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I need a word or phrase, and I just can't seem to find the right one ... for when several "trends" converge - after which, everything changes and you cannot go backwards.

This is sort of like, for instance, if an asteroid, meteor, comet and planet were moving along their paths, behaving like an asteroid, meteor, comet and planet - and then somehow collided to form something new - say a white dwarf, or black hole ... that has a completely differet form and behavior. (Don't take me literally about collisions - and especially don't look for scientific accuracy in my example.)

Essentially I am trying to describe where several separate trends/concepts are progressing/advancing, to the point where they converge, and a totally new concept is formed - that isn't merely the sum of the parts. Synergy is not quite the word, because it still implies separate entities working together in unison.

Any suggestions? It doesn't have to be a single word. A phrase (for instance "Tipping Point") is just fine. The fate of my last chapter is in your hands. Thanks!

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  • What's wrong with genesis? – stevesliva Jan 25 '17 at 2:20
  • Thanks. Most of these terms are really describing "before and after" ... but don't really impart the contributions of many sources. A word that almost does it, is "confluence" - a body of water formed by the flowing together of two or more streams, rivers, or the like. Except that this word doesn't exactly impart that the "new" entity has a distinct different behavior than the old. – CJ Cornell Jan 25 '17 at 13:56
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It seems like the word singularity is exactly what you are looking for, as it describes multiple things coming together to become one. It has also in recent years been used to refer to the hypothetical future of computers becoming conscious, and so it may have connotations you do not wish to have in your writing. Perhaps, in your world, society has reached a singularity which caused it to cross the event horizon, beyond which nothing can ever be the same? Literally speaking, an event horizon is the point where a black hole's gravity becomes too strong to escape, but you could use it to get across the point that things coming together in a singularity changed things in a way that is irreversible.

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One of the best ways to describe such a convergence would be the phrase Paradigm Shift.

Paradigm Shift: a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions.

For e.g., Einstein's application of Reimannian geometry to the problem of gravitational perturbations brought about an absolutely world-changing paradigm shift in physics. Cosmologists would never again revert to Newton's relatively simplistic concepts of space, time & gravity.

The phrase was coined by the scientist Thomas Kuhn in his renowned book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions which was itself a paradigm-busting study of how new scientific advances actually occurred in history.

for when several "trends" converge - after which, everything changes and you cannot go backwards.

Essentially I am trying to describe where several separate trends/concepts are progressing/advancing, to the point where they converge, and a totally new concept is formed - that isn't merely the sum of the parts.

The newly formed discipline of Chaos Theory was engendered in precisely this manner. Several scientists in varied disciplines and geographic regions discovered phenomena that could not be described by existing scientific lore. They all had to develop new tools to explore & describe these phenomena. And surprisingly, all of these phenomena (as well as the newly discovered tools) were related. Not indirectly or by analogy, but literally, directly related.

In his book, Chaos: Making A New Science, author James Gleick used Kuhn's concept of paradigm shifts to describe the emergence of the discipline.

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Have you considered the term a watershed moment/event? A watershed moment is a point in time that marks an important, often historical change.

Example:

The development of nuclear weapons constituted a watershed moment in the history of humanity. With nuclear weapons, now it has become possible to obliterate an entire nation off the earth's surface in split seconds.

Another term similar in meaning to a watershed moment would probably be a sea change. The meanings of the two expression are very similar.

Example:

The past 30 years have witnessed a sea change in the development of personal computing. We have gone from gigantic mainframes of the 60s and 70s to small, compact desktop PCs rivaling in the processing power supercomputers of the 80s.


PS: Another similar expression that just came to my mind is crossing the Rubicon. Look up its origin and history.

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You should consider amalgamation.

ODO:

amalgamation NOUN

The action, process, or result of combining or uniting.

‘And yet at the same time, the death of a language takes with it a disappearance of a culture, amalgamations which ultimately limit the diversity in the way we communicate and the way we think.’

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synthesis - the composition or combination of parts or elements so as to form a whole

(Merriam-Webster)

This came to mind after your comment about the term needing to indicate several parts came together to form the new. It's far more abstract than concretion, amagalmation, confluence, etc, in that it is a well used in describing ideas and not physical proceses.

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If you're talking about massed components taking on behaviour that wouldn't be normally evident when the components are on their own, consider emergent behaviour or more simply, emergence:

In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence is a phenomenon whereby larger entities arise through interactions among smaller or simpler entities such that the larger entities exhibit properties the smaller/simpler entities do not exhibit. - wikipedia

Examples include the behaviour of ant colonies and perhaps mexican waves. The wikipedia link describes other examples, such as the patterns resulting from the interaction of sand dunes with wind or water.

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