Studying biological systems can help us better understand how we fit on this planet, and how to build better communities. Urban planners do not talk much about biology. But, biology sees community as a living system. Cells are the building blocks of organisms, and groups of organisms make up a community, and communities of organisms make up ecosystems. By studying basic concepts of biology, we can build healthier communities for our families that fit appropriately into our environment, better equipping us to address our growing health, social and environmental issues.
For a person to be healthy, their cells need to be healthy, their organs need to be healthy, their family needs to be healthy, their institutions, community, and ecosystem all need to be healthy. If disease occurs at any level it impacts all levels. Today, we are showing unhealthy systems at all scales, from diabetes in the body, to mental health issues, to the breakdown of the family, to dysfunctional institutions in our communities, to growing environmental problems. A better understanding of living systems can help us reverse course and start mending each other and our environment.
Life is a conscious-force that weaves resources from its environment to grow and develop. Think of life as a weaver that weaves a hat to protect herself from the elements. Healthy living systems solve their problems, we are problem solvers. This is how we have survived and evolved over billions of years.
All living systems have anatomy and physiology, architects call it form and function. Life captures space in its environment, and then defends it, controlling what flows in and out, so it can carry out the processes of life. Life is a battle for real estate (territory) and its resources.
Life has evolved from single-celled organisms. Cells have a control center (nucleus – brain) that monitors and coordinates its growth and development. The control center’s sensing and responding creates continues feedback loops. This is a learning process in which life develops an understanding of what it is, what its environment is, and how it can survive in it.
You are your experiences, life is its experiences. Our past lives within us as stored experiences. As they say, “you are the product of your environment”. Life determines how it will respond to outside forces; with care and integration, or with aggression and competition. Typically care and integration is focused inward, and aggression and competition is focused outward. Life’s goal is to create a stable internal environment (called homeostasis), so it can carry out the delicate processes of life. Care and integration is needed to create homeostasis.
By increasing our understanding of living systems, we can create communities that are more alive and conscious. Making them more responsive to our needs, and the needs of our environment.