Reflections in relation to the article “Are living beings extended autopoietic systems? An embodied reply.” | Humberto Maturana Romesín

Abstract

This is a very interesting article, and I would like to make a few epistemological and operational reflective commentaries that it evokes in me.

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EARTH CHARTER AND CULTURAL BIOLOGY Co-Inspired by Love | Ximena Dávila and Humberto Maturana (2011)

Interview with Humberto Maturana and Ximena Davila, of Matriztica School in Santiago, Chile.

Humberto Maturana is a renowned biologist and philosopher from Chile. He invented a theory of autopoiesis, about the nature of reflexive feedback control in living systems. Ximena Davila is a Professor from Chile who collaborates with Maturana, together they developed the dynamic vision that entangled the Biology of Knowledge and the Biology of Love that conform the basis for the Biological Matrix of Human Existence. Together they co-founded “la Escuela Matriztica de Santiago”.

In this interview, done by Cristina Moreno together with the staff members of the Methodist University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Humberto Maturana and his colleague Ximena Davila offer their insights and reflections about the meaning of the Earth Charter and its relevance for today’s challenges.

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“The Effectiveness of Mathematical Formalisms” by Humberto Maturana Romesin (2000)

Reproduced from: https://reflexus.org/wp-content/uploads/maturana.pdf Cybernetics & Human Knowing, Vol.7, no. 2-3, 2000, pp. 147–150 ASC American  Society forCybernetics a society for the art and science of human understanding The Effectiveness of Mathematical Formalisms  Humberto Maturana Romesin In this short article I would like to address the question: How is that mathematical formalisms permit us to compute relations in the… Read More

“Biology of Language: The Epistemology of Reality” by Humberto R. Maturana (1978)

Reproduced from: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/9409/7d89173928e11fc20f851cf05c9138cbfbb3.pdf Biology of Language: The Epistemology of Reality Humberto R. Maturana (1978) I am not a linguist, I am a biologist. Therefore, I shall speak about language as a biologist, and address myself to two basic biological questions, namely: What processes must take place in an organism for it to establish a linguistic domain… Read More

Understanding Social Systems? / What Is Sociology? / Confusion of Reflective Domains? by Humberto R. Maturana

Understanding Social Systems? Humberto R. Maturana Escuela Matríztica de Santiago, Chile hmr/at/matriztica.org Maturana H. R. (2014) Understanding social systems? Constructivist Foundations 9(2): 187–188. http://constructivist.info/9/2/187 In my commentary I reflect on conceptual and epistemological questions. In particular, I challenge the idea of trying to define social systems. I also wonder whether in many cases autopoiesis is… Read More

Cultural-Biology: Systemic Consequences of Our Evolutionary Natural Drift as Molecular Autopoietic Systems

Our purpose in this essay is to introduce new concepts (dynamic architecture and dynamic ecological organism-niche unity, among other) in a wide and recursive view of the systemic consequences of the following biological facts that I (Maturana in Biology of cognition, 1970, Unity and diversity of man. Le Seuil, Paris, 1978; Maturana and Varela in Autopoiesis and cognition: the realization of the living. D. Riedel Publishing Co, Boston, 1980, El Árbol del Conocimiento: Las Bases Bioógicas del Conocer Humano, 1a Edición. Editorial Universitaria, Santiago, 1984; Maturana and Mpodozis in Rev Chil Hist Nat 73:261–310, 2000) and we (Maturana and Dávila in Habitar humano: en seis ensayos de biología-cultural. Juan Carlos Sáez Editorial, Chile, 2008) have presented that can be resumed as: (1) that as living systems we human beings are molecular autopoietic system; (2) that living systems live only as long as they find themselves in a medium that provides them with all the conditions that make the realization of their living possible, that is, in the continuous conservation of their relation of adaptation to the circumstances in which they find themselves; (3) that as a living system exists only in a relation of adaptation with the medium that operates as its ecological niche, its reproduction necessarily occurs as a process of systemic duplication or multiplication of the ecological organism-niche unity that it integrates; (4) that the worlds of doings that we generate as languaging beings in our conversations, explanations, reflections and theories are part of our ecological niche; and (5) that we human beings as living beings that exist in languaging, are biological–cultural beings in which our cultural and our biological manners of existences can be distinguished but cannot be separated. Of the systemic consequences of these biological facts that we consider in this essay, we wish to mention two as the principal: (1) that the diversification of manners of living produced in biological evolution is the result of differential survival in a changing medium through the conservation of adaptation, and not through competitive survival of the best; and (2) that we in our living as languaging human beings (observers) are the epistemological fundament of all that we do and know as such. Read More

From Altruism and Selfishness, to Organisms and Societies

The following is an excerpt from: Maturana, H. R., & Varela, F. J. (1987). The tree of knowledge: The biological roots of human understanding. Boston, MA, US: New Science Library/Shambhala Publications. pp 997-999 Altruism and Selfishness  A study of the ontogenic couplings between organisms and an assessment of their great universality and variety point to a… Read More

“Goodness and badness belong to the domain of values, and responsibility belongs to the domain of awareness.” – Quote by Humberto R. Maturana

The Tree of Knowledge, by Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, is a landmark attempt to integrate biology, cognition, and epistemology into a single science, reversing the dualism of fact and value, and of observer and observed, that has haunted the West since the seventeenth century. The authors see perception as a reciprocal and interacting phenomenon, a “dance of congruity” that takes place between a living entity and its environment. This, they argue, implies a relativity of worldviews (there are no certainties), as well as the existence of a biology of cooperation going back millions of years. Recognition of a lack of absolutes, and of the nature of perception itself, they assert, make it possible for us today to change things for the better, as a deliberate and conscious act. What is overlooked in this discussion, however, are the origins and nature of conflict. By being pointedly apolitical, the authors wind up implying that one worldview is as good as the next. Cognitively speaking, the substitution of Buddhism for politics is a serious error, leaving, as it does, too many crucial questions unanswered. It is thus doubtful whether the biological argument being advanced here can stand up to serious scrutiny, and whether the dualism of modern science has indeed been overcome. Yet The Tree of Knowledge remains an important milestone in our current efforts to recognize that science is not value-free, and that fact and value are inevitably tied together. We are finally going to have to create a science that does not split the two apart, and that puts the human being back into the world as an involved participant, not as an alienated observer.


This article is Maturana’s response to Morris Berman’s review of The Tree of Knowledge by Maturana and Varela. Maturana claims that Berman partially misunderstood the book and explains that, far from advocating passivity in the face of evil, the book asks that we act out of responsible, personally chosen love, instead of from the belief that we hold a better “truth.” In the case of Chile, this would mean opposing Pinochet for personal and cultural reasons rather than alleged biological principles of viability. Nothing is gained by attempting to defeat tyrants with the tyranny of our own imposed, alternative truth.

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BIOLOGY OF LOVE By Humberto Maturana Romesin and Gerda Verden-Zoller (1996)

We human beings are love dependent animals. This is apparent in that we become ill when we are deprived of love at whatever age. No doubt we live a culture in which we are frequently in war and kill each other on different rational grounds that justify our mutual total denial as human beings. But doing that does not bring to us happiness, or spiritual comfort and harmony. Love and aggression – are they polar features of our biology or, of our cultural human existence? Are we genetically aggressive animals that love occasionally, or are we loving animals that cultivate aggression culturally? Our purpose in this article is to maintain that we are loving animals that cultivate aggression in a cultural alienation that may eventually change our biology. To this end we shall speak about the following themes in short but basic statements:

A) the systemic constitution and conservation of human identity;

B) the origin and development of the self in the mother/child relations;

C) the evolutionary origin of humanness in the conservation of neoteny and the expansion of the female sexuality;

D) the biology of love.

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A selection of articles by Humberto Maturana on Systemic and Meta-Systemic Laws, Metadesign, and his contribution to Constructive Psychotherapy

Systemic and Meta-Systemic Laws Reproduced from: http://interactions.acm.org/archive/view/may-june-2013/systemic-and-meta-systemic-laws Authors: Ximena Yáñez, Humberto Romesín This essay is the result of our reflections over the course of many recursive conversations in the space of our collaboration at the Matriztic Institute in Santiago, Chile on the interplay of biology and culture on human living. We propose these Systemic and Meta-Systemic… Read More