Nothing In Nature Exists In Isolation

Nothing exists solely on its own. From the most minuscule atomic particle to the grandest galaxies, the past, the present, and the future of every animate and inanimate being in our universe, including human beings, is defined by its interconnection to everything else. If any of these links are broken, Nature at any scale will change or simply not operate.

 

 

We human beings are interdependent organisms with a legacy that is represented in both living organisms and non-living natural objects.  Like the rocks, mountains, lions, and ants, we are all made from the same basic atomic materials. We are equal partners with everything else in the Universe. The  health of both our interconnected bodies and our interconnected surroundings is essential to our existence.

The single greatest obstacle to ecological sustainability on Earth is the outdated world view that places humanity external and superior to Nature. Nonetheless, everything in Nature is interconnected. This idea has been very familiar in both the spiritual and aesthetic worldviews for a very long time. More recently, interconnectivity and interdependence in Nature have become scientific fact. We now know that life on Earth would cease to function if interconnectivity did not exist. We now know that humanity is not external or superior to Nature. Indeed, humanity is an integral part of Nature just like every other creature on this planet.

EsteroSoldado-9738Patterns In Nature conjure up images like the spiral horns in sheep, ocean waves, sand dunes, and other regular or irregular shapes for us to enjoy, to meditate upon, and to study. However, Nature’s patterns also represent something much deeper. All of Nature’s patterns are physical manifestations of interconnected, interdependent networks of conduits that transform and transport our sun’s energy to all living and non-living things on our planet. Without these networks of energy flow, all objects and creatures on Earth would cease to exist because they could not receive the energy necessary to function.

Each energy network interacts with energy conduits in larger and smaller networks. A human being, a tree, a mountain stream, a maturing ecosystem, and Earth’s evolving biosphere are all interconnected and dynamic networks that direct energy flow in Nature. Each segment in a network performs similar fundamental functions of energy usage, energy transformation, and energy transportation despite the different physical structures that contains these networks. Said another way, a river and a human being don’t look alike. Yet, their energy transportation networks do look alike and perform similar functions.

One such energy containing pattern that is familiar to all of us is the tree. The twigs in a tree support leavesClip_3-6 that capture the sun’s energy. The green chlorophyll in a leaf’s energy transforms and stores that captured energy. Some of that energy is transported to the rest of the tree through twigs, branches, and trunks. Look carefully at a tree’s structure. Twigs are connected to branches in similar ways. Branches are connected to truncks in much the same way. In a very approximate way, each branch or twig in the tree’s structural hierarchy is a magnified or reduced version of its immediate neighbor. Clip_4-31Mathematicians call this phenomenon “self similarity” because each structure  looks similar to other structures in the tree. The structures are called “fractals”. It has been shown that many different energy transportation and transformation systems in Nature are fractal. A tree’s root system captures nutrients and other energy forms from the Earth. Roots look much like fractal collections of twigs and branches. These roots intertwine with root systems from other trees as well as various subterranean ecosystems. Our lungs and our blood transportation systems are fractal structures that fractalcirculationinterrelate with each other. Our systems of nerves are fractal. River systems are fractal. Indeed, much of the energy in Nature is transported and transformed by networks that have the same fractal structure that we see in trees.

Looking at these interconnected “self similar” systems of energy flow gives us a fractal riverssense that some kind of unity exists. Modern systems science has searched for more solid proof of unity in our interconnected world. As it turns out, all self similar fractal patterns can be mathematically described using a single characteristic number. If this characteristic number were the same value for a variety of different energy transportation and transformation flow networks, that would be very strong evidence that a unity among these systems exist. As it turns out, many energy networks can be described by a characteristic number whose value is about 1/4. A group of scientists at the Santa Fe Institute have been working on this issue for a number of years. They examined a famous relationship where the mass of many very different animals, from mice, to humans, to elephants were compared with their metabolism. Metabolism is a measure of energy utilization. It is astounding to find that the relationship between body mass and metabolism varies by a multiple of about 1/4 for all animals whether it be a mouse, a human, or an elephant. This phenomenon has been named “Quarter Power Scaling”.  It has been proposed that the reason behind this phenomenon is that this characteristic number does describe the underlying fractal energy transportation structures for life on Earth. For those of you who wish to dig deeper, you can read any number of papers written by the group. Simply Google “Geoffrey West”, and/or “Quarter Power Scaling”. Or you might care to read the scientific paper entitled ” The Predominance of Quarter-power Scaling in Biology”  or  “The Origin of the 3/4 Scaling Law.

What all of this suggests is is that there is growing scientific proof that there is a unity among all living creatures in how they process the currency of Nature – energy. Science is now beginning to show what the spiritual and aesthetic worldviews have known for a long time.  Nature does have a common thread. We are all connected! And, we are now able to describe more precisely the patterns of these interconnections that are so vital to life in Earth.

The idea of connectivity and interdependence in Nature is no longer just the creative whim of an artist or the scribblings from an ancient Chinese text. Modern science is now quantifying Nature’s connectivity and defining the importance of why Her interdependencies exist. The seemingly ubiquitous phenomenon of Quarter Power Scaling amplifies the notion that connections in Nature are very common and vitally important. By conserving Nature’s energy flow we preserve life on this planet.

It is now fair to say that conservation can be defined as the identification and protection of connections in Nature. Any act by you to preserve a connection in Nature is an act of conservation. These acts might be as simple as picking up garbage. You would also be conserving Nature’s connections by doing what you can to stop the air pollution that diminishes the energy flow from our sun. You could be helping stop the deforestation that slows down the flow of oxygen from a tree’s leaves into the atmosphere. Or you might be helping stop the killing of a key predator like the wolf who preserves a healthy diversity of both plants and animals in ecosystems. You could also evangelize the need to protect connections in nature by becoming a volunteer or a professional environmental education teacher.  Your acts of conserving Nature’s interconnectivity help build a future and a legacy for all of Nature, including mankind.

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My name is Bill Graham. As a Marine Biologist who has worked in the US and Mexico for 30 years, I am a student of Nature, a teacher, a researcher, and a nature photographer. Through my work, I have acquired an ever growing passion for how everything in Nature is connected. Today, I travel extensively contemplating about, writing about, and photographing Nature’s connections. I also work with conservation projects in the USA and Mexico and mentor talented youth.

4 Responses to “Nothing In Nature Exists In Isolation”

  1. Hi Bill,

    During the past century, people have been so successful in separating themselves from nature that the reality of the connections and the environmental cost of maintaining the separation do not yet draw strong support. There may be a time during the next century when nature forces us to recognize the connections. Perhaps then, our behavior will evolve a click, and we will become more aware of the unity our surroundings. It took millions of years for the characters in my first novel to make the jump. I hope it won’t really take that long.

    • Hi Garry:

      Thanks for your comment. I totally agree with you. But, I’d take it a bit further.”Connectivity consciousness” is also absent with many government conservation people who should know better. Along with connectivity, they fail to understand modern systems science (complexity) where it has been shown that one cannot control Nature because one cannot predict a complex system. The shooting of wolves, for example, is done in the name of “management” but one cannot manage without knowledge of the outcome. So, I think there should be a much stronger emphasis on systems science in our life science programs at our universities while still promoting “connectivity consciousness” through environmental education at all levels.

  2. We are similar but unique also. For example, all humans have one head, two arms, two legs, one body. In that sense we are equal or similar. But if you go one level below, you will find we are different. Our heads are not same; we have different noses, lips, eyes, eye colors, face colors etc. This is true for all objects. Take two apples you will find them different. Take any one apple, you will find different parts of the same apple have different tastes. That means all molecules are different. In the same way you will find even atoms, electrons are different. Any two tiniest particles are different.

    “From the most minuscule atomic particle to the grandest galaxies, the past, the present, and the future of every animate and inanimate being in our universe, including human beings, is defined by its interconnection to everything else.” – This is very correct. All religions, including Bible and Vedas, say that all objects have souls. This soul has consciousness. And we are all connected via our souls. We are constantly communicating with each other via our souls.

    This connectedness defines our global destiny, which can be precisely predicted by any high level yogi. Many such yogis have predicted the lives of many famous and ordinary people, all over the world, throughout many centuries in the past. The ability to predict destiny is a direct proof of interconnectedness. Newtonian mechanics verifies this deterministic nature of the universe. For the same reason this connectedness will prove that quantum mechanics cannot be correct. You cannot isolate an electron and then model it using probability. Take a look at https://theoryofsouls.wordpress.com/ This is a free book and talks about this simultaneity law, destiny, QM, yogic powers etc.

    • Thank you very much for your thought provoking comment. I must respectfully disagree with parts of your last paragraph. Newtonian mechanics (the mechanistic world view) is correct but incomplete. A large part of modern science takes on the systematic world view as an explanation of Nature. To say that we are all interconnected means that we are all part of complex dynamic systems. Prediction is impossible within complex dynamic systems. This is why we must be very careful when we try to change Nature. The result of our actions cannot be predicted. Small inputs can result in huge unpredictable outcomes.

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