AGEs (advanced glycation end-products): These sticky unions of sugar and protein are created in the body when excess circulating sugar molecules bind to proteins and combine with them, creating cross-linked proteins that gum up the body’s vital enzymes and increase free-radical damage. AGEs have been linked to numerous diseases, and are known to accelerate aging in general. Age spots on the skin and cataracts in the lens of the eye are examples of AGE formation.
anandamide: From the Sanskrit, ananda, which means “inner bliss”. A naturally occurring brain chemical that binds to the same receptors in the brain as THC (tetrahydrocannibinal), the primary psychoactive component in marijuana. Anandamide and THC bind to the cannabinoid receptors, which are found in higher concentrations than any other receptor in the brain. Anandamide appears to help regulate emotions and plays a role in memory, the reduction of pain, and reward systems.
antioxidant: a chemical that prevents the oxidative degradation of other chemicals and helps to neutralize free radicals in the body.
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 acids: Simple organic compounds containing nitrogen which are the building blocks of proteins.
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.
Artificial Intelligence (AI): The field of research that attempts to emulate human intelligence in a computer.
ATP (adenosine triphosphate): A nucleotide, produced by the mitochondria inside cells, that is responsible for the chemical energy that drives otherwise uphill biochemical reactions in the body.
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.
Ayahuasca: A hallucinogenic plant brew used by South American shamans, which contains the powerful psychedelic substance DMT.
Ayurvedic Medicine: The traditional medicine of India. Ayurveda is based on two Sanskrit terms: ayu meaning life, and veda meaning knowledge or science. The practice is said to be around 5,000 years old.
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.
Blog: Shorthand for Web log.
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.
CFC: Chlorofluorocarbon. A compound consisting of chlorine, fluorine, and carbon, which is responsible for depleting the ozone layer. The ozone layer protects land-based life on Earth from the deadly effects of ultraviolet rays from the sun. CFCs are commonly used as refrigerants, solvents, and foam blowing agents.
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.
chelation therapy: Chelation is a natural chemical process that goes on continually in our bodies, in which a metal or mineral becomes bonded to another substance. Chelation therapy employs the synthetic amino acid and chelating agent EDTA. Used both orally and intravenously, it has been shown to help prevent arteriosclerosis, improve circulation, and remove lead and toxic heavy metals from the body.
chemokine: A type of peptide which causes specific immune cells to move toward a chemical stimulus.
Collective Unconscious 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.
C-reactive protein (CRP): An acute phase protein produced by the liver that increases during systemic inflammation. Testing CRP levels in the blood may be useful as way to assess cardiovascular disease risk, as elevated CRP levels are correlated with a higher incidence of coronary artery disease.
cross-linking: The process of chemically joining two or more molecules by a covalent bond; i.e., when electrons are shared between atoms. This sometimes results in the formation of abnormal chemical bonds between adjacent protein strands, which deforms them and impairs their function in the body.
Cybernetics: A term coined by Norbert Wiener, meaning the study of communication, feedback, and control mechanisms in living systems and machines.
cryonics: The practice of preserving animals–or people who can no longer be sustained by contemporary medicine–in the extremely cold environment of liquid nitrogen (-196°C), with the hope that resuscitation may be possible in the future with nanotechnology.
dendrites: Tiny treelike branchings at the electrical impulse-receiving end of a neuron.
differential topology: The study and mapping of changing surfaces.
differentiation: The process of acquiring individual characteristics, as occurs in the progressive diversification of cells and tissues of the embryo.
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 hypothesizes that spores traveling through space on the back of meteorites seed planets throughout the galaxy.
dominator society: A type of society in which one sex, or one group, dominates or rules over another. Also known as “Androcratic.”
double-blind: A type of scientific or clinical study in which neither the subject nor the experimenter know if the subject is receiving an experimental treatment or a placebo. This controls for the effects of expectation and belief.
DMT: Dimetyltryptamine–an extremely powerful, short-acting hallucinogenic tryptamine found in a number of different plant species and the South American shamanic brew Ayahuasca. Small amounts of DMT are also found naturally in the human brain, where it is thought to be secreted by the pineal gland.
DNA: Deoxyribonucleic acid–the long complex macromolecule, consisting of two interconnected helical strands, that resides in the nucleus of every living cell and encodes the genetic instructions for building each organism.
dynamical systems Theory: Mathematical models devised for understanding the processes 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; produced within an organism. The opposite of exogenous.
endorphin: “Endogenous morphine”; the brain’s naturally produced neurotransmitter which binds to the same brain receptors as opiate drugs, and helps to regulate pain and reward systems.
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.
EPR: In 1935 Albert Einstein and two colleagues, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen (EPR) developed a thought experiment to demonstrate what they felt was a lack of completeness in quantum mechanics. This so-called “EPR paradox” has led to much subsequent, and still ongoing, research.
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.
essential nutrient: Components of food that are required for normal body functioning which can not be synthesized by the body. Essential nutrients include vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and essential amino acids.
estrogen: A group of three steroid compounds (estradiol, estriol and estrone) that functions as the primary female sex hormone. Estrogen promotes the development of female secondary sex characteristics, such as breasts, and is involved in regulating the menstrual cycle.
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 neurotransmitter: A type of neurotransmitter–such as dopamine–that excites, speeds up, or accelerates neural processes. The opposite of an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which slows down neural processes.
exogenous: Derived or developed outside of the body or organism. The opposite of endogenous.
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.
free radical: Highly reactive atoms or molecules with unpaired electrons. Free radicals can cause substantial oxidative damage to the body and are thought to be one of the primary causes of aging. Because free radicals are necessary for normal metabolism, the body uses antioxidants to minimize free radical-induced damage.
fractal: Computer-generated images corresponding to mathematical equations, that repeat self-similar patterns at infinitely receding levels of organization.
Gaia Hypothesis: A model for interpreting the dynamics that occur in Earth’s biosphere as being part of a single, self-regulating organism.
genome: The complete set of genetic material or genes for a single organism.
genomic testing: Tests which scan an individual’s DNA for gene variants, acquired mutations, and measure gene expression. Genomic testing can be helpful in predicting an individual’s predisposition towards many dangerous genetic diseases. This allows people to take preventive measures, and for physicians to modify gene expression through precise, targeted, individualized interventions.
germ-line cells: The body’s sex cells (sperm and ovum), whose function is to propagate the individual’s DNA through sexual reproduction.
glycation: A chemical reaction between proteins and sugars, which results in toxic products that are thought to be one of the primary causes of aging.
gylanic: See “partnership society.”
Hayflick limit: The number of times a cell can divide and replicate itself. Every species has its own Hayflick limit which corresponds with the length of its telomeres, the end portions of chromosomes.
HDL: High-density lipoprotein, the “good” cholesterol, which removes cholesterol from the arteries before it has a chance to oxidize, and reduces the inflammatory process. Higher HDL levels are correlated with a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease.
Hermetic: Relating to the Gnostic writings or teachings arising in the first three centuries A.D. and attributed to Hermes Trismegistus.
holographic: The condition upon which the information for creating a whole system is stored in each of its parts.
homocysteine: Toxic metabolic byproducts formed by eating methionine, an amino acid found in animal protein foods like poultry and red meat. Elevated homocysteine levels are associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease.
hormone: A chemical messenger produced in one part of the body that is carried through the bloodstream to other parts of the body, where it invokes a specific response. These responses vary widely, but they can include stimulating new cell growth, regulating metabolism, or preparing the body for a new phase of life, such as puberty or menopause. They may also stimulate a behavioral response, such as fleeing, fighting, or mating.
hypnogogic: The twilight state of awareness, characterized by vivid dreamlike imagery, that occurs as one is falling asleep.
hypnopompic: The dreamlike 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.
infophobia: A term coined by Robert Anton Wilson, meaning “the fear of information.”
infophilia: A term coined by Robert Anton Wilson, meaning “the love of information.”
inhibitory neurotransmitter: A type of neurotransmitter–such as serotonin–that inhibits or slows down neural processes. The opposite of an excitatory neurotransmitter, which accelerates neural processes.
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.
LDL: Low-density lipoprotein, the “bad” cholesterol. The oxidation of LDL in the arteries is the first step toward vulnerable plaque formation, which leads to cardiovascular disease.
magick: Spelled with a “k” to distinguish it from stage magic, this is Aliester Crowley’s term for “real” magic. Crowley defined magick as “the art and science of bringing about change in accordance with one’s will.”
Mechanism of Non-locality: See “Bell’s Theorem.”
media virus: A term coined by Douglas Rushkoff, meaning “a media story that carries a cultural message beyond the actual story”. An example of a media virus would be the Rodney King tape, which was first and foremost a media story, not about Rodney King, but about the tape itself, i.e., about media being used in a new way.
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.” Memes can be political ideas, religious philosophies, catch phrases from songs, cultural fads, or any unit of cultural information that spreads from person to person.
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 nonmaterial region of influence that guides the structural development of organic forms.
metaprogramming circuits: A hypothesized part of the brain that is responsible for overriding social and cultural conditioning.
MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imagery: A scanning technique that creates a visual image using electromagnetic fields to see inside the body.
MAO inhibitor: A drug that slows down the production of monoamine oxidase (MAO), an enzyme in the brain that breaks down neurotransmitters. By inhibiting the production of MAO you increase the longevity of neurotransmitters in the synapses between neurons, and, consequently, the effects of those neurotransmitters.
MAO: Monoamine Oxidase, an enzyme in the brain that breaks down neurotransmitters.
MAO-B: A type of monoamine oxidase that specifically breaks down the excitatory neurotransmitter dopamine. By inhibiting MAO-B, you enhance the effects of dopamine in the brain.
mitochondria: Structures within cells that produce energy by respiratory metabolism. Mitochondria have their own DNA and are thought to be bacteria that were captured by animal cells in the course of evolution.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) Scan: A diagnostic technique that detects structures by their different content of atoms with certain resonances to induced magnetic fields and produces very detailed, two or three-dimensional, cross-sectional images of organs inside the body. It is especially useful for viewing soft tissue and doesn’t use X-rays or any dangerous form of radiation.
nanobots: Self-replicating, molecule-sized robots.
nanotechnology: Atomic engineering–the ability to devise self-replicating machines, robots, and computers on a molecular level.
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.
neuropeptide: Peptides are strings of amino acids. They are natural or synthetic compounds consisting of two or more amino acids linked end to end–or, in more technical terms, linked with the carboxyl group of one amino acid and the amino group of another. Peptides are used by the body as ligands, or chemical messengers that communicate information between systems in the body. Neuropepides are those peptides that were found initially in the brain and nervous system.
neurotransmitter: Chemicals that transmit and modulate electrical signals between neurons (brain cells) and other cells.
nonlinear dynamics: The study of chaotic processes.
Noosphere: A term coined by Teilhard de Chardin, defined as a nonmaterial 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.
ornithopter: A machine that flies by flapping its wings, like the way a bird or insect flies.
paradigm: A model for explaining a set of data; a belief system.
paradigm shift: A change in the perception of information, resulting in a new model of reality.
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: Strings consisting of two or more amino acids linked end to end. Peptides are used as chemical messengers that communicate information between systems in the body.
PET (Positron Emission Tomography) Scan: A powerful computer-generated, imaging technique that allows physicians and researchers to see a region of the body’s metabolic activity in action. PET scans rely upon the detection of gamma rays, which are emitted from tissues after the administration of radioactive glucose–which circulates throughout the body, and is more readily metabolized in those cells that are more active.
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.
phytochemical: A naturally-occurring, plant-derived chemical substance with biological activity–such as chlorophyll, beta-carotene, or lycopene. Many phytochemicals–which give plants their color, flavor, smell, and texture–are known to improve health and prevent disease.
phytoestrogens: Estrogen-like substances found in plants, especially soy. Some isoflavones (a type of phytochemical) are classified as phytoestrogens because their chemical structure is similar to human estrogen, and they act as weak estrogens in the body. Phytoestrogens are associated with a lowered risk of many diseases, including heart disease, osteoporosis and breast cancer.
placebo: An inactive substance, such as a sugar pill, which is tested blindly against an active substance to compensate for a possible effect created through the power of belief.
placebo effect: A measurable effect created by expectation and the power of belief.
polymerase chain reaction (PCR): A technique developed by Kary Mullis which allows biochemists to replicate minute amounts of DNA template into much larger quantities that can be used for a variety of downstream reactions and studies. PCR revolutionized the study of genetics and won Mullis the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
psi research: Scientific investigation into the effects of psychic phenomena, such as telepathy, precognition and telekinesis.
psychical research: The older, more traditional term for research into psychic phenomena.
quantum physics: The scientific study of subatomic 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.
remote healing: Mental influences between people which effect health in a way that isn’t easily explained by conventional science.
robotics: The science and technology of designing and manufacturing robots. This combines mechanical engineering with artificial intelligence.
Samadhi: A non-dualistic state of consciousness, described in Buddhism and Hinduism, that occurs when all other mental functions pause except for consciousness. There are various stages of samadhi, the highest of which is nirvikalpa-samadhi, union with one’s own consciousness.
Second Law of Thermodynamics: The law which states that the entropy (chaos, randomness) of particles in the universe may increase but never decreases, and that disorder is perpetually increasing in the universe.
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.
silent inflammation: Inflammation is a characteristic reaction of tissues to injury or disease that is marked by swelling, redness, heat, and usually pain. However, there is a common form of inflammation known as ‘silent inflammation’ that is painless but extremely dangerous. Silent inflammation, which is often linked to diet, has been correlated with a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disorders, cancer, and other illnesses.
SMIILE (or SMI2LE): Timothy Leary’s acronym for “Space Migration plus Intelligence Increase (or squared) plus Life Extension”, which Leary saw as the primary goals of the evolutionary process.
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.
somatic cells: The differentiated cells that constitute every part of the body, except for the germ-line cells.
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.
stem cells: The undifferentiated cells that all other cells in the body are derived from.
symbiosis: (Greek symbioun, ”to live together”), in biology, term for the interdependence of different species, which are sometimes called symbionts.
Synchronicity: Carl Jung’s term for a “meaningful coincidance”.
Tangles: Diagrams that map the skeletal structure of a dynamical system.
Teleology: The study of evidence for intelligence or design in nature, and a doctrine that ends or final causes are immanent in nature. An explanation of phenomena by reference to intelligently designed goals or purposes.
telomerase: An enzyme which allows cells to divide indefinitely without the protective caps at the ends of the chromosomes shortening. The activation of telomerase in germ cells and cancer cells allows these cells to divide indefinitely because the telomerase adds telomere repeat sequences to the ends of the chromosomes every time each cell divides.
telomere: Repetitive sequences at the ends of chromosomes that serve a protective buffer. With each cell division some telomeres are lost. The length of the telomeres determine the life of the cell, because when all the telomeres are gone the cell dies. Germ cells and cancer cells avoid this fate by producing an enzyme called telomerase, which allows cells to divide indefinitely without the telomeres shortening.
testosterone: A steroid hormone from the androgen group that functions as the principal male sex hormone. Testosterone promotes the development of male secondary sex characteristics, such as facial hair, and is involved in regulating sperm production.
tocopherols: A component of Vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin, which is composed of four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. The four tocopherols and the four tocotrienols are known as isomers because they are chemically similar but arranged differently. Each tocopherol has an alpha, beta, gamma, and delta form, and each form has its own biological activity.
tocotrienols: A component of Vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin, which is composed of four tocotrienols and four tocopherols. The four tocotrienols and four tocopherols are known as isomers because they are chemically similar but arranged differently. Each tocotrienol has an alpha, beta, gamma, and delta form, and each form has its own biological activity.
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 multileveled surface area.
Ubi-Comp: Refers to a state where almost all physical objects are embedded with computer chips that measure their surroundings in some way, and also wirelessly communicate with each other.
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.
vitamin: An organic compound that is essential for normal metabolism, which can not be synthesized by the body and must be supplied through diet.