Alive ( the living thing ) in Broad Sense: Ability to Choose

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From living thing as thing, to thing as a living thing

For centuries, the Cartesian methodology systematically promoted the ” itself ” ( the closure that remains closed ), leading to reductionist approach of alive, respectively to denaturation of the living thing, transformed into a simulacrum; this dogmatic situation has long reached its limits being obliged to gradually give way to a non-reductionist program centered on recognizing the priority of the living being toward the closed type essences.  M. Heidegger was the thinker that pointed out that the significance of the being ( living thing ) is the big question of contemporary philosophy, suggesting at the same time the optimal way to reach this goal: penetrating beyond the things horizon ( beyond Descartes ).

Two underlines:

  • Following Danish School of Philosophy, Heidegger constantly proclaimed that the genuine living thing is guaranteed by  its persistence in possible, which involves the opening of the reals  to possible and concomitantly, promoting a new type of R / P complexity –  the case of fundamental reality, which considers both the actualized / realized states and correlative potential possible states ( see section “ Existence in Broad Sense” and here, the following “ Original Situation in Chemistry ” ).
  • The main requirement of occidental contemporary civilization development decidedly points to a living thing  civilization rather than towards a Tao civilization; right, Tao possess equally Fundamentality and Living thing, but it is lacking the fundamentality and living thing, which partially explains the disregard of New Age movement toward “ inferior ” social forms: individual, couple, micro-social groups, etc.

Alive in Broad Sense = ability to choose

The idea of elaborating “ alive in broad sense ” category was  due to an old suggestion coming  from a remarkable Russian physicist ( N.A. UMOV, 1901 ):

Selection must be  recognized as a fundamental physical process,  being one of the future physics basic concepts.

Starting from this fundamental feature of the alive – ability to make choices : allego ergo sumother defining requirements which should be fulfilled by a system to be alive in broad sense are:

  • opening to environment ( exchanging matter, energy, information );
  • opening toward intrinsic fluctuations ( potential possible states );
  • a certain distance from the thermodynamic equilibrium ( ensuring this way the optimal communication, being known that at equilibrium the latent communication are decoupled by thermal movement; this aspect determined I. Prigogine to affirm that non-equilibrium state is rather a revelator than a creator of order);
  • nonlinearity – small inputs being able to produce huge, catastrophic outputs, this explains why the nonlinear systems are characterized as catastrophic systems;
  • sensitivity to extrinsic stimuli ( defined as the reverse of the necessary energy to shift the system between two states );
  • resilience ( suppleness in selection: Fig. 7B ), required for adaptivity performance;
  • minimal systemic memory;
  • genuine historicity.

Fig. 7   Selection as absorption / emission of radiation

A.  Rigid selection

B.  Flexible selection

After the quantum mechanics  debut, the usual models regarding energy absorption / emission by microsystems ( atoms, molecules ) were based on rigid selection, considering that the energetical levels remained unaffected by the organizational coupling between system / medium  ( Fig. 7A ):

∆E = Ei – Ej,   respectively   √i,j = ∆E / h

In reality, according to Chen and Takeo, any interaction of collision type, etc. of the microsystem with its environment has to manifest in the spectrum bands of emission / absorption. As a result every energetical level is characterized by a width  ∆Ei and, correspondingly,  every transition by the band’s width  ∆Ei,j ( Fig. 7B ).

The above mentioned data suggest the unlimited adaptive resources of the microsystems as well as the significant contribution of the environmental factors in reaching ( actualization ) of a certain potential state of the system. Taking in consideration that any microsystem has its own quantum signature ( a certain emission / absorption frequency ) as well as a certain sensitivity, the reader will immediately understand that we have reached something  fundamental, susceptible to explain not just subjectivity in broad sense ( the physical support of non-univocal selection and “ free will ” ) but equally the mechanism of oriented evolution and of tuned activity exerted by the Whole. Essential to this approach is to activate  all determinations of the inanimate system – ignored or undervalued by modern science and philosophy – which allow potentiality to fully manifest, conferring to the system its individuality, ability to choose and correlatively genuine historicity.

Genuine historicity

How is constituted genuine historicity of the alive in broad sense systems?

My answer is provided by the following schema – centered on nonlinearity and  non-univocal selection:

Equilibrium ↔ Non-Equilibrium ↔ Nonlinearity ↔ Instability ↔ Non-univocal  selection → Irreversibility → Historicity

Recognizing / promoting of the non-univocal  selection and, correlatively,  of genuine historicity in inanimate nature still represents a risky option from a methodological viewpoint, most of researchers preferring the conventional, comfortable position of Cartesian  ( clear and distinct ) separation between animate and unanimate, historicity and non-historicity.

Cartesianism is succumbing but does not capitulate

T states in chemical kinetics

The chemical kinetics contributed in the most direct way to highlighting the obsolete character of the rigid separation between “thing” and “living thing” populating – unexpectedly for the modern experts – the vast territory between animate and inanimate with new concept / models and systems / processes of transient nature (T states) for instance: bifurcations and strange attractors, self-oscillation systems / processes and dissipative structures,…  The unbelievable perplexity of modern experts (named by me Legion Statu Quo – LSQ ) toward these new, non-Cartesian developments has been proven by their categorical refuse  to acknowledge, promote and publish an extraordinary fact, namely BELOUSOV reactions (1950s) later known as Belousov – Jabotinski reactions, under the disqualifying pretext that “ a perpetuum mobile in chemical kinetics cannot exist ”.  Presently, such phenomena, which according to LSQ decree “ does not exist ”, can be demonstrated in any high school laboratory averagely equipped, they being able to be equally produced in open systems regimen, as well as in a closed one with limited durations.

GAIA – the homeostatic model

A similar situation, of rejecting a methodological innovation of the highest quality, having an exceptional explanatory value, is provided by LSQ from biology, who refused to recognize the integrative ( physical / biological ) model named Gaia, elaborated by Dr. James LOVELOCK, considering the Earth as a system alive in broad sense. This non-Cartesian, homeostatic model has been appreciated by modern experts as a pseudo-science sample, of teleological / finalist inspiration or shortly…. Gaia is worthless.

Original Model ( Essence / Situation )

The holism in broad sense ( Syntegration ) as well as the fundamental reality are based on genuine living wholes / totalities, the synthesis between real / possible being the initial generative moment of becoming of all systems, animated or inanimated. This non-traditional viewpoint evidently contradicts all analytical clichés of Cartesian inspiration ( such as atomism, molecularism, etc ) which conversely consider that elements ( simplicity, analyticity, things ) generate and founds the complexity, living thing.  As previously shown by me, the explanation of this reversed perspective comes from the fact that modern science has separated real from potential – possible ( modal decoupling ). In Bohmian terms, to be viable the alive in broad sense systems have to be generated and later absorbed by the whole ( holomovement ): everything emerges by unfoldment from the holomovement, then enfolds back into the implicate order. This means that holomovement represents the universal original situation, generative – dissolutive for all finite, derived systems.  It can be asserted ( with Plato and Hegel ) that the situation ( project, idea ) was / is the starting point. In his work “ Devenirea intru fiinta” ( Becoming into living thing ),  Editura St. Encicl.,  Bucharest, 1981, p. 207, C. Noica also underlines the preferential status of the situation: “ In the beginning it was the situation…principles and categories are themselves emanated  from a situation.”  To note that the acceptance of a big attractor within the morphogenetic space of biology ( or the equivalent formulation: the law of form precedes the emergence of form itself ) constitutes an alternative manner to state: in the beginning it was the situation. Finally, we have to specify that the final dimension in any alive whole implies an oriented development under the action of original situation.

Original Situation in Chemistry: is atomism fundamental ? Russian Chemists’ suggestion: see the Big Picture!

Similar conclusions of  a specific morphogenetic law  action can and have to be extended on  Chemistry, because here too is needed a proper approach of the living being problem.  The modern chemists support the realist – naïve idea that because the molecules are composed from atoms, the atomism should be considered fundamental. I consider this nothing less than one of the  biggest methodological mistakes of Cartesian science. Let us examine the abstract reaction schema:

A  +  B  =  C

where C represents the final molecular product.  Even in 1890 and after the Russian chemist Nikolai MENSHUTKIN has brought to attention that no reaction can be modeled overlooking the reaction milieu / medium; Menshutkin sent to us a very contemporary message : see the big picture. In non-Cartesian terms, we have to consider the genuine , “ alive ” totality, which according to N.N.SEMIONOV ( 1954 ) incorporates:   reactants ( A,B ) , co-reactants, catalysts, solvents, the walls of the reactor, additives, impurities, intermediate products, final products ( C ), energy…This inventory ( however realist ! ) is impressive, but is it sufficient to form an original, authentic situation?  Evidently, no: any of the above mentioned subsystems, as well as the global system itself, have to be considered together with their correlative potential – possible states, otherwise  syntegrative condition cannot be reached, the system remaining abandoned somewhere between the Cartesian whole ( holism in narrow / classical sense ) and the genuine whole ( See  the section ” Holism in Broad Sense ). This authentic whole is the result of a morphogenetic law action, pre-existent in the potential-possible;  without this action ( more exactly in – formation )  A, B  and  C would be impossible to appear and / or  survive within the reaction milieu:  therefore A,B,C  are non-fundamental chemical entities, they being tuned realities conform to an original, fundamental situation / attractor.

5 Responses to “Alive ( the living thing ) in Broad Sense: Ability to Choose”

  1. Wow, this is very fun to read. Have you ever considered submitting articles to magazines?

  2. well written blog. Im glad that I could find more info on this. thanks

  3. admin

    Simply: Information is a subjective , intrinsic fact ( data, etc.) but in-formation ( active information in Bohm’s version ) is something very special, objective anyway,and especially going much beyond of the ergonic limits established by Einstein ( special relativity theory ).Remember: according to the contemporary ontology universe is constituted from 2 different, irreducible circuits: ergonic ( or Einsteinian ) and non-ergonic or in-formational.The last one is extremely actual / interesting being involved in premonition, healing at distance ( intentionally / intentionality waves ) , etc.

  4. A. Butler

    I carefully read this post and Holism in Broad Sense and I want to ask you to elaborate a little about the specific of in – formation by comparison with its usual counterpart- information.Thanks a lot , A. Butler , New York


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