Drawing especially on insights emerging from studies of the cellular networks formed by fungi, this book describes the fundamental indeterminacy that enables life forms to thrive in and create inconstant circumstances It explains how indeterminacy arises from counteraction between associative and dissociative processes at the reactive interfaces between living systems and their surroundings It stresses the relevance of these processes to understanding the dynamic contexts within which living systems of all kinds including human societies explore for, use up, conserve and recycle sources of energy By focusing on dynamic boundaries, the book counterbalances the discretist view that living systems are assembled entirely from building block like units individuals and genes that can be freely sifted, as opposed to channeled, by natural selection It also shows how the versatility that enables life forms to proliferate in rich environments, whilst minimizing losses in restrictive environments, depends on capacities for error and co operation within a fluid, non hierarchical power structure Understanding this point yields a compassionate, less competitive and less self centred outlook on life s successes and failures Contents Defining Dynamic Boundaries Scaling Hierarchies Individuals and Collectives from Molecules to Communities Determinacy and Indeterminacy Differentiation and Integration Versatility and Degeneracy Balance and Circumstance Me and You, Us and Them Merger, Takeover and Rejection Compassion in Place of Strife The Future of Human Relationships...
|Title||:||Degrees of Freedom - Living in Dynamic Boundaries|
|Publisher||:||Imperial College Press January 3, 1997|
|Number of Pages||:||328 pages|
|File Size||:||990 KB|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Degrees of Freedom - Living in Dynamic Boundaries Reviews
This is a unique and promising focus on general architectural patterns in life's processes that can remind one of D'Arcy Thompson's famous book On Growth and Form. What is missing in the comparison is the simple beauty of the geometrical patterns since this book makes one work through thick prose albeit with plenty of pictures and diagrams. What is a positive advantage in this book are some hard fought general concepts about growth and its relation to the boundaries and nature of the individual and the nature of association and dissociation.
Alan D.M. Rayner sells the book as about solving the individual/collective societal problems. This is more or less what originally inspired me to buy and finally get around to reading it. I've had the book sitting around in my house for ever, and I just now got around to reading it. One reading can't do the book justice, actually. The reason the individual/collective problem and scientific ethics as suggested by this book interested me because I had read and been inspired by Jacob Bronowski's scientific ethics in his "Origins of Knowledge and Imagination", and "Science and Human Values." In those books he points out that scientific ethics follows "skepticism, honesty, and courage." Courage to try new ideas/Skepticism of those ideas/honesty when new(or old) ideas don't fit reality. Jacob, in his "Science and Human Values" points out that there seems to be indiviudal values and collective values; but, how to mix the two? Hence, my original interest in Alan's book here.