`Over the past thirty years, a new systemic conception of life has emerged at the forefront of science. New emphasis has been given to complexity, networks, and patterns of organisation leading to a novel kind of ‘systemic’ thinking. `The view of living systems as networks provides a novel perspective on the so-called “hierarchies” of nature. Since living systems at all levels are networks, we must visualize the web of life as living systems (networks) interacting in network fashion with other systems (networks). For example, we can picture an ecosystem schematically as a network with a few nodes. Each node represents an organism, which means that each node, when magnified, appears itself as a network. Each node in the new network may represent an organ, which in turn will appear as a network when magnified, and so on. In other words, the web of life consists of networks within networks. At each scale, under closer scrutiny, the nodes of the network reveal themselves as smaller networks. We tend to arrange these systems, all nesting within larger systems, in a hierarchical scheme by placing the larger systems above the smaller ones in pyramid fashion. But this is a human projection. In nature, there is no “above” or “below,” and there are no hierarchies. There are only networks nesting within other networks.

`The realization that systems are integrated wholes that cannot be understood by analysis was even more shocking in physics than in biology. Ever since Newton, physicists had believed that all physical phenomena could be reduced to the properties of hard and solid material particles. In the 1920s, however, quantum theory forced them to accept the fact that we cannot decompose the world into independently existing smallest units. As we shift our attention from macroscopic objects to atoms and subatomic particles , nature does not show us any isolated building blocks, but rather appears as a complex web of relationships between the various parts of a unifield whole.’.

Cells are parts of tissues; tissues are parts of organs, organs parts of organisms; and living organisms are parts of ecosystems and social systems. At each level the living system is an integrated whole with smaller components, while at the same time being a part of a larger whole. Ultimately – as quantum physics showed so impressively – there are no parts at all. What we call a part is merely a pattern in an inseparable web of relationships. Therefore, the shift of perspective from the parts to the whole can also be seen as a shift from objects to relationships.’ All living systems are networks of smaller components, and the web of life as a whole is a multilayered structure of living systems nesting within other living systems – networks within networks. Organisms are aggregates of autonomous but closely coupled cells; populations are networks of autonomous organisms belonging to a single species; and ecosystems are webs of organisms, both single-celled and multicellular, belonging to many different species. What is common to all these living systems is that their smallest living components are always cells, and therefore we can confidently say that all living systems, ultimately, are autopoietic.

However, it is also interesting to ask whether the larger systems formed by those autopoietic cells – the organisms, societies, and ecosystems – are in themselves autopoietic networks.’From objects to relationships – Throughout the living world we find systems nesting within larger systems. While mechanistic science concentrates on reducing things to basic material building blocks, the emerging holistic paradigm recognizes that systems are integrated wholes whose properties cannot be reduced to those of smaller units. The two fundamental themes of this systems view of life are the universal interconnectedness and interdependence of all phenomena, and the intrinsically dynamic nature of reality. Systems theory accepts neither the traditional scientific view of evolution as a game of dice, nor the western religious view of an ordered universe designed by a divine creator. Evolution is presented as basically open and indeterminate, without goal or purpose, yet with a recognizable pattern of development. Chance fluctuations supposedly take place, causing a system at a certain moment to become unstable. As it ‘approaches the critical point, it “decides” itself which way to go, and this decision will determine its evolution’.

The theory of general systems recognizes two principal phenomena of self-organization: self-renewal, ‘the ability of living systems continuously to renew and recycle their components while maintaining the integrity of their overall structures’; and self-transcendence, ‘the ability to reach out creatively beyond its physical and mental boundaries in the processes of learning, development, and evolution’ [4]. He argues that adaptation of species through genetic mutation (genotypic change) is only one side of evolution. The other is creativity: the development of new structures and functions of ever increasing complexity, independent of environmental pressure, as a manifestation of the potential for self-transcendence inherent in all organisms.

Author's Bio: 

Alexis Karpouzos is an Greek-born Philosopher, poet and author, founder of the center learning, research and culture in Greece. He has attended philosophy and social sciences lessons at the School of Philosophy and at the Law School of Athens. He participated in self-organized alternative education groups which were experiencing modern pedagogical and didactic theories and methods. He is experienced in the theory of psychoanalysis. His research interests are the relationship between time and cosmos, nature and history, conscious and unconscious, science and spirituality. Alexis karpouzos teaches the Wisdom of non-duality that combines the knowledge of nature and the knowledge of soul and creates the experience of the universal unity.

He has published 12 books in Greek and 4 in English. 1.The self -criticism of science, 2. Cosmology: philosophy and physics, 3. Universal consciousness: The bridges between science and spirituality, 4. The end of certainty’. The themes of his books relate to: General Philosophy and Ontology, Metaphysics and History of Ideas, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Science, Educational Philosophy, Cosmology and Physics and Social Sciences.

Alexis Karpouzos is a founder of the international community of learning, research and culture in Greece. More than 10000 people have participated in the lessons and community’s actions. The community has contacts and partnerships in 15 countries. Our goal is to create a spiritual experience in consciousness worldwide where people recognize that we are all part of an interconnected whole. The community’s activities include residential courses and conferences. The Community also runs discussion groups, social activities, art workshops, produces events, publishes books and videos in Greece. Apart from its educational and research aspects, the community organizes, develops and takes part in a self-organized actions: ·Art Actions (visual actions, musical actions and drama group), ·Cultural Actions (cinema club, dance club), Social Actions (Social Solidarity Clinic, social school, School for migrants and refugees).