An evolutionary transformation is a function of whole-system change.
- At the physical level the transition from atomic to molecular structure, such as the emergence of water from the interaction of hydrogen and oxygen, represents an evolutionary transformation.
- The transition from inorganic to organic structures, from fixed ‘material’ to self-organising ‘living’ systems, represents such an evolutionary transformation.
- The increased requirement of an internal information processing capacity enabled by the central nervous system in order to cope and manage volition and mobility, represents an evolutionary transformation. The transition from simple sentient awareness to a form of conscious ‘mind’ capable of modelling the environment can be seen as a epochal shift in the course of evolution.
- At a more subtle level whole-system changes in the modelling of the environment, as a function of adaptation to greater environmental awareness and engagement with more complex challenges and opportunities, represent such evolutionary transformations of consciousness. These shifts are accompanied by changes in values, beliefs and identity.
- Complex Adaptive Intelligence now demands a fundamental revision of how we think about problem-solving and opportunity optimisation in the world. It’s no longer sufficient to think mechanistically, like fixing machines or improving them to work more efficiently. It’s the evolutionary transformation of thinking organically, working eco-systemically, like tending all the elements of a garden, or respecting the interdependent living systems that constitute a vital forest when we wish to harvest its richness sustainably.
Evolutionary transformations thus represent both whole-system change, as well as how we think about and define the dynamic system with which we are engaging.
The acceleration of even more complex human induced existential dynamics precipitated by burgeoning technology, and the accompanying human ecological footprint, now demands the next evolutionary transformation to greater adaptive intelligence.