Towards A Science Of Life As Creative Organisms ~ Norm Hirst June 1, 2008
Read Norm Hirsts paper published in Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy  Click Here

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Reflections on What Is Life? Norm Hirst (2012)


The question should be how does matter arise from life? Life is creative, but everything in flux would simply be chaos. As a ground for building order, life takes on habit - overpowering habit. The result is matter, entities that no longer are capable of self-acting. There is more to reality than we knew. Could there be living patterns of energy? Is there a biofield in pre-space creating matter?


Biology of the past is more like physics. That biology has led to the study of structure where we wind up with nothing but misleading guesses as to what processes are going onNow, electronic biology has been discovered. The living energy structure in our bodies is electronic and biophoton energy flows.  


Szent Gyorgi said If Nature wants to do something she will find a way to do it if there is no contradiction to basic rules of Nature. She has time to do so.  (Living Nature also often works with more complex systems than the physicist uses for testing his theories.)


From the organizing principles of life we can learn better choices for acting, both individually and for social functioning.


Life is sui generis, that is, Life-itself is unique and in a class by itself. It cannot be compared to or explained by physics. Life is primordial activity, which Bohm called the implicate order.


By Life, here, I mean the organizing principles that are creating all forms of life.

An organism is not calculating, and second of all, it is connected to the requirements of its environment. Living organisms must live in an organism environment to function. Organisms function to conform to coherence conditions imposed by their environment while co-creating coherent acts through internal processes that individuate and add their uniqueness to the whole.


Thus organisms have a Janus character. Janus was a Roman God with a double-faced head, each looking in opposite directions at the same time. An organism is looking both to its own unique experiences while sensing what also can be unique contextual conditions of the moment. Thus to develop their unique contributions, organisms must harmonize this reality and that is accomplished through the use of inherent value intelligence. I have found that this requires values as guiding force, as opposed to cause and effect.   

In life, valuation processes are pervasive. We have lived with materialism too long to remember the qualities of life. It seems to me that many are trying to live as if they are machines; we are not well suited to being robots. It is the adventure of living fully that gives life meaning.  A Life VIEW gives us new assumptions about reality and that's where we re-discover love and value dynamics by which all of us find our way.



Life's Diversity and Beauty
Radical Self-Knowing: A Peoples' Life-Knowledge Lab

Autognomics is a discipline of "wholistic" thinking that can help us identify order amongst the chaos of our lives and competing priorities. TAI brings the possible into focus to grow a new worldview of live processes; a radical perspective on change for finding our way as human beings with consciousness of live, ever changing, creative processes in and with life’s inherent ways.


Join our forum conversation and knowledge lab - a citizen science - sharing our living experience to more fully know our living selves and our relatedness as "wholistic" beings. 


Basically the word Autognomics translates from Greek to say “know yourself at the deepest possible level”. Some of the most basic and important aspects of who you are can be mysterious and obscure so our journey must look at those aspects and probe them to discover the laws of human behavior that are embedded within Life-itself.  These laws help us know, correct, grow, create and organize our lives.  Autognomics looks at how our values shape our societies and when understood, makes our communication and our relationships coherent and effective. The intention here is not to “fight” for dominant perspective, but to elucidate a fuller perspective than what holds mainstream science and popular consciousness.


Purpose:  To do philosophy of the ways of Life-itself - to explore realms of direct sense, intuitive experience – not so much to argue perspectives, but to share perspectives, to learn from one another with intention towards more complete understanding of organizing ways common throughout living/live experience.  Dare we say to discover organizing principles (realities so obvious there is no other) towards a new science of Life-itself? 

We see this effort not as problem solving, but to create anew, to grow beyond that which has taken habit and to encourage the forming of conscious presencing to see that if by taking a wholistic/live perspective we might experience a shift in what is possible; that in changing the focus of perspective – new ways become possible, and that we learn how much we know already; that we have experience as living beings but have not had the awareness or “language” for recognizing what we live all the time 


·       To explore these mysteries that we might better know ourselves (to self-know) as human beings/becomings (not human fixed things) within a wholeness of constant initiating, changing, becoming, creating, transforming and knowing.

·       To learn from our collective experience pool – how life organizes itself in and with each of us and to learn where we intersect in our experience – to be in our “receptive mode” of intuitively knowing more of the ways of wholeness.


Background: So much of the current dominant worldview is formed from having learned, known and grown a perception of reality as an object-based representational view of reality in which we live. It’s a world of thingness and fixedness. Going beyond this “fixed” worldview opens opportunities for deeper knowing of softer, subtle living process, energies and capacities such as intuitive awareness, sensing, of knowing meaning-making, valuing beyond the concrete, object-based view of reality.  


Since 1992, The AutoGnomics Institute, Inc (TAI) a non-profit group doing research, consulting, facilitation and education bringing together 75 years of study exemplified by a paper authored by Norm Hirst on the emergent field  “Towards a Science of Life as Creative Organism” published in the Cosmos and History Journal of Natural Philosophy.



·       A more fully developed working hypotheses from which to seek deeper knowing, a more complete worldview/life-view on ways of Life-itself.

·       Develop a working infrastructure for sharing experiences – for capturing our stories (nested levels of sharing).

·       A means of distillation – through selecting the most coherent and comprehensive examples of hypotheses on ways of Life-itself.


Follow on Twitter @autognomics.



Values are "coherence conditions" of life.

 Norm Hirst on Coherence Conditions of Life

  Organisms(Living Entities) Require Coherence. (I think of coherence as conditions permitting freedom to act in parallel with a multitude of acts without destructive interference.) Life is the process of forming a coherence or unity within, which is developed through a multiplicity of events within and coupled with events without. It is a series of evolving events of birth, growth, maturation, integration and fulfillment.

Values are the coherence conditions that life imposes on living processes and entities. I have come to think of values as the "coherence conditions of life." Strictly speaking I believe it is valuation processes that are important to living entities. The necessary autonomy of living entities prevents their having any informational inputs. Yet they do need to discover what works in their living context. They do that by acting, to find effective acts. Acts that produce the organism’s intentions are effective acts. (see definition of Autonomy).

Substance metaphysics (started over 2500 years ago) has forced upon on us worldviews precluding values.  With a few
exceptions, the literature on values is rather ridiculous. Values are not things.  They are conditions on living processes.

·       I think of coherence as conditions permitting freedom to act in parallel with a multitude of acts without destructive interference.  For example, driving on a designated side of the road.  That gives maximum significant freedom to drive anywhere without crashing into someone else. Living entities are autonomous; they are intended to individuate; to develop their unique potential to become a unique actor while staying within the coherence laws of their identity. I think of coherence as conditions permitting freedom to act in parallel with a multitude of acts without destructive interference..  A good simple example is driving on a designated side of the road. It makes coherent traffic flow, gives us greater freedom to drive to a destination and really doesn’t need enforcement.

·       Reviewing the characteristics of life gives the concept  “harmonize” a specific emphasis.

·       Life is the process of forming a coherence or unity within, which is developed through a multiplicity of events within and coupled with events without. It is a series of evolving events of birth, growth, maturation, integration and fulfillment.

·       Living processes are carried out by living entities capable of acting.  Actions are based on perceived facts of experience when an event is starting.  Those facts set the stage for what is possible. Value processes select the most effective acts. The living entity acts and the stage is now changed to include a mixture of old and new perceived facts ready for the next event.

·       Harmonization is the process by which we creatively find a way to resolve differences between conflicting coherence conditions to find a new coherence unity.   Understanding the role of values and valuation is essential to carry out this process.

·       Talking about values with our current linguistic habits turn values into ideals to live by.  For example, always tell the truth.  However, there are times when truth is essential and there are times when truth is better not said. What life requires of us are the value process skills to know when truth is required and when it is not.

·       If you think values are ideals, then you make harmonization impossible because your values are right and theirs are wrong and there is no room for harmonization. Rather, ideals are abstractions. Abstractions do not hold the entire reality in which they are thought to function. Thus they cannot be achieved, and even if they could be, given the dynamics of life, there is no absolute right and wrong set of ideals that apply to everyone all the time.


I suggest that in Hartman’s hierarchy systemic valuation and extrinsic valuation are in consciousness.  Intrinsic valuation is in awareness. Intrinsic valuation is the highest because it provides the ground for the others to develop.


Living Process Coherence Events called valuation

To talk about values I want to look at the events in a living process, i.e., those events when you choose a set of acts for the next step in your evolving process.

Autognomics: Knowing the living self

What is the role of self-law, of autonomy? Why is collaboration, the law of others and with others also key?   It appears both are essential to be alive.

Such mysteries of Life’s organismic ways have been the subject of The Autognomics Institute (TAI) Research, Education and Consulting.

Skye Hirst, PhD. is president and co-founder of TAI.  Since 1992 Skye and Norm Hirst co-founders, along with other researchers have been bringing together over 75 years of inquiry – to identify a "meta-verse,"  root meta organizing principles that enable humans and living creatures, at many levels within our universe, to function with both self-law and collaboration. Such findings reveal how there is a self-organizing aliveness with consequenes for health, wellness, and harmony.  Furthermore these self-organizing principles may lead to better understanding what interupts such aliveness.

Being alive, means constant changing, reflecting on what has been learned,  acting again with new awareness in an unfolding journey of learning, self-discovery, and creating. Acting from the fullness of what has been learned, seeking effective actions for how best to live to realize a balancing feeling of coherence can best come by becoming more aware of these self-laws and necessity for collaboration.  An inherent Value Intelligence  helps with this navigation.

Autognomics Consulting with Skye Hirst, PhD

1)    Self-knowing Health & Living Process Consulting;  Identifying the self-knowing capacities of living processes, and self-organizing principles within nature has been found to lead individuals and groups to create a greater quality of living aligned with meaning, fulfillment, satisfaction and health.

2)   Value Intelligence Assessment:  The Hartman Value Intelligence Inventory – brings into focus an inner GPS value lens available within the living proces.  Useful for individuals, teams, organizations.

3)   Jin Shin Jyutsu - bio energy balancing – a self-help practice & philosophy of mind/body/spirit awareness and self care

4)   Open Conversations – participant driven, open inquiries into issues of urgency where participants share their living self-knowing experiences and passions. This self-organizing process is rich with possibilities in which collaboration, self-discovery and creative insights emerge.  TAI is an advocate and facilitator of Open Space Technology (founder, Harrison Owen.



Recent Papers

Value-Intelligence In All Creative Organisms ~ Skye Hirst with Assistance from Norm Hirst. August 2010

Robert Hartman discovered a value intelligence inherent in all life as early as the 1950's but he was ahead of his time.  Now learn how this value lens is formed within and how we can access it using the HVP.

Using the Hartman Value Profile as used in coaching by Hirst she discovers the absolutely unique inner landscape within that each individual has developed, we discover the world of values and value dynamics/intelligence from which we human beings and perhaps all organisms find effective action for life and living.
Published in The Robert S. Hartman Institute Annual Journal CLICK HERE

What People Are Saying

 What I Learned from Norm and Sky Hirst And How It Changed My Life
by Rodney Plimpton

Before I met Norm and Skye I had a pretty good handle on how Life worked, or so I thought.  I had a PhD in Social Psychology from Stanford, had studied Human Potential for Five years with Jean Houston, knew all about stimulus-response and something about cybernetics.  I didn’t consciously realize how much my model of life was based on a popular concoction Darwinism, materialism, elitism, and computer science.

Medicine in a New Key

Conventional medicine is dying ultimately because it is based on an obsolete dominant mechanistic model that does not recognize the coherence of the organism

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho explores how a science of the organism could underpin a new organic medicine that would best serve the nation.

Visit to learn more.

New organic Way for Medicine

The philosophy of Hans Jonas inform this paper by Schwartz and Wiggins to surmount the mind-body dualism plaguing Western thought. They show us the ways of organism; the difference between inorganic and organic reality and how each being must begin from its own direct experience of life in self and in others; and then how the two meet in the living being.  Since life is ultimately one reality, their theory presents the polarities that must be reintegrated by psyche with soma such that no component of the whole is short-changed, neither the objective nor the subjective.  Here they define the polarities within living beings and the requirements of organisms to live and thrive.



"The world is very ill. There are many symptoms. Cure the symptoms and the disease just deepens. Cure the disease and the symptoms will go away." ~ Norm Hirst