Multilayer Character of Life

One of the peculiarities of biology is the fact that it embraces many levels of matter organization, from molecules to biosphere. It results in a large complexity of life, and sometimes complexity and diversity are considered as important characteristics of biological systems (see Ecological Complexity). But complexity as such is not a solution; uncontrolled growth of complexity either leads to the reduction of stability, or does not influence it. The stability of real biological systems is a result of very specific interactions between its elements; complex systems must be very well organized. In accordance with the pronouncement of W. Weaver (1948), the subject of biology is 'organized complexity', contrary to classical physics ('organized simplicity') and statistical physics ('chaotic complexity'). Dynamic laws should be appropriate for ensuring self-organization. Subjects of biological processes (cells, specimens, etc.) behave not chaotically, but coordinately.

Life development is, particularly, a process of matter differentiation. Step-by-step life makes the world more complex, changes 'the space of abilities', creates potential wells in this space (new niches for itself), and fills the wells with new species. In Figure 2, the niches are shown as a set of more and more narrow trapeziums, one originating from the other.

While 'inventing' new levels of matter organization, life keeps previous ones. Usually new forms of matter differentiation cannot exist without older forms, which are parts of their usual environment from their origin. Each step to deeper differentiation needs huge amount of less differentiate matter. Essential progress in producing new abilities usually accelerates the development of living matter, but this acceleration concerns a decreasingly small part of the matter.

Although sometimes a new form can essentially transform or even annihilate a previous one, the latter usually continues to exist as a basis and environment for the former. Life forms itself as a multilayer object. Each new layer emerges by using energy of the predecessors and establishing new forms of connections between the previous layers' elements.

Such an elementary type of formation does not give an optimal result. New objects' functions can duplicate functionality of lower layers or even be at variance with it. The design of the objects would be more rational in the case of starting from the very beginning, without context

of previous stages. But nature prefers to build on the old basements from available bricks, which were not initially planned for forming new buildings. Such a choice has some advantages. Losing optimality, nature saves time and gets reliability. Systems with duplicated (and coordinated) functions are more stable; keeping of low-level reactions is useful in case of temporary degradation of environment and so on.

Interaction of different layers is not trivial; their structure and functions are in the permanent process of mutual coordination. The formation of the life multilayer structure was not a unidirectional movement from the lowest level to the highest one. In the course of history of the Earth, after the first chemical layer, the planetary layer of biosphere was formed. All the other levels (cellular, organism, etc.) were wedged between these extreme layers in the course of the process of 'discretization'.

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