2 min readTo sustain life, we must build communities

In this article written for the Ecologist, Fritjof Capra stresses on a new view of the universe – one in which all of the material world is composed of a network of inseparable patterns of relationships.

Fritjof Capra believes that nature exists because of cooperation, and in it improves due to creativity. This new world view, which Capra refers to as the “systems view of life” lies in conflict with the mainstream view of evolution which stresses on competition among species for survival.

A closer observation of nature shows cooperation in all levels – in the body, cells perform various functions in order to support life; in social groups, whether plants, animals, or people, individuals perform specific functions which are needed (and cannot be performed) by other individual plants, animals, and people. Unlike machines, living systems are self-organizing, and they interact with each other and their environment to support each others existence and growth.

Implications for AI

Capra’s  thesis on the inter-connectivity of life is important because it shows that every component of nature is important in sustaining the entire system. The growth of one component, is equivalent to the growth of the entire system, and by connection, the growth of each of the other components. What can then happen in a living system that loses one of its components?

Through the concepts discussed in the article, we can clearly see how the creation of human-like machines can actually disrupt the natural network connecting humans and nature. Without our silicon bodies, we have managed to bring about more destructive climate change, poverty, hunger, and war. How much more damage can we make if we lose the physical body we share with nature? [To understand the context of this statement, read the article entitled Human Life And Its Connection To All Of The Universe’s Creation].

Another important part of this article is the inherent characteristics of a living system, which cannot be reproduced by artificial means. Even if we manage to build a machine that looks and processes information the way humans do, they cannot replace humans, because there is something in humans that makes us larger than the sum of our parts. [See article There Are Minds Everywhere, Except In AI to know what makes us so much larger than our physical components].

If we want to sustain life on earth, we need to preserve the diversity of life, knowledge, and belief systems. We must nurture communities, both with the human, and the non-human, and enable them to live and develop according to their nature. This is what it means to respect and revere the universe, nature, and all of creation.

Questions to Ponder Upon

How can humanity continue to evolve without compromising the life and health of the rest of nature? How can transhumanism potentially affect the network of living systems that exist on earth?

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