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The OSTOK Project is a model which allows us to better understand the complexities of relationships between various types of natural and cultural systems. When we combine our physical understanding of the natural world with our understanding of the many different cultural ways in which our lives develop, we can better understand just how vastly complex our lives, the world, and the universe is.

Taken together, the two systems are interconnected in a complex interplay of activity resembling the multiple layers of the skin of an onion. 

like the layers of an


I have appropriately named this model of understanding the Onion Skin Theory of Knowledge (or OSTOK). Using an onion as a metaphor for our combined systems of knowledge, we can understand how information about ourselves, our world, and the universe relate.


The more we can understand the complex causal interplay between various systems, the deeper into and the farther around the onion we go.


In demonstrating the enormously complex interplay of natural and cultural linear and non-linear systems, we find that our knowledge is limited by the manner in which we can identify and attempt to understand what might be called ‘causal clusters’.



Dr. Christopher DiCarlo

Philosopher, Educator, Author


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These clusters are connections between events within these two overlapping systems. The better we can understand the causal forces influencing various effects in our lives, the better we can predict and control the natural world in an effort to more responsibly develop policies in the management of human and natural resources.

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