Some parties have reported me that the message was truncated (no figure and half the text missing.). So herewith the whole text, and the figure too. People willing to read the original message with correct formatting should go to the link indicated just below.
Greetings to all--Pedro


(This email post has also been archived in the drop box. In case you are unable to read this entire post, please download from this link <>)
Sustainability through multilevel research: The Lifel, Deep Society Build-A-Thon*

Dear FIS Colleagues,

Over the last fifty years or so, we have made significant progress in enhancing our theoretical understanding of self-organizing complex systems. When it comes to self-organization in complex living systems, along with advances in theoretical research, advances in disciplines like prebiotic evolution, molecular biology, complexity, linguistics, information systems, ecology, bacteriology, soil microbiology, sociology, and economics have all contributed to provide deeper insights into the processes and organization in living systems at multiple different levels.

Having reached here we can ask the questions- can this new science help us develop a unified view of our socio-economic and natural systems? Can such a view reveal new systemic ways to align economics and ecosystems?

This series of articles [1-3] are a part of the "Lifel Deep Society Build-A-Thon" initiative. A research Build-A-Thon that aims to bring together domain level researchers, philosophers and theoretical researchers, and other problem solvers to build a multilevel model that can prove to be useful in enhancing our understanding of the combined ecosystem-economics system. This initiative provides exciting new opportunities for researchers to both further their own research, while also contributing towards addressing the larger problem of ecosystem-economics alignment.

The first article [1] reveals an important common multilevel organizational pattern in self-organization of living systems that proposes that socio-economic organizations could be an extension of a larger multilevel organizational pattern in natural self-organization. In this paper, two new classes of systems have been defined to capture important characteristics of internal organization in living systems across multiple levels. An examination of multilevel living systems through the lens of these definitions reveals a common multilevel level organizational pattern (CMOP) that extends across levels from molecular, to ecological and to social self-organization. The outcomes of the common multilevel organizational pattern are discussed, with important implications and areas for further research.

The second article [2] examines the possibility of organizational and role similarities between banks and financial investment networks in social self-organization, and networks of subsoil Mycorrhiza and gut-bacterial networks in ecosystems. The multilevel model of self-organizing living systems developed previously, has been used to pose questions and make multilevel organizational comparisons to glean new insights into the roots of our banking and financial investment networks in self-organizing living systems. Research findings point to the possibility that banks and financial investment networks play a role in social self-organization that could be in some ways similar to that played by Mycorrhiza and gut bacterial networks in the self-organization of ecosystems. A multilevel understanding of these systems could help us not only understand the roots of financial investment systems in self-organizing systems but also help better align financial systems and economics with natural ecosystems, and further the agenda of ecological sustainability. Some implications, questions and avenues for further research have been discussed.

The third article is an extended abstract and presents an overview of this initiative [3].

Taken together the two articles [1,2] present a cascading organization where autotrophic species arise through the transformation of geochemical molecules into biomass. This biomass becomes food for heterotrophic species, and leads to the emergence of ecological exchange networks between autotrophs and heterotrophs. Further, the emergence of sociality in heterotrophic species initially gives rise to kinship based social groups like families and extended communities based on shared adaptation among multiple family units, followed by non-kinship based social groups, and exchange networks of human resources between kinship based social groups like families and non-kinship based social groups like businesses in our economic system.

Three levels of modulator systems modulate resource flows between competing sets of species networks at the three different levels in self-organization [2]. Mycorrhiza networks are believed to modulate flows of geo-chemicals between competing autotrophic species. Gut bacteria are thought to modulate flows of biomass across competing ecological networks comprised of autotrophs and heterotrophs. Finally, financial investment networks are known to modulate flows of human resources across competing networks of families and business organizations. This presents a picture of a cascading living organization that commences with geochemical cycles and extends to our socioeconomic systems, as outlined in Figure 3.

Figure 3: A unified view of ecological and social organizations, using CMOPs presented in the previous articles [1,2]. Level 1, involves molecular self-organization into autotrophic (and chemoautotrophic) living cells. Level 2, involves the self-organization into ecosystem networks of exchanges between autotrophic and heterotrophic species. Level 3, involves the social self-organization in heterotrophic species into networks of exchanges between kinship and non-kinship based social groups. The view presents a cascading, and energetically coupled organization that spans across three levels. Further, at each level there appears to be a modulator system that gives rise to "community structure" in exchange networks. It is suggested that the modulator systems are Mycorrhiza networks at level 1, gut bacteria at level 2, and financial investment networks at level 3. This leads to the question- can one think of ways in which self-organization at the three levels could be synergized through some kind of a currency exchange? The red dotted line in Figure 3 highlights this possibility.

One of the main goals of this series of articles is to pose new questions by connecting research from across multiple disciplines. The CMOPs are intended serve as a multilevel scaffolding that connects ideas and findings from across disciplines to build an initial multilevel view, a view that is to be further debated, discussed and developed in the course of the Build-A-Thon. Hence the ideas presented here are not presented as final words on any research topic but rather intended to serve as a bridge to connect research across disciplines and pose questions for further research.

This discussion on the FIS network invites your ideas, questions, comments, criticisms, suggestions on the multilevel view presented here, and three high-level questions arising from this view:

1. Is our social organization in some of its essential elements an extension of the larger pattern in the organization of living systems as proposed here [1]?

2. Are there important organizational or role similarities between modulator systems- Mycorrhiza networks, gut bacterial networks and financial investment networks?

3. Are there ways in which these insights could be leveraged to align dynamics between ecosystems and economic systems?

A deeper understanding of our socio-economic reality through a multilevel view is possible only if we can successfully integrate research from across multiple disciplines and different research groups. Your inputs will be valuable, and help in this attempt to develop a multilevel unified view of social and natural systems through collaborative multilevel research.

Both articles [1,2] also present a number of open questions in the discussion section. Together these questions cover a large number of research domains. Different questions could be in area of interest for different people in this group or you may have questions beyond those posed in the articles. While it may not possible to debate all these questions at once, if one or more questions generate common interest from a group of people, they could be taken up for further discussion and possibly collaborative development. Hence, your comments, feedback, criticisms, further questions in any area would be most helpful both in collective assessing areas of interest for this group, as well as shaping direction for further collaborative research. I would appreciate if you could also point out your own work and references, or work of colleagues that are relevant here.

My apologies for loading you with three papers and multiple questions at once, and thank you for being patient and bearing with the tedium.

I would like to specially thank Pedro for introducing me to this group, encouraging me to post the FIS group, and allowing this post.

Your comments are very much appreciated, and would go a long-way in developing these ideas further.

At these times of mindless destruction, and conflict I am reminded of the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, a personification of peace, who had made France his home.

"/Once you begin to realize your interconnectedness with others, your inter-being, you begin to see how your actions affect you and all other life. You begin to question your way of living, to look with new eyes at the quality of your relationships and the way you work. You begin to see, 'I have to earn a living, yes, but I want to earn a living mindfully. I want to try to select a vocation not harmful to others and to the natural world, one that does not misuse resources."/ Thich Nhat Hanh

Peace for our French Colleagues, Families and Friends.

Thanking you,
Warm regards,

Nikhil Joshi
201-TV Industrial Estate, 248-A, S.K. Ahire Marg,
Worli, Mumbai 400 030, India
E-Mail: nikhil.joshi at <>


Copies of the three papers (1-3) below have been uploaded in the DROPBOX with the URL in each reference. If you have problems in accessing them please email me at: Nikhil.Joshi at <> ,Thank You.

1. Joshi, N. Multilevel Research, Part II: Exploring natural roots of socio-economic organization, Pre-publication copy, for Internal Use Only (2015).

2. Joshi, N. Multilevel Research Part III: The roots of money and investment systems, could they lie in self-organization of living systems? Pre-publication copy, for Internal Use Only (2015)

3. Joshi, N. Science, Organization and Sustainability: A Multilevel Approach. In Proceedings of ISIS Summit Vienna 2015- The Information Society at the Crossroads; 2015; p. I003. DOI: 10.3390/isis-summit-vienna-2015-I003

The first two papers [1.2] are pre-publication copies for private use of the FIS members and their students. Please do not circulate or upload them on any public server. Thank you.


Pedro C. Marijuán
Grupo de Bioinformación / Bioinformation Group
Instituto Aragonés de Ciencias de la Salud
Centro de Investigación Biomédica de Aragón (CIBA)
Avda. San Juan Bosco, 13, planta X
50009 Zaragoza, Spain
Tfno. +34 976 71 3526 (& 6818)

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