Macroscopic and Microscopic Processes of Evolution of Evolutionary Processes

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note: The following text and diagram is from From Erich Jantsch - The The Self-organizing Universe, pp.217-219

"The individual is going to be universalized,
the universal is going to be individualized,
and thus from bothdirections the whole is going to be enriched."

Jan Smuts, Holism and Evolution

"The dynamics of a particular system may always be viewed under two perspectives: a microscopic one -processes which play in a system - and a macroscopic one - the behaviour of the system viewed as a whole. In this way, the collisions between molecules in an isolated system - a microscopic perspective - find their corresponding macroscopic view in the devolution of a system in the direction of its equilibrium. In the same way, the chemical reactions in a system far from equilibrium and including an autocatalytic step correspond to the macroscopic order of a dissipative structure. In this case, however, the maintenance of an exchange between system and environment is essential, so that a further, superordinate macroscopic perspective may be introduced which includes the system together with its environment. In the figures for this chapter, the corresponding perspective is graphically indicated with the help of dots. One dot signifies the holistic, macroscopic view taken of a system together with its environment; two dots signify exchange between a system and its environment, or between two systems; and tliree dots, finally, signify a microscopic view focusing on the processes in the system.

Dissipative structures mark the lowest level at which phenomena of spontaneous structuration occur in true dissipative self-organization. In a macroscopic view, such structures may be described as being autopoietic and evolving. Viewed from this angle, only the self-regeneration and the coherent evolution of the cyclically organized system and its structures are of interest. The transformations of energy and matter in the metabolic processes of the system appear as secondary. If, however, the products of the transformation of different autopoictic systems belonging to the same level, join to form new autopoietic systems, the self-organization dynamics may continue at a higher level. What is happening in such a case is nothing but endosymbiosis or symbiosis which is coming close to fusion. As has been discussed in the preceding chapter, symbiosis generates a new semantic level. In this way, evolutionary processes which belong to consecutive autopoietic levels may be linked in an evolutionary chain -a metaevolution. This is indeed the approach with which the origin and the evolution of life may be described in the self-organization paradigm. Symbiosis of molecular species in the hypercycles of the Eigen type leads to prokaryotic cells, symbiosis of prokaryotes leads to eukaryotic cells, and symbiosis of eukaryotes leads to multicellular organisms.

Figure 41 shows schematically how the interweaving of processes in this meta-evolution may be understood. Three dimensions of evolutionary processes may be distinguished which are characterized by coherence and globally viewed, continuity. Firstly, each autopoietic system - for example, an organism - evolves in its ontogeny through a sequence of space-time structures. Secondly, the systems evolve at a particular autopoietic level of existence along the complex webs of phylogeny, for example, in the branchings which characterize the evolution of richly differentiated animal and plant domains. And thirdly, the evolutionary processes evolve themselves and bring new autopoietic levels into play."

The Self-Organizing Universe - Erich JantschErich Jantsch, The Self-Organizing Universe - Scientific and Human Implications of the Emerging Paradigm of Evolution, New York: Pergamon. 1980, pp.217-219


"Summarizing the different phases of this co-evolution (of macro- and microcosmos), an interesting picture emerges of a process which starts three times anew to generate complexity. Not only do the communication processes between macro- and microcosmos, which are responsible for the spatial connectedness of the systems, change in the course of evolution, but also the processes which guarantee the coherence and continuity of evolution over time along each of its branches. Whereas the former processes primarily determine ontogeny, the latter make phylogeny possible. Only from the interaction of both does the co-evolution of macro and micro-world emerge.
The Self-Organizing Universe - Erich JantschErich Jantsch, The Self-Organizing Universe - Scientific and Human Implications of the Emerging Paradigm of Evolution, New York: Pergamon. 1980, pp.207-208

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