240 – As Everything in Nature, We are Autopoietic Systems …

There is nothing that empirically proves how interrelated we are with everything in Nature than a verified scientific theory, and Humberto Maturana and Francisco Valera’s Autopoiesis does that for me.

The word Autopoiesis comes from the Greek ‘auto’ meaning ‘self’, and ‘poiesis’ meaning ‘creation: Self-creation.

An Autopoietic Systemis a network in which the function of each component is to participate in the production or transformation of other components within the System.’ [1]

Autopoietic Systems are self-bounded, self-generating, and Self-perpetuating systems.

  • To be Self-bounded means that the System’s extension is determined by a boundary that is an integral part of the network.’ Think of our skin.
  • To be Self-generating means that all components, including those of the boundary, are produced by processes within the network.’ Think of how an entire human body is produced out of two cells.
  • To be Self-perpetuating means that the production processes continue over time, so that all components are continually replaced while the System preserves its pattern of organization.’ Think again about the human body and how it preserves its basic configuration while most of its components are constantly being replaced.

Like any other evolving system in Nature, we are autopoietic systems. The human body, like that of a cell, a galaxy, the Earth, is self-contained within a boundary that is an integral part of us, it self-generates by producing our own components, and self-perpetuates by continuing the production process while maintaining our fundamental configuration.

The theory of Autopoietic Systems proves how the universal power of self-creation profoundly interrelates us with everything in Nature. And I believe we will be more rational and tender in our relationship with Nature when we understand this about us.

Revised March 2022

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[1] Contents in italics are excerpted from F. Capra’s “The Web of Life”

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2 Responses to “240 – As Everything in Nature, We are Autopoietic Systems …”

  1. Mundo says:

    Dear Kirk,
    Thank you always for your interest in the blog and for your encouragement. It is very much welcome. The blog is already ten years old and at the beginning I used to get lots of comments, but interest has declined to the point where now I just have a few followers. The subject is demanding, and I was probably unable to keep it interesting enough to attract a high number of followers. But I continue writing and posting not only because it keeps me growing but because I arise the interest of a person like you.

  2. kirk says:

    Hello Mundo (D’o) It is a bit late on comments for this blog entry but I have a couple. This entry (#240) had no comments yet when you created the earlier one on this subject (#37 — Autopoiesis) it had 1 and 2/3rds hundreds comments. Perhaps this one was too short for readers to get their mind around or something else. Anyway, the manner by which we can tweek out information about our present and very distant past from DNA (and Transfer — RNA) supports your thesis in a strong way. Since I have a couple degrees from UC Berkeley, I follow the CrispR-1 and other developments that are only the beginning of what may lead to another way of self modifying if not self creating using these tools.
    Write on fellow —

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