According to Teleology, each organism is like a rifle bullet fired straight at a mark; according to Darwin, organisms are like grapeshot of which one hits something and the rest fall wide. For the teleologist an organism exists because it was made for the conditions in which it is found; for the Darwinian an organism exists because, out of many of its kind, it is the only one which has been able to persist in the conditions in which it is found. Teleology implies that the organs of every organism are perfect and cannot be improved; the Darwinian theory simply affirms that they work well enough to enable the organism to hold its own against such competitors as it has met with, but admits the possibility of indefinite improvement.
Thomas Henry Huxley
Man as seen as an organism or man as seen as a person discloses different aspects of the human reality to the investigator. Both are quite possible methodologically but one must be alert to the possible occasion for confusion. (...) Seen as an organism, man cannot be anything else but a complex of things, of its, and the processes that ultimately comprise an organism are it-processes.
R. D. Laing
We are but cells living in a much larger organism, however, this does not make our existence less significant - for an organism without cells is no organism at all. We define it; we make it what it is. We are responsible for its health, its functionality, and above all, its purpose. A lone cell can restore the others, or a lone cell can spread a plague.
Neo-Spenglerians who are attuned to the racial view of history (call them "racists" for convenience) hold that the "final" phase of a Culture-the imperialistic stage-is final only because the cultural organism destroys its body and kills its soul by this process. Obviously, if we are to draw analogies between cultures and organisms we must agree that the soul of the organism dies only because of the death of the body. The soul can sicken-the soul of the West is now diseased and perhaps mortally ill-but it cannot die unless the organism itself dies. And this, point out the racists, is precisely what has happened to all previous cultures; death of the organism being the natural result of the suicidal process of imperialism.
If someone was to introduce hope and idealism into our political system, I think the tension that would create in other areas would certainly be ripe. You would think that if you bring oxygen to the organism, the organism lives. But there may be other organisms in there that thrive in darkness and in a more anaerobic environment. Watching those creatures writhe will always be interesting.
I have been trying to think of the earth as a kind of organism, but it is no go. I cannot think of it this way. It is too big, too complex, with too many working parts lacking visible connections. The other night, driving through a hilly, wooded part of southern New England, I wondered about this. If not like an organism, what is it like, what is it most like? Then, satisfactorily for that moment, it came to me: it is most like a single cell
Wilson (1975) defines biological communication relatively broadly as 'the action on the part of one organism (or cell) that alters the probability pattern of behavior in another organism (or cell) in a fashion adaptive to either one or both of the participants.
Robert K. Vander Meer Michael D. Breed et al.
... After it has been determined that the pathogenic organism is present in the animal body, and after it has been shown that the organism can reproduce in the body and be transmitted from one individual to another, the most important experiment remains to be done....to determine the conditions necessary for growth and reproduction of the microorganism.
Life itself consists of phases in which the organism falls out of step with the march of surrounding things and then recovers unison with it-either through effort or by some happy chance. And, in a growing life, the recovery is never mere return to a prior state, for it is enriched by the state of disparity and resistance through which it has successfully passed. If the gap between organism and environment is too wide, the creature dies. If its activity is not enhanced by the temporary alienation, it merely subsists. Life grows when a temporary falling out is a transition to a more extensive balance of the energies of the organism with those of the conditions under which it lives.
We live in a dancing matrix of viruses; they dart, rather like bees, from organism to organism, from plant to insect to mammal to me and back again, and into the sea, tugging along pieces of this genome, strings of genes from that, transplanting grafts of DNA, passing around heredity as though at a great party.
The principle chore of brains is to get the body parts where they should be in order that the organism may survive. Improvements in sensorimotor control confer an evolutionary advantage: a fancier style of representing [the world] is advantageous so long as it... enhances an organism's chances for survival. Truth, whatever that is, takes the hindmost.
I am a hopeless materialist. I see the soul as nothing else than the sim of activities of the organism plus personal habits - plus inherited habits, memories, experiences, of the organism. I believe that when I am dead, I am dead. I believe that with my death I am just as much obliterated as the last mosquito you and I squashed.
When a man no longer confuses himself with the definition of himself that others have given him, he is at once universal and unique. He is universal by virtue of the inseparability of his organism from the cosmos. He is unique in that he is just this organism and not any stereotype of role, class, or identity assumed for the convenience of social communication.
That's the argument of flexibility and it goes something like this: The Constitution is over 200 years old and societies change. It has to change with society, like a living organism, or it will become brittle and break. But you would have to be an idiot to believe that. The Constitution is not a living organism, it is a legal document. It says something and doesn't say other things.
A new consciousness is developing which sees the earth as a single organism and recognizes that an organism at war with itself is doomed. We are one planet. One of the great revelations of the age of space exploration is the image of the earth finite and lonely, somehow vulnerable, bearing the entire human species through the oceans of space and time.
The simplest single-celled organism oscillates to a number of different frequencies, at the atomic, molecular, sub-cellular, and cellular levels. Microscopic movies of these organisms are striking for the ceaseless, rhythmic pulsation that is revealed. In an organism as complex as a human being, the frequencies of oscillation and the interactions between those frequencies are multitudinous.
Perhaps the most legitimately dispiriting thing about reciprocal altruism is that it is a misnomer. Whereas with kin selection the "goal" of our genes is to actually help another organism, with reciprocal altruism the goal is that the organism be left under the impression that we've helped; the impression alone is enough to bring the reciprocation.
There can be no sexual love without lust; but, on the other hand, until the currents of lust in the organism have been irradiatedas to affect other parts of the psychic organism--at the least the affections and the social feelings--it is not yet sexual love. Lust, the specific sexual impulse, is indeed the primary and essential element in this synthesis, for it alone is adequate to the end of reproduction, not only in animals but in men. But it is not until lust is expanded and irradiated that it develops into the exquisite and enthralling flower of love.
The swelling and towering omnibuses, the huge trucks and wagons and carriages, the impetuous hansoms and the more sobered four-wheelers, the pony-carts, donkey-carts, hand-carts, and bicycles which fearlessly find their way amidst the turmoil, with foot-passengers winding in and out, and covering the sidewalks with their multitude, give the effect of a single monstrous organism, which writhes swiftly along the channel where it had run in the figure of a flood till you were tired of that metaphor. You are now a molecule of that vast organism.
William Dean Howells
You do not need to do many different exercises to get strong - you need to get strong on a very few important exercises, movements that train the whole body as a system, not as a collection of separate body parts. The problem with the programs advocated by all the national exercise organizations is that they fail to recognize this basic principle: the body best adapts as a whole organism to stress applied to the whole organism. The more stress that can be applied to as much of the body at one time as possible, the more effective and productive the adaptation will be.
In addition, Dr. Dannyboy has suggested a fifth element: positive thinking. Pointing out that their breathing, bathing, dining and screwing brought Alobar and Kudra much physical pleasure, and that an organism steeped in pleasure is an organism disposed to continue, he has said that the will to live cannot be overestimated as a stimulant to longevity. Indeed Dr. Dannyboy goes so far as to claim that ninety percent of all deaths are suicides. Persons, says Wiggs, who lack curiosity about life, who find minimal joy in existence, are all too willing, subconsciously, to cooperate with- and attract- disease, accident and violence.
The late Alan Gregg pointed out that human population growth within the ecosystem was closely analogous to the growth of malignant tumor cells within an organism: that man was acting like a cancer on the biosphere. The multiplication of human numbers certainly seems wild and uncontrolled... Four million a month-the equivalent of the population of Chicago... We seem to be doing all right at the moment; but if you could ask cancer cells, I suspect they would think they were doing fine. But when the organism dies, so do they; and for our own, selfish, practical... reasons, I think we should be careful about how we influence the rest of the ecosystem.
If diphtheria is a disease caused by a microorganism, it is essential that three postulates be fulfilled. The fulfilment of these postulates is necessary in order to demonstrate strictly the parasitic nature of a disease: 1) The organism must be shown to be constantly present in characteristic form and arrangement in the diseased tissue. 2) The organism which, from its behaviour appears to be responsible for the disease, must be isolated and grown in pure culture. 3) The pure culture must be shown to induce the disease experimentally. An early statement of Koch's postulates.