hierarchical structures reflecting directly the new social structure, with its neurological/hormonal constellation of high testosterone males and low testosterone females. Now, with the shift back to an older matrifocal social structure and the neurological/hormonal constellation of low testosterone males and high testosterone females, that hierarchy is collapsing.

There was dynamism to social evolution unobserved by the inventors of recapitulation, a dynamism driven by the same process that drove human ontogenetic growth–relative levels of testosterone and social structure proclivity. Matrifocal features of aboriginal society emerging in the everyday were creating predictable results, including an increase of autism. Our brief supernova of consumer society is directly related to a resurgence of female choice. The exponential growth of the Internet is intimately connected with the return of matrifocal values of transparency, diversity and horizontal communication.

Understanding human evolution and how the individual informs that evolution, we understand the evolution of society.

With an understanding of how society transforms having become clearer to me over the last few months, I’ve shared the insights as they have emerged. These insights perhaps make far less sense to me now than they will in the future after I’ve had time to connect the insights to the work of other authors, find useful metaphors and relax into the concepts. Nevertheless, this blog has become an opportunity to share connections as they are made and to describe my experience as the connections form.

An insight that I shared about a month ago is continuing to percolate without benefit of reading to inform the understanding. I ordered two books yesterday to add to the stack of books I’m reading on other subjects. The books I ordered were on teleology.

Authors over the centuries, including Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in the 20th century, have noted that the trajectory of society seems to reveal overarching patterns best explained by the presence of a creative intelligence. Teleological interpretations of history and society conflict with reductionist biological hypotheses that make clear that no intelligence is required. Needless to say, itemizing the arguments serving both sides can’t be done in this daily blog format. Wikipedia offers a good summary. My point is this. Heterochronic theory, which includes neoteny when applied to societal evolution, creates overarching patterns that look a whole lot like the intervention of a creative intelligence. Large-scale patterns with direction are in evidence, just as in human evolution neoteny has produced a clear physiological/neurological trajectory over several million years. What we are observing is not some evident but unfathomable overarching pattern best explained by the intervention of a deity. What we are observing is evidence of a noted and accepted biological process, heterochrony, operating on the scale of societal evolution.

Teleology follows the same pathways as ontogeny.

Early stages of society can prolong or reveal themselves in later societal states just as infant states of earlier species of our primate lineage manifest in the features of contemporary adults. The reverse is also true. Society is influenced by the ontogenetic equivalent of condensation or the addition of features to an adult stage, features slowly embraced by younger and younger stages over time, recapitulation. Integral to understanding this dynamic is noting the impact of testosterone on the formation of individuals, social structure and societies. How this process unfolds can be observed by following the influence of testosterone on these multiple scales. The evidence of this process on a societal level is what we have called teleology.

Writing this entry, I wrestle with the patterns and the scales, letting one scale inform understandings in the next. The music of our unfoldings is embedded at all levels. Where we don’t see the connections, we infer deity intervention. Not necessary. Deity is everywhere at once working through processes which are understandable.

We don’t need god to make the universe understandable.

Experiencing god can be useful to come to that understanding.


Comments

Name (required)

Email (required)

Website

Share your wisdom