Nature's Holism
Nature's Holism
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Nature's Holism: Holism Evolution and Ecology (Ecotaoism)
For a guide through a condensed version of Nature's Holism, go to the synposis and follow the links in the top right corner.

  What is Nature's Holism about?

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 interdependence.

Charles Darwin witnessed this phenomenon in nature and observed that:

"Competition should
be most severe between allied forms, which fill nearly the same place
in the economy of nature;" 

and its

"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."

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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.

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:

Perpetuity:

"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:

Compatibility

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.

Ecotechnology

"When nature and humanity do not overpower each other, this is called real humanity" (Chuang-tzu, translated by Cleary, 1991).


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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 peace.

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.
 

Biodiversity Studies?

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 nature.


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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.


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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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by Laurence Evans 2009   [Home]

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by Laurence Evans 1998 - 2008

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