Living Systems Model


What is a Living System?
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You and I, and the cells from which we are made, are living systems. The lower-level cells that live within us perform the work required to carry out the life functions by which we exist. Many cells live within the structures of higher-level organisms, and some organisms live within an even higher-level superorganism. For example, ants live within an ant colony, where they work together to produce its life functions. Correspondingly, humans live within a nation-state, where they work together to produce its life functions. An ant colony is often thought of as a living system. Is a nation-state also a living system?


Why Develop a Model?
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There is general agreement that to be alive, an entity must maintain its existence by carrying out certain essential life functions. These include such operations as ingestion of raw material, internal distribution, conversion into energy, movement, extrusion of waste, reproduction, etc. It is clear that these life functions are performed within cells and organisms, but how would they be carried out at a superorganism level?
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Development of a comprehensive model provides a common framework to define and compare the characteristics of life at three different levels of complexity: cell, organism and superorganism. It brings to light how this structure forms an interdependent three-level hierarchy, in which all living systems cooperate in sustaining life. It shows that, from a system or architectural view, all three levels of living system have the same basic functional design. Recognition of this similarity of design provides the basis for a new understanding of the relationship between a human citizen and his nation-state superorganism.


For a brief overview of the living systems model, its concepts, structure and findings, start here:
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Overview

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The detailed description of the model begins with an introduction on why I undertook this effort, some basic premises, and details of how the presentation is structured:
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Introduction




Your comments and feedback will be greatly appreciated.
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©1995-2012 Ackley Associates    Last revised: 7/16/11
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