The whole is more than the sum of its parts | Daniel Christian Wahl

Whole-systems thinking has to be a transdisciplinary activity that maps and integrates relationships, flows and perspectives into a dynamic understanding of the structures and processes that drive how the system behaves.

We can reduce the world to a whole just as easily as we can reduce it to a collection of parts. Neither the whole nor parts are primary; they come into being through the dynamic processes that define their identity through relationships and networks of interactions.

We should regard the boundaries that delineate one system from another as places of connection and exchange rather than barriers that separate or isolate.

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Metabolic Pathways | Sigma-Aldrich.com

This new edition of the iconic IUBMB-Nicholson Metabolic Pathways Chart brings increased functionality to a canonical tool. Now, all metabolites, enzymes, and selected pathways are searchable and interactive. The “backbone” of the map is the Glycolytic Pathway followed by the TCA (Krebs) Cycle and the Respiratory Chain which together lead to the synthesis of ATP by ATP Synthase. ATP is the source of most of the energy required for all life. Many biosynthetic and breakdown pathways of metabolism such as carbohydrates, amino acids, lipids are associated with this backbone and are differentiated by the use of color. Human metabolism is distiguished where possible by the use of black arrows. Some 550 reactions are identified by their IUBMB Enzyme Commission (EC) numbers which are then indexed.

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No entailing laws, but enablement in the evolution of the biosphere | Giuseppe Longo, Maël Montévil & Stuart Kauffman

Biological evolution is a complex blend of ever changing structural stability, variability and emergence of new phenotypes, niches, ecosystems. We wish to argue that the evolution of life marks the end of a physics world view of law entailed dynamics. Our considerations depend upon discussing the variability of the very ”contexts of life”: the interactions between organisms, biological niches and ecosystems. These are ever changing, intrinsically indeterminate and even unprestatable: we do not know ahead of time the “niches” which constitute the boundary conditions on selection. More generally, by the mathematical unprestatability of the “phase space” (space of possibilities), no laws of motion can be formulated for evolution. We call this radical emergence, from life to life. The purpose of this paper is the integration of variation and diversity in a sound conceptual frame and situate unpredictability at a novel theoretical level, that of the very phase space.

Our argument will be carried on in close comparisons with physics and the mathematical constructions of phase spaces in that discipline. The role of (theoretical) symmetries as invariant preserving transformations will allow us to understand the nature of physical phase spaces and to stress the differences required for a sound biological theoretizing. In this frame, we discuss the novel notion of ”enablement”. Life lives in a web of enablement and radical emergence. This will restrict causal analyses to differential cases (a difference that causes a difference). Mutations or other causal differences will allow us to stress that ”non conservation principles” are at the core of evolution, in contrast to physical dynamics, largely based on conservation principles as symmetries. Critical transitions, the main locus of symmetry changes in physics, will be discussed, and lead to ”extended criticality” as a conceptual frame for a better understanding of the living state of matter.

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Parent–Offspring Conflict | Miranda Goodman-Wilson, Sara F Waters & Ross A. Thompson

Parent–offspring conflict can be defined as a state in which parents and children stand in opposition to one another. The source of conflict between parents and children can vary significantly from relatively trivial issues such as clothing choice or bedtime routine to very serious issues relating to the safety and well-being of the child. One of the principal goals of parenting is the socialization of the child – the process by which parents instill in their child the values and behaviors appropriate to a member of society. That this socialization process frequently leads to conflict if the child resists parental attempts to modify their behavior highlights several truths about parent–child conflict. To begin with, parent–child conflict is inevitable. Parents cannot engage in the socialization process without having to occasionally confront their reluctant child, and children cannot test the boundaries of their developing autonomy without occasionally frustrating their parents.

A second, and perhaps surprising, truth about parent–offspring conflict is that it is not necessarily a negative occurrence. Although we often think about conflict as something to be avoided, there is growing evidence that it may serve as a critical catalyst for children’s social cognitive development. Conflict often forces children to take another person’s perspective (in order to understand precisely what is upsetting them about the situation), to practice burgeoning negotiation skills, to understand moral and social values, and to effectively regulate their emotions in order to avoid escalating the conflict further.

A final point is that parent–offspring conflict is not a singular phenomenon. The nature and frequency of conflict changes as children develop, as do the strategies for handling conflict. A parent trying to manage their toddler’s nap schedule is going to face different challenges than a parent trying to manage their adolescent’s curfew. As children develop, they become both more receptive to recognizing and complying with their parents’ perspective on issues and more capable of negotiating and resisting their parents’ instructions. Likewise, parents’ expectations for their children’s behavior during conflict situations, as well as their perspective on their own role as a socializing agent, will change as their child develops. With that said, there also appears to be great continuity in how dyads manage conflict. When a pattern of mutually responsive, effective conflict management in which both partners are free to express their differing viewpoints and work together to resolve the issue is established early in life, it is likely to persist across childhood despite the changing nature of parent–child conflict.

Parent–child conflict is a topic that has received considerable theoretical attention. Therefore, this article begins with a brief comment on theoretical perspectives on parent–offspring conflict. In the following sections, research on the antecedents and outcomes of parent–child conflict is reviewed. We adopt a developmental perspective that focuses on the bidirectional influence of both parent and child behavior during conflict interactions. We conclude this article with a discussion of parent–child conflict that exceeds what can be considered developmentally normative – either because it occurs with greater (or less) frequency than is typically seen, or because it escalates into coercive patterns of interaction or child maltreatment. This focus on nonnormative parent–offspring conflict has particularly practical implications, as the development of successful interventions for families overwhelmed by conflict is of great importance.

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THE RISE AND FALL OF THE MACHINE METAPHOR: ORGANIZATIONAL SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MACHINES AND LIVING BEINGS by Victor Marques & Carlos Brito

Our goal in the paper is to offer both an eulogy and a critique of the machine metaphor as a theoretical resource for understanding organic systems. We begin by presenting an abbreviated history of the machine metaphor, pointing out how it was instrumental in the development of modern biology, as it provided a conceptual basis for an analytical program in the sciences of life. Then we deal with what exactly makes the machine metaphor such a successful resource, pointing to what organisms and machines in fact share in common – based on the relational approaches advanced by Varela and Rosen, we suggest that both are ʻconstrained systemsʼ. In the third part, we present an alternative way of conceptualizing living systems, bringing now the disanalogies with machines to the foreground. Reviewing the independent work of different authors, we show that there is distinct organicist theoretical camp, where the organism is generally understood as an autonomous system. Finally, we observe that many authors from that camp are now reclaiming Kant’s treatment of organisms in the Critique of Judgment, in particular the concept of «natural purpose» – but those authors do that with a markedly anti-Kantian goal: to naturalize teleology. Our conclusion is that the view of organism as an autonomous system gives us the key to a naturalistic understanding that can finally overcome the mechanical view of nature so characteristic of modern thought. The machine metaphor, despite all its undeniable contributions to the advancement of biological research, shows itself ultimately insufficient for a complex view of the phenomena of life – and discarding it doesn’t need to mean any concession to vitalism: on the contrary, it may be exactly what we need to invigorate a robustly materialist project.

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An Illustrated Guide to Life-Grounding Elinor Ostrom’s Principles of Managing a (Civil) Commons with Planetary and Population Health Life-Value Guiding Principles

Elinor Ostrom’s 8 polycentric, subsidiarity, hierarchical, coherently-inclusive rule-making and governance-principles can be life-grounded and connected to planetary and population health via life-value guided-principles and strategies as illustrated here.

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The Ultimate Paradigm Shift | School of Wisdom® Think Universal, Act Global

God’s dice liberates us from the prison of determinism, the hopeless tedium of the cosmic clock and the inevitable death of entropy. We have instead an intelligent Universe, where ever new and evolving life forms thrive on Chaos, where negentropy creates higher order from decaying forms. The clock is not winding down as the second law of thermodynamics had thought, it is ever being created anew. God is back in the picture, not just as the creator of the machine who then left — the ghost in the machine — but as the Strange Attractor, the origin of inexplicable and unpredictable order from chance.

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Agency, Meaning, Perception and Mimicry: Perspectives from the Process of Life and Third Way of Evolution | R. I. Vane-Wright

The concept of biological mimicry is viewed as a ‘process of life’ theory rather than a ‘process of change’ theory—regardless of the historical interest and heuristic value of the subject for the study of evolution. Mimicry is a dynamic ecological system reflecting the possibilities for mutualism and parasitism created by a pre-established bipartite signal-based relationship between two organisms – a potential model and its signal receiver (potential operator). In a mimicry system agency and perception play essential, interconnected roles. Mimicry thus describes emergent biologically meaningful relationships based on synergy, and is not an object-based theory. Biosemiotics offers a particularly valuable discipline for analysing the dynamics and nuances of mimicry systems, and can thus pave the way for a better and more complete understanding of how mimicry has evolved in the past, and how it might evolve in the future—presented here with special reference to the need for an integrated, ‘third way of evolution’ approach to biological relativity. A revised definition of mimicry is proposed.

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Is Spacetime Fractal and Quantum Coherent in the Golden Mean? By Mae-Wan Ho, Mohamed el Naschie & Giuseppe Vitiello

Abstract

We consider the fabric of spacetime from a wide perspective: from mathematics, quantum physics, far from equilibrium thermodynamics, biology and neurobiology. It appears likely that spacetime is fractal and quantum coherent in the golden mean. Mathematically, our fractal universe is non-differentiable and discontinuous, yet dense in the infinite dimensional spacetime. Physically, it appears to be a quantum coherent universe consisting of an infinite diversity of autonomous agents all participating in co-creating organic, fractal spacetime by their multitudinous coupled cycles of activities. Biologically, this fractal coherent spacetime is also the fabric of conscious awareness mirrored in the quantum coherent golden mean brain states.

Keywords

Whitehead’s philosophy, discontinuous nondifferentiable spacetime, fractals, coupled activity cycles, deterministic chaos, quantum coherence and fractals, golden mean.

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20th & 21st CENTURY CONTRADICTIONS & CONFUSIONS ABOUT ECO-SOCIALISM | Douglas Jack

“I would like to propose a range of missing ‘INDIGENOUS’ PRACTICES & PRINCIPLES from the Eco-Socialist goals of these authors. I agree humanity needs an Eco-Socialism, but deepened in understanding all humanity’s ancient ‘indigenous’ (Latin ‘self-generating’) heritage practices over 100s of 1000s of years. It is in these worldwide systematic indigenous practices that eco-socialist theory can find the tested practices, patterns, results & roots for implementation in our precarious times. Humanity through 7000 years of ‘metal-coin-money’ oligarch-led financed colonial invasion & destruction of indigenous practices & heritage, live in a profound AMNESIA, ignorance & alienation against our ancestral once worldwide indigenous eco-socialism. This ancient recall brings us to an integration, needed for implementing successful social practice in human societies, involving complex human equations. The intensions of these authors are honourable but their proposals need to be based in practice & deep reflection on ancestral systems & the economic drivers within.”

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