A Study of the Influence of Our Evolution through the Spatial Dimensions on the Form and Function of Our Species.
Presented here are perspectives for expanding our understanding of and a range of tools for engaging therapeutically with our innate potentials. These perspectives emerge from observations about the influence of the path of our evolution, from our ancestral origin as a singular free-floating organism, on our qualities and capabilities. The scientific foundation for the basis of this study is well established, and where the discussion wanders onto less stable ground, attempts are made to maintain links to the related research. Although Darwin’s Evolutionary Theory just turned 150 years old, we are still scratching the surface of its potential to reframe our ideas about ourselves and our place in the world. This study explores some of the ”meta“ and “micro” aspects of the evolutionary journey of our species.
If someone from the 16th century materialized in an urban area of a developed country they would likely recognize almost nothing, and not knowing about the technology underlying our built environment, would be inclined to conclude that our world is controlled by spells and other magical forces. If that person tried to understand what they were looking at, they would need to drill down into the underlying technology. As our technologically advanced world is far to complex for any individual to comprehend, they would of course never fully succeed, and end up with incomplete, but partially useful models of the world. Traditionally, we have tried to make sense of our complex human neurophysiology in the same manner, organizing our research “top/down” as we study what we assumed was the being God created to rule the Kingdom of Earth. It has only been in the past several decades that we have really begun to recognize the advantages of analyzing human neurophysiology “bottom/up”, identifying attributes of ourselves as an element of a layer of the increasingly complex neurological and physiological layers that our evolutionary lineage embraced as it progressed along the trajectory from the original single-celled organism. As this research is only now gaining clinical traction it is likely that the coming decades will see many applications arising from this clarification about our functional/structural attributes that until recently were quite opaque. The opportunity afforded by exploring our evolutionary lineage is that we more confidently and clearly express ourselves by acting within and trusting the parameters of our design, even while living within, and further refining the parameters of the designed system within which we live. As the magical fog surrounding our ideas about our nature and origins begins to lift, clarity can emerge about the true mysteries within which we participate.
Studying the human experience from these perspectives contributes both to a more focused application of standard therapeutic diagnostic tools and more efficacious therapeutic interventions. For individuals, a solid grasp of this material can improve stance and gait tactics, fine motor skills, management of cognitive processing, etc. thereby enhancing one’s experience of and scope for being the operator of one’s body. It must be noted that the material presented here is far from complete, but reflects this writer’s continued study of this subject, and his experience using this material to elucidate for his clients the science which can explain why they are the way they are, as well as proffering actions they can take to extend their physical and cognitive capabilities. The areas of research underpinning this study upend common assumptions embedded within psychology and physiology, facilitating a more comprehensive, connected and rational grasp of how our species functions, as well as a more efficient and robust application of its structure. Emerging clinical validation of this material makes for an exciting arena of exploration for both therapists and clients, with ramifications beyond how we interact with each other and our surroundings, to how our species engages with the world.
Perspectives on the Stepwise Evolution of Our Species
The Force of Life is creative. Life’s most visible attribute is it’s intrinsic drive to explore our planet’s accessible nooks and crannies, and from there to jump off into even more remote expeditions. “Jumping off” occurs because established forms and functions proved consistently successful, freeing energy for experimentation with new variations. Consecutively successful experiments resulted in a layered aspect to complex organisms, with more complex neurological, physiological, and biochemical forms and functions extending from the foundation of more “primitive” layers. This area of research is called Evolutionary Physiology, which is a relatively recent extension of Evolutionary Theory, focusing on the path creatures took to become the way that they are.
More complex physiology enabled investigation of dimensionally more complex environments. Human Beings are examples of creatures that have extended this cycle of creation to its current outer edge. The complexity of how we function is clarified by exploring the influences of the more ancient attributes from which these functions emerged. Clarifying “what we are” facilitates intentional forward momentum for our species role as stewards of our home here on our planet, as well as a more informed exploration of our potentials. A discussion of the qualities, character, and impacts of these attributes, organized around our ancestral stepwise evolution into more complex environments, can be found here:
Tools to Apply these Models Therapeutically and for Personal Development
Complex animals retain structures and functions from each evolutionary paradigm, with the most “primitive” aspects being shared with all forms of Life, and the most complex unique being to our species. These layers express adaptation along one of the many branches of the Tree of Life. However, this website focuses only on the vector of human evolution, facilitating the classification of these layers: All Living Things, Animals, Vertebrates, Mammals, and Primates.
Euclidean Geometry loosely correlates to these classifications, each layer being a successful evolution into an increasingly dimensionally complex environment. Examining Life’s evolution from this perspective reveals that Life delved into the physical dimensions sequentially, progressively mastering the spaces contained within the Point, Line, Plane, and Volume. The evolutionary correlates are Point/All Living Things; Line/Animals and Vertebrates; Plane/Mammals; Volume/Primates. Contrasting our understanding of the evolutionary path of our species with constraints imposed by the dimensional complexity within which it occurred illuminates both the path we ancestrally had to follow to reach greater complexity and the correlations between attributes of our structures and functions as these faculties progressively evolved. The Dimensional Paradigms expand on this discussion.
These layers govern aspects of the functional/structural issues/symptoms we experience. If during childhood development one incompletely matures a function associated with an evolutionary layer as described in this model, all functions that extend from this base will embed compensations. Identifying the base layer for a specific issue facilitates more efficiently focused therapeutic effort. Therapeutic intervention at this layer will assist with the continued maturation of that function. Working from these correlations should demonstrate greater efficacy than simply deploying a specific therapy for all issues. Associating therapeutic outcomes with the efficacy of a modality for treatment at that evolutionary layer is a robust explanation for why a therapy sometimes works well and other times doesn’t.
Therapy should enable new options for the consumer. Identifying and functionalizing (enabling the maturation of / decompensating) a developmental attribute that missed the opportunity to actualize can facilitate lasting change, opening up new pathways for Life’s journey. The intersection between Developmental Psychology and Evolutionary Physiology establishes the guide rails on this website for identifying and functionalizing missed developmental milestones. Linking a cluster of “symptoms” to the evolutionary paradigm within which incomplete developmental maturation occurred promotes better therapeutic outcomes. Widely used treatments and training modalities, as well as specific exercises, are collated here indexed by the parameters of their evolutionary paradigm:
Compensations can be observed physically in posture and gait variances, in how we move, in sensory processing, in emotional reactivity, and in cognitive challenges. The Diagnostic Section offers additional tactics for assessment. Many of these tactics are widely used by therapists to refine their therapeutic strategies. However, this author is unaware of another model covering the breadth of correlations realized by synthesizing Evolutionary Physiology, Developmental Psychology, Dimensional Paradigms, a distillation of our Core Functions, and the Archetypal qualities of our surroundings, thereby facilitating assessment tactics and therapeutic strategies.