In this article we propose that the mechanism that gave rise to the diversity of living systems that we find today, as well as to the biosphere as coherent system of interrelated autonomous living systems, is natural drift. And we also propose that that which we biologists connote with the expression natural selection is a consequence of the history of the constitution of the biosphere through natural drift, and not the mechanism that generates that history. Moreover, we do this by proposing: a) that the history of living systems on earth is the history of the arising, conservation, and diversification of lineages through reproduction, and not of populations; b) that biological reproduction is a systemic process of conservation of a particular ontogenic- phenotype/ontogenic- niche relation, and not a genetic process of conservation of some genetic constitution; c) that a lineage arises in the systemic reproductive conservation of an ontogenic-phenotype/ontogenic-niche relation, and not in the conservation of a particular genotype; d) that although nothing can happen in the life history of a living system that is not permitted by its total genotype, whatever happens in it arises in an epigenetic manner, and it is not possible to properly claim that any features that arises in the life history of an organism is genetically determined; e) that it is behavior what guides the course of the history of living systems, not genetics; and f) that that which a taxonomist distinguishes when he or she claims that an organism belongs to a particular species, is a particular ontogenic phenotype/ontogenic niche relation that occupies a nodal position in the historical diversification of lineages.
Process Physics is a new way of doing physics that has been developed by Australian professor of physics Reg Cahill and his co-workers. It very much agrees with Lee Smolin’s line of reasoning (2019) that our modeling of nature should be a relational monadology, just as envisioned by Newton’s main opponent Gottfried Leibniz. Smolin holds that a lot of our problems in contemporary physics come from our Newtonian way of ‘doing physics in a box’. This is a way of doing physics which isolates our target of observation from the rest of the universe (including the observer) and then problematically extrapolates its findings to nature-as-a-whole.
In contrast, Process Physics can be characterized as a neo-Whiteheadian, habit-centered, biocentric way of doing physics without a box. It starts out with an initially undifferentiated homogeneity of noisy, self-organizing background processuality which gradually turns out to give rise to an ever-more complex network of dynamically evolving relationships. It does so by setting up a stochastic, self-reference-based modeling of nature in which all self-referential and initially noisy activity patterns are ‘mutually in-formative’ in the sense that they are actively making a meaningful difference to each other (i.e. ‘in-forming’ or ‘actively giving shape to each other’). In this way, the system evolves from its initial featurelessness to then ‘branch out’ to higher and higher levels of complexity – all this according to roughly the same basic principles as naturally developing neural networks or slime mold foraging patterns (Burchett et al. 2020).
Because of this self-organizing and noise-driven branching behaviour, the thus emerging relational network can be thought of as habit-bound with a potential for creative novelty and open-ended evolution. Furthermore, three-dimensionality, (quasi-)classical behaviour, and gravitational, relativistic and inertial effects are spontaneously emergent features within this evolving web of interrelations. Also, the network’s constantly renewing activity patterns bring along an inherent present moment effect, thereby reintroducing time as the system’s ‘becomingness’.
As a final point, subjectivity – in the form of ‘mutual informativeness’ (which is also used in Gerald Edelman’s and Giulio Tononi’s extended theory of neuronal group selection to explain how higher-order consciousness can emerge) – is a naturally evolving, innate feature, not a coincidental, later-arriving side-effect or epiphenomenon.
Abstract Living systems are structure determined systems. Teaching is never feasible, but learning is inevitable, a comment by an observer about some aspect of the constant changes occurring while life goes on. Teachers are all those who open up spaces for conviviality and allow congruent changes to take place. There are no instructive interactions in nature. Health and the biology of living systems are phenomena studied in different domains. What is healthy or unhealthy for humans, is defined by human culture. As biological phenomena, health and disease are relational configurations of the organism and its medium. From this perspective, individual health is a social phenomenon.
Key words Health Education; Epistemology; Education; Health
Consider the hypothesis that increased longevity is a key to the evolution of human life history and other features that distinguish us from the great apes. The Grandmother Hypothesis implies novel challenges for ancestral mothers and infants that favored the evolution of the distinctly human preferences for joint attention that underpin our cultural lives. Anthropologist Kristen Hawkes explores the connections that link our grandmothering life history to men’s status competition, which propels so much in human affairs, including the economic productivity that is a hallmark of our lineage.
The subject matter of this book – at the intersection between feminism and linguistics, economics, semiotics, and sociology – is a fundamental part of our humanity that we have not seen before, or named as such. Not that people have not studied what they call ‘gift exchange’, but they have not given it that fundamental interdisciplinary place that should occupy. Indeed many have believed that unilateral gift giving does not exist. I consider it both fundamental and commonplace.
The gift has been obscured for many reasons, which we will be discussing. It is strange that anything this important could have been invisible, but perhaps this also gives a measure of the importance of revealing it, not only for academic investigation but for politics. Why are we motivated to harm and egocentrism and why is our compassion dwindling? The answer may be found in the struggle between the parasite and the host, the exchange paradigm and the gift paradigm.
Another way of saying this is that gift giving has been deprived of its meta level. That is why we do not name this important aspect of life. Unilateral gift giving is not the same as unconditional love or gift giving. There are conditions – such as the identification of a need. The other person should not be hostile – in fact the hostility may mean that there is a need – for independence perhaps? – that is greater, and is not being seen by the prospective giver.
The identification of needs and agency for their satisfaction creates meaning, in language and life.
The retrospective in a year that has been quite quiet and straight forward.
In this programme, we look back and bring together the best of some of our guests so you can re-live 2020 in glorious technicolour…
La noción del Tao constituye una invitación a un vivir en el bien-estar psíquico y corporal, a un vivir sin esfuerzo en la unidad de toda la existencia en el hacer que surge del ver el presente cuando no hay prejuicio o expectativa. Como tal, la noción del Tao ha llevado a muchas personas a la reflexión y a la acción que busca encontrar o revelar la naturaleza de ese vivir en los ámbitos de la filosofía, la mística, y la religión. ¿Con qué nos conecta ese vivir?, ¿con lo divino o lo biológico? Pensamos que el vivir al que la noción del Tao nos invita es el vivir fundamental del vivir del ser vivo en su naturaleza biológica que se da en el existir en un presente cambiante continuo. En nosotros, los seres humanos, ese vivir ocurre como un vivir en el lenguajear sin enajenarse en el explicar, vivir que surge cuando se vive en la ampliación del ver en el desapego que es la biología del amar. Por esto el camino del Tao es el camino del amar, y el camino del amar es la biología del Tao.
Palabras clave: Biología, tao, amar, ser y hacer.
The notion of Tao constitutes an invitation to live in the psychic and bodily well-being, a living without effort in the unity of all existence that arises as the manner of living in the present with the expansion of vision that occurs when one lives without attachment and expectations. As such the notion of Tao has lead many people to the reflections and actions that attempt to find or to reveal that manner of living in the domains of philosophy, mysticism and religion. Where that manner of living leads us?, to the divine or to the biological? We think that the manner of living to which we are invited by the notion of the Tao, is the basic living of livings systems in their biological nature as this takes place in a continuously changing present. In us human beings that manner of living occurs as we do not become alienated in explanations as we live in the detachment and absence of expectations of the biology of love. This is why the path of Tao is the path of the biology of love.
Keywords: Biology, tao, to love, to be, to do.
“Exchange creates and requires scarcity. If everyone were giving to everyone else, there would be no need to exchange. The market needs scarcity to maintain the level of prices. In fact when there is an abundance of products scarcity is often created on purpose. An example of this is the plowing under of ‘overabundant’ crops (which may happen even when people are standing by who are hungry). On a larger scale scarcity is created 1. by the channeling of wealth into the hands of the few who then have power over the many; 2. by spending on armaments and monuments which have no nurturing value but only serve for destruction and display of power; and 3. by privatizing or depleting the environment so that the gifts of nature are unavailable to the many. The exchange paradigm is a belief system which validates this kind of behavior. Individuals who espouse it are functional to the economic system of which they are a part. Exchange is adversarial, each person tries to give less and get more, an attitude which creates antagonism and distance among the players. Gift giving creates and requires abundance. In fact, in scarcity gift giving is difficult and even self sacrificial while in abundance it is satisfying and even delightful.”
We are born into a Gift Economy practiced by those who mother us, enabling us to survive. The economy of exchange, quid pro quo, separates us from each other and makes us adversarial, while gift giving and receiving creates mutuality and trust.