Clarence King was the first Director of the United States Geological Survey. He was liberally educated at Yale University and spent years in field work thereafter. According to the historian Bancroft, he "had acquired a reputation and a position second to no scientist in America." When he returned to lecture at the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale in 1877, he argued against the prevailing opinions in geology and evolution, insisting on the basis of his experiences and visions as a surveyor that the Earth had been lately devastated. The belief in catastrophism, he said, in surprising pre-Jungian language, was a true grasp of what had happened to the World. "Catastrophism is therefore the survival of a terrible impression burned in upon the very substance of human memory." 
Because catastrophism is a word that excites emotion and connotes only destruction, the present work and the series to which it belongs prefers the more general idea implied in the word quantavolution. The concept allows a more peaceful invasion of the realms of gradualism, uniformitarianism, evolution, and anthropology.
I do not mean this book to be violent and bloodcurdling. We have far too much of such stimulus today on television, in movies and in other books and magazines. I even go so far as to say that the Earth system has been settling down -this without conclusive evidence. But facts must be faced. The Earth has been severely traumatized in the memory of mankind.
In words that I have used before, any place on earth can be viewed as a Quantavolutionary Column:
Any tube of one kilometer diameter circumscribed anywhere on the surface of the Earth, which reaches as high as the end of the magnetosphere hundreds of miles upwards, and as low as the upper mantle some thirty kilometers down, will have endured within the past 14,000 years radical changes in its absolute and relative orientations, its atmosphere, its rocks and its biosphere, including any long-lived human cultures.
Several principles characterize the theories of quantavolution: Every major feature of the Earth's surface is an effect of quantavolution; hence every feature figured in evolutionary theory is translated more realistically into quantavolutionary theory.
The dominant shape of the most determining events in natural history is a logarithmic or exponential curve where, from a pre-existing state, sharp change occurs, followed by a steep exponential decline in the effect. After a time the curve of the effect flattens out, and an illusion may arise that the processes under scrutiny have always been as they are now.
The several descriptive spheres of natural activity: atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere, transact regularly, but most emphatically and completely under catastrophic impulsion.
Partly because of the greater force of inanimate being and partly because its own basic nature is identical with the inanimate, the biosphere is as subject to quantavolutionary experience and interpretation as the physical spheres.
The theory of quantavolution depends upon the evidence that catastrophes really happened, for it is upon such abrupt, large-scale natural events that the quick leaping changes of quantavolution in the holosphere depend. By the same token, a quantavolutionary theory must show either that large spans of assigned time in natural history are fictitious, or, if they occurred, little of the natural world changed during their passage. Every chapter of our book is dedicated to these tasks, but several general comments may be offered in advance.
If our minds were still strapped to the ideological framework of the seventeenth century, there would be less of a problem in these regards. For we should normally believe that great floods, fires and earthquakes had happened in ancient times, and operated on such a vast scale that many "miracles" were associated with them. By miracles, I mean such phenomena as the falling of edible material, manna or ambrosia, from the sky, and the specters of enormous brilliant comets to which the Earth around us responded like a giant animal coming alive.
No mental gymnastics would be required to see in the Earth's behavior an abundance of evidence of at least the one great Flood of Noah in which the whole world was deluged and inundated. Indeed, we should see so many marks of catastrophe that we would have to invent several such floods and conflagrations, and comets to explain the complex piling up of ruin upon ruin, fossil upon fossil, and their bizarre collection and combinations. Practically every extensive ancient document and legend known to us from around the world would repeat the same kind of catastrophic history and lend support to the testimony of our eyes and the voice of religious and social authorities.
We might have been granted different, or additional, heroes of science, too: the brave Spanish priests who rescued from certain destruction the iconography and writings of the original inhabitants of the Americas; astronomers like William Whiston who perceived an exoterrestrial cause for the Noachian deluge; anthropologists like Nicholas-Antoine Boulanger who recognized the symptoms of catastrophic fear in the history of religion; paleontologists such as Cuvier who discovered the layerings of catastrophe; anthropological-biological explorers like Humboldt who accorded respect to aboriginal accounts. Charles Lyell and his supporters thereupon might have had less success in dominating natural history - even allowing that they were riding on the crest of English world power, political power always being consciously or unconsciously imperialistic in the dissemination of ideas.
Admittedly there is a world history of science to be written from the standpoint of the sociology of knowledge as a first step in the opening-up of thought upon quantavolution. We must nevertheless still provide in the here and now the evidence of catastrophes called for earlier. Fortunately and yet unfortunately, the here and now is prejudicial to quantavolution. Fortunate it is that mankind up to the time of the atom bomb has had a respite from cosmic catastrophes for over two thousand years.
However, the respite has permitted a thoroughgoing sublimation of memories of general disaster even in religion, all of which are rooted in proto-historic disaster, not excluding the Judaeo-Christian-Islamic faiths. The greatest secret of religion today is the ostensible fact, too obvious for continuous attention, that religion is originally founded upon the terrifying behaviors of its founding gods. Jesus and Mahomet originate in the Books of Moses, in the frightful times of Exodus when Yahweh became God of the Jews.
The history of religion as the history of catastrophes is also to be written.
Once more we return to the quantavolutionary evidence in the here and now. If science, politics, and religion are using the relatively peaceful natural world of today to cover up ancient catastrophes, how are the catastrophes to be uncovered? So far as research goes, one must read between the lines of natural science and politico-religious arguments, picking up here and there bits of knowledge and threats of argument. Ultimately, these can amount to many thousands of pieces and a strong line of argument.
The mills of conventional science, originally churning out milk and honey, are beginning to grind stones and salt, as in the ancient Scandinavian myth of the end of the world. This trend is faster than generally believed. I would guess that the leading scientific magazines such as Nature, Science, and Sky and Telescope have carried since 1945 an ever increasing number of quantavolution-oriented articles, minute proportion to the total, to be sure. But this number has been increasing exponentially in the past several years and by the year 1993, I would expect that fully a quarter of all publications in natural history will treat of quantavolutions.
Going farther, in geology and geophysics a number of scientists are deliberately hypothesizing catastrophes at the boundaries of several geological ages and adducing old and new evidence, especially by chemical examination of sediments, to prove that they occurred. The space programs of U. S. A. and U. S. S. R. have naively reported ancient catastrophes and on-going explosiveness wherever their vehicles have gone - Venus, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn.
Astrophysicists and astronomers are edging into catastrophic explanations of the surfaces of the inner planets and the asteroidal belt between Mars and Jupiter. Whereas in Charles Darwin's youth many scientists disbelieved in meteors striking the Earth, today certain scientists are advancing serious proposals for a space project aimed at exploding meteoroids that might appear to be on collision courses with the Earth.
Where once the evolution of coal beds was supposed to have occupied million of years in the ample time depots of natural history, today at least one authoritative textbook adopts great fires and floods as the most possible explanation of the origin of coal  . Biology is moving swiftly, but biology (and in the case of man -anthropology) as the history of life moves much more slowly, moves even in reverse motion, sucking up ever greater draughts of time.
Still, Walter Sullivan, dean of science reporters, could declare in the New York Times in December 1981 that serious challenges to the conventional tempo and mode of evolution were arising; they came out of proof concerning links between catastrophe and extinction/genesis of species, out of the capacities of genetic engineering for modeling new life forms, and from the growing tendency to interpret the rarity of so-called missing links or transitional types as the non-existence of said types, introducing therefore the alternative presumption that macroevolution (quantavolution) introduced distinctly new forms suddenly.
What Lyell wrote a hundred and fifty years ago,
"that no causes whatever have changed the earth except those that still do so under the eyes of man," can be easily updated: today man's eyes are wider; they can see more and can see into themselves.
The surface of the Earth that appears before our mind's eye is largely a crystallized image, a set of snapshots of a whole too large to be embraced by a single thought -valleys, plains, deserts, seas, mountains, clouds, jungles, islands, cities and more -ten, twenty, thirty, until the mind tires and says 'enough' and that is our Earth image. And, if we were quickly to call out words that we associate with each snapshot, we should probably begin with a couple of descriptive terms like, 'tall' or 'dry' or 'water' or 'trees', but then somewhere in the early words of each list there would perhaps be words like 'slow', 'long', 'evolving', 'the same', and 'old' that hint at 'long, slow processes in Nature. ' Without conscious awareness, we perceive and recite the ideology of the prevailing science. Yet only when we imagine the cities of the Earth are we describing a surface feature that is surely known to be very recent, because these are manmade.
We mostly come from western countries whose dominating perspective on the Earth and its history has been shaped by the victorious currents of scientific thought of the past two centuries. Other peoples, and our own peoples in other times, and many of our own peoples who do not participate in this phase of our culture, would not exhibit the same responses. As they imagine the Earth's scenery, they would think in terms of 'creation' and often use the very word. This would mean to them an animate god, the creative force. And when they say 'long ago' they mean 'very lately' in geological terms, and the same if they were to say 'in the beginning. '
Between the gradualists and the creationists are those whose outlook is quantavolutionary, thinking that the Earth here and now presenting itself is both natural and young. To them this Earth is a setting recently arranged by disasters. Quantavolution has had a foot in both camps. Insofar as it claims the methods of science and the empirical positivism of science, it is in the evolutionist camp. Insofar as it adheres to facts and theories resembling the earliest stories of the great and small religions, it is in the creationists camp.
The combination of ideas has never been given a full trial. When, in the early nineteenth century, a few quantavolutionists were active, they were known as catastrophists, or revolutionists, or saltationists. They were soon identified with the enemy by the uniformitarian and gradual evolutionists and crushed in the same battles that saw the defeat of the creationists. Let us identify ourselves as quantavolutionist and, confronting the Earth's features, ask "How and when did what make what?" For instance, "In the 1980's exploding and erupting magma rising under high pressure fashioned the top of Mt. St. Helens as it appears today." This is not much of an answer but it suffices to introduce the complicated subject of this volcano.
If "what is made" has to be thought of as the whole surface of the Earth, large categories are needed. So we adopt several arenas or spheres of activity, and place this volcano under volcanoes in general, and volcanoes in general are part of the lithosphere, inasmuch as what remains on the spot is now frozen into rock. Much of what emerged from the Earth rose as ashes, and gases, as electric discharges, too, and water, in a veritable cyclone.
For some purposes, then, Mt. St Helens could find a place under a second category, the atmosphere, which was much affected locally by the eruption. The clouds of water vapor ultimately fell upon the ground and the seas and circulated widely in the hydrosphere, another principle arena for geophysical activity. Except for a few insects and plants, the close-in biosphere was wiped out by the disaster. Some biosphere specimens of homo sapiens cleverly moved to a safe distance and observed the events; a few persons were killed. So in the instance, forces typical of the lithosphere changed a feature of the lithosphere and affected the atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere to a noticeable extent.
There are not so many different crustal forms of the Earth that they cannot be encompassed by the mind and by this book. The splendid and fascinating variety of nature is in its details. We hope to treat the major features in a general way: volcanoes, rifts, mountain ranges, ocean basins, etc. in the lithosphere; gases and electric charges etc., in the atmosphere, but too, exoterrestrial intrusions by meteoroids, electricity, gases and dust; further, the waters acting in the oceans, floods, tides, rocks and rivers; and the biosphere of the plant and animal kingdoms. These spheres are the general answer to the question: where does change on Earth occur?
The features or forms are the "what is made." As to "what makes them," we have to settle upon a classification of forces or energies. Here we prefer a pragmatic approximation which is close to the phenomena as experienced, so most of the terms are straight from the newspapers: the volcano, though a feature, becomes also a force. Meteoroids as well, and others, too. Most of the chapter titles convey an impression both of cause and effect. Atmospherics are the workings of and in the atmosphere; hydrospherics of and in the hydrosphere; and so on.
Had it seemed more useful, a highly abstract nomination of forces might have been attempted; electromagnetic, inertial, 'weak' force, and the whole Earth described as built from the working of forces beginning at the level of particle physics. Something like this procedure is followed in an accompanying book (Solaria Binaria).
But as matters stand, here we have already enough abstraction for our needs and perhaps even too much for the tastes of the reader.
The forceful phenomena that landscape the Earth and impress mankind go by a score of names. Some surprising consequences attend even the seemingly ephemeral noises and sights that attend natural operations; they are, to be sure, powerless effects in one sense, but in another sense, as we shall see, they are forces in their own right. The "music of the spheres" and "the wheels within wheels" are but ancient inherited words fossilizing for us ancient phenomena of sound and sight. They help make man what he is and this can be regarded as a criterion of a natural force; thus, what concerns us about the atmosphere is partly that the air we breathe and the food we eat are governed by atmospheric processes. Such are the homocentric beginnings of ideology, that which inspires our curiosity about nature in the first place.
Otherwise, the categories of forces are commonplace enough and group themselves fairly readily in the several spheres of natural operations. We name them as winds, hurricanes, cyclones, lightning and other electrical flows; as meteoroids and fallouts of all kinds, terrestrial and exoterrestrial in origin, including especially radiation.
We call up as forces too, the downpours of rain or cataclysms, the floods, tides, tsunamis, accretions of ice, the ocean currents and chemical 'baths.' And of the land we speak of continental drift or rafting, of seismism, volcanism, the folding and thrusting of mountains, erosion both fast and slow, the rising and sinking of land, the electrical processes in the land as well as air. And, so far as concerns the biosphere, we are interested in the mutational forces that speciate life forms and the human work that can often transform the landscape and affect the atmosphere and oceans.
We may become most general in our language and conceive of a holosphere, all spheres transacting among themselves. As in the case of Mt. St. Helens, effects of a natural force are likely to be experienced in all spheres, immediately or with the passage of time. An earth tremor will divert a stream, gather and discharge electricity, send the animals fleeing in all directions, and set humans to praying. Seismism is neatly numbered by intensity nowadays, and it is easy to test the holospheric principle by observing effects in all spheres produced in association with a Richter scale 1 and, say, 9, but allowing that this reading of 9 may have, in times before measurement and, more, before conscious memory, reached hypothetical reading of 12 or 20. What would the Richter-scale reading have been when the Indian sub-continent split off East Africa? Or when the fabled island continent of Atlantis "sank in a day of furious trembling," according to Plato?
Now a criticism can be launched against quantavolutionism.
India split from Africa, not in a day, but by an exceedingly numerous series of a centimeters a year, as Arabia is pulling away from Africa today - so it is argued. This might be measurable on the ordinary reaches of the scale. So the event, as grand as it appears on maps, was not a catastrophe; besides, the argument goes, it happened a hundred million years ago.
This kind of argument is bound to brew trouble. The "when" problem occurs in conjunction with the "how" problem. The "when and how" are answered together. First, an up-strain from below works gradually along a weak line of rock and slowly insinuates a crack which lengthens and widens until India is separated from Africa and, impelled by mantle-located forces of the same type, is slowly pushed towards Asia. Millions of years were consumed in accomplishing the clear break, many millions more in rafting to Asia. In such circumstances, the hydrosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere would be hardly affected; even the lithosphere would not be severely disturbed; there are always a few crumbs falling when a slice is cut from a cake and slid across the table. All to the tune of numbers 1 to 9 on the Richter scale.
Adversely, a catastrophe is asserted. India's separation from Africa was part of a worldwide fracturing of the globe. It happened quickly, with a hard blow impacting somewhere. Within hours, India was cut off and moving rapidly through watery wastes lately occupied by other lands that, too, were dispersed and moving eastwards. Not only was the event consummated suddenly, but it happened lately -thousands, not many millions of years in the past. So goes the quantavolutionary argument. We shall join the argument again and again in the chapters to come.
A classic case of holospherics is the much-studied and well-discussed theory of world-disaster befalling about the year 1450 B. C. at the instigation of a great comet. Here I shall repeat only the hypotheses, as I have stated them elsewhere, suggesting that the reader may resort to my Chaos and Creation and God's Fire: Moses and the Management of Exodus for a fuller account, or to the famed book of Velikovsky called Worlds in Collision and the debates surrounding it  .
In regard to that fateful year, and throughout the world, the quantavolutionary hypotheses may be stated as follows:
(a) No geophysical feature or process that manifested a sensible form then, and which is capable of exhibiting the effects of discontinuous stress when examined by current geophysical techniques, will fail to show that such stress occurred.
(b) No record of astronomical events available for the period around that year will present astral, planetary, or solar movements as unchanged or uniformly changing from before to after the year.
(c) No retroactive calculation or index (such as of carbon 14 levels) or historical reference will fail to show atmospheric turbulence and atmospherically implicated irregularities.
(d) No survey of biological history around this year can deny highly unusual animal and human behavior and widespread destruction in the plant and animal kingdom, including agriculture.
(e) No graphic, legendary, or archaeological account will produce a human settlement in the world that escaped heavy destruction from natural causes.
(f) No religious temple that was constructed anywhere beforehand and rebuilt thereafter shows the same astronomical orientation before and after.
(g) No god passed through this year without change of status, rites, family relations, and serious personal incident, and, correspondingly, all religions changed.
(h) No culture complex can be shown to have avoided, with or without detectable hiatus, significant changes in institutions, rulership, and artifacts.
(i) No institution, behavioral pattern, and natural setting existing today, if its history is complete, will fail to recall the effects of the events of these times.
In brief, no sphere of existence escaped intense experiences and transactions with other spheres in the quantavolution of the times. All quantavolutions imply heavy holospheric events. For periods before human race had quantavoluted (the subject of my work, Homo Schizo I), anthropological spheres of existence would, of course, be excluded.
It will be appreciated that, under evolutionary theory, holospherics tend to be less stressed. When large effects are reduced by time to minute causes, the side-effects are proportionately and even exponentially reduced. The more intense and sudden the event, the more spheres will be transacting. The larger the scale of an event, too, the more spheres will enter the action.
Suppose the Earth's rotational speed were to be slowed. This is a mighty event and takes a mighty force; Earth's rotational energy is calculated at 10 36 ergs. Yet it has been observed (by Danton) to happen recently, if only for a millisecond. No account of effect has yet been rendered; perhaps the effects were immeasurably small, or perhaps the reaction of scientists were too slow. If large solar flares caused the retardation, as seems to have been the case, worse flares or other causes might produce a larger rotational lapse, perhaps a second of time would be lost; perhaps then a minute; why not an hour? -Hypotheticals are cheap. The effects of lengthening the slowdown would be heavy. Every sphere of Earth, every force, would be activated in using up the energy surrendered by Earth in the deceleration. One would have holospherics on a grand scale. Ordinary language, the most archaic religious language, and scientific language could each provide the description required.
Now the quantavolutionist reverses the logic as well. We say, "the more affected the holosphere, the greater the force to be sought." The effects are proportional to the original force. When the effects exceed (or are theoretically calculated as having exceeded) a certain intensity, we must even go beyond the Earth into cosmic forces drastically simplifying. Only in the supra-terrestrial arena, the planetary and galactic systems, are to be found forces large enough to do the Earth what appears to have been done. Only cosmically can truly great holospheric transactions be generated.
One can realize, then, the importance of the "when" and "how long." To say "speedy reactions" is to invite ultimately the cosmos in to explain our terrestrial phenomena. To say "slow reactions" is to keep the Earth within its cocoon in space, traveling evenly and safely. If the Alps tower above Europe, some force must have pushed then up. If the Alps are to arise suddenly, then something besides earthly forces are behind the event.
We move into the cosmic realm. If the Alps are to arise over a great many millennia, then the force might be generated in energy measures conceivable from some mysterious, but still earthly, internal force.
Back to Contents
Notes (Chapter One: Quantavolutions)
1. Scientific American, Supplement Nº 80, 14 July 1877, 1276.
2. Wilfrid Francis, Coal, Its Formation and Composition, 2nd ed., London: Arnold, 1961, 625,
3. (a) Princeton, N. J.: Metron Publications, 198 1; (b) ibid.: 1982; New York: Macmillan, 1950; and see the files of the Society for Interdisciplinary Studies Review hereafter SISR, Kronos, and Pensée magazine, passim.