Lifeforms also manifest an inherent interdependency. All parts of any living organism cooperate in any action even at the molecular level. Every molecular event occurring within an organism will directly or indirectly influence every other event. The metabolic activities which are constantly occurring produce effects which bear a definite relationship to every other occurrence.
All of the physical forces that exist influence every living organism in many ways. These will be explained in some detail in a later section. Briefly stated, gravity helps determine the size of an organism and restricts its upward motion. Bacteria, birds, dolphins and other organisms use the earth's magnetic field to help orient themselves and navigate. Electromagnetic radiation from the sun influences an organism's body temperature and aids in all internal chemical processes. X-radiation may induce genetic mutations.
Every physical process occurring in nature, of which only a very few have been mentioned above, interfaces with intelligence (and consciousness) and directly influences the biological rhythms and behavior of all organisms.
General Systems Theory
General Systems Theory represents a relatively new concept which is being adopted by many as a replacement for the more traditional Darwinian concept of evolution. This theory evaluates all phenomena in terms of their interdependence and interrelatedness. It sees the integrated whole as something greater than the sum of its parts, whether the theory is applied to single organisms, societies, ecosystems or any other organized system.19... The nature of the whole is always seen as different from that of the sum of its parts.20
Living systems are multi-leveled structures consisting of subsystems, each of which are wholes in regard to their parts, and each of which represents parts within a greater whole. Atoms form molecules, which combine to form organelles, which in turn make up cells, which are organized into tissues, organs and higher systems. The individual organisms form families, colonies, tribes, societies and nations. Each subsystem is therefore both a whole as well as a part, and each has both an integrative tendency to function as part of a larger whole, and a self-assertive tendency to preserve its individual autonomy.21
The activity of any system is referred to as a process known as "transaction," which is the simultaneous and mutually interdependent interaction between all of the multiple components. It is similar in approach to the "new physics" and emphasizes relationships rather than isolated entities. Form is associated with process, interrelation with interaction, and opposites are unified through rhythmic oscillation.22... All living systems are comprised of interdependent variables that are in a constant state of continuous oscillation between upper and lower limits.23
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