“Before Agassiz, recapitulation had been defined as a correspondence between two series: embryonic stages and adults of living species.  Agassiz introduced a third series: the geologic record of fossils.  An embryo repeats both a graded series of living, lower forms and the history of its type as recorded by fossils.  There is a “threefold parallelism” of embryonic growth, structural gradation, and geologic succession.  ‘It may therefore be considered as a general fact, very likely to be more fully illustrated as investigations cover a wider ground, that the phases of development of all living animals correspond to the order to succession of their extinct representatives in past geological times.  As far as this goes, the oldest representatives of every class may then be considered as embryonic types of their respective orders of familiar among the living.’ ” (1857, 1962 ed., p. 114)  (Gould, S.J. (1977) Ontogeny and Phylogeny.  Cambridge: Belknap Press, pp. 65-66)

When the sciences were forming in the nineteenth century and earthly twentieth century, strong personalities explored fertile new ground, and they planted virgin orchards to have followers harvest many of the fruits.  Society would draw boundaries regarding what was acceptable to pursue, and sciences would evolve in the directions encouraged.  Politics informed insight.  Prejudices pushed thinking in particular directions.  Discipline seeds were planted that sprouted and grew in the direction of the light.

The light that shines on science often comes from dim understandings derived from assumptions of individuals.  These assumptions created walls that inhibited connection.  For example, there are disciplines like anthropology and evolutionary biology that from early on grew at odd angles as a result of prejudices and politics that suggested that females could not inform how species and societies evolve.

Still, 100 to 150 years ago, as fields of study formed, there was an assumption that there are deep connections–roots–connecting the various disciplines.  One discipline could inform another.  Practitioners often participated in several disciplines at the same time.

Perhaps the most powerful contemporary proponent of fourfold parallelism and strong connections among disciplines is not a scientist, but the philosopher Ken Wilber.  Ties between biology, sociology, ontogeny and personal experience somehow have become the realm of the philosopher, whereas 100 years ago this was considered integral to understanding how science disciplines connect.  It’s almost as if our reductionist zeitgeist interprets making connections as somehow suggestive of a reverence for deity.  God forbid.

Almost like a species evolving to occupy an astonishingly unattended niche, for example, amphibians discovering land, science big-banged itself into the modern age with the creation of the modern pantheon of disciplines.  Things have calmed down as disciplines have subdivided with arcane sub-branches growing further and further away from other sub-branches with innate parallelisms.  Those days are coming to an end.

More and more academicians are posting their papers on the web.  Mostly, we’re still stuck with abstracts, but full works will more commonly emerge with time.  Just as there has been an amateurization of media with the rising influence of bloggers for high quality information and Youtube for current windows on the world, prepare for an increasing number of high quality, nonpeer-reviewed papers and academic treatments of ideas formerly reserved for journals only.

It’s happening already.  Professors, on their own websites, are playing with ideas and posting works that they can’t easily find an audience for within their discipline.  These academicians are finding that they are having fun.  They’re finding that they like having fun.  It’s only a matter of time before nonacademics start seeing what they can accomplish.

Just as the web has been revolutionizing and evolutionizing everything it touches, the web will be revolutionizing the science of evolution.  How things transform will become as fascinating as the transformations themselves as idea morphing will become a spectator sport.  Divisions between biology, society, ontogeny and personal experience, the four foundation parallelisms, will blend with one another as the peoples’ academia disrespects the walls created by the prejudices and politics of the past.

Most magical of all, the wall between science and religion will vanish.  When it becomes clear that both science and religion are all about connection, parallelisms between the two will feel so intuitive that it will be difficult to understand why the two diverged.

Of course, mythology will be abandoned by religion.  Science will surrender its obsession with separation.  The light of society will grow clean and clear.  The trees of academia will grow straight and strong.  The grafting of branches will grow ubiquitous.

Gardening will be how we humans spend our time.


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