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Setting the Stage for "Organumics"

To prime you for the wonderful biology lessons and philosophical speculations of author Ben Callif in his new book, Organumics: An Epigenetic Re-Framing of Consciousness, Life, and Evolution (August 2019), we present some foundational thoughts of other scientists that help set the stage for Callif's work:

“Each living creature must be looked at as a microcosm—a little universe, formed of a host of self-propagating organisms, inconceivably minute and as numerous as the stars in heaven.”

—Charles Darwin, The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication

“I am a creationist and an evolutionist. Evolution is God’s, or Nature’s method of creation. Creation is not an event that happened in 4004 BC; it is a process that began some 10 [sic] billion years ago and is still under way.”

—Theodosius Dobzhansky, geneticist and evolutionary biologist

“One key to understanding living organisms…is the definition of their boundary, the separation between what is in and what is out.”

—Antonio Damasio, The Feeling of What Happens

“The genome that we decipher in this generation is but a snapshot of an ever-changing document. There is no definitive edition.”

—Matt Ridley, Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters

“The entire biological edifice, from cells, tissues, and organs to systems and images, is held alive by the constant execution of construction plans, always on the brink of partial or complete collapse should the process of rebuilding and renewal break down.”

—Antonio Damasio, The Feeling of What Happens

“It turns out that even micro-organisms are highly complex and intelligent, not simple and mechanical…cells appear to be units of will, purposeful agents.”

—Andreas Weber, The Biology of Wonder

“I guess that I see epigenetics (including environmental epigenetics) as continuing to learn about inheritance, rather than anything fundamentally new and different?”

—David Penny, professor of theoretical biology

“Can acquired phenotypes, not encoded in the DNA sequence, be inherited and transmitted across generations?….[E]pigenetic states can be transmitted by chromatin mechanisms for many generations, possibly indefinitely…the doors to a world of Lamarckian inheritance are flung wide open.”

—Vincenzo Pirrotta, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry

“Inheritance must be looked at as merely a form of growth…”

—Charles Darwin, The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication

“… [M]emory of the here and now also includes memories of the events that we constantly anticipate… memories of the future.”

—Antonio Damasio, The Feeling of What Happens

“Metabolism means sharing one’s own matter, and hence a part of one’s own identity, with the world… An organism’s constant intercourse with the universe builds it up through that which it is not, transforming it in the process.”

—Andreas Weber, The Biology of Wonder

“I seem, like everything else, to be a center, a sort of vortex, at which the whole energy of the universe realizes itself…A sort of aperture, through which the whole universe is conscious of itself.”

—Alan Watts

“…[T]he subjectivity of organisms is a physical factor—an objective reality in its own right.”

—Andreas Weber, The Biology of Wonder

“…our life is situated inside a nested hierarchy of self-organized systems…Each of these levels are non-equilibrium systems that owe their existence to processes of self-organization…Is there a sense in which the universe as a whole could be a non-equilibrium, self-organized system?”

—Lee Smolin, The Life of the Cosmos

“By enlarging our field of view, what is thought of as a whole becomes, in fact, nothing more than one part of a larger whole. Yet another whole encloses this whole in a concentric series that continues on to infinity.”

—Masanobu Fukuoka

“Every component of the organism is as much of an organism as every other part.”

—Barbara McClintock

“You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing.”

—Alan Watts

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