The General Law of Being, Article 3 The Ultimate Cause of Evolution


Ye Chen


This is the third article in a series about the General Law of Being, a science philosophy that was introduced by Chinese scholar Wang Dongyue twenty years ago and then expanded upon by Chen Ye, who linked it to other scientific and philosophical traditions as well as to Big History. We encourage readers to review the previous two articles in the Journal of Big History, volume 6, issues 1 and 2.
Article 1 addressed how all entities in the universe – ‘beings’ – are finite and dependent. Horizontally, their existence is realized through the structural coupling of their interactive-quality with other being(s)’s interactable-quality, and vertically through the superposition of their historical structural-coupling states. Article 2 reveals the interplay of the two opposite forces that govern evolution – conservation and variation. This evolution / variation progress occurs through the differentiation of beings, level by level – each level of organization results from differentiation of beings at a lower level of organization, with the ‘adaptation task’ distributed to specialized roles at higher levels.
However, this ascent comes with a trade-off – the existence of a higher-level being depends on an increasing number of conditions. These conditions not only facilitate its functioning but also expose it to greater risks, which means that higher-level beings have weaker, or more unstable structures. Meanwhile, the increasing number of conditions perplexes the sense-reaction process, giving rise to more advanced cognitive patterns to coordinate the process.
In this article, we first examine the situation of the most sophisticated ‘natural’ structure formed by the most complex species – human society, by applying the fundamental principles discussed in Articles 1 and 2. We then systematize various clues in macro-evolution and based on theories previously outlined, we build our model of evolution to address the ultimate driving force behind evolution.