The How and the Why of Emergence and Intention | George Gantz

This presentation is based on the essay Mr. Gantz submitted in the 2017 FQXi Essay Contest. The topic for the contest was: Wandering Towards a Goal: How can mind- less mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention? The Community Ranking Process has been concluded and Mr. Gantz’ essay is ranked 5th out of 229 essays submitted.

Over the past few decades, considerable progress has been made in explaining how complex, intelligent behaviors emerge in dynamic systems. The overall architecture can now be discerned, although much work remains to be done on the particulars. At the same time, the question of why the universe works this way remains as elusive as ever. There is a direction to the process, and we do not understand the nature of that intentionality. We are left with contradictory hypotheses for why the universe is the way it is. Do you believe that what exists is fundamentally an expression of randomness within mathematical forms? Or do you believe in a cosmic intentionality that provides generative guidance for the emergence and evolution of our uniquely specified universe? This question is, and always will be, from an empirical standpoint, undecidable. Yet our choice of answer is fundamental to how we think about the world and how we live in it. I make the argument for cosmic intentionality as a rational, evidence-based and comprehensive hypothesis for explaining why the world is the way it is, and point to the advantages of this hypothesis in enhancing our understanding of life.

That cosmic intentionality is characterized by intention, attraction, cooperation and reciprocity across and within the emergent levels. These attributes are the defining features of love. In summary, cosmic intentionality is love flowing through the universe, guiding the emergent cascade.

Bio: George Gantz is a writer, philosopher and retired business executive with a life-long passion for mathematics, science, philosophy and theology. He has a Bachelor of Science degree with Honors Humanities from Stanford University, directs the Forum on Integrating Science and Spirituality at and blogs on related topics. His essay The Tip of The Spear earned 4th place in the 2014 FQXi essay contest.

Recorded at the Society for Scientific Exploration conference at Yale University, 2017

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Published on December 18, 2018