Atlantic International University
Second Phase Assignment
The Hidden Connections
The Hidden Connection
This essay is about the basic unit of life cell and biological composition of the human
body and its functions within the human body and interaction of the human to its
surrounding environment and ecosystem based on many researchers and scientific
re. Let’s begin with the cell which is the basic unit of life and how these cells form
together is a group called tissues. The biology, components which function within the
cells or tissues are operating with organized management.
This basic unit of a lif
e cell could be a single cell such as bacteria or multiple cells such
as animals and plants. According to the author of the book “
he Hidden Connections
Mr. Fritjof Capra and other related scientists which explain in a marvelous form about
the nature of
life, the nature of the mind, consciousness, and the nature of social
reality. The concern is about how do these units of life cells or tissues of each organism
perform a function within the body and then make the organism’s to interact in their
nt. The ecosystem and all organisms are co
related with each others for
example, animals depends on the photosynthesis of plants for their energy needs,
plants depend on the carbon dioxide produced by animals, as well as on the nitrogen
fixed the bacteria
at their roots. Similarly, plants, animals, and microorganisms all
together regulate the entire biosphere and maintain the cycle conducive to life. This
brings our attention that “what is life?”
As the science of biology, indicated to us that metabolic p
rocesses involve special
macromolecules very large molecules consisting of long chains of hundreds of atoms.
These long chains consist of protein and nucleic acid (DNA, RNA) which is present in all
cells (Luisi, 1998). Bacteria cell has two types of protei
enzymes, which act as
catalysts of different metabolic processes, and structural proteins, which are part of cell
structure. On the other hand in higher organisms, there are many other types of proteins
with specialized functions, such as the antibodies
of the immune system or the
hormones. Most metabolic processes are catalyzed by enzymes, which are specified
by genes. The cellular processes are genetically controlled, which gives them great
stability. The RNA molecules as messengers, delivering code i
nformation for the
synthesis of enzymes from the DNA, which play role in the cell’s self
That is a crucial characteristic of life. In simple way we can say “living systems are
chemical system, which composed of DNA” but there are in dead
cells also contain
DNA. According to the report of German scientists indicated the precise gene sequence
in DNA from a Neanderthal skull bones that had been for over 100,000 years (New York
Times, 1997). Thus, only presence of DNA is not valid proof of liv
ing, it modifies the
definition that “living systems are chemical systems that contain DNA which are not
dead or a living system is a system that is alive” (Capra, 2002). According to biochemist
Pier Luigi Luisi, who stated the “DNA
centered” view and the
represent two main philosophical and experimental streams in life science today (Luisi,
1998). If we look at the cell in a big picture a cell is characterized by cell membrane,
which is capable permeable and semi
permeability between a
nd its environment.
There is a network of chemical reactions within the boundary so, the system can sustain
alive through the processes of metabolism that taking food from outside and chemical
reaction taking place within the cell boundary. As biologists
Humberto Maturana and
Francisco Verela described the term “autopoiesis” literally, self
making (Maturana &
Varela, 1980). Autopoiesis can distinguishing between living and nonliving system.
For example, viruses are not alive, because they lack their own metabolism outside
living cells. Viruses are inert molecular structures consisting of proteins and nucleic
acids. Viruses are needs the metabolism of a living host cell to produce new virus
rticles, based on encoded in its DNA or RNA. Thus, most metabolic processes are
facilitated by enzymes and receive energy through special phosphate molecules known
ATP). Russian biochemist Alexander Oparin in his classic
book “Origin of life” the idea that living matter originated from inanimate matter by
continues evolutionary process was published in 1929 (Margulis & Sagan, 1986).
Oparin called it “molecular evolut
ion” and today commonly referred to as “prebiotic
evolution” (Morowitz, 1998). According Harrold Morowitz fantastic little book, “Beginning
of Cellular Life” stated in his book the basic principles of biochemistry and molecular
biology that are common to a
ll living cells.
It means that multiple chemical bonds are essential to the formation of complex
biochemical structures such as carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and oxygen (O) are only atoms
that regularly form multiple bonds. Obviously, life begin in water and
O) are electrically highly polar, because their electrons stay closer to the oxygen
atom than to the hydrogen atoms, so that they leave an effective positive charges on
the H and a negative charge on the O (Morowitz, 1992). There are oth
ers elements but
the last two major atoms of biological systems are phosphorus (P) and (S) sulphur.
As Morowitz points out that the flow of energy and matter is necessary not only for the
growth and replication of vesicles, but also for persistence of st
able structures. Water
molecules has electrical polarity, because of this polarity certain molecules are attracted
by water (hydrophilic), while others are repelled by water (hydrophobic). In addition,
fatty acid and oily substances, known as lipids and th
ey are elongated structures with
one hydrophilic end and one hydrophobic end. When lipids come in contact with water,
they suddenly form a variety of structures. So far chemists have not been able to
produce lipids from small molecules. All the lipids in o
ur environment are derived from
petroleum and other organic substances. A pioneer research conducted by Pier Luigi
Luisi and his colleagues successes in preparing “soap and water” (Luisi, 1998).
Catalysts increase the rates of chemical reactions without be
ing changed themselves in
the process, which make possible reactions that could not take place without them
(Capra, 2002). As we have found that bacteria as the simplest living systems, a living
cell as a membrane
generating, well organized c
losed metabolic network.
It involves with highly complex macromolecules such as proteins, and enzymes which
act as catalysts of metabolic processes RNA, the messengers carrying genetic code
information and DNA, which stores the genetics information as well
as cell’s self
replication. It draws our attention to the nature of life to the human social dimension,
and more important with conceptual thought, values, meaning and purpose that related
human consciousness and culture. Thus, understanding of mind and
our living systems is vital source of interaction.
In the 1970s, Maturana, and Francisco Varela, offered a theory which becomes known
as the Santiago Theory of Cognition, which is the identification of cognition, the process
of knowing, w
ith the process of life. According to Maturana and Varela cognition is the
activity involved in the self generation and self
perpetuation of living networks. A key
point of Santiago Theory of Cognition is a living system maintains the freedom to decide
t to notice and what will disturb it. To fully understand of consciousness, we must
approach it through the careful analysis of conscience experience of the physics,
biochemistry, and biology of the nervous system; and of the nonlinear dynamics of
etwork (Capra, 2002). Therefore, in social dimension of consciousness the
human life focusing our internal world of thought, concepts, beliefs, mental images,
intentions, and self awareness. We can ask a question, what about cognition and
ists assumed that chimpanzee communication had nothing to do with
human communication because the chimps grunts and screams appear little
resemblance to human speech.
According to the observations, research, and conformation of several team of
ts who spent many years raising chimpanzees in their homes like human
children, while communicating with them in American Sign Language (ASL). American
Sign Language (ASL) existed for at least 150 years and has its roots in various
European sign languages
that were developed by the deaf themselves over centuries.
Doreen Kimura, neurologist discovered that speech and precise hand movements seem
to be controlled by the same motor region of the brain (Kimura, 1976).
George Lakoff and Mark Johnson profoundly
presented the evidence for the mind’s
embodiment in their book Philosophy
in the Flesh
(Lakoff & Johnson, 1999). The
evidence is based, on the discovery that most of our thought is unconscious, operating
at a level that is inaccessible to ordinary consciou
s awareness. As Lakoff and Johnson
summarize “The mind is inherently embodied, though is mostly unconscious, abstract
concepts are largely metaphorical” (Referred, Capra to see Ibid). All these biological
molecules of human body are connected to the spirit
ual life. As we look and think of
that human body it draws our attention that how these macromolecules or organ of our
body are amorously organized and function remarkably. In addition, human being as a
noble creature of God, we should appreciate the righ
teous meaning of life for the
purpose to make our lives profoundly meaningful. Fritjof Capra indicated of biological
and social phenomena aspect under the four perspectives such as form, matter,
process, and meaning. Sociologist Manuel Castells states: “So
cial structures are the
foundational concept of social theory, everything else works through the social”
(Castells, 1999).The science of living organism and application of technology is one of
the important issues which need to be elaborating as follow.
Author Fritjof Capra stated in book The Hidden Connection: about how the nature of
business environment of most companies today change with incredible speed.
According to Margaret Wheatly and Myron Keller
Rogers, organizational theorists, “Life
is the bes
t teacher about change” (Wheatley & Kellner, 1998). The basic idea of
management and essential parts of theory and practice steer an organization in a
direction consistent with its goals and purposes (Referred, Capra, See de Genus,
1997a). Social network
is the source of development in the recent years.
Social network analysis has become a new approach to sociology, and is employed by
numerous scientists to study social relationships and the nature of community
(Referred, Capra, See Wallman, 1999). Accord
ing to Etienne Wenger “they develop a
common practice, that is shared ways of doing things and relating to one another that
allow them to achieve their joint purpose, over time, the resulting practice becomes a
recognizable bond among those involved” (Wen
ger,1996). In addition, Wenger defines
a community of practice as characterized by three features: mutual engagement of its
members, a joint enterprise, and over time a shared repertoire of routines, tacit rules of
conduct, and knowledge (Wenger, 1998). He
re is the task that how can we make and
bring change with meaningful purpose to people right from the beginning, to get their
attention for participation, and to provide an environment in which their creativity can
By recommending, simple guiding
principle rather than strict rule of instructions, as
result of significant changes in power relations, from domination and control to
cooperation and partnership. This will lead us with the fundamental implication of the
new understanding of life. In rece
nt years, biologists and ecologists have begun to shift
their metaphors from hierarchies to networks and have come to realize that partnership
the tendency to associate, establish links, cooperate, and maintain symbiotic
relationships is one of the hallmar
ks of life (Capra,1996). As Margaret Wheatley stated it
“If we want to succeed with knowledge management, we must attend to human needs
and dynamics… knowledge [is not] the asset or capital. People are” (Wheatley, 2001).
The significant and effective way t
o enhance an organization’s learning potential is to
support and strengthen its communities of practice (Capra). According to Wheatley
statement, “Working for an organization that is intent on creating knowledge is a
wonderful motivator, not because the or
ganization will be more profitable, but because
our lives will feel more worthwhile” (Wheatley, 1997). To overcome the task and right
balance between design and emergence require blending of two different kinds of
leadership (Capra, 2002). A common idea of
a leader is that of a person who is able to
hold a vision, to eloquent it clearly and to communicate it with passion and magnetism.
Moreover, a person whose actions embody certain values that serve as a standard for
others to attempt for, as well as the a
bility to hold a clear vision of an ideal form or state
of affairs, is something that traditional leaders have common with designers (Capra,
2002). Another type of leadership consists in facilitating the novelty and creating
conditions rather than giving
directions, and using the power of authority to empower
others. Leadership must have creativity and a vision, it means going where nobody has
gone before or as whole to create something new. Thus, in that sense understanding of
life makes it clear that in
the near future such change will be crucial not only for well
being of human organizations, but as well for the survival and sustainability of humanity
(Capra, 2002). According to Manuel Castells, Professor of Sociology at the University of
Berkeley “that all major trends of change constituting our new, confusing
world are related, and those we can make sense of their interrelationship.
And yes, I believe, in spite of long tradition of something is a way of helping to build a
er world” (Referred, Capra, See Ibid). Anthony Giddens the director of the
prestigious London School of Economics, admits stated “The new capitalism that is one
of the driving forces of globalization to some extent is a mystery. We don’t fully know as
just how it works” (Giddens, 1996).Global currency market alone involves the daily
exchange of over two trillion dollars, and since these markets largely determine the
value of any national currency, they contribute significantly to the inability of
ments to control economic policy” (Referred, Capra, See Ibid).
As Manuel Castells emphasizes that “the emergence of a new electronic
communication system characterized by its global reach, its integration of all
communication media, and its potential inte
ractivity is changing and will change forever
our culture” (Castells, 1996). Here is a task for us that will be the current economic crisis
situation how long will the effect persist and how can we overcome this crisis for the
benefit and sustainability so
cially and ecologically nationally as well as globally.
As we are in the era of the twenty
first century, it’s necessary to rethink and recombine
the information technology with the biotechnology. Initially, this significant innovation
begun in 1970s and
reached its initial peak in the 1990s (Capra, 2002). As molecular
Wan Ho stated that genetic engineering, is “a set of techniques for
isolating, modifying, multiplying, and recombining genes from different organisms” (Ho,
1998). The science
of genetics concludes in the discovery of the physical structure of
DNA and the “breaking of the genetic code” during the 1950s (Capra, 1982).
Later on took biologists twenty years, to develop two crucial techniques, which made
opened the window of geneti
c engineering. The first technique is known as “DNA
sequencing” is the ability to determine the exact sequence of genetic elements such as
the nucleotide bases along any stretch of the DNA double helix (Capra, 2002). The
second, one is “gene
splicing” is t
he cutting and joining together of pieces of DNA with
the help of special enzymes isolated from microorganisms (Ho, 1998). As scientists and
researchers are involving with the new discoveries in genetics will force biologists to
adopt different view that m
utations are actively generated and regulated by the cell’s
epigenetic network. So, that evolution is an integral part of the self
organization of living
organisms (Capra, 2002). As James Shapiro, molecular biologist indicated that: These
ts lead to new concepts of how genomes are organized and
reorganized, opening a range of possibilities for thinking about evolution. Rather than
being restricted to contemplating a slow process depending on random (i.e. blind)
genetic variation … we are no
w free to think in realistic molecular ways about rapid
genome restructuring guided by biological feedback networks (Shapiro, 1999).
As we are facing, the challenges and problems that are arising with the understanding
of the relationship between genes an
d disease, the use of cloning in medical research
and the application of biotechnology to agriculture. These are the central points in the
narrow conceptual framework of genetic determinism and are requiring by broader and
scientific research, environmenta
lly feasible based biotechnology framework (Capra,
According to David Weatherall, director of Oxford University’s Institute of Molecular
Medicine stated that “Transferring genes into a new environment and enticing them to
… do their jobs, with all
the sophisticated regulatory mechanisms that are involved, has
so far, proved too difficult a task for molecular geneticist” (Weatherall, 1998).
Geneticists were hoped to associate specific diseases with single genes, but it turned
out that single gene d
isorders are extremely rare, accounting for less than 2 percent of
all human diseases For example, sickle
cell anemia, muscular dystrophy, or cystic
fibrosis, where a mutation causes a malnutrition in a single protein of essential, the links
between the de
fective gene at the beginning and course of the disease are still not
understand well (Capra, 2002). Another example, the development of suckle
anemia which is common in African and African
Americans, can be considerably
different in individuals carr
ying the same defective gene, varying from early childhood
death to a virtually unrecognized condition in middle age (Lander & Schork, 1994).
As Capra mentioned in his book about Mae
Wan Ho points out, their attempts to identify
genetic predispositions fo
r diseases like cancer, diabetes, or schizophrenia and worse,
for conditions such as alcoholism or criminality stigmatizes individuals and diverts
attention from the crucial role of social and environmental factors that affect these
conditions (Ho, 1998).
The main concern of the biotech companies are, obviously, first
their own financial gain rather than human health or progress in medicine benefits.
In other word the shareholder values of their business enterprise remain high, despite
the lack of any sign
ificant medical benefits, is to perpetuate the perception among the
general public about potential gene behavior (Capra, 2002). Another related issue of
concern is among the general public, about the news in 1997 that a sheep had been
“cloned” by embryolog
ist Ian Wilmut and his colleagues at the Roslin Institute in
Scotland, this issue was developed intense anxieties and debates between general
public as well as scientific community (Capra, 2002). Still people are wondering, about
ethical guideline and outc
ome of this type of research. Here are questions arise in mind
of every one as Capra indicated that ethical problems of cloning experiments on
animals would be magnified enormously were they to involve human beings.
How many human embryos would we be prep
ared to sacrifice? How many
developmental monstrosities would we allow to be created in Faustian research?
Without any doubt, that any attempt to clone human beings at this stage of our
knowledge would be totally immoral and unacceptable. It is the respons
scientists and researchers, even in the case of cloning experiments on animals to
establish strict ethical rule and regulation and open its research to general public review
and suggestions. Similarly, issue of biotechnology to agriculture with
the application of
genetic engineering have aroused much more widespread resistance among the
general public than have the medical application.
Based on several reasons of resistance which has been grown worldwide, and most
people of the world have limite
d access to food and therefore, they are naturally worried
when they feel their food has been chemically contaminated or genetically manipulated.
However, though they may not understand the difficulty of genetic engineering, they
may become doubtful, when
they find out about food developed through genetic
engineering, under the secret of powerful corporation for the purpose to sell their
products without any health warnings, labels, or even discussions (Capra, 2002). Its
claim by biotech, that new crop vari
eties, will be drought tolerant, and resistant to insect
and weeds. Fruit will not disease or bruise and agriculture will not depend on chemicals
and environment will not pollute.
As a result there will be better quality of food, even safer than ever befo
re, and world
hunger will finish. According environmentalists and social justice advocates stated that
many of us remember that very similar language was used by the same agrochemical
corporation, when they promoted a new era of chemical farming, and calle
Revolution” several decades ago (Capra, 1982). Since, that time many evidence found
about painful and dark side of agrochemical effects for the health of the soil, human
health, social relationship and entire ecosystem. As David Ehrenfeld biologis
Like high agriculture, genetic engineering is often justified as a humane technology, one
that feeds more people with better food. Nothing could be further from the truth. With
very few exceptions, the whole point of genetic engineering is to
increase the sales of
chemical and bio
engineered products to dependent farmers (Ehrenfeld, 1997).
As Capra stated that: Most innovations, in food biotechnology, have been profit
rather than need driven. For example, Monsanto developed bio
to resistant specifically to the company’s herbicide Roundup, so to increase the sales of
that product. As Miguel Altieri and Peter Rosset, agroecologists, point out, this
argument is based on two mistaken assumptions (Altier & Rosset, 1999).
The first is
that world hunger is caused by a global shortage of food; the second is that genetic
engineering is the only way to increase food production.
This is broad topic and concern to live of every one, so, there are always continue
debates and argu
ments exist between scientists, environmentalists, and general public.
Similarly, the story of the genetically engineered “golden rice” is heartbreaking example,
a few years ago, a small team of idealistic geneticists without industry support created
w rice with high levels of beta
carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the
human body. This rice was promoted as a treatment for the blindness and vision who
are suffering from vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A deficiency affects more than two
children at the time of the original author Fritjof Capra and his book. Thus, the
news of “miracle cure” was enthusiastically welcome by press, but later on study has
shown that instead of helping children at risk, the project is likely to repeat the mista
of the Green Revolution while adding new hazards for ecosystems and public health
Vandana Shiva, agroecologist point out, that women farmers in Bengal, India, for
example, use numerous varieties of green leafy vegetables that are an exc
carotene. Those who suffer the highest rates of vitamin A deficiency are the
poor, who are suffering from malnutrition in general. They would benefit much more
from the development of sustainable agriculture, rather than from genetic
because they could not afford it. On the other hand the good news is a solution both
times honored and new that is currently slowly turning the farming world from Green
Revolution and bio
engineering to a new an ecological alternative direct
ion known as
“Organic Farming” or “Sustainable Agriculture” (Jackson, 1985, Altieri, 1995, Mollison,
1991). Organic crop growers they use technology based on ecological knowledge rather
than chemistry or genetic engineering to increase yields, control pest
s, and build soil
fertility. In organic farming, crop rotation plying a significant role in reducing and
disappearing of insect and pathogen with the next rotation non
It is not a good idea to eradicate insects completely, because this w
ould also eliminate
the naturally beneficial insects that keep insects in balance in a healthy ecosystem.
Organic farming, instead of chemical fertilizers, these farmers enrich their fields with
manure and tilled
in crop residue, thus, returning organic ma
tter to the soil to continue
the biological cycle. Organic farming is sustainable because it represents ecological
principles that have been tested by evolution for billions of years (Capra, 1996).
In the view of organic farming, a fertile soil is a livin
g soil containing billions of living
organisms in every cubic centimeter (Capra, 2002). The total area being farmed
sustainably is estimated at more than 7 million hectares (17 million acres), and the
market for organic food has grown to an estimated $22 b
illion a year based on the
report of seven year ago at the time of published of this book. Study reported in
southern Brazil, the use of covers crops to increase soil activity and water retention
enabled 400,000 farmers to increase maize and soybean yield
by over 60 percent.
In Bangladesh, an integrated rice
fish program raised rice yields by 8 percent and
farmers income by 50 percent. In Sri Lanka, integrated pest and crop management
increased rice yields by 11 to 44 percent, while augmenting net incomes
by 38 to 178
percent (Capra, 2002). The most unusual and now popular story is probably the
genetically engineered hormone such as “recombinant bovine growth hormone” which is
used to make more milk production in cows besides the fact that American dairy
rmers have made more milk than people can for the past fifty years (Capra, 2002).
In addition, to human diseases, pest and diseases problems of agriculture crop, there is
abiotic factors or climate change also effects on our life and ecosystem. As a resul
impact of climate change in our society, region, and worldwide will suffer with the
shortage of food, water, and shelter and so on. To realize the fact and fluctuation in our
ecosystem, it is necessary to generate no overall waste in ecosystem.
a, point out about the principle “waste equal food” basically all materials
manufactured by industry and even wastes generated in the manufacturing processes,
must ultimately be some form of a new and useful product (Hawken, 1993, McDonough
1998). There are an organization called Zero Emission Research and
Initiatives (ZERI) found by business entrepreneur Gunter Puali in the early 1990s. For
example, extract cellulose from wood to make paper, we cut down forests but use only
20 to 25 percent
of the trees, discarding the remaining 75 to 80 percent as waste. Beer
breweries extract only 8 percent of the nutrients from barely or rice for fermentation,
palm oil is 4 percent of the palm tree’s biomass and coffee beans are 3.7 percent of the
ush (Pauli, 1996). Similarly, did we ask ourselves in the US or other developed
countries that how food or other necessary products we waste per day?
The beauty and nature of our ecosystem is existing with tremendous abilities to return
us a byproduct, if we know very well what is our input and what will be the output for the
benefit and sustainability of us. We should acknowledge with sincere gratitude
precious gift of life which has grant by God, and take advantage of it with love, wisdom,
respect, and sincerity within the family, community, nationally and globally.
life with the rethinking of new thoughts of
agriculture, which is meant
food for all, it is the issue of health
it is the soil which concerns every one, it is the safety of water which
is drunk by
and finally it is the air which everyone breathes. Indeed, these are
and concern the entire ecosystem based on recent scientific research (Balfour, 1943.9).
This brings our attention to the concept of connection or networking, it mean from the
basic human life structure which is cell the basic unit of life, in
to tissue as group of cells,
into organs an
d then into human body. There are many questions need to be
that how these cell
, tissues, organs and human body amazingly function
interact within the human body. And how
country, and globally in different part of the world under different climate,
soil, and natural resources
. It is
under the responsibility of
different organizations such as local communities, NGOs,
governments and United
For us a
s human being one thing we have all in common that is “Life” and how to
respect and appreciate this gift of life for the purpose to be beneficial, and enjoyable
with dignity and honor around worl
d. To understand and appreciate the nature
need to respect and try to understand how these pe
rishable and non
components such as plants,
s, microorganisms, water, soil and solar system. We
also need to understand the natural re
sources, their functions, environmental effects
and interaction between them.
To keep and maintain sustainable livelihood, it require
proper tools, informa
tion technology, networking
ith the organized
and management plan of
We learn day by day from the needs and requirement
basic and gradual
human needs, which require us to function in a systematic by using modern technology
and the recent researches done by scientists and
It is time
we need to bring changes and combat the challenges, which we are facing in
this century. We have tremendous opportunities
and resources are available. But the
fact is polluted environment and risky livelihood with co
ntamination of toxic chemi
make our planets under stressful situation, which
impact on agricultural and industrial
throughout the ecosystem.
In spite, of numerous inventions and technological and
scientific discoveries in various fields: such as medicin
e, engineering. agriculture,
economics, finances, and social sciences. In future we need to work harder with wisdom
to improve the humanity over all.
Therefore, we can reach to the
conclusion according to the above mentioned facts, th
there are different races, languages, cultures, and religions, but need the desire, and
sincerity which we all have in common regardless of regional or nationality is to bring
peace and prosperity to our body and mind, which build the families, communit
ies, in all
the countries around the world. So, we all nations can live in peace and harmony.
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