Algorithm: A recipe outlining the steps in a procedure for solving a problem; often used to describe key methods used in a computer program.
Amino Acid: One of the building blocks of proteins in the body.
Androcratic: See "Dominator Society."
Anaerobe: An organism that can live without oxygen.
Ariadne's Thread: According to myth, Ariadne gave Theseus a thread with which to find his way out of the Labyrinth.
Attractors: A term used in modern dynamics to denote a limit towards which trajectories of change within a dynamical system move. Attractors generally lie within basins of attraction.
Axons: A thin neuronal branch that transmits electrical impulses away from the cell body to other neurons (or to muscles or glands).
Basin: A supporting element and/or foundation in a mathematical equation. In fractals these are the areas of dense information.
Bell's Theorem: A mathematical proof derived from physics demonstrating that when ever two particles interact, they are thereafter connected in a mysterious faster-than-light way that doesn't diminish with time or distance and can't be shielded. Also known as the "mechanism of non-locality."
Bifurcation: The splitting or branching of possible states that a system can assume due to changing parameters.
Catastrophe Theory-- In mathematics, catastrophe theory seeks to describe
the structure of phenomena in which sharply discontinuous results
follow from continuous processes. The theory was first developed
by French mathematician Rene Thom in a paper published in 1968,
but it has its roots in such fields as topology and dynamical
system theory. While its subjects would include actual
catastrophes such as a girder suddenly buckling, it is intended
to apply to an abrupt change in any process.
When catastrophe theory first appeared, controversy was created by some of the claims being made for its possible applications to real-life situations in such diverse fields as sociology and the behavioral sciences. In the following years, however, the theory has become an established area of mathematical research and has demonstrated its usefulness in the study of many problems in physics; its wider relevance continues to be explored.
Chaos Theory: A new perspective emerging out of the study of dynamics that is discovering and mapping a high level of order and pattern in what has long been thought to be random activity.
Chaotic Attractor: Any attractor that is more complicated than a single point or cycle.
Collective Unconcious Carl Jung made a distinction between the personal unconscious, or the repressed feelings and thoughts developed during an individual's life, and the collective unconscious, or those inherited feelings, thoughts, and memories shared by all humanity. The collective unconscious, according to Jung, is made up of what he called "archetypes," or primordial images. These correspond to such experiences as confronting death or choosing a mate and manifest themselves symbolically in religions, myths, fairy tales, and fantasies.
Copenhagen Interpretation: Physicist Niels Bohr's notion that an unmeasured atom is, in some sense, not real, and its attributes are created or realized through the act of measurement.
Cybernetics: A term coined by Norbert Weiner, meaning the study of communication, feedback, and control mechanisms in living systems and machines.
Dendrites: Tiny tree-like branchings at the electrical impulse-receiving end of a neuron.
Differential Topology: The study and mapping of changing surfaces.
Dimorphism: Biological division of structure in a species, such as for sexual reproduction.
Directed Panspermia: Francis Crick's theory to explain the origin of life on earth. He 300 hypothesizes that spores traveling through space on the back of meteorites seed planets throughout the galaxy.
DMT: Dimetyltryptamine-- an extremely powerful, short-acting hallucinogenic mol ecule found in the South American shamanic brew Ayahuasca.
DNA: Deoxyribonucleic acid-- the long complex macro-molecule, consisting of two interconnected helical strands, that resides in the nucleus of every living cell, and encodes the genetic instructions for building each organism.
Dominator Society: A type of society in which one sex, or one group, dominates or rules over another. Also known as "Androcratic."
Dynamical Systems Theory: Mathematical models devised for understanding the pro cesses of whole systems.
Dynamics: The study of systems in motion, which overlaps both physics and mathematics, and seeks to devise mechanical models used to understand processes.
ECCO: John Lilly's acronym for the Earth Coincidence Control Office. A hypothetical hierarchy of entities who manage coincidences in a fashion intended to accelerate the motion of human beings along their psyche-spiritual evolutionary pathways.
EEG: Electroencephalogram- electrical potentials recorded by placing electrodes on the scalp or in the brain.
Empiricism: in philosophy, a doctrine that affirms that all knowledge is based on experience, and denies the possibility of spontaneous ideas or a priori thought.
Endogenous: Found naturally within the body.
Epistemology: (Greek episteme, "knowledge"; logos, "theory"), branch of philosophy that addresses the philosophical problems surrounding the theory of knowledge. Epistemology is concerned with the definition of knowledge and related concepts, the sources and criteria of knowledge, the kinds of knowledge possible and the degree to which each is certain, and the exact relation between the one who knows and the object known.
Eros: Eros is love. Originally Eros was considered to have been one of the great forces spawned from the primordial chaos. In this role Eros causes the fury of procreation that brings into being the world as we recognize it. In later myths Eros has been reduced to a pleasant but, minor god. By Roman times Eros had become Cupid.
Eucharist: Central rite of the Christian religion, in which bread and wine are consecrated by an ordained minister and consumed by the minister and members of the congregation in obedience to Jesus' command at the Last Supper, "Do this in remembrance of me." In the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, and in the Anglican, Lutheran, and many other Protestant churches, it is regarded as a sacrament, which both symbolizes and effects the union of Christ with the faithful. Baptists and others refer to Holy Communion as an "institution," rather than a sacrament, emphasizing obedience to a commandment.
Excitatory: Excites, speeds up. To describe the other type of neurotransmitter.
Field: A region of physical influence that interrelates and interconnects matter and energy. Fields are not a form of matter; rather matter is energy bound within fields.
Fractal: Computer-generated images corresponding to mathematical equations, that repeat self-similar patterns at infinitely receding levels of organization.
Gaia: A model for interpreting the dynamics that occur on planet earth as being part of a single self-regulating organism.
Genome: The complete set of genetic material or genes for a single organism.
Gylanic: See "Partnership Society."
Holographic: The condition upon which the information for creating a whole system is stored in each of its parts.
Hypnogogic: The twilight state of awareness, characterized by vivid dream-like imagery, that occurs as one is falling asleep.
Hypnopompic: The dream-like state of awareness that occurs as one is waking up from sleep.
Information: Non-predictable patterns that carry a message.
Information Theory: A branch of cybernetics that attempts to define the amount of information required to control a process of given complexity.
Ketamine: A dissociative anesthetic agent with profound psychedelic properties.
Left Brain: The left hemisphere of the human brain associated with the processing of symbolic information in a linear, analytical mode.
Limbic System: A region of the brain believed to be important in the processing of emotions.
Lucid Dreaming: The phenomenon of being conscious and aware that one is dreaming, while one is in the process of dreaming.
Mechanism of Non-locality: See "Bell's Theorem."
Meme: A term coined by Richard Dawkins, who defines it as "a unit of cultural inheritance, hypothesized as analogous to the particulate gene and as naturally selected by virtue of its 'phenotypic' consequences on its own survival and replication in the cultural environment."
Metaprogramming Circuits: A hypothesized part of the brain that is responsible for over-riding social and cultural conditioning.
Morphic Field: Defined by Rupert Sheldrake as "a field within and around a morphic unit which organizes its characteristic structure and pattern of activity. They underlie the form and behavior of holons or morphic units at all levels of complexity. This term includes morphogenetic, behavioral, social, cultural, and mental fields. They are shaped and stabilized by morphic resonance from previous similar morphic units, which were under the influence of fields of the same kind. They consequently contain a kind of cumulative memory and tend to become increasingly habitual."
Morphic Resonance: The influence of previous structures of activity on subsequent similar structures of activity organized by morphic fields.
Morphogenesis: The coming into being of form.
Morphogenetic Field: A non-material region of influence that guides the structural development of organic forms.
MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imagery-- A scanning technique that creates a visual image using electro-magnetic fields to see inside the body.
Nanotechnology: Atomic engineering--the ability to devise self-replicating machines, robots, and computers that are molecular sized.
Natural Selection: Charles Darwin's theory of biological evolution, based on the survival and replication of the fittest and most adaptable genes, through competition over limited natural resources.
Neural Network: An interconnected system of brain cells. Neurophysiology: The physiological study of the nervous system.
Neurotransmitter: Chemicals that transmit impulses between nerve cells or between nerve cells and effector cells.
Non-linear Dynamics: The study of chaotic processes.
Noosphere: A term coined by Teilhard de Chardin, defined as a non-material sheath that surrounds the earth, containing all of humanity's cultural achievements.
Ontology: Metaphysics is customarily divided into ontology, which deals with the question of how many fundamentally distinct sorts of entities compose the universe, and metaphysics proper, which is concerned with describing the most general traits of reality.
Paradigm: A cognitive model for explaining a set of data. Paradigm Shift. A change in the perception of information.
Paranormal: Phenomena that are out of the realm of that which is explainable through conventional science.
Partnership Society. A type of society in which both sexes and all people have complete equal rights and representation, and live together in peaceful cooperation. Also known as "Gylanic."
PCP: Phencyclidine-- an analgesic-anesthetic compound with powerful hallucinogenic effects.
Peptides: A compound consisting of two or several amino acids.
Phase Portrait: Images that display the state of a system at a moment frozen in time.
Phenome: The smallest linguistic unit.
Phenomenology: 20th-century philosophical movement dedicated to describing the structures of experience as they present themselves to consciousness, without recourse to theory, deduction, or assumptions from other disciplines such as the natural sciences.
Pheromone: Odor produced by an animal that affects the behavior of other animals. The way pheromones work is analogous to the way hormones in the body send specific chemical signals from one set of cells to another, causing them to perform a certain action.
Precursor: A chemical that precedes another in a series of metabolic breakdowns.
Quantum Physics: The scientific study of sub-atomic reality.
REM: The phase of the sleep cycle where there are "rapid eye movements," and dreaming occurs.
Right Brain: The right hemisphere of the human brain which is associated with pattern recognition and nonlinear holistic thinking.
Selfish Gene Theory: Darwin's theory of natural selection applied at the genetic level, which proposes that the unit of selection in evolution is not the species or the organism, but the gene.
Separatrix: The threshold between attractors in a dynamic system.
Sociobiology: The biological study of social behavior in animals, based upon the understanding that social behaviors can be genetically encoded and evolve through the evolutionary process of natural selection.
Space-time Warp: A crinkle, tear, or bend in the space-time continuum.
Strange Attractor: The orbital point in the mathematical mapping of a dynamic system that is neither fixed nor oscillating, but rather spirals inward.
Symbiosis: (Greek symbioun, "to live together"), in biology, term for the interdependence of different species, which are sometimes called symbionts.
Tangles: Diagrams that map the skeletal structure of a dynamical system.
Teleology: The study of ends or final causes; the explanation of phenomena by reference to goals or purposes.
Theory of Formative Causation: The hypothesis that organisms or morphic units at all levels of complexity are organized by morphic fields, which are themselves influenced and stabilized by morphic resonance from all previous similar morphic units.
Topological Manifold: A multi-leveled surface area.
Unified Field Theory: The Holy Grail of physics, which would mathematically unite all the known forces of the universe under a single comprehensive framework.
Virtual Reality: Interactive technology which totally controls sensory input and creates the convincing illusion that one is completely immersed in a computer-generated world.