Yoga Padmasana Pose

The Identity, Flexibility, and Coherence in a Heteroclite System

An organism is a system that has an identity, flexibility, and coherence:

1. There is identity to the extent that we suppose that, from fertilization to death, the organism is a unique system.

2. There is fexibility to the extent that, from fertilization to death, a considerable number of elements and characteristics of the organism have changed.

3. There is coherence to the extent that all Yoga Padmasana Pose the dynamics that occur within the organism are part of what an organism becomes.

Each one of these terms is relative:

1. The identity of the organism is a partial identity, given that an organism can change its shape (a caterpillar becomes a butterfly) and its cells renew themselves many times over the course of a lifetime. Even if a person is seventy years old and has the impression of always having been the same person, some psychologists20 ask themselves the question: Up to what point does a person define herself in the same way at the age of six and at the age of sixty?

2. The fexibility of the organism is a partial flexibility to the extent that it is counterbalanced by the constraints that ensure the identity and coherence of the organism.

3. The coherence of the organism is relative to the extent that it can become physically and psychologically diseased.

The subsystems of an organism are called heteroclite to the extent that they do not all function the same way. The liver does not function like the lungs, the muscles, and the bones. They are subsystems of the same organism, but they are not constituted the same way, nor do they have the same cells (bones have more calcium than the liver), and they do not react the same way (the liver has a local action that influences numerous parts, whereas the musculature is active here and there throughout the organism). To understand how these heteroclite subsystems can function in a relatively complementary fashion to maintain the coherence of the system, we must postulate not only a hierarchy of subsystems but also an organization that regulates the coordination of these subsystems. In each case, there exist interfaces that permit one system to interact with another that functions differently. For example, in the brain there are receptors that are sensitive to the presence of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. The nervous system has interfaces that can activate a muscle, and others that are responsive to the activity of a muscle.

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