History of TAI
The Autognomics Institute was founded in 1993 as a non-profit research and education organization, (a 501C 3) in New York and Maine, USA.

Skye Hirst chose the word, Autonomics which points to a unique characteristic of how life-knows itself.  Gene Pendergraft added the “g” to make it Autognomics for greater clarity of meaning drawing from the word gnostic, to know. So the word Autognomics was born.


As the logos of life-itself is becoming more and more apparent, so are the inadequacies of materialism. Materialism simply cannot account for life-itself.  To understand the logos of life-itself, we have to ask what can be done to overcome mechanisms and traditions of Western materialism, to break with our culture’s scientific materialism and to replace it with new foundations.

The mission of the Autognomics Institute is to:

  • Understand and express the fundamental organizing principles of Life Itself.
  • Translate this understanding into practical principles, tools and processes that will allow its straightforward application to current social, political, and economic problems.
  • Promote universal awareness of this new knowledge.
We believe that accomplishing this mission is an essential step in solving our current world problems and advancing society because:
  • The theoretical models and practical tools that are currently applied to both research and practical problem-solving are deeply rooted in the scientific materialism of the past three centuries.
  • Scientific materialism absolutely prevents us from discovering or understanding the true nature of life itself, which operates on a completely different basis.
  • As long as we approach our world problems with models and tools based on a world view that is completely at odds with the organizing principles of Life Itself we are going to create poor solutions that have unanticipated detrimental consequences.
By synthesizing the results of groundbreaking research in biology, metaphysics, and logic we are beginning to understand that the principles of life itself do not involve mechanistic reactions to applied forces. Instead life organizes and evolves through a learning process. This learning process is aimed at discovering actions that will optimize outcomes for very large, interconnected sets of very diverse living organisms, while enabling each one to act autonomously.  

We believe that ultimately these processes can be described and understood as well as, say, the laws of thermodynamics, but only if we take our clues from the emerging live process research and start with fundamentally different world views, logic systems, and metaphysics.

The Autognomics Institute and its founding members, Norm and Skye Hirst, are dedicated to promoting an emergent conversation and living vision world view as a key step in creating a better world for all of Life.  We invite you to explore the concepts found on these pages, and to join and support us in this vital, fascinating work.


What People Are Saying About TAI
What I Learned from Norm and Skye 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.