An exploration of an emergent ethos
In this series of posts, we will explain the ground from which emerges the values and ethos that drives and sustains the NaturalMedicine community on Steem. This is the basis on which choices are made for creating and curating #naturalmedicine content. It draws on the models found in natural systems to create and establish creative, thriving, sustainable communities. As a whole, it forms a manifesto that the community draws on for inspiration, discussion, and inter-personal discovery.
If you haven’t read Part 2 What does ‘natural’ mean? we invite you now to read that first. Otherwise, please continue …
In the previous post we began to explore what we mean by ‘natural’, and we realised that the definition that comes to mind immediately is quite narrow… or in fact, a little too broad.
While ‘nature’ can certainly include everything that exists in the universe (galaxies, nebulae, stars, black holes, etc.), for the purposes of our discussion we really are just staying within the terrestrial sphere and referring to natural life on Planet Earth.
Ever since the groundbreaking work of people such as Gregory Bateson, James Lovelock, David Suzuki, David Attenborough, Rupert Sheldrake, James Gleick, and many others we are beginning to understand that the natural world is a complex system of inter-relatedness and inter-dependence. No matter where we look, no matter how deep or shallow we look, we can identify ‘systems’.
This seems to be the most succinct definition I’ve been able to find courtesy of Wikipedia. It is a solid introduction to the idea, and has links to excellent further reading and cited references:
Every system is delineated by its spatial and temporal boundaries, surrounded and influenced by its environment, described by its structure and purpose or nature and expressed in its functioning.
These are the key concepts again, courtesy of Wikipedia:
- System: An organised entity made up of interrelated and interdependent parts.
- Boundaries: Barriers that define a system and distinguish it from other systems in the environment.
- Homeostasis: The tendency of a system to be resilient towards external factors and maintain its key characteristics.
- Adaptation: The tendency of a self-adapting system to make the internal changes needed to protect itself and keep fulfilling its purpose.
- Reciprocal Transactions: Circular or cyclical interactions that systems engage in such that they influence one another.
- Feedback Loop: The process by which systems self-correct based on reactions from other systems in the environment.
- Throughput: Rate of energy transfer between the system and its environment during the time it is functioning.
- Microsystem: The system closest to the client.
- Mesosystem: Relationships among the systems in an environment.
- Exosystem: A relationship between two systems that has an indirect effect on a third system.
- Macrosystem: A larger system that influences clients, such as policies, administration of entitlement programs, and culture.
- Chronosystem: A system composed of significant life events that can affect adaptation.
Systems Theory itself can be applied in any context, not just natural systems — but the theory itself can be quite overwhelmingly intellectual when reading primary source material.
Of course, humans have known about Systems Theory for millennia; we may not have had scholarly texts and tonnes of scientific research on it, but we had access to a very immediate example of a system and how it operates: the natural world!
We’ve been observing these key features of systems in nature since we became sentient and expressing ourselves. To this day, we cannot find any evidence to the contrary that nature works any other way.
In nature, organisms will mostly band together in communities, and inter-relate with other organisms in some way in order to live, grow, and thrive. And for the most part, they do so in a perpetual manner — that is, their actions of thrivability are also sustainable. If an action (or interaction) is not sustainable, then there is no chance for future thrivability. In such cases, homeostasis occurs and the organism/s adapt to the change in circumstances.
With the work on cybernetic systems in particular, we have learned about the notion of self-regulation (or self-governing) through reciprocal transactions and feedback loops. Basically, we have learned that nature can govern itself without humans needing to intervene. Be it animal or vegetable, organisms have an instinctual understanding of all of this without needing to learn it or read it in a textbook.
The point is, nature itself is the perfect model for us to understand how ‘natural systems’ operate; we don’t need to have a University Degree in this stuff. Thus, nature itself is our exemplar, our model for understanding how systems operate, and more importantly how to emulate them for our own benefit.
This idea is going to be explored over the next few posts.
Other posts in this series:
- @lotuscoin 50%
- @naturalmedicine 40%
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