The Unbroken Sequence of Systems Origins (USSO)and its follow-up Spin-Off of SPT, the Theory of Emergence is simply the comparative analysis of each, new appearing, origin of a new scalar level in a continuous hierarchy or fractal set from the original Big Bang. David Christian has called this “Big History” and Tyler Volk “Quarks to Culture” and George Mobus is writing all about it in his new systems texts (Springer), but I have called it USSO since my incoming Presidential Lecture for the ISSS in 1990, and before that in my so-called Evolution classes at CPP (Bio 213 of the old quarter catalogue since 1970), and before that in a special class in 1985 at UCSD.
The Theory of Emergence (TOE) is a mechanism by which each major emergence (which we like to call Big-E emergence to distinguish it from the many popular definitions of emergence that are out there). So it is a proposal for a Theory that is akin to Darwin’s famous theory of evolution. Except it describes much more than the Origin of Species as it describes not just the appearance for the first time of each level of complexity in new systems that are living and biological, but also all physical systems (cosmological, astronomical, physical, geological, and biological, progressing even to human social and technological systems). But you cannot even begin to see the TOE unless you first examine and understand the USSO first.
The Emergences we highlight here are each of the 90-plus Integration/Diversification cycles that happen in the upper half of the I/D Cycle. The appearance of each new scalar level has been associated with a unique estimated time of origin by the many experiments on natural systems. But those experiments have also suggested several alternative mechanisms by which the new level of entity organization could have arisen SPONTANEOUSLY from the previous. This results in an UNBROKEN SEQUENCE OF SYSTEMS ORIGINS, which we conveniently abbreviate to USSO. There is thus a continuity and continuous sequence in what Tom Marzolf calls “types” of systems, and I and J.G. Miller and Albert G. Wilson called Fractal or Hierarchical levels.
It is very important to recognize the immense reworking of worldviews and opinions that this singular span requires. Most people would argue that there is a vast gap or difference between ALL physical systems and ALL living systems and also between ALL living systems and ALL social systems. But the USSO argues for no gap. Just a continuous unfolding of the same general systems over and over again, just at new scalar levels, characterized by new mechanics and new parts. That is why I have often said that the universe seems to keep generating the SAME GENERAL SYSTEM over and over again, but just at different complexity levels composed of different parts.
This comparative analysis is at the usual highly abstracted, general level consistent with that needed for a “general theory of systemness.” It is very important to note a change of worldview and approach in these comparisons. The observer has to be willing to abstract from the particulars and has to be able to accept that almost everything out there is a system or system of systems. It is not the specific mechanisms that deliver the origin that are studied and compared, but the general aspects of these particulars that have similar structure and function. General theory is not possible unless one abstracts the general dynamics from comparing the particulars. That is why we cited Rules for Abstraction and Rules for Deabstraction in the SPT Methodology section (main pull down Five).
Another revolution implied in the study of the USSO is a revolution in Ontology of Systems. Many have spoken or written about the need for an accepted Ontology of systems because they thought it important that we have an understanding of how systems come into being. “Ontos” “genere” or “beginning” of “being or the individual.” But most workers do Ontology as a philosophical exercise. We have over 1,000 scientific articles, reporting experiments, that try to empirically test the “becoming” of a new system from the past one for all these phenomena and I/D emergences.
So we think both the USSO and TOE are part of the new Systems Science, that makes it for the first time truly a Science because it uses the reductionist, peer-reviewed, consensual phenomena of several of the conventional sciences and refers every part to each of these using their own tools, techniques, methods, and conclusions. However, it goes far beyond those conclusions using the new method of CSA explained in another part of this website. This makes USSO and TOE part of the new Metascience, that breaks the rules of the conventional reductionist sciences by comparing ACROSS all of them (which is rigorously not allowed in the conventional scientific method).