The author grants permission for the nonprofit educational use of papers, diagrams, maps, tables, etc. (including translations thereof), which appear on this web page (except copyrighted material, where noted); for-profit commercial users must seek the permission of the author or his heirs - John A. Gowan 7 March 2014

Disclaimer: while the author treats Astrology, the I Ching, and various religions and mythologies as valid and time-tested intuitive General System models, realizations, or expositions of Cosmic order (this is a General Systems webpage), he makes no claim, either positive or negative, for these systems, their authors, or their practitioners, in any other context .

Welcome to my  home page (page 1)
home page (page 2)

My name is John Gowan. I live in San Luis Obispo, California, with my wife, Esther; we have 3 grown children. Esther and I both are retired from Cornell University where we worked as support staff in the Biological Sciences. This home page is not about my family, which I regard as a strictly private matter, but exists only to provide access to my papers and such personal history of my own as may be relevant to them.

My interests are very broad, including most areas of the sciences, arts, and religion. In science, my special interests include cosmology, spacetime and particle physics, unified field theory, Einstein's life and work, evolutionary theory, the Earth sciences, paleontology, anthropology, human history, ecology, entomology, and botany. In the arts I especially enjoy classical music and architecture, literature and painting. I am also interested in General Systems, comparative religion, mythology, astrology, the I Ching, occult and psychic phenomena. My theoretical work and papers tend to be synthetic and holistic, presenting overviews of systems and areas of human thought, integrating rational, intuitive, scientific, religious, and artistic concepts. Occasionally I have focused on a particular subject such as gravitation, spacetime, the weak force, or proton decay. In my most comprehensive work I use a general system perspective to demonstrate a unifying pattern in natural phenomena that is reflected in many areas of human thought and activity; I suggest these are expressions of a universal fractal algorithm.

While I suffer from the usual "Jack of all trades, master of none" syndrome, this is inevitable in mortals less than Leonardo, who work in broad, synthetic areas of knowledge. There is simply too much to know these days, and we suffer more from a lack of unifying theory than we do from a lack of specialized expertise.

I was educated at Culver Military Academy (Culver, Indiana, 4 yr. high school), where I did well in English and physics and enjoyed wrestling, football, and crew. I spent 2 years at U.C. Santa Barbara, majoring in English. I spent 4 years in the U.S. Army, learned Korean at the Army Language School (Monterey, California), and served as a Korean interpreter in Seoul. I operated a dairy farm (with draft horses) in upstate New York, then finished my education at Cornell, majoring in General Agriculture. Subsequently I worked for the departments of Entomology, Ecology and Systematics, and Floriculture, all at Cornell, as a research technician. In semi-retirement I worked summers for the Dept. of Floriculture, mowing and maintaining equipment. Now in full retirement, I read and write for my web page, visit my grandchildren, and feed the sea gulls at Morro Bay.

Although I have always been interested in physics, my primary formal training and working experience has been in biology. It is certainly in biology that I acquired a feel for systems as well as for classification, holistic as well as particulate methods of understanding, and especially evolutionary methods of analysis. But I was also aware of systems in physics, such as the Periodic Table of the Elements, and in astrophysics, such as the nucleosynthetic pathway that builds the Periodic Table, and the various classification schemes for stars and galaxies. Not to forget systems of the whole: Gaia, the Big Bang Theory, religion, and occult cosmological systems such as Astrology and the I Ching.

In fact, it is rather hard to escape systems in the sciences at any level: cosmic, galactic, stellar, planetary, ecological, biological, molecular, atomic, even the families of elementary and subatomic particles seem to be organized. Finally it dawned on me that General Systems theory was the natural way to study the universe, for it alone could bridge the taxonomies of the various knowledge domains of the arts and sciences. Later I began to see the universe as a fractal of energy and information, and General Systems as not only the natural way to study such an object, but in itself a natural expression of it.

My late father, John C. Gowan, was a well-known author and researcher in his field, Creativity and Gifted Education, and a professor of education at UC Northridge in California. His remarkable books developed synthetic, "unified" theories of human development and psychic phenomena:

During a checkered employment career I have also worked as a general laborer in construction in Los Angeles, as a clerk in an electrical supply house in Santa Barbara, as a dishwasher and janitor for various institutions, as a car cleaner for a rental agency, as a pheasant farmer for the State of New York, and (with a lot of help) designed and built a house. I am not especially antiestablishment, but healthily suspicious of it, and resist being swallowed whole by it. Consequently I have always enjoyed the freedom of thought accorded those in its lower ranks. The penalty for this choice has traditionally been the silencing of one's voice in the establishment press. The grand democracy of the internet, now dawning before us, promises to abolish the power of the establishment censor. With these pages I raise my voice among my fellows, hoping to be heard above the general din.

I have presented many of my papers at the annual meetings of the Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI, SUNY Buffalo), and at Dr. Win Wenger's "Double Festival Symposia"; some have been presented at Dick Spady's "Forum Foundation" in Seattle, Wash.; additionally, I have participated in several small symposia, two with published proceedings.

Finally, I caution my readers that there is no stamp of authority on my papers, no control by a panel of experts. Most of these papers are unpublished, have escaped the peer-review censor, and are of a speculative nature. While the author is personally convinced of the truth, validity, and utility of his ideas, the reader's own education, rationality, and intuition must provide a final judgment. Much of what I do is intended for "heuristic" purposes, to make people think, and to suggest connections that may set them off on their own speculations. I hope and believe that most readers will find more grain than chaff in what I have to offer.

Photo of J. A. Gowan, c. 2008

home page (page 1)
home page (page 2)
(links to papers)