Life is not a structure, it is a process. Life units are similar to waves, they permanently renew their composition. The normal state of a biological system is a state of 'dynamic equilibrium', when inflow and outflow of matter compensate each other. Metabolism is one of indispensable conditions of a living organism. There is entry of the matter as a source of energy and constructional material, its use (assimilation), and excretion of decay product.
Balance of synthesis and destruction is one of the explanations of the cyclic nature of life. A more general explanation is that, the necessity for a stationary dynamic process to be cyclic, it must coil up in bounded space. At the level of a cell or organism, the cycle is shown as metabolism; at the level of ecosystems it is biogeochem-ical cycling (see Biogeochemical Models and Life-Cycle Assessment). The concept of the cyclic character of natural processes is a part of many philosophical and religious doctrines. A good illustration of this fact is the well-known Buddhist Wheel of Life (see Figure 1). The most interesting details are the central circle, where one can see a naive image of closed nutrient cycling and the figure of the demon, personifying time, which gobbles all that is existing.
The next step of development of cyclic movement is iterative dynamics. Recursion, unlimited repetition of itself, can be considered as an important form of nonli-nearity. It begets fractals in structure and iterations in
dynamics. The main form of iterations in biological systems is replication or reproduction. It is extremely important at least in two aspects. First, it is a way to transmit information from micro- to macrolevel. Second, it is a prerequisite for evolution on the basis of Darwinian natural selection.
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