- What is Nature's Holism about?
- Ecotechnology Biodiversity Studies?
- Life's Origins?
Look closely at nature and her ecological processes and you easily
find co-evolved interactions such the bee and the flower. Coveolution
is at the centre of all ecosystems. The fossil
record shows a time when there were neither bees nor flowers. One
condition necessary for co-evolution
is a long association of the two species. The bee and the flower have
evolved an intricate
witnessed this phenomenon in nature and observed
be most severe between allied forms, which fill nearly the same place
in the economy of nature;"
"Corollary of the highest importance: That the structure of every organic being (organism) is
related, in the most essential yet often hidden manner, to that of all
other organic beings, with which it comes into competition."
Nature's Holism looks closely at this principle, examining how two associated species evolve (co-evolution). This study leads to a holistic view of nature where interdependence between long-associated species pervades all aspects of an ecosystem. It may be the numerous benefit of earthworms in improving the physical structure, aeration, porosity, moisture absorption and moisture available for associated plants, or the association of some ant species (Pseudomyrmex ferruginea) and acacia plants (Acacia cornigera). These ants fiercely defend the tree against ravaging insects, browsing mammals and epiphytic vines. In return, the host supplies its little guardian ants with protein-lipid Beltian bodies from its leaflet tips and carbohydrate-rich nectar from glands on its leaf stalk. If you look into any square metre of nature you will find an association of interdepencence of some form.
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In Nature's Holism, we explore the evolution of interdependence within ecosystems. This involves the individual and its living (biotic) environment. Two fundamental premises are that the individual cannot live independently of the biotic environment and that the actions of individuals have an impact upon the environment. This puts two requirements on any living creature:
- A creature has an instinct to perpetuate its kind.
- An individual cannot destroy the habitat upon which it depends
for survival, so there is a necessary "compatibility".
This book describes the evolutionary mechanism and expressions of
"compatibility" in nature.
"Perpetuity" is an easily recognised idea. This is the continual and natural drive or impulse for survival and the perpetuation of the individual. Survival and perpetuity reflect an aspect of natural selection. An animal with a good design survives and perpetuates. This appears a very obvious statement, but is important in nature. A large number of individuals, produced in an effort to perpetuate, creates a force that has an impact upon the environment. Look at any living creature and you will find:
- Most behaviour is directed in some way towards self perpetuation and so perpetuation of the species.
- An organism's physical form is geared towards self -perpetuation. An individual, such as a worker ant, may not perpetuate, but the organism with which it shares a genetic identity does.
- Social interactions define which individuals will contribute their genes to the next generation. This is not always true, especially in humans, but applies to many wild animals.
- Physiological processes are instinctively regulated to optimise survival and perpetuation. Simple examples are hunger and thirst.
- Evolutionary processes generally lead to greater energetic efficiencies, so enhancing survival potential. In science this is known as the red queen hypothesis.
This book is devoted to COMPATIBILITY , showing that evolutionary processes lead naturally to interactions and behaviour that provide a degree of compatibility between long-associated organisms. A compatible animal exhibits behaviour reducing its effect upon the habitat upon which it depends for survival. In ecological terms, the organism occupies a niche within the ecosystem. If measured as a relative value, increased efficiency would be found. Yin and yang are the symbols from the ancient Chinese philosophy called Taoism (Clarke, 1993). Compatibility is similar to yin and perpetuity is similar to yang.
Nature's Holism is an idea expressed within the context of modern
science. It is an environmental principle based on ecology and
evolution. An investigation of existing principles, has shown that the
ancient Chinese Taoist forces of yin and yang are similar to the
idea that I present. From this context, the term ecotaoism was coined.
The idea has not secured Harry Potter-like popularity, but it is sure
to endure and may one day be a common principle binding society.
"When nature and humanity do not overpower each other, this is
called real humanity" (Chuang-tzu, translated by Cleary, 1991)
We need to re-evaluate the role of nature in our existence as an ecological imperative. We are products of natural selection. This is not an anti-God statement as our physical evolution and spiritual condition are different components of our being. Holistic mechanisms and principles form the preliminaries of ecological engineering. A new term, ecotechnology , which is related to holism should emerge here. What I mean by holism is that nature forms co-ordinated units or integrals through the evolutionary process. Today we call these ecosystems. Natural selection is the process of differential survival and reproduction of organisms because of their differing genetic constitutions being subject to environmental forces. It leads to adaptive evolutionary change.
Ecotechnology requires refining and adapting technological
applications so that they are compatible when applied within
ecosystems. Ecosystem coherence and stability have evolved with the
associated parts. Stability for such self-organising systems is
dynamic. The adoption of a new behavioural purpose - the application of
the ideas of perpetuity and compatibility in the interaction with all
life forms - will confer behavioural stability and predictability to
humanity. This would enhance our survival potential in the long term
through the process of natural selection and evolution. This
behavioural change would be a unique event in the history of life as it
would be a conscious endeavour and would be a departure from
humanities' characteristic destructive effect upon nature. Here we are
dealing with the physical evolution of humanity.
Our spiritual and
religious comprehension are not the concern of this book.
Tolerance of other cultures means recognising their right to
perpetuate, while also recognising that in allowing this right, your
own culture has to compromise and often share common resources without
conflict. Today, we see a terrible clash between Islamic and Western
culture and Israel and Palestine, due to the currently more powerful
cultures not making sufficient allowances in the recognition of the
other cultures. Perhaps the ideas in this book can open new doors to
As a first step to understanding our role in nature we need to
appreciate the magnitude of TIME compared with the short
duration of our lives. Even the appearance of humanity as a species is
a very recent event compared to the history of life.
Edward De Bono (1993) explained a method to ensure better
understanding: "To perceive a new idea, we have to speculate, imagine,
or hypothesize it first. That is why the best scientists now
realise that science is as much poetry as data analysis." Ernst Mayr
(1991), an evolutionist and ornithologist expressed the same idea when
discussing Charles Darwin's scientific method: "He realised that one
cannot make observations unless one has some hypothesis on the basis of
which to make the appropriate observations." Consequently, I have
introduced the concept of perpetuity and compatibility at the
beginning of this web page and use the subsequent text to help people
to understand the context, nature and implications of the concept (see
also the note " Idea's
Department "). You need to read the web page with the basic idea
or postulate in mind to bring the subject matter into the necessary
context and alignment to follow the discourse. By the end of this book
you should be able to see the harmony that exists in natural systems.
You will also understand why humans are now not a part of this holistic
Edward O. Wilson (1992) provided a
biological context for this study as a new discipline called
BIODIVERSITY STUDIES. He defines this as "the systematic study of the
full array of organic diversity and the origin of that diversity,
together with methods by which it can be maintained and used for the
benefit of humanity. The enterprise of biodiversity studies is thus
both scientific, a branch of pure biology, and applied, a branch of
biotechnology and the social sciences." This web page is concerned with
the health of the dynamic, living part of earth and our relationship
with other life forms.
A document, "Evolution, Science, and Society: a " white paper " on behalf of the field of evolutionary biology" states that "Evolutionary biology is the discipline that (1) describes the history of life and (2) investigates the processes that account for this history. It seeks to explain the diversity of life: the variety of organisms and their characteristics, and their changes over time." Also, " Evolutionary biology is the study of the history of life and the processes that lead to its diversity. Based on principles of adaptation, chance, and history, evolutionary biology seeks to explain all the characteristics of organisms, and, therefore, occupies a central position in the biological sciences" (Futuyma, et al, 2000) As such, biodiversity studies can be said to be part of the discipline of evolutionary biology. As a subdiscipline of evolutionary biology this study falls within evolutionary ecology. This white paper identifies a priority research area to be "development and testing of predictive theories of the coevolution of interacting species." The focus of this electronic text is on a coevolutionary mechanism.
In 2004 I began an update and review of the chapters of this book.
This seems a never ending process, as this effort is not funded and my
time is spent trying to earn a living. I need to work on the ideas in
this book full-time, but a decade has now passed! Issues like global
warming are now becoming a reality as humanity has an impact upon the
environment. The need to apply the principles of compatibility is now,
in 2007, even more urgent than just a decade ago. It is required
urgently in the socio-political domain, where Islam fights for its
rights against an arrogant New World philosophy; it is needed to
counter environmental imbalances that are increasing exponentially; and
it is necessary in the ecological domain where commercial options need
to be balanced against ecological impacts.
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