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Metapatterns are formations and processes that appear in our world from the microscopic to the macroscopic and across biology, physics, art, and social behavior. If you've ever seen a metapattern, it is a very powerful feeling - like looking at the veins in a leaf and realizing that with trivial differences in magnitude and medium, you could be looking at the interstate freeway system or the DSL network in your city.

The term was first introduced by sociologist Gregory Bateson, but in 1995, Tyler Volk documented the metapatterns of sheets, tubes, borders, binaries, centers, layers, calendars, arrows, breaks and cycles. Metapatterns are similar to fractals in geometry because they repeat at different magnitudes of size, although they can be systems that function as well as just shapes. Metapatterns are also similar to Carl Jung's concept of archetypes, but they must be more widespread than merely in human's thoughts and dreams.

We believe that metapatterns can be of enormous help in forming scientific theories. Scientists spend a lot of time developing "models" to explain things. We believe that these models often have a haphazard foundation - they are pieced together logically without guiding principles. However, theories that are based on metapatterns are far more coherent, comprehensive, and generative, like Lynn Margulis' endosymbiotic theory, Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, or B.F. Skinner's theory of learning.

This Yahoo Group is dedicated to identifying and describing metapatterns. It is also dedicated to discussing the implications of metapatterns for hypothesis formation in science, creative endeavors in art, better predictive power in economics, and a deeper understanding of cultural universals and religious myths.

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  • 13
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  • May 17, 2005
  • English

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