Founded by Arthur M. Young in 1972, the Institute for the Study of Consciousness (“ISC”) continues to use Young’s Theory of Process (“ToP”) as a paradigm to orient people toward the turning points of human evolution. This paradigm integrates materialist determinism in Science with free will, and thus gives a formal place for values and spiritual purpose to be recognized as part of reality, reclaiming purpose within science is our purpose. We see this integration as essential to a science of everything, and helping us live up to our full potential and fulfill our species’ name: Sapiens = wise ones.

Our Evolution of Wisdom

According to Young’s Theory of Process, as outlined in his book The Reflexive Universe, evolution is not just genetics: we are acting in the larger context of transcendent freedom leading to new creations. The Reflexive Universe view organizes and interrelates fields of inquiry with three categorically different evolutions:

genes instinct wisdom

Darwin’s theory of evolution predicted a mechanism of physical inheritance, which eventually was found in genes. A means of recording what is learned from experience is highly valuable for evolution. Young’s Theory of Process posits: The instincts which express what was learned are not recorded in the genes, even though associated with them; instinct is a different category of evolution. How behavioral instincts are recorded may take time to discover, just as the ongoing research and discovery of how genes work has taken generations.

Each category of evolution is symbolized in our logo by three triangles colored yellow, aqua, or white respectively, one atop the other, instinct on top of genetics, and wisdom over instinct. The three triangles point down to one point at the middle of seven points on the whole circle.

We humans are not always compulsively following our animal instincts, and we are not entirely determined by our genes; on the contrary, we can creatively use determinist laws to transcend limits. Discovering the principles operating in the universe empowers inventive creation. As Young showed with his perfection of the Bell helicopter as a vertical flying machine, we can have flight by creative leaps with clever devices, and do not need to be the wings, as animals do who evolved feathers from generations of genetic trials. And unlike other animals such as the bird, which has its wings, but cannot also have arms and hands, we can take on new abilities and new identities like clothing. This is categorically different from both genetic and instinctual evolution, and deserves recognition in any theory of the universe. Titles for this creative power are: consciousness, understanding, and wisdom. Scientific study, testing, empathy, direct recognition, and intuition all contribute to the evolution of consciousness; all these and more may be needed for Wisdom to emerge.

Arthur Young gave the title of “Dominion” to the final “Kingdom” of evolution in consciousness. He did not mean domination nor enslaving nor exploiting. He meant the more mature expressions of dominion, including comprehensive mastery and wisdom. We may all hope that learning mastery in each virtue involves fewer violations of others, and leads to more symbiosis, less domination. Therefore, some renditions of this Theory of Process may label the seventh stage as “Transcendence” or “Transcendent,” or “Attainment,” instead of “Dominion,” to be more understandable by current culture. Transcendence does not mean escapism. People will repeatedly find there is no escape from responsibility; when seeing comprehensively enough, the compassion of wisdom impels action to help all embodiments of evolution and to heal the whole.

This theory (ToP) assists in predicting jumps which break away from history and trends in any development. By seeing the patterns of similarities across all phenomena, in terms of stages and substages, each example of the pattern informs across any scale of view, from personal to global. Fractals are a visual representation of this self-mapping feature. “As above, so below” is another way this has been expressed.

Because people can exercise freedom, exact prediction of individuals and groups is not possible; however, the general nature of any process, and what qualities are available next, can be anticipated with the Theory of Process. Marshall Rosenberg, in his explanation of Non-Violent Communication, predicted for any group, the parties must first fully hear and acknowledge the validity of each person’s feelings and generic longings (ToP stage 2 “Binding”) before they can agree on plans (ToP stage 3 “Identity”). Only when the emotional level has been resolved first will the participants experience this moment of mutual acceptance as a breakthrough, or jump in progress. A recognition of sequence requirements is central to the Theory of Process, in this case the recognition that stage 2 must be complete before stage 3 can work. This is an example of the predictive usefulness of theory.

We emphasize how these 7 stages of process and the recursive sub-stages within each stage are a theory, a mental map or model, not the thing itself.This formalism distinguishes categorical types of things and non-things (such as subjective and projective realities). Arthur Young coined the use of the term “projective” to elucidate the nature of our subjective experience and mental process of modeling the universe. While we can specify these conceptual details objectively for all to see, we should always remember it is we who project theories onto more vast realities, and theory cannot be interchanged with the 3 other kinds of realities:

  • Objective physical sensations resulting from actions,
  • The apprehending of purposes, and
  • The experience of emotion/ motivation.

Young was inspired by the universal patterning embodied in atomic elements, he expanded on that to form a diagram he called The Grid: The entire Periodic Table of Elements is the third row of a higher order of the same periodicity. He called all the rows “Kingdoms” because the entities of the next 3 rows after the Atomic were already commonly known as belonging in the “Mineral kingdom, Plant kingdom, & Animal Kingdom” to which he added another “Kingdom” to complete the pattern and account for all the qualities we partake of. Each row (“Kingdom”) cumulatively engages in new kinds of evolution, as explained regarding the ISC logo, above. Thus this final “Kingdom” is engaged in developing wisdom for Transcendent power.

Where you come in

The powers inherent in cultural accumulation of knowledge and techniques can prove quite dangerous, especially without wisdom. The challenge represented by the atomic bomb is to ‘wise up or die out.’ The co-founder of this Institute for the Study of Consciousness, Ruth Forbes Young, was so moved by this imperative, she also co-founded what is now the International Peace Institute.

Arthur Young’s Theory of Process gives a scientifically precise map of universal processes which includes the evolution that matters most to us:

Human Consciousness

You have active roles in human evolution to live up to the wisdom implied by our taxonomic name Homo Sapiens. One role is within your self, having a drive to learn and grow your own competence. Another role is as a contributor to the collective adventure of conscious transcendence of past compulsions. It could be by freeing people from being blindly run by fears generally, or dispelling war, greed addictions, or the consequent violations against life; your help may be the tipping force for life to continue in creative diversity on Earth.

As examples, we should stop irrevocable actions such as:

  • Releasing genetically modified organisms into the environment, irreversibly changing gene pools; if a particular GMO is found to be harmful, it will then be too late
  • Fracking for oil by releasing chemicals known to be toxic solvents into our Earth;

We do know better by now, and should use the precautionary principle in handling the fundaments of life, which are millions of times older than science!

Gaining an overview and understanding of this adventure of consciousness is useful and satisfying in itself, but also leads into a journey of applying paradigms to create desired futures.

Exemplars of that journey include the famous Geodesic dome inventor Buckminster Fuller and visionary futurist Foster Gamble. Before Foster produced Thrive, he studied the Theory of Process at this ISC. He assessed that “Bucky” Fuller comprehended the fundamental structure of the universe with what Bucky coined as the “vector equilibrium.” (a geometric shape also known as the closest packing of spheres). Foster recognized Arthur Young as comprehending the process of universal unfolding with the torus model and believes the process/structure combination forms the most complete picture of the universe yet attained by cumulative systematic inquiry.

Foster’s revelations are visible in his movies Thrive 1 and Thrive II and website (12 spheres around one inside a torus), but these background theoretical models and organizing principles are not directly explained there; this is where your study and journey can take off.

Discover where you are in the adventure of consciousness!

We recommend you explore this ArthurYoung.com website, read some of the free essays about the Theory, and view the Arthur Young videos.

We are open to critique and to comparing views which can add to, or revise our paradigm scientifically. Just providing us with other data to consider is appreciated. Comparing theories and the merits of various paradigms is in the Charter of this Institute for the Study of Consciousness.

The Theory of Process Poster

The ISC, with funding and support from Anodos Foundation and the editorial and graphic resources of The Grove Consultants International, has produced a 20 x 30 inch color waterproof poster that serves as a primer, introduction, summary, and graphic display of the Theory of Process (“ToP”). The Poster includes background about Arthur Young, a brief outline of the theory, and graphics of the following features: The Grid, the Learning Cycle, the Rosetta Stone of Meaning, a table of correspondences to the four levels, and several Arcs of Process illustrating diverse applications of the seven-stages of process. The Poster provides a coherent, beautiful, succinct, and accessible quick reference about ToP at your fingertips. This Poster is what you will want to have with you when you suddenly get the urge to tell someone about the Theory of Process and its power.

The Poster is available flat, or folded into a convenient hand-size of 7.5 inch x 10 inch. As it is unfolded, each of the 4 levels of the ToP is exemplified in a new modality for the page.

Order the Theory of Process Poster – $15

Wholesale customers or educators wishing to use the poster for student or classroom use, please contact Jack Engstrom: engstrom@lisco.com

Who’s doing what & contacts

Below are links to talks, applications and other activities by ISC members and ToP researchers.

Board of Directors

President: Jack Engstrom engstrom@lisco.com 925-735-8878

Jack’s paper titled ‘Parsing to the Source: From Form to Light, From Known to Knowing, From Substance to Void’ (16 pages) is available online as a downloadable pdf in Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy,Vol 12, No 2 (2016) [Proceedings from Conference May 19-20, 2016:] ‘Foundations of Mind III: Homage to Walter Freeman III’, pp67-82 ‘Parsing the Source: From Form to Light, From Known to Knowing, From Substance to Void’ by Jack Engstrom.

Secretary: Chris L. S. Panym – c panym via gmail

Applied the 4 elements in personal communication, which proves especially good for resolving contentious issues.

A new touch-typing system for any mobile device is in development to surpass QWERTY keyboards & Steno shorthand boards in all respects: Easier to learn, ergonomic, portability, & speed attainable, with all selections reliably obtained by feel, not hand-eye coordination. Arthur Young’s Geometry of Meaning & the recursive pattern of cumulative processes informs some of the systemization of assignments.

Treasurer: Michael Buchele, MD mjbuch@comcast.net

PO Box 398, Orinda, CA 94563-0398

Michael is currently editing a manuscript by Jack Saloma, PhD, entitled “The Consciousness Puzzle”, about his odyssey from Eastern Coast politics, to investigating Western Coast parapsychology, and how it led him to discover Arthur Young’s work on the ToP as the best unifying paradigm he had experienced.

Michael Buchele MD and Bob Whitehouse PhD gave a presentation to the FMBR (Foundation for Mind-Being Research) in October 2013, about Arthur Young and his Theory of Process. Bob is currently finishing a book on the Universal occurrence of the Torus, from the Atom to the Cosmos, in a book to be titled “The Torus Project”.

Michael Buchele MD and Bob Whitehouse PhD presenting the ToP at FMBR

We can speak on Arthur Young’s works

If you or your group would like a speaker to talk about the basics of the Theory of Process (as outlined in Arthur Young’s books “The Reflexive Universe” and the “Geometry of Meaning,” among others), please contact Jack Engstrom via email or phone, with information about your venue and audience.

If you send us your email address, c/o Jack Engstrom: engstrom@lisco.com, we can keep you informed of ISC news and events. We will not distribute your email address.